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Ordinary Bitter: winning recipe

medal winners

Eli Appleby-Donald’s bitter recipe from the 2016 club competition.

Eli has been working on this recipe for the past 3 years using the feedback from the judges at the competition to perfect it. It must be working as this recipe took silver last year and gold this year.

Bespoke Bitter

Beer Style: Ordinary Bitter
Recipe Type: all-grain BIAB
Yield: 10 litres
Original Gravity: 1.034

Ingredients:

  • 1.4 kg – United Kingdom – Golden Promise (84.8%)
  • 0.1 kg – United Kingdom – Cara Malt (6.1%)
  • 0.1 kg – United Kingdom – Dark Crystal 77L (6.1%)
  • 0.05 kg – United Kingdom – Munich (3%)
  • 7 g – Challenger 6.5% Boil 60 min
  • 5 g – East Kent Goldings 5% Boil 60 min
  • 8 g – Styrian Goldings 4.2%Boil 20 min
  • 15 g – East Kent Goldings 5% Whirlpool 20 min

Additional Instructions

Boil: 60 Minutes

Mash: 67c for 60 mins then 75c mash out  for 10mins.

Ferment: 2 weeks at 18c

 

Categories
Events General

Annual Competition 2016 results

80 Shilling

  1. Andy Newall
  2. Malcolm Cruickshank
  3. James Burnett

Ordinary Bitter

  1. Eli Appleby-Donald

English IPA

  1. Eli Appleby-Donald
  2. Malcolm Cruikshank
  3. Eli Appleby-Donald

American Pale

  1. Tom Gardner
  2. Eli Appleby-Donald
  3. Andrew Goulet

American IPA

  1. Steven Beattie
  2. Tom Gardner
  3. Jonathan Fleck

People’s Choice – American Wheat

Andy Newall

Overall Winner – Best in Show

Steven Beattie

Categories
Articles Events General

Scottish Craft Brewers Competition 2016

Date: 24th January 2016
The club meeting starts at 12 noon but beer for the competition should be dropped off at 11:30.
Judging starts sharp so make sure your beer is there at 11:30.

Details of the day are available from the event section: The Big January Event

Venue: Andrew Usher & Co, 32b West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DD

What beer Styles can I enter?

Click on the category title for more information.

Overall Impression: Low gravity, low alcohol levels, and low carbonation make this an easy-drinking session beer. The malt profile can vary in flavor and intensity, but should never override the overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical component of the style Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, often (but not always) with a light caramel quality. Bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty malt complexity is common. Mild to moderate fruitiness. Hop aroma can range from moderate to none, typically with a floral, earthy, resiny, and/or fruity character. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Appearance: Pale amber to light copper color. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. May have very little head due to low carbonation.

Flavor: Medium to moderately high bitterness. Moderately low to moderately high fruity esters. Moderate to low hop flavor, typically with an earthy, resiny, fruity, and/or floral character. Low to medium maltiness with a dry finish. The malt profile is typically bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty. Low to moderate caramel or toffee flavors are optional. Balance is often decidedly bitter, although the bitterness should not completely overpower the malt flavor, esters and hop flavor. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-light body. Low carbonation, although bottled examples can have moderate carbonation. Emphasis is on the bittering hop addition as opposed to the aggressive middle and late hopping seen in American ales.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.030 – 1.039
  • IBUs: 25 – 35
  • FG: 1.007 – 1.011
  • SRM: 8 – 14
  • ABV: 3.2 – 3.8%

Commercial Examples: Adnams Southwold Bitter, Brains Bitter, Fuller’s Chiswick Bitter, Greene King IPA, Tetley’s Original Bitter, Young’s Bitter Tags: session-strength, amber-color, top-fermented, british isles, traditional-style, amber-ale-family, bitter

Overall Impression: A hoppy, moderately-strong, very well attenuated pale British ale with a dry finish and a hoppy aroma and flavor. Classic British ingredients provide the best flavor profile.

Aroma: A moderate to moderately-high hop aroma of floral, spicy-peppery or citrus-orange in nature is typical. A slightly grassy dry-hop aroma is acceptable, but not required. A moderately-low caramel-like or toasty malt presence is optional. Low to moderate fruitiness is acceptable. Some versions may have a sulfury note, although this character is not mandatory.

