Friday, June 27, 2014

It's brewing time!

Yes, folks, It's that time of the year - the short window of opportunity in Sydney to brew lagers and pilsners.  So I've stocked up on supplies, and I'm ready to rumble! Or brew. Whatever.

First off the block is ESB's Bohemian Pilsner Finest Round Wort Kit.  I'm highly sceptical of salesmen, but apparently I have a soft spot for beer.  Who knew?

It comes with saflager yeast and a small amount of Saaz finishing hops, which is consistent with my "year of hops", which has so far worked well.  So far I've used cascade hops, crystal hops and hallertau (not to be confused with Dene Halatau from the awesome Wests Tigers) hops.  My favourite hops has proved to be crystal hops, which has a very nice citrus aroma and strong but not overpowering taste.  Cascade was a bit over the top for my liking, while hallertau was so subtle i was unable to notice it.  But just to be sure, I have one in the fridge for (yet another) taste test.

I also bought a Mangrove Jack's Dutch Lager kit, with some fancy yeast and hops to flatter it.  I'm salivating at the though of drinking a beer with genuine Oktoberfest liquid yeast.  Wunderbar!!!  I also bought a bock liquid yeast for the next time I do a dark beer.  Like a kid in a lolly store, I also bought more crystal hops and Summer hops, which is an Australian breed with fruity overtones.

So once I've cleaned the fermenter, It's pilsner time!  Next will be the dutch lager using Oktoberfest yeast and summer hops, followed by probably a Coopers Dark Ale with bock yeast and a little bit of crystal hops.

Bottoms up!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

2013 - The Year of Fruit Beer! Part I

Well, it's been a long time posting, but, truth be told, the year of the fruit beer was a year of mixed results, and some results weren't exactly worthy of publishing, except perhaps as a lesson to others.

So, what fruit was, in moments of temporary insanity, considered worthy of addition to the nectar of the gods??  Well, what about strawberries?  Or bananas?  Or Julian Clary?  Wait, that's not something you want in beer, but it is undoubtedly a fruit.  No, i meant the stuff that hangs from trees, not hangs around in....anyway, you get my point.  But why stop at fruits?  What about coriander seeds? Or lemon myrtle?? Or capsicum? Or grapefruit? Okay, that's a fruit, but not something you want in beer.  Or is it?

Grapefruit has this strange characteristic, bitterness, which just happens to be a characteristic of the amber fluid. So why not add to beer?  Indeed, why not add to beer to balance out the wrong type of orange peel?  Hang on, what the hell is orange peel doing in beer?  Well, i'm glad you asked.  Okay, you didn't ask, but who's blog is this?  Yours?? No, it's mine. You can go to hell.  Or Forbes.  Same thing, really.  Okay, i did get out of Forbes, so it was not eternal.  Damnation, sure, but not eternal.  In any case, i couldn't tell the difference, but to be fair, Forbes was school, so i was rather partisan about the whole place.  Regardless, bottomless pits were less of a hole than Forbes, and more pleasant smelling.

Anyway, my first foray beyond the reinheitsgebot was to do a dark beer with, hmmm, what shall i put in dark beer?  Why, prunes and caramelised pears, of course!  Well, i figured that it wouldn't overpower dark beer, but rather balance out the burntness.  All in all, a success, achieving the desired taste, with only the burden of repeatedly draining the brew.  Why didn't i just purchase some prune juice?

Emboldened to pursue fruit beer, my next effort was to source some uniquely Australian ingredients, so why stop at fruit??  By pure happenstance, i stumbled across a stall at the Royal Easter Show which sold precisely that.  After smelling an assortment of Australian herbs and spices, i settled on some lemon myrtle.  Mixing it into a Coopers Pale Ale, the result was not "lemony" at all.  It defied description, yet the flavour was positive, and dare i say, a success.  In hindsight, i'd rather have used a little less, however I can see myself making this again, and further down the track, combining it with other ingredients to make my ultimate beer, the Beer Whisperer Special™ with secret ingredients!

Anyway, that's enough for now, i have, for the first time, filtered beer to bottle!  Stay tuned for Part II some time in hopefully the not too distant future!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Just bottled my latest concoction, using dark brown sugar (96% sucrose vs 98% sucrose for standard brown sugar) and abbey ale yeast.

For the brewers, i returned a record 1001 final gravity, which is unheard of, representing essentially a result of fermented sugar, unfermented sugar and water versus a specific gravity of pure water of 1000 at 25C. That means that the beer should be very dry, having fermented virtually all of the sugars, including some or all of the molasses. The yield for this sugar is considered to be 100%, which explains the suprisingly low specific gravity.

From taste, the beer has the distinct brown sugar taste (essentially molasses), yet is crisp, but green as expected. A few weeks in the bottles should return a mature flavour of which i have hope that it will be a resounding success.

But in more important news......


Oh yes, I intend to concoct the ORIGINAL AUSSIE BREW using true blue, dinky-di, you beaut, fair dinkum, aussie ingredients, but it will require much experimentation, involving many guinea pigs (yes, that means you, Claude!!)

All welcome to suggest a name for this fabulous brew-to-be!