montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 24th, 2015 09:57 pm)
I should be sewing, for a certain value of "should", but my brain has turned to brewing. I bottled and labelled the Vin Lager on  Monday. Now both fermenters are now empty and clean. I now have three brews in development (yeh, I shall have to borrow a fermenter to do all of them at once).

-I've claimed the ~3kg of overripe apricots that 10B had picked and was storing for me in his freezer. These turned into 4L of defrosted volume that I then heated to a bare simmer, said heating might have been a mistake. That has now been separated into ~2.5L of mostly juice and ~1.5L of mostly pulp. The juice is being treated with campden tablet and pectinase* prior to being combined with a bunch of apple juice and being fermented into apricot cider. The pulp I reckon would be good in crumbles and pies, so that is back in the freezer.

-I've done the design, ordering and grain collection for a new lager. This will be a version of Brooklyn Brewery recipe for what they call a pre prohibition lager. I'm doing a bit of hop cupboard clearing again but the malts follow the recipe closely. Last time I combined this with a Vienna lager recipe. This time I'm going with Brooklyn's design. It has a combination of German and American hops.

-The new and third plan is to make a small beer off this lager. This would augment the 2 remaining PET bottles of small beer that is all I have to offer at the next tavern night (along with 5 bottles of "big" beer). Should I experiment and use the German hops from the lager brew? Thus far all my small beers have had English hops. This small beer plan meant that I didn't mash today because I couldn't start early enough. I think I'm going to save the double mash exercise for Friday and go button hunting tomorrow.

I have my fingers crossed for an EOFY sale at the brew shop. I have a proto list ready just in case. I think they did one last year but they don't advertise their sales in advance, for obvious reasons.

Next beer plans are I think for a new Scottish ale and some sort of English ale. More reading and thoughts required. I ought do a bottle review. Bottle stocks might not be up to my production plans.

At some point I should write up my thoughts and web search bits about early malt.

*to kill any wild yeasts and bacteria and remove haze compounds.
montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 16th, 2014 03:53 pm)
I did the Substitution Lager mash today. I do like mash day, it feels so purposeful. The colour seems to be at the dark end of amber to my eye. Brewsmith thought it would be at the pale end of amber. Hmm. However, mash temps were excellent, only lost one degree and the density came out pretty much bang on target. Yay me! Taste is fairly hoppy, bit of caramel. I'm feeling hopeful.

. .

I'm supposed to be out, but I finished up a bit late, and I'm feeling heavy headed and insular. Brewingly insular it seems. There has been an apricot mead plan floating about in my head for ages. I've finally settled on a recipe today, the apricots are out of the freezer and defrosting as I type.

Also as I type, I'm drinking the last of my "Time will tell" robust porter. In a week, the new brown ale should be ready to drink.

montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 15th, 2014 07:18 pm)

The grain
Is a combo of three recipes, then further tweaked in Brewsmith to better match a Vienna lager profile. So many changes, silly me. It includes a small amount (100g, around 2%) of a very dark malt just for colour (carafa special I). One of the brew shop chaps raised his eyebrows at this and this inspired me to panic. So I spent some time last night trying to pick out the darkest grain. In half an hour I had managed to collect a whole 2g of
that 100g, and an achy arm. Bother it. I will leave out that 2g but the rest will have to stay. Brewsmith says it will be ok!



The hops
All the hops in my eventual recipe are out of my fridge*. The bittering hops are a mix of three leftovers- Magnum, Warrior and Williamette, plus a little Centennial to make up the IBUs. The flavour hops are reasonably close to the original recipe. Two of the original hops couldn’t be got easily locally. However, looking them up, both are variants on Hallertauer. So that is a reasonable substitution and I had some. So the mid and late hop additions will be an elegant 50:50 mix of Cascade and Hallertau Mittelfruh. I’ve weighed them all out ready to go for tomorrow morning. And now there are four less hop packets cluttering up my fridge 

I must think on an insulating layer for under the urn. I lost too much heat from the mash last time. Wooden chopping boards perhaps? Or a folded towel? I’m also going to change the suspension rope end, the current arrangement is way too fiddly. Oh and when I next get to a decent hardware shop, I want a length of heavier rope, the current one is too narrow and tends to jump off the pulley.

*this is also good on cost. Hops are not cheap. This brew cost ~$18.50 in grain (paid for in advance in the grain book) plus $8.90 for yeast, plus a little in steriliser, yeast food, irish moss and bottle caps. Say no more than $5. So $32.40 plus a several hours of my labour for 5+ dozen stubbies. Hmm, plus electricity. One would normally also need to spend $10 or more on hops.
montjoye: (Default)
( Aug. 9th, 2014 03:55 pm)
Thank you!
-to previous me! for writing and posting tasting notes on lagers last year. I now remember the lager I was tempted by then but didn't make, was some sort of clone of Brooklyn Lager.

"Brooklyn Lager – supposedly a “pre prohibition” version. Fanjollytabulous. Tasted like a full flavoured American Pale Ale**. It’s a Vienna style lager but with unusual hops- I remember Victory and Cascade. Victory is bred off the more usual Hallertau (again from memory), it’s the inclusion of Cascade that makes it taste like an APA."

-also to the generous brew master Mr Oliver who published the recipe for this!!

