Tag Archives: brewing

Apple and Rhubarb sour cider – Review

Apple and Rhubarb sour Cider

Apple and Rhubarb sour Cider in glasses

As you have read already, Chas is making cider. My views on this are pretty clear. Cider is not beer and therefore not as good. I’m prepared to change that view if there are ciders that can show their complexity and range.

This might just be the first cider to do that.

First, it’s not sickly sweet, or driven by sweetness, like a lot of commercial ciders.
Second, it’s for more than just one flavour. The majority of commercial ciders are apple flavour. There’s more range now but still it’s one flavour: pear, raspberry, strawberry, and any other berry you can think of.

Third, commercial cider has to be served very cold for it to be drinkable, but this one… no wait, it still needs that.

There is a lot of sourness here. And I do mean a lot. There’s just enough sweetness to prevent this becoming undrinkable. Keeping this cold helps a huge amount.

A quick note on the gravity. Original was 1.058, final was 0.994. That gives it an alcohol content of 8.9%. As a result there is a big body here that helps hold it all together and drives the big flavour.

My criticism is that:

  1. It’s not a beer.
  2. The sourness becomes a bit too much by the end of a glass.
  3. The alcohol level stops it from being a session drink.
  4. The flavours could be slightly better balanced.

Overall I’m pretty happy to drink this non-beer.


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Summer Citrus, first attempt

Summer Citrus in fermenter

Summer Citrus Blond Ale #1 in fermenter. Just before yeast added.

Didn’t look like we were going to be able to do a brew last weekend. But shuffled a few things around and did a brew on Saturday. Another Brew Smith kit, this time the Summer Citrus Blonde Ale.

Was expecting another partial boil with grain, needing two pots. Not the case. This was a simple one with malt, hops and extras added straight into the wort. Two lots of malt, three hop additions, coriander seeds and lemon rind. Yeah, I was thinking the last two were a bit odd. But hey, it is a citrus blond.

Did add in a bit more water than meant to at a couple of stages. For example washing out the malt bags to get all the powder out, and into the wort. For this one had to grate lemon rind in. We did it directly over the pot and used some boiled water to rinse the bits off the grater. Anyway, as a result we didn’t need to do any extra top up of water into the glass carboy fermenter. A side effect was that the wort was about 29 degrees Celsius. Plastic wrap went over the top of the carboy until the temperature could be dropped. The photo above was taken at this point. Extra cooling was done, but after another 20 minutes we could only get it down to 27 C. Not ideal, but needed to get the yeast in. Airlock went on and stored away to brew.

This is the second time we got a proper gravity reading on these small batches. Came out at 1.054 which is more or less in the range I was expecting. Means the beer will be around 5% to 5.5% alcohol, if all goes well.

We’ve done a few of these Brew Smith kits now and this was the easiest by far. Bottling will be in about two weeks, just after good beer week (www.goodbeerweek.com.au). Then another two weeks in the bottle before tasting and review.

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Oh my that’s hoppy, IPA gets brewed

Hoppy Heart IPA #1

Hoppy Heart IPA #1 fermenting away in the cupboard. Porter #2 bottles in the back.

After brewing my second porter it was time to try something different. Something with plenty of flavour. Something for any day of the year. Something with a lot of hops. Something I like a lot. An Indian Pale Ale (IPA).

Keeping things small I went with the Brew Smith kit. All the ingredients are there and a good instruction booklet. Plenty of hops in this one.

Hops gives beer the bitterness and most, if not all, of the fruit flavours. Typically IPA’s are at the top end of the hoppy scale. Thus is done by adding more hops, and adding it later to the wort brew.

There is also an amount of dry hopping. This is when hops is added to the brew after the wort is prepared, put in the fermenter, and yeast added.

This being another kit from Brew Smith, was a partial boil. Malt and hops in the main pot for the base of the wort. Side pot for the grains to sit in. Then all together in the fermenter and topped up with water. Then put the simple airlock in place.

Two days later… remove the simple airlock, add the hops for Dry Hopping, and wack the proper airlock on.

This brew bubbled away for a couple weeks before it got bottled last Sunday, the 29th.

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Return to brewing, making the porter

In my last post I spoke about my first brew. Today I’ll be talking about my second brew, another porter.

The first brew I made was back in January. Then got busy with other things in life, like getting married and a honeymoon. After getting back I decided to get back to beer making.

The decision was to make the same porter from Brew Smith. It was nice, my wife likes the style, and it was going to be easy given I had done it before.

Brewing was done on 2 April 2013. Like the first time I made it, brewing was just me. Easy enough with the kit and took my time.

Chas came over to help with the bottling on the 14th. Great thing about these small brews is there’s not that many bottles to clean. Finally opened for tasting yesterday, the 28th.

I’ll leave the beer review for Chas. But what I will say is that the extra time, 12 days rather than 7, in the fermenter did it a world of good.


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