Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Short, but Sweet!

Hi Everyone, I know I've been pretty slack with reviews and posts for awhile. but hey, that's what happens when life gets in the way.

So, I write this post to let everyone know (Those who do actually read this), that I will not be posting anything further on the blog, I may in future decide to write some more at some stage, and so I will leave the blog open and available for anyone to look at and get ideas from.

But thanks for reading, and being a part of this. I will still brew beer, and share it around, but I just can't find the time to actually sit down and write these big extended posts.

So, read and look at those blogs I regularly read and keep on Brewing.

Cheers Everyone...... ROB.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Fresh New Zealand Hops

Yes, Thats right Fresh hops, as in pulled off the vine, nice and sticky to touch, smells like freedom Green, fresh hops.

Brewed up a storm awhiel back, brewing a brown ale with fresh Nelson Sauvion hops, for a gcompetition in Wellington. I did it in collaboration with Finney this time, kegged and conditioned.

I'll giveyou the run down of the recipe and the subsequent notes from the competition.

4.8kg Pale Malt (Gladfields)
0.45kg Wheat (Gladfields)
0.3kg Medium Crystal (Gladfields)
0.26kg Pale Chocolate (Gladfields)
0.2kg Redback (Gladfields)

15g Pacific Jade (Pellets) @ 60
100g Southern Cross @ 20 (Freshly picked by Finney)
250g Nelson Sauvin @ 10 (Fresh Hops from
500g Nelson Sauvin @ 0 (Fresh Hops from

Yeast: US-05

Brewed on the Grainfather, and boy, what a great system that is. easy to use, fast and efficient. The efficiency sucked, as We sparged too much with 75 degree water, by about 2-3 litres. So ended up at 1.054 instead of 1.060, which may have made a difference. but never mind.
Furthermore due to the over sparge, we ended up at 1.010, I assume this is because of the much thinner final runnings and less sugar to get rid of.

Onto the notes, sorry no pictures again. This is the feedback from the judges in Wellington, all of which were Professional Brewers in some capacity.

19.5 out of 40. The notes I have are - "Interesting herbal character, coffee and minty / menthol, astringent but goodish flavour, needs more hops."

Primary1(Plastic): Fallen Soldier Oatmeal Stout
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Nothing}
10 Litre PET Carboy #1: {Nothing}
Sour#1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Sour#2 (PET Carboy): Gracy and Glory Sour Blonde
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Chch Homebrew Club Barleywine / Braggot Ale / Secret Crusade American Stout / Night Crawler Imperial Stout
Keg1: Fresh Hop Nelson Brown
Keg2: Bad Wolf Belgian IPA III (550)
Keg3: Silent Guardian Red IPA (Panhead Vindicator Variation)
Next Beer to Brew: Original Sin II

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Who's afraid of the BIG BAD WOLF?!

Yep, I'm a true slacker. It's been 2-3 weeks since I even looked at this blog. I need to make more of a concerted effort to update it and give my all beit small readership something to do.

Now onto what I wanted to talk about.

The Bad Wolf, some of you may have heard of this beer I've made a few times. Essentially it is an IPa, with Belgian Yeast. I've useda different yeast each time I've made it with WY1214, followed by WLP530, and finally in the interpretation WLP550. I've been told this new yeast is more along the lines of the Ardennes strain, which supposedly plays nicely with hops. Sao I figured, why not give it a shot.I stuck with much the same malt bill I have in the past, and as usual with this beer, it seems to end up very much under gravity... I hit 1.057, despite looking for 1.060. My Last ever BIAB... for now anyway.

Here is the recipe and tasting notes:

Bad Wolf Belgian IPA III:
Golden Promise - 5.5kg
Gladfield Vienna - 0.35kg
Caramunich II - 0.2kg
Melanoidin - 0.2kg
Acidulated Malt - 0.15kg

Now I changed the hop schedule somewhat, as I wanted to get more fruit out of it, so I naturally chose Citra. and Boy did it deliver a punch.

20g Pacific Jade @ 60
20g Centennial @ 30
30g Centennial @ 10
50g Amarillo @ 0 (15 min stand, prior to chilling)
35g Citra @ 0 (15 min stand, prior to chilling)

DRYHOP: 50g Amarillo / 35g Citra 5 Days (inc cold crash)

Yeast: WLP550 - 2 Litre Starter.

