Category Archives: IPA

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


Hop Bazooka!

Well Hendo I like the cut of your IPA. It may only be version no. 1 but it still sits in the more than OK box for me. Its hoppy, it’s not to full, its drinkable. I like this beer in short. Hendo, once you make it your bitch it has the potential to be one hell of a beer. Lots of citrus, some of the tropical gear and a nice bit of malt. I’m putting it in the same bracket as Hop Hog. That is if it keeps it up!

As you may guess I have had a couple of beers this evening. This was at the launch of the Hop Bazooka, an IPA by Southern Bay Brewing, made by my beer school buddy Hendo. The Southern Bay Beers have come along in leaps and bounds under his reign, to the point where they are on the edge of getting out of the old Geelong Bitter shadow. Anyway enough of then, this is now. This is a good beer.

Thanks also to the management at the Alehouse Project for letting me share a few homebrewed saisons with a few fellow beer lovers. I enjoyed the opportunity, and I think they enjoyed the beers. I call that a win win.

So that’s a win for homebrew, a win for Hendo, a win for me and, well that’s enough wins.

Time for me to eat some toast and get some sleep.

Cheers D

PS – I forgot to mention that I knew this beer when it was just a t-shirt

Message In a Bottle……

No this is not a tribute post to Sting. Although he did sing a couple of good songs I’m pretty sure he’s a bit weird. He may also be a vegan and I think is into some kind of strange sex thing, or is it yoga?

I spent the last week in Noosa, some time at the beach, time to read, and have a couple of beers. Finding beers wasnt hard, good beers were near on impossible to find however. It was the same old collection of bland largers on tap with the addition of a James Squires pale ale (the mass marketed one, not one of the brew pub ones) and Fat Yak. I now know that I do not like Fat Yak. I don’t care that it’s a gateway beer for someone, or its good for craft beer. It does not taste good. Its kind of thin, has a really shallow hop aroma (if at all) and a kind of harshness that suggests its stale. Perhaps the stuff I was drinking was stale, I don’t know but I do think its off my beer list. Id rather have a Carlton Draught, its fresh at least and not trying to impersonate another beer.

The bottle shops we a bit thin on the offering too, Coopers was my saviour.

So following that, and given it’s a cold October evening in Melbourne and not much is on TV I think I’m owed a good beer. Back to Message In a Bottle, a beer by Epic Brewing Company. This is Epic’s take on a historical IPA. This links into a big chunk of my holiday reading “IPA: Brewing Techniques, Recipes and the Evolution of India Pale Ale” by Mitch Steele. I like IPA’s, I like the books put out by Brewers Publications and from hearing him on the Brewing Network Mitch Steele seems to be a good guy who knows his stuff.

Its kind of funny that this beer and book have hit me at the same time, not at all planned actually but it kind of sits well with how I’m thinking about beer at the moment. Beer and history actually. Australia, like NZ got much of its early beer from the UK. This beer is a crack at a reproducing the early beers sent to NZ from the UK, the IPA’s actually, an idea I had a crack at a couple of years ago with a barley wine (that who knows was an IPA??), and an idea I love. Well and that beer got me a third place in Vicbrew this year.

However after reading the IPA book I’m not so certain that this beer is what they would have gotten in NZ from the UK. Well perhaps, it seems they started off darkish and progressively got lighter. This is a little darker than I thought it would be. And apparently they were hoppy as shit too, this isn’t, but they were well aged, I think this is, but not in an oak barrel. Well if they did they havent mentioned it. There is a nice spicy earthy line running through it.

So what do I think of this beer? I love that its a little bit of history. I wish that it had a bit more of a hop aroma, but I don’t want it to lose any of that aged hop and yeast smell. I’d like it to be a little lighter on the malt side, its got a fair caramel and touch of dark fruit to it, more than I’d like but its kind of a barley wine taste more than what I think of when I think IPA. But it does have that aged yeast and hop combination that I love in a beer, and at 7.5% ABV it all melds together kind of nicely. I would like a little more carbonation and body though.

