Category Archives: excellent

The Sessions No 72: How we love beer – Zen Man

session_logo_all_text_300The Session (aka Beer Blogging Friday) is an opportunity once a month for beer bloggers from around the world to get together and write from their own unique perspective on a single topic.

This month’s session is hosted by Ryan Newhouse at Montana Beer Finder, who wants to know how we love beer. Not why, but how. So we say we love good beer but how do we show that?

So how do we love beer? and when I say we I mean me. How do I love beer?

I love beer by putting myself out, in pain, by stretching my wallet, by doing things that are not comfortable or sensible. I put beer first. Oh god this will start sounding like a Hugh Grant movie script if I don’t start putting some more substance around it.

Did I mention its been a long week in the office, I may have had a beer or two more than I needed last night and I’ve had to try to fit 5 days work into 4 days thanks to the Australia Day long weekend?

Back to how I show I love good beer. I show it through my actions, many of which are related to making the damn stuff.

I’ve completed a Graduate Certificate in Brewing, meaning I had to go back and think about things like HACCP plans and amino acid pathways (oh  how I hate biochemistry). The time and expense involved in this was all for my love of beer.

All the cuts, burns, scrapes and bruises from manufacturing and cleaning brewing equipment, and lugging around kegs and bottles. Stainless steel splinters are a bitch. Full kegs and fermenters are just that weight that you can lift them but with a dodgy back like mine there is always that moment when you can feel your back just about to go twang. Dont start me on the cleaning products (read semi toxic chemicals). The pain and the scars are all for my love of beer.

The heartache and mental anguish that comes from striving for perfection in my beer. Stuck mashes, infected batches, spilt beer, marks missed, hop blend not quite right, malt balance so close argh!!!! it’ll all break your heart. The time, effort and waiting that goes in all for something that just may not happen. I lost a batch to an infection just a couple of weeks ago, my Something Sexy in French Saison, such heartache, RIP to the beer. I put myself through all this for my love of beer.

The logistics of making beer for me are a bitch. I have a 350km round trip if I am to brew beer. Then another 350km round trip to package it. I brew in  my parents wool shed on the farm. At times I am kicked out of my brew house so the sheep can be shorn, at other times well-meaning individuals move things, buggering them up. This means I can’t just brew on a whim, when I have 3or 4 hours spare. I hate planning. My girlfriend also likes to see me sometimes, but understands that I love to brew. So my brew day is 4hrs of driving, 4 hrs minimum of brewing, and I have to plan the recipe and order ingredients ahead of time. I put all this time and planning in for my love of beer.

So without even getting into all the wandering to far-flung bars and bottle shops checking out new and exciting beers, often shelling out more than a fair amount for something that just often enough hits the highs that its been talked up to. I mean who lines up to get into a bar full of blokes with beards? (OK probably hipsters). All this chasing is for my love of beer.

So all this and why do I do it? (yes I know thats not the question but bugger off, I’m on a roll here). It’s for those zen moments when the brew day is going perfectly, when the first taste off the fermenter makes you smile, when the drive home to brew has nothing but awesome tunes or Kerry O’keeffe calling the cricket on the radio, when the new release beer takes your fucking head off, when one of your beers wins the cat and dog show and takes a prize. They are my Zen moments when how I love beer pays me back.

I love my beer so damn much I’m even looking into trying to make the stuff commercially despite all the sensible thoughts in my head suggesting that I wont make a cent out of it. Still I’m in for it. Beer seems to make a fool out of me, I guess love does that too.

I call my brew time my zen time, I think I’ve hijacked the word from its original use, as some kind of religious state of goodness or happiness. I call by brewing time my zen time, and that’s how I think I love my beer, by going through all the trials and tribulations listed above and reaching my zen place.

Enough of this folly, need to order some malt now, oh and do some work.

Cheers D


Sour experiments and the Wig and Pen

Firstly let me start with “ALL HAIL KING RICHARD!”, I’ll get to that in a bit. Na bugger it, I’ll cut to the chase.

Following a work trip to Canberra and a visit (OK 2) to the Wig and Pen pub I am inspired to do more in the way of brewing sour beers. Richard Watkins is making what I think are Australia’s best sour beers in a very unassuming pub, that from the outside has almost a shopping centre feel to it. The beers though. WOW.

