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Craft Beer At Its Finest – #OldAle

Craft Beer At Its Finest - #OldAle

We haven’t blogged about any beer for a while, so WOODn’t you like to know what we have been up to recently? Well the observant amongst you may have spotted a wooden cask in the bottle room of the Dev Cat recently, or perhaps you tried one of the two on offer at SunFest, and it is our first foray into experimenting with wooden casks.  We have bought some old whisky firkins which we have filled with both Absolution and Black Lurcher, and the whisky flavours have really come through and added something extra to these beers. 

That got us thinking about ageing some of our beers at the brewery in wooden casks, so we ordered some 225L (approx 50 gallons/400 pints) White Burgundy oak casks.  When any drink spends time maturing in wooden casks, the liquid reacts with the wood and there is an imparting of flavour. The colour of whisky comes from the wood* (it is a perfectly clear liquor when first distilled), and it will pick up flavour profiles (if the barrel is being re-used) from the previous contents, i.e. if you age something in a sherry cask, you will impart some sherry flavours. 

So onto our beer, we have selected Old Ale, our take on an Old English Ale, strong (7.2% ABV), mid brown and full bodied, with a fairly sweet alcohol finish, to be our first try.  And while we could have just put it into the wood and see what happens, we thought that wood be a little boring, so we have livened things up somewhat! So into each cask before filling, we added a bag of Jack Daniels wood chips (available from a well known DIY retailer, other wood chips are available!), a good dollop of top quality maple syrup and a big handful of the finest Galaxy hops from Australia.  The beer was then poured in and after sealing each cask, we have to twiddle our thumbs for three months to let the magic happen! 

Once that time is up, we are going to transfer the beer into our bright beer tank (maybe with some extra hops!) and then fill some of our shiny new 30L and 50L kegs. We will also be filling some casks with some unadulterated Old Ale, so we can compare and contrast.  


What wood you like to see us do next with our lovely wooden casks? Please comment below, email [email protected] or chip in on Facebook (…/AbbeydaleBrewery) or on Twitter (@AbbeydaleBeers)


*Some distilleries add caramel to the liquor to add extra colour depth.

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Sunfest Beer Festival Opening

Sunfest Beer Festival Opening


Eight years and still going strong. Sunfest 2014 could well be the best yet! Unintentionally, this year’s celebration of real ale has taken me into an exploration of brewery collaboration beers. There are half a dozen or so of these on offer this year. Brewery collaborations are a fantastic way to share ideas, expertise and knowledge and have some fun while you do it. Abbeydale did its first formal collaboration this year with Founders Brewery of Grand Rapids, Michigan. The beer is 3712, a 7.0% American PA beast – named after the distance in miles between our two breweries. A more recent collab led us all the way to Raw Brewery, Staveley. The idea – which as far as I know hasn’t been attempted before in the UK – was to try a Kaffir Lime leaf Coconut Stout. This is called Lady Boy and it’s 5.5%. Other collaborations are highlighted in the programme.

In total there are 110 beers on offer from 81 breweries. Eleven brewers are featured more than once mainly because there is either a good story behind them or it’s just beer I simply had to include! An ex employee of ours for example, up and left for Siren Brewery in early May. I exploited his betrayal by insisting he brought us up some beer for this weekend. We never miss an opportunity to source some new and superb quality beer. New Breweries to us this year include; Briggs Signature Beers, Firebrand Brewing Company, Fuggle Bunny Brew House (Sheffield’s newest micro brewery), Highland Brewing Co., Isle of Purbeck Brewery, Keltek Cornish Brewery, Keystone Brewery, Pigeon Fishers Craft Brewery, Stonehenge Ales, 360° Brewing Company & 6° North. Good luck trying them all! Give’em all a tweet if you have the time or patience. Use the hashtag #SunFest14 and Twitter addresses provided for most of the breweries.

One very special beer deserves a massive thank you from me personally to Stuart Neilson at North Riding Brew Pub. With several attempts (all failing) to get our heads together to collaborate together on a beer, Stuart produced a beer to commemorate the birth of my 9 week old son (as of this week). We discussed beer style, abv and hops etc but Stuart was adamant from the beginning that the name was going to be Benjamin James. The beer, "Benjamin James" is a 5.2% pale beer and if Stuart had had anything to do with it, you know it’s not going to be hop shy. And neither will Benjamin if his upbringing has anything to do with it!

