Friday, 25 January 2013

Moving sites

We're slowly making the transition from here to our new blog site with WordPress. We decided to make the move over since WordPress seems to have better integration into social media and just looks nicer.

So update your book marks to the new site -

Saturday, 19 January 2013

First 2013 Brew

I've decided on a variation of the Hawkes Bay Hummer I did for my Brother in Law. Basically the same recipe but a different flavour hop and a big jump in the additions.

I'm doing a 90min boil, 90min mash and a first wort and 90min additions. In those 2 additions alone, 100g of hops. The other 100g will be spread out from 20min to flame out. 

Keep an eye on Twitter for a running cometary on brew day - should be early next week.

Magpie Mimi IPA
Tried, tasted, passed on. I'm not sure if the smell of this beer is due to yeast (fermentation), hops or perhaps a combination of the two.

The easiest way I can explain the smell, is medicinal, almost a little like Dettol mixed with Dr Pepper. The taste is just as odd. Its nice, just not my cup of tea. Not sharp enough. Will I brew it again? No. I think this one was a one off and won't feature again.

I'll put up some more tasting notes from the Magpie Mimi once I've let it sit a little longer, who knows, it might come right.

Cheers and happy brewing!

Monday, 7 January 2013

Farewell 2012 - Hello 2013

2013 and it's been a troublesome start to the year and end to 2012.

PC problems have meant we've been out of action online for a while. Thanks to everyone who has helped out getting us back online. Luckily we haven't lost any data, just a pain moving from a laptop to a PC.

Onto the beer!

I've brewed a couple of beers for the brother in law for his 40th this month. He has an Oktoberfest theme, but I'm not to keen on Oktoberfest beer, so when for a Vienna/Centennial SMaSH and what was supposed to be a Rakau IPA, more on that on in a moment.

The Vienna/Centennial SMaSH is a very simple recipe, 5.5kg of Vienna Malt and 47g of Centennial hops equaling a 32.7 IBU quaffer. Its a very drinkable beer, finished out nice and dry and come in at 5.8% abv so I've named it 'Hawkes Bay Hummer' since the brother in law is from the Hawkes Bay.

Colour is light with a slight orange hue, Vienna is a great malt to play with and gives a nice biscuit note. The hops, don't quite pop as much as I would have liked, but I guess this is a beer for people used to the big boys beer, so had to go easy right? It kind of reminds me of Steinlager to be honest, not as dry though, so very much a session beer.

I brewed an IPA with Rakau hops. A hop that there isn't much information about. I did some intensive research the night before brew day and found that they're a bit of a mongrel and may not be all that nice. Undeterred I carried on and brewed a beer. I was going to dry hop with Rakau but decided against after reading what I did, so threw a hop bomb of 107g of NZ Cascade, Motueka and Organic Motueka. Smelt amazing going into the bottles. Rakau is definitely an odd hop, bittering wise all I could really taste was Dr Pepper, or a medicinal taste. I'm slightly nervous about this beer, but I guess its how we learn as brewers! Watch this space for tasting and pics!

Rhubarb Saison
The Saison is a bust. Not quite bottle bombs, but gushers. After some intense research, seems the heat in my garage probably isn't ideal for the beer to sit in, even post fermentation. From what I've read, heat will reactivate the yeast and eat more sugars and basically, over carbonate the bottle. That means once you open it, it turns into a geyser Yellowstone National Park would be envious of!

If anyone has any ideas on how to save the beer (if its possible)  please leave a comment(s) below. I've got 8 litres I'd rather not tip down the drain!

I'm not letting it put me off. It was a very good beer before the gushing and I will be brewing it again, this time I'll look after it a little better.

Christmas Cider
This seems to have suffered a similar fate to the Saison. It's not gushing, but its highly carbonated. It's also very dry. If I was to go down the track of a kit cider again, I think I'd through some apple juice at it, instead of water. Just not enough apple flavour comes through. Certainly gives you a glow when you're drinking it!

Xmas Stout
Well, the Stout has two left in my fridge and I'd say about half a dozen bottles in the in-laws. It's good. The roast has mellowed out and the acidulated malt has kicked in big time. The look is thick black, almost molasses looking, nice thick tan head. Aroma...well, to be honest there isn't really any smell to it. Good beer, even better base beer to throw other things at (thanks +Brian Ross for the idea).

Orange Cascade Pale Ale
This is a pretty good beer if I do say so myself. I still never really got the orange nor the coriander I was expecting, but in the heat of Christmas Day in Palmerston North (and others) it was right on the money. A little bit to sweet, maybe from the oranges, maybe from the 1.018FG finish. Not sure I will brew this one again. Not entirely up my alley.

