Friday, October 21, 2016

Powerful Porter

As a bribe for my father-in-law to help re-surface the back patio, I've created a beer according to his preferred tastes. Unfortunately, it tastes so promising that I'm keeping half for myself!

Again, I've gone for the mini-mash which, despite the extra work, gives results far better than kit brews. In one of the great paradoxes, beer should be made fresh, then aged. The long-life nature of kit beer gives it a tepid taste, and the standard hops they use is a recipe for blandness.

I avoided using additional cracked grain as i went for a second batch of Breiss Porter liquid malt for that extra flavour and kick! Firstly, I boiled 15 grams each of Saaz and Hallertau hops for 60 minutes, adding 15 grams of Cascade hops with 5 minutes remaining, before adding 3kg of Briess Porter liquid malt and bringing back to the boil.

After cooling, it was made to 22 litres with Mangrove Jack's New World Strong Ale (I think, but lots of beers have passed through my memory since then, so maybe not). However, to get the desired strength, I added 500 grams of dextrose after four days, then another 500 grams (or was it a kilogram? Who knows?) four days later. After fermenting for 4 weeks, i bottled it last weekend, but not before the obligatory taste test.

Holy Moly! It was like being smacked in the face with a cold salmon, only more enjoyable! I don't really know how strong it is, but it certainly tastes strong enough for the father-in-law. I'm sure he'll enjoy. Hopefully it will be ready by Christmas!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Top 100 Beer Blog!!

Yes, there is an award for top 100 Beer blogs, but no, I wasn't one of them. Apologies for the deceitful title, but clickbait has no morality.

In any case, in 2016, who needs to be awarded top 100 when you can simply identify as such?

And in the time-honoured tradition of the internet, why work hard when you can simply steal it?

So here it is - me identifying as an awardee of the prestigious Top 100 Beer Blogs!!! Hooray for me!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

My First Mini-mash - Leffe Brune!

I've had enough of average beer, so it's time to  step it up!

For those unfamiliar with the finer points of home brewing, mashing is the process of releasing the grain starches into fermentable sugars. Mini-mashing involves using a combination of grain and already malted extracts, and boiling hops for different lengths according to desired bitterness and aroma. 

So I found this little recipe for a Leffe Blonde which looked simple enough, and is a fantastic beer to drink, so why not copy it? The only problem was, the Hop & Grain did not have the clear Belgian candi sugar used it the blonde, only the dark Belgian candi sugar. So Blonde it ain't, and never will be! But that's okay, Leffe Brune is a fine beer in its own right.

The recipe included;
  • 3kg Liquid Light Malt Extract
  • 500g Light Dried Malt
  • 250g Caramunich Grain
  • 500g Belgian Clear Candi Sugar
  • 30g Hallertau Hops Pellets (60 min boil)
  • 20g Saaz Hops Pellets (10 min boil)
  • T58 Yeast (White Labs Trappist Ale Yeast-optional)
 As these things go, sometimes you can't get precisely the ingredients, so as well as the candi sugar, they didn't have the liquid yeast, so i went for the Lallemand Abbaye powdered yeast, and damned well forgot the 500g light dried malt! Fortunately i had about 350g of liquid malt at home, which i used instead.

So everything went according to plan, until the very end when, when trying to fill the fermenter with the freshly brewed wort, the wife started spraying some anti-arthritis spray that smelt like Dencorub, so if the beer has any hint of that, at least i'll know who to blame. 

To make things worse, 36 hours after brewing, the wort had still not commenced fermenting. Fortunately, however, this evening fermenting had commenced, so now just a 3 month wait to find out if it's any good! I am confident though, as a preliminary taste revealed a rich, flavoured brew, so just two months to confirm! (as time goes by, I will reduce that time until it's carbonated in the bottle. 3 months is just a guide, to be honest. How convenient!)

Finally, i surveyed my growing crates of beer, and have nearly 20 cases of beer, so I can afford to slow down the production, or I could just drink it faster. Decisions, decisions!!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Honey Madness!

Years ago, in my very first attempt to make a honey beer, i was told that under no circumstances was i to use more than 300 grams of honey - the end result was a beer that had absolutely no trace of honey.

Ten years later, it is time to revisit the elusive honey beer, so, just to make sure I can taste the honey, I'm going all out for that great honey taste with no less than 1,000 grams of honey - an entire kilogram!

So I didn't bother with the 400 gram bottle below, going straight for two 500 gram jars, to go with the Mangrove Jacks Bavarian Wheat kit as a base.

Bottled a little over two weeks ago, i cracked the first open to taste that delicious honey! With trepidation, i smelt the beer for hints of pure Australian honey. The smell was there. But does that mean that I will be able to taste it? Test number two awaits. Slowly, I raise the glass to my lips, and i sip...

Voila! Honey! Light and refreshing, with a clear honey aroma and taste, underlying the wheat beer, contrasting, yet complimenting the beer at the same time.

The beer, however, quickly lost its head, so here's hoping that with a number couple of weeks of maturing, that the head will thicker, and linger longer! Overall, I was very happy with this beer, with strong hopes that it will continue to improve and become a staple of the Beer Whisperer's home brewery!