Appearance: Color ranges from golden to deep amber, but most are fairly pale. Should be clear, although unfiltered dryhopped versions may be a bit hazy. Moderate-sized, persistent head stand with off-white color.

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to high, with a moderate to assertive hop bitterness. The hop flavor should be similar to the aroma (floral, spicy-peppery, citrus-orange, and/or slightly grassy). Malt flavor should be medium-low to medium, and be somewhat bready, optionally with light to medium-light biscuit-like, toasty, toffee-like and/or caramelly aspects. Medium-low to medium fruitiness. Finish is medium-dry to very dry, and the bitterness may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. The balance is toward the hops, but the malt should still be noticeable in support. If high sulfate water is used, a distinctively minerally, dry finish, some sulfur flavor, and a lingering bitterness are usually present. Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions. Oak is inappropriate in this style.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium-bodied mouthfeel without hop-derived astringency, although moderate to medium-high carbonation can combine to render an overall dry sensation despite a supportive malt presence. A low, smooth alcohol warming can and should be sensed in stronger (but not all) versions.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.050 – 1.075
  • IBUs: 40 – 60
  • FG: 1.010 – 1.018
  • SRM: 6 – 14
  • ABV: 5.0 – 7.5%

Commercial Examples: Freeminer Trafalgar IPA, Fuller’s Bengal Lancer IPA, Meantime India Pale Ale, Ridgeway IPA,

Overall Impression: A pale, refreshing and hoppy ale, yet with sufficient supporting malt to make the beer balanced and drinkable. The clean hop presence can reflect classic or modern American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of characteristics. An average-strength hop-forward pale American craft beer, generally balanced to be more accessible than modern American IPAs.

Aroma: Moderate to strong hop aroma from American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of possible characteristics, including citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon. None of these specific characteristics are required, but hops should be apparent. Low to moderate maltiness supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuit, caramelly). Fruity esters vary from moderate to none. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.

Appearance: Pale golden to light amber. Moderately large white to off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy.

Flavor: Moderate to high hop flavor, typically showing an American or New World hop character (citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc.). Low to moderate clean grainy-malt character supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity). The balance is typically towards the late hops and bitterness, but the malt presence should be supportive, not distracting. Caramel flavors are often absent or fairly restrained (but are acceptable as long as they don’t clash with the hops). Fruity yeast esters can be moderate to none, although many hop varieties are quite fruity. Moderate to high hop bitterness with a medium to dry finish. Hop flavor and bitterness often lingers into the finish, but the aftertaste should generally be clean and not harsh. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderate to high carbonation. Overall smooth finish without astringency and harshness. Comments: New hop varieties and usage methods continue to be developed. Judges should allow for characteristics of modern hops in this style, as well as classic varieties.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.045 – 1.060
  • IBUs: 30 – 50
  • FG: 1.010 – 1.015
  • SRM: 5 – 10
  • ABV: 4.5 – 6.2%

Commercial Examples: Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale, Firestone Walker Pale 31, Great Lakes Burning River, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale, Tröegs Pale Ale

Overall Impression: A decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong American pale ale, showcasing modern American or New World hop varieties. The balance is hopforward, with a clean fermentation profile, dryish finish, and clean, supporting malt allowing a creative range of hop character to shine through.

Aroma: A prominent to intense hop aroma featuring one or more characteristics of American or New World hops, such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc. Many versions are dry hopped and can have an additional fresh hop aroma; this is desirable but not required. Grassiness should be minimal, if present. A low to medium-low clean, grainy-malty aroma may be found in the background. Fruitiness from yeast may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is also acceptable. A restrained alcohol note may be present, but this character should be minimal at best. Any American or New World hop character is acceptable; new hop varieties continue to be released and should not constrain this style.

Appearance: Color ranges from medium gold to light reddish-amber. Should be clear, although unfiltered dryhopped versions may be a bit hazy. Medium-sized, white to offwhite head with good persistence.

