Re: Festival Razorback IPA Review

Discussion in 'Member Reviews - Beer Kits and Brewing Equipment.' started by Maffa, Jun 13, 2013.

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  1. Jun 13, 2013 #1

    Maffa

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    Well its a brand spanking new kit on the market, and seeing as the Festival Golden Stag kit was absolutely fantastic, I couldnt refuse! It cost me a squidgen under 25 and the box says I should be getting 5.7% ABV, well have to wait and see on that one! Heres the blurb on the box:

    Bursting with big hop character, distinct flavours of pine needles and fruit punch, followed by a dry bitter finish Beautiful fresh nectarine aroma with underlying tones of pine needles


    OK, well first impressions are of course good. Festival seem to be in the top priced bracket for 2 can kits and they are there for a reason. This kit comes with:
    2 bags of LME
    650g Dextrose
    75g IPA hop pellets (50g+25g bags) Simco, Centennial & Summit
    10g IPA yeast
    100g priming sugar
    Hop sock shall we say for aiding with syphoning due to the added hops

    [​IMG]

    Right then, all put together as per the instructions, although it did say to add the sugar in after the 3 litres of boiled water was added to the LME, but I thought it would dissolve better beforehand, so the sugar went in the saucepan briefly before the pan was added to the fv with the 2 bags of LME. This was stirred generously for a good few minutes before being topped up from above with 20 litres of sainsburys finest cheapest bottled water at 1 for 5 litres. First impressions are that its lighter in colour than I expected with a decent bitter taste, I presume the ferment and the added hops will bring out the other flavours in good time.

    The first OG was taken at a respectable 1046, which means that in order to reach the estimated 5.7%, I will need an FG reading of 1003 which is a tall order in my books. In all honesty, were probably looking around the 5% mark. The yeast was then sprinkled on top and given a gentle stir as per the instructions. It was only then that I noticed the temp on the fv was showing about 26C far too warm, and I didnt want this brew to go down the burnt toast route as per my recent Woodford Wherry disaster, so the fv was quickly wrapped in wet towels with freezer bags inside to bring down the temp before the yeast got to work. This did take about 6 hours to get down to 20C, but the airlock didnt start bubbling until the morning so I think I got away with it.

    Well the instructions say to add the hop pellets after 5 days and bottle after another 5 days. Due to time constraints during the week (this was done on Saturday), I expect it will be more like 7 days and 7 days. I will keep you posted on the progress.

    Day 2 - Activity in airlock (always a good sign), 20C

    Day 4 - Airlock has been very active of late, completely clogged up with beery gunk. Lid was bulging quite a bit so I emptied, cleaned & stuck the airlock back on fv. 5 mins later its frothing out the top again. 20C :P


    OK, after writing this and looking for a picture of the box online, I seem to have found 2 different kits. 1 kit says 3kg and at 4.5%ABV, and the other kit says 3.6kg and at 5.7%. Ive also read other sellers comments from online shops who says its a 5% beer so I really dont know what is going on. I presume, as its a brand new beer some people were jumping the gun. All I can say is mine was the 5.7% & 3.6kg box, although I didnt weigh each LME pouch.

    More updates to come
    ------------------------------
    Day 5 - Brew still going strong, in fact its probably more active now. Airlock all clogged up again
    Day 7 - Removed and cleaned air lock again. This is a very active beer! Taken a reading today at 1020, so pretty good progress. It seems very light in colour. Added in all 75g of hop pellets, and yup they do smell of pine. Almost left out the smaller 25g bag of hops due to the strong smell, but 1st time out I should brew it as instructed I guess and make some changes next time if needed. 1 week to bottling.
    Day 11 - Airlock is still bubbling every 2-5 seconds or so, no froth coming through but still very active for day 11. As you're supposed to leave it for 3 days after activity has stopped, this could turn into a 3 week ferment - unheard of in my terms! Still at 20C
    Day 12 - This damn hot weather has pushed up the temp to 22C, airlock still chugging away merrily :thumb: Will do a reading on Saturday and Sunday I think to see whats happening, don't think I want to wait another week before bottling.
    Day 15 - Airlock has slowed down considerably since yesterday, so I've taken a reading - 1010 on the dot, I have a busy week ahead and next weekend is fully booked out so its now or never. I have to say the initial taste test is pretty good, not too much pine yet but very citrusy, the wife reckons it grapefruit!
    Day15 - Part 2. Well all is now bottled, I have managed to get 45 x 500ml bottles which is a good haul, I must have put in too much water in the begging. Still I reckon this will be about 5.0% after conditioning, not too close to the 5.7% on the box, but I didn't expect it either. Not too much to do now but sit back and wait. First bottle opening ceremony will be in 4-6 weeks if I can wait that long! :whistle:
    [​IMG]

    Day29 - First batch of 15 bottles added to the beer fridge. T minus 14days (or less if can't help it) until drinkies
    Day38 - Couldn't wait any longer - wasn't expecting too much but what a difference 1 week in the fridge makes! This beer is ready :party: It pours out crystal clear and is very tasty. Good citrus aroma, a slight fruity taste with a very dry bitter finish - perfect for summer drinking. Final picture to follow.
     
