Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Happy 30th - Party Time

As I mentioned in my last post, it was my 30th Birthday party on the weekend. I'm not actually 30 for another week or so, but being so close to Christmas, means I have to have parties and such slightly earlier, because everyone seems to have Work Functions etc.

It wasa fantastic night, my lovely wife to be gets a big shoutout, for the theme, which was "What I want to be when I grow up". Great plan,. and the idea behind it was to re-live being young and essentially go back 10 years. So she had games like Beer Pong, Assassins and a couple of other ones, over the night.

But lets not forget the beer. I brewed 3 kegs worth of Beer (with an extra Keg from Finney, just as well too.) A Pilsner a Belgian Pale Ale, and a Black IPA. Stil a fair amount of Black IPA, which is good, so I can save that for another post.

But for this post I'll do a couple of short reviews of my Pilsner and Belgian Pale. Recipes are linked.

Promised Land Pilsner
I had some diacetyl issues on this one, (I think incomplete fermentation was the cause) so in my haste to keg the beer, I missed the completion. However not deterrred, and deciding I had to serve it anyway, I threw the keg in the fermentation fridge, which had my Warpigs IPA in it at D-Rest. Much improved, but still butter-y and butterscotch-y.
So to hide/mask that in went 28g of Motueka and 35g of Riwaka, in a bag for a week.
Boy it is quite amazing to see the difference in clarity, from just dry-hopping in the keg. Almost crystal clear prior to dry-hopping, followed by something that looks like a wheat beer coming out.
However it was the first to kick on the night, as the hops did mask some of that butter flavour, and plenty of hops came out. Completely over-powered by Riwaka of course. People said they liked it, so theres a plus.
Body was good, head retention was good, Get rid of the Diacetyl and the needs to dryhop to hide faults, and I should be onto a winner. (I'm re-brewing this as a blonde ale in a few weeks, for my friends stag party)

Back Up Plan III
This one got better reviews, as a beer people could drink consistently over the course of a night. I'll be heading back to WLP530 though, it's a much nicer yeast to work with.
Hazy Appearance, some clarity, certainly clearer than the pils. This will be 500 and wheat causing the haze. no mass amount of hops, but enough to make life interesting. Good carbonation, head retention good again, but still lacking some body, it needs something. I'm happy enough with the hopping, might help to add some more late hops, as the nelson just doesn't appear where I want it to.
I think next time, I will increase the OG and re-arrange some of the malts, and get rid of stuff I don't feel contributes to anything. I'll probably darken it up a notch, as the Darker malts may add some more complexity and make it more sticky (I'm talking darker crystals).

The Black IPA is good, needs another week or so to come together. So I'll post when I feel it is in its "Prime". This is Version 2 of Dark Storm.

I should also point out, that War Pigs IPA was kegged last night, despite the large hangover from the night before. Vermont Ale, performed well, quick start and ferment, no big krausen as I've heard from others. sitting at 1.014, which is 2 points higher than predicted. this is a clone of the Russian River Blind Pig brew done by a fellow Blogger Here.

Primary1(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Watch This Space}
10 Litre PET Carboy #1: Braggot/Honey Ale
Sour#1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Sour#2 (PET Carboy): {Watch This Space}
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces with Wai-iti / 100% Brettanomyces Saison /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Chch Homebrew Club Barleywine + Partigyle.
Keg1: War Pigs American IPA
Keg2: Dark Storm Black IPA II (Mosaic/Simcoe)
Keg3: {Nothing}
Next Beer to Brew: Belgian Blond Ale - Clown Prince

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Brewing a Braggot - Experimental Brewing

Here is the elusive post mentioned previously, regarding the special experimental beer I brewed at the same time as War Pigs IPA. I was inspired by this video: 1 Braggot, 1 Mead, & 1 Stout.
for those of you who aren't aware of what a Braggot is, a little information might be required.
Braggot: Also called bracket or brackett. Originally brewed with honey and hops, later with honey and malt—with or without hops added. Welsh origin (bragawd).
Essentially this is a Mead made with Malt and hops, to give an impression of body and more of a beer like substance to it. Here is some basic style guidelines to show you what to expect:

Aroma: Should have an identifiable honey and beer character, the honey and malt character should be balanced, although not always evenly balanced. If certain types of honey, or a certain type of base beer is used, these may add some noticeable character. Hop Aromas are optional.
Appearance: Clarity should be good to brilliant, although they may not clear as a normal mead should. Moderate head, with some retention expected. Colour can vary greatly, from light straw to Black, depending on the malts used.
Flavour: Should have identifiable character of both beer and mead, should be balance, although not always evenly. Intensity of flavours is affected by sweetness, honey variety, malts used, along with yeast and hops if any.
Mouth-feel: Should be smooth, without astringency. Body can vary from light to very full, depending on malts and sweetness. Shouldn't be thin or watery, along with cloying sweetness. stronger version will have some alcohol flavours, carbonation can be still, but many choose to carbonate.
Overall Impression: A harmonious blend of mead and beer, with the distinctive characteristics of both. A wide range of results are possible, depending on the base style of beer, variety of honey and overall sweetness and strength. Beer flavours tend to somewhat mask typical honey flavours found in other meads.

Given this was an experimental beer, and I have absolutely no idea, how it is going to come out, and without proper fermentation temperatures. (There will be plenty of temp swing in my pantry). I chose to stick with Extract and grains, which is something I hadn't done for quite sometime.
the process is simple, I have listed my process below, and this may or may not be correct, but it seemed to work OK for me. As it was literally bubbling within about 3 hours, considering I used Dry Yeast.

