It has been an exciting week! It was Good Beer Week, which meant lots of great stuff to try around Melbourne. I’m not quite as hard core as Mikey, but I still managed to get more than a few brews under my belt. Although this site is technically home brew related, if we get lucky Mikey may talk about Good Beer Week. We’ll see!
However, I still managed to make some home brew: Dark Dead Guy Ale from Australian Home Brewing.
This kit was pretty cruisy, but quite fun. It called for a 30 minute boil of some hops and then just mixing that in with a kit can and some malt into a 30 litre fermenter.
The kit included two hop varieties: Perle hops (alpha 6%-10%) and Saaz Hops (3%-4.5%).
Now, I’ve still got A LOT to learn about hops, but it was great to be able to smell the difference. I’ve included the alpha acid levels above mostly so that when I do learn more about hops, I’ll have a reference!
The Perle was the taste hops, and about 14 grams of that was thrown in for the 30 minutes. Much to my housemate’s displeasure, this filled the house with the lovely smell of hops. Perle has a great spiciness about it, and it was a pleasure to stand over the stove breathing in it.
At the 25 minute mark, I threw in another 14 grams of the Perle as well as 10 grams of the Saaz. These late additions were for aroma.
- Last five minutes of the boil – all hops added!
It was amazing how the Saaz changed up the smell entirely. I found that although I found the Perle a bit spicy, it had a lot more bitter to it in smell. The Saaz, on the other hand, was much spicier, and less bitter than the Perle.
They had their own complexities too, and now, upon writing this, I realise I should have taken some notes… Anyway, it was very interesting how the aroma changed quite abruptly upon adding the Saaz.
Following that was steeping for 20 minutes.
The Rest of It
While all that was going on, the contents of the two cans went into my (sanitised) fermenter and were stirred together with some water.
The rest of this is child’s play. Pour the hops through a strainer, top up to 21 litres, getting the temperature into the 18-24 degrees C range, take a gravity reading, then pitch your yeast.
For those who are curious, the yeast that was supplied with the kit was a BRY97 American Westcoast Ale Yeast. No surprises that I used an ale yeast to make an ale…
The original specific gravity was 1.040, so, as with the last big batch, we should get something between 4.5%-5% after bottling. Maybe something a bit higher. Although the OSG is a little higher than the lager, I don’t expect to get as low an FSG as I did with the lager since this one is generally just a thicker beer… we’ll see.
The wort was a little interesting in taste. The hops was quite bold, and, I have to say, a little confronting. Not confronting in “oh wow, that just opened my eyes to a new world,” no, it was confronting in a “oh wow, that hobo isn’t wearing any pants” kind of way. Maybe not that bad… I think it will settle down in the fermenter. Then I want to give it at least a month in the bottle.
Finally, I was a bit worried at first because things didn’t start bubbling for quite a while. I gave the fermenter a squeeze and things were definitely sealed up, so I was a bit concerned. To my pleasure when I got home from work today, it was going nuts! Probably the most energy I’ve seen in an airlock since I’ve started.
This is an excitable brew…