On to speciality beers. From fruit, ginger, coffee and even chilli beers to spiced and wheat beers. They can be found in the Sunfest programme with a red box around the beer colour identifying them as extra special. To summarise, it’s "speciality" (red box) if the beer has something other than the four main ingredients; water, yeast, hops and barley. We also have a gluten free beer.

We’ve gone all out with the craft keg beer bar this year. Stepping up from six to now eight. I’m happy to announce we will be helping to launch a couple of local breweries’ new keg beers. We’ll be showcasing Acorn Brewery’s No. 1, a 4.5% modern pale ale and Stancill Brewery’s Lager at 5.0% and using an old original Pils recipe. I’m also really looking forward to a Punch In The Face 4.8% by Totally Brewed and Tiny Rebel’s Hank 4.0%.

Lastly, (said in hush whispers) two extra special casks are the beers from the wood. Absolution 5.3% – tried and tested before this weekend in our two pubs. And Old Ale 7.2% – a new beer of ours, purposely designed to be aged in a wooden cask and for an added extra oomph we’ve primed the cask with Maple Syrup and dry hopped it. The casks certainly imparted lovely oaky, whisky flavours in the Absolution, so the Old Ale will be very exciting.

… I said it was to be the best year yet didn’t I!

Hope you all enjoy the festival and please spare a thought for our charity this year Cavendish Cancer Care. I’m sure their cause requires no introduction. You will find collection buckets dotted around hoping for a spare coin or two or the rest of your beer ticket. Other ways to donate are on their website ( or just drink some of our charity beer Dr Morton’s Survival Kit, available for the first time at this festival. For every pint sold Abbeydale will contribute 10p to Cavendish so fill ya boots 🙂

Cheers & Beers!



