Category Archives: Australian Ale

ANHC & AABC wrap

So its Sunday evening, I’m back from my Mums birthday lunch, I’m on the couch and my hangover has mostly subsided. Dinners cooked and I’m thinking a beer could be an option.

Well maybe, if I do it will be a beer that almost got a place at the Australian Amateur Homebrewing Competition (AABC). I am however conflicted about having a beer though, as the hangover was a pretty solid one. This hangover is a 100% Australian National Homebrew Conference (ANHC) hangover. Club night was awesome but brutal, well the brutal bit was this morning. 5 coffee’s, 4 Panadol, 4 neurofen, a beroca and a toasted cheese sandwich. And I still didn’t feel right after all that.

So back to ANHC, and how AABC fits into it.

ANHC 2012 was great. I heard some great speakers. met some great brewers who shared their knowledge (and beer) freely. I hung out with some great people, most of whom are excellent homebrewers who also shared their knowledge, beer, bad ideas, good ideas, and terrible beer jokes (Dan that is aimed straight at you).

It was a great vibe, really positive, really inspiring, really fun. We did have a beer in our hands by 9.30am on both days, and there was more or less free beer 100% of the conference (good beer too) so that may have given me rose-coloured glasses but I got a hell of a lot out of the speakers. Barrel ageing, extreme brewing, foam stability, Belgian yeast, contract brewing, hops, hops and more hops, sour beers, just to name a few. I even now have an idea of how to make sake (but I’m not going to)

My personal favorite bits of the conference were;

  1. Matt Brynildson’s talks on hops and barrels, great info shared so generously. I also got to share some of my Tex the third IPA with him, a particularly proud moment for me as my beer is based on a recipe for his Firestone Walker Union Jack IPA. Thanks Matt, I will now be putting more hops in my beers and getting an oak barrel.
  2. Stu McKinlay – get obsessed, stay obsessed. Yeastie Boys crank out some great beer even though Stu does look like Murray from Flight of the Concords (awesome checked pants). Stu’s 10 commandments of home brewing were great, focused and realistic. They also made me realise that I need to get back focussed on getting some beer made. I’ll post his 10 commandments at some stage, right now I’m just glad I got to hear him speak, have a yard with him and also share a bit of my peach saison with him. Oh and I’m stealing your wine candy sugar idea – ha!
  3. Good people make good beer. Club night was awesome, great beer shared among strangers with nothing in common but brewing, and friendship. Some say booze causes problems, fights etc. There was a hell of a lot of booze on hand last night, all free, and not one hint of a blue or a cross word. I put it down to the good people 🙂
  4. Sake – it sounds interesting to make but I want nothing to do with it.
  5. Sharing knowledge in a humble way. It’s good to let people know what you know, even better to do it in a nice way. Well done to the conference organisers and speakers for making it an open info sharing forum.

There’s more I can write about, but not now. Plenty of ideas still floating around in my head that need a chance to settle before I do anything with them. They need to ferment a little and age a bit. More to come though.

And that gets me to AABC, it links in with ANHC as the judging is done and announced at the conference. I missed the dinner where the place getters for the classes were awarded, but had I been there I would have got to go up on the stage to pick up a second place for my English Barley Wine (woo hoo for me!! I got a score of 132, third highest in the total comp). I entered 6 beers in VicBrew, 4 of them made it through to AABC, all with third places and I got a second place at AABC. Those are strike rates that I like. But it was so close to being 2 places, I missed a place with my Tex the Third IPA by 1 point! bugger, so close. Ah well something to aim for next year.

So now what? Get obsessed, stay obsessed. I am and I will. Time to focus on improving the quality of my home brew, and on getting a beer on the shelf somewhere. Thanks ANHC and AABC, now I have something to focus on for the next 12 months.