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to very high, and should reflect an American or New World hop character, such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc. Medium-high to very high hop bitterness. Malt flavor should be low to medium-low, and is generally clean and grainy-malty although some light caramel or toasty flavors are acceptable. Low yeast-derived fruitiness is acceptable but not required. Dry to medium-dry finish; residual sweetness should be low to none. The bitterness and hop flavor may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. A very light, clean alcohol flavor may be noted in stronger versions. May be slightly sulfury, but most examples do not exhibit this character.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harsh hopderived astringency. Very light, smooth alcohol warming not a fault if it does not intrude into overall balance.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.056 – 1.070
  • IBUs: 40 – 70
  • FG: 1.008 – 1.014
  • SRM: 6 – 14
  • ABV: 5.5 – 7.5%

Commercial Examples: Alpine Duet, Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Lagunitas IPA, Russian River Blind Pig IPA, Stone IPA

Overall Impression: A malt-focused, generally caramelly beer with perhaps a few esters and occasionally a butterscotch aftertaste. Hops only to balance and support the malt. The malt character can range from dry and grainy to rich, toasty, and caramelly, but is never roasty and especially never has a peat smoke character.

Aroma: Low to medium maltiness, often with flavors of toasted breadcrumbs, lady fingers, and English biscuits. Low to medium caramel and low butterscotch is allowable. Light pome fruitiness in best examples. May have low traditional English hop aroma (earthy, floral, orange-citrus, spicy, etc.). Peat smoke is inappropriate.

Appearance: Pale copper to very dark brown. Clear. Low to moderate, creamy off-white.

Flavor: Entirely malt-focused, with flavors ranging from pale, bready malt with caramel overtones to rich-toasty malt with roasted accents (but never roasty) or a combination thereof. Fruity esters are not required but add depth yet are never high. Hop bitterness to balance the malt. No to low hop flavor is also allowed and should of traditional English character (earthy, floral, orange-citrus, spicy, etc.). Finish ranges from rich and malty to dry and grainy. A subtle butterscotch character is acceptable; however, burnt sugars are not. The malt-hop balance tilts toward malt. Peat smoke is inappropriate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low to medium body. Low to moderate carbonation. Can be relatively rich and creamy to dry and grainy. Comments: Malt-focused ales that gain the vast majority of their character from specialty malts, never the process. Burning malt or wort sugars via ‘kettle caramelization’ is not traditional nor is any blatantly ‘butterscotch’ character. Most frequently a draught product. Smoke character is inappropriate as any found traditionally would have come from the peat in the source water. Scottish ales with smoke character should be entered as a Classic Style Smoked Beer. Characteristic Ingredients: Originally used Scottish pale malt, grits or flaked maize, and brewers caramel for color. Later adapted to use additional ingredients, such as amber and brown malts, crystal and wheat malts, and roasted grains or dark sugars for color but not for the ‘roasty’ flavor. Sugar adjuncts are traditional. Clean or slightly fruity yeast. Peatsmoked malt is inauthentic and inappropriate. Style Comparison: Similar character to a Wee Heavy, but much smaller.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.040 – 1.060
  • IBUs: 15 – 30
  • FG: 1.010 – 1.016
  • SRM: 13 – 22
  • ABV: 3.9 – 6.0%

Commercial Examples: Belhaven Scottish Ale, Broughton Exciseman’s Ale, Orkney Dark Island, Pelican MacPelican’s Scottish Style Ale, Weasel Boy Plaid Ferret Scottish Ale

Overall Impression: Refreshing wheat beers that can display more hop character and less yeast character than their German cousins. A clean fermentation character allows bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavors to be complemented by hop flavor and bitterness rather than yeast qualities.

Aroma: Low to moderate grainy, bready, or doughy wheat character. A light to moderate malty sweetness is acceptable. Esters can be moderate to none, although should reflect relatively neutral yeast strains; banana is inappropriate. Hop aroma may be low to moderate, and can have a citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity character. No clove phenols.

Appearance: Usually pale yellow to gold. Clarity may range from brilliant to hazy with yeast approximating the German weissbier style of beer. Big, long-lasting white head.

