At a dizzying 16 percent alcoholic beverage by volume, it is more powerful than most wines.
But a dark beer called Doggy In The Woods has been named the winner of the first homebrew competition by beer experts.
Stephen Folland’s creation blew away the judges at Campaign For Real Ale (Camra), who were eager to tap into the resurgence of home brewing that began during the Covid lockdowns. His drink is the strongest beer ever to win one of the group’s coveted awards.
Stephen Folland’s creation, pictured, wowed the Campaign For Real Ale (Camra) judges, who were eager to tap into the resurgence of home brewing that began during the Covid lockdowns. His drink is the strongest beer ever to win one of the group’s coveted awards.
Its creator described it as ‘powerful’, warning: ‘It comes in 33cl bottles and you drink it like you would a brandy or whisky: you drink a bottle for a few days.
‘Certainly not a beer to drink. I haven’t tried to swallow it, but I imagine it would be quite tricky.
Folland, 59, from Great Shefford, Berkshire, who works as an engineer for an online marketing company, started brewing at home five years ago after becoming bored with the beer on offer at local pubs.
He doesn’t sell his beer, but rather gives it away to friends, takes it to parties, or enjoys it at home with his wife, Donna, and their two adult daughters, who are huge fans of his hobby. His prize for beating out the other 170 entries, along with bragging rights, is that the craft brewery Brewhouse & Kitchen in Worthing, West Sussex, produces its stout commercially.
Doggy In The Woods was the first beer Mr. Folland brewed and it evolved over time. “Originally it had a very strong alcohol taste,” he said. “It was bitter too, I wouldn’t have won an award then. Over the months, the taste of alcohol merges with other flavors, such as cocoa, and becomes less bitter. Now you feel the subtle taste of honey.
When Mr. Folland made his first batch, he couldn’t get the bits of bourbon barrels he needed to flavor it. So instead, he sourced wood from a fallen oak tree, dried it, grilled it, and steeped it in Jack Daniel’s whiskey to create its unique flavor. “Wood was half the name, which people always ask me about,” Folland said. “The other half came when I was looking at my computer trying to think of a name, and the screen saver was my dog, who had died a few years earlier.”
Home brewing had its heyday in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s but took off again during lockdowns and is becoming increasingly popular amid the cost of living crisis (stock image)
Mr. Folland named his home brewery Bigfoot: ‘because my wife has big feet.’ The image on the bottle is a photo of her feet as he jumped off a boat in Barbados on her 25th wedding anniversary.
Home brewing had its heyday in the UK in the 1970s and 1980s, but took off again during the lockdowns and is becoming increasingly popular amid the cost of living crisis.
Beer writer Laura Hadland, who helped judge the contest, said the standard was “really high” and urged others to try homebrewing. “It will save you money if you get good at brewing, even if you start from scratch,” she said.
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