OG 1.057 / FG1.012


APPEARANCE: Despite putting Gelatin in the Keg, it still hasn't cleared itself up completely, I tried the brulosophy way of doing things this time for gelatin, which was a fraction of what I had used previously. Clearly its not as effective. Either that or I'm still doing something wrong. Looks good, considerably Lighter than previous versions.
AROMA: Citra, and Melon, grapefruit, with a hint of Belgian funk in the back ground. Exactly What I was going for.
FLAVOUR: Initially it was all Belgian yeast in its early days, but at about 4 weeks in a keg, the hops really began to pop and come forward, this is where the grapefruit and melon type flavour come in, the yeast plays a great supporting role in getting some spice in there. I think I've found the right yeast.
MOUTHFEEL: Slightly lacking in mouth feel, but that's the lower amount of special malts, the yeast helps to keep it from being too thin, nice malt background, just enough to keep life interesting.

OVERALL: This is fantastic. Exactly what I was looking for, especially from the Citra hops. Unfortunately, as Citra hops are so hard to come by, they will be removed for an alternative in Version 4. The Malt needs a touch of work, I'll be going back to Gladfield Ale for a start, as golden Promise was my only choice when I made it this time at finney's shop. I'll also add to the specialties, I miss that colour I had previously, copper/burnt orange, where as this one is more of a golden colour. hops will be changed considerably, to use varieties, which are more readily available if I was to brew commercially (contract of course). I'd probably Swap the Citra out, for something like Galaxy or Mosaic. Centennial stays, Amarillo will make way for something else.

I haven't updated on my new rig at this stage, I'm still dialling in the process for it, but there'll be a post at some stage. Mike over at is actually using a similar style of brewing, which is cool, and shows the process can produce good beers.

I brewed an Oatmeal Stout, the weekend just been. In association with those who fought to for this great country, I have named it the Fallen Solider (Anzac biscuits use Oats, so that my excuse anyway). I toyed with the idea of adding coconut to it, but I don't think I will.

Last post said I wasn't sure what to brew, so I brewed an imperial Red IPA, or an american Strong Ale to some, with Centennial, Chinook and Zythos. I created this beer based on a strong following for Arrogant Bastard Ale (which I'll get to try in about 6 weeks) and a beer here by Panhead Brewery, called the Vindicator Strong Ale, which uses said hops, where as the AB only uses Chinook. I used Special B and Caramunich II for special malts Nice and Simple.

Until Next time (I'll try to be more pro-active, promise)

Primary1(Plastic): Fallen Soldier Oatmeal Stout
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Nothing}
10 Litre PET Carboy #1: {Nothing}
Sour#1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Sour#2 (PET Carboy): Gracy and Glory Sour Blonde
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Chch Homebrew Club Barleywine / Braggot Ale / Secret Crusade American Stout / Night Crawler Imperial Stout
Keg1: Fresh Hop Nelson Brown
Keg2: Bad Wolf Belgian IPA III (550)
Keg3: Silent Guardian Red IPA (Panhead Vindicator Variation)
Next Beer to Brew: Original Sin II Split two ways

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Fresh Hops and Stouts

It's harvest time here in New Zealand for Hops, and I was able to get hold of some very very fresh Nelson Sauvin Hops, still on the vine. So we decided to brew two beers with them,

The first a Pale Ale, with some extra Southern Cross Finney had freshly picked, along side the wet Nelson hops. The second was a little more ambitious, an American styled Brown Ale, with all the hops we could fit in the kettle. All of which was brewed in one day on the new fancy Grainfather system, that is now available.

Onto my review of the American Stout brewed, as per my previous post.
FV: 21 Litres
OG: 1.066
FG: 1.017
Yeast: WLP090 San-Diego
Hops: Nelson Sauvin and Centennial
Malts: Pale, Rye, Roast Barley Pale Chocolate and Caramunich II
Bottle Conditioned, carb to 2.1 volumes.

Appearance: Fluffy brown head, dark brown with ruby highlights. clear and inviting.

Aroma: Roasted malts, and hefty dark chocolate, fills the nostril, very nice, I pick up some hops, some slight citrus, but mostly malts. There are some higher alcohols there as well, which is an issue.

Flavour: High Bitterness, plenty of chocolate, but not really roasty, like I'd expect. some nice chocolate, and some rye in the finish. But again some Alcohol notes come through as it warms.