Flavor: Light to moderately-strong bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavor, which can linger into the finish. May have a moderate malty sweetness or finish quite dry. Low to moderate hop bitterness, which sometimes lasts into the finish. Balance is usually even, but may be slightly bitter. Low to moderate hop flavor (citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity). Esters can be moderate to none, but should not include banana. No clove phenols. May have a slightly crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Medium-high to high carbonation. Slight creaminess is optional; wheat beers sometimes have a soft, ‘fluffy’ impression.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.040 – 1.055
  • IBUs: 15 – 30
  • FG: 1.008 – 1.013
  • SRM: 3 – 6
  • ABV: 4.0 – 5.5%

Commercial Examples: Bell’s Oberon, Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer, Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Widmer Hefeweizen

How do I enter my beer?

Rules

• All beers to have been made by the competitor (both extract brewing and all grain brewing are accepted).
• Any style brown 500ml or pint glass bottle (please remove previous labels or markings).
• Any colour crown cap.
• Minimum of 3 bottles per entry.
• Entrants will be provided with their entry numbers via email. Please affix the number to the bottle (printer paper stuck on with milk is suitable)
• Labels: Bottles must only have the registration label that has been sent by email.
• Competitors may enter more than one entry in each class.

Registration Process

• All beer must be registered prior to the event.
• Please use the online registration form either from here or the link at the top of the page. You must register each beer individually.

Please Note

• Judges feedback will be provided for each entry.
• Beers will be offered for sampling to other competitors and visitors after judging.
• Care will be taken of all exhibits but the organisers cannot be held responsible for any loss.
• All bottles not claimed at the end of the show will be disposed of.
• Judges may enter any class but cannot award themselves a placing.
• All judges’ rulings and placings will be final.

Is there a cost for entry?

Scottish Craft Brewers members –  FREE
Non members – £3 per entry

Useful material to help you prepare

Judges checklist: http://www.bjcp.org/docs/Beer_checklist.pdf

Style guidelines you will be judged on: http://www.bjcp.org/stylecenter.php

Categories
Events General

2015 AGM

The Club 2015 AGM was held on 10th May at McCowan’s Pub, Fountain Park, Edinburgh

Minutes of the AGM

Treasurer’s Report:

  • £1458.75 in funds
  • 31 members have renewed
  • Report was accepted and seconded

Membership:

  •  Reminders for membership fees
  • Generate names from membership list and contact
  • Contact people who haven’t been to a meeting in a long time and ask if they still want to pay – Norrie is working through these on an ad-hoc basis.
  •  Historically April is start of membership year.
  • Remind members that they can pay through cash or standing order. Better for record keeping that a Standing order is raised. This can be done in paper form or electronically by the new/renewing member.  Fees will be: £8 for direct debit or standing order and £10 if paying cash at a meeting.

Office Bearers for 2015/16

As is traditional at our AGM, the election of office bearers for the coming year took place. The following club members were elected.

  • President: Malcolm Cruickshank
  • Vice president: Eli Donald
  • Secretary: Norrie Pederson
  • Treasurer: Bob Bristow
  • Membership Secretary: Gordon Nicol
  • Digital Media Manager: Arek Makarenko
  • Non office bearing committee: Davie Whyte has stepped down . Aled is to send the list out to Eli, for use on the website.
  • See webpage for contact details

It was noted that you don’t need to be on the committee to put forward suggestions etc.

Eli requested that members support the website. Stephen and Aled will input into the wordpress blog.

Aled Murphy will have a look at the SCB twitter account.

Ask Arek as to what the new Video Conference software we are using is.

Ian McManus stepping down from an Office Bearer role! After 17 years of service to the SCB organisation, Ian, is putting his ledger aside. He has held all the offices on the committee and to acknowledge his commitment to the SCB he has been made a life member.

Bill Cooper said a few words describing the inaugural meeting held in 1997. The SCB was set up just after the CBA was set up – it was felt that something similar should be started in Scotland. Ian’s input both as a brewer, qualified Judge and friend is appreciated and the SCB would have been a less happy place without him.

2015/16 Itinerary

Restart midweek meetings – is this possible?  The Brewstore was proposed. Possibly downstairs?

Meetups instead?