2013 Brews
Nothing is set in concrete for 2013 brews except, the Pale Ale will be brewed, more than once! This beer for me, is and will be the showcase for ManawaBrew. I need to make some more changes to the recipe, I think it needs more bittering hops (maybe a double hit FWH & 90min).

Shout out to Darrin at Craft Brewing for the odd yarn about fermentation control. That's the next big thing. Getting fermentation under control = better beer!

There's some plans afoot for the brewery, keep checking in on us, we now have a presence on Twitter, Facebook and Untappd so we're slowly moving in the right direction, with slowly being the key word!

Cheers and happy brewing!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Its been a while

Queue life getting in the way yet again I've neglected the blog, really should stop doing that!

Xmas Stout
Here is the Xmas Stout in all its glory. Very dark as you can see, not much sunlight is getting through there! The head itself sticks around a little, the lacing seems to stick around for longer.
There is not really any aroma, just smells like beer I guess. I wasn't expecting anything since its a stout, but I like having aroma, so might look at a hopped up stout in the future.
Its like no other beer I've ever had before, very tart from the aciduated malt, roast from the roasty goodness that went in and coming in at 4.8% its very quaffable. I don't think I will brew this particular recipe again, just not quite right. Might need more time to sit and condition in the bottle. I don't think many will make it through Christmas.

Orange Cascade Pale Ale
I don't have a photo of how this one looks, but its a pale ale by all accounts. There is a tiny amount of orange, not as much as I would like and there is no coriander at all. Aroma is nice, little hop and a little orange. Should be a nice summer beer. Even one to brew again!

Rhubarb Saison
Had to try at least one! Temptation got to me. It is amazingly good for what was a slap together beer. One I will definitely continue to brew, might even become a staple seasonal brew. More rhubarb is coming through so I might even get a chance to get another beer in before winter 2013.

They growing like wild fire. Mystery German has the two main vines and more have started shooting up from the rhizome. The Smoothcone is doing ok now its shot up. I've given them something to grow on now, some bailing twine from the in-laws. I'll try get some photos up next post.

Tis the season, so the updates might be few and far between until 2013 and things settle down, cheers for reading, prost! 

Monday, 3 December 2012

National Crate Day, Extract & Time

National Crate Day has come and gone. Some good company, some good beers and some not so good beers.

I managed to brew a Vienna/Centennial SMaSH albeit in between drinks, but it came out at 1.062, higher than the 1.057 I was aiming for - good efficiency again! I don't recall too much more than that for obvious reasons...

Onto the not so good beers....Its been a while since I've had a kit n kilo beer, but Brian brought around a couple of beers, a Pilsner, an IPA, Bock, Yorkshire Bitter and a bottle of Wheat Pilsner. I think the common feeling was kit and kilo beers should be drunk fresh. I don't remember much about the Pils apart from gushing bottles, the IPA had no hops in it at all, tasted more like how I remember Lion Red tasting, the Wheat Pils was ok being a partial mash, but just to much malt, not enough hop. A stray ESB made it which I'm trying now. Very much about the malt, similar to what I recall it tasting like fresh, but just no hops, no bitterness. I guess that's how we learn as brewers, our pallet gets used to what we've been brought up on. Second beer in is a Bock, its a little newer than the ESB, but still the same "extract twang". Fresher is better.

We had an impromptu tasting on the day, we had a Pilsner vs a Munich Lager vs the MPA. Two kit n kilo's vs a BIAB.To be honest, it probably wasn't going to be a fair fight, but we headed in full steam. The MPA came first, followed by the Munich then the Pils. One down for the MPA!!!

The star of the night for most of us that where left over was the Bourbon Vanilla Imperial Porter. Brian's done a brilliant job of this beer. The one we had was with Jim Beam Honey as the Bourbon part. Fantastic beer, albeit maybe a little young for such a big beer, but still, was a very good drop. The vanilla comes through, but I think it could use just a touch more, the mouth feel is like velvet, very very smooth beer. Be good to see how its tasting after some time in the cellar, if it can last that long.

Next up will be a BIPA for the brother in-laws birthday, then a double batch of MPA - gotta build up the stocks!

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Milestones - One year on

Well, its been a year since we fired up the blog. Its been a whirlwind adventure, from the start, using kits n kilo, partial mash and now BIAB. I've enjoyed the trip, I hope you have as well. Here's to many more beers!
Kit beer - gotta start somewhere

Some thanks to some people before I carry on rambling:

Steph - gotta thank the wife for putting up with the time I spend drinking and brewing. Thanks for coming on random trips to the bottlo, trying all the beers I buy, even though you might not like them, at least you found Rekorderlig!! 

Brian - shot for being the other half of ManawaBrew, albeit a silent partner at the moment, you're here/there but no posts....pretty sure you exist. Teri, cudos for letting Brian play beer with me.

