Today was Islay’s 3rd birthday, and I am bursting with pride. Watching this, often frustrating, little girl grow into the beautiful creature that she has become has been he greatest pleasure of my life. Also, it is entirely down to her that our current, exciting plans are being realised.

So much love for my wee girl! Happy birthday poppet!

Had an impromptu, unscheduled and unexpected video chat with Ken and Masako from Mukai Craft Brewing (whom I wrote a letter of introduction too back in December). Kai, the fellow future brewer in Hidaka-mura, was also there. It was a little hectic and far from a real chat and it seems my Scottish accent presented a challenge (it becomes less Scottish outside of Scotland..) but it was nice to put voices to faces.

If only I had time to look a little less “mid-lockdown” before the intro, but hey ho! Glad to have finally me them, would like a proper chat when time allows (preferably when I’m not working!)

We have decided to add an additional conical fermenter and a glycol chiller to our home brewery!

It is being considered as an investment in our future brewery as the same kit will be used for recipe development and small batch experimentation.



Just received my second assignment mark for the Filtration and Packaging course and was awarded an A which is equally as surprising as just falling short of an A for the first assignment.

Combined these two assignments count for 50% of the course mark and averaged, I’m currently sitting on an A, but I don’t expect to end up there after my final assignment, which is released next week.

I’ve found the content of the course to be uninspiring and the method of teaching to be poor so, whilst I’ll put in more effort than the first two assignments as an A is seemingly within reach, I’ll struggle with enthusiasm if the question isn’t a lot more interesting than I expect it will be.


Brew day! Making a SMaSH (single malt and single hop) IPA in order to explore the Motueka hop. It smells excellent, fresh and vibrant!

Day progressing very smoothly thus far.


The first of my two original recipe 80/- brews has been poured after 6 weeks of patiently waiting!

I wish I hadn’t drank 4 Brewdog beers before sampling this but it seems to have a surprisingly dominant caramel flavour, which fits the style and is pretty tasty! Before I get too carried away, I’ll have to taste without external influences but for a first attempt at an original recipe, I am tentatively calling it a success.

It isn’t suitable for infusion with tea, at least I don’t think so, but it might be useful for other purposes in the future.. might need to look into “pastry” beers as I suspect a caramel & hazelnut tart ale might be interesting.


Somewhat surprisingly, I just missed out on an ‘A’ for my first assignment of the current course. Indeed, had I checked the converted file post-submission and noticed the three missing explanatory formula in the submitted version, it is pretty likely that I’d have crossed the line.

Ach well, ne’er mind.


Today, I wrote two emails to other craft brewers in Kochi prefecture..

  • Email 1, I had been planning to send since 2018.. but I wanted some brewing experience and knowledge first. It was to Setoguchi-san @ Tosaco and before sending the email, I asked Sakino to proof-read and suggest corrections. When the document was returned I didn’t see comments so thought that corrections had been made. It turns out that as I had the previous version of the email open, it didn’t update with the comments.. so the email I sent has several mistakes :( I really hope that they aren’t too bad and that Setoguchi-san isn’t offended!

  • Email 2, was to two brewing brothers from Yamamoto Bakushu.. This time I did see the comments from Sakino and made the suggested corrections before sending.. as the email address on their website seems to be non-functional so the email was rejected.

Just been that kind of a day.


Both of my “mid-semester” assignments are now submitted and hopefully sufficient for passing grades. I have a break until 26th of April when the final assignment for this course is released, then two weeks to research and complete it.

In the meantime, I am going to try and:

  • Write introduction emails to some Japanese brewers in Kochi and other neighbouring prefectures in Shikoku
  • Reach out to Scottish brewers to arrange post-lockdown brewery visits
  • Book and study for my driving theory test
  • Contact driving instructors to try and arrange an intensive, automatic driving course
  • Try and improve my Japanese by reading and posting to (despite my apprehensions about the platform)
  • Brew more beer! Next will be the first of a single malt and single hop (SMaSH) IPA series


I have a new icon under my photo on the right, it is for my profile.. is a Japanese social sharing site, I guess, I’m still navigating it.

It does represent something that I have been avoiding for several years, that is a big centralised site potentially data harvesting me but I’m making an exception as it may be a useful tool for connecting to Japanese craft beer enthusiasts and brewers.

Sakino thinks I am OK to post in English (even though I don’t see any non-Japanese posts) but I feel that I’ll need to pepper some Japanese in as I go, though not to the extent where it becomes a deterrent to posting.

I’m treating this as an experiment and a way to read a bit more Japanese, even if just scanning initially.