Future Trips-

  • Archer Field + Maltster
  • Elixir
  • Pilot Brewery
  • Abbot Brewhouse
  • St. Andrews Brewery
  • Krafty Brew
  • Hanging Bat
  • Brewstore – all grain day
  • Home Visits – “Brew days”
  • Scottish Craft Brewers BBQ – Beecraigs or Yellowcraigs
  • Talks/Activities-
  • “Grain Father” talk by Keith  / Braumeister by Eli?
  • Malcolm C – Beer extracts
  • Unusual brewing adjuncts trial brew– try “weird”

Pencilled plan for 2015/16

June Meeting >>> push out to July 9th at Scottish Trad beer festival

September – Heriott Watt talk

Nov – TBD

Jan – Comp

April – AGM, trial brew tasting

Categories
General

An update – making your own bottle labels for your home-brew beer

selection of beer labelsI thought it might be time for a quick update on what I’m doing and maybe some more hints and tips that I didn’t post last time. The blog post I did is still available if you want to have a look –

If you hadn’t read it previously I’d say go read that post and come back as there is some useful information there that will set you up to get started.

You read it? Good then lets look at some new labels and how I did them.

 

 My labels – how did I choose that design?

Brew dog labelI actually didn’t start off with that design for my bottles. I’ve gone through a whole process of trying out different labels until I found the one that got me most excited and although at the minute I am really pleased with them, they are not perfect but I’ll tell you more about that later.

My first label idea was based on the Brewdog labels. I liked the bold colours and text of the design and I liked the slightly grungy look so I had a play about with how I could recreate that kind of idea.

lager labelMy first attempt was for a coopers lager kit I did, so of course thinking of Australian lager, I made the label yellow. Looking back, it’s not a brilliant label not least because of the poor choice of yellow background with white lettering which wasn’t easy to read. Also it was a bit cluttered. I tried to put a name for the beer, details about what it looked and tasted like, the style, the percentage, a logo for my “brewery” and some information about pouring it since it had yeast in the bottle. An awful lot of info to get onto a little square of paper. Things did continue to evolve though.

I switched colours mostly, so each beer had the same label but with the background as a different colour. Red for Goblin Queen, Purple for Heather Ale etc. But I mostly stuck with this design, just adding a couple of little bits to grunge it up a bit and it worked fine for a while, all our beers had this label on them and together they looked quite cool sitting on a shelf and I was pretty proud.

 

beer lined up

 

However the grunginess and the massive amounts of text started to annoy me and I wanted something simple and bold. Something modern. So I scrapped it all and started with a blank, white square and said, “What text actually NEEDS to be there?” And the scary thing is, not as much as you think.

So I went for a very stripped down version, just a square of bold colour and the text I needed in a plain bold font. It worked out great and I am still using this idea although tweaked ever so slightly.

Bottles with new labels

 

 So how do I make the labels?

Ok, I normally use a piece of software called Fireworks to make my labels but since there are lots of free versions of graphics software out there, I’m going to show you how I would create a simple version of this label using one of the pieces of software you can get for free.

apa label

 

First download a piece of software called GIMP from this webpage and install it. http://www.gimp.org/

 Creating your label

step 1- get started

ok once you have GIMP open on your computer you need to create a new work area. Simply done, click FILE and then NEW. This gives you a choice of sizes to play with. For this label I usually make it around 500 pixel each length so I choose the template from the drop box which nearest fits this size – 640 by 480.

step 2 – draw your label outline

Click on the rectangle tool on the tool box.

step 2

 

Then drag the rectangle shape to the rough size you want.

To colour the rectangle, double click on the colour box and then choose the colour you want from the pop up window.

colour picker

Now to fill your rectangle with the colour you have chosen, click on the fill tool and then on your rectangle. I chose white but you can choose any colour you like.

fill tool

The next thing we want to do is to create the black outline around the rectangle. To do this we have to choose the background colour. On the graphic above you can see the colour boxes are red and black, red is the foreground colour and black is the background colour. You can either change the foreground colour (as you did previously) or you can switch them around by clicking the little white arrows on the top right of the colour boxes.

However you do it, for this example we want to give our rectangle a black outline so make your colour black.

Then using the menus at the top of the screen, click on EDIT, then STROKE SELECTION. It will now open the window where you can edit the outline.

stroke

 

For this example I am going to change my stroke settings to have a solid line and a line width of 1 px then click STROKE.

step 3 – draw your centre rectangles

You should now have a white rectangle with a black outline on the screen. The next thing we are going to do is add another rectangle in the middle of the first and colour it red. We do this in exactly the same way as before. Click on the rectangle tool, draw your rectangle and then use the colour picker and fill tool to colour it, in this instance red.

red square

Now you are rocking!