Mouthfeel: Good mouth-feel, nice and thick, plenty to it. The rye makes this possible.

Overall: Very nice, and a would brew again. Need to clean up the fermentation on it, and remove the Rye Malt. Increase late hops, and decrease Bittering hops to make it more balanced. Of course, I'll probably swap the ratio of Roast Barley and Chocolate around, to get some more roast character out of it. Nice or the impending New Zealand Winter.

On a separate note: Bad Wolf III has been kegged and is tasting good. that'll be reviewed very soon. I also have 90% of my new system built and running, so expect a post on that once It's dialled in slightly.

Primary1(Plastic): Fresh Hopped Nelson Brown
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Nothing}
10 Litre PET Carboy #1: {Nothing}
Sour#1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Sour#2 (PET Carboy): Gracy and Glory Sour Blonde
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Chch Homebrew Club Barleywine / Braggot Ale / Secret Crusade American Stout / Night Crawler Imperial Stout
Keg1: {Empty}
Keg2: Bad Wolf Belgian IPA III
Keg3: {Empty}
Next Beer to Brew: Unknown

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Sour Beer #2 - Sour Blonde & A Levitation Clone

I'll start with a short review of my recent American Amber, which was a clone of Stone Brewing Co.'s Levitation ale. Funnily enough since I brewed this, Stone have announed, they are retiring the brew, and it will no longer be available. A shame, as it's one ofthe better beers around,  especially since it is a perfect session beer. Aptly named Bathed in Blood II (My first iteration was amber, but beared little resemblance to this one).

Aroma: Nice Caramel/crystal aroma, with a hefty whack of lovely amarillo hops, a hint of Simcoe also comes in with nice hints of pine.
 Nice Bright clarity, with a nice dark red hint to it, the glass here doesn't do it justice, as in a nice goblet, its a nice dark blood red colour. head is off white, and carbonation is good.
Flavour: Yum, nice maltiness, body I thought to start with was slightly thin, but I'm finding now that its perfect for what I'm looking for. Big hop presence, big amount of fruity Amarillo hops, with again a small hint of Pine from the simcoe. this is where I'm stuck, the crystal hops in the recipe, I don't believe they come through, but I could be wrong, as to be fair, I'm not sure what to expect from them.
Mouthfeel: Good carbonation, nice mouthfeel for a lighter session beer, about where I want it, head retention is perfect.
Nice Red colour on the Levitation Clone.
Overall: Despite the darker colour, its a perfect session beer for the summer days.If I made any changes, the only one I would actually make, if I did, as to make the Shepherds Delight 250g instead of 240g Wedding beer #2 is sorted. Heres the recipe:
Bathed in Blood II

OG: 1.049
FG: 1.014
FV Volume: 21 Litres

4.2kg PGladfield Pale
0.1kg Acidulated (pH)
0.4kg Medium Crystal - Gladfield
0.24kg Shepherds Delight - Gladfield
0.03kg Dark Chocolate - Gladfield

60min: 15g Simcoe
30min: 30g Amarillo
00min: 15g Simcoe / 35g Crystal (25min Hop Stand, prior to Chilling)
Dryhop: 50g Amarillo  - 4 Days

Yeast: WLP090 Slurry - San Diego Super Yeast

Goal #6: More Sours - I have plans to add to my Guts and Glory Flanders Red, I plan to add a Sour blonde and a Darker beer as well through the watch this space.

I have somewhat acheived this goal, I have brewed Sour beer #2. I kep things quiet while I sorted the recipe, and tossed up between a lighter brew and a darker beer. In the end the Lighter version won out, but only because Instead of a primary yeast, followed by secondary fermentation with bugs, I threw 2 vials of THIS into the fermenter and I'll let it fester for a couple of weeks. Hardly vigorous fermentation, but it seems to be moving, and we'll see how it progresses over the coming months. I'm yet undecided (I have plenty of time) on how to splitthis batch, whether it be fruit, hops or otherwise, but I'm sure I'll figure something out.

On a separate note, I am still running the new vessel via BIAB, however for the sour, I skipped the Mash out step, to see what sort of difference I would get based off my projected system efficiency (includes mashout) and without. It seems the difference is negligible. I've approximated 1 OG point in total. This will be to do more with the extended time mashing, rather than any temperature changes/differences. So an interesting outcome on that one.

As I said, I'll now be posting recipe straight to here, to save time etc. but if you don't have brewtoad or any brewing software I suggest you invest in it.

