#332 Kowhiti Brewing – Archer’s Ale

Name: Archer’s Ale
Brewery: Kowhiti Brewing (Wellington, NZ)
Style: Barley Wine
ABV: 8%ish
Source: Dad

Archer’s Ale is Dad’s first crack at a Barley Wine – which incidentally is the only style of beer his Granddad used to drink, apparently. (This doesn’t surprise me – they’re all  total lushes on that side.)

It pours a beautiful clear amber, and smells fruity (plums and apricots), vinous, and strongly of toffee malt. In the mouth it’s much lighter than I’d expect for the style, malty and alcoholic but without much depth. He only bottled it two and a half weeks ago so it think it just needs more time to develop. On the other hand, my grandparents thought it was just gorgeous as it is (lushes, I tell you, the lot of them!).

Speaking of Kowhiti Brewing, the other day me and Dad finally got around to making Ye Olde Cock Ale. This is something we’ve talked about doing ever since Dad came across this page in this book by C.J Berry, detailing a recipe originally from “The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digby Kt. Opened,” 1677:


How could anyone  read a recipe that began “Take 10 gallons of ale and a large cock, the older the better” and not immediately decide to make it? Exactly. So that’s what we did.

For our cock ale we used a clone recipe for a scotch ale called Old Jock Ale, combined it with this historical above (made slightly more modern here), and added a few extra bits and pieces (raisins, dates and treacle) to make it our own. It looked a little something like this:

The base was British 2-row pale malt, plus a little British crystal and some other I can’t remember…

There weren’t a lot of hops, but we used Target, Willamette, and East Kent Golding.

Yeah I know this looks effing gross but it’s just chicken, parboiled and soaked overnight in whiskey and wine to kill any bugs. That’s raisins and chopped dates underneath.

Unfortunately this won’t be ready in time for me to include it as part of my 365, but I promise to come back and update this post with the verdict. For now though, I’m quietly confident that it’s going to be the finest (and sure, also the only) cock ale that this country has ever seen!

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Published in: on July 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Brilliant. I hope you and your Dad enter it in the NHC later this year (most likely the specialty ale category!), and mule some to Akl….

  2. Sadly, you are not the first.
    An experimental friend brewed a cock ale a couple of years ago. I believe he still has some, from which you can draw your own conclusions. Fortunately, I’ve never tried it but I love watching people’s expressions when they do.

    (Oh, and FYI, chicken has a major effect on head retention in beer, so don’t worry, it’s not your glassware.)


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