Category Archives: brewing network

Tall Poppy – India Red Ale from 8 Wired Brewing Co.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JANUARY 23:  Anna Scar...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
I grabbed a few beers today from Grain and Grape, and a bottle shop in Albert Park (cant remember the name of that place) anyway two are NZ beers and the other two from Japan. I have never had any beers from these breweries before. The NZ stuff from 8 Wired Brewing Co. I have heard good things about, from the Brewing Network, and Chris at Grain and Grape gave it them a good wrap (the Tall Poppy I’m drinking right now actually).

The Japanese stuff I really don’t know anything about it other than they have a distinctive owl on the label and I’ve seen the bottles around, from memory as water bottles at St Ali in South Melbourne. The brewery is of course Hitachino Nest. I know nothing about them and will leave that for another night, I just hope that they are crazy in Japanese style. Geelong is playing footy now so I don’t really feel like typing for two long (actually I’ll probably post this tomorrow).

I hope that the beers are grey imports, although I’m guessing they are not.

I know bugger all about 8 Wired Brewing Co. other than the brewer/owner contract brews the beer himself at the brewery that he works for at his day job. Kind of a sweet deal, making his own beer in someone else’s brewery. Kind of the ultimate contract brewing setup, all care and responsibility but none of the capitol outlay.

On to the Tall Poppy – India Red Ale from 8 Wired Brewing Co. I have never heard of an India Red Ale before, it kinda reminds me of a hoppy American Brown Ale, the Tasty McDole Jannets Brown recipe comes to mind. It has a fair degree of bitterness to it, and a fruity hop taste but the beer is more about the malt. As is often expected in red beers it has a caramel flavour to it that goes really nicely with the bitterness.

Its definitely an American style beer but I still don’t really know what to think of the India Red Ale, I guess it could be described as a English-ish IPA with some more character malt in there? (roast and crystal etc.). Still I guess there’s nothing wrong with some marketing spin, and it’s a good beer so no matter either way. I would most definitely have another one. And the beer just keeps on evolving with every sip, opening up as it breaths and warms a little. The bitterness kind of mellows and looses its sharpness.
This is a nice beer. You should go and get one right now.
Right now something to eat.
Cheers D

PS – I also had a good sandwich today, a Ruben at a café in Albert Park that was named after a military guy?? Its just where the main drag in Albert Park turns, away from the main café run. Anyway pastrami, sour kraut, cheese and mustard on rye bread toasted. There were also a couple of mini pickles. This was a most excellent sandwich. Apologies for the dud directions but there need to be some mysteries in life and shit for you to figure out yourself.

Cheers number 2 D


wedding beer

MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 19:  A man wears a...Image by Getty Images via @daylife
Ah finally brewing I’m doing this blog as I brew so it’ll be a little disjointed, right now I’m a little over half way through the sparge of the Pale Ale, the first wort hops are in and still have a long brew day ahead of me with another batch to brew and a batch to bottle. Right now its 11am. Oh and I have to drop Dad into bowls I think.

Right now it is blowing its guts out outside, we had some rain last night, about 30ml, and this seems to be some kind of storm following through. It felt almost tropical last night, warm but raining, and frogs everywhere. I escorted six of the little buggers out of the back porch last night. I’m not a frog guru but I believe that we have some pretty rare ones around home, namely the growling grass frog. Anyway frogs are supposed to be an indicator of the world being healthy so I guess having them around is a good thing. They are living on the edge hanging around near the back door of my parents place though; getting stepped on is apparently bad for frogs. To hear what these frog sound like, a noise I grew up with and never really knew what it was click here. The sound pretty cool.

In addition to the frogs the rains that are major pain in the arse for so many right now are doing good things. Most easy to spot is the lakes near my folks place starting to fill up – the likes of Lake Corangamite, Gnarpurt and Roseanna have all been empty for about 10 years. Not so any more. The smaller lakes are more or less full and the bigger ones, like Corangamite are getting close. The trees are also growing. In the last six months I think most of the trees have put on about a foot in height and gotten greener.

For farming though generally the rain has been a pain in the arse, at least short term, causing a large downgrading of the wheat and barley crops, and giving general headaches for livestock (feet and flies). The wheat I’ll be using in the Witt today will be of questionable quality but that’s just part of the fun of farmhouse brewing. I doubt the old school Belgium brewers ever had the wheat tested or didn’t use it if it the season was a little off.

