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CRAFT BREWING

Craft Brewing Blog

17 January 2013

Like you I've had a busy Christmas and New Years period with family, brewing and work.  I had minimal beer in kegs in December and was too busy at work and other activities to brew, I did however have a good 15litres of Cali common in the keg.  We go away camping up Coromandel every year so figured I would take some bits and pieces in crates from the shed including;

  1. Belgian triple
  2. Oatmeal stout
  3. Russian imperial stout
  4. Cider

The cider was a blackrock kit, id never made cider before so thought I would get some knowledge behind me before having a go with real cider apples this coming Autumn.

After Xmas and New years and we got home I got motivated to make a clone of 8 wired's Tall Poppy.  I had bought a bottle of this over Xmas and rediscovered just how  tasty it is!    Well I used golden promise, 3 shades of crystal, wheat, Chinook, amarillo, simcoe and cascade.  I didnt get the SG I wanted (1.075) and finished up around 1.056 which now makes it more of a pale ale.  I used pacman yeast as I mashed quite high to get a high finishing gravity for mouthfeel but its such a demon yeast its chewed its way down to 1.012!  oh well........  Its tasting and smelling fine with a good amount of simcoe and cascade in the fermentor dry hopping.  I think I will have another go and go heavier with the crystal.....Regardless I think its going to be a delicious malty, hoppy ale.  85Ibu of bitterness im hopping will balance out against the malt.  Ill let you know

 

cheers

Darrin

 

26 November 2012

Not been much going on with brewing to report lately hence the gap since my last entry.  Basically I have been working at lagering my Cali common for next Feb's beer comp.  I find lagering a real pain as far as bottling goes, I end up with no yeast in the bottled beer with no carbonation.  The first two test bottles I did were pre lagering and had a good cabonation level, unfortunately we drank both of those so I had to do some more as the comp requires two 500ml bottles.  I did four more bottles during lagering, two for tasting to make sure everything is ok.  The carbonation was down and it had a noticeable taste difference, so I had two clean more bottles......  I cleaned more bottles and agitated the yeast from the bottom and then bottled some more.  The beer is noticably more cloudy so im hoping for more yeast.  Ill let you know next week with a photo of it in the glass hopefuly with plenty of carbonation!

On a different note, how much have you read in the media - most noticeably the papers and news stories about large brewing companies trying for a piece of the craft beer market.  The reality is that yes they are collecting a piece of the market but it seems to me that its not necessarily a bad thing as the beers tend to be what I call 'stepping stone' beers.  What I mean by this is beers that are not washed out mass produced rubbish but not intense craft beers that us more seasoned craft beer lovers enjoy either.  I can remember thinking hop rocker was a really bitter beer, and Epic was a beer for the hardened hop heads.  These days my palate has adjusted, much like that of a heroin addict im looking for the next bigger more intense flavour hit.  So to get back to the big beer companies, go ahead make your beer as alot will progress to the craft beer that you and I the craft beer lover enjoy.

7 November 2012

Sorry about the delay, the two APAs are in the kegs and are very tasty.  The Citra is light bodied, bitter and very crisp where as the Amarillo has more body with the carapils and a smoother bitterness.   I still havent decided which one I prefer more, time will tell.  Last weekend I wanted to brew and with a decent starter I was committed to doing so.  The big issue was that I couldnt make up my mind on what style!  I narrowed it down to a NZ hopped IPA or a competition beer in the style of California common.  To be honest after reading the style guidelines I wasnt exactly 'enthused'.  I think the exact words I used were 'completely boring.  I decided to go with the Common and im glad I did - really interesting!  I did some research and found that you should use northern brewer and victory malt, both of which I didnt have.  The Victory malt produces a bicuity/toasty flavour which can be achieved using small amonts of other malts.  The hops I went with ended up being Chinook, im hoping that I dont regret this.  Another notable thing is that I used a different yeast as I dont have any 2112 wyeast in stock, I am reasonably confident that this one will do the job just as wellWinkI made the beer and the only real glitch I had was my strike temp was maybe a little higher than I would have liked but thats a small gripe.  Yeast was pitched at 16 degrees and its chugging away quite nicely.

If you are interested in my secret recipe flick me an email and I might just share it with youLaughing

23 October 2012

Well the Amarillo APA is sitting in the fermentor with 100 grams of Amarillo on top of it, it hopefully will be in the keg and bottles this weekend.  Cant wait to taste it actually, as I didnt have the temperature controlled fridge available It was at the mercy of the Spring Weather which has largely been good at around 17-18 degrees.  The previous batch of Citra APA was also uncontrolled but it was colder and the PACMAN yeast thrived in the cold.