I tried a few of the beers, a pale ale (hoppy and malty, well worth trying), a steam beer (I liked it but don’t really know the style), something through a randall (??) and an english IPA on hand pump (probably the best beer I’ve had on hand pump ever), and a stout that was roasty, chocolatey, coffee, smooth goodness (it was stout day after all). And then I tried the sours.

Thanks to the world of twitter I was able (with the assistance of some mates – Dan thanks) to actually ask the brewer (whom I have never met in real life) what should I drink. The message was Sour Blonde then Armpit then LPG! Enjoy.

Sour Blonde – an under 5% ABV bright blonde beer with a complex yet under powering sourness that make this the ultimate gateway beer for getting people onto sour beers. BUT this is still a beer that you could happily drink all day and still keep finding new things in. Awesome beer, if this was my local, this would be my 1st pint every time.

Bobs Armpit – this was a bigger and more complex beer (7% I think?) great drop, became more excellent with each sip as it warmed.

LPG – I think this was kind of Belgian golden strong with bugs (again 7%? or I could be mixing it up with the Bobs armpit) what I do remember about this beer was the aroma, it smelled fantastic. People who tell you sour beers smell like horse blankets, well perhaps they havent tried this beer. It was amazing.  The other amazing bit was that thanks to the power of twitter and the generosity of the brewer who was in Perth at the time I had it shouted for me. Cheers for the beer Richard, most generous.

The beers were big, and took their toll on me a little, I should have taken notes, but that would have been a mood killer. Great beers and I’ll be back, perhaps for a cellar tour if the hosts generosity permits. I want to see these barrels!

Also its worth noting that the staff at the Wig and Pen were excellent, the barman I got talking to (Ian I think) was great, new his beer, had time to talk to the punters and was a great ambassador for the beers. So when in Canberra I now drink at the Wig and Pen, do yourselves a favor and do the same.

Drinking Richards sour beers has reignited my desire to make some of these beers myself. Well more to master them. In the past 10 months or so I’ve had a tiny crack at making some sour beers. Sour beers seems to be the general designation that has been given to any beer that isn’t 100% clean. However the term sour seems to cover a whole world of flavor. Think sour and you go straight to a vinegar (yep even they have a massive range of flavors) or lemon. It’s not that simple.

In beer depending on what you start off with, what bugs (this is my generic term for non traditional brewing yeast) and where and how you age it.

My experiments to date are;

1. Buggy Harvest Ale

Amount Item Type % or IBU
2.25 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 43.52 %
1.25 kg Pale Malt (2 Row) US (3.9 EBC) Grain 24.18 %
0.50 kg Barley, Raw (3.9 EBC) Grain 9.67 %
0.50 kg Wheat, Torrified (3.3 EBC) Grain 9.67 %
0.50 kg White Wheat Malt (4.7 EBC) Grain 9.67 %
0.15 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 80L (157.6 EBC) Grain 2.90 %
0.02 kg Black (Patent) Malt (985.0 EBC) Grain 0.39 %
25.00 gm Crystal [4.30 %] (60 min) Hops 14.6 IBU
25.00 gm Crystal [4.30 %] (30 min) Hops 7.4 IBU
20.00 gm Crystal [4.30 %] (1 min) Hops 1.9 IBU
1 Pkgs Wyeast 3789-PC Trapppist Blend Yeast-Wheat

I made this beer back just after Christmas 2011 and its been ageing in a demijohns ever since, when I tasted it months ago it had a hint of Orval about it. The OG was 1.045. The inspiration for this beer was a Brewing Network CYBI show on a Jolly Pumpkin beer. To be honest I havent really done much with this beer and it’s probably oxidised. I really need to taste it and get it in a bottle, but dealing with these dirty beers is just a little intimidating. The word “unclean!” springs to mind.

2. Buggy wheat with grapes

5.00 kg Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 50.51 %
2.00 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 20.20 %
2.00 kg Wheat, Torrified (3.3 EBC) Grain 20.20 %
0.40 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 30L (59.1 EBC) Grain 4.04 %
0.20 kg Acid Malt (5.9 EBC) Grain 2.02 %
40.00 gm Warrior [15.00 %] (50 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 48.6 IBU
10.00 gm Nelson Savin [11.30 %] (50 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 9.2 IBU
20.00 gm Cascade [7.30 %] (10 min) Hops 2.3 IBU
30.00 gm Nelson Savin [11.30 %] (10 min) Hops 5.3 IBU

Wyeast 3789-PC Trapppist Blend

wyeast brettanomyces claussenii

1.5 kg of unwashed red grapes hand squashed into the fermenter

This beer was the result of wanting to make 2 beers at once, a hoppy seasonable IPA type wheat beer, and something more buggy and experimental. The OG was 1.050. I split the batch as outlined above with about 12l of the 37l total going to the sour fermenter, and the rest getting a shitload more hops thrown at it in the hopback and dryhop, it also got the rather tame 1056 yeast (more on this beer when I taste it).