So I’m kind of split on Message in a Bottle, not the greatest beer I’ve had, and I’ve had better beers from Epic, but with the story and the idea that you are drinking a little bit of history it stands up just that bit more. Would I buy this beer again, hmm? would I buy another crack at the same thing, without a doubt. Get this beer if you want to try something historical and different, not if you want a ball busting IPA, try another Epic beer for that.

I think I’ll have to have a crack at something like this myself, even though English IPA’s seem to turn to shit as soon as I try to brew them, still with Mitch’s book I have a few more ideas and tips to help me sort ot my brewing white whale.

Cheers D

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

Tagged ,

Hoppy IPA Goodness, Tex the Third

Bottled some beer yesterday, the IPA and Low ABV saison/farmhouse that I brewed a couple of weeks ago.

In the past I have brewed at my parents’ farm and fermented in my spare room (about 170km away). This meant I could control my temperatures, add dry hops, rouse it a bit if I needed, take gravity tests, keg it, add more dry hops, taste, taste and taste again. Now I brew, add the yeast and drive away. Thus when I’m driving to the farm to bottle I have no idea what I will be bottling, good, bad or indifferent.

I brewed an English IPA about a month ago, it was a drain pour, however I was pretty happy with the beers I bottled yesterday. Especially the IPA. I’m going to hold comment on the low ABV saison/farmhouse beer as I just haven’t decided if I like it yet.

Back to the IPA, the third iteration of an IPA named after a sons kid, Tex. Both of the previous Tex beers have medalled at VicBrew, looking for a 3rd with Tex the Third. On tasting the un carbonated beer it was dry and hoppy and aromatic. I could just smell that citrus bomb of an IPA as I was bottling, all the things I wanted. Big smile on my face for a more or less neglected beer.

Time will tell how it goes, but at least I think I have a beer I’ll like. Here is the recipe;


Batch Size: 22.00 L            Brewer: Darren Keating

Boil Size: 28.00 L                Boil Time: 55 min

Mash Temp 64 deg C, Ferment Temp 20 deg C                  Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 (I actually think I got more like 65%)


Amount               Item Type                                    % or IBU

6.25 kg                  Marris Otter Pale (5.9 EBC)          Grain     79.82 %

0.90 kg                  Munich Malt (17.7 EBC) Grain     11.49 %

0.38 kg                  Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC)        Grain     4.85 %

0.20 kg                  White Wheat Malt (4.7 EBC)        Grain     2.55 %

0.10 kg                  Caramel/Crystal Malt – 30L (59.1 EBC)      Grain     1.28 %

15.00 gm              Magnum [14.70 %] (60 min) (Mash Hop)               Hops      5.8 IBU

30.00 gm              Simcoe [12.60 %] (Dry Hop 3 days)           Hops      –

30.00 gm              Amarillo Gold [9.20 %] (Dry Hop 3 days) Hops      –

27.00 gm              Warrior [16.70 %] (55 min) (First Wort Hop)          Hops      63.2 IBU

20.00 gm              Centennial [10.90 %] (25 min)     Hops      11.5 IBU

20.00 gm              Cascade [6.20 %] (25 min)            Hops      6.6 IBU

50.00 gm              Centennial [10.90 %] (1 min)       Hops      11.9 IBU

50.00 gm              Cascade [6.20 %] (1 min)               Hops      6.8 IBU

10.00 gm              Simcoe [13.00 %] (0 min) (Dry Hop)          Hops      –

10.00 gm              Cascade [6.20 %] (0 min) (Dry Hop)          Hops      –

10.00 gm              Amarillo Gold [9.20 %] (0 min) (Dry Hop)               Hops      –

10.00 gm              Centennial [10.90 %] (0 min) (Dry Hop)  Hops      –

11.62 gm              Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min)          Misc