Spartan Series: Grace & Glory  Brew Date: 14/02/2015
OG: 1.060 (Measured)
IBU: 25 approx
Spartan Series - Grace and Glory
FV Volume: 20 Litres
Efficiency: 67%

Gladfield Pils 4.5kg
Gladfield Wheat 1kg
Gladfield Vienna 300gm
Acidulated Malt 200gm

NZ Hall ertau (Wakatu) - 7%AA
60min: 18g
30min: 15g

2 Vials (No Starter due to blending) TYB Melange
The Melange yeast vials

this will sit in primary for the entire duration of the beer, and be racked onto separate places for blending/ageing on fruits wines/ oak etc where needed. 

I should also update on Sour #1 (Guts & Glory Flanders Red). To be honest this is going great, its pretty close to oaking, and racking, Plan is to oak right on 12 months anniversary, with about 30gm of cubes. Cubes will be boiled for 5-10 mins to sanitise and remove excess tannins.  Then from there, I'll taste and rack where needed (I've guesstimated about 3 months) half will be bottled straight, the otherhalf will be fruited, and given the difficulty we have here in New Zealand getting Sour Cherries, I'll probably be going with Raspberries, and ageing for another 3 months probably. By that point the carboy will be free, and Sour #3 will be brewed.

Pretty exciting stuff. for those who have been paying attention, let me know if you've brewed a sour, and how it went, and how often you brew these to get pipelines etc. going.

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Brewing an American Stout

Nice Shiny New Mash tun
I Thought this weekend during my Brew day, I'd take pictures of my upgraded system, and decided I'd document my process. However the HLT Urn I bought off Trademe (NZ equivalent of E-Bay) had a substantial leak in it. There goes my plan to work a new system.

I used Basic Camping Mat to Insulate the MLT.
Ah well, at least that's the only thing that didn't go to plan. So back to the trusty BIAB Process I went. Difference this time, was I used the new mash tun (I had cut everything to size for it already)

I'll detail my recipe in this post to give you an idea of what's what and why is looks like ink.... lol.

Brewed: 25/01/2015
OG: 1.066
IBU: 71

FV Volume: 21 Litres

6kg Gladfield Ale
700g Rye Malt
350g Pale Choc
300g Medium Crystal
250g Roast barley

60Min: 20g Centennial / 29g Nelson Sauvin
0Min/Whirlpool: 38g Centennial / 17g Nelson Sauvin

No Dryhops.

Yeast: WLP 090 Slurry (Thick)

So away I went, and to be sure of no screw ups I took my time, I filled my new shiny with 36 Litres of Tap Water, and turned the burner on.
Mashing In

A Strike Temps of Around 69 was required, I normally gets 3-4 degrees of heat loss once the grains are added.

Just a quick side note on BIAB and heating etc. Please be careful to stir the pot to maintain an even temperature through the whole body of water. this makes sure all the heat from the bottom is being utilised, thus making your heating slightly faster, and getting an even temperature across the board.

The other thing I should probably mention at this stage,  Heat gain doing BIAB, this can be an issue in some vessels, mainly the thinner ones, where the heat can travel through the post around the outside, and not distributing evenly. So what I like to do, is get to strike while stirring, and then spend a good 2-3 minutes vigorously stirring the water to make sure its at a settled temperature, and of course even through out. (I have an analogue temp probe on the vessel, as well as a small digital readout one, which is hand held.)

I'd thought out about using a new process (Well a shortened process) as I like to do a mash out step using BIAB. I have a pulley system rigged up, which means I can pull the bag off the bottom and heat to 75/76 degrees then wait 10/15 minutes before removing the bag and bringing to a boil. Basically this is the process I thought about changing to the No Sparge Method. Meaning I wouldn't need to carry out the mash-out step. (I will attempt this at some stage)
All tucked away.

Anyway, back to the day at hand. After
that, I remove the bag and suspend it slightly for a minute before  hanging it from a big hook I have in the garage, below of course is a Pot to collect the additional Wort.

Nice Clear Wort. Nice and Dark
then Boil and Add the Hop additions as normal. I'll add the Immersion Chiller 15 mins before the end of the boil (After a quick Water spray to remove dust) and that'll sufficiently sanitise the chiller.

I gave this a 15 min Whirlpool/hop steep, before turning on the chiller, and whirl-pooling again, to get full wort contact.

