We're at the end of the year, at the end of the project, and about to find out if it was all worth it. I run through the final few days, announce the name and open up that first bottle with an international beer judge...
Episode 10 - Fermentation and bottling
In this, the penultimate episode, we've safely navigated the brew but I've still got to guide the beer through the fermentation, bottling, naming and labelling. I catch up with graphic designer Jim Vine and look back on some astonishing numbers from the year so far...
Episode 9 - Brewing
It's the start of November and after 11 months of digging, growing and harvesting we've finally arrived at the big day - it's time to combine the barley, hops, water and yeast and get on with the brew! I'm not on my own though, as I'll be going through the process with friend and brewer John Magill of Powderkeg Brewery...
Episode 8 - Harvest pt.II
It's the last activity on the allotment as I work out how to judge when the hops are ripe before picking and drying them ahead of the brew. I then catch up with Jake at Crisp Malting to find out how that precious little sack of barley fared being soaked, dried and kilned in the maltings...
Episode 7 - Harvest
It's harvest time! We've sort-of survived the summer and now I need to bring in the barley, regardless of how much or how little is still there. I also catch up with beer writer Mark Dredge to get some advice on beer styles and what to consider should I get to that final tasting...
Episode 6 - Equipment
July is now behind me, and I couldn't be happier to see the back of it. The British summer has caused serious problems - problems that cause me to question whether we'll even get to the harvest. As well as looking at how the ingredients are coming along I also pay a visit to a brewery to talk brewing equipment with their resident brewster, in case I get that far...
Episode 5 - Yeast
It’s mid-June, and the plot feels as if it’s all starting to come together. The hops are off up the strings like rockets, the barley has spread out to create a rich, if a little short, canopy and now I’ve closed the tap the water butt is filling up nicely. I start the process of collecting samples to be analysed by 2 yeast researchers at the LSI lab at the University of Exeter and experience my first taste of storm damage…
Episode 4 - Water
It's a hot and tiring start to May, and I'm grateful to have finally got to grips with the soil preparation and barley sowing. The hops look like leaping into life any minute and I head over to the continent to find out how a combination of a social enterprise and a Dutch brewery use rainwater to make beer.
Episode 3 - Barley
It's the start of April, and while life is beginning to pop up across the plot it's not all wanted. I report back on the early hop progress, deal with some unwelcome guests and get some much needed advice on how to grow barley...
Episode 2 - Hops
It's February, and while the rubbish may be gone, the weeds are not. I struggle with minor construction, discover why you don't ask children for their thoughts and find out what to do about those hops...
It's January, it's freezing cold and I've got half a tonne of rubbish to shift before I can even think about planting or brewing. I explain the project and get some much needed advice on how to sort out the plot and what to consider when I start growing.