2 Pkgs   British Ale (Wyeast Labs #1098) Yeast-Ale


Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.072 SG      Measured Original Gravity: 1.065 SG

Est Final Gravity: 1.018 SG            Measured Final Gravity: 1.012 SG

Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 7.13 %               Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.92 %

Bitterness: 105.8 IBU      Calories: 615 cal/l

Est Color: 16.0 EBC

Brew that one and fingers crossed you will have an IPA that is not to bad, and if all goes well you will even have a Zen brew and bottling day as I did. Ah Zen, and it was a beautiful spring day out on the farm, on the day after the Catters had a good win. Cant go wrong with that.

Cheers D

PS – I’ll post the low ABV Saison recipe when I get around to it


fingers crossed for bottling

I have some bottling to do this weekend. Well I think I do, if the beer is ok that is.

I brewed two batches last Friday, an IPA and a low ABV Saison/farmhouse beer, that I plan to bottle this Sunday providing they are good to go. The little complication here is I don’t know if they are ready as I havent seen them since I dropped the yeast in. Also I really need to get them bottled this weekend as I need them ready for competition entry deadlines in the coming fortnight.

So no pressure at all. I did get my Dad to check them, apparently they looked all foamy, so that sounds good. Dad doesnt know anything about brewing though so I really don’t know. They are just sitting in a woolshed lunch room fermenting away, well actually I hope they are done by now and should be good to bottle. Fingers crossed.

It’ll be interesting to see how these beers go, the saison farmhouse ale should be ok, they thrive on neglect. The IPA may be another case though. I’ve had success over the past couple of years with my IPA’s in Vicbrew, medals both years. I really babied those beers though. Multiple dry hops, ferment temperature monitoring and adjustments mid ferment, then counter pressure bottled out of the keg. This version of my Tex IPA series, Tex the Third (first it was 2 Foot Tex, then Cosmic Tex Rebooted) didn’t even get dry hopped properly, I just threw them in with the yeast. Not sure how we’ll go here but I did put a shitload of hops in. Might think about how I can add some more hops…

Anyway cross your fingers for my brews, hopefully it will be a zen bottling.

Have a good weekend.

Cheers D


The 10 minute commute and a Seedy Goat Coffee IPA

I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned but I’ve got a new job. Its a good gig, more cash, great opportunity, all that stuff. Oh and did I mention that my commute to work is now only a 10 minute walk? Yep its great. It’s through a nice park too. Excellent way to start the day, that and coffee, that makes for a good start to the day. However today I am choosing to also end my day with coffee. It’s in beer though, a Seedy Goat Coffee IPA.

I will get to that in a minute. Firstly I brewed last week and it all went more or less to plan. Let there be ZEN! After my resignation IPA that was a prick of a brew day (mice, blocked equipment and electrical fires) and then the beer didn’t even work out (all sour and off tasting, I tipped it out) I was really hanging out for a good brew day. New equipment, fresh ingredients, no sheep in my brew house. What could go wrong? well a lot actually but the only two things that were anything other than spot on was some hops that I’d had for a while didn’t smell right so I used some other hops instead (it was some whole cone galaxy that was oxidised, didn’t smell good at all) and I forgot to put a charge of hops in the low ABV saison so I added it as dry hop instead.

Both beers are now fermenting away beautifully, well at least I think they are. My Dad checked them last night and reported that the temp controller was on 19 deg C (its set for 20 deg C) and that they looked all foamy and a bit brown. I’ll take that as a healthy krausen, and call them fermenting well. They need to be, I need to have the low ABV saison set for the ANHC “How low can you go” comp next weekend (the 15th Sept I think) and the IPA ready for Vicbrew (the 22nd Sept). So far so good, will have to see how they go.