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Sunfest 2014 Beer List

Sunfest 2014 Beer List


  Cask Beers    
Brewery Beer name ABV (%) COLOUR
Blue Bee Brewery Inhov The Black 7 Dark
The Brew Company Mosaic 4.1 Pale
Sheffield Brewery EPO 5 Gold
White Rose Brewery Landing Craft 4.2 Gold
Imperial Brewery Bicycale 4.1 Pale
Wentworth Brewery Chilli Plum Porter 5 Special
Harthill Village Brewrey Twisted Hart 5.1 Dark
Steel City Brewing  Born To Be Riled 4.2 Pale
Woodstreet Brewery Amazonia 4.1 Pale
Little Ale Cart Dominion of New Zealand 5 Pale
Toolmakers Brewery Crank It Up 5 Pale
Welbeck Abbey Brewery Unity 4.9 Gold
Welbeck Abbey Brewery Priest Hills 4.2 Special
Acorn Brewery Topaz 5 Gold
Chantry Brewery Tony’s Tipple 4 Gold
Stancill Brewery Spirit of ’66 5.2 Pale
Raw/Abbeydale Lady Boy 5.5 Special
Instant Karma Brewing Company Saffron Kasaya 4 Gold
Dronfield Brewery American Pale 5 Pale
North Riding Brewpub Benjamin James 5.2 Gold
Brown Cow Brewery On Yer Bike 4.6 Pale
On The Edge Brewery Zeus 5.4 Pale
Kelham Island Brewery Mind Control 6.9 Pale
Rock&Roll Brewhouse Breakfast (in America) 5 Pale
Pictish Brewing Company Flyer 4.2 Pale
Saltaire/Dark Star  Le IPA 5.6 Gold
Saltaire Brewery Elderflower Blonde 4 Special
Saltaire Brewery Blackberry Cascade 4.8 Special
Saltaire Brewery Raspberry Blonde 4 Special
Blue Monkey Brewery Three Wise Monkeys 4.9 Pale
Ossett Brewery Rio De Ja Beero 4 Pale
The Rat Brewery Le Grande Dep-Rat 3.5 Pale
Fernandes Janie’s Addiction 4.3 Copper
Riverhead Brewery Bicyclette Blonde 4 Pale
Backyard Brewhouse Fiesta 4.1 Pale
Highland Brewing Co. Scapa Special 4.2 Pale
Fuggle Bunny Brew House Hazy Summer Daze 4.2 Pale
Totally Brewed Slap In The Face 4 Pale
Totally Brewed Papa Jangles Voodoo Stout 4.5 Dark
Burton Bridge Brewery Battle Brew 5 Amber
Dark Star Brewing Company Victorian Ruby Mild 6 Copper
Dark Star Brewing Company Espresso 4.2 Special
Derby Brewing Company Indian Ink 5.2 Dark
Derby Brewing Company License to Chill 4 Copper
Magpie Brewery Angry Bird 4 Copper
Tring Brewery Company Kotuku 4 Pale
Tiny Rebel Brewing Company ZOOL 4.8 Gold
Tiny Rebel Brewing Company Goldie Lookin Ale 4.5 Gold
Yeovil Ales Lynx Wildcat 4.3 Amber
Yeovil Ales Star Gazer 4 Copper
Dawkins Ales Bristol Blonde 3.8 Pale
Isle of Purbeck Brewery Solar Power 4.3 Gold
Fool Hardy Ales Red Neck Ralph 4.7 Gold
Fool Hardy Ales Rhidonkulous 3.7 Pale
Oakleaf Brewing Company Blakes Heaven 7 Dark
Oakleaf Brewing Company Dubbel Barrel 6 Copper
Axholme Brewing Company Chantico 4.7 Special
Brewster’s Brewery Brewers Dozen 5.5 Amber
Double Top Brewery Old Stoneface 6 Special
Townhouse Brewery Aroura 4.3 Pale
Atomic Brewery Spectrum 4.1 Pale
Hopcraft Brewing Steady As She Goes 5 Amber
Abbeydale Redemption 5 Special
Abbeydale Trance Sister 3.8 Pale
Abbeydale Tramlines 4.1 Pale
Abbeydale/Founders ‘3712’ 7 Gold
Abbeydale Black Lurcher 7 Dark
Abbeydale Absolution from Wood 5.3 Gold
Abbeydale Old Ale from Wood 7.2 Copper
Abbeydale Dr. Morton’s Survival Kit 4.1 Pale
Navigation Brewery Back of the Net 4.5 Pale
Brentwood Brewing Company OMG 3.7 Pale
Shiny Brewing Company New World 3.7 Gold
Keltek Cornish Brewery Even Keel 3.4 Amber
Siren Craft Brew Half Mast Quarter IPA 2.8 Gold
Siren Craft Brew Liquid Mistress Red IPA 5.7 Amber
Bristol Beer Factory Milk Stout 4.5 Dark
Firebrand Brewing Company Spring Saison 5 Pale
Pilot Brewery IPA 6.4 Gold
360° Brewing Company Pacific Pale #49 4.9 Gold
6° North Hopocrisy 4.6 Gold
Dukeries Brewery Bolt out of the Blue 5 Gold
Barlow Brewery Revolution 4 Pale
Keystone Brewery Gold Spice 4 Special
Beowulf Brewing Company Pilgrim’s Pale Ale 6.5 Gold
Hop Back Brewery Crop Circle 4.2 Special
Purple Moose Brewery A Pint Of Two Halves 4 Pale
Wood Brewery Golden Goal 3.6 Gold
Downton Brewery Apple Blossom 4.3 Pale
Briggs Signature Ales Gospel 3.6 Gold
Kinver Brewery Noble 600 4.5 Copper
Stonehenge Ales Danish Dynamite 5 Pale
Tipsy Angel Tawny Angel 4.2 Amber
Pigeon Fishers Craft Brewery Test Brew 1.1 4.8 Pale
Ashover Brewery Littlemoor Citra 4.1 Pale
Lincoln Green Brewing Company Village Green 4.2 Gold
  Keg Beers    
Tiny Rebel Hank 4 Gold
Totally Brewed
Punch In The Face IPA
Hibu/Raw trHIBU CHE Balla 5.6 Dark
Rat Rat Against the Machine 7 Gold
Acorn No. 1 4.5 Pale
Abbeydale/Founders 3712′ 7 Gold
Siren/Off Colour Biere de Gouttiere 4.4 Gold
The Kernal Brewery Pale Ale 5.3 Pale
Stancill Brewery


  • About Us

    A true Sheffield institution founded in 1996, Abbeydale Brewery blends heritage and tradition with creativity and innovation, showcasing these values across an unparalleled range of beers.

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    Abbeydale Brewery Ltd
    Unit 8, Aizlewood Road
    S8 0YX
    Telephone: 0114 281 2712
    Email: [email protected]


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