Monday, November 23, 2015

Cheap Beer Challenge!!

I recently eyed a basic Coopers Real Ale kit on super special, and at just $4.99 I asked myself "Beer Whisperer, could you make something truly awesome out of such a cheap beer?" "Well, why not?" I thought.

Well, the proof's in the pudding, so i took the $4.99 plunge. Well, what to do with a cheap, bottom-of-the-range beer? Ideas started flowing through my head like beer through a beer whisperer, and a concoction to please the gods started to take place in my wild imaginings. Still, all I had was a cheap tin can, so, what to buy? Like all great plans of mice and men, I had some re-used and re-saved liquid German lager yeast, when went such a treat in earlier beers. Yeast, check. What else? Oh yeah, hops. Amarillo and Hallertau in the fridge!

But I need more.

Well, it's obvious, innit?! Ruby red grapefruit and ground coriander seed. Obviously.


But wait! The yeast is dead. A quick trip down to the brewer's supplies, and presto! New yeast. But not just any yeast, but Mangrove Jacks Bohemian Lager yeast! And to top it off, a new, fancy liquid malt in CBW Munich Pure Malt Extract - a lighter, paler malt for special beers.


So, the final brew;
1.7kgs Coopers Real Ale kit
1.5ltr CBW Munich Pure Malt Extract
300g dextrose
Mangrove Jacks dry Bohemian Yeast
1 x ruby red grapefruit zest
50g coriander seed powder
50g Amarillo hops (following fermentation)

But the true test is in the beer, so give it a couple of months and I will self-review - guaranteed to be complimentary! Like a good scorer beats a good player, while I review my own beers, what could possibly go wrong?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Aussie Beer Review - Sheaf Stout

Well, folks, with all these fancy-like foreign beers, a few gems not only exist at home, but have been quietly hiding in plain sight.

Sheaf Stout, originally brewed by Tooth's Brewery in Sydney, "builds stamina"!! "Keeps you fit"!! according to the famous pub paintings of the mid-20th century.

Born some time after 1835 when Tooth's originally formed (no accounts of when Sheaf Stout first graced the pubs of Sydney, unfortunately), Sheaf Stout survives to this day, today's beer tasting coming courtesy of 1st Choice Liquor.

So, how's it taste? Well, according to Carlton United Breweries, who bought Tooth's, Sheaf Stout is a "classic Australian stout with a tantalising dry finish and a medium body". Tantalising, eh? Dry? Ooooh! According to one plonker punter at, Sheaf Stout has "hints of coffee grounds, roasted malt, and toasted bread". Roasted malt? In beer?! Who knew? What about "light dark malts"? Is that like dry rain? Hot ice? Cold fire? Why did I bother checking reviews? So here's mine...

Sheaf Stout is a full-bodied stout with a mild burnt taste, full of flavour and finely balanced between bitterness and sweetness, but oozing smooth creaminess which lasts throughout. It's an honest, true Aussie beer which apparently has not suffered at the hands of "commercial imperative". No, Sheaf Stout is a great Australian beer, hanging on like a flea on a dog's arse in a gale on the back of a ute in the midst of a craft beer assault on tried and proven beers.  Fortunately, most Australian craft beers default to Pale Ales, which is code for "buggered if I'd know, let's call it a Pale Ale!!!"

Like how Tooheys Old keeps winning awards, Sheaf Stout stumbles on, despite having credibility that most modern ales never find. Surely, Sheaf Stout qualifies as a great Australian Ale, while most craft wannabeers (see what I did there?) can only dream of making lists of great Australian beers. To be fair, though, Sheaf Stout requires a taste test against greater, nobler beers, however I suspect that it will hold up well against more famous stouts.

Look forward to a stout-off on Beery's blog between Sheaf Stout and the likes of the great Guiness and others! Beer on!!!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

ESB Porter and Imminent LIVE taste testing!!!

Hello, folks.

Spring is the season for brewing, and The Beer Whisperer has been BUSY!!!

This weekend's effort was the brewing of ESB's 3kg Porter with Safale S-04 yeast. No extra effort from me, except 200g extra dextrose just in case alcoholic content is insufficient (you can never be too sure).