1- Clean and sanitise your equipment. Simple enough, and something every home-brewer knows about. Starsan and cleaners are good, be sur to rinse the cleaner prior to sanitisation.

2- As this was a 10 Litre batch, I ran with the following
100g Gladfields Dark Crystal
100g Gladfields Shepherds Delight
50g   Gladfields Pale Chocolate

Heat 6 litres of Water in a pot, to 67deg C. Add crushed grains in a bag to this for 20 mins. while this is going on, heat an additional 2-3 litres of water to 75 degrees, for "Sparging". 

3- Once steeping of grains is complete put these into the 75 degree water and leave to soak. The un-sparged wort, is to be brought to boil, and just before the boil, add the "sparge" water to the pot.

4- Bring the total wort to a boil and boil for 60 mins, ad the following.
1 x Can Extra Light Liquid Malt Extract (Black Rock, 1.7kg)
10g Zythos hops (9.7%AA) @ 60 mins.
15g Zythos hops (9.7%AA) @ Flame-out 

5- Chill wort after 5 mins of hop-standing. Immersion Chiller used. Chill until it reaches an acceptable temperature. removed 3-400ml of hot wort using a sanitised jug.

6- While the wort is chilling, take 1.5kg of Honey (I used Rata Honey from the Lyttelton Market) and heat for 1:30-2 minutes, or until soft and more watery and place directly into the carboy.
the hot wort you removed earlier, should be added to the empty pottles of honey, and shaken to get all the sugary goodness out of it.

7- Once chilled and some of the proteins have dropped, fill the carboy up with the wort and shake until all honey has dissolved in the liquid. (This is hard work, as the wort is cool, so won't dissolve quite as quickly)

8- Top up to 10litres with Boiled & chilled water. Shake again to make sure its all mixed in.

9- Take gravity reading, and add 1 tsp of yeast nutrient, and 2x packets of Fermentis S-04 yeast (2 Packs was easiest, as I would of ended up throwing away half a packet otherwise.) I hit 1.093 including the Honey.

10- Fit a blow off tube, and let it ferment for 2-3 weeks. This is where I'm up to in the process.
I was aiming for a dark amber coloured al, with the honey all mixed in, a small amount of Chocolate malt should be present, but mostly some sweet caramels from the darker crystals, and plenty of honey, should make for an interesting beer/mead/braggot. It's nearly two weeks in and just stopped bubbling away, so I'll be giving it another week to clean itself up a bit, before racking to secondary, and then bottling from there. I don't have a name for it yet, but in my next post I'll be sure to have something, along with the official Brewtoad Recipe.
This is going to make for a very interesting experiment, and some local homebrewers are very keen to have a bottle (Which I'm happy to oblige) to taste and see what the fuss is all about.

On a separate note, I have put my Pils back into the Kegging fridge, and found after a couple of days a greatly improved, although far from perfect beer. the diacetyl, has died down considerably, but when warm, there is still the butterscotch type flavour, which is so distinctive at higher temperatures. So I decided to add 28g of Motueka and 35g of Riwaka, to try and hide the issue. If it doesn't work I also have a backup keg from Finney of His NZ Pale Ale. I'll be posting some reviews next week of my party beers.

I'll also be adding to my Sour Beer collection in the coming weeks/months, so watch this space.

Primary1(Plastic): War Pigs IPA (Blind Pig Clone)
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Watch This Space}
10 Litre PET Carboy: Braggot/Honey Ale
Sour#1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Sour#2 (PET Carboy): {Watch This Space}
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces with Wai-iti / 100% Brettanomyces Saison /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Chch Homebrew Club Barleywine + Partigyle.
Keg1: Backup Plan III Belgian Pale Ale
Keg2: Dark Storm Black IPA II
Keg3: Promised Land NZ Pilsner (w/ Dryhops.)
Next Beer to Brew: The Clown Prince of Crime Belgian Blond (Brugse Zot Inspired)

Monday, 24 November 2014

Hop Federation Beer Tasting

I was going to start this post with some information surrounding a special experimental beer I brewed yesterday, this was in addition to the IPA I brewed up for Xmas. But more on that in another post. It is a slightly longer term brew, so rather than make you wait until a taste test, I’ll write up some information on the process I used, and how it was done.

But for this post I want to talk about a prize I won recently, and some tasting notes on that.
The prize was a 4-pack of 500ml beers, and a t-shirt, from a Brewery in Riwaka called Hop Federation.
While the brewery itself has been around for sometime under the name of Monkey Wizard, it is only recently that the business was sold, and taken over by Simon Nicholas, the former brewer at Hallertau in Auckland. He made the move from Auckland to Nelson, and I personally think it’s a good move. I mean who wouldn’t want to live in one of the sunniest places in this country. Not only that, but they live very close to the hop growing region. (I personally picked the prizes up from the brewery, and got to drive past them.) This give away was for their first Birthday.

And what a prize, some brief tasting notes are below for you to read, and if you haven’t tried any of their beers, you should definitely get in there, they’re brewing some good stuff.

So first up was the Golden Ale.
Very nice, and won bronze? At the National beer awards here in NZ. Nice light colour, good clarity, light malt and light hop flavour, very much like a pilsner, but less crisp, due to the ale yeast I assume. A good introduction to craft beer for anyone new. Good on a nice warm day.

