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

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Orange Cascade Pale Ale

Well, there she is, excuse the cold break on the bottom of the glass, but there is a sneak peak of the Orange Cascade Pale Ale.

I did manage to stuff up by forgetting to put the orange and coriander in at I ended up making a 5 litre tea of orange peel and coriander, boiled it for 15mins and threw it in the fermenter. At the end of the day, it'll be beer right?

I also threw some Motueka at it, just cause Cascade and Motueka together is an intense flavour combination!
Here's the mash in - excuse the feet. 4.5kg of Maris Otter, 500g Vienna and 500g of Pale Crystal. Simple recipe, easy mash in.

16 litres of water to 76 degrees, dough in and what do ya know, 67 degrees. Off the burner, kept in the sun lid on and let it rest for and hour. Note the really cool mash paddle? Queue an old BBQ fish slice and a hammer to make it straight. Works a treat!
Took a little while to hit the boil, but once she was there it was nice and consistent. Yes, those are pegs. They're holding the hop bag in place. One thing you can't see is the first wort hops I ended up doing. I put the first 27g Cascade into a muslin bag and threw it in the boil kettle before I gathered the wort. That means the hops have been sitting in the cooler wort right through to boil and right through to chilling. I'm interested on how this will go.

Next was the chilling. Went real quick, I assume due to the Manawatu wind picking up. At this point, I clicked that I had forgotten the orange peel and coriander, so I raced inside and made up the tea I mentioned earlier.

Now, the fermenter is inside, cooling down as much as it possibly can inside so I can throw the yeast in. I think I'll cold crash this one as well, after fermentation has ceased, or slowed down, 5 day cold crash with 30g each or Cascade and Motueka.

ManawaBrew Pale Ale
You would have seen in my last blog that I've cracked a bottle and had some notes there......well, here it is. Nice full head, lacing stays with it right through. Aroma is dried apricots, mango, passion fruit and a tiny hint of pine and wait for it, caramel.

Taste is insane. I wasn't sure how well Cascade and Motueka would work together, but they work really well. You get the same sort of tastes as in the aroma, dried apricot, mango, passion fruit and caramel.

I gave out a bottle to Shady, who said it was pretty good and wanted the recipe, gave in the in laws a taste last night, one is an avid wine drinker and she said she liked it, the other is a staunch Steinlager, Guinness and Whiskey drinker and even he liked it.

I think it missing a couple of things, one it the abv is excessive, 7.5% is too high. I think something in the 5.5 to 6% would be ideal. I think it needs more hops, maybe more of a combination of Cascade and Motueka all the way through, who knows, I'll keep playing and once its ready, I'll throw it at some competitions and see how we go. All about experimenting right?

As I said in the last post, the Mystery German is reaching for the sky, stoked! The Smoothcone is awake and climbing, but the Mystery German is by far the biggest. I'll throw up some photos later on, so check back!
Tomorrow I'll be brewing the rhubarb saison with Steph, so watch this space for some more blogging and pics!!


Monday, 5 November 2012

Rhubarb Saison anyone

I've got some malts and hops that I wanna use up, I'm getting itchy feet and I wanna brew! Randomly barbecuing last night I saw my rhubarb plant and thought, rhubarb + beer = nice.

I thought long and hard. I even did some research on rhubarb beer/wine/cider. Most recipes seem to be a wheat based beer. I'm not sold on wheat beers, just no flavour to me. I'm keen to experiment, this being a pure me beer, with some input from Jonanthan and Chris, the former happened to win two Bronze medals in the SOBA NHC 2012 competition - well done Chris!
So after some playing, so advice and a 'just going with it' attitude, I've got a recipe down:
Bitches Saison
Recipe Specs
Batch Size (L): 15.0
Total Grain (kg):  3.595
Total Hops (g): 40.00
Original Gravity (OG): 1.056
Final Gravity (FG): 1.014
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.50 %
Colour (SRM): 8.8 
Bitterness (IBU): 23.2
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 75
Boil Time (Minutes): 60
Grain Bill
1.039 kg Pale Ale Malt (28.9%)
1.036 kg Maris Otter Malt (28.82%)
0.729 kg Golden Promise Malt (20.28%)
0.428 kg Caramalt (11.91%)
0.289 kg Carahell (8.04%)
0.074 kg Carapils (Dextrine) (2.06%)
Hop Bill
20.0 g Willamette Pellet (4.9% Alpha) @ 45 Minutes (First Wort)
20.0 g Motueka Pellet (6.8% Alpha) @ 5 Minutes (Boil)
Misc Bill
936.0 g Rhubarb @ 5 - 7 Days (Secondary)
Single step Infusion at 66°C for 60 Minutes.
Fermented at 20°C with Safbrew T-58

So, a couple of things. First time using rhubarb and thought why not try my hand at first wort hops. I'm planning to buy the last Christmas brew ingredients this week, so all I need to do is throw in a T-58 yeast and we'll be sweet.
As usual watch this space!
Bottled 33 bottles of cider on Sunday, got bored and it'd finished but hydro readings. Now sitting in the warmth of the garage for at least 5 weeks. No tasting notes at bottling, wasn't as good as I was expecting, so time will tell.
ManawaBrew Pale Ale
10 days in the bottle and I had to try it. I didn't think it would be carbonated so was a little cautious. Without chilling, I popped the cap and low and behold, I had carbonation! Feeling pretty happy with myself, into a glass it went - in my excitement, no pictures just yet, they'll be coming in the next blog post along with tasting notes! I will tell you that its going to become the house ale!!
Despite the atrocious Manawatu winds, The Mystery German is reaching for the sky and the Smoothcone has started doing the same! It amazes me how fast a plant grows in such a small amount of time, again, sorry for the lack of pics, I'll throw some up next time!