As is typical with my collaboration beers, this beer was first conceived in an alcohol fuelled conversation. My mate, Tom from Alphabet Brewing Company (Manchester), and I were trying to come up with ideas for our upcoming collab and we were spewing out copious amounts of stupidity…I don’t think that I can emphasize how ridiculous and random some of our ideas are. During the course of an hour or so conversation, we probably came up with 20 ideas for beers…only about 2 or 3 were actually worth thinking about. Tom needed/wanted to brew something dark and sessionable but already had enough stouts in his range…so a porter was eventually decided upon. The gravity was going to be mid tiered so that it would be something that everyone could approach. I had always wanted to do a treacle stout, so I threw out that idea… I couldn’t see how treacle wouldn’t work for a porter as well. I also had always wanted to do something with black pepper but had been reluctant to try it because getting the balance right could be a right pain… so I suggested that thinking that it would be laughed off like so many of my other stupid suggestions…but Tom liked it. So that was the rough concept done.
The final beer recipe was written together on the brew day up in Manchester. As luck would have it, Tom had all of the dark malts that we needed so we could just pick and choose the malt that we needed. The brewday itself was rather standard (Tom and I have brewed enough together that the process is smooth and easy) and everything went to plan. The only surprise of the day was the strength of the black pepper…during run-off, that was all that we could smell.
The name of the beer itself was something that Tom came up with. It started as a place holding joke of a name but by the end of the brewday we were both happy to keep it as the permanent name.
The graphics for this beer were done by an incredible illustrator name Hammo (http://www.thehammo.com ) who does all of the artwork for Alphabet.