In laws - thanks for the tasting, thanks for the opportunity to brew for you and allowing me to throw beers your way for critique. Gordon, if you read this, you're in here!

Shady - cheers for the use of your immersion chiller, cheers for organising me one, although I'm yet to pay, cheers for coming and being a part of brew day #1 and the rest!

The Online Brewing Community - check my links. If its there, its helped me get where I am. So much advice and such a friendly bunch. Huge shout out to RealBeerNZ for the huge amount of traffic the blog gets!

Any and all craft breweries and brewers in New Zealand - cheers! Putting the beer back into beer albeit in small 500ml increments, but it's happening and the big two are noticing!

APA show down!
Last, but not least, Luke Nicholas - I have never met you, probably never will, you and Epic Pale Ale are the reason I brew beer, not make beer, but brew beer. My first BIAB was an Epic Pale Ale Clone, the ManawaBrew Pale Ale uses the same base as the Epic Pale Ale, cause its that awesome, I just threw my type of hops at it. I remember my first trip to Beervana in 2011, I saw a beer called Hop Zombie. That was the first beer of my Beervana trip and I was hunting to find something as good the whole night. The last beer of the night, was Hop Zombie. Awesome beers, I've just about tried em all, but I keep going back to the Pale Ale.

The Cascade Orange Pale Ale has been bottled. It come out to 1018 FG, but it tastes a lot drier than that, might have been my off taste buds, but it gave a real dry mouth. Not a lot of orange comes through in the taste, but the aroma is very orange. Not much coriander in there, just a slight hit of spice on the end of the pallet. If it comes out OK, might look at a side by side of this one and the ManawaBrew Pale Ale to boost up summer stocks.

I plan to bottle the Rhubarb Saison tomorrow. It was at 1016 FG when I checked it and threw in the rhubarb. Last taste it was odd. Smelt like rhubarb, tasted like rhubarb with a faint hint of pepper and spice. I guess that's from the yeast, but I'm not to sure. It's only a little beer, 15 litres, so I plan to cellar, or bottle condition most of it until the winter. I think it'll be a really good winter beer, perhaps pair well with a crumble? Hope it works out, if its does, there's a seasonal brew!

Sunday, 18 November 2012

500ml the new stubbie

I've been thinking for sometime about going exclusive to 500ml bottles. At the moment, I try to bottle as much as I can in 500ml bottles and the rest into the 745ml quart bottles. Has or is the 500ml bottle becoming the new stubbie in New Zealand?

I was at the in laws for dinner last night and was drinking Steinlager Classic in the normal 330ml bottles. They just seem so small! Maybe its my giant hands? Maybe they just are that small? Either way, 500ml has become "my" stubbie. I'd rather a couple of 500ml bottles, albeit with decent beer in it, than have 4 or 5 stubbies with 'normal' beer in it. Upside of going to 500ml bottles is the joy of drinking craft beer to get the bottles!

For whatever reason the beer isn't as good as I recall it before it went Classic, Pure and Edge. Are the 330ml bottles throw backs to the 6 o'clock swill days? Just get as much into you before closing and she'll be right? I dunno, I'm a little young so I don't remember the 6 o'clock swill days but to me it makes sense.

What do you prefer? 330ml, 500ml, 650ml, 745ml or a good old fashioned jug?

ManawaBrew Pale Ale
Still my best beer yet, it just keeps getting better and better every time I try it! Quite proud of it to be fair. I even had a go of it as my "lawn mowing" beer and it won at that as well, definitely a brilliant beer. It seems to be loosing the caramel nose on it though, more hop notes are coming through. Apricot, mango, passion fruit and a slight hint of pine. Beautiful!

Christmas Beers
The stout is in the cupboard, I've tried a couple of bottles and the first one was roastier than the crispy bits left in the an when ya cook a roast, so was a bit of a struggle. The second bottle had mellowed and was just about right. Good roast after taste, the acid malt was coming through for that "sour" taste. Little bit more time in the bottle and she'll be right on.

The cider is conditioning. Tried a bottle the other night and it taste weak, strong alcohol, but just watery I guess is the term. No mouth feel. Strong tart after taste. More time I think, it did say 6 weeks in the bottle, but ya gotta try these things right?

The Orange Cascade Pale Ale is cold crashing after throwing 31g each of Motueka and Cascade at it. I'll cold crash for 5 days then bottle it.

Rhubarb Saison
I threw in the Rhubarb yesterday. Sitting in the linen cupboard smelling, well, not bad, but my first time with T-58 and wow.  Tried the gravity sample and its pretty good so far. Lots of biscuit flavour, toffee and due to the yeast, some peppery notes. All in all it will be beer at the end of it, just depends if its a nice beer.
Orange Cascade PA on the right, Rhubarb Saison on the left