Saturday, 22 September 2012

Stop.....Hop Time

After some pretty unpleasant weather in the Manawatu, i.e. rain, I was getting a little worried about the hops I planted last week. The Mystery German had a couple of shoot when I planted it and the Smoothcone was still dormant.
I went out today on a pretty decent spring day and mowed the lawn, did some gardening and check the hops like a caring father - we have a shoot on the Mystery German!!! Stoked! Smoothcone is still dormant from the looks, hopefully the warm spring days will wake her up. I didn't get any photos since it hard to see, but once its out and shooting for the sun I'll throw up a picture.
I'm on the third bottle of JD SMaSH for the day, popped one this afternoon over some discussions of PC parts and distilling. I think this beer needs to be served warm. I know that sounds odd and most people will be disgusted reading that, but when its cold, or chilled, the flavour from the Jack Daniels just does not come through, the vanilla, the oak, the char....but when its warms, it like drinking a warm whiskey. I guess, if you're into it, you're into it. Personally, I'm more than into it! There is also a slight pepper/spice after taste. I"m not sure if its the Styrian Golding's coming through, or if its the Jack Daniels, either way, its pleasant.
I'm surprised as the colour, its picked up so much colouring from the Jack Daniels and the Jack Daniels Oak Barrel chips I used. Remember this is a single malt beer, I didn't use any malt for colouring, I used 8kg of a base malt and when I bottled it, there was nowhere near that depth of colour.
I'm surprised that for a single malt beer, it's actually got a decent head, as you can see and it stays there, it doesn't dissipate when drinking the beer, yay for Maris Otter malt!
So the question now is, would I brew it again? Answer is yes!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Next brew - American Pale Ale

I've decided on the next beer, brew day to be the 13th October.  I'm going to make an American Pale Ale, loosely based off Epic's Pale Ale, but I'm using different hops.

I while ago I brewed a Fat Yak clone, called it a Chubby Highlander and people went nuts over it. I said at the time I would brew it again, but I haven't, mainly because I haven't brewed extract since I moved into BIAB. I pretty much fell in love with Motueka hops. Such a great hop, flavoursome, and oh such an aroma.

I then moved onto brewing a clone of Epic's Pale Ale for my birthday. My first attempt at all grain brewing and BIAB. Seemed to run alright, so I've stuck with BIAB ever since.
I wanted to brew the Pale Ale again, but thought this time I'd throw some Motueka hops at it. I've read that Cascade and Motueka go well together, even had a read of some hop bursting. I figured, I'll stick with what I know for now and see how it goes - basically, get a recipe I like, then start tweaking.

So, here she is:

ManawaBrew Pale Ale V1
American Pale Ale
Recipe Specs
Batch Size (L): 23.0
Total Grain (kg): 6.200
Total Hops (g): 254.00
Original Gravity (OG): 1.059
Final Gravity (FG): 1.015
Alcohol by Volume (ABV):  5.80 %
Colour (SRM): 8.4 
Bitterness (IBU): 34.2   (Tinseth)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 70
Boil Time (Minutes): 90
Grain Bill
5.000 kg Golden Promise Malt (80.65%)
0.600 kg Caramalt (9.68%)
0.400 kg Crystal 10 (6.45%)
0.200 kg Carapils (3.23%)
Hop Bill
7.0 g Cascade Pellet (7.3% Alpha) @ 75 Minutes
14.0 g Cascade Pellet (7.3% Alpha) @ 30 Minutes
34.0 g Cascade Pellet (7.3% Alpha) @ 10 Minutes
42.5 g Cascade Pellet (7.3% Alpha) @ 5 Minutes
42.5 g Motueka Pellet (7.3% Alpha) @ 5 Minutes
57.0 g Motueka Pellet (7.3% Alpha) @ 5 Days Dry Hop
57.0 g Motueka Pellet (7.3% Alpha) @ 7 Days Dry Hop
Misc Bill
Single step Infusion at 64°C for 60 Minutes.
Fermented at 21°C with Wyeast 1272 - American Ale II
So there's the recipe, guess we'll see how we go in a couple of weeks!
Oh yeah, got the hop plants out into the garden today - bring on the bines!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Hops, hops and more hops

HOPS! I ventured out today and brought a couple of plants from the Fragrant Garden in Feilding. As you can see I managed to get a Smoothcone and a German vareity that most people on RealBeerNZ call Mystery German.

