Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My First Mini-mash - Leffe Brune!

I've had enough of average beer, so it's time to  step it up!

For those unfamiliar with the finer points of home brewing, mashing is the process of releasing the grain starches into fermentable sugars. Mini-mashing involves using a combination of grain and already malted extracts, and boiling hops for different lengths according to desired bitterness and aroma. 

So I found this little recipe for a Leffe Blonde which looked simple enough, and is a fantastic beer to drink, so why not copy it? The only problem was, the Hop & Grain did not have the clear Belgian candi sugar used it the blonde, only the dark Belgian candi sugar. So Blonde it ain't, and never will be! But that's okay, Leffe Brune is a fine beer in its own right.

The recipe included;
  • 3kg Liquid Light Malt Extract
  • 500g Light Dried Malt
  • 250g Caramunich Grain
  • 500g Belgian Clear Candi Sugar
  • 30g Hallertau Hops Pellets (60 min boil)
  • 20g Saaz Hops Pellets (10 min boil)
  • T58 Yeast (White Labs Trappist Ale Yeast-optional)
 As these things go, sometimes you can't get precisely the ingredients, so as well as the candi sugar, they didn't have the liquid yeast, so i went for the Lallemand Abbaye powdered yeast, and damned well forgot the 500g light dried malt! Fortunately i had about 350g of liquid malt at home, which i used instead.

So everything went according to plan, until the very end when, when trying to fill the fermenter with the freshly brewed wort, the wife started spraying some anti-arthritis spray that smelt like Dencorub, so if the beer has any hint of that, at least i'll know who to blame. 

To make things worse, 36 hours after brewing, the wort had still not commenced fermenting. Fortunately, however, this evening fermenting had commenced, so now just a 3 month wait to find out if it's any good! I am confident though, as a preliminary taste revealed a rich, flavoured brew, so just two months to confirm! (as time goes by, I will reduce that time until it's carbonated in the bottle. 3 months is just a guide, to be honest. How convenient!)

Finally, i surveyed my growing crates of beer, and have nearly 20 cases of beer, so I can afford to slow down the production, or I could just drink it faster. Decisions, decisions!!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Honey Madness!

Years ago, in my very first attempt to make a honey beer, i was told that under no circumstances was i to use more than 300 grams of honey - the end result was a beer that had absolutely no trace of honey.

Ten years later, it is time to revisit the elusive honey beer, so, just to make sure I can taste the honey, I'm going all out for that great honey taste with no less than 1,000 grams of honey - an entire kilogram!

So I didn't bother with the 400 gram bottle below, going straight for two 500 gram jars, to go with the Mangrove Jacks Bavarian Wheat kit as a base.

Bottled a little over two weeks ago, i cracked the first open to taste that delicious honey! With trepidation, i smelt the beer for hints of pure Australian honey. The smell was there. But does that mean that I will be able to taste it? Test number two awaits. Slowly, I raise the glass to my lips, and i sip...

Voila! Honey! Light and refreshing, with a clear honey aroma and taste, underlying the wheat beer, contrasting, yet complimenting the beer at the same time.

The beer, however, quickly lost its head, so here's hoping that with a number couple of weeks of maturing, that the head will thicker, and linger longer! Overall, I was very happy with this beer, with strong hopes that it will continue to improve and become a staple of the Beer Whisperer's home brewery!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Cheap Beer Challenge!!

I recently eyed a basic Coopers Real Ale kit on super special, and at just $4.99 I asked myself "Beer Whisperer, could you make something truly awesome out of such a cheap beer?" "Well, why not?" I thought.

Well, the proof's in the pudding, so i took the $4.99 plunge. Well, what to do with a cheap, bottom-of-the-range beer? Ideas started flowing through my head like beer through a beer whisperer, and a concoction to please the gods started to take place in my wild imaginings. Still, all I had was a cheap tin can, so, what to buy? Like all great plans of mice and men, I had some re-used and re-saved liquid German lager yeast, when went such a treat in earlier beers. Yeast, check. What else? Oh yeah, hops. Amarillo and Hallertau in the fridge!

But I need more.

Well, it's obvious, innit?! Ruby red grapefruit and ground coriander seed. Obviously.


But wait! The yeast is dead. A quick trip down to the brewer's supplies, and presto! New yeast. But not just any yeast, but Mangrove Jacks Bohemian Lager yeast! And to top it off, a new, fancy liquid malt in CBW Munich Pure Malt Extract - a lighter, paler malt for special beers.


So, the final brew;
1.7kgs Coopers Real Ale kit
1.5ltr CBW Munich Pure Malt Extract
300g dextrose
Mangrove Jacks dry Bohemian Yeast
1 x ruby red grapefruit zest
50g coriander seed powder
50g Amarillo hops (following fermentation)

But the true test is in the beer, so give it a couple of months and I will self-review - guaranteed to be complimentary! Like a good scorer beats a good player, while I review my own beers, what could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Aussie Beer Review - Sheaf Stout

Well, folks, with all these fancy-like foreign beers, a few gems not only exist at home, but have been quietly hiding in plain sight.

Sheaf Stout, originally brewed by Tooth's Brewery in Sydney, "builds stamina"!! "Keeps you fit"!! according to the famous pub paintings of the mid-20th century.

Born some time after 1835 when Tooth's originally formed (no accounts of when Sheaf Stout first graced the pubs of Sydney, unfortunately), Sheaf Stout survives to this day, today's beer tasting coming courtesy of 1st Choice Liquor.

So, how's it taste? Well, according to Carlton United Breweries, who bought Tooth's, Sheaf Stout is a "classic Australian stout with a tantalising dry finish and a medium body". Tantalising, eh? Dry? Ooooh! According to one plonker punter at www.ratebeer.com, Sheaf Stout has "hints of coffee grounds, roasted malt, and toasted bread". Roasted malt? In beer?! Who knew? What about "light dark malts"? Is that like dry rain? Hot ice? Cold fire? Why did I bother checking reviews? So here's mine...

Sheaf Stout is a full-bodied stout with a mild burnt taste, full of flavour and finely balanced between bitterness and sweetness, but oozing smooth creaminess which lasts throughout. It's an honest, true Aussie beer which apparently has not suffered at the hands of "commercial imperative". No, Sheaf Stout is a great Australian beer, hanging on like a flea on a dog's arse in a gale on the back of a ute in the midst of a craft beer assault on tried and proven beers.  Fortunately, most Australian craft beers default to Pale Ales, which is code for "buggered if I'd know, let's call it a Pale Ale!!!"

Like how Tooheys Old keeps winning awards, Sheaf Stout stumbles on, despite having credibility that most modern ales never find. Surely, Sheaf Stout qualifies as a great Australian Ale, while most craft wannabeers (see what I did there?) can only dream of making lists of great Australian beers. To be fair, though, Sheaf Stout requires a taste test against greater, nobler beers, however I suspect that it will hold up well against more famous stouts.

Look forward to a stout-off on Beery's blog between Sheaf Stout and the likes of the great Guiness and others! Beer on!!!