Sunday, 20 October 2013

This Week in Beer - October 14th to 20th

Hey everyone, and welcome to another "This week in beer". In preparation for Sydney Craft Beer Week, Melo and I branched out and headed to a new Bottle-o we hadn't been to before, Sydney Wine Merchants, who not only have a great range of craft beers, but 8 growler taps too!

So to start off this week's lineup, here's what I got on tap there: The Ekim Berserker Amber IPA

Finally got myself a squealer!
Clocking in at 7.2%, we have a fairly heavy IPA on our hands. Intense sweet, passionfruit aroma, then a very full body, a mixture of bitter hops and a strongly sweet, malty body. A great combination IMO.

Next up, we have Red Duck's "The Gruitest", a beer made without any hops whatsoever. Rather, a mix of spices and herbs that together make "Gruit", a mixture that was previously used in medieval beers!

Tasted totally Gruit

The Beer itself tasted far from what you'd expect, something more like a mulled wine or cider than a modern beer. Very fruity and tart, with a dry, cider like finish. A very interesting experience.

Following that, we have the Renaissance Brewing "Elemental Porter Ale". Clocking in at just under a pint's worth, it's a smooth porter with chocolatey and aniseed notes, the closest flavour I can compare it to being that of dark chocolate licqorice bullets. Delicious through and through

Wish it came in a full pint

Next up, I tried one of Moon Dog's previous releases, the Black Lung 3, a "Rum Barrel Aged Smoky Stout". It certainly lived up to it's name, with flavour sitting somewhere in the middle of a triangle between a traditional strong stout, a dark rauchbier and a glass of smooth rum. A great combination that we hope to replicate something similar to in a couple of month's time.

After tasting this I'm immensely excited for the "Jumping the Shark"

And Finally, I tried the Brew Cult "Can't Fight the Funk", a "Farmhouse IPA" that I'd say had more in common with a summer saison than any other variety of beer. Golden coloured and smelling distinctly of horse blanket, the CFtF is a great, funky saison, with all kinds of complex yeast flavours backed up by a reasonably malty backbone. Highly recommended.

Harvested the yeast from this, might try a clone

I did try a couple of other beers this week, but these were definitely the standouts. One other thing I did try this week was the Brew Dog "IPA is Dead" 4pack, which I'll be doing a full review of in the near future. Tune in next time for either the Brew Dog Review, or writeups of various events from Sydney Craft Beer Week!

Monday, 14 October 2013

This Week in Beer - October 7th to 13th

Hey everyone, welcome to another "This Week in Beer". Didn't get time to brew anything this week, so all I have to show is some of the beers I tasted, and what I thought of them. Lets get started. 

First up, we have something that you can find in a lot of Bottleos nowadays, 4 Pines' Kolsch.

Drinking said beer in a pool strongly recommended

I actually spent a day this week in at 4 Pines, helping one of their brewers do a 5000L batch of the Kolsch, and it left me with a hankering to drink a couple of them, so the next day (a horrendous 38 degree day) on the way to a mate's for a BBQ I grabbed a 6pack of them. 

Sweet and slightly floral, the nose doesn't give much away about the flavour. A light, crisp body with just enough hop fruityness to make it very pleasant gives you a great beer for a stinking hot day.

Next up, we have something very different to the normal beers I drink, a Hite Ice Point

Appropriate match to Korean BBQ
Can't say much about it other than it was served cold, and was... crisp? A think, watery lager that was only ordered because it brought back memories of being in Korea.

Next, a couple of beers from Jamieson brewery that I bought all the way back when Melo and I were in Melbourne. Found them down the back of the fridge and decided they needed to be drank ASAP.

Both were fairly solid, although neither was particularly hoppy. Not sure if that's age, or if they weren't meant to be very hoppy to begin with. 

Finally, the Vintage Cellars round the corner from my place recently got in a couple of cartons of Founders All Day IPA. I happily went down and bought one of the cartons, as I knew from previous experience that the All-Day is great.

As per expectations, the All Day is great. Really fruity and crisp, it's also not too high ABV wise so you can sit and work your way through a number of them. Really great stuff

Thanks for reading guys! It's looking like I'll finally get around to reviewing the Brew Dog IPA is dead collection this week, so stay tuned for that!