NZ Pale Ale: Green Label
Nice Light orange copper colour, good carbonation and head. Nice malt base, typical for a Pale Ale. Hop bitterness is good, the only real comment I’ll say is it lacks some hop flavour. It could do with more hop punch from the NZ Hops. But another fine effort.

Red IPA – Red Label
My personal favourite. Pours a beautiful red/amber colour, plenty of head. Malt base is perfect, caramel sweet ness and maltyness, with a smack of hops, plenty of hop flavour, some slight astringency, bitterness is around where it should be, it could probably handle more bitterness, but it certainly doesn’t need it.

Brown Ale – Brown Label
This one is slightly different, supposedly an American Brown Ale, but built more like a dark lager. (Breweries words, not  mine) Lovely brown colour, some ruby highlights. Lacks hop character, quite crisp, this is where I think they mention the lager style, which makes a bit more sense now.
In my mind, this fits much better with an English Brown Ale style. (A greatly under-appreciated style) Malt wise, very good, hints of chocolate and caramel, underlying with the nice crispness I mentioned before.

So, all in all, some very nice beers, this is just their core range of brews. They have seasonals, and other beers available, Check them out here:

A big thanks for the prize. Thoroughly enjoyed it, and Happy birthday of course.

On a separate note, I have an update on two things: 1- New Pot has arrived, for a system upgrade (I am possibly looking at a 3-vessel system, and this pot will be my mashtun, I will also be able to run BIAB with it if I feel so inclined.) and 2- My Pilsner has been returned to the Keg Fridge, and after a small taste test, the Diacetyl is still apparent, however after almost a week of D-Rest in the Ferm ?Fridge, beside my Black IPA, this has greatly improved. I'm still wondering about Hopping in the keg, and have a bag of hops at the ready, I will test again next saturday to confirm how it tastes, prior to deciding.

Primary1(Plastic): War Pigs IPA (Blind Pig Clone)
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Nothing}

Small Batch Carboy: Braggot/Honey Ale
Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces with Wai-iti / 100% Brettanomyces Saison /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown
Keg1: Backup Plan III Belgian Pale Ale
Keg2: Dark Storm Black IPA II
Keg3: Promised Land NZ Pilsner 
Next Beer to Brew: The Clown Prince of Crime Belgian Blond (Brugse Zot Inspired)

Saturday, 15 November 2014

100% Brettanomyces - Side by Side

As promised, I've posted some notes below of my two 100% Brettanomyces Saison, to compare the differences between a plain version, and dry-hopped version.

Before I do, a little bit about the special yeast/culture that is Brettanomyces.  i've got a couple of links below to get people started.

All About Brettanomyces - Mad Fermentationist
What is 100% Brett Beer? - Bear-Flavoured Ales
Some really good insight into Brettanomyces and how it all works.

So, for my recipe formulation I wanted to remove most of the hops and have the yeast really shine. I found that with the Wild West IPA, now that the hops have faded, the yeast is shining, and i wanted that from the start, and as it ages, I'm hoping (through mostly cold conditioning) that I'll end up with a nice Orval type/Rayon Vert style beer. I added some rye, to give the beer a touch of spice, and NZ Hops, such as Motueka, are perfect for almost any style of beer. From Pilsners to IPA's. the recipe for those interested is here: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces Saison

Firstly the Standard Non-Dryhopped version: (Left)
Aroma: Typical Bretty Aroma, Funky earthy, Slight Hay/Horsey funk. Very Nice. I've had a few comments from friends who've tried the beer. I think I've even inspired some less experienced brewers.
Appearance: Light and bright Golden Colour, some haze, from the brettanomyces. I have found that brettanomyces beers never really clear up completely, they hold some form of haze, howeverthis is considerably clearer than Wild West.theres 2 reasons for this. 1 is the Longer Primary Fermentation, I ran a 7-8 week primary, and the other is kettle finings.
Flavour: Light malt flavour, a touch of spice, very very minimal though. No hops to speak of. The dominating part of the flavour is the yeast, plenty of funk. Nice dry finish
Mouthfeel: Light, not thin in anyway, nice dry finish, carbonation is good. I expect as time goes on, that the carbonation will increase.
Overall: Very nice beer, the dry finish and lightness of the beer works really well. I was told more malt backbone is required, and I kind of agree to a certain extent, pinch of aromatic would work well, and a possible increase in the rye malt, might be in order.

Onto review number 2: (Right)
Original Sin - 100% Brettanomyces Saison Dry-hopped version.
As these are essentially the same beer, I'll just note the differences between the two.
Aroma: Considerably more aromatic, theres two reasons again for this. (this is my observation, so not necessarily the case) A hit of Citrus from the Wai-iti hops i dry-hopped with, as this was only 25g in 10 litres of beer, I wasn't expect it to punch me in the face, nice and subtle. the yeast aromatics are increased as well from the hops, it seems the yeast and hops work really well, and as per the articles posted above, the yeast converts those aromatics to another enzyme and just adds to it.
Appearance: More haze from the hops, which gives a shade difference, but I would call them the same colour. Carb is good.
Flavour: Citrus and yeast. the hops have again added nicely to this. I like what Wai-iti hops offer, similar with less smack in the face than riwaka.
Mouthfeel: Light body, nice carbonation, almost heavier in body then the other one. I'll put this down to the hops.
Overall: Dry finish, nice hop character, subtle hop character, but its there. I do get some oxidation, which in Brett's case assists in the flavour.

