Tag Archives: Homebrewing

Moving, from small to big

Back when I started looking into home brewing I didn’t know where to start. In my first post I talked about the two types of beer kits I got. I started with the smaller, and slightly more complex kit from Brew Smith. The beer was good, really good. So I stuck with it and made a few more.

Finally time came to do the other kit. The bigger kit. The simpler kit. And I’m worried about the quality. Chas picked up exactly the same kit and the lager turned out rougher than I would have liked.

To try and make sure my version turns out a bit better I decided to replace the dextrose with some liquid malt. Got some advice at Aussie Home Brewers and picked up some Light Pilsner Malt Extract.

The brew was done on Sunday the 2nd and went pretty smoothly. A little too much heat, which wasn’t a huge problem as I really wanted a good original gravity and had to play around a bit. The gravity reading wasn’t exactly where I wanted it, so a cup (75 grams) of dextrose was thrown in at the end.

First few days the beer has been fermenting away as expected. Has slowed down the last 4-5 days and plan to bottle this weekend.

-Mikey

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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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Brew day, but where’s the beer?

Today being Sunday means it’s Brew Day!

But, in the spirit of self control and ‘oh we really do have a lot of beer already’, there is no brewing today. Chas bottled the Lager back on Monday and my new porter is still sitting in the fermenter.

Next Sunday is Mothers Day. So, not sure what we’re going to do. The porter could be bottled, but chance that it might be worth waiting another week. The IPA will be ready to drink, and I’m pretty excited about that.

Keeping it short. Have a good one, and have a good beer.

-Mikey

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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.

-Mikey

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