I've fiddled with the recipe, but at least I had a starting point. My brew shop doesn't stock one of the hops. Really, I wanted to use up all the bits of left over hops in the fridge. This should clean up my collection right well. Lets hope it also tastes ok. I've also tweaked the grain to deliver a mid range result on major measures for the Vienna Lager style. Hurrah for Brewsmith making this easier.  Having got that far, I've also now ordered the grain for pickup during the week.
Righto. Mash for my attempt at a Knappstein clone is done.  Fingers crossed! It smells promising which is a start. It's my first time using pilsner malt.

details for my reference, unlikely to be interesting to anyone else unless they plan to copy :-) )

Ferment three weeks. temp ~13 for first week-10d. Couldn't keep it any cooler, wet towel technology. bubbling slowed. Heat to 16-18deg, then slow ferment for further 10d, bubbling to one in 1.5min? left to cool for the last 3 days or so. then no bubbling. Reckon I put the heat on too soon.
Bottled 13th Aug.

montjoye: (Default)
( Jul. 19th, 2013 10:16 pm)
I figure that rather than make a Vienna lager that tastes like an APA, I'll make an actual APA later. For this winter's lager I'll attemp a Knappsteinish one. I am reassured that my thoughts of using pilsner malt and just sauvin hops are supported by opinions in a brewing web forum. So I'm going with the Bohemian Pilsner recipe from my trusty book. I've just ordered the grain and I'll work out the hop additions in the morning when I have more brain.

Ah at least it is a decision. Bit of a challenging brew for my low levels of both experience and kit. It could go horribly wrong but nothing ventured eh? Melbourne's nice soft water will help.  Tomorrow's weather looks a bit confronting for mashing on my tiny verandah, so Sunday is more likely mash day. At least we have decent wintery weather forecast next week to keep the ferment temp down.

(avoiding thoughts of car locks and work)
montjoye: (Default)
( Jul. 19th, 2013 09:58 am)
Written in clipped shorthand style and all from memory

I’ve been meaning to brew a lager given it is winter, not that yesterday felt like winter! Problem is, I don’t much like lager, except dark versions. So I thought I’d get a few interesting commercial versions to try and help me decide what to choose to brew.

Feral – numbered lager on tap at the brewery* Flavoured with Sorachi Ace* hops and I loved it. Creamy lemon sherbet character

Brooklyn Lager – supposedly a “pre prohibition” version. Fanjollytabulous. Tasted like a full flavoured American Pale Ale**. It’s a Vienna style lager but with unusual hops- I remember Victory and Cascade. Victory is bred off the more usual Hallertau (again from memory), it’s the inclusion of Cascade that makes it taste like an APA.

Moo Brew Pilsner- I hated it. Tasted like raw hops and made me feel ill even though I only drank about a third. I think it uses German Spalt hops

Samuel Adams Boston Lager- another Vienna style. Uses more usual hops, Hallertau and Teffernang I think. It was better than a regular lager but I don’t love it

Knappstein Reserve Lager- paler, fruity. Uses a New Zealand hop called Sauvin, so named because the nose and flavor reminded the testers of Sauvignon Blanc wine! I love the smell and first front palate flavor, but the back flavor is still very lagerish.

So the front runners for a brew tomorrow are:
-an amber Vienna style but mess with the hops
-a pale pilsnerish thing with Sauvin hops
I’ll think about it through the day.

*Hmm. Reading up on Sorachi Ace- the only two breweries I can see that make a beer with this as a feature, have settled on a pale or golden ale style. Interestingly, those two breweries are Feral (Swan valley) and Brooklyn.

**which I’m out of, oh no!
montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 16th, 2011 06:19 pm)
See what I mean? the glass on the left is White Rabbit Dark Ale. The glass on the right is my latest lager- not dark, really not. I reckon they didn't give me the grain I asked for. Ah well, hopefully it will still taste good. (sample is a bit cloudy but is the last draining just above the sediment).

montjoye: (Default)
( Jun. 3rd, 2011 03:45 pm)
my second try at a Dark Munich Lager is in the pot* waiting for ferment to start. The last one was scrumptious when we finished drinking it, about 6mths after it was bottled. So... my plan is to brew and bottle this one, then wait 6mths before drinking. If I brew enough other stuff we might be able to keep our hands off it that long?

Artisanale #1 wort  from Grain and Grape $45
200g dark crystal malt $0.98
1 sachet Saflager w-34/70 yeast. (cost included with wort kit)
~7L water.

tie up malt in muslin bag
heat slowly in 1L water to shy of boiling over 15-20min
strain and squeeze(with sterilised tongs) into fermenter.
add ~6L cold tap water to fermenter plus 4 trays fresh ice cubes
hydrate yeast
add yeast to wort, stir
screw on the lid, add airlock

measure density- 1.040. Tastes horrid but only in that was that raw beer does. Doesn't seem as dark as the previous one.
temp 16deg. Hopefully wet towels will cool it to the recommended 12deg.
lets see how long it takes to gloop!

*in the corridor- that doesn't get heated and besides lager yeasts emit nasty sulphurous smells during fermentation, not what one wants in the dining room.

Oh and 500 crown seals were $17.50. Or  <$2 per brew. Bottles are almost free- aside from water and detergent for cleaning


montjoye: (Default)


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