If i had to choose which one I prefer, as they're pretty much the same beer. i would choose the standard plain, the reason is just because its plain, it lets the yeast shine, and keep things nice and clean. less phenols.
For anyone thinking about using Brettanomyces in their beers, I highly recommend it.

On a separate note, i have diacetyl. The Promised Land NZ Pilsner have some minor Diacetyl issues. I've put the keg into the fermentation fridge at 21 degrees, to try and clean some of it up. I don't have high hopes for this beer, but I won't give up on it.....yet.
Next up, Dark Storm II. which started 4-5 points higher than previous 1.066-67

Primary1(Plastic): Dark Storm Black IPA II (Mosaic/Simcoe)
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Nothing}
Small Batch Carboy: {Nothing}
Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces with Wai-iti / 100% Brettanomyces Saison /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Shadow Liberation(SJPORR) Porter /Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown
Keg1: Backup Plan III Belgian Pale Ale
Keg2: {Nothing}
Keg3: Promised Land NZ Pilsner
Next Beer to Brew:  Not sure, Something has to go down next week, Most likely an IPA. I'm also toying with a California Common, or Smoked Scottish Export 80/-

Saturday, 1 November 2014

NHC2014, Sons of Liberty II

This weekend, was really good, very nice and relaxed, all except for the National homebrew Competition 2014. Plenty of beers were entered, including 7 by me. Given the disappointment from last year, I didn't hold high hope, and decided to take the whole thing less seriously.

The day started ridiculously well, with a Bronze ale from the first of my beers tasted.
Heres a snapshot off twitter:
Yep thats right my English Brown Ale, a really tasty beer, nice esters cleanly fermented, and nice dark fruit and coffee flavours. The only issues they had were head retention, which I know all about.
they also suggested it was slightly more Porter like, given the higher roasty flavours present.

Problem is that's where it ended, lol.
Followed on its coat tails by a 9/50.... Isolation: El-dorado. i entered it in Golden ale (thats where the malt bill sits, but slightly too hoppy for style.) the issues they said were mainly fermentation issues, which is helpful, it never really cleared up, and TBH I'm not a massive fan ofthe beer in general.
3rd off the rank was my Porter, which for those who pay attention to this blog will know this is a recipe I really enjoy. Some nice hop flavour, with plenty of roast character.
so onto the rating..... 8/50.
Whoops, some issues there. they said too estery too bitter and not enough roasty flavour, this is partly my fault for not putting notes in to say it was an american version. they also said too sweet, which i know, but I'm still trying to figure out how to fix the attenuation issues. (maybe a yeast like WLP090 would help matters?)

then the rest were as follows:
100% Brett Saison (Plain version of Original Sin) 28/50 I placed this in Belgian Specialty, they said not belgian enough, given it's 100% Brettanomyces, I'm not surprised. 
Original sin - Dryhoppedwith Wai-iti: 25/50, in American Brett Beer category. Lacks Malt character (I do want to go at this again, with a better mix of Wai-iti and Motueka) the changes that needto be made is probably an addition of something like Aromatic to the same percentage of the cara-pils used.
Shadow Liberation - Bourbon porter: 26/50 - Barrel-Aged Dark Ale. Said too thin for style.
Red Barron Amber - 20/50: Barrel aged Pale to Amber ale - Possible Infection brewing, I'd suggest it's from  bugs getting in while barrel-aging.

so that all the entered beers, a big thanks to the organiser and the entrants, here in Chch, some of the more regular members ofthe group got together for a BBQ, and to try some of the beers entered. a nice day, some great beers, and very interesting to see the notes involved.

Here is the Sons of Liberty II Beers, a small amount of tasting notes below, considering 8/50 I'm nothopefuly in anyone actually brewing this apart from me. lol.

Aroma: Sweet malt and Chocolate, some fruity hops/grapefruit.
Appearance: Clear Dark colour, good head retention perfect Porter colour.
Flavour: Chocolate malts and grapefruit/citrus flavour, plenty of bitterness, which is about where I like it. too sweet for style, this finished at 1.020 which I'm tryingto sort.
Mouthfeel: good mouthfeel, the Maris Otter change from ale Malt has done wonders with this.
Overall: I really like this beer, as does the mrs. but needs to dry out by 2 more points, Citrus/grapefruit is slightly an issue, but thats more of a hops thing than anything else.

I'll have a taste test up of the two version of Original Sin up soon. I'll probably not bother with the Isolation El-dorado beer, although I will say this, I like what this particular hop offer, lemon/lime/citrus notes, not a huge hop aroma, quite subdued.

Primary1(Plastic): Back-Up Plan III (WLP500)
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Nothing}
Small Batch Carboy: {Nothing}
Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces with Wai-iti / 100% Brettanomyces Saison /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Shadow Liberation(SJPORR) Porter /Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown
Keg1: Sons of Liberty: Unfinished Business
Keg2: Isolation El-Dorado Golden Ale
Keg3: Promised Land NZ Pilsner
Next Beer to Brew: Dark Storm Black IPA II (Mosaic and Centennial)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Brewing the Perfect IPA

Right so, I was writing this on the forum, and figured a nice post on hops and making a good IPA is in order. I'll post some references as well to back up my so called theories.
Right so, as brewers (I assume all of you who read this are brewing to some extent) enjoy a good hop-bomb every now and then, some more than others. I'm certainly no expert when it comes to big Hoppy beers, hell I've had some pretty dire ones (Dragon IPA was one of them, not so much a hop issues though).
First some reference guides to what I have been looking through for awhile:

The Mad Fermentationist - 11 tips for Making Better Hoppy Beer

Homebrew Talk Forum - Top 10 Tips for Making a Super Hoppy IPA

Mr Malty - The Secret to big Hop Aroma and Flavour - the C Hops

Fresher Hops - Here in NZ we have an abundance of fresh citrussy zesty hops. Fresh Vacuum sealed hops are key. Seal them, and put them in the freezer if you don't seal properly, frozen hops will last longer.