Right next we are going to add the white band where you put the name of your brewery. Exactly the same as before choose the rectangle tool, then draw it out where you want it and then use the colour tool and fill tool to colour it white.

 

step 4 – adding text

Now we have the basic shapes in place, we are going to add the text. Firstly the name of the beer. in the example I am calling my beer APA, for American Pale Ale.

From the toolbox, click on the bold A in the centre, this is your text tool.

text tool

As you did for your rectangles, draw out the area you want your text to go. It’s good to make it much bigger than you need for the minute, you can always make it smaller later.

Inside the space you have just drawn, double click and then type the text you want. A text tool bar will appear which will allow you to change the size or colour. Get everything as you want it by highlighting the text you just written and then using this bar to make changes.

To adjust the font or the position of the text, you can do this from the tool options on the left.

font tools

 

 

On my example I have text that looks like it has a dark shadow. I made this by having two pieces of text. One white and one black. Then I moved one on top of the other.

To move an item such as text, click on the moving tool from the tool box and then click on the item and drag it to where you want it to be.

drag tool

The other tool you need to know about is the layers toolbox. It allows you to move layers to have one on top of the other. In this case the white text on top of the black text.

The layer which you want to be on top, will be top of the list. For example, our white rectangle is the back, then next is the red one, then the black text and then the white text as this is the order we want them to appear.

layers

Adjust yours so that your text appears as you want it.

You now use this same set of tools to add your other text elements to your label and in the end you should end up with something similar to this.

simple label

 

 

step 5 – saving your graphic

Right, you’ve created a brilliant label that you are super proud of. Now you want to save it so you can print it and use it on your new beer.

The first thing you want to do is get rid of any of the excess white area (or canvas) around your graphic.

From the menu at the top of the screen, click IMAGE. Then click FIT CANVAS TO SELECTION. this will take out all the excess canvas for you.

Lastly we want to save your creation, so to do this, click FILE and then EXPORT. This will open a window where you can choose the type of file to save and give it a name. I’d recommend using the little cross on the bottom left to choose SELECT FILE TYPE and then from the list that appears choose GIF.

Now at the top, give your file a name and then click EXPORT.

image

 

By Eli Donald.

Categories
General

Making your own labels and pump clips

As many of our regular club members will know, I enjoy making labels and pump clips for my home-made beer almost as much as I enjoy making the beer itself. So I thought I’d share a blog post I wrote in my own blog about how I go about making my own labels and sticking them to the bottles. I think this is something a lot of home brewers are thinking about just now as we sometimes give beer as Christmas presents so obviously you want people to know what beer you have given them but also it’s nice to give a gift that looks good.

Step 1

so where do I start? Well usually by looking at beers available in my local beer store or supermarket and deciding which labels I like and why. A lot of the time, the labels can influence our decision to buy a beer (even if we don’t like to admit it), so it’s a good exercise to do, what do I like about the label, what does the label imply, what assumptions am I making?

I also look online and one blog I have found which I love just for looking at really nicely done graphic design for the beer industry is OhBeautifulBeer.com. They regularly show fantastic labels and poster and other beer paraphernalia and usually with a nice back story from the designers about they came to their decisions when designing. I would recommend popping onto the blog for a look and some ideas.

Step 2

So you have looked at other beer labels and decided on the kind of thing you like. Now you need to work out what size your label should be. The simplest way to do this is to measure one of the labels you liked.

wpid-Measure-label

 

Step 3

You have your label style idea, you have your label size. Next sketch your idea out on a bit of paper. This way you can keep adjusting your ideas if you realise you’ve forgotten something important or if things don’t look as good on paper as they did in your head. The important thing here is just to get your ideas down on paper; it doesn’t matter if you are a fantastic artist or if you just draw some boxes and a stick man. After all a lot of artisan products these days go for the “rustic/handmade” look.

wpid-IMAG1831-1-245x300

 

Step 4

You have your label idea, now you need to decide how you are going to create it. Are you going to draw your label and then photocopy it or are you going to create it on the computer? What way suits you best?