Anyway the brew day is going well apart from the wind that’s going to make getting a boil going slow work.
Time to go find some wheat.

It’s now just a bit after 1pm and saying the brew day was going well was a bad idea. Firstly I had the drill running backwards. This runs the rollers that mill the grain to make the beer. I could not work out why it wasn’t working. I kept tightening the gap on the mill yet no difference. Had me stuffed until I looked at the rollers. Problem solved, wheat milled. Now to the wind. It if funnelling through the shed making a boil near impossible. After waiting over an hour and a half to get the boil going I moved the kettle and burner setup inside and it now looks like the boil will get going. Eventually. The day will be a long one, but I will get there.
As for the saison to be bottled after a taste I’m less than inspired to bottle it. There is the usual saison twang or funk, but also a hint of lacto. Not really sure where it will end up. It was a kind of screwed up batch anyway, big on the abbey malt and not at all the recipe I was after so I guess it being a little lactic is just going with the trend.

The boil appears to be getting closer to a reality rather than an ideal. The difference shutting a door makes. Time to start the Witt mash shortly.

Witt mash on, 30 minute hops added to the pale at 20 minutes (shortening the boil time by 10 minutes here to balance out the time the first wort hops had in the beer – oh that may be interesting how that goes??) bottles sanitised for the lacto-abbey-saison. Sanity returning as the brew day comes together. It’s still windy as buggery.

The Witt went by with more or less no issues; I didn’t bring enough coriander, but pinched some camomile tea from Mums weird tea stash to add some more spicy twang to the beer.

I also bottled the abbey saison, I tasted it again and with no real hint of lacto. Must have been a bit of sour stuff living in or around the tap. The beer will certainly have a saison twang, but not like a malt vinegar.

The recipes – both based on 70% efficency and a 22l to the fermenter

Wedding Pale.
This beer is based on the Brewing Network CYBI Firestone Walker Pale 31 recipe, with Goldings instead of Fuggles, and the boil shortened to 60 minutes.
4.00 kg Marris Otter Pale (5.9 EBC) Grain 80.81 %
0.60 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain 12.12 %
0.25 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC) Grain 5.05 %
0.10 kg Wheat malt (5.9 EBC) Grain 2.02 %
23.00 gm Cascade [5.00 %] (Dry Hop 3 days) Hops
8.00 gm Goldings, East Kent [4.80 %] (60 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 5.7 IBU
23.00 gm Centennial [9.70 %] (Dry Hop 3 days) Hops –
8.00 gm Chinook [11.40 %] (30 min) Hops 6.3 IBU
23.00 gm Cascade [5.00 %] (1 min) Hops 2.6 IBU
23.00 gm Centennial [9.70 %] (1 min) Hops 5.1 IBU
4.11 gm Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale

Berrybank Witt
Amount Item Type % or IBU
0.45 kg Light Dry Extract (15.8 EBC) Dry Extract 7.96 %
3.00 kg Pale Malt (2 Row) US (3.9 EBC) Grain 53.10 %
1.90 kg Wheat Raw Grain 33.63 %
0.30 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 5.31 %
11.00 gm Magnum [14.00 %] (60 min) Hops 20.0 IBU
1 Pkgs Belgian Witbier (Wyeast Labs #3944) Yeast-Wheat
Also 45g of fresh orange zest, 4g of coriander seeds crushed, a pinch of camomile tea, all added in the last 5 minutes of the boil.
I’m tired now. Having a beer. James Bond is shooting someone on the telly and it’s a bit too hot. Oh and here are some pics of my brewing setup, a collection of bits that are in no way connected.

my getto brew rig, a plastic fantastic in the woolshed smoko room

The boil bit of the brew rig, again very flash, wort transfer from the mash to the boil kettle occurs by bucket and foot

Cheers D

Brewing this weekend – finally

Its been to long but finally I’m brewing again this weekend, I’ll also (if all goes to plan) finally bottle that saison thats been sitting in the old farm house at my folks place for some time, the one with the abbey malt.