Experiment - Sure they might not all work out, but there are so many unique varieties outthere, especially in this country, so why not have a go, at least you'll knowwhat character it brings to the table. I haven't really done any SMaSH beers, but a few single hop beers here and there have given me an idea of what each of these hops bring to the table.

Late Hopping - Go big or go Home, no recipe is un-flawed as its all personal tastes, so the way I am beginning to brew hoppier beers is with big late additions, not necessarily for flavour additions, but big flameouts. for example Dark Storm 10min - 30g, Flameout - 60g. this is twice the amount of the Flavour addition. you'll get some bitterness from it, but it is minimal compared to the 60min bittering addition.

Dry-Hopping - My Thoughts on Dry-hopping, in particular for IPA's is go big or go home. Dark Storm had 80grams of Mosaic in there. It'll suck up some of your precious beer, but your flavour contribution and aroma will be better off for it. Aroma of something is one of the foremost component of tasting anything, so the how it smells is very important.

Keep it Simple - Keep your Malt bill simple, lots of small additions of thing will only make your beer muddled, and it won't mesh as well as it could do.

Caramel/Crystal Flavours - This is an interesting one, theres not really a correct way to do it, due to personal preference, but if you want a Dry IPA with plenty of hop punch, keep your Crystals Low (This is inline with style generally), if you like it Maltier and slightly sweeter, yo can add a little more, or add in another colouring of crystal.

So going back slightly, I was looking at some of the Stone Clone Recipes online, namely the Ruination IPA, it is suggested this is very close to the real thing, some even calling it cloned. But a beer being "Cloned" is all subjective, you look at a recipe that says it tastes like ruination, it has the same ingredients as ruination, but are the hop timings correct? Is the malt bill too dry? too Sweet? there's no real right answer here, as its all personal preference and individual taste.

But here is what I noted about this recipe in particular:
The bittering is high which makes sense, but the lack of big additions at flameout makes me wonder, and theres no mention of people making larger additions at flameout.
My thoughts are as follows, and this falls in line with stuff I've read suggesting, big late hop additions for aroma/flavour at flameout, which should in theory be increased from those additions made around the 10 min mark. I saw this recipe and it seems to fit with my flameout addition theories.

Now theres a 1.5oz centennial at flamout with an additional 0.5oz of chinook. 
The second part of this, is that another increase in hops should be used for dryhopping, to get the other flavours to pop and the aroma to jump out of the glass at you. so my suggestions if going 100% Centennial would be 3-3.5oz of Dryhop.
Again this is just personal taste/preference, but going forward I think it's time I look further i nto the schedules of these types of beers.

Primary1(Plastic): Promised Land NZ Pilsner (to be Kegged for Lagering Fri/Saturday)
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Nothing}
Small Batch Carboy: {Nothing}
Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces W/ Wai-iti / 100% Brettanomyces Saison /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Shadow Liberation(SJPORR) Porter /Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown
Keg1: Sons of Liberty: Unfinished Business
Keg2: Isolation El-Dorado Golden Ale
Keg3: {Nothing}
Next Beer to Brew: Back-up Plan III (WLP500)

Monday, 6 October 2014

Black Sheep Brown ale - Recipe and Tasting

Review and tasting time, (It's morning so, I'm not drinking one now.)
The Recipe is based off this: Riggwelter Brown Ale
Here is my recipe: Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown ale

I bottle conditioned the beer, as I didn't have Keg room. I threw the beer into a recent Case swap, and I find in particular the WY1469 yeast so important to the flavour and ester profile.

Appearance: Very Dark Brown Good clarity, The head retention is an issue on this beer despite the Torrified wheat used duringthe mash.
Aroma: Yeast esters and plenty of chocolate, small amount of roasty-ness, which is a nice touch. i did get a couple of over-carbed bottles, due to some remnants of previous yeasts. Same reports from case-swappers

Flavour: Pretty similar to the aroma, Plenty of Chocolatey sweetness, and Yeast esters. the yeast is so important in this beer, as it drives the esters while remaining very clean along the way. Carbonation is fine, bar a few bottles/gushers from bottle infections.

Mouthfeel: Good mouthfeel, medium body, plenty of maltbackground keeping the nice and juicy, i don't find the beer thin at all. Head retention as I said above is an issue, I'm not really sure why its such a problem.

Overall: Very nice beer, Sessionable at 4.9%abv good mouthfeel, need to fix head retention issues, this is the first beer for awhile, where I've had this problem, no lacing, and the head just drops. I'm assuming theres a protein somewhere that is causing it. when I make this again, I'll probably lighten it up slightly, the gladfields chocolate malt is quite dark, Just back off on the choc malt, and possibly add a touch of Dark Crystal, or Shepherds delight, mainly for some caramel sweetness.
I'll keep the torrified wheatat this stage, it seems to add some mouthfeel, and a nice nuttiness to the beer, which adds complexity and nice flavour.

