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!

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