If you do decide to create it on the computer, you might want to think about what software you will use. Graphic design software is great and offers you so much versatility in what you can do, but it’s also expensive. But a lot of software comes with a 30 day trial for free or there is even some free graphic design software out there.

Free software to try:

• GIMP – http://www.gimp.org/

• Paint.net – http://www.getpaint.net/index.html

• Inkscape – http://inkscape.org/

Try something out, look up YouTube videos to teach you how it works and then have a good play and see what you can do.

Here’s the finished label I made.

wpid-IMAG1832-1-1

 

Step 5

Once you have your labels designed it’s time to print them out and attach. I’d recommend using a laserjet printer for this as the ink is less likely to run. I’ve found that the ink runs a little on deskjet printer so if I use a deskjet I also spray hairspray onto the labels after printer to help “fix” the ink.

Now you have some choices on how to attach your labels to your bottles. It depends on how you are going to treat the beer.

If you are giving the bottles away as gifts, you might want to either print onto sticky paper labels which you can buy in stationery stores of your could use pritt stick to attach them to your bottles. The last thing you want is for the label to come off.

The down side to doing this is that if you want to reuse bottles for another brew, these glued or sticky labels can be a right hassle to get off the bottle again.

If I’m just bottling for us to drink at home my solution is that I stick the labels on using milk. Yup plain old milk. If you coat a very thin layer on the back of the label it sticks perfectly to the bottle and in about an hour you have a perfectly affixed label that will come off really easily in a little hot water when you clean your bottles. I know some folk worry about the idea of using milk incase it smells but don’t worry. I don’t know the science bit, but it doesn’t smell. Honestly I’ve been doing this for a couple of years and you’ve all drank my beer at one meeting or another 🙂

Some of my labels and pump clips

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PUMPCLIP golden

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You can see more of my beer and other blog posts on my blog – http://www.elidonald.co.uk/blog

 

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Events General

18 October 2014 – Enjoying a tour of Alechemy

chatting with the brewersOne of the only sunny days this October saw us indoors sampling beers and chatting about all things brewing with James and Adam from Alechemy Brewery in Livingston. 15 of the Scottish Craft Brewers group enjoyed a chance to pick the brains of one of Scotland’s finest breweries to learn new skills, improve on existing skills and go away with ideas to try at home not to mention the cases of beer they bought.

James and Adam, brewery founders, led the group around the brewery explaining various pieces of equipment and processes, discussing yeast and talking scary sized boil overs giving the group the grand tour. The guys even had time to spend with individual brewers from our group giving advice and helping to solve various conundrums they had faced.

This was all discussed further over a couple of glasses of Alechemy’s new beer “Merica” and a chance to share and provide feedback on some of the club brewer’s own beers.

A thoroughly good day for experienced and new home brewers alike.

 

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Events General

5th March 2014 – Bring and taste – Edinburgh

Wednesday 5th March – Bring and taste

Location:The Brwestore

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Events General

Pub crawl of good beer bars

Saturday 1st February 19:30 – Pub crawl of good beer bars, starting at Cloisters – Edinburgh. Moving on to the Hanging Bat, Blue Blazer, Bow Bar.

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Events General

Scottish Craft Brewers meeting at Greyfriars pub in Perth on 28 April

Greyfriars pub
15 South St, Perth, PH2 8PG
01738 633036 www.greyfriarsbar.com .

The programme will be:
Talk by Ken Duncan, Head Brewer at Inveralmond Brewery
AGM: brief reports and election of officials
Lunch
Tasting of 5 Yeast Trial beers (Same recipe with only difference being the type of yeast).

Train from Edinburgh 0933-1050 (£16.90 Standard return); return 1529-1644 or 1722-1836
Bus Edinburgh – Perth (Edinburgh Rd, South Inch) 0900- 1039, return 1511-1645(change at Kinross) or 1511-1650; 1714-1849(change at Kinross) or 1714-902

Train from Glasgow 0937-1046; return 1705-1812
Bus Glasgow – Perth (Bus Station) 0900- 1035, return 1510-1645; 1545-1730(7 Bus to Broxden); 1733-1815