The brew list is a Pale Ale (based on the CYBI Firestone Walker Pale 31 recipe) and  Witt for my little sisters wedding in April. Looking forward to brewing again but 2 batches in one day will stretch me a bit. Will be an extended period of zen.

Cheers D

Time for a brew sculpture – suggestions??

Pipes and fittings made of stainless steel.Image via Wikipedia
Right now I brew (ok not very often) in what appears to be a series of buckets, eskies and keg cut down into a boiler. It mostly runs by gravity using benches in the woolshed kitchen and an esky, and I cart wort from the mash tun to the boil kettle in a plastic bucket. It is pretty ghetto but it does the job more than adequately, enough so that I have brewed some beers that received awards using this bustard arse system. This is more or less how I have been brewing for the past 4 years, bodgey balancing stuff, mainly using gravity.

Time to change I think and get something that I can refer to as a sculpture rather than the stuff I make beer with. This new system will also see me up the brew length, from about 30 to about 50 litres. This may get me to a higher level of brewing zen.

I have a march pump, a couple of stainless false bottoms, a plate chiller and a bunch of taps and fittings. Recently I purchased 3 60l stainless steel kegs from the Bridge Rd Brewers in Beechworth (cheers for picking them up Stu). These were on eBay and more or less a “shit I should buy them” type thing that has led to me thinking more about a brew sculpture. Now I have 3 60l vessels and 1 50l one. Three of these in some type of setup will be my new brew sculpture, the other will become a fermentor for buggy beers. Question is I can’t figure out what the best way to configure them is.

I don’t want to have to buy to much new stuff (within reason) and I’m not wanting to go all gravity as that will make the thing about 10 feet tall and not all that friendly to move. This leaves me thinking that it will be a 2 level system using the march pump to either move the sparge water or the wort out of the mash tun. Listening to a guy from Great Northern Brewing Co on the Brewing Network Sunday Session about his 3 story tallest building in town brewery has me still thinking that I would love a gravity system if not just for the simplicity.

There are a bunch of different configurations have a look at the sabco or morebeer websites. I like the look of the more beer tippy dumpy systems from more beer but the whole thing looks to get a touch tall. The sabco system is about the right height but I’m not sure I like the idea of pumping the wort out of the mash tun. I still like gravity and since its free and constant I figure its worth using.

Going single would level would need another pump, not sure I want to spend that cash. I think there will be $ spent on a digital temp controller for the hot liquor tank. Digital is much nicer than analogue. This will also test my welding skills that have been unused for a long time. That will be interesting.

Some of the planning will be no doubt happening tomorrow night at Biero where I will be drinking biero with Nik and Dan. There may well be a plan on a napkin. Actually there may well be a really shitty plan with a rather large spoiler and a chrome petrol cap drawn on a napkin.

So anyway ideas or suggestions are welcomed. This may be a long planning phase and a relatively simple build. Or not still I can’t figure out what I want as I’ve only ever brewed on my ghetto contraption that has moved from shelf to cupboard to esky to woolshed. Time for some brew sculpture bling.

Cheers D

PS – I’m having a pint of saison right now, done with the Grain and Grape pale ale fresh work kit, the Belgian saison yeast and 40g of Striesalspalt hops. Not bad, not excellent, but good for this hot weather and for a beer that was mainly made to grow yeast. Need to go now Californication is on soon, lets see what Hank can fuck up (or who he can fuck) tonight.

The Brewing Network

 The Brewing NetworkImage via Wikipedia
I like making beer and I’m kinda OK at it. However in getting to this point I have a number of people that I owe a great deal of thanks to. They are not some guys in a Melbourne home brew club, or some guru that “taught me everything he knows”. A great deal of thanks goes to the guys at Grain and Grape in Yarraville over the years, but some of that has been more affirmation and access rather than inspiration.

I owe my brewing inspiration to The Brewing Network. I think there may be a TM or something in there, and if you know it you may refer to it as the BN or the BN Army, or yourself as a BN’er. Either way the BN is where i attribute most of the good and brave ish stuff I do in relation to beer. Brave is not quite the right word but if I stuck within the realms of guys I met at home brew shops and the Aussie home brew forum I’d be thinking I was extreme (with 2 X’s) if i was trying to clone James Squire Golden Ale. The BN is the man in the corner telling me to say “fuck’em” to the supposed rules of home brewing. I need to add that most of these rules are bullshit – stir don’t stir, skim the foam, rack to secondary. Fuck you I say to all these false rules.