Primary1(Plastic): Promised Land NZ Pilsner
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours):  10lt of Original sin 100% Brettanomyces Saison( dryhopped with Wai-iti)
Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces Saison /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Shadow Liberation(SJPORR) Porter /Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown
Keg1: Sons of Liberty Porter
Keg2: El-dorado Empire of gold Pale Ale
Keg3: {Nothing}
Next Beer to Brew: Back-up Plan III (WLP500)

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

SJPORR & re-Brewing NHC Beers.

Well, the SJPORR challenge NZ Leg is over, and we have the rating for every beer entered.
  1. 38.06 - DA044NZ, Dan Filihiahekava
  2. 37.08 - NA038NZ, Nathan Mckenzie
  3. 36.76 - GR032NZ, Grant R Baker
  4. 36.00 - PA100NZ, Paul Finney
  5. 35.31 - PA911NZ, Paul Wicksteed
  6. 34.97 - SA198NZ, Sam Ryan
  7. 34.86 - ST083NZ, Steven Bellward
  8. 34.64 - AD093NZ, Adrian Woodhouse
  9. 34.55 - SC167NZ, Scott Bennison
  10. 34.31 - RO028NZ, Robert Hough
  11. 34.00 - KE057NZ, Kerry Gray
  12. 33.94 - DA097NZ, Damon Taylor
  13. 33.88 - OL159NZ, Oliver Drake
  14. 33.83 - EU199NZ, Eugene Black
  15. 33.73 - DA189NZ, Darryn Oakly
  16. 33.72 - IA110NZ, Ian Watson
  17. 33.42 - VE158NZ, Veronica Hale
  18. 32.92 - MI190NZ, Mike Allan
  19. 32.25 - ZI163NZ, Zimba Mckenna
  20. 31.47 - AL041NZ, Allan Sheblom
  21. 31.11 - ZA031NZ, Zane Lawrence Maxwell
  22. 31.07 - JO142NZ, Jonathan Saunders & Shayne Forrest
  23. 30.75 - CA187NZ, Cam Ellis
  24. 30.36 - TY056NZ, Tyron Johnson
  25. 29.59 - MA040NZ, Matt Downer
  26. 29.22 - BR096NZ, Brayden Rawlinson
  27. 28.82 - BR176NZ, Brent Sarten
  28. 28.11 - JA208NZ, Jason Franssen
  29. 27.81 - KA107NZ, Karl Hayes
  30. 27.31 - MA197NZ, Matthew Mckay
  31. 27.01 - DE084NZ, Dean Coleborn
  32. 25.72 - PA126NZ, Paul Low
  33. 25.28 - SP191NZ, Springer Browne

    Congratulations to the top 3, Nathan, Grant, and Dan. all worthy winners.
    As you'll see a respectable 10th Place for me, I'm pretty happy with that. heres a picture (albeit blurry).
    Displaying FullSizeRender.jpg
    so as you know the recipe was a robust Porter, with Bourbon soaked Oak chip, I could onlky get light toast chips. but the amount of comments on the oak flavour was quite surprising. I believed this to be the bourbon flavour (from the original oaky bourbon flavour). But anyways, i like it, and the mrs. likes it also.

    Some Stats from the challenge.
    Average Score: 34.31
    top score: 43
    Lowest Score: 20
    Best Comment: "A well balanced beer with the bourbon flavour taking  second place to the beer which is how it should be, leaves a nice bitter aftertaste"
    Worst comment: "Very Thin..."
    My Personal Favourite: "Not a robust Porter" (I like this comment solely because it actually doesn't make sense)

    So a short Review by myself:
    Aroma: Slight chocolate malt, and Plenty of Bourbon, not hot smelling, just a nice honey bourbon Aroma.
    Appearance: Nice Dark colour, and  leavesa nice lacing. clarity is as good as can be.
    Flavour: nice oaky bourbon, coupled with Nice slight roast flavour, plenty of chocolate malt. Carbonation is good. to me theres a slight sweetness there, which lingers.
    Mouthfeel: Good to me, slight thin-ness, but nothing major.
    Overall: Lovethis beer, plenty of Oak, Bourbon, and roasty chocolate. good carbonation, no faults from what I can taste. clean fermentation.

    NOW, onto my top 3 Beers
    3rd: GR032NZ - Baltic Porter - Grant Baker, lovely Baltic porter Good Carbonation, and plenty of malty Flavour.

    2nd: this was a tie, between two beers for me. A Belgian Tripel DA097NZ, and an oaked Imperial IPA SC167NZ.The reason forthe tie, is mainly because two different beers, gave me two different perceptions. both were well made, and flavourful. the IIPA with oak reacted well with the hops. the hops were well over the top as expected, and the oak seemed to compliment it. Where as the Belgian Tripel, just epitomised what the style is, Big, sweet, and Crisp all at the same time, just very well made.

    1st: this beer won for me By a Long Long way, DA044NZ, hidden Agenda Imperial Stout. this beer, was Big bold roasty, Chocolatey, Smooth, There was little to no alcohol flavour and Aroma. Well made well fermented, clean and just lovely.

    so while i didn't make the finals, i learned alot and If it happens again, I'm really keen to take part.
    Also as per my Previous post, a big thanks to the organisers of the event, and long may it continue.