Here are some photos from the brew day

So what has happened with the buggy grape? its tasting sour, has a nice purple hue from the grapes and is mostly sitting in a demijohns getting a little more time before bottling(its full so there shouldnt be an oxidation issue). Not really sure what I’ll do with it at bottling? should I carbonate it, or leave it flat? don’t know. As an experiment I have got 3 PET bottles, 2 primed with sugar, one left alone. I don’t want bottle bombs and I’m a little hesitant about the bret causing me issues down the track. Will see how it goes.

So whats next? planning on getting some barrels. Dan the brewer, this plan it very loose so far. I might also just leave a batch out coolship style at the farm. Not sure what that will bring. And there will be a gosse.

Plenty to do and brew.

Thanks again Richard, you’ve reignited the sour bug started by Cantillon and Orval.

Cheers D

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

VicBrew 2012

Well the beer judging went well, met some good people, had some interesting beer, spent some time focusing on bee. All good.

While I judged some beer, I also had some of my own beers entered and this morning I got the email letting me know that 4 of my 6 beers had gotten 3rd place in their category and therefore are off to the Australian Amateur Homebrew Competition. The beers are a Belgian triple, an English barley wine, a peach saison and an American IPA- tex the third. I wasn’t expecting any places from this years entries so I’m pretty happy with the result. Perhaps brewing less is good for my brewing?

Now I just need to figure out how to arrange the logistics of moving my beer whet I’m on holidays. Just a small challenge, I think it’s sorted but I’ll owe a few people a beer or two to get it sorted.

Time for another celebratory beer.

Cheers D

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DuPont, Radelaide and Josie Bones

Tomorrow I go to Radelaide.

Tonight I’m drinking a Saison Dupont, the big one, not the regular one (Super Saison?). I think it’s a 9% beer, but its on the bench in the kitchen and I’m on the couch watching TV (got to love those Doug Pitt adds). Anyway great beer, really nice earthy character, its smooth but with a bit of a tang. It’s a great beer with a nice but of warming booze, in a similar fashion to a tripel or a Duvel. Get yourself one, I got mine from Grain and Grape.

Anyway that’s not what I wanted to write about tonight. I’ve been kinda busy, OK and a little lazy, but I went to Josie Bones with my good mate Crackas last week for a bit of bromance of the meat and beer type. If you like meat and beer then and havent been there then what the fuck are you doing? no really, they have crackling of the day and plenty of offal, all backed up by a killer beer list.

We didn’t go too over board, crackling of the day (it was pork) oysters, some kind of pork spring roll, some awesome goat, some black pudding. I may have left something off the list, Crackas will help out if I have. I’m not going to bang on about the food too much, only that it was awesome.

Now to the beer. Josie Bones is making their own beer, at 3 Ravens I think. Anyway they are calling it a golden IPA. They had it on tap as a bit of a mystery beer under the name of Hop Junkie. It’s a pale hoppy beer, perhaps more hoppy and bitter than the average IPA, but with a little less in the area of malt complexity that some IPA’s give, and a little less in the area of booze. This beer is headed in the right direction. Stick at it Josie Bones, this one is headed in the right direction.

We also had a couple of Bridge Rd B2 Bombers, a really nice black IPA. I think its improved since I last had it. But I think the beer I finished on was the pick of the evening. It was probably that it suited the mood, but it’s also a fucking fantastic beer. Of course its a beer by 8 Wired, good old Soren. C 4 Double Coffee Brown Ale. Damn that’s a good beer, think a coffee creme brule in a booze form in a glass. Magic stuff. It’s the beer you need after a bunch of excellently cooked animal bits and hoppy beers. It is desert in a glass. I have previously mentioned that I will drink any beer that Soren of 8 Wired makes. The man is a brewing genius. If you see his beer buy it!

Ah well that’s enough talk of good beer and food at Josie Bones, its in Collingwood Melbourne. If you havent been there track it down. Its my happy place of beer and meat. As for beers by 8 Wired they are in NZ, and excellent, and the Bridge Rd stuff is in Beechworth. I’m lazy right now so you can find the links yourself. It wont be hard.

