Dec
21
2015

Bohemian Pilsner

Pitched this onto the yeast cake of the previous pilsner. Managed to chill the wort down to 12.5°C by pumping ice water through the immersion chiller. Due to pitching on yeast cake there was a very short lag time – obvious fermentation activity within 12 hours (at 12°C).

Result was just ok – tasted fine, slightly sweet/malty, not much bitterness and despite an extended lagering period quite a lot of sediment ended up in the bottles resulting in a cloudy appearance.

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Nov
15
2015

Basic Pilsner

Basic Pilsner because it has only pilsner malt and Pacifica hops.
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Nov
15
2015

Rye IPA

Brewed for League Of Homebrewer’s ingredient showcase. Brewed using 18.5% rye.

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Sep
21
2015

Emergency Pale Ale

Emergency Pale Ale – what’s the emergency? Running low on beer, that’s what.

Came second in SOBA Nelson homebrew compitition (The Verdict, 24th October 2015).

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Jun
19
2015

Black Sheep Smoked Oatmeal Stout

Brewed with Karl Summerfield on his Grainfather system for the League of Homebrewers Manuka Smoked Malt Showcase.

Came first in SOBA Nelson homebrew compitition (The Verdict, 24th October 2015).

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May
09
2015

Last Minute Pale Ale

Brewed with Gladfield American Ale malt for League of Homebrewers malt showcase.

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Mar
21
2015

Marchfest Pale Ale

Brewed with Karl Summerfield at Marchfest 2015.

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Mar
14
2015

Hops Stew

Brewed with freshly picked ‘wet’ hops. Split into 2 batches – batch A, the full strength 5.7% abv version and batch B at 4.5% abv included additional water used to rinse the copious amount of hops material left in the boil kettle.

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Jan
19
2015

Rakau Pale Ale

First brew of 2015. Just going after a straightforward easy drinking Pale Ale here and using up ingredients that I have on hand. First time using Rakau hops.

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Nov
17
2014

November Pilsner

Brewing Notes:

  • Leaf hops caused a bit of trouble with transfer from kettle to fermenter, had to keep clearing blockage from ball valve.
  • Didn’t account for the 90 min boil in water boil-off calculations so need to add 4 L top-up water. Add boiled cooled water after fermentation kicks off.
  • Just used a single packet of Mangrove Jacks Bohemian Pilsner yeast, rehydrated at 25C, pitched at 18C, held at around 17 – 17.5 C overnight, then temperature slowy dropped to 12 C.
  • Plan to follow Brulosophy’s fast lagering method.

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Nov
03
2014

Fuggles Gem Dark Ale

I had planned to use S-04 yeast in this one but didn’t manage to pick up any on time so just made it with US-05 (hydrated this time). I also did a small split batch using Coopers yeast as I had more wort than would fit in the carboy. No hydrometer this time either so running blind on gravity numbers. I got a new hydrometer by bottling time so got a FG reading of 1.008 – a bit more attenuated than was calculated.

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Oct
30
2014

Kettle trub in fermenter – could it actually be beneficial?

I used to strain out the trub with a sieve when transferring the wort from the kettle to the fermenter but on one brew I got lazy and just dumped it all into the fermenter, every last bit of trub – hot break, cold break, hops debris and every single drop of liquid and solid material that was in the kettle. The result? Great beer, nice and clear, no off-tastes that I could tell. After that I never went back to attempting to prevent trub from making it’s way into the fermenter. I’ve been getting good clear beer and have made some of my best beers since then.

So when I came accross a blog post detailing experiments done on this – The Great Trub exBEERiment – I read it great interest. The article refers to a reasearch study done on the impact of kettle trub on levels of isoamyl acetate (banana) and ethyl acetate (nail polish remover) compounds. Surprisingly, the study found the that wort with the most trub actually produced a beer with significantly lower levels of these compounds! The author details his own experiment and discovery that the beer fermented with the kettle trub actually came out significantly clearer than one that had the trub carefully removed.

So why do brewers go to the trouble of seperating out the trub by whirlpooling, straining etc? I guess most brewers would assume that doing so will improve the clarity and reduce off-tastes but now it seems that not only is it not the case, but the opposite may actually be true.

I’ll keep on doing it my way, trub and all, but now with the knowledge that it’s not just a lazy shortcut but something in my process that may actually be beneficial to my beer.

Oct
26
2014

October Pale Ale

After a bit of a brewing absence (over 5 months since I last put down a brew) my stocks were running low so it was time to brew. I went for my favorite beer type, a good hoppy American style Pale Ale, but with all NZ hops so a New Zealand Pale Ale to be more precise. I used a little Pacific Gem for bittering addition and then 100g each of Waimea, Riwaka and Motueka for the flavour and aroma additions with some set aside for dry hopping. I targeted a 4.75% ABV as I’m finding the stronger beers that I’ve brewed recently a bit too much. I broke my hydrometer so running a bit blind on actual numbers but I’ve brewed enough to trust that it will come out pretty close to the calculated numbers. The addition of a ball valve to my brew kettle made transferring from kettle to fermenter a lot easier. Fermentation was a bit slower than usual to kick off – no action until second morning after. One theory, it could be due to lack of aeration of the wort, I relied on the splashing action of pouring the wort into the fermentor instead of giving it a good shake as usual.

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May
21
2014

Etching volume markings on brew kettle

I added permenant volume markings to the inside of my brew kettle using a simple electrolytic acid etching technique that I discovered on the Home Brew Talk forum. Here’s how I did it:

1. Mark 10 litre volume increments in the kettle using electrical tape. I measured the water volume accurately by weighing it (1L = 1Kg). The side of the kettle needs to be dry for the tape to stick so I carefully dried it to the water line with paper towel and then line up the electrical tape with the water line.