    On a side note, I'll post a review of my Brown Ale very soon, and I just pulled myself a pint of the New Sons of Liberty Porter, at 10 days in the keg, its very nice, although too sweet given the 1.020 finish, i get a feeling it won't be the winner I've been hoping for.

    this weekend also marks teh brew-date for my first ever Pilsner. this will be for my 30th birthday party coming up. I'll be kegging my blonde ale as well, I brewed empire of gold again, but hopped it up. so I'll post a review up soon.

    Primary1(Plastic): Empire of Gold: El-Dorado Session Pale Ale
    Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
    Primary3(Bretts/Sours): Original Sin 100% Brett Saison (WLP644)
    Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
    Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
    Bottled: 100% Brett Wild West IPA / Shadow Liberation(SJPORR) Porter /Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown
    Keg1: Sons of Liberty Porter
    Keg2: {Nothing}
    Keg3: {Nothing}
    Next Beer to Brew: Plainsmen NZ Pilsner

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

#2014 SJPORR Challenge - New Zealand Leg

Its is Time,.... It is Time!

The SJPORR Challenge is Upon us here in NZ, I've received my Beers, and I've actually reviewed a few. Some lovely beers, with Plenty of thought going into alot of them.
From Pales, Through Oak aged IPA's, All the Way to 13% Russian Imperial Stouts. the variance is huge.

So, for those of you who aren't aware of the challenge (There won't be many of you), a random selection of 20 beer is to be reviewed by each entrant and marks out of 50, based on the BJCP style guidelines. the general Idea is this:
Aroma out of 12
Appearance out of 3
Flavour out of 20
Mouhfeel out of 5
and Overall impression out of 10.
Rated and judged by your Home-Brewing Peers.
Here is the recipe I brewed again for it:

A special thanks goes out to the organisers of the very first worldwide Homebrew competition, namely all the Hub organisers.
Along with a couple of special mentions for the following people:
SJPORR The man himself, he came up with the idea, and ran with it a few years ago, and its taken off. you can check his youtube channel out HERE.
The other is Paul Wicksteed, the NZ hub. during Beervana Weekend, he spent a significant amount of time packaging entries and general organisation, he even managed to get to Beervana and have a great time. His Channel is HERE.
I'll be sending a small care package with a couple of beers in for Paul soon.

So cheers guys for the great Challenge/competition, and long may it continue.
What I will do when the NZ Leg is over is post up pictures of my top 3 beers, along with some of my thoughts/notes on each one. (No Scores though sorry).

On a side note I've had to adjust my brew Schedule , so no American Stout unfortunately. It's Straight to my Porter for the NHC2014, I've made a couple of Adjustments to it, so the recipe will be posted for that soon.

The Entries I received, all looking good with Labels.


Primary1(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): Original Sin 100% Brett Saison (WLP644)
Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: US05 Wild West IPA /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Shadow Liberation(SJPORR) Porter /Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown
Keg1: Marching on Together Yorkshire Bitter
Keg2: Red Barron Barrel Aged Ale
Keg3: {Nothing}
Next Beer to Brew:  Sons of Liberty American Porter II

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Wild West Brettanomyces IPA

Tasting notes for my Brett IPA, this was brewed with Oli and it's safe to say, I'm very happy with the way this came out, it needs some clarity but other than that, its good. Now we split the batch with WLP644, and did 10Lt with US-05 so I'll evaluate each individually.
WLP644 Version
Appearance: Very Pale Golden Colour, Hazy, Most likely a Mixture of Wheat Proteins, Brett yeast, in suspension as well probably. Lacing clings to the glass.
Aroma: Tart, Funky, Strong Grapefruit type Aroma. It's quite amazing how different this smalls to a normal IPA/Pale Ale.
Flavour: Over-Ripe Grapefruit, some Pineapple Flavours, generally a Tropical Fruit bowl, I get a good Tartness coming from the yeast now, which is nice, and should change over the coming weeks. Malt Backbone is there, but in the background, very much.
Mouthfeel: We carbed this lower expecting the carb to rise as the brettanomyces eats away... Not sure if this will happen, but it gives a silkier mouthfeel. FG 1.010
Overall: great beer, Carb a tad higher, to help the hops go pop. turned out exactly as we expected it to.
US-05 Version
Appearance: Funnily Enough this started out as Hazy as the Brett version, this was due to a lack of Finings in the beer, we completely forgot about it. The most recent bottle however is almost completely clear, colour wise, it is actually darker than the brett version. Note the picture below.
Aroma: Hops lead the way in this one, no funk or Tart smell. Nelson Sauvin leads the way, followed up nicely by the Kohatu, which gives a peachy smell.
Flavour: Again, Nelson Sauvin hops, Peachy Kohatu, Slight Sweetness from the malt, with is nice.
Mouthfeel: Body is right where I like it full and slighttly sweet, without being cloying. Finished at 1.014. More carb than the other, makes the hops pop nicely.
Overall: Good beer, Nice Pale ale style beer. good body, carbonation etc.
WLP644 is on the left, US-05 on the right.
I've recently pitched the WLP644 into a Saison Style Beer, I'll let it sit for awhile.
Primary1(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): Original Sin 100% Brett Saison (WLP644)
Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: US05 Wild West IPA /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Shadow Liberation(SJPORR) Porter /Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown
Keg1: Marching on Together Yorkshire Bitter
Keg2: Red Barron Barrel Aged Ale
Keg3: {Nothing}
Next Beer to Brew:  Secret Crusade American Stout