I hit 65% efficiency on this, which was a shame, but only 4 points away from the normal target. I shook the fermenter, and then used my aquarium pump for 30-40 minutes for full aeration, and then pitched the yeast.

Simple process, short brew day. Mostly, the clean up is what takes the time. Most people mention this, and you've heard it all before, make sure everything is clean and sanitised.

Primary1(Plastic): Secret Crusade American Rye Stout
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Watch This Space}
10 Litre PET Carboy #1: Night Crawler Imperial Stout 
Sour#1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Sour#2 (PET Carboy): {Watch This Space}
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Chch Homebrew Club Barleywine / Braggot Ale.
Keg1: Bathed in Blood II (Stone Levitation)
Keg2: Promised Land II (Stag)
Keg3: Clown Prince Belgian Blond (SMaSH Beer)
Next Beer to Brew: SOUR BEER

Monday, 19 January 2015

Clown Prince Belgian Blond - Last bottle of Brett

I've been drinking the Original Sin Brett Saison for awhile now, and I'm sad to admit I drank its last bottle last night. This beer has been fantastic, and it's been one of those beer I've stashed away for aging etc. in an effort to make the bottles last. It came along leap and bound and as you can see, the clarity is near on perfect.
Just a short few notes on where this sits now, compared to where it was in my first tasting.
Appearance: Crystal clear with nice cascading carbonated bubbles. keeps its head nicely. not over-carbed either.
Aroma: Funk, and plenty of it, this has become much more of a Brettanomyces type beer. Very nice indeed.
Flavour: Some light pilsner malt, with the body coming from the rye and the cara-pils. plenty of funk again, lemon/lime earth and hay.
Mouthfeel: Dry finish, with a medium thin body, which is expected. but much fuller than you'd expect from a beer like this.

Overall: Perfect summer beer, and with 30 degree heat yesterday, it was a great beer to have outside to relax.

It will be re-brewed this year to coincide with the NHC2015 competition, some very minor tweaking required, but its very small minor changes, as I like it as it is. It does lack a touch of complexity, but who needs that right?

Now, onto the beer of the moment.....
the Clown Prince Belgian Blond Ale. I brewed this especially for the SMaSH comp we had locally here in Christchurch, and I'm humbled to say, it won Brewers choice. not only that, but it also won the judges choice award. It's safe to say I'm pretty happy with the outcome, and I couldn't believe it got this far, with some great entries from some of the other guys (Personal favourite was the German Lager brewed with Pacific Gem Hops  Bock Lager Yeast and 100% Munich Malt) so definitely some stiff competition.
So onto the notes of the beer.
Appearance: this went into the keg very cloudy/milky, which did not look promising at all, so I fined with gelatin, as per my previous posts, and it pours a just so slightly hazy golden colour, with a nice bright white head.

Aroma: Banana-Bread, very much yeast dominant. sweet and malt backing. probably the Candi sugar and pilsner malt.

Flavour: More banana bread, clove, spices anda sweet toffee flavour from the sugar again. pils back it up nicely.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, no issues here, head retention is good. arb could probably be better.

Overall: Lovely beer, I'll be bottling a couple up to enter into the GKBF homebrew comp, where I think it'll do quite well. Next iteration of this (yes it will be re-done) will have more than just pilsner malt, I'll probably just add a half kilo of munich if I changed anything, not bothered about changing the hops around, for the yeast I like it, but whenever this is brewed I'll essentially just use the belgian yeast available at the time.

Here's a look at the recipe (I'll be posting the recipes directly to the blog now, rather than linking them out to Brewtoad, it's taking too long)

Malt: 94.1% Gladfield Pilsneer Malt 5.9% Homemade Candi Sugar (Added at Flameout)
Hops - Pacifica: 60min - 25g / 30min - 14g / 5min - 21g.
Yeast: WLP500 (Slurry taken from Backup Plan III)
OG 1.066 / FG 1.014
Mash Temp: 65 deg C for 90 Minutes / Boiled for 90 Minutes.

Just a short note on the next beer to brew, I have once again changed my mind, with an eye on the GKBF home-brew comp and a Christchurch Case swap, I will be brewing a big stout, and bottle conditioning. An American Rye Stout to be precise. I'll be using Centennial and Nelson Sauvin as a flameout addition, with a big charge of hops at bittering. This is a beer I've been looking to brew for awhile, ever since I read this recipe Here. This merely serves as inspiration, rather than a copy.

