Wiper and True, Milkshake
Wiper and True’s Milk Shake turned 30 this month. Thirty in that there have now been that many different batches of this beer brewed since they started back in December 2012.
Starting out as Bristol’s first cuckoo brewery (brewers without their own brewery), Michael Wiper had no designs set on having a core range of beers. Instead their beers would be experimental or exploratory and take inspiration from the changing world around them.
When Michael brewed the first batch of Milk Shake he had an idea in his head of a velvety thick, cold, low alcohol beer. Big on vanilla and very, err, ‘milkshakey’. It was going to be something of a tribute to Bristol, a place that is widely regarded as the birthplace of the milk stout where, for some reason, the locals really latched on to this ‘restorative’ stout.
This beer was also a nod towards Michael’s wife’s great, great, grandfather, William Garton, a chemist and brewer of some note in the mid 1800s. William was an expert in sugar and is believed to have pioneered the use of lactose as an ‘un-fermentable’ within the brewing process.
With this in mind we asked Michael about the first batch of Milk Shake...
“It was a bit of a non event really. Looking back I wish I had written about it or kept a diary but I didn’t. I had this clear image of how it would look and how it would taste on my palate. I was pleased with it but it wasn’t as thick or as milkshakey as I’d hoped. I thought that would be the end of it.”
But it wasn’t. Praise flooded in. People who didn’t like normally like stouts loved it. Hell, people who didn’t normally like beer loved it. Along with the praise came the inevitable question… How can they get hold of more?
“I thought maybe we’ve done something here that's worth another try.” And so they have. Another 29 times at the time of writing.
Michael confesses that he is now a “vanilla snob” and the taste you get in this beer is the result of a “shit load” of chopped up pods added to the end of the boil. Along with further alchemy in the form of a “vanilla tea” added after fermentation.
In order to get the desired thickness in the beer they’ve actually reduced the amount of lactose in the brewing process and upped the oats and alcohol content from 3% to 4.8% ABV.
It seems that Michael and the rest of Wiper and True are finally happy with the recipe.
Wiper and True have also recently collaborated with Hobbs House Bakery from nearby Chipping Sodbury. Everything about batch 19 of Milk Shake was really great.. apart from one thing. It was under carbonated. “We weren’t happy to release the beer, but we couldn’t quite part with it.” Then the idea hit them. If you can make beer with leftover bread, can you make bread with leftover beer? The answer is yes. Yes you can. The result is a date and walnut sourdough where all the water that would have been in the dough has been replaced with Milk Shake. The slow proving loaf even has a sticky Milk Shake glaze on it.
Wiper and True really are alchemists and inquisitors. No ordinary beer. No ordinary bread either.
If you want to try more from Wiper and True's range, we've put together a mixed case for you here.