Cheers D

PS – Bring on ANHC 2014, and no I didn’t get have that beer tonight


Australian Ale instalment 3 – the brewing

James Cook, portrait by Nathaniel Dance, c. 17...Image via Wikipedia

Following my previous posts on Australian Ale I had been looking to attempt my own form of a style revival. Well its not really a style revival, more like brewing a recipe from about 1870, a beer that could or would (I’d like to think) have been shipped to Australia from old blighty. this was all prompted by a post on Zylophite, and a recipe provided by Arcticalchemy that has led me to what looks more or less like an English barley wine. I took the recipe provided by Arcticalchemy, did some scaling, added some more hops and the result is now fermenting in my spare room. The yeast has taken off beautifully and is now at foaming along, looking more or less like the foam on the beach on a rough day. magnificent.

So to the recipe

Australian Ale -Recreation Ale

4.10 kg      Marris Otter Pale (5.9 EBC) Grain 41.62 %
3.30 kg      Pale Malt (2 Row) US (3.9 EBC) Grain 33.50 %
1.00 kg      Amber Malt (43.3 EBC) Grain 10.15 %
0.40 kg      Brown Malt (128.1 EBC) Grain 4.06 %
0.30 kg      Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (236.4 EBC) Grain 3.05 %
90.00 gm   Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (90 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 58.1 IBU
20.00 gm   Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (Dry Hop 5 days) Hops –
50.00 gm   Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (20 min) Hops 9.9 IBU
0.75 kg      Dememera Sugar (3.9 EBC) Sugar 7.61 %
British Ale (Wyeast Labs #1098) [Starter 750 ml]

This was all mashed at 64deg C, with some chalk and gypsum thrown in. I collected 30liters preboil at about 1.077, then gave it a 90 minute boil before ending up with 22litres at about 1.099, just short of the magical 1.100, dam. By the numbers its about 65 IBU’s and will be about 10% abv, a nice small beer.

hungry yeast eating barley wine sugar

The beer I’ve made is a little hoppier and a little stronger than the beer Zylophite wrote about but still if this was the kind of beer they drank back in the days of Captain Cook then no wonder not much got done and they kept finding new countries. Drink driving a clipper would no doubt be difficult, I believe that their drink driving laws were a little more lapse in the absence of the breathalyser. Also drinking this kind of beer as your standard would leave you shit faced most of the time. No doubt this would have spurned the local brewing industry, and probably the first low alcohol beer, something like a 6% beer. 

Tastes and smells pretty good, and that was before I threw in the yeast. Its fermenting at about 19 deg C now. Fingers crossed the yeast doesn’t crap out and leave me with a stuck beer.
Now go have a crack at brewing this, history is good for you, just make sure you don’t slip from being Captain Cook (who was a home brewer) to being a pirate. Pirates are cool but really you can only wear those puffy shirts for so long without getting sick of ironing them.
Cheers D

Ye Olde Australian Ale No.2

Following on from yesterdays revelation that there is an old world style of beer called Australian Ale, in the ball park of an IPA I’m back with more info, sooner than expected. Cheers to both Martyn and Arcticalchemy for the help posted on Zythophile, Its all spot on info. The blogosphere is such a helpful place, all info offered willingly and freely.

I think I have enough to work from here, bit of a blend of the two recipes malt bills ( I’m pretty sure I can get some floor malted stuff), targeting an OG of around 1.080-90 all EKG for about 50 IBU, I may stretch the boil to a 2 hour boil but that will really push my patience. I think I’ll also add some dry hops, as I’m pretty sure that would have been par for the course.

I’m guessing if I put this beer in a home brew comp it’ll be in the barley wine category but I’ll still be calling it an Australian Ale. Here are the comments back and forward that got me to the recipe idea above. ;

as my winter brewing time table isn’t set and I love brewing IPA’s I think I need to do an old school Australian Ale, add some history and local relevance to my brewing. Apart from it being around 1.100 OG and not as hoppy as an IPA (old style English) my guess is mostly pale malt, but perhaps some black and crystal, and keep it simple on the hops, mostly EKG in the boil but also some dry hops in the cask (keg) either for aging or at serving, about 60 IBU’s?
Any more info on a recipe Martyn (or anybody else)???


