Oct 242012

Fursty Ferret is brewed Badger ales (Hall and Woodhouse) in dorset and is described as an ale of character. The aroma is spicy hops, orange and malt. The taste is like the aroma, gentle malty, spicy hop and slightly fruity. The taste is not strong and has a very nice hoppy malty balance that is quality. I have wanted to make this beer for a while as its my number one session ale, so time to see if I could emulate this ale of character.


1.042 OG

1.010 FG

4.3% ABV


Style 8B special/best/premium bitter


3.8kg Marris Otter (84.8%)

300g Carapils (6.7%)

300g Wheat malt (6.7%)

80g Chocolate malt (1.8%)

12g Target 13IBU 11%a 60 mins

25g EK Goldings 7IBU 5%a 20 mins

20g Styrian Goldings 6IBU 5%a 20 mins

Irish Moss 15 mins

1275 Wyeast Thames valley ale yeast (washed/ starter).


I used an infusion mash with a mash out. The 11.6 litres of strike water was heated up to  72°c to give a mash temp of 65°c. The grain was left to mash for 75 mins during which another 8 litres of strike water for the mash out was heated up rot 100°c, for a target temp of 78°c. This was added after 75 mins and left to mash for a further 10 mins. The grain was then fly  sparged with 13 litres of water at 77°c.


The 26 or so litres of wort was boiled for one hour with the hop additions as above, with Irish moss added at 15 mins to help clear the beer. After yet he boil the wort was chilled to pitching temperature and the yeast starter added.

The fermentation was vigorous and after seven days the beer was kegged and carbonated with 140g of light dry malt extract.


The beer cleared very quickly in my king keg top tap and was ready to drink after a week. The beer when poured had a amber colour with a nice tight white head. The aroma was of sweet malt with spicy hops. I did detect an estery note in the aroma, hmmm. The taste was like the aroma with a nice fruity malt flavour with a gentle hop taste. I could detect the ester taste in the beer, which was not a major problem as it is not uncommon in this style of beer. I wanted to make a clone of Fursty Ferret so was a bit disappointed with this, I suspect it was down to a high fermentation temperature (it had crept up on a warm day).  I decided to leave the beer to age for a couple of weeks longer and this did the trick. When I tasted the beer after two more weeks the taste was perfect, the slight ester was not detectable and it was a great copy of the original.

Oct 042012

When I started brewing I used to look for kits that would possibly taste like my favourite beers. One of the reasons I moved on to partial extract brewing was so that I could tailor beers to my taste. So with an air of inevitability I ended up all grain brewing. It goes without saying with all grain brewing you can make any beer you like. So what to make next? Well I love Spitfire ale from Shephard Neame and always pick up a bottle or two when in the supermarket. Spitfire is an English pale ale 4.5%ABV with a nice earthy hop aroma with a hint of caramel malt and citrus. The taste is like the aroma with a taste of caramel up front then a nice bitter hoppy after taste. The body is medium with a light carbonation.

The challenge with making this clone, as with most, was to get the distinctive aroma and taste of this famous Kentish ale. I searched for a recipe in the usual places and as usual ended up with a hybrid recipe of my own.


3.75Kg Maris Otter

400g Crystal 100L

400g Torrified wheat

250g Amber Malt

200g  Wheat malt

30g Target hops 90 mins

28g Kent Goldings 60 mins

10g Kent Goldings 15 mins

Irish moss 15 mins

Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale Yeast


To start I heated up 13 litres for a strike temp of 72°c and mashed for 75 mins. Mashed out with 9 litres at 100°c for a target temp of 78°c and rested for ten mins. The mash was then sparged with 12 litres at 77°c.
The boil was then carried out for 90 mins with the hop schedule as above. The kettle had to be topped up before the boil. The wort was then cooled and added to the fermenter. The yeast used was previously washed and a starter made the night before which was then added to the wort after aeration.The fermentation was vigorous and the beer was bottled and kegged after being batch primed with 140g of DME. The OG was 1.049 and FG 1.011 which gave 5.0% abv and the beer should of been 39IBU.


Well the first thing you have probably noted is that the ABV was a little higher than the original but i think most of us can live with that. The beer cleared and looked in the bottle a very good clear amber colour and identical to the original, which I was pleased with. On pouring into the glass the beer was nicely carbonated with a white head. The aroma was bob on with nice earthy hop and caramel toffee notes, which again was very pleasing. The taste was close, very close but not exact, damn. It did have a sweet malty taste with a bitter hop after taste.  A number of friends have tried it and agree that it is an exact copy of spitfire, maybe I’m being too picky, who knows? The bottles and keg didn’t last long as it is a really nice ale and one I will make again. Conclusion – Cracking ale that emulates the original and is as close as damn it.


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