Saturday, 25 August 2012

Bubble Tea?

Time to bottle the Bubble Tea Mild. First, a final "gravity" test. Still at 1.020 and well, it'd be rude not to have a taste right?

Still tasting good! Still has that initial sweet hit then a slight roast from the chocolate malt (which is a new flavour) and the final taste bud sensation, HOPS!
So there it is, in all her glory, brown, not fizzy yet and for now, rather tasty. Not the yeast still in suspension (white specks).
I got the kistchen ready for bottleing, gave it a nice clean and hunted through my bottles to get as many 500ml bottles as I could. I'm liking the smaller bottles, more so for tasting. I grabbed some bombers (650ml) bottles that I had from Stoke and the usualt 750ml suspects from those other breweries.
I did have a slight mishap when I was bottling though, didn't waste much and I have one 500ml bottle that might not be so good...

I was filling a 500ml bottle, and the end of the bottling wand come off in the bottle! So I had beer splasing all over the floor and then end of my wand in a bottle. I managed to turn the tap off on the fermenter and after about 10mins of mucking arojund, go the end out of the bottle. Resantitised and carried on. Am I worried? not really. Should I be? Probably...

Had a chat with Brian about some upcoming brews. He's keen to do a vanilla porter and I think I'll have a go at a black IPA. Have you brewed or tried either a Vanilla Porter, or a Black IPA? Leave us a comment below.

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Wednesday Brewskies

Well, its hump day and I felt like a beer. All I had in the fridge was some left over brewskies from our brew day a couple of weeks ago.

Sitting amongst the beers are a couple of bottle of the JD SMaSH. I thought I would give it another go, see how its changed.

Into a 2012 Beervana glass it went.

Aroma: Its got a slight nose of the Jack Daniels and when I say slight I mean slight. There is more vanilla in the nose, but apart from that its pretty bland.

Look: Its very golden, compared to how it looked when I was bottling it, its done very well, ver clear, very bright. Its got almost a golden hue to it, from the chips and Jack Daniels I'd say. No head to speak of, it disappears quickly, not to worried since it was a single malt beer.

Taste: Well, it has mellowed in the last two weeks in the fridge. The Jack Daniels is not as harsh as it was, in fact its become very drinkable. Its got a beer taste now, before it was like having a shot of Jack. Now, now its a beer. Now it has mellowed just enough. You still get the heat from the Jack, but its hard to explain, you just want MOAR!
I think I'll still cellar some, if not most of it. Its coming into summer and this certainly is no summer beer. I don't think I'd want to smash back one of these after mowing the lawn! Its more of a tuck up next to the fire sort of beers. Very warming.

Still thinking about my next brew. I got some ideas from Beervana, but I dunno. Not sure I want to spend money on experimental beers, but I guess thats all I've really been doing since I started brewing right?

I have put some thought into the American again, such a good beer and truth be told, most of it went at my birthday so I never got to really give a good go. Only real downside is the cost of the hops, they cost $20 per 100g here in NZ and I need at least 300g. I guess I could make a 10L batch though, scale everything down...? Needs more thought and more beer!!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Bubble Tea Mild Ale

Bubble Tea Mild chillin'
Its been just over a week since the Brewhemoth Brew Day and my failed attempt at a porter. Never fear though, I have decided it will now become an American Mild Ale. Its an American because it has more hops than an English version of the same style of beer. In staying with the name of the original, Bubble Tea Porter, I've now named it, Bubble Tea Mild.

Its currently siting at roughly 5.2% abv, which to me is a sessionable beer. The gravity samples I've tasted have been pretty good, hoppy nose, sweet front, hop bitter back and a velvet mouth feel. I guess the lactose and malto-dextrine have done their job.

Plan is to bottle on Saturday since I now have Saturdays back post rugby season, although the ITM Cup is staring this week and the All Blacks are playing Saturday night, maybe Sunday for bottling day. All going well in the bottle, in two weeks time, we'll have a taste.a

Side note - I have also decide the JD SMaSH is going to cellar over the summer and I'll see how it goes in the winter. I'm not sure if I'll keep it in the house or in the garage over summer, I think the house, since it'll be cooler.

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Two days later and I've finally got around to writing something about Beervana. We took the day off work and headed to the Friday night session. 

On our way down we stopped in at the Thorndon New World and mecca for the craft beer scene, the mighty wall of beer. We grabbed a couple of brews to try out before Beervana. I grabbed an Old Speckled Hen from Greene King and a world famous Hobgoblin from Wychwood Brewery, I'll get onto those brews soon.

We got to the flat, dumped our gear and went to find Hashigo Zake by far one of the best bars I've been to in years. The place is a mecca for craft beers from New Zealand and beyond. The bar itself was hard to find, but we found it on our second drive passed. I had a pint of DeadCanary from ParrotDog a VERY tasty beer. Right up my ally. Brian decided to go for his name sake, a Brian IPA from Emersons and Steph tried out a blackcurrant cider from Peckhams.

