Saturday, November 1, 2014

Jared and the Giant Peach

Holy damn, we just made an IPA.

For the first beer after getting my new mill I decided to make a huge single malt IPA with mostly New Zealand hops and some Amarillo for bittering. Something to burn your taste buds out.

8kgs (17.6lbs) of Maris Otter.

320g (11.3oz) hops.

21 litres (5.5 gallons) of beer.

It ended up being about 300 IBUs and 8.5% ABV.

Here's the hop schedule:

40g Amarillo @ FWH

40g Amarillo @ 60 mins

60g Nelson Sauvin @ 30 mins

60g Motueka @ 20 mins

60g Cascade @ 10 mins

40g Motueka, 20g Nelson Sauvin @ flame out

Oh and Dan, who just got back from the states visiting family brought us some presents which I will talk about later on. Hint: it has something to do with IPA.

Click to enlarge!

'Milhouse' is what I'm calling my new mill. He's such a champ.

From about this point on, Jared got his hands on the camera and started taking ludicrous amounts of pictures. I filtered through them and he actually got some pretty tasty shots. Thanks Jared!

Dan's first time putting a record on, and it was a good one too!

Seriously some of the best brewing music.

I honestly didn't think we'd fit 8kgs of malt in my mash tun with 26Ls of water... But we did, and it smelled amazing. Maris Otter is just perfect.

Time for a beer!

You know what kinda annoys me? This trend of making weak ass smoke beers and labelling them 'Bacon Beers'. Any time someone calls the Schlenkerla Rauchbier a 'Bacon Beer' I want to slap them, that beer is the best example of a smoke beer, and it only tastes like bacon because both the flavour of bacon and smoked malt are derived from smoking over a wood fire. It would be like eating some smoked cheese and saying "this is bacon cheese!". Epic make great beers, but this beer is just kinda weak.

The first addition of hops: 40 grams of Amarillo at first wort hopping. Damn! It smells and looks just like a big juicy peach.

Boil time!

I remember my nan used to drink spirulina when I was younger, this is exactly how it looked, but definitely not how it smelled.

Speaking of grandparents, my other nan also bought me this sweet little bowl as a birthday present once, and it is a perfect hop measurer! Particularly with some Nelson Sauvin in it!

Lots of Motueka too, probably one of the best smelling hops I've ever used.

Waiting for the next addition.

I feel like using this many hops is somehow a criminal offence...

Flameout hops and then into an ice bath, give it a few stirs every few minutes and let it cool.

I'm hungry, what shall we have to eat?


That's right, the one and only.

Look at his smug little face. GOD DAMNIT DAN.

Dan: "If you fuck this up Oscar, I swear I'm going to murder you."

So as I mentioned earlier, Dan went back to Nappa Valley in CA for his sister's wedding and just happened to bring a few of these back for us with him. It is probably his most talked about beer, and there is definitely a reason for that.

Pliny the Elder is an incredible beer. It has 100/100 on both Beer Advocate and Ratebeer, which obviously doesn't automatically make it the best, but it's still pretty convincing.

Actually tasting the beer was a weird experience. Pliny the Elder has a sort of mythical aura within the craft beer community, particularly in somewhere like Australia where we can't really get it retail without it losing some of it's freshness, and Russian River are very obsessed with freshness (it says DO NOT AGE about 7 times on the label). Dan made sure to get it just before he left, and the bottles we had were bottled about 2 weeks before we got them.

It is an amazing beer. That's it really. My expectations were the highest for any beer I've ever drank, and they were met, but this beer isn't some crazy amazing weird different beer, it is just a perfect example of a double IPA. Beautiful sunset orange, amazing smooth bitterness that lingers just long enough, and an incredibly rounded hop flavour and aroma. Dan even said that he wasn't sure it should have 100 scores because it's not different, but then we both agreed that it does deserve it because it is the best example of a double IPA we've ever had. You just can't compare it to any other beer. I wanted to compare it to Epic's Hop Zombie, but it just doesn't work.

Also, I've yet to find an Australian IPA that could even come close to this beer. Why not?!

But really I am actually hungry, so we made some food.