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Homebrewing - Down the Hatch Pale Ale

Hey everyone, posting about the brew we did today, and doing a write-up about our (moderately) new all-stainless steel system!

Seeing as Halloween is in a few weeks, that means it's time for a party in a few weeks... Which in turn means it's time to brew up another big batch of beer!

Enter ridiculous amounts of malt
We decided as usual the best party beer should be interesting enough that we're happy to drink it, but not hoppy enough to melt the average beer drinkers' face off. Melo devised the "Down the Hatch", a nice simple American style Pale Ale with lots of Simcoe, Chinook and Nelson Sauvign hops. 

Some Grain, some Hops and some Potplants. Perfect

Started our brew nice and early this morning, deciding we'd try out a new brew spot because the weather was too good to be under cover. Set up in a little rock alcove next to the house. Set up our new system, heated the mash tun up and started the mash.

Mashy Goodness
Left the mash to sit for a minute and checked on our hops out the back. They're growing like crazy! Melo is going to write a blog post on them once they're a little more grown, but here's a sneak preview of their progress in the last 3 weeks:

They're climbing!

Once we finished the mash, sparged from the tun into our kettle, a process that sadly ended up with nearly 2L of wort stuck in the dead space in the bottom of our Mash tun... We've since attached a new piece of tubing to the false bottom, in the hopes that it'll reduce the dead space to near 0. We can only hope

Sparging steadily and soaking up some sun
Next up we got a solid boil going, threw in the first hop addition (along with some gypsum for extra snap), then took a break to enjoy the sun and have some lunch while the kettle boiled away.

Again, look at dat weather
A couple of hop additions later, we popped the cooling coil in, turned the burner off and chilled the beer down to about 30 degrees.

Pretty "Cool". Hah
Finally, transferred the sweet sweet wort over to a fermenter, pitched in some yeast, recited the required prayers and whatnot and left her to ferment for a couple of weeks

Obligatory pic of the fermenter in the garage
And it's as simple as that! Now that we have a solid, sessionable pale ale made for the party, our next big brew will probably be something a little more... out of the ordinary. But what exactly remains to be decided. We will see.

Next time: We drink IPAs and talk about them. Or maybe we brew another beer. Or we make the world's worst pumpkin beer. It is a mystery

Saturday, 5 October 2013

This week in Beer - September 30th - October 7th

Hey all, just a quick roundup of the Beers I've had and what we've brewed in the last week.

First up, homebrew. This week we decided to do something a bit bizarre. Enter the "Rauch around the Clauch", a beer comprised mainly of smoked malt, with a whole lot of cracked pepper added for some extra spice

The whole house smelt of pastrami after the boil
We currently have 5L bubbling away in a demijohn, hopefully to be ready in the next couple of weeks.

In terms of drinking this week, we have four standout beers that definitely deserve to be talked about. 

First up we have two beers from the latest class of beers released by Moon Dog. Fresh out of the postage carton from Melbourne we have the "Mummy Have a Bite" Toffee Apple Amber Ale, and the "Bock Naked" Chipotle Dark Lager.

Excuse the mess, the brewing process going on the background lent itself to messiness
The foamiest of head
Both are fantastic in their own right, the amber with it's fantastic flavours of toffee and apple that are perfectly balanced to give a beer that's not too sweet, despite what it sounds like, and the Bock Naked with a good bit of chipotle chilli coming through, but not too much to turn it into a gimmicky Chilli Beer. 

Next up, we have a Mikkeller, the "Wheat is the new Hops", a hoppy, bretty wheat beer

I may have poured it slightly terribly
Sweet and fruity, evoking a flavour that I decided was closer to Gummi Bears than anything else in recent memory, it's a very unique beer that's definitely a recommended pickup if you can find it!

Finally, I got my hands on some Delirium Nocturnum

This was fantastic, as expected. Tremens is a great strong Belgian pale, and Nocturnum is a fantastic strong dark Belgian ale to match it. Fruity and Caramelly, with a well-rounded mixture of herby and spicy notes under the main body create an amazingly complex ale that you could nearly have as a dessert beer!

Overall, a great week of beer, with one brewed and a number more drank. Hopefully we'll be doing a full sized batch of Saison on Monday, when I can give a write up of our new brewing system in Action!