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  2. Jun 14, 2013 #2

    Monte Cristo

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    Just bought this one myself old chap, was a bit of a toss up between the rajas reward ipa and this. Looks impressive when all laid out can't wait to get it going. :hat:
     
  3. Jun 14, 2013 #3

    Underscore

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    I've just bought a batch of kits that includes both the Razorback and Raja's Reward - but I've put the Fixby Gold on first, ready for some late summer quaffing - so I'll be watching for reviews of both in the meantime to pick up any tips before they go on...

    _
     
  4. Jun 22, 2013 #4

    everythingsomewhere

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    Just got myself the Strong Ale as the mum prefers this style of beer but keen on the Razorback next for myself and the old man. This is an excellent, detailed and (will be I suspect, when I come to it) a very helpful review. Cheers, let us know how it goes down.
     
  5. Jun 25, 2013 #5

    Monte Cristo

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    Have just got mine going, I've done it as the instructions, it is now sitting in my water bath at 22c. The SG was a sturdy 1048 so looking good, Will also post with how it has gone.

    That looks a cracking colour Maffa, I didn't expect it to be that light! :hat:
     
  6. Jun 25, 2013 #6

    Maffa

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    Thankyou, its a first review from me, so is nice to be appreciated. Lets hope the beer is cracking :drink:
     
  7. Jun 25, 2013 #7

    Maffa

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    I have to say the lightness in colour surprised me as well. As I mentioned above the airlock was still active after 15 days but I completely ran out of time (damm kids and their basketball all over the country spoils my beer making activities), anyway i'd be interested to see how long yours takes until the fv activity has ended.
     
  8. Jul 1, 2013 #8

    Monte Cristo

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    Quick update on my Razorback IPA

    Well chaps mine has been sitting at a constant 22c for 6 days now, airlock started blowing nearly 24 hours after yeast pitched in. I added the hop sachets yesterday they reminder me of the smell of new carpet, but today getting a piney, grassy, new carpet smell which does smell rather good. :hat:

    No beery gunk coming through my airlock though!
     
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  9. Jul 2, 2013 #9

    Duxuk

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    I don't usually come to this part of the forum. I now brew all grain having done extract brew for years. I just wanted to see how brewers rated kits.
    Now I don't want to come across a patronising but I may be able to offer a little usefull advice.
    Time is your friend. Don't expect a kit to be ready to bottle in 10 days just because the instruction tell you it will. Wait 'til it's finished. You'll know it's done, not because the airlock is not bubbling, but because it's started to clear. Many brewers like to rack to a second FV and leave it for a couple of weeks to clear before bottling. I usually just leave it in the first FV. It will come to no harm even if you leave it for 4 weeks. Of course you should resist the temptation to keep lifting the lid and sampling to minimise the risk of infection, but I admit I a terrible peaker myself!
    The OPs bottle looked very cloudy. I would not bottle until it had cleared up a lot more. He mentions time constraints but 4 weeks may have been better than 2.

    The brew in question is very much like an extract brew, in the way it's made by you and the ingredients. The only real change you'd need to make to your equipment, to brew extract,is to get a big enough pan to boil the hops, in at least some of the DME and water.
    I've done some good extract brews in a pressure cooker! It's a bit inefficient in the utilisation of hops but if it tastes OK I don't mind.
     
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  10. Jul 2, 2013 #10

    speedycarft

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    I currently have this Razorback IPA on the primary. Has been away for 13 days now :shock:

    I will be bottling this...

    Temperate is constant 22-23c. Airlock activity - gurgling every 90 seconds or so on day 13. Took gravity reading after 11 days and 1.007. The instructions say leave until airlock has stopped bubbling AND the SG is at or below 1.005. Since neither is true I am starting to get nervous leaving it as I am worried that with it sitting on all that dead yeast for so long may affect the overall flavour? I will take another SG reading tonight but the question is do I simply wait until there is no airlock activity at all before bottling? What happens if it still isn't done by 15/20 days?
     
