Friday, October 26, 2012

8 Wired - Hopwired

As a reward for actually finding some sort of costume for tonights dreaded halloween party ( I find costume parties immensely stressful) and also for cleaning up the kitchen after last nights brewing I have shouted myself 8 wired's hopwired.

So this brew has all New Zealand malt and all New Zealand hops. Plenty of local flavour to be had then.

The beer pours with an almost syrupy consistency into the glass and forms a nice white head. I love the way the higher alcohol brews pour. I'd describe the colour as dark old gold, hint of amber, beautiful in the spring sun. First aromas are surprisingly sweet with passionfruit, fruit salad, ripe pears and honey. This is the New Zealand hop aromas really shining. I'd say the Nelson Sauvin is driving a lot of these fruity aromas. It's wonderful.

Taste is quite different, the bitterness tingles the back of the tongue straight away. Very full mouthfeel, sweet malt, loads of bitterness all at the same time, finishing quite sweet then evaporating to dry bitterness. This is an extremely pleasant beer, some of the malts have a caramel or candied? sweetness desperately trying to balance the hops and the interplay is blowing my mind. I love complexity of flavours!

As the brew goes down we get some lovely lacing and more sweet malts coming through as it warms up. Temperature seems important for this beer, it goes from being hoppy to balanced to almost sweet as it warms up.

Very drinkable for a friday afternoon. Would definitely buy again.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Making the best IPA I can

Okay, time to stop bouncing around with styles. I LOVE IPA's,  bitterness, yum, floral hops yum, massive  biscuity malt base yum. Thats my idea of the perfect beer.

So while I am still a lowly extract brewer I have decided I will do my utmost to brew what I like and to make it awesome. No more bouncing around different style just cause I can. time to brew with purpose!

I professed my inexperience to the kindly gentleman at brewers coop and he said that the mangroves jacks british series produced a very nice IPA. Plus instead of brewers sugar (blah) I got directed to some light malt extract.

I recommend everyone to try malt extract at least once in their lives, its god damn delicious! whoops I spilt some on my hand?! oh noes, I better eat it! nom nom nom.

I used my lovely spring water and a little bastard mashing of carapils malt. It never ceases to amaze me how sweet the liquid gets. First time I mashed in a bag and I got a dry spot in the middle. I sampled. wow can still taste the sugar. Tonight however with my slightly modified bastard method I had no dry spots and now more sweet grain, got all those lovely sugars out. And for the first time eye witnessed the hot break. The magical moment when the boiling wort foam suddenly breaks down. I almost  feel like a real brewer!

I stirred for HOURS (minutes really) to nicely aerate so to give my yeasties a good head start in life. Sniff, those poor bastards will be giving their lives, and THEIR childrens lives in honour of making my beer. (yeah I don't recycle yeast yet.)

So while I lust after 30L stock pots, copper wort chillers, chilly bins with a bung for mashing, unlimited litres of gas and three ring burners from bunnings, extract brewing will be my main stay.
my wort a chillin
OG 1.05

My brew is downstairs where the temperature is constant and cool. Read out says 18 degrees all the time. Nice. Keep bubbling little yeasties.

SG 1.02 woo its fermenting fast, just a few bubbles now, few more days ought to finish it off. Taste test, hmmm we will see. Not quite the hop bomb I'm aiming for, but Its a good base to work from.

SG 1.015 nice, sitting at 4.58% alcohol. Tasting good, been kept nice and cool.

SG 1.015 excellent, fermentation is pretty much done. Might leave till next weekend to bottle. Another week for yeasties to work their magic.

Good god, I've split the batch. I am dry hopping one to extremes. 30g zythos. 30g, cascade, 30g hallertau wakatu and 15g amarillo. Jeebus.

Bottled. 17 days in the fermentor. Not enough? Bulk primed with DME. Messy scary stuff.

Monday, October 22, 2012

This is what happens when singles are on sale at the supermarket. For $2 I could buy a beer I've never seen before. Shiney gold can!

Investigation of the label reveal this to be brewed by no one, but a little internet digging leads me to DB breweries.

It pours a nice amber colour with a little head and moderate carbonation. Time to inhale the fine aromas... Its  a little musty, maybe a hint of egg. Definitely a grainy smell sort of like raw yeasty dough. This is a malt monster.

In the mouth its nothing  but sweet maltiness. Complex it is not. But it is beer and could be a standard DB brew under a different label. I don't drink enough to really recognise anything. Feels ale-ish with a few top notes, not really crisp enough to be a lager, but what do I know?

So I'm halfway through and its terribly blah. Its got a rank finish that makes you feel like you've already drunk half a dozen of them and you're ready to start drinking water now. The sweetness gets cloying as the beer warms in the glass. Can't say I'm enjoying the last mouthfuls.

Meh so a fairly average almost terrible all malt beer with not much going for it.

Coronado Brewing CO. Islander IPA

Another Californian IPA. I can't help myself, this style of beer is my absolute favourite. Coronado Islander IPA lets go.

Oh look, you could almost pretend its warm outside!
I can't find a production date on the bottle, bit disconcerting as I like my IPA's to be fresh but the importer has dated arrival in the country as September 2012 so can't be too old. The label is sweet because everyone likes topless mermaids with jugs of beer. I really like the printed on the bottle style of label too. Classy.

It pours a hazy dark orange/amber, theres a bit of munich malt in there. A lovely head, though not as creamy as the green flash ipa or as long lasting. The second pour with a little extra warmth provided a slightly higher head and loads of aroma popping from the foam.