Damn this saison is good too, can’t dispute that Saison Du Pont know their shit when it comes to saisons.

That’ll do for now, very slack post, but its been a long day so I’ll let myself off.

Cheers D

PS – just need to clarify that at no stage did myself and Crackas hug, that would be inappropriate for a manly bromance of beer and offal

Well I was going to review a beer…..

But now I’m not. The beer I’m drinking just isn’t exciting me and I’m not really in the mood for tapping away spouting negative things about a beer. It’s not a bad beer, just not something I want to write about as it doesn’t really reflect on the beer. And I do recal someone once saying if you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.

I guess I’m just in a good mood, back from the brink of my terrible brew day on the weekend. Maybe it was the chicken curry I cooked for dinner. Maybe it was the new job I’ll be starting in a few weeks. It could even be the Olympics on TV despite the dud of f job Chanel 9 is doing (OK that was a bit negative but they deserve it, can the interviews show the bloody sport!).

So back to the brew debacle of the weekend; equipment failure is the perfect excuse for buying new equipment.

The mouse proof plastic tub is a no brainer, a trip to bunnings and a BBQ snag and that will be sorted.

The thermostat is a little more of a thought process, I can get one ( an stc 1000) of any number of Ebay retailers for about $30 but I have to wire it myself. A pre wired one is about $100 at least. Since my last wiring attempt caught fire I may go for the professionally done one. My wiring did however last for 5 years. I think I’ll see if my mate Fizzy can do it, he is an apprentice sparky after all?

Now to the plate chiller. I’ve thrown the question into Facebook and so far have a couple of answers, neither of them involve buying a new plate chiller. First from Ferg was to cook the old one in the oven for an hour or so then soak it in PBW. Good idea, turn all the organic material to ash then soak in PBW to loosen it out. I think that could just work, but I don’t get to buy some new gear then. Then to Ian’s idea is to go no chill. Good idea but I don’t think it’s for me thanks to the logistics of needing to pitch the yeast before I do the 2 hour trip back to Melbourne. Love the idea but it’s not for me.

I think I’ll have a crack at the oven technique. I’ve cleaned out my plate chiller before with PBW and acid, and a shit load of hot water and blowing the thing out but its never got it back to flowing as it should before. It may be time for a new one. If I do go for a new one its down to 2 options in my mind;

  1. Mash Master 30 plate. At only about $130 this looks the goods, it’s the bigger version of the one I’ve used for the past 5 years.
  2. Blichmann Therminator. I really like the Blichmann gear, like my beer gun and hop rocket but this is way more expensive (about double)and I really dont know if its worth it? not sure how to figure that one out.

If you have any thoughts or ideas on the plate chiller option let me know. Will be still thinking for a week or two and would really appreciate some other minds on the job. Other suggestions are also welcome, if you know a better plate chiller let me know, just needs to be better than the Mash Master 20 plate I currently use.

Anyway go do something nice.

Cheers D

PS – I wonder how my IPA is going?


Hallertau Porter Noir

I am drinking a chocolaty Orval. Thats right, it doesnt make sense but it is good.

What is this beer you say? not something that you’ll easily find in Australia, whether you have access to grey imports or not. It’s from a little brewery on the outskirts of Auckland, in the land of the long white sheep. This is a damn nice beer. It’s a barrel aged, bret infused porter from Hallertau called “Porter Noir”.

The beer is part of the “Heroic Range”. A range that has pictures of ancient Greeks (I think) doing heroic things. It also has a touch of arogance, love this description from the website;

Frankly, this beer is probably best enjoyed by the filthy rich.
If you are one of these people, or would like to taste the things filthy
 rich people drink, then drink this beer. You’ll no doubt appreciate its
heroic qualities: the perseverance in brewing, the meticulous selection
of the finest ingredients, and the tenacious desire to sell it in spite
of its sheer unprofitability. Imbibe and you’ll find it’s truly a triumph
over mediocrity.

I’ve had this beer sitting around for over a year following a visit to the brewery for Easter 2011. Great little brewery, really well run, nice food, great beers. I also got a t-shirt, biggest one they had. Well I’m almost small enough to ware it. Anyway the beer. I brought this beer back in my luggage (read grey imported, I am a bad man)with fingers crossed that it would survive the baggage handlers. It did, then I looked at it in my fridge for months waiting for the right moment to open it. And for no real reason, its tonight. Nothing special just felt like something good to drink.

