Tag Archives: homebrew

This Post, A Placeholder

Having realised my lapse in regular updates I thought I would at the very least jump on and check in with what’s going on with me and with the blog.

It’s great to see the the blog is getting plenty of hits, even after months and months of inactivity. I must admit, I didn’t know whether what I was posting was incredibly relevant – it’s easy to get very bored reading beer review after beer review. What I’ve found though is that people are still getting to the site by googling particular beers. I guess if you see something on a shelf and don’t whether to buy it, a quick search doesn’t hurt. So yeah, contrary to my own previous beliefs, people do want craft beer reviews. I’ll make sure to start posting those from now on.

I also enjoyed seeing that the Communist Drinking Game post is still the number one attraction to the blog. Over 60% of all page views are of that post, and it comes up regularly in search term reports. I guess people love the novelty. I just hope you’re all drinking responsibly. (And by responsibly, I mean craft beer.)

In a couple of weeks I’ll be hearing back about an application I submitted to study abroad in Chicago. That plan is to head over in July and try every US craft beer I can get my hands on, while still acing my microbiology and bioinformatics (shudder) classes. I daresay a lot of this will be posted here on the blog, including a trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver. I seriously cannot wait. I was hoping to build a checklist of American beers and breweries to taste and visit while I’m there, so if anyone wants to hit me up on Twitter or leave a comment with your favourite US beers, bars and breweries, that’d be great. Also, if anyone can recommend a good coffee place in Chicago, that’d be good too. I am from Melbourne, after all.

I’m also thinking about posting some stuff on my home brew, as it’s getting to the stage where I’m finding it hard to fault, and I’m my own worst critic. Brewhouse efficiency is >85% and all the flavours are coming through just as planned. Carbonation is easy as, now that I’m kegging, and I’m slowly scaling up my yeast lab. Guess I’ll post a couple of my favourite recipes and you guys can let me know what you think. I might also be building a randall into my kegerator, but I’m still in the planning stages at the moment.

So yeah, I’m feeling invigorated as the ball is starting to roll faster and faster. Watch this space and I’ll do my best to get back into the rhythm of posting.

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…Beer Drink You! (The tale of The Communist Drinking Game)

Sometimes we crave excess. It’s true. Every ale connoisseur knows it, and every saison-sipper has been there before. We all love to sample different beers but there will always be the urge to have a little bit more. The other night a few of my friends and I indulged that urge, and I’m still feeling the repercussions.

To help us on our quest we had The Communist Drinking Game (those words will always strike a little anxiety into my sensitive consumerist heart) that had previously been toned down from a game of shotting vodka, to shotting beer. I shudder to think how it would have ended if we’d tried the original.

Without further ado, the rules…

So basically everyone takes turns pulling a card and paying the penalty. There are no winners, just a sliding scale of loss. That said, it was bloody fun. Being question-master was a highlight, as was the waterfall. For the first 4 or 5 hours it was a battle to learn and remember the rules and then after that my mind seemed to have ceased committing anything to memory.

The beer we quaffed included Barons Lager (meh), Barons 88 Balls (which is really fucking terrible), Coopers Sparkling (always reliable), Fat Yak (which was heaven after the 88 Balls), Big Head Pale (I like), my own Amarillo Pale Ale (which went down rather well, if I gauged reactions correctly) and I believe there was a hefeweiss in there somewhere as well. I made it home by 3AM, and proceeded to make bacon and eggs, setting of the smoke alarm as I went.

Drinking to excess is something that I’m doing much less these days (mostly due to the price of good beer), but when you find yourself in a large group of friends all getting their drink on, it just feels oh-so-right. While I doubt I’ll be indulging my self-destructive side again for a few liver-repairing months, if you do end up in a similarly precarious situation, I suggest you give The Communist Drinking Game a go!

On a side-note, I picked up a 19L stock-pot from Big W today, marked down to $11.98. That’s madness! Also grabbed a bottle of Duvel, a Young’s London Ale, and a Franziskaner Weissbier, so expect another post within a day or two.

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The AMPA01/CHST01 Fiasco

I love Amarillo hops, and in great quantities.