Original gravity is 1040, at 23.5 litres, so perhaps will end up around 4.5%, however the big news at the blog is the planned LIVE STREAMING TASTE TEST of Black Rock Crafted Witbier!

Yes, folks, The Beer Whisperer blog is planning a live streaming via Youtube taste test to compare Black Rock Crafted Witbier against both Hoegaarden Witbier and White Rabbit Pale Ale. I suspect my brew is much closer to White Rabbit Pale Ale, however ONLY A TASTE TEST WILL REVEAL THE ANSWER!

So folks, I am considering candidates for the live taste test, so please submit your requests here!!

This will be a major milestone in The Beer Whisperer's blog, so be a part of history now!!!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Beer Whisperer India Pale Ale

After my first IPA failure, I am attempting to fulfill my quest to make amends to the beer gods by producing an India Pale Ale better than I have ever produced. No biggie, you say, but my IPAs have been the most consistently good beers I have ever made. I admittedly went overboard on the alcohol on my last IPA attempt, rounding out at about 7% alcohol by volume. This time I have gone for around the 5.5% mark, still strong enough to call itself an IPA, but with enough margin of error to be less likely to fail.

But before I get down to the grisly details, what exactly is an IPA?? I'm glad you asked, even if you didn't.

According to the Craft Beer Academy, the India Pale Ale was invented by the British to preserve beer for the long trip from England to India. Five months in a hot boat tends to make beer a bit ordinary, so what to do about this crime against humanity?? Make it more alcoholic, of course! And that's what I'd do, but just because more alcohol. Oh, and hops. Lots of hops.

So what did I do this time around to appease the beer gods for my beer sins? (no, no, not the James Bond Party incident. That was da evil cocktails. Beer was innocent, I tells ya!).

First, I took the trusty Coopers IPA kit, added 1.2kgs of light liquid malt, 500g dextrose, and the pièce de résistance - White Labs Abbey Ale liquid yeast.

It's not your typical yeast for an IPA, but as a high gravity Belgian yeast, it is ideal for stronger ales, and the serious awesomeness of this yeast promises to make this a beer to remember! And to top it off, unlike last time, I now have a beer fridge with thermostat to control the temperature to a constant degree. With an original gravity of 1050, assuming a final gravity of 1010, this beer should bottle at around 5.6%, be quite malty, and with a fine robust yeast to top it off.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Belgian Witbier Blind Hope!

As part of a Father's Day present to myself, I indulged in a Black Rock coriander & orange Witbier, in the style of the classic Hoegaarden Witbier. What could possibly go wrong?

1.7kgs Black Rock crafted coriander & orange Witbier
500g cracked wheat grain
500g cracked light grain
600g dextrose
200g liquid wheat malt
White Labs Hefeweizen IV Ale Yeast WLP380 (2nd use)
White Labs Oktoberfest Lager Yeast WLP820 (2nd use)

To add to the authenticity of the beer, i decided to to do a partial mash, adding grain to the brew to add freshness and flavour. Unfortunately, I could not find the cooking thermometer, so I was forced to use the traditional gauge - the finger. If it hurts - it's too hot!

Anyway, i dragged out an old liquid hefeweisen yeast that i'd used, however it appeared to have little yeast, so I added Oktoberfest liquid yeast to ensure fermentation, setting them in a glass with fresh malt and a favourable temperature to procreate, to be ready for addition to this to-be exotic brew.

I realised why I hadn't done a partial mash in a long time, having to steep the grain at 65C for 30 minutes, and then spend the next hour squeezing out malt for the tiniest of results. At least i'll appreciate the effort, if not fellow imbibers, not that i'd fail to remind them of the inordinate effort involved in creating such an assumed fine brew.

After spending the afternoon perfecting my concoction, I overfilled the fermenter to 26 litres instead of the usual 23, so I'll need to keep an eye on it to ensure it doesn't overflow from the airlock like many of its predecessors. Fortunately I recently took the next step in home brewing by acquiring a fridge with a separate thermostat, ensuring that such nasty happenstances don't flood the garage. The end result was a final gravity of 1038 - an expected alcohol by volume amount of 4.3%. Yes, it's a bit of a pink handbag of a beer, but I can always drink more to compensate.

As to what could possibly go wrong? Well, we'll just have to wait and see...