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[Review] Bulldog Brew Evil Dog Double IPA Kit

Started by Dunkel, March 10, 2014, 01:31:10 PM

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March 10, 2014, 01:31:10 PM Last Edit: March 11, 2014, 11:42:23 AM by Dunkel
(Got it  ;D )

There's a couple of things to notice about this kit from the start. Firstly, it's expensive; but about the same as other top-level kits. It's €30 from HBW; I got it at the same price from The Mottly Brew, as I wanted to support a new, local bricks and mortar shop.

Secondly, it should produce a beer of 7.1% abv and 40-45 IBUs, so it's more of an American IPA rather than a DIPA. This suits me however, as DIPAs are too hardcore for my delicate tastebuds. In its favour, the extract pack weighs a HUGH 4.7kg. So no additions needed, just water. Also it claims to produce 23l of wort at 1061 (see later). From the instructions FG will be around 1009, so plenty of attenuation.

A close look at the ingredients shows the extract contains malt extract, barley extract and invert sugar. Hence it'll turn out fairly dry.

So what's in the kit? The bladder pack of maltish extract, a foil-wrapped teabag of Summit hops (27g including foil), the same size pack of Simcoe, and the biggest packet of dried yeast I've come across in a kit – 23g in its pack.

And the instructions, of course. These are interesting; before you get to the stage by stage bit, it tells you about hop pellet tweaking options. It explains that the hop teabags are purely for dry hopping aroma purposes, and suggests that you add the hops early on in fermentation for less aroma, and later for more aroma. Haven't seen that in other kits. As an afterword, it also encourages you to experiment with taking 3l of the diluted wort and boiling for 30 minutes with a hop teabag, adding cooled result back into fermenter (without teabag) for more hop bitterness. Again, I think this is a welcome encouragement for kit brewers to try different methods. On the downside, there are the usual inconsistencies that can be confusing for total beginners – but they wouldn't be likely to be choosing this kit for their initial brew.

At this point, it's important to remember the first rule of homebrewing - when you're brewing, crack open a homebrew  :)

So, after sanitizing equipment, instructions suggest to place the extract bag in hot water for 15 mins for softening. I did this, but it's probably not necessary, as the extract is quite liquidy (if that's a word). There's a plastic ringpull under the cap of the bladder pack.

This should then be poured straight into the FV (I chose to put some hot water into the FV first). The extract container then needs to be rinsed out with hot water to get all of the gloopy goodness out, which is mentioned in the instructions.

The instructions now tell you to "stir and splash" the extract/hot water mix "vigorously" for 1-2 minutes to "oxygenate the wort" – again, this is not the sort of stuff you read in typical instructions.

Then it's the usual stuff about filling your FV up to the 23l level, aiming for a pitching temperature of 20-25 C. My kit gave wort at an OG of 1065 at 22 C – talking with Ian from Mottly Brew, Hambleton Bard have confirmed the OG is a bit understated.

Then confusion for total novices. It reads "ferment for 8-10 days at 18-24 C", suggesting a heating pad or brewbelt for temperature control. Fair enough. But in the very next paragraph they state "Bulldog Brews premium beer kits contain genuine slow fermenting varietal brewers beer yeast which does require 8-15 days to ferment out fully". So as a beginner, I get confused. However, they do mention later that high gravity (but I might have got this kit as a Christmas present, and haven't a clue what that means) or American Craft beers take up to "two full weeks of fermentation". They do mention checking the gravity and proceeding when it hasn't dropped for a further two days. Fine, but a total newbie hasn't a hydrometer, or knows what to do with it – but I'm probably being overly critical here; these instructions are better than most, but still leave room for improvement.

These are generic instructions for the Bulldog Brew Premium series, and they suggest making hop tea with the bag(s) provided, and adding after 4-7 days. However, they add that for the American Craft Beers, of which this is one, that the hop tea should not be added until 2 days before bottling. This is mentioned twice. Then it's the usual information about bottling. But overall, apart from some confusion over fermentation length, the instructions are good, particularly in the experimentation side, showing kit brewers that there's more than one way to make it.

I am tempted to add some Amarillo hops in the dry hopping stage, but will make the kit just as the instructions say. If this turns out as some other reviews have suggested, then the quality will be well worth the cost of the kit. And as an afterthought, the entire brewing process took about 45 minutes (excluding all the posing for photos), including clean up.

Despite the large amount of yeast pitched, the krausen did not really form a large head until after about 36 hours. Again, this might slightly worry a beginner. But now happily burping away. I'll check the SG after another couple of weeks, and dryhop.