Last night I found myself in a difficult predicament; I had my chocolate stout and my Amarillo pale ready to bottle, but only enough bottles for one batch (and to be honest, I’d had to drink a fair way through my Ginger beer to free up enough bottles).

I had planned on bottling the Stout as it’s been on the ferment for almost 14 days now and was due. I was then going to fly sparge the Amarillo pale (AMPA) for a secondary ferment, as this brew was so full of hops that the bottom 5L was going to be unusable if I didn’t work something out.

I prepared all my bottling gear, and turned the tap on the stout, first into a glass, as I always taste before I bottle.
The stout had a good amount of everything in it: a healthy dose of Goldings for bitterness, a touch a Pacific Gem for the hint of fruit, a solid base of chocolate malt and an extra whack of lactose.
Upon tasting, I was pleasantly surprised. It was quite balanced, though next time I daresay I either reduce the amount of Goldings or its steep time. I could taste the chocolate, the bitter was nice and strong, and it was much fuller than my earlier brews have been.

Trouble was, the brew was absolutely full of sediment. There’s Coopers-style cloudy, but this was something else. I couldn’t bottle this until I’d sorted the sediment. So I changed my plan to allow time to sort the stout out. I’m going to have to pick up some finings and clear this up, then sparge and repeat if it isn’t clear enough. I have high hopes, as it tastes epic and wonderful (and should be a fine entry into the upcoming family homebrew comp).

Without anything further to be done with the stout, I turned to the AMPA. It was so damn hoppy it clogged up the valve of my bottler, so I had to pull out my trusty handheld tea-leaf sieve and manually strain to first couple of bottles. This pulled out a fair bit of hop content, and after that I was able to continue as normal. I also marked the manually sieved bottles for later comparison. Bottling went smoothly after that.

As I had anticipated the thick layer of difficult sediment at the bottom when I was first putting it all together, I had added a bit of extra liquor to extend the mix. Coming into bottling I had started to regret this, fearing that the beer would taste weak, and that the ABV wouldn’t be as high as I’d like. As soon as I tasted it however, my fears were forgotten, and I immediately pulled for another taste. The brew was magnificent! I could already taste the apricots, and strangely enough, a peppery spiciness. The alcohol content may not be super high, but I can see myself drinking a lot of these very quickly.

It was a pretty simple recipe: 75 grams of Amarillo hops that my girlfriend paid through the teeth for, some regular pale crystal malt, and coopers standard yeast. The ratios were taken from a recipe I pulled from a homebrew website somewhere, which I’ll post the link to if I can find it.

It should be ready to drink by mid-June, and I’ll get Tully (my accomplice on the New Zealand brewery pilgrimage I’ll be making in July) to post a scathing review of it.

Now I just have to sort this stout out.

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Latest Brew

Just put an Amarillo Pale Ale on to brew. I used a kit (I was shopping in a hurry) as a base, so went with the Coopers Australian Pale.
To boost up the spicy, hoppy flavour I’ve been loving American Pales for, I added three (25g) packs of Amarillo hops, another to be dry hopped later.
This will probably be the second hoppiest ale I’ll have made so far, second to the Dark ESB, which is going to need another month before it sees the light of day.
I also cooked in 500g of Sweet Light Malt, as with winter coming up, I don’t see the need to keep it dry.
Fermenting currently at 20 degrees Celsius, to be bottled in 9 days, secondary fermentation for a further 14 days, and matured until June.
I’m quite confident this one will be one of the beers I take to the family mid-year brewing comp.

Having just bottled the ESB, I’m really not sure how it’s going to turn out. A strong late bitterness from what I tried, gentle nose, but very subtle, dry flavour. Once carbonated I’m thinking it might be an easy drinking beer, but I’m really not sure what direction the flavour will take.

Finally, I picked up some chocolate malt today, which means I’m going to have to make another chocolate stout. Another, which I’m thinking may involve vanilla additives this time, either that or cinnamon. Thoughts? I would love to hear any suggestion brewers out there might have, and I know you’re a welcoming community!

Cheers,
Jourdan

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