Pretty stoked I've got the plants. Plan is to clean up the back section, move some planter boxes we currently have and chuck em in the ground. I plan to hook some guide rope to  the fence you can see in the background (on the right) then up to a couple of silver birch trees so they've got something to climb up.

Time will tell I guess. Ian at the Fragrant Gardens they grow real quick once they get going. Lets see if horticulture when I was in college actually did any good!

Got hops growing yourself, have any tips for me?

Thursday, 13 September 2012

The past and the future

As I sit here on a chilly Thursday Manawatu evening, its been a big week in ManawaBrew world.

I've looked into a domain name for the site - figured its easier to market than hey, check out, had a chat with a guy about a logo as well and I have had some chats with the lads about a place in town that could be interested in some home brew tastings. More on that when I actually pull finger and have that chat, watch this space though!
I also finished reading a book by Micheal Donaldson called Beer Nation: The Art and Heart of Kiwi Beer. Very hard book to put down, highly recommended to anyone in New Zealand, or overseas for that matter that wants to know the history of beer and brewing scene in New Zealand.
A couple of things I found really interesting, Speights as we know it, used to be dry hopped. Yes, dry hopped beer way back when Jesus was a Cowboy. Something I never knew. Could explain why the father in law never liked Tui! I guess I may have known that should I have done the tour all those years ago I was there, instead of the chocolate factory.
Another thing I found interesting is why, now, I understand why there is such flavour (sic) in "New Zealand Draught" beer (Tui, Export Gold, DB, Lion Red), a secret ingredient.....sugar. Plain old sugar. Now it might not come as a suprise to some, but it makes sense to me now why on the label for Macs Gold you see 'all malt lager'.
The 6'oclock swill gets a good mention and I agree with what Micheal is saying. I maybe a part of the generation of young (sic) males who are still entwined in the mindset of the 6 o'clock swill and I'll admit I probably have passed it onto young males coming through my local rugby club, but its New Zealand right? It's how we roll. Well, once you've read the book, you might understand why it is that way, can we change it though?
So, go buy the book, buy the beer that Epic also brewed for it, Message in a Bottle IPA and let us know your thoughts. Pretty sure we tried the beer at Beervana as well, although the Epic stand was towards the end of the night so can't quite recall...

Monday, 10 September 2012

Captains log...

Its been a while since my last post - life has certainly got in the way.
I went over to Masterton for a weekend away with Steph. On the way we stopped in at the Tui Brewery. I've been on the tour before, but its a little hazy on what exactly happend - was for Brian's stag do.  
A couple of things:
Eating a hop pellet = a free beer. I did this last time I was there, except the hops were fresh, this time they were a little on the brown side and very stale, hopefully they don't chuck them in the beer!
DB - seriously consider getting the Brewers Reserve out into the public, not just an onsite beer. I think you'd be surpised how well it would sell. Its probably the hoppiest beer from DB and for me, its a pretty good beer. 

To Kava or not to Kava?

I was having a conversation with my boss at work about the Pohutakawa Cerveza and he asked me about kava. I've tried it, I liked it, its not illegal in New Zealand, so a kava beer?
The taste of Kava is pretty strong and dirty/muddy, so I think you'd need a pretty strong malt backbone to hide the earthy notes, or throw a truckload of hops at it.
A quick Google and I found some stuff. A Porter recipe over on HBT, I'll wait and see how that turns out before I progress, if I do. It's got me interested though. 

Next Brews

I've made the decison to re brew the American and I'm going to call it a KPA, or a Kiwi Pale Ale. While its not an offical style, home brewing is all about experimentation...
And in between now and brew day (13th October) I'll try and get the Pohutakawa Cerveza done.
So some questions for you, my loyal followers:
1. Would you drink a kava beer?
2. Would you drink a Pohutakawa Cerveza (think Corona with a slight salty aftertaste)