With last weekend being long weekend we went away south and as usual I had plenty on keg but little in bottle.  Friday had me scratching about looking for beer to take away for the weekend.  I have plenty of Russian Imperial Stout at the moment, istout clone.  Done.  When we arrived I cracked into a bottle which was delicious I noticed, chocolate, coffe flavours.  But alll the others who tried it screwed their faces up at it, Rel reminded me and everyone its an acquired taste. I dont think so, to me stout you either like or loathe.  I drank one bottle of this 10% demon and after a days work and a drive I was feeling pretty mint and decided to call it a day.  When I awoke the next morning I was reminded of the importance of temperature controll - a thumping headache.  I have noticed with all the big beers I have made with little temperature controll have ended with me waking with thumping headaches after drinking very little.  After some research I came to the conclusion that I had a serious fusel alcohol issue and that a temperture controlled fridge was worth its weight in gold!  Not only does it minimise fusels and the consequential headache, it also allows the malt and hop flavours to shine. 

Going to Ruakura this Friday and im looking forward to some new beers.

 

report back next week

Darrin

14 October 2012

Friday night saw me gapping it from work as soon as I could as I had a brew night planned and booked with the Mrs (you got to book these things or trouble can result).  The weather was good, my starter was cranking and I was mostly organised (mostly).  I planned out on the drive home what I had to do to maximise brewing efficiency without a super late night.  Amarillo pale ale was on!

It all went well got my water on and up to temperature, got my grain sorted and crushed, hops measured etc etc.  I doughed in and trotted of inside to have dinner with Narelle and River, I smashed back some of Domino's finest along with my citra pale ale (notes later).  By then it was time to start the first runnings, I shot out and went to let it go and guess what - nothing.  Jammed solid, no matter what I did I couldnt get it unstuck.  There was a serious blockage and it wasnt going to give up easy grrrrrr.  I did this, did that, swore a little, and eventually I got it to drain..........  I had lost abput half an hour though.

The rest went well I boiled and did my Amarillo hop additions,  I ended up boiling off a little more water than I had hoped and the gravity ended up at 1.060 with around 19 litres.  I got it cooled and into fermentor and everything cleaned by 10.30pm.  Stoked.

 

The Citra APA is tasting great, Narelle is even enjoying a hoppy beer!  Well she is having hers as a shandy,  its dry and features more hop flavour than bitterness which makes it very quaffable!  I am glad I took a gamble and used the Wyeast Pacman, I did some reading and found that Rogue Brewing use it for all their beers.  Originally it was apparently a lager type yeast so it tends to have similar properties, clean and likes colder ferment temps.  I think this yeast will become my favourite!  It really lets the flavours shine from the malt and hops, it also attenuates really well.  The yeasty chaps gobbled up most of the sugars and left me with a very dry beer around 1.009.  I cant wait to taste this beer in a week or so, i'll let you know how it compares.

 

cheers

Daz

 

07 October 2012

Well this weekend meant I needed to do something with the 24 odd litres of Citra APA in the fermenter.  Narelle had something on which meant I was in charge of 'the boy'.  Those of you out there with kids will understand what its like trying to transfer beer from a fermenter and do one of the following

  1. stop child from putting hands in fermentor and or sanitised keg
  2. keep an eye on child and make sure not touching anything they shouldn't i.e. chansaw, axe, greasy motorbike parts etc
  3. hold child in one arm and do clean equipment with other
  4. make sure child isn't strangling pets
  5. make sure child isn't playing on the road
  6. stop child from grizzling even though you really have no clue what the issue is

Rest assured not an easy task, but I managed to achieve it - albeit taking an hour longer than it should have taken.  Eventually River required sleep (only after the worst tasks were completed) and so I put him to bed.  I managed to split the 24 litres between the two corneys as I really didn't fancy bottling after all i'd been through.  I forced a good amount of Co2 through each keg and put them both into the fridge, I was itching to try the beer so got a glass and found that one tap had nothing coming out of it.  It was the tap connected to the Imperial stout I had on previous and im guessing that it was blocked with old beer.  I tried the other tap and got beer, cloudy yeasty beer.  The nose is lacking in aroma and I think I was far too stingy with the dry hopping.  The colour is great and the taste i'll reserve judgement for a week or so.  I have already made adjustments to the recipe.

Taste notes to come.............

See you at the bar

Darrin