June 14, 2011 at 11:18 am

This might get you close to what you are looking for Darren…

17.75 lb Pale Malt, Maris Otter
14.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) UK
4.50 lb Amber Malt
1.50 lb Brown Malt
1.25 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L
6.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [(120 min) 34.0 IBU
3.75 oz Goldings, East Kent (20 min) 11.8 IBU
3.00 lb Dememera Sugar
10.00 gal Burton On Trent, Water
Measured Original Gravity: 1.112 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.038 SG
Estimated Color: 20.3 SRM
Bitterness: 45.7 IBU
ABV: 9.74 %

Or 1902 Bass’ King’s Ale

34lbs Pale Malt ( 2 row) UK
12 Oz East Kent Goldings , 6oz at boil , 6 oz 6 hours into boil
12 Hour Boil


June 14, 2011 at 11:56 am

Cheers Arcticalchemy,

I like the look of the first one, minus the 12 hr boil. I think I’d have to ad a bunch of dry hop though (and do it with a 1 hr boil). Any chance of some batch sizes to go with those numbers (litres or gal?)
Where did you find this lot?

June 14, 2011 at 3:48 pm
These would be for a US 10 gallon batch, sorry to not include that info Darren. Indeed dry-hopping would improve the aroma with the first recipe which is an old Bass Burton #1 circa 1870′s ( which they actually called a Barley Wine ), I included the King’s Ale recipe as a comparison to achieving virtually the same result with only one ingredient ,which I find remarkable.
Indeed, the 12 hour boil is a bit much for me too, no need for coloring/flavoring malts with King’s Ale. I also think King Edward VII would have not “stuck around ” after he moved the valve to start the mashing on this ale.


June 14, 2011 at 11:59 am
Tasy is a cold bastard of a place so something warming and dark would fit.
But Martyn is there actually 1 Australian Ale or were there a range of styles sent out here?

June 14, 2011 at 1:09 pm
Darren, there appears to have been one beer which was most frequently given the name “Australian Ale”, which was No 3 grade Burton Ale, like the beers Chris has given the recipes to above, but aiming at an OG of around 1080. Other beers were occasionally called “Australian pale ale” and similar, but those were rare: No 3 Burton was the regular “Australian Ale”.

Final bits and pieces to be sorted in the future, but more or less sorted, just need to do a few calcs and brew it.

Cheers D

Ye Olde Australian Ale???

I’ve just read an excellent post by Martin at “Zythophile” titled “the Mysterious Australian Ale” all about the Australian bound version of the IPA that the pommy brewers sent to Australia way back when. Martyn writes some excellent stuff covering the history of all this brewing caper. I liked history at school (and wasn’t too bad at it) but I think I would have gotten higher marks if it was about beer and Martyn was the teacher.

Anyway as my winter brewing time table isn’t set and I love brewing IPA’s I think I need to do an old school Australian Ale, add some history and local relevance to my brewing. Perhaps this will be the next “Black IPA”? or “insert fad beer here”

So right now I am starting with bugger all information. Apart from it being around 1.100 OG and not as hoppy as an IPA (old style English) my guess is mostly pale malt (Marris Otter), but perhaps some black malt and some crystal, and keep it simple on the hops, mostly EKG in the boil but also some dry hops in the cask (keg) either for aging or at serving, about 60 IBU’s? The yeast is pretty straight forward, something English like a Notingham or a London ale type. Given the shipping time and the beer travelling in casks there was probably a fair whack of oxidisation, and maybe even a faint taste of salt from the odd leaky cask. Perhaps even a hint of sourness or brett.

So now I’m throwing out the question; any more info on a recipe Martyn or anybody else ??? (I’ve posted a call for help on Zythophile and will repost any ideas here if I get them)

Cheers D

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