_P1010617 Continue Reading »

May
13
2014

Brewing Checklist

I find it very helpful to use a checklist to make sure I don’t miss out any key steps in the brewing process and to track the important brewing data. This is the checklist I use:
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May
12
2014

BIAB All Grain Brewing Process

This is the process that I use for brewing all grain beer. I used to do this in the kitchen as a split boil in smaller pots before I got my new 50L brew kettle and a gutsy gas burner. But now that I have better equipment it is a much smoother process and it doesn’t steam up the whole house since I do the boil outside on the deck. I use an electric urn as a HLT for heating strike water and sparge water.

Prep prior to brew day

  1. Print out recipe and double check all ingredients
  2. Make sure equipment is clean and available:
    • grain bag
    • brew kettle
    • sufficient gas
    • immersion chiller
    • fermentor and fermentor parts
  3. Crush grains

Brew Day

  1. Put water for mashing grains on to heat up in brew pot or HLT. Use at least 3L per kg of grain OR determine water volume from brewing calculator. I usually go with a wetter mash and less water for sparging. For an average grain bill I use 22L.
  2. Continue Reading »

May
12
2014

EZY Blonde

Most of my recent beers have been rich, strong and hoppy beers. So I brewed this one to have a lighter easy drinking beer in my lineup of beers. The base is a blend of pilsner and pale ale malt with a little wheat and carapils for body/mouthfeel, head retention and a little biscuit to add another malty dimension. A good dose of late addition Motueaka hops should add some nice hop flavours/aroma while bitterness level is kept to a pretty low 25 IBUs.

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Apr
24
2014

How I started a nanobrewery in Venezuela!!!

I found this fascinating story on a homebrewing forum. Venezuelan brewer, Daniel López, tells a great yarn about overcoming the challenges he faced making craft beer in his country. It was published in 6 parts which I’ve reproduced here. The English is not perfect but that just adds colour to the story, giving it the authentic feel of a story being told by a Spanish speaker.

Part I

Hi to all, this is the history of how i became a home brewer and how i make my nano brewery here in Venezuela. I think that this can help some homebrewers to reach their beer dreams ;D .

I will try to write in English but maybe it will be some errors in my writing, because my English is not perfect, so I hope that you can understand this post.

My name is Daniel López, right now in 2014 I have a little microbrewery (or nano brewery) here in Venezuela, the name of the brewery is Old Dan´s, you can find us in twitter as @olddans.

The idea of write this history in some way is to share with others brewers my dream of make good beer in Venezuela and build from nothing a microbrewery, I think that I will write in parts and post it here one part at a time.

When, why and how all started

Back in 1995 I think that make beer in your house it was something impossible, I think that only big breweries has the equipment to make this wonderful drink, this is the most popular drink here in Venezuela ( 83 liters of beer per capita in a year), in that time my father works in a international organization here in Venezuela, and he has to travel a lot, in one of his travels he find in a bookstore in Quito, Ecuador, the Dave Miller´s Home brewing Guide and Karl F. Lutzen Brew Ware (great books to become a home brewer and build your own stuff). These book inspire my father to make beer here in Venezuela, this idea was one of my father’s dreams, in the next 2 years my father read all the books and find another lots of book, make a big research about the making beer science.

In this time I was finishing my high school studies and prepare to begin my university career as a biologist, so in that moment I prefer to drink the awful commercial beer find in Venezuela than make my beer. I never imagine that several years later I will begin my brewery.

In 1997 I make a vacation trip to the US, and in that time I bring with me a Hydrometer, 3 airlocks, 3 rubber stoppers, a bottle capper and a few books. My father think that find the ingredients in that time in Venezuela it will be an easy task, but no, it was the greatest mistake in his brewing career. After a year of looking all over the country for the ingredients my father decide to put away the home brewing project.

Thirteen years passed and all the stuff that I bring to make beer was in the bottom of a box, in that time I always talk to my friends about make home beer as an interesting topic in some conversations, but I really never think to start home brewing in all that time. But this talk whit the friends it was an important point in all these story.

In September of 2010, one of these friends that lived in Ireland brought me a great gift, 500 gr of saaz flower hops and 4 packs of dry yeast, these was a special moment because after these, my life change in an excellent way.
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Apr
13
2014

Midnight Stout

This is more or less the Foreign Extra Stout recipe from Brewing Classic Styles with Fuggles hops instead of Kent Goldings. The wort tasted realy nice and chocolatey so I’m expecting good things. I used 3 sachets of Coopers kit yeast as I didn’t have any other yeast on hand. Pitched at 22C and targeted fermentation at 18C. Fermentation took off like a rocket – it was already bubbling when I checked it in the morning (less than 8 hours after pitching). I brewed it at night (I usually do my brewing at night) hence the name Midnight Stout.

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Apr
04
2014

Homegrown Apple Cider

We had a bumper crop of apples this year so I decided to make a 10L batch of cider to use them up. We extracted the juice using an electric juicer. The apples were a combination of 4 different varieties – Egremont Russet, Prescilla, Granny Smith and Initial. I added campden tablets and let it sit for 24+ hours to sanitise the juice. The following day I boiled up the sugar, yeast nutrient and malic acid in 250ml of water to sanitise, cooled it and added it to the must and pitched the cider yeast. The yeast nutrient is needed because, unlike a malt wort, an apple must does not have all of the essential nutrients for healthy yeast development. The malic acid is used to add some tartness.

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