Tag Archives: Brewsmith

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.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

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.

Tagged , , ,

Chocolate Paradise Porter – review

Chocolate Porter #2 tasting

Chocolate Paradise Porter #2 for tasting.


Well, as Mikey mentioned in his last post, we tasted a porter that he brewed a few weeks ago.  We had the drink while bottling an IPA from Brewsmith that we made about two weeks ago, and then followed by making yet ANOTHER Chocolate Paradise Porter.  So, following the first and second rules of home brew, we had to be drinking home brew.  Why not kill two birds and do a tasting at the same time?

I’ll start at the beginning: the taste before bottling.

It’s important to taste your beer before bottling to make sure that there is nothing funky going on.  It lets you know that it’s turned out OK and gives you a general idea of how things will turn out.

However, prior to bottling, the beer has generally been sitting at a fairly warm temperature (optimal for yeast) and is most definitively flat.  So yes, the first taste is a taste of a warm, flat beer.  The beer also hasn’t been given a chance to fully mature, so it’s far from done.

Prior to bottling, the smell was near perfect.  The chocolate really came out and there was a little bit of smokiness to it.  Exactly what a porter should smell like.

The first sip, however, was interesting… it had a sourness to it that although wasn’t bad, wasn’t good.  It didn’t taste like it was off or infected, but the sourness gave us a bit of a worry.  We figured the beer would lose this strange aspect after some time in the bottle.

The first (second and third!) bottle:

The nose didn’t change at all.  There wasn’t anywhere for it to go really.  It was still smokey with a bit of chocolate.

In the first few sips, there was still a hint of sourness to the brew, but it seemed to come from the carbonation.  The carbonation was a bit strange, and it seemed to sit on my tongue a bit.  Obviously carbonation is a good thing, but I don’t want it to be something I’m acutely aware of – especially in a porter.

Fortunately, this weird carbonation thing went away after the beer was allowed to breath for a few minutes.

The chocolate flavours were there, but overall very subtle.  The chocolate came through in the nose much more than in the taste.

What really came out in the taste was the smokiness.  It was great, although dominant. Unfortunately this meant that the any complexities in the beer were taken away somewhat.  This left us with what was still a great porter, but with nothing that stood out except for the smokiness. Please don’t get me wrong, this is far from a bad thing.

I had a few bottles of this, one served at what was probably the optimal porter temperature, one served a little cooler, and one served at temperature too cold for a porter.

Overall I think I liked the coldest one best.  I think that this was because I found the beer surprisingly light and refreshing for a porter.  Beer is always great and refreshing, but there are different styles for different times.  This porter was surprisingly light and quite easy drinking.

So overall, the beer turned out great.  Usually I can spend a little bit more time on a porter, but this one went down far too easily.  It wasn’t complex, but a complex beer can often be harder to drink.

All in all, a great beer, and I’m happy at how it came out.

Now let’s see if Mikey leaves a comment telling me I’m wrong…


Tagged , , , , , ,

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.


Tagged , , ,

Starting small, but not dumbing it down.

Choc Paradise Porter #1

Chocolate Paradise Porter #1 in the carboy with airlock

I promised Chas that I’d put something up about my first few brews. And here we are. The whole home brewing thing has been a journey that started about two years ago. Won’t go into all that today, that’s another story.

Back in October 2012 I decided that it was time to try this brewing at home thing. I requested a brew kit for my birthday from my wife. But I couldn’t really decide on what type. Presents didn’t turn up until start of January 2013 because of my inability to chose. So I got both.

I could launch into the different kits, but again, that’s for another time.

My first brew was on 5 Jan 2013. It was a ‘Chocolate Paradise Porter’ from Brew Smith. The team at BrewSmith take a lot of complexity out of making beer, and still allow you to make some good quality beer. You use a 5 liter carboy. This is like a giant glass bottle. End result is 12+ stubbies (330ml-375ml) of beer. Due to the size of the carboy and amount of beer, this is sometimes referred to as apartment brewing.

Anyway, back to the beer. This Porter is made with a partial boil so it means making wort yourself with malt, hops and grain. The whole brew process on the stove takes an hour. Prep work is about 10 mins before. Then there’s about 30-40 mins of cool down and getting it into the carboy. All up you should be done under two hours.

Bottling was on the 12th. That was probably too early. Cracked open to drink on the 26th.

How did it turn out? Pretty good. Without telling my wife the beer was ready I gave her a taste test. She didn’t even pick that it was home brew. The beer did lack body and the chocolate flavor was a bit light, but everything else was there.

Overall this was really easy. Beer was really good and happy with the outcome.


Tagged , , , , , , ,