  11. Jul 3, 2013 #11

    Duxuk

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    Just wait. The yeast won't affect the flavour for a long time. If you have a second FV and are worried then sterilise it and syphon into that. You definitely should take more notice of the airlock and gravity than you do of the instructions!
    If you don't wait for it to clear significantly after fermentation has stopped then you're bottling all that yeast that is currently floating in suspension. Then your bottled beer is sitting on a significant amount of yeast/tru for as long as it lasts in the bottle before drinking. Surely this is worse than it sitting on the yeast in the FV for another week or even fortnight??????
    Also, if you bottle whilst there is still some activity then you will have an unknown amount of fermentables to add to your sugar which you use for carbonation. You could end up with an ale as fizzy as a lager. At the most extreme you may get a crate of bottle bombs!

    Try not to be impatient (said Mr Impatient himself). I keep squeezing my PET bottles of "Citra 2" which are just reaching 14 days in the bottles. They feel pretty firm but I know they'll improve in flavour if I wait. The hands of time turn slowly when you're waiting. My plan this year has been to brew a lot more so that I have built up a backlog of beer which is sufficiently mature :drink:
     
  12. Jul 3, 2013 #12

    speedycarft

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    Duxuk - Thanks for the advice, I am a complete novice. Much appreciated :thumb:

    It is now 14 days, still bubbling, in fact it seems to have speeded up again to a gurgle every 1 minute now. The other thing I noticed is that there is a layer of green foamy gunk at the top of the brew. This kit was dry hopped after 5 days. The kit comes with a supplied mesh bag that you put over the syphon tube before bottling to filter out all the gunk. I forgot to ask whether it is an issue for the brew to be affected by being sat with these unfiltered hops for so long, do the unfiltered hops start to affect the flavour?

    A few other questions:

    If I leave it in the bucket, let's say for another week or two and all the yeast drops out of suspension then how will the beer go on to a secondary fermentation in the bottles (with the supplied priming sugar)?

    If you filter into a second bucket and leave for it to clear then the second bucket will have a lot of oxygen at the top - will this not spoil the brew as there will be no C02 (as of now in the first vessel) to protect the brew?
     
  13. Jul 3, 2013 #13

    Maffa

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    Good Advice from Duxuk, Maybe an additional 2wks was probably needed. I checked the bottles last night (bottled 10 days ago) and there is a considerable amount of sediment in each bottle. But then looking on the bright side, each bottle is clear and the sediment stays at the bottom - I will need to be conscious of storing these standing up and be very careful when pouring.

    Not opened one yet, far too early.
     
  14. Jul 3, 2013 #14

    mattrickl06

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    It sounds like a lot of dextrose (650g) for effectively a 2 can kit?

    Has anyone had a taste of the finished product yet?
     
  15. Jul 3, 2013 #15

    el gringo

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    Just had my kit arrive in the post - i'm looking forward to this one
     
  16. Jul 3, 2013 #16

    Maffa

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    Not yet, its brand new on the market - will be a few more weeks I presume.
     
  17. Jul 4, 2013 #17

    oktane

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    I put this on in early June as well, after 8 days I dropped the hops in and suddenly fermentation kicked off massively. I had another 4 days of activity before it settled down. After 20 days the gravity had stopped falling (around 1.007). I brewed short, so when I bottled I got about 38 500ml bottles including 1-2 really sludgy ones from the bottom. They have been racked for about a week now and seem to be firming up. It smelt and tasted lovely when I bottled it, I honestly cannot wait for this to be ready. Another week or so carbing, then I will give them 2-3 weeks conditioning (probably have a sneaky taste).
     
  18. Jul 8, 2013 #18

    Unclejona

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    If you're using clear bottles remember to keep then conditioning in a dark place (carboard box is always good)

    Cheers and Beers

    Jona
     
  19. Jul 8, 2013 #19

    Maffa

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    2wks since bottling, first batch of 15 bottles have been added to the beer fridge. Am finding it hard now not to have a sneaky one :drink:
     
  20. Jul 15, 2013 #20

    Monte Cristo

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    Bottled this today have to say this is the best smelling beer i've made yet. The ferment took a total of 17 days at 22c although i gave it a couple more days to settle out. The Fg was 1004 from a Sg of 1048, which according to the the calculator makes it 5.8% so it actually came out slightly stronger than 5.7% on box.
    Here is a shot of one i put in a clear bottle to show colour
    [​IMG]

    Now the wait, but i'm sure it will be worth it!
     

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