What is it? an almost black porter, nice and chocolaty, almost with a coco dry type finnish. And it has a really nice orval type bret nose, and a little bit of a sour type twang, more a hint of bugs than a sour blast but its noticable. And it works. I wouldn’t have thought of adding bret to a porter but it works, I guess this kind of thing used to happen all the time by accident way back when. Back in a time when a man wearing a bed sheet could lift six barrels. Now those were the days. Most men struggle with five barrells these days and they go to the gym.

To the beer again, great beer, really complex but immensely enjoyable. Its kind of a desert type thing, chocolate, length and an interesting finnish. I think I know what my next bret brewing experiment may need to be. Speaking of brewing I have a rough plan to brew for the first time in who knows how long next weekend. Thinking an IPA (english) or a stout (US) not certain yet. Got a week to think about it. If you have an idea, let me know.

Bring on the zen.

Going to finnish my beer now.

Cheers D






Hop Head Red – yawn – no, not at the beer

the lego man aproves of the Hop Head Red but where the fuck is his space helmet???

I’m tired. Long day, no day’s. Add in my attempts to get fit, to work for some reason deciding that this week needs to have extended long play days for me, and that’s me tired.

Getting home tired I felt like a beer. I had a good one yesterday, the Green Flash West Coast IPA, so it makes sense that tonight I have the other Green Flash beer in my fridge, Hop Head Red. It’s a nice big hoppy red beer, kind of like the West Coast IPA but with a dark or perhaps burnt caramel taste. The bitterness is fairly pronounced, a touch more than the IPA, but perhaps that’s just a perception due to the mix with the malt. It’s also a really dry beer, despite all the character malts that give the amber hue to the beer. If you want some more info on this beer go to my last post and follow the link to the Green Flash website there, too tired to add the link again.

That’ll do for now, going to drink the rest of this beer and enjoy it fully as I watch some bad TV. Tired, so tired that it seems I’ve somehow drained the battery of my camera by diffusion – OK now I’m distracted, but where I just used the word diffusion many people would use the word osmosis, but that’s just wrong. Osmosis is the movement of water through a semipermiable membrane along its own concentration gradient. Or at least that’s what I remember of it from uni.

Anyway I’m tired. Why is there nothing good on TV and why is the Lego man in the picture not wearing his space helmet?

Back to the Hop Head Red, it’s a great beer, go get some and drink it.

Cheers D

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and IPA called James

Tonight there is very little on TV. It kinda sucks. Supernatural has finished for its current season and it seems Monday night isnt a focus for the TV guru’s. Right now its a toss-up between old Top Gear episodes, and the Iron Man cartoon. Like I said its a tough call.

To add to the ambiance my apartment is very smokey, like a 1970’s pub, thanks to me having a steak for dinner. I must add it was a fucking excellent steak, part due to me being excellent at cooking steaks, but mostly due to the good people a Costco having the sense to use all MSA graded beef. Excellent.

Now to the IPA called James. As previously blogged I brewed a batch of Cosmic Tex on the weekend that started out as a US IPA but due to a hiccup or two and a few more hops it ended up as an Imperial IPA. All things are more or less the same on the malt % and the hop profile but it is now 1074 OG and 132 IBU. Now that is calculated! not actual. I have no doubt if I was to measure the IBU’s properly it would go nowhere near that. Also I have no idea of the hop utilisation through the hop rocket. All I do know is that my car smelt really good driving the wort back to Yarraville. When all the dry hopping is done there will be over 450 grams of hops in a 22 litre batch. That’s a lot, over 21 grams per litre. That’s a lot.

Now back onto an IPA called James. This beer is an English IPA. I have an English uncle. It makes sense that they have the same name. This beer is about 1070 and about 40 IBU’s so kind of mild in relation to Cosmic Tex but it had a wonderful spicy hoppy aroma. I am still uncertain if I’ll dry hop it. Probably. Will see later on this week.

Anyway its a good thing having a couple of IPA’s fermenting away in your spare room. I recommend it to everyone. Also as there are now 2 IPA’s I am extending the idea of sending me in ideas of tap handles or bottle labels to James the IPA as well as Cosmic Tex. Havent been overrun by entries yet. I guess the lack of a prize may be a factor? hmm…

As far as my Brand Power lady impersonation for today “If you like home brewing beer and really want to shove a gutload of hops in your beer try new Hop Rocket from Blichmann Engineering. Its wonderful all stainless construction and simpleton proof construction make it ideal for even the most stupid home brewer. Get yours today” A really good product that worked first time, no stuffing around straight out of the box. And it lets you play with wonderful resiny whole flower hops. And it acts as a kind of filter for all the crap that otherwise would end up in my plate chiller.