Primary1(Plastic): Bathed in Blood II
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Watch This Space}
10 Litre PET Carboy #1: Night Crawler Imperial Stout 
Sour#1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Sour#2 (PET Carboy): {Watch This Space}
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Chch Homebrew Club Barleywine / Braggot Ale.
Keg1: War-Pigs Am. IPA
Keg2: Promised Land II
Keg3: Clown Prince Belgian Blond (SMaSH Beer)
Next Beer to Brew: Secret Crusade American Rye Stout

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Batch #100

As promised, some brief tasting notes for the American IPA. Apologies for the crappy picture. I don't have a good camera currently, so it's just an iPhone.....
this recipe was based off the Blind Pig Clone from here, so the recipe is pretty much Identical.

Appearance: Hazy Golden colour, the haze makes it muddy looking. Yeast Haze and some chill haze.
Aroma: Nice enough, some grapefruit, pine and grassyness. I suspect I left the slightly aged hops in too long, and there's a touch of butter in the mix also. Not so good.
Flavour: Hops lead the way, some grassyness and a slightly malty backbone, but again the diacetyl takes away from what should have been. The hops I suspect were not stored all that well, or vacuum packed, so maybe some cheesy-ness. the haze has given the beer a slightly bitter bite, this is the yeast not dropping out, which is typical of Conan/Vermont yeasts.
Mouthfeel: This is where the diacetyl takes its place, silky and butter on the mouth, body is fine, carb is probably a bit low, but its how I like them.
Overall: Not bad, but not good either, and I've gone off it as time's gone on. swap out the yeast, and get it cleaner. It finished at 1.014 which was weird, but I'm testing out WLP090 as a house yeast for these types of beers, so we'll see.

2 Mash Paddles make the work slightly easier

This was my friend Oli's 100th batch. He decided to brew a style he really enjoyed, and let's be honest here who doesn't enjoy them. An Imperial Stout. Originally Based on the CYBI iStout recipe, from our group brew a good year and a bit ago. Chris was kind enough to lend his mashtun for the day, which is a very large 175 litres, he has brwewed one commercial batch from it, and it works a treat. Stainless steel, with cast legs. He also has a boil kettle which is a converted Hot watercylinder, about 200 litres or so. Pretty impressive stuff.

Mashing in time. - 175 Litre Mash Tun
I'll post the recipe below to help people out if they decide to go ahead with it. I took away 10 litres on the WLP090 yeast I'm testing, Oli took 20 litres for himself, as did Chris, and Finney took another 10. So all in all, around 60 litres was the finished volume. an FG of 1.102 was hit, and a 2 hour boil.
The recipe is HERE.
Spent Grain being emptied
I also had an empty keg to fill, and a test batch to make for my wedding coming up, so for me at Oli's it was all about This. Essentially an American Amber, which would make for a nice sessionable beer, for my wedding if it comes out ok. I've aptly named this beer Bathed in Blood II, but only to fill the name, which should work.

This was a great day, and the smells were quite heavenly from the RIS, big roast and chocolate. I'm not sure what I plan to do with my section of the RIS,  I doubt I'll oak any of itI have some  inspiration for Dryhopping, which actually comes from Goose Island Beer Co., who made an RIS called Night Stalker, which was heavily dry-hopped with Simcoe. Now as you know, I didn't like the Simcoe in the Black IPA, and given I've heard Centennial works well in darker beers, may give this a shot. But I'll decide closer to the time.

In the pipeline before the end of Summer, I'll hopefully have another sour in the mix, and maybe another brett beer (Possibly mixed culture of Saison yeast and Brettanomyces.)

Primary1(Plastic): Bathed in Blood II
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Watch This Space}
10 Litre PET Carboy #1: Night Crawler Imperial Stout 
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 / Chch Homebrew Club Barleywine / Braggot Ale.
Keg1: War-Pigs Am. IPA
Keg2: Promised Land II
Keg3: Clown Prince Belgian Blond (SMaSH Beer)
Next Beer to Brew: Either Bad Wolf Belgian IPA III or Hoppy Funk Here.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy New Year: 10 Goals for 2015

Happy New Year everyone, and welcome to the year 2015.

