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Since homebrewing is an artwork in itself (if not a miracle!) then why not do something with your labels, other than scribble out on a scrap of paper, what's in bottle and slap it on - let your artistic tendancies flow!

Below are some designs I knocked up for the beer bottles (both pint and half-pint sizes). The label size have been reduced here as space is limited but the actual sizes are 4 inch x 3 inch for pints, and 3 inch by 2.5 inch for the half pint bottles.

I used a water-based glue to apply them on to the glass, using oil-based glues although easier to apply are real buggers to wash off.

All designs are done using a vector-based package (Corel-draw, MS draw etc), resized 5 to an A4 page (pints) 9 for half-pints.

Wolff Bitter was one of my first brews in recent years, average strength at 5.25% a/v with a definate tang to the flavour provided by the inclusion crystal malt grains.

Ginger Mead was a an old Ginger Ale recipe re-worked with honey and hops. It differed from the traditional as it was fermented out over a period of a couple of weeks in a demi-john (only 1 gall. made unfortunately). It was very popular and didn't last very long surprising as it was only average strength once again.

The brew which followed was brewed for the colour, I seem to have misplaced the label - but was named Vampire Bitter. Blood-red and surprisingly strong, only myself and my sister could partake of it as a lot of people seemed to baulk at the strength - 14% a/v. It lasted three weeks (3 gall.) - we really didn't get much done during those weeks.

Saxon Ale was based on a much older recipe that I gleaned from an old tome. Like the Ginger Mead it was made from honey - organic in this case (isn't it all?), full of grain and barley, but no hops. Only 1 gallon made, average strength again at 6% a/v.

The Barley Wine originally came from a Best-Bitter kit as I got lazy, demerara sugar was the only addition (other than the wet-stuff) used. The strength was altered from 7% (on the tin) to 12% for a one-off prefernce, 5 gallons made.

This one as supposed to be a moderate bitter but a cockeral ate the grain and the malt extract was otherwise consumed. Not to be put off by lack of ingredients I carried on - it should have been called Badger-beer but a white-rabbit called Kebbo got to it first. Among the ingredients was demerara, granulated and icing sugars; cinnamon, liquorice root, ginger (powder & root), honey, treacle and oats - I had to baulk at Pontefract Cakes!

Barley Surprise started off as a special order on the birth of a child (no, not mine), but took off and I've been brewing it ever since. Brewed like the Barley wine but with less sugar - 6% a/v. Usually brewed in two batches of 5 gall. each.

After the winter break, I decided to try one of the more interesting brew kits. The Dogbolter brewery had gone out of business so I made this one up with a little touch of cracked barley and substituted the white sugar for raw cane and Belgian candy. Turned out well and very popular even though it was 11%! The label, on the other hand, was not as popular - ah well, you can't win 'em all. Only 2 gall. was produced.

This Barley Wine was not one which I would normally choose to make as it usually is a little sharp and acidic, but turned out well nonetheless. Dark brown sugar was substituted for the white to enhance the colour. I sweetened it up with liquorice root. 4 gall. made.

I decided to make up the bitter more out of nostalga (the roots are a real bugger to find!) than anything else. This one came from a dry kit and broke all the records by completing the primary fermentation in two and a half days instead of the ten - fourteen as noted on the label. It was bottled and stored away within a week of starting - well not all of it, a few pints ended up in my belly while syphoning :-)

Since this was so popular a brew, I stayed with it for the remainder of 2002 and then through all of 2003 and the spring/summer of 2004.

The latest incarnation (February 2005) unfortunately did not get a name nor a label (*sniff*), but was such a fantastic brew (a finely doctored kit), that it would deserve a spot of fame here. The brew eventually came out at 8.5% so you can guess how the kit was doctored!

(Tip: Never get confused by Kg's over Lb's)

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Page updated 16th April 2005



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