Lighthouse – the development of a new beer

I’ve been brewing commercially for twelve years now and I couldn’t begin to count how many times I’ve told people how much there is to learn about brewing. Even after thousands of brews and many more thousands of hours spent getting beer from grain to glass, I am still discovering layer upon layer of complexity in what, at first glance, seems such a simple product.

Lighthouse is a good example – a 3.8% golden ale filled with citrus flavours and aromas. I always brew what I like – I’ve found that its the only way to go with a craft product. I like hop flavours and aromas but I’m not overly keen on excessively bitter beers so, over the years, I’ve developed methods to get the hop character I want without taking the enamel off people’s teeth.

But now, I’ve got new toys to play with – first the water – I can blend alkaline Southern mains water with virtually mineral-free Reverse Osmosis water and then add back in a range of minerals to give virtually any water profile I want and I have found that the ratio of Chlorides to Sulphates is critical – a ratio of 2:1 give virtually no hop character at all – the malts dominate. A ratio of 1:2 however, allows the hops to shine through, uncluttered by malty notes.

Then there’s the yeast – I’ve dabbled with different yeasts over the years but settled on the romantically named Fermentis SO4 because it gave good flocculation (the settling out of the yeast at the end of fermentation), a decent residual gravity (I prefer beers with a little body left in them) and reasonably quick fermentations (I had to make a living). But I’m now able to experiment with yeast pitching rates, temperatures and yeast types and I’m finding that there are massive differences in the flavour and aroma profiles that can be achieved by relatively small changes in parameters. So now I’m pitching higher rates at lower temperatures and finding yeasts that really work best for the beer being brewed – Lighthouse, for example has been brewed with an American ale yeast that allows the hops to sing – no diacetyl getting in the way of the aromas and flavours. By reducing the fermentation temperature, I’ve been able to carry through much more hop character and the slower fermentation allows greater control at the end of the process.

Next for the dry hopping….that starts on Sunday….

About us

We set up a microbrewery in Lancashire in 1993 and ran it for eleven years, winning numerous awards and building up a loyal following for our cask ales and bottled beers.

In 2014, for family reasons, we sold the business to a small hotel group and moved to Hampshire to start up a brewery and distillery near Lymington on the edge of the New Forest.

Focussing on quality rather than quantity, we are devoted to producing the finest beers and spirits. Wherever possible, we try to use local ingredients and innovative techniques allied to traditional methods of production.

Our beers

Pony clip

Pony is a 4% deep amber bitter with smoky caramel flavours overlaid with orange marmalade and dark summer fruit notes.


Lighthouse-for-web-version-2

Lighthouse is a 3.8% zesty golden ale brewed with Chinook and Cascade hops.


 

 ADMIRAL-for-web

Admiral is a 4.5% Best Bitter with orange notes from the Mandarina hops.



Our bottled beers:

All of our bottled beers are un-filtered and naturally conditioned. We use a Belgian yeast for secondary fermentation in the bottle and we feel that the yeast adds to the overall flavour sensation of the beers so pour it in and enjoy!

Rye Pale Ale

Rye Pale Ale is the first of our range of naturally-conditioned craft beers in 330ml bottles. It is a pale gold beer brewed with 15% rye malt and a Belgian yeast to create a spicy, citrusy, very refreshing drink at 5.5%.

Our American IPA is a much hoppier beer – 42 IBU for those in the know – it packs a dry, crisp punch balanced by some sweet biscuit maltiness…..it’s the brewer’s favourite at the moment.


Our Spirits

We are planning to install a 500 litre column still later on this year.

This will allow us to produce a wide range of innovative and exciting spirits. We’re planning to produce rums, apple brandies, gins and rye whiskies as well as anything else that we can ferment and then distil to make something tasty!