It's been a good few weeks, with plenty of beer drunk, food eaten, etc. Another year has past, and I've noticed a few blogs outline their goals and aspirations for the year. So I kinda figured I'd jump on the band-wagon and let you all know where I'm taking the blog, my brewing and life in general. So here they are the challenges I've set myself for the 2015 year.

1: Wedding Beer - As you may know, I'm getting hitched in just over a year, and as such it's time to nail some real recipes for the big day. I don't want to give away too much yet, but there'll definitely be a fair few hops flying around at some stage. the aim is 6 batches of beer, so approximately 120 Litres of beer, plus possibly a couple of more special beer for the day.

2: 100% Brettanomyces -  I've done a couple of these beers now, and they've turned out pretty well. I really like how they play with some of the New age NZ Hops out there. My main goal for this is a medal at the NHC towards the end of the year, using 100% Brettanomyces fermentation, I'll most likely revise the existing Saison recipe to where I think I need to take it. given the WLP644 talk, I may look to amend the yeast to something more Brett-y. Maybe Lambicus, like 8 Wired. Time will tell.

3: New Equipment -  I've got a new Mash tun, and I'll continue to use the existing boil kettle, I need a HLT, Pumps, Stand, and I'll be set to go, this will be an ongoing project. I'm not aiming to finish it by the end of the year, but some progress would be great.

4: First Solo Barleywine - This is going to be a fun one. a beer (no honey), in a full sized batch of 18-21 litres. I know what my plan is, I'm just trying to fit it into my schedule somewhere. this is going to happen sooner rather than later, and of course 100% NZ Hops.

5: The SJPORR Challenge 2015 - I understand this challenge will be taking place world-wide again. So I aim to enter it again, and hopefully improve on my 10th placing for the recent one.

6: More Sours - I have plans to add to my Guts and Glory Flanders Red, I plan to add a Sour blonde and a Darker beer as well through the watch this space.

7: Improve my process and fermentation - The Obligatory learn more improve the beer goal. This is actually a pretty important goal to have. If you don't improve and adjust the processes in place how will I/you become better brewers, and make, well, better beer in general. this actually ties together with the first goal of getting beers ready for my wedding.

8: Find a House Strain - This is a hard one, but it is on the list of things to do. While I've had good success with the dry yeasts out there. I really would like to save some money and invest in liquid yeast. Here in New Zealand the vials tend to be more expensive, but can be used a few time/multiple times in different beers/styles. If I get stuck I've always got the Dry stuff to fall back on. This may not necessarily be one particular strain. but a couple of different ones. But the overall aim is to find a house strain for American/clean style beers, also possibly something for Belgian style beers (this could even be Brettanomyces, who knows.) I'm aiming for a list of liquid yeast no more then 4-5 strain long. I can add 1 strain to my house list, WYeast 1469 - West Yorkshire Ale. this will most likely be my house strain for the quintessential British Real Ale. all I need now is a clean ale strain, and a Belgian strain (Less so, as I like the hugely different characteristics of some of the different strains out there.)

9: The Sons of Liberty Porter - Ha!I haven't, and will never give up on the beer. Despite the 15 and 8 out of 50 in the two previous NHC competitions. this is a beer I will get right eventually. you might say I have un-finished business with this brew. but let's not kid ourselves here, it may take sometime. but damn it will be worth it!!!

10: Release my first Commercial Beer - This will be on my list every year, until I achieve it. I don't think I'll achieve it this year. Maybe not even next year. But it will happen. I'll leave you to speculate on what that style would be or should be.

Phew! That a year worth of goals, plenty to pack into 12 months if you ask me. Have you got any goals for the year that is? If your listening/reading out there, let me know.

On separate notes, (there's a couple), I've kicked the Black IPA keg, it held it's own, and while it wasn't as good as the first version, it was still pretty damn tasty. I decided at the last minute to keg the Clown Prince Belgian Blond(SMaSH) and it's drinking nicely so far, some more time is required though given the sugar and alcohol involved. i used WLP500 from the Backup plan previously. Supposedly this is the Chimay strain, and you can tell, it's so Banana bread-y.
Fining with Gelatin: I fined the Belgian with Gelatin, to help clear up, what looked literally like yellow milk. the strain seems to take forever to clear out, so I just helped it along a bit. Gelatin is something I will probably start to use more, to remove unwanted haze, and I'm noticing some slightly more bitter note in my beers, when they're not clearing properly. This article HERE, suggests, that this is due to additional yeast in suspension, causing that extra bitter bite.

