Open Day – Summer Lightning

To celebrate the launch of Brewnode, I invited a few friends around to sample my wares.  I had all the ingredients for a replica of the classic Summer Lightning from Hopback brewery.  I decided that it would be good to give a go and brew live on the day. I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea or not since I’ve never had a brew run complete automatically from start to finish. But hey, why not?


Ingredient Quantity
Pale Ale, Golden Promise 5.5Kg
Challenger Hops 30g for 60 mins
Challenger Hops 30g for 30 mins
Golding Hops 35g for 15 mins
East Kent Goldings 50g Dry hopped for 7 days
Mosaic Hops (panicked addition) 50g Dry hopped for 3 days
Yeast WLP002 English Ale Yeast

You might notice the addition of some Mosaic dry hops. That’s not in the original recipe but I panicked a bit about the taste during fermentation.


With hindsight, the initial mash temperature was too. This meant that the average temperature during the mash was only


Active fermentation lasted only 3 or 4 days but I left it for about 2 weeks before transferring to a keg. I took a sample after about 10 days and I was not impressed. So much so that I had a decision to make as to whether leave it as is and hope for the best. Or take action and attempt to turn it into something more palatable.

I didn’t have the bottle to run with it as was, so I decided to chuck in a large amount of Mosaic hops into the fermenter. I know this was not in the plan and diverged significantly from he original intention. But I am glad I did because the change was remarkable. The aroma changed almost immediately from a stale smell to a fresh citrus.


Like previous brews, there was a definitive chill haze. I now suspect that cold break in the fermenter is the cause. I chill straight from the kettle to the fermenter through the plate chiller. This means that all of the cold break ends up in the fermenter.

I had to buy some Summer Lightening to compare mine against. Over the past 20 years, what used to be a classic in my mind had turned into a rather bland and fizzy lager like drink. I exaggerate of course but the aroma of Goldings just doesn’t compare to what I’ve become used to.


  • Start with more liquor.
  • Increase malt variety to give more body.
  • Let BIAB drain.
  • Use less bittering hops.
  • Chill to clear before carbonating.