Shredded supermarket roast chicken with diced bacon, jalape├▒os, and this awesome bourbon smoky bbq sauce we found, all smooshed into a wrap with cheese on top and home-made coleslaw.

Yep, that's how you make food to go with the Pliny.

So we ate in the backyard in the amazing Melbourne spring twilight.

Then me and Dan squeezed beer out of some hops. We weren't leaving any behind.

This was just one out of about 4 strainer loads of hops.

Got my yeast starter out, Wyeast American Ale II, pitched it into the beer. Got 1.082, a little under what I was expecting, but I got a couple of litres more liquid. Got to get onto my calculations!

Then we jumped onto the couches and put on an episode of Spaced, because Dan hasn't seen it yet. I've probably seen it about 10 times through. It's one of the best series ever.

Oh and Dan brought some more beers too!

Lagunitas Little Sumpin' Wild. This beer was awesome! A really hoppy, fruity, funky wheat beer that apparently you can buy from the supermarkets in the states for $10 a 6 pack. That doesn't make me sad at all.

It's time to get funky, so we put on the Mighty Boosh, which Dan hadn't seen either!

Russian River Supplication. Uhh... Holy shit.

A sour beer with Brettanomyces yeast aged in Pinot Noir barrels with added cherries. This just blew my mind. I never thought I'd see the day when the Caractere Rouge got a run for it's money, but this is it. The added funk from the Brett almost takes it a step above, and speaking of the devil:

Rodenbach Caratere Rouge. The lack of focus in this pic indicates that we had had just the right amount of beers.

This was the last beer of the night. If you haven't tried this beer you really should. A red sour beer aged with cherries. It is just a perfect example of a really, really good sour beer. At our bar we refer to it as 'Unicorn Blood'.

Cheers! Here's a picture of a door knob that Jared took:


Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Updates, German Party and Mental Health Awareness.

Hello! It's been a while.

The reason I haven't been updating is because my friend took his grain mill, leaving me with a lot of grain and no way to mill it. I've also been pretty busy with work stuff, I'm waiting for some money so I can buy a new mill! I have a lot of good brewing ideas that I want to try, so hopefully in the coming weeks you will hear a lot more from me.

We did the German-Bratwurst-Beer-Party thing, it was a lot of fun. I had the two kegs of beer that I made in the last posts: German Smoked Ale, and the Dunkel. Both of them turned out great, but the winner was definitely the Dunkel. As my first lager ever I did not expect much, but damn it tasted good. Subtle vanilla, toffee and bread. Being poured at room temperature gave it this amazing soft mouthfeel, and it had a dark amber colour. It was incredible. The smoke ale was pretty nice, but predictable. Super smoky and hoppy, really nice.

Here are some pictures of the night!

This is the Soup that I made: Graupensuppe, a traditional German barley soup. I made the base soup vegetarian to cater for the vegie friends I have. We baked a bunch of brats to put on top of the meat eaters bowls. It was delicious.

Here are the kegs, pretty simple gravity fed faux cask setup. I primed the kegs and let them naturally carb over a few weeks. I also swapped the inlet and outlet dip tubes so that I could pump small amounts of c02 into the air bubble at the end of the keg to avoid oxidization, and a small dip tube for the outlet. It worked alright, next time I probably wont bother with the c02 chargers and just let oxygen in, we finished the kegs off so it wouldn't have had any effect on the beer.

The first pour of the smoke beer was pretty cloudy. It had much more sediment than the Dunkel because of fermenting temps and hop amounts.

We still drank it though.

The Dunkel... Ahh the Dunkel. What a beer. It was really, really good. Completely clear, ruby red, and tasted like vanilla beans on buttered bread.

Here are some pictures of people enjoying themselves:

And here's some photos I found the next day:

All in all, it was a great night, everyone had fun, got drunk and had full stomachs. Success!

And finally, it is mental health awareness week. As someone with first hand experience to what drugs can do to someone's life, please drink in moderation, as much as I feel like I am promoting it. Making beer is fun, share it with people, but if you feel like it is getting the better of someone, talk to them. And if you feel like it is getting the better of you, let someone know.