Monday, 3 September 2012

A President, a porter and some port

Well, if you're into brewing and you're following anything like this blog at all, you'll know that Mr President, Barack Obama brews beer.
Rumour has it that the Pres brought a home brew kit and like most of us caught the bug. Unlike most of us who continue to brew, he's got his staff to brew and they use White House Honey.
Full article can be found on the White House Blog.
White House Honey Porter
  • 2 (3.3 lb) cans light unhopped malt extract
  • 3/4 lb Munich Malt (cracked)
  • 1 lb crystal 20 malt (cracked)
  • 6 oz black malt (cracked)
  • 3 oz chocolate malt (cracked)
  • 1 lb White House Honey
  • 10 HBUs bittering hops
  • 1/2 oz Hallertaur Aroma hops
  • 1 pkg Nottingham dry yeast
White House Honey Ale
  • 2 (3.3 lb) cans light malt extract
  • 1 lb light dried malt extract
  • 12 oz crushed amber crystal malt
  • 8 oz Biscuit Malt
  • 1 lb White House Honey
  • 1 1/2 oz Kent Goldings Hop Pellets
  • 1 1/2 oz Fuggles Hop pellets
  • 2 tsp gypsum
  • 1 pkg Windsor dry ale yeast
Pretty standard beers really. I have had some conversations with some people about the porter and instead of using White House Honey, throwing in some Manuka Honey. I've toyed with the idea of honey before and still might go ahead with it.
Also thought about a Mexican Cerveza with some Pohutakawa Honey hoping some of the saltiness from the Pohutakawa comes through. Might do a small batch and see what it comes out like, it'll be a cheap extract kit:
Pohutakawa Cerveza
  • 1.5kg Mangrove Jack's Mexican Cerveza LME hopped kit
  • 1.5kg Coopers Light LME
  • 1kg Pohutakawa Honey
  • Saflager S-23 Yeast 
Not sure if I'd follow a "normal" extract brew, or if I'll do a full boil and throw some more hops in there. I'll put some thought into it. Maybe even some speciality grains as well, can't hurt. Although, I guess what hops does one put into a Cerveza? Saaz baby, all the way!! Might be out of style, but then again that's the joy of brewing right?
Port Porter/Stout
I got offered a bottle of Port, which I gracefully agreed to grab, which brings me to my next brew. A port based porter. Now it might sound odd, it might sound funny to some, but if you imagine a strong porter, let it ferment then throw it into in a barrel that has been used to store port, then cellar it for about 6 months...If you like port and if you like Porter, then it'd be a beer for you, or in this case me.
A couple of points to note:.
  1. I don't have a barrel
  2. The barrels I have found are pretty expensive ($NZ220 for a 5L)
  3. Will it be worth it?
I'm keen to have a goo and to be fair, should this little hobby become something more serious, I'll have a 5L Oak Barrel to play with - who wouldn't want it right? Experimentation anyone?
I'll sleep on it, dream about it and hopefully save some money to actually do it! Pledge Me account time maybe?

Saturday, 1 September 2012

Bubble Tea......?

Need another name, bubble tea it is not!
After mowing the lawns and fluffing around the house, I figured I deserved a taste. Cleverly I put a bottle in the fridge before I started doing anything this moring!
On a nice warm Manawatu day, watching Canterbury vs North Harbour in the ITM Cup, I popped a bottle. Sorry - no pics this time, I'll make sure I've got one for next time.
No carbonation. I'm not to worried for a couple of reasons:
1. You'll remember that I had some issues with bottling. This bottle was the bottle i was bottling when it happened, the bottle was pretty much full to the brim, so there wasn't any headroom for anything - silly me should have tipped some out.
2. Its only been a week since I bottled. Simillarly with the JD SMaSH it eventually took 3 weeks to carbonate. So I'll leave this one - again another reason to bottle with 500ml bottles, not really wasting that much beer.
Onto the beast itself....
Taste - very malty, the chocolate malt comes into its own now and its pretty good, decent roast there. Hops are not there really, might've needed more? Yeah, more, definately needs more HOPS! There is a slight hop after taste, similar actually to the I.R.A I brewed for my birthday. Not a bad taste.
Aroma - all but nothing there, there is a malt nose, not sure if it the buscuit or the chocolate malt thats doing it, but its surprinsingly pleasent. I'll lleave the rest of the notes for when it's carbonated, something tells me it might be different.
Look - Dark brown with a red hue. Obviously no lacing or head to speak of since its not carbonated.
Finally manged to get some Star San as well. Pretty stoked. I'll be honest, I was being lazy in not getting any, but after seeing the stuff in action on the Brewhemoth Brew Day I thought, bugger it, I'm getting some! Pretty cheap and should last me a long time!
Keep an eye out for more tasting notes!