Anyway back to the beer, its one of their seasonal releases, I usually like them but seldom go crazy for them. This beer is no real difference. Its good, and clean with some coffee character that’s a bit like you get out of those pour over or siphon coffees. Dont buy this beer expecting to taste espresso. It fits in the realm of an English IPA, the fruity coffee from Nicaragua sits well with fruity beer. They apparently also used galaxy and cascade hops, I’m not really getting them though. Could be the coffee cutting over the top or just me not getting them. Not sure, I may be having a bad tasting night? I’m not really sure on this one either way. Let me know if you’ve tried it?

Anyway that’ll do for now, day number 2 of the new job tomorrow.

Cheers D




Zen tomorrow times 2, now a colab beer

I’m excited.

While I happen to be having quite a nice local/international collaboration beer that’s a bit of a hangover from Good Beer Week that’s not why I’m excited.

Right now my car is all loaded up with brand spanking brewing gear and ingredients. The shearing of my folks sheep is finally done and my brewhouse is no longer needed as the smoko room for the shearers. So that’s right, I’m brewing tomorrow, two batches. Two batches so hopefully that’ll be double the zen. This is my last-ditch effort to have a crack at a fresh entry for VicBrew, and perhaps a low ABV beer for the ANHC “How low can you go” comp. This will hopefully result in a nice US IPA and a 3 and a bit % ABV Saison of sorts.

Some Zen would be really nice to round out my week of unemployment. So would another week or two off but that will have to wait, the new job awaits. Still I can fit in some Zen.

I also need to bottle the bret infused farmhouse ale (that’s what I’m calling it, in VicBrew it’ll probably be listed under “beer – other”). I have no idea what this beer will be like, but fingers crossed it’ll be OK as its been ageing for around seven months. No idea what it’ll taste like, but again fingers crossed.

So to the beer that is easing me into my day of Zen tomorrow? A joint effort by Red Duck and Kissmyers Beers, a double IPA called Hop Bach.  Apparently it has 25 hops in it. No idea what hops were used, just a lot. I think that’s part of the flavor of this beer, no particular hop flavor, just all of them. Its kind of resiny and a bit piney with a lingering bitterness. All this balanced with a fairly full and sweet malt backbone. As its 9.8 % ABV a bunch of that sweetness is probably the booze. Again nice beer, not an everyday beer, but a really nice sipper. It’s a little low on the carbonation, but the bottle lid popped open with a really nice pop, and some bits of wax hit me in the face. The booze hits you in the face to, nice and warming.

Finding info on this beer is a little difficult, Anders Kissmeyer, the man behind Kissmeyer beer is everywhere on the web related to beer, but I can’t find a website for him (Click here for the best I could find). Red Duck has this beer listed as a to be released beer on their website, and as there were only 650 of the distinctive wax dipped swing top bottles good luck finding one. I can confirm that at most there are 649 left. Oh and for a better description of the beer without my bullshit go to the Craft Pint.

OK so brewing tomorrow, all good, lots of Zen, fingers Crossed. And hopefully back in time to go for beers in the city.

Cheers D

PS – I’ll post the recipes when (or if) I get around to it and no I don’t know if this beer being symphony #1 means that there will be a symphony #2

PPS – oh and I like this youtube clip – remember its potatoes not pasta! follow the link you fool!


Red Hill Queen’s Diamond Jubilee British IPA – A beer for the Queen

“God Save the Queen” I think we sang that in Primary School, or is it just a memory from watching too much ABC as a kid, a station heavily laced with BBC programing like the Goodies and Danger Mouse. I can’t remember.

I’m not a monarchist, but then again I don’t really see any issue with having royals as long as they are amusing and don’t declare war on neighbouring countries too often. Actually I probably should be more supportive of the British Royal family as they did, in a roundabout way lead to the development of something very near and dear to my heart, the IPA.

My bastardised version of the story is that the British invaded India way back when and made it a colony where funny hat and mo’s were all the go, and playing polo was the game. There was a problem though, the Indians didn’t brew beer. OK I don’t know that for sure but at least it they did brew beer there the British didnt enjoy it so they had some shipped over.