War-Pigs IPA is still in the keg, but it's a bit Meh, Damn Diacetyl. I'll have some tasting notes of War-Pigs up soon. along with the recipe as usual.

Lastly, I brewed up Version 2 of Promised Land Pilsner, but used WLP090 (so technically not a Pilsner). This is for my Friends Stag Party in a few weeks.

Primary1(Plastic): Promised Land II
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: War-Pigs Am. IPA
Keg2: {Nothing}
Keg3: Clown Prince Belgian Blond
Next Beer to Brew: CYBI - Stone Levitation Ale Clone

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Dark Storm II

this has been sitting in my drafts for a couple of weeks now, sorry about the delay:

As promised, Here is some tasting note for Version 2 of Dark Storm. the idea behind this version, was to increase the hop flavour and complexity across the board.
I can say this much now, I failed in that respect, the reason is because I beat my target gravity by a staggering 4-5 points. So I hit 1.067 OG prior to fermentation.
I did increase the malts by 200 grams, but wouldn't have thought this would've increased it by this much.
I'll put it down to missing water. I missed my volumes by 2 litres, and originally hit 1.072 somehow, I was sure I put the correct amount of water in, but clearly not. so as you will see from the picture, this has come out more brown than black, due to the top up water added. Which put me down to 1.066/67.
Coupled with these issues, I had a miss cue on Fermentation, meaning I missed my target Og by 2 points as well. hitting 1.018, rather than the previous 1.016, which again will probably be down to increased viscosity and increased OG from the originally 1.062 last time.

So, onto some tasting notes:

Aroma: Some dark Malts, roast aroma only slight but noticeable none the less. Big hits of Grapefruit and some of that lovely Mosaic pokes through, however it seems to be hidden behind the Simcoe somehow..... I realise its a powerful hop, but for me it doesn't work in a dark beer.

Appearance: Brown Rather than black like last time, this is due to top up water, which is a shame. there is also some haze on this one, most likely hop haze. It's not a big deal in terms of a dark beer, but it is noticeable, due to the lighter than normal appearance. I'll also put this down to US-05 rather than M44. head retention is good.

Flavour: More of the aroma, although some minor alcohol notes here as well, nice big grapefruit/lemon flavour with a saturation of Mosaic in the mix. the dakre malts don't play as well as I'd hoped for with Simcoe, and I don't really get much from the Special Roast.

Mouthfeel: this is a bit thicker than I like, there are some unfermented sugars at play here. the 1.018 is too high, and this works much better at 1.016. Guess it goes to show you those extra two points can make a big difference.

Overall: This is a good beer, but some clear issues arose from what I mentioned above. I know where to take it from here which helps, but it'll be back in the direction of the original recipe.

So, where to from here for this beer. I'll be going back to what made this beer such an inspiration last time, the fruit from the hops played really well with some of the increased roast flavours in the mix. Yeast I may go liquid, or may just head back to MJ44, while I nail down the recipe. Special roast is out, it didn't add much top the recipe, and while I don't think it contributed to haze or lack of colour, if I go back to the original, then I know where I stand. Hops - I'll continue to experiment with more fruity options, the Simcoe doesn't work on this, next time will probably be Galaxy, in the later additions.

On another note, my Belgian Blond is in down and seems to be pretty happy. I kept things nice and simple, I'm looking to build a base and work from there. so just pilsner malt, candi sugar (Homemade) 100% Pacifica hops, this way I can enter into the upcoming SMaSH comp at the local brew club. 1.066 hit, fermented with the slurry of WLP500 from Back Up Plan III. Next up will be Promised Land II for a mates Stag Party.

Primary1(Plastic): Promised Land II (Ale Yeast)
Primary2(Plastic): {Nothing}
Primary3(Bretts/Sours): {Nothing}

10Litre PET Carboy: Braggot/Honey Ale
Sours #1(Wide Mouth Glass): Guts & Glory Flanders Red
Sours #2 (PET Carboy): {Nothing}
Barrel: Hail Caesar Oud Bruin Ale
Bottled: Original Sin 100% Brettanomyces with Wai-iti / 100% Brettanomyces Saison /100% Brett Wild West IPA
Keg1: War Pigs IPA (Conan Yeast)
Keg2: {Nothing}
Keg3: Clown Prince Belgian Blond 
Next Beer to Brew: Possibly Funktown Pale Ale, or Stone's Levitation Clone