Friday 15 October 2021

Warwickshire Avon - Love-Lanes and Longanimity

Flavour heavy foods such as this saag and mushroom paneer with a whole packet of spinach really need needs a beer to compliment the cooked spinach which when cooked can become tangy and slightly acidic in flavour. 

Many a home curry cook mask a rich saag curry with garlic or in many Indian restaurants with sugar, yes sugar to take away some of the bitterness. Now another way of cause is to have a robust beer to go with it and there is no better choice in my opinion than an imperial stout. 

This 10% offering from the Love Lane Brewery from Liverpool just so happened to be in the local Lidl for a couple of quid, which considering the strength of it, could well be up there with one of the beers to add to the tramp juice list. 

The term “imperial” simply refers to a big beer, both in terms of flavour and alcohol. The term is used interchangeably with “double” and “strong” to refer to any style of beer brewed with an extra dose of grains and hops to produce a higher ABV.
But why imperial? Some historical controversy surrounds the origin, but most agree that the first imperial beer was a particularly strong English stout that satisfied the tastes of the Imperial Court of Catherine the Great, the Empress of Russia, in the late 18th century.

Thus, the hefty Russian Imperial Stout was born from the stouts of the day, which themselves were stronger versions of the porters that had captivated England for decades.

Simply put, brewers craft strong beers with added helpings of grains and hops. The process for brewing beer is the same, no matter the size and strength of the end result. 

The grains provide fermentable sugars to the yeast, which goes to town consuming the sugar and creating the by-products that make beer the beverage we know and love: full of carbonation, flavour, and alcohol.  

That’s the magic of fermentation. The hops balance out the sweetness of the beer and come into play just prior to fermentation, when the brewer boils the grain with water and adds hops in increments to produce a range of bitterness and aroma. 

So, in essence, the math is plain, provide more sugar for the yeast, balance it out with more hops, and the yeast will create a proportional increase in flavour and ABV. Boom: a “bigger” beer.

Now this was a little flatter than I expected but a double mashed stout with notes of dark chocolate liquorice and roast malt, it still was nicely still full-bodied and rich but with that subtle sweetness stouts like this should possess. 

A couple of them with dinner though, yeap you certainly know about them. I recommend some rice AND naan to go with it. For the money not a bad drop though however I still cannot get over the fact my go-to beer Champion is the price it is and maybe I should stockpile it because I don't think the supermarkets have cottoned on what value for money it is. 

Anyway better get back to fishing this short session in to dusk I would visit the syndicate stretch to give it a once over and then fish some chicken liver an hour in to dusk and an hour beyond. 

I've tried liver a couple or three times now which much success. 

The last time a caught a >5lber succumbed to this rather rich offering. The bites can be savage in my limited experience and the problem is it's difficult to know after those initial pulls if the bait is on or not. To be fair its more about the cast where underarm is the way to go rather than a two handed head for the horizon jobbies. 

Now chub can avoid being hooked rather well and resistance they can feel can be key so if you get savage bites without a fish on the end, leave some slack line to the tip and this can often lead to a fish hooking itself after picking up the bait and feeling confident in taking it properly. 

Chub often show here and some good ones too, but then other days this stretch can be devoid of fish let alone the gluttonous Chevin. 

One of the problems I can see though is that I hooked a crayfish here that dropped off after I lifted it high out of the water. So I'd have another rod out with a paste wrapped boilie and some freebies via a pva bag. 

At least that should be crayfish resistance for a while especially as I tend to use air dried boilies these days, especially for Barbel when I want to avoid the chub. 

Now this is a diary of my fishing and its highs and lows and as anglers were get that feeling don't we when blanks are on the cards, and this was on of those. The river seemed utterly lifeless and back to gin clear again. 

I decided to try a swim I hardly fish because at least there is cover there for fish to take sanctuary.

A cygnet made a beeline to me and stayed in the swim for a good hour or so feeding on something off the bottom.

Maybe it was a sign to move but I was only here for a couple of hours so I decided to stick it out. 

The rods were motionless up until dusk however here often when dusk is ticked off the fish start moving. Not this evening though not even a pluck or a pull when the sun had dropped behind the skyline.

Usually something bites to indicate there are fish in the swim but nope, nada. In-fact 45 minutes past dusk in almost complete darkness I decided to head home 15 minutes early and the tail between my legs because there was nothing doing whatsoever. Another blank, so add to the other blanks I've been having of late. 


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