This beer was called IPA, India Pale Ale. To make sure it travelled well they added plenty of booze and hopps. Thats an IPA, and it turns out it is enjoyed by many more people than British solders (who I think got turfed out of India in the end). Now I don’t know if anyone in India drinks it, but many others do. Right across whole chunks of the world, mainly the bits that were the Brittish Empire people drink IPA in localised and pumped up versions that are a bit of a shift from what they started out as. Hell even the IPA’s you get from the UK these days dont really reflect what an original IPA would have been.

So these days if you ask for an IPA in the US, Canada, Australia or NZ you get a massively hopped bitter aromatic more alcohol than usual beer. These are big flavor filled beers that kick sand in the face of the drinkers of bland industrial lager.

So what is this beer? Red Hill Queen’s Diamond Jubilee British IPA. Well its a shout out to the IPA’s of old (kinda what I attempted to brew a few weeks ago but fucked up). Its nice and hoppy, brewed by a guy who’s last name is Golding, and I think he grows Golding hops, so I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that it has some English hops in it, like Goldings, and perhaps some Fuggles. There is a hit of a spicy hops and the character of English malts (usually a little more flavorsome that the European or Australian malts).

This is a proper English IPA, perhaps it’s not quite as bitter as I’d like, and its a little lower on the booze than the stories of the beers that first went to India but its nice and bitter, a little spicy even with a sweet balance from the crystal malts.

I think I’ll have to have a round two with my English IPA, drinking this beer reminds me just how good they can be, even in a world overrun with US IPA’s. This may be the original and slightly less overpowering beer of the IPA family, but its a corker. If you cant get any of this limited beer (I got mine from Grain and Grape in Yarraville) give Meantime London IPA a go, a bigger and perhaps more historically correct version of the style.

Get some if you can, and drink it, don’t store it! as it’ll fade.

Cheers D

American Bison IPA…..another belated IPAday post

I know, again this is a late post that harks back to IPAday, but it was a beer that was given to me on IPAday and its a IPA so damn it I’m going to write about it. It’s an American IPA of sorts by Rick Besserdin, as previously mentioned he made an online offer to give away beer then had to follow through and drag a suitcase of beer around town. I think I got the last one. I think I am a deserving recipient though as the beer was bottled on my birthday, June 25.

So to the beer, American Bison IPA a 7.6%ABV beer with a calculated IBU of 65 (no idea how he calculated that one, hope he has beer smith or something, bugger doing maths) hopped with Cascade and Simcoe hope (the simcoe were in the dry hop I believe). It’s a pretty good beer, and as an IPA should be its dominated by the hops, especially the simcoe I think, its pineapple and citrus. Hangs around in the mouth with a nice lingering resiony hit. It’s a bit lacking in the malt bill, not at all a full beer, more the style of my preference rather than those gut busting under fermented beers. I’m quite curious as to the recipe of this beer (Rick if you read this shoot me the recipe).

The bits of this beer that I can be a little critical off is the lack of a good hop aroma, something I struggle to get in my IPA’s. It’s the bit that eludes me, I think a hop back is the answer, in combination with dry hopping of course but I really struggle to get right consistently. It’s also a little light on the up front bitterness, I think more would not only make the beer bigger but also balance it out a bit. It’s a totally drinkable beer though, as I’m on my second pint of it, that’s a good enough sign for me, it also went well with steak and mash (not sure if thats an A1 IPA food and beer matching)

Also big thumbs up to Rick for sharing his beer, not an easy thing to do, but by far the best thing to do to make yourself a better brewer. Well OK there are some other things you can do like making yeast starters, going all grain and controlling your fermenting temperatures. But sharing your beer and getting feedback is totally a good thing on the path to better beer.

So when I next have an IPA that’s worth sharing Rick gets a bottle, the rest of you I don’t think so, be buggered if I’m carting a suitcase of beer around town.

Cheers D

%d bloggers like this: