Bottling and naming loveFOOD's beer

Updated on 07 May 2015 | 0 Comments

We've bottled up our unique craft brew and picked one of your suggestions to christen it.

So two weeks after the initial brewing of our loveFOOD brew at the London Beer Lab – quick recap: it's a chocolate porter flavoured with citrus hops, orange peel and coriander – it was time for the second and final creation phase.

On a chilly night my brewing companion Dom and I headed back to the Brixton railway arch that is the Beer Lab's home. The place was filled with even more fermentation buckets containing different-coloured liquids than before – testament to the chaps' increasingly popular brewing workshops.

Ours was black as coal, as it should be, with a nice light head. Checking the alcohol by volume, it's a very drinkable 4.1%. So after some sanitisation and the addition of priming sugar, it was time to make a bit of room for the Beer Lab boys by bottling our efforts up and taking them away.

56 brown bottles, sitting on a bench...

lovefood craft beerThe beer was siphoned out of the bucket into a small bottling machine, which filled the brown 330ml bottles one by one. We found our rhythm as a small production line quickly, swapping the filling and capping of the bottles, the latter done with a nifty device like a reverse bottle opener. Then 56 bottles later the bucket was empty.

Now for the moment of truth – the first sample. Pouring out a glass and giving it a good nose, there was the aroma of citrus from the hops, just as we wanted. Somewhat more alarmingly, the liquid under the light was a mossy green with some yeast floating around.

Tastewise, there was plenty of malt and it reminded me of slightly chocolatier Shreddies (other malted cereals are available). No hint of the orange or other citrus flavour, or indeed the coriander for that matter.

Yet all is not lost. We've now entered into the second fermentation stage, which will hopefully release those tastes and get us to the place we envisaged when we were messing around with recipes back at the beginning. This will, according to the Beer Lab's Karl and Bruno, take another five to six weeks.

Time for a name

Bottles of lovefood's craft beerAnd the chocolate and the citrus really do need to get it on, as after studying your entries for quite some time we decided to go with Funkyferret's suggestion and name the beer Chocwork Orange. Apart from being a pretty clever cultural reference, this name is apt on a number of other levels. Crucially, it also has a good ring to it when you pretend you're ordering a pint of it at a pub.

So congratulations Funkyferret, your four bottles are on their way. We hope it does turn out to be more than just drinkable! Take care not to rush and open it right now. We'll be getting an expert or two's verdict just before Christmas, which will be the ultimate judgement of whether we've brewed a Frankenstein's monster or something that actually delivers the flavours the name promises.

Keep your eyes out for that nearer Christmas, plus if it does taste any good, we'll release the recipe and what food it might taste good paired with. Until then, cheers!

Find out more about the London Beer Lab's beer-making workshops on their website

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