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Marching on Together Bitter

Tasting Notes;
Abv 3.8%.  NZ Styrian Goldings, and Riwaka.
Marching on Together Yorkshie Bitter
Appearance: Pours a golden Amber colour, pretty clear. although it took some time to drop clear in the keg. Nice fluffy white head.
Aroma: Slight Yeast Esters and Some Riwaka, along with some back up from a little malt. so far so good.
Flavour: Light Tasting, easy drinkers, Plenty of Yeast flavour and nice riwaka Backup. This wasn't dry-hopped. Plenty of hop flavour to keep thing interesting. Light malt, but given the low abv its to be expected.
Mouthfeel. Light/Medium, could do with a little more to it. but hey for a 3.8% beer I can have a few of these.
Overall: good beer, very tasty, I'm halfway through the keg already. Easy to drink. ext time, I'd like to make it darker, almost amber colour. Otherthan that I wouldn't change alot.

as Promised, here is the recipe for the Oud Bruin we all brewed up.
Hail Caesar Oud Bruin
Next up: tastingnotes for my brett IPA.

Primary1(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): Original Sin 100% Brett Saison (WLP644)
Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: US05 Wild West IPA /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Shadow Liberation(SJPORR) Porter /Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown
Keg1: Marching on Together Yorkshire Bitter
Keg2: Red Barron Barrel Aged Ale
Keg3: {Nothing}
Next Beer to Brew:  Original Sin, 100% Brettanomyces Saison WLP644 (Going in this weekend)

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Red Barron Ale

Finally, we emptied the barrel during the week. I've got a picture or two to post up below, which I'll do, so we took a hand-pull or two from it. Initial tastes are surprising. Better than I expected, mainly because a 6% beer in an oak barrel, open to oxidation etc. might've been a tad optimistic in my eyes.
We probably should've done a Strong Scotch Ale or something like that... but I digress.

Onto the transfer, I got 30 litres of Red Beer into kegs, along with a transfer of the Oud Bruin into the Barrel, which didn't take as long as I thought it would. this will sit there for a good 12-18 months on the bugs we pitched. then kegged as per the red one. But that'll be sometime away.
I'll post the Oud Bruin recipe in my next post, which will finally be tasting note and recipes for both my bitter and my Brett IPA.

Coming out of the fermenter, is the Brown ale, and in goes a Brett Saison, which will sit for awhile (two reasons, Conditioning time, and Laziness) Plus I'll have plenty of beer to drink.
After that Robust Port for NHC, and I seem to be changing tact on the other 1-2 beers for NHC. I'm now thinking an Imperial Black IPA, essentially an imperial version of the Dark storm produced awhile back. I know its a nice beer, so if I can get it right.

Something else I'll be doing on each post is a small snippet of what beers are:
Upcoming, Primary Fermentation, Secondary Fermentation. Bottled Beers, Kegged beers, and so on. It'll give you guys and idea what sort of tasting notes to expect in the coming period, so here goes.

Primary1(Plastic): Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown Ale (Bottle this weekend)
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): See Next to Brew Below
Secondary1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: US05 Wild West IPA /100% Brett Wild West IPA / Shadow Liberation(SJPORR) Porter
Keg1: Marching on Together Yorkshire Bitter
Keg2: Red Barron Barrel Aged Ale
Keg3: {Nothing}
Next Beer to Brew:  Original Sin, 100% Brettanomyces Saison WLP644 (Going in this weekend)

So upcoming notes as you'll see from above is the Brett IPA, the US05 IPA, the Yorkshire Bitter, the Red Barron Red Ale, and of course (a wee way down the line) the Black Sheep Yorkshire Brown. Plenty on the cards.
So without Further a due, here is a picture of the refill of  the barrel.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Blogs of Note

I thought in my down time I'd chuck a small post as the time is coming for a couple of review of a couple of my beers, including recipes.

But before that I figured it was time I put up a few blogs I actually pay attention to.

The first one needs no introduction to Avid Homebrewers, The Mad-Fermentationist
This ones a goodies, its been up and running for sometime, and includes in depth recipe analysis of Sour beers Brett beers, and some test batches for a small brewery in San Diego... Modern Times.
If your into Sour beers etc. this is the place for plenty of information.

Second: Bear Flavoured Ales.
this is another Brett beer/sour beer Blog, but has plenty of information about different yeasts, bugs and brett etc. Plenty of hops too..

Third: Bertus Brewery This guy love his hops, he brews mostly IPA's, but scattered throughout are a few gem recipes for stouts, scottish ales and some others of note.
He also got married awhile back, and given I'm planning to brew the beer for my own Wedding, it's quite good for me.

and Lastly: The Perfect Pint A blog focussed more on traditional beer styles, English bitters etc.
Great information surrounding British yeasts, dry, liquid etc. He also has a few more interesting recipes scattered in here, IPA's/Pale Ales.

Onto my brewing adventures: brewed the Barrel Beer, and Oud Bruin. 1.064 and will be transferred with everyone else's in a week or two.
English Brown Ale, with WYEAST 1469
Best Bitter with WYEAST 1469 (Tasting notes and Recipe coming)
Brettanomyces IPA/Pale Ale with Oli. this was split with US-05 for a control/comparison. (Tasting Notes and recipe coming as well.)

Next Up: some NZ-NHC2014 brews, plus another 100% Brettanomyces Beer.
so as you can see, plenty on the go, plenty coming up. WATCH THIS SPACE.