The aroma is beautiful, its initially very sweet, which threw me for a bit, with memories of honeysuckle bouncing around I headed in for another waft, citrus, honey, flowers, slight hint of grapefuity floral bitterness, but otherwise a very sweet nose. The malt aromas come drifting through, theres some excellent malty biscuity goodness hiding under all those hops.

At 7% the alcohol is very warming, driving all those malty flavours in. It sits nicely in the mouth with a good malt biscuity body but is quickly overshadowed by a bitter finish. On the finish we get more grapefruit and pine notes which are not expected from the sweet aroma. It feels like the malt needs to hold a bit more of the limelight here, its good but so quickly overshadowed. Its a fantastic beer but a fraction more body would seal the deal for me.

Overall its a very good, complex IPA. Buy a big bottle to linger over.

Plus theres a nice little kiwi connection to Coronado.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Hallertau Maximus Humulus Lupulus Review

Its the long weekend and Auckland has put on some fine rain. So with all gardening activities cancelled (YAY cause I fuckin hate it) its time to sample some beers. Time to turn the tardis on and put my feet up.

I've purchased Hallertau Maximus Humulus Lupulus, if you feel like you need a latin lesson to decode that you're not alone.Hallertau is the name of the brewery and also a variety of hops. The "maximus humulus lupulus" means loads of  common hops. And loads there is. At 50 IBU it could challenge some new to the craft beer movement as most beer sold in New Zealand seems to be fairly bland lagers.

To be honest though I'm not getting totally blown away with hoppiness. Maximus pours very cloudy and with little head, though does leave some nice lacing. Very orange in colour with moderate carbonation. Hop aroma is not overpowering but I get malt and maybe a little unripe apricot. In the mouth its a completely different story. Its starting to reveal its bitterness, its an almost chewy bitter, some grapefruit there and a floral bitterness that reminds me of jasmine tea. A hint of pine on the long finish.

I'd say the finish is where the flavour is on this beast. Deceptively chewy malty hoppiness going down, then a long lingering bitterness with heaps of flavours revealing themselves. This makes for an excellent sunday afternoon drop. Lots to ponder and enjoy in this complicated little bottle. I'm a little sad thats its all gone. As long as I don't drink anything else I can continue to enjoy me, it really does have a loooong finish.

50 IBU
Purchased from Liquorland Forest Hill, the best craft brew source on the shore.

Friday, October 19, 2012

West Coast IPA - Green Flash Brewing Co.

So I've been living in the land of home brew lately, my first batch was in the lager style and I've been missing my hops so for the Holiday weekend I shouted myself a hoppy import.

When you think of Californian beers hops spring to mind, and Green Flash doesnt disappoint  Before I even pour I like to deeply inhale from the bottle and I got a noseful of resinous tropical hops. Yum. It poured beautifully forming a fine bubbled creamy head with astonishing staying power. Its hazy a orange/gold, not crystal clear that for sure, but with all those hops, how could it be. Not overly carbonated, after the initial pour we get a few rising bubbles. Spectacular lacing and resistant head make it an aesthetically pleasing beer to drink.

It describes itself as "Extravagantly hopped", and maybe I would say decadently hopped. The resinous hops coat your tongue and biscuity malt wafts around the roof of your mouth, though its quickly replaced with almost piney and slightly grapefruit hop afternotes. A beautiful bitter finish that makes this beer so drinkable.

A few more mouthfuls reveal a spicy peppery note amid the floral aromas. Grapefruit bitterness still dominates but a lemon zest is trying to squeak through. After a while the malt struggles a little to compete with the oily hop flavours  but the beer has such an excellent hop finish we can easily forgive this.

The high alcohol content (7.3%) makes this a one bottle tasting/appreciation per evening. A full pint is a generous bottling size much appreciated and easy enjoyed over a couple of pours. The richness of flavour makes it easy to stretch out the enjoyment with slow considered mouthfuls. So while its about $12 here in NZ its certainly worth it.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Right, third batch underway  I had a crappy day at work so I cheered myself up by brewing a beer. Or really just mixing extract with hot water. But I also did a teeeneeee tineeeeeee mash of some grains, in a muslin bag. AH it went okay. There are some subtleties I am yet to learn for the BIAB method, but I did get some nice flavours out of my tiny amount of carapils. I added 1kg of copper tun English bitter DME no.70. I kinda hate DME. I stirred the shit out of my brew and sooooo much DME is sunk to the bottom. Is that normal? Is it okay? I have no idea, I just taste the mix and carry on. Yeast pitched at 24 degrees. Can't wait till I have an all grain set up.

OG 1.0375 wow seems low, Still style notes suggest a regular bitter only goes as low as 3% and high as 4.1% after that its a ESB (extra special bitter).

SG 1.0150

Added 30 grams of hallertau hops, cause y'know..... I like em.

SG 1.0100

SG 1.01
Added finings removed hops

Bottled 28

We'll call it 3.7% alcohol with generous rounding. This is my first batch of beer made with spring water, but its been kept entirely too warm. So not anticipating great flavours.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Double pale ale

My double pale ale has been bottled. Not quite as high alcohol content as my label implies. I may have under pitched the yeast. Doh. The dry hopping didn't quite give as much aroma as I'd hoped so I will be adding more next time. Meantime all the home brew shops are closed on Sunday afternoons, so I'm left to ponder the next batch, what shall it be?