Those instructions sound interesting. It's not often you get any instructions for the hops apart from 'put them in when fermentation slows'.
I expect you're right in saying that Bulldog intend this kit for folks with a little experience, to encourage experimentation.
The ingredients are a nice touch too with just that little bit of love put into it, giving some extra value for money.
Cheers Dunkel!

Ps to post pics, you first need to upload them to somewhere like http://imgur.com/ or http://photobucket.com/, then right click on the picture and select 'save image location' (or something similar depending on browser), finally insert the link into your post with the image button up over the smileys.
The code will look like this (but without the spaces)
[img ]http://t0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSbjrOb3A_bUT8B11jUOvzyG4cvm4Cn1eYppTqfQHpuYx2YYxjz[ /img]


Its easy to upload your pictures to a external host like photobucket (www.photobucket.com) you can generate a code you can paste in your message and this will add the pictures :)

I have to say the bulldog kits are very impressive when you open the box. The bag with concentrate makes it very easy to pour into your fermenter.

I have to agree the instructions are good overal but they should make 2 different instructions. Make an extra for the american style beers..

the brewing was a bit different then other kits but following the instructions for the first time I made the tripple tykes ale and had a first taste this weekend and i have to say that i am very impressed and that the taste is good :)
If you can make soup then you will also be able to make a decent beer!


I have the evil dog on the way so after reading this i am just wondering when do ye reckon the best time to add the hops is so ? ;D
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."  Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis USMC(Ret.)


the instructions about adding the hops are a bit unclear but i added my after 5 days and followed the rest of the instructions.

I have to say that the rest of the instructions where quite clear only when to add the hops exactly was not that clear.. But overal I would definitly make an other Bulldog kit in the future..
If you can make soup then you will also be able to make a decent beer!


Time for an update. After 12 days the SG had dropped to 1013, and still tasted a bit sweet. Today is day 17; SG has dropped to 1008 (so is done according to instructions), but still burbling away slowly. Surprisingly still a sweetish edge to the taste - but surely won't drop gravity much further. I'm adding the Simcoe and Summit hop pellet teabags now - soak in boiling water for ten minutes, and throw water and teabags into the fermenter. I'll bottle on Monday.


I have this kit now from HBW and i will be trying to get it done next week. The hop teabags is the only thing i am still wondering about though Dunkel. What decided you to add them so late in the ferment ? Was that because you were going for the American style with this brew ?  ;D
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."  Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis USMC(Ret.)


Exactly. Although as well, because it is a review, I wanted to follow the instructions to the letter about adding the aroma hops two days before bottling for the American style, to see what hacks could improve the basic kit. It's taken a long time for the beer to ferment out, but I have been on the low side of their temperature range (mine was mostly 18-19).


Do you think it might be beneficial to ferment this around say 21-22 c Dunkel, i am thinking maybe of doing it up around there.  :o
"Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet."  Gen. James 'Mad Dog' Mattis USMC(Ret.)


Hi Greg, Yes, fermenting at 21-22 would be fine, and certainly a fair bit quicker than my temps. IIRC (I'm at work now so don't have the instructions in front of me), the instructions suggest 18-24; I ferment in a coolish room and use a heatbelt to maintain just below 20 C.


Nice review Dunkel. 
I just started this kit two days ago. I found it a nice kit to make given everything was in the one pack  It is sitting at 22c atm and the airlock is slowly starting to sing the song of its people.


This is my first kit, started it two days ago. I used the alternate recipe, 30 minute boil with the summit hop tea bag. I have some cascade hops on the way for the dry hop.

But I made a rookie mistake, I forgot to sterilize a measuring jug I used. Fingers crossed!!


Just brewed the Four Finger Jack's American Pale Ale kit, but used US-05 instead of the yeast supplied

Shall report back  ;)


Well beyond time for the final analysis. It took about seven weeks in bottle for this to arrive at its best - fair enough, it's a strong beer. Before then, it was drinkable, but had a sweet edge which didn't taste right in an IPA. Drinking it now, and it's a clear, mid-gold colour with a HUGH white, tight head. Suprisingly, there's not that much hop aroma, despite the dry hopping - medium level at best. Somehow reminds me of Galway Hooker. Medium-full-bodied, quite bitter (duh!) but balanced, with full citrus hop flavours. Long finish, with maltiness to balance; typical of its class (but American IPA rather than DIPA).

Would I choose this kit again? Probably not, on balance. You would need to have a couple of kit brews under your belt before you try this. The kit cost €30; you could hack a less expensive kit with malt extract and extra hops for a cheaper similar end product - you would have the experience at this stage. Overall assessment - good quality, IPA rather than the stated DIPA, bit pricey.


Interesting review. I made the four finger jack pale ale recently and like you found there to be very little aroma from the dry hopping which was a bit disappointing.