Anyway there is something nice about being opulent and inefficient. Cosmic Tex is both these things. I have decided that the unit of hops added to this beer is a metric opulence. It’s also nice to invent your own unit of measurement. So much so that I looked for a picture that says opulence. Using Google the seem to think that means pictures of ladies in their underware. Fair enough but insetad I went for the below picture.

Cheers D



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2 Foot Tex IPA – 2011 reboot

Hello punters, its finalls season almost for AFL (one day in September that will actually be in October) and for VicBrew.

Last year I got first place in the VicBrew IPA category with my 2 Foot Tex IPA recipe, a recipe heavily based on the CYBI Union Jack clone. I loved this beer, so hoppy so not crystally, so drinkable. Getting a medal was pretty nice too. Although freshness is the key to this beer (it tanked in the nationals) I did manage to find an old bottle only a month or two ago that was wonderful. The hops had dropped and more of the yeast and malt flavor had come through. I’ve said it before, but I love the flavor of aged American hops with UK yeasts.

I’ve only really entered beers in competitions like VicBrew and the Westgate Brewers Stout Extravaganza for the past couple of years, previously thinking them to be a bit like cake shows, and they are to an extent. BUT you get really good feedback (OK from some of the judges). Each beer judged receives 3 written score sheets with fully independent reviews of the beer. It’s easy for your mates to say “mate that beer is fucking awesome” as they neck their 7th for the evening but an independent unbiased perspective is, well I think welcomed by anyone who is proud of their craft. Not all the judges are awesome, but then neither are all the beers. Some people enter some really shit beers, I’m not a fan of entering something that you wouldn’t drink yourself or serve your mates.

So closing date for VicBrew 2011 is September 10. As today is August 16 that is really close, which means I need to brew this beer this weekend so I can have some hoppy entries. I have not been brewing anywhere near enough this year. It kinda sucks bit I do have some beers in the can for entering. Stout, Porter, and Tripple along with a beer or two pimped out with oak, coco nibs and there may be a bit of bourbon thrown into a beer, just for good measure. There is a old english pale ale (from Dazzapalooza) perhaps a really dark saison I have but no idea what category I’ll enter that in. Really like the beer though. Still I need some hoppy beers, and thats what I’ll brew this weekend. So on to 2 Foot Tex rebooted, or 3 Foot Tex or what ever the hell I’m calling it. Oh and I need to bottle that fucking barley wine, will be young, very young but will see how we go.

Las years beer had an OG of 1065 (bit lower than the target of 1070) for a 23litre batch with a calculated IBU of 82. This year I have a hop back, still in the box untried but it will be part of this beer. Its time to tweak things up for 2 Foot Tex Rebooted to have a crack a reclaiming the prize (or at least getting myself some good beer) 

But maybe its time for a new name? 3 Foot Tex perhaps? I’m not really sure how tall he is (Stu any help here? ). basically I’m bumping the hops up a bit and kicking in some galaxy through the hop back. Drinking Hop Zombie earlier this year just made me want to throw in more hops.

So target OG is around 1065-70, with a boil length of 70 minutes and a 20 minute whirlpool once the gas goes off. The yeast will be the same, 1098 from Wyeast with a low starting ferment temp to keep any nasty hot booze out of it. This beer probably falls in between single and double IPA. I’ll just call it an IPA. So heres the recipe, the hop back amounts may change as I dont know how much it holds?

2 Foot Tex rebooted

83% Pale Ale Malt

10% Munich

5% Carapils

2% Simpson’s Crystal

Mash at 64 for 60 minutes with a teaspoon of gypsum, and throw some in the boil too perhaps

25 gm Warrior at First Wort Hopp

20 gm Centennial at 30 min

20 gm Cascade at 30 min

55 gm Centennial at Flameout, steep 20 min

55 gm Cascade at Flameout, steep 20 min

40 gm Galaxy Hop Flowers through the hop back

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

44 gm Centennial

44 gm Cascade

Dry Hop #2 – 3 days in the keg

30 gm Centennial

30 gm Cascade

14 gm Amarillo

14 gm Simcoe

I might as well brew a Pale Ale as well, got to keep the hat thrown in the ring. Just need to invent a recipe now???

Cheers D

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