Friday, 5 July 2013

Katalyst for change

One of the things I like about being a brewer is the creativity of designing new beers. It's also an interesting thing to develop existing beers with a continual improvement program. We absolutely try to make beers the way we like them to be. I'd obviously be lying if I said I didn't take influences from various sources, call it copying if you like. But as we move forward we evolve, improve, innovate and progress.

Whatever, we sometimes make new beers and sometimes we just try and improve on the ones we already make. I believe both activities are essential to keep a brewery and it's beers vibrant and relevant.

Some breweries make a big fuss about a big change to one of their beers. And it might be that you could accuse me of doing a little bit of that here. Either way, I'm pleased with what we've done, so I don't think I'm wrong to shout a little bit about it.

Katalyst, I'll be honest, has been a little bit of a problem child for me. I do love the beer, when we get it right, but we haven't always got it quite right. In case you don't know, Katalyst was the runt to Queboid when we first made it. A twin from the same birth as a parti-gyle, but with completely different hops. Almost a kind of after thought, and not a very well thought out one at that.

It's struggled, it's not been popular, and on occasions I've wondered what we should do other than permanently put it on the naughty step. But you simply can't give in on your babies. Sometimes it's important to walk away, let everyone calm down before something happens everyone would regret, but it is essential to go back and make up.

A few weeks ago we took out all our previous brew sheets. Thought a lot. Looked at all our previous attempts to get it right, in our own little haphazard way, and pulled together a well thought out plan. The trouble had been, you see, that Katalyst had only been shouted out to play when it's big brother Queboid was called upon. And when left with all that little sibling wort we just used a recipe that was more made-it-up-as-we-went-along kind of thing.

The return to the drawing board yielded a result that was very much to our liking. It had been suggested to me that I should rename the beer and just drop Katalyst completely. But along with the childish misspellings, and the skool boy mischievousness, we've finally brought the siblings to play nice together, so it's allowed to stay. But, would it stand up to scrutiny by the drinker? Well, it's out there now and we are getting a few nice comments.

But most importantly, and don't tell him how much it means to me, lest he thinks I care, it seems Tandleman likes it too, at least I think that's what he tweeted at me.

1 comment:

Tandleman said...

I did like it Dave. Though of course if you really want to improve the beer, leave the crystal out. Crystal is nearly always not needed. The first question you should ask with crystal malt is: "What will you add to this recipe?"

The answer will nearly always be "Nothing". If crystal malt is honest of course. But it's a lying and insidious little bastard. It worms its way into too many recipes, adding nothing but barley sugar sweetness. It charms though, like a bonny lass with a "come on" look. But resist and all will be well.