When I started brewing I had a mad bent for doing stupid stuff. Made some bad beer but had some fun. There was a guy in the home brew shop who replied to most things ” you cant do that!” (he is no longer there). I started seeking out recipes and John from G&G pointed me to the Jamil Show. My second all grain was a Russian Imperial , 3rd a Golden Strong. Growing the yeast for the Russian Imperial I brewed an American Pale Ale enlightening me to the style, always loved Little Creatures, never knew it was a Us pale!. All three recipes were from the Jamil show. The Jamil show went through every style in the BJPC and gave an award winning recipe. Awesome and generous.

The Jamil show was where i found the BN. Jamil and John Plise, with Brewcaster J running the board gave me the styles, and some drunked humour that expanded my beer world. They also made me persist with downloading the 4 hr podcast that was the Sunday Session. When I started doing this my Internet sucked and the 4 hr show would kill any download that I had or take hours. Still once I had the first one I actually felt like persisting with the bad download issues.

A lot were downloaded at work. The BN rocked and I had a commute to work to persist with. And an Ipod.

So then I became a BN’er. From this I learned a hell of a lot about beer and a bit about helping others and sharing. First on the sharing and caring bit. The BN is about sharing beer information. Some brewers guard recipes, never got that myself and the BN is with me on that. There is no one secret recipe that will win the day or make the perfect beer. If you like a recipe share the fucker. Big props to all the brewers that have shared recipes on the BN over the years. Its not so secret and not so hard. In will never hide away a recipe. Tasty, Doc cheers for this.

Also share your beer with other people . We all like the smell of our own farts. Home brew is like that. I value the opinons of others greater than my own when it comes to my beer (Nik and Dan get a mention here). This also flows oin to putting beer in competitions and to getting feedback in general. All is good. I followed their push on comps and feedback last year and got some awards. Had it not been for the BN I may never have had a crack. From now on I will always seek feedback from those that I respect on my beers.

Dont be a douche bag. I get this from Justin and its not beer related. He’s about my age, likes beer like me and is doing what i want to be doing, running his own business. Now I dont want to have a radio station (but if I did it would be the BN- what with his lavish lifestyle and hand infections) but I don’t like working for other people. However more than the respect I have for the business J, I respect the don’t be a douche J. He is not Gandi and says many offensive thing but always seems to care about people. Having a sense of humor should not be confused with not caring. Also on your recommendation I tried Cantione. Awesome beer.

Other than that the BN is an invaluable resource for brewing info. Right now this blog is too long and the Internet saving lag is making it a pain in the arse to write. Finally JP suck it. Na really you add more to the show than you will ever admit.

I If you like beer and brewing seek out the Brewing Network. If you have no sense of humour look elsewhere. I

Cheers Bitches


IPA – Union Jack Clone from CYBI

The Union Jack with a white border.Image via Wikipedia

I’ve still got this bloody cold and its really giving me the shits, however the hop aroma from the beer below will cut through any cold or flu. This beer has more hops in the flame out addition than I put in my US pale recipe. Still the unfermented wort was actually pretty tasty and not at all as harsh as I expected for something topping 80 IBU’s

So the recipe below is for this weekends IPA, sitting in the fermenter right now, the Union Jack recipe from the Brewing Network’s Can you Brew It Show. Basically it has a gutload of hops.

Actual OG 1065 (bit lower than the target of 1070) for a 23litre batch with a calculated IBU of 82.

For yeast I used the Wyeast 1098 British Ale

83% Pale Ale Malt

10% Munich

5% Carapils

2% Simpson’s Crystal

Mash at 64 for 60 minutes with a teaspoon of gypsum

25 gm Warrior at 70 min

18 gm Centennial at 30 min

18 gm Cascade at 30 min

52 gm Centennial at Flameout, steep 20 min

52 gm Cascade at Flameout, steep 20 min

Dry Hop #1 – 3 days in primary at end of fermentation

44 gm Centennial

44 gm Cascade

Dry Hop #2 – 3 days

30 gm Centennial

30 gm Cascade

14 gm Amarillo

14 gm Simcoe

Better do some work now. Would rather be brewing.
Cheers D

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