Cider Kir from Peckhams @ Hashigo Zake

Back to the flat for more pre drinks. I tried the Old Speckled Hen. I have heard lots about this beer, but to be honest, wasn't quite up my alley. A nice beer, but I'm not sure I would have more than one in a session, personal preference.

Onto Beervana we went. We decided this year we'd hit things a little different than 2011, mainly because we all tried the same beers last year, this year, we actually did some research and got beers we individually wanted to try then sampled each others. Worked out really well, we certainly tried more beers!! 

We started at the festive and real ale stands and started with a beer called Festivus from 8 Wired Brewing. Good beer and pretty much what you'd be expecting from a lambic beer, sour. At the same time we tried a beer called Marmalade from The Twisted Hop. If you like marmalade, then you'll like this beer. Also tried a beer from Aoteroa Breweries called Mata Carrot & Orange Cake another good brew.

We moved up and down the concourse and hit some other breweries, downed a curry, bratwurst and the finale was an Alpaca pie.

Best beer for me, had to be Funk Estates Black IPA followed closely by the 17% Stout from 8 Wired Brewing called Bumaye. A beautiful stout that has been aged in a barrel. Very smooth beer and just what you'd need at the end of a session like we had.

More than likely not the best idea but I tired the Hobgoblin after Beervana and again, not my cup of tea. I will definitely need to try it again, without so many beers under my belt!

All in all a good session, next in line is The Great Pacific Beer Expo in October. Tickets go on sale 1 September from

We had the normal day after feed and went to find ParrotDog a newly founded brewery in Wellington. I tried there BitterBitch last year and as above, tried the DeadCanary. From all accounts, they were closed, but I found out after the fact, never mind, they were a lovely bunch and the dude we spoke to seemed to be a little miffed we were there, but all good. We will be back to visit them and Garage Project at some point in the near future.

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Brewhemoth Brew Day

Well, with Dropkick Murphy's pumping we finally got around to the brewhemoth brew day. We ended up just doing three brews, Centennial Blonde, Stone Arrogant Bastard clone and what was supposed to be a Black Pearle Porter isn't anymore....we'll call it a mild ale for now. Pretty happy with the day, we started a little later than planned, but it all worked out in the end. Shady brought over his new toy, an immersion chiller. Worked really well, got the wort to 30 degrees from a rolling boil in about 20mins. My backyard is now officially a swimming pool with the rain we've had over the week and cooling three beers on top. The things we do for beer.

20g of Cascade and 4oz of Lactose for the "Black Pearle Porter"
I thought I had enough chocolate malt, turns out I only half of what was required. So its not as dark as it should be and wont be as roasty as it should be. Due to that fact I ended up using Fuggles for bittering and NZ Cascade for aroma and flavouring. Give it fiveish weeks and we'll see how it turns out.
"Black Pearle Porter" at a rolling boil
Shady and Brian both popped their All Grain cherries with us all doing BIAB. We had two three ring burners as you see above and one 2 ring burner. Since Shady and I were onto it and here first we nabbed the three ring burners and got up to strike temps quickly. Brian came and joined the race soon after. Three mashes in and it was time for a beer.

Stone Arrogant Bastard with a rolling boil
We left it a little lat to get the sparge water on the heat, so all three brews were left mashing in for longer than expected and at lower temps than expected. None of us are all that worried about it, beers, beer and at this stage is just a hobby (yeah right).

We mashed out and got onto the boil. Shady was first to hit a boil and man, once the centennial hit the boil, my backyard smelt like a brewery. Brian was next with his 1.5oz Chinook hit, yet again a massive wave of hops filled the air. Next was me and the fuggles.....not much aroma there...

Centennial Blonde with the IC
Along we went with all the hop and other additions then onto cooling. The immersion chiller worked really well, especially on a coldish day, the water was fairly cold. It hits about 30 and tends to plateau for a little before hitting pitching temps.

Into the fermenters went all three beers, Shady and Brian are usignUS-05 and I'm using US-04. Give us at least 5 weeks and we'll see how the beers taste!
"Black Pearle Porter" cooling
And just as a teaser....the JD SMaSH in the glass....its still VERY dominated by bourbon on the nose and taste. Definitely one to cellar! Next time, I need to find a stronger beer. I just don't think a SMaSH has enough of a malt back bone to compliment the Jack Daniels. I think a Porter wiould be better and perhaps toast the chips as well. Might make that a project beer, 5L at a time.

14/08 edit

Tested the gravity, down to 1.020 from 1.060 in three days!!! She was sitting at 22 degrees which is on the high end of S-04....Tasting the gravity sample now and wow, lots of hop nose, soft sweet taste with a kick in the back. Even SWMBO liked it....Litte watery mouth feel, hope it fills out. The maltodextrine should give it some mouth feel, little lacking at the moment. Give it 7 more days and see how it goes before I decide when to bottle.