Category Archives: Stout Extravaganza

Mad Brewers Scribbly Gum

Its not often that you buy goods or services from a shop and they tell you you probably wont like it. When I purchased a bottle of Mad Brewers Scribbly Gum Lager that is exactly what I got, they buyer beware warning. It wasn’t a straight up “don’t buy this beer, its rubbish”, he did say “I don’t like it” with the add on that he loves some of their other beers, like the Mad Brewers Stout Noir (a beer I haven’t had yet but was actually looking buy tonight, the local Vintage Cellars was shut though). The other comment i recall from the beer shop dude was that it’s kind of like two beers in one. Well it is sweet and kinda smokey. I guess that could be two beers?

So what do they say about it?

What’s so wacky about introducing a lager in summer you say? Well, you’ve never tasted a lager quite like this one! Not content with an “oh so smooth, crisp and boring” lager like the multitude of others in the market, our brewers set off in a brain thumping pursuit of the quintessential Australian summer characters, and then combined them to create our latest Mad Brewers offering, Scribbly Gum Lager – a beer with a name to match its uniquely Australian flavours!. With scents such as the bush & the classic Aussie BBQ feast wafting through as you sample, this is a BIG, FLAVOURSOME and UNFILTERED lager, with an intriguing smoky character backed up with hints of the Aussie native bush flora – truly a lager you will never forget!

Brewed with equal portions of pale barley malt, pale wheat malt and German Rauchmalz (smoked malt), Australian Pepperleaf and local hops were then added to the brew kettle to craft an intriguing finish. Scribbly Gum is the name given to a variety of different Australian eucalyptus trees which exhibit a unique pattern upon their trunk, making it look as though someone has drawn or scribbled on the bark. (A bit similar to our Mad Brewers labels actually, but we can assure you that no Scribbly Gums were harmed in the brewing of this beer).

I’m not really sure that I agree with all that, it is marketing stuff though I guess. So its smokey and sweet. I’m a massive fan of all things smokey (except cigarettes) so for me this beer isn’t very smokey. I do get a bit of a phphenolic flavor, probably associated with the smoke but the beer has more of an overwhelming under attenuated Belgian character to me. Kind of like a triple or a golden strong that has a bit too much sugar in it. I don’t really get any of the lager characteristics I thought it might have.

Its not a bad beer, I’m pretty sure its not two beers in one but I don’t think its one I’d rush for again. What I like about this beer is that it feels like it was knocked out by a home brewer, has the heart of one or something like that. I like that, not enough to buy this beer again but enough to try the Mad Brewers beers if I see them, except of course if I see that horrible apple beer sour concoction – orchid something? boo to that beer!
Oh and I got a 2nd place in the Westgate Brewers Stout Extravaganza in the Strong Stout section with my US Stout. Fairly happy with that if I do say myself. Comps are a raffle but it still feels good to have a win.
Cheers D
PS – Stu if you are going to take a photo of yourself on my camera either delete it or focus it


Things of stout and wood

I remember the band Things of Stone and Wood had a song called “Happy Birthday Helen” I loved that song. It was little more than a collection of Melbourne cliches and a chorus that was surprisingly full of happy birthday Helen and a bunch of na-na-na-na’s. If you dont know the song click here, I loved that song. And The Late Show take off of the same song is here. I loved that show, ah when Mick M and Tony M were still speaking.

Ah memories. The song is however nothing to do with putting oak cubes into a keg of stout. That’s what I just did with no singing what so ever.

I like the idea of oak in beer. Depending on what sort of oak you use it can add all sorts of flavors, say like the vanilla hit in bourbon, and textures, like you get in a big oakey shiraz to a beer. However to know what flavours you will get you need to know what kind of oak you have and how heavily it is toasted. I don’t know this but the wood is in the beer.

Why do I have such poor info? Generally Aussie home brewers are restricted to using oak chips stave’s. They come in a few different types, or combinations of oak type (usually french or US) and toasts (light medium or heavy). I’ve used chips before but they kind of look like pencil shavings and I just don’t like the look of them, all dodgy and uneven. Stave’s look to be a better thing, they are just too big (and the bag of them just looks too big).

The happy medium appears to be the oak cube but these are not readily available in Australia. I heard about them on the BN and they sound spot on for thowing in a keg. I tried to get Grain and Grape to stock them, but apparently they are a bit expensive (and they have a bunch of chips and stave’s in stock) so no bingo.

Thats them, oak cube samples in little plastic boxes

Thankfully I am a annoying bastard and that is how I came to get my samples of oak cubes. Apparently they got some samples in and Chris (the great man) let me have them. So that’s how I got the cubes. However there is a catch. The labels are really not all that helpful, they tell me nothing about the oak or toast. Instead they say “Red Fermenting”, “White Finishing”, “Red Ageing”. So I figured that since the beer was in the keg, effectively finishing I went with the red and white finishing cubes into my US/foreign Extra stout that dis tasting OK, but not as good as the UK stout.

So stout with wood is int he making, depending how it goes I may throw in some bourbon. Or not? I also got some coco nibs in the mail today, don’t know what I’ll throw them into, perhaps a porter?

Time to watch some TV, oh and have a little more stout.

Cheers D 

Stouts away!!!

Bottling beer is my least favorite part of the whole proces. All the washing and cleaning and filling and washing and capping and washing and blearg…….I’ve just finnished bottling and kegging the 2 batches of stout I brewed a couple of weeks ago. They could sit there for some time but as I need at least two bottles of it for the Westgate Brewers “Stout Extravaganza” (I love the word extravaganza) it needed to be bottled and kegged ASAP. Entries are due into Grain and Grape next Saturday, June 26, that gives them about 8 days in the bottle under my control, and a few more sitting in a bre shop awaiting judgement.

From tasting them I think they are ok, they need a bit of time in the bottle to properly wake up though. The bottle conditioned portioned will be a close fit time wise, the keg portion will be too, as I thought I had another full week up my sleve. However I think I’ll have them in ok shape for the comp.

So what am I entering (if they pass muster?)

Oatmeal Stout
 4.40 kg Crisps Marris Otter Pale 71.66 %
0.45 kg Oats, Flaked Grain 7.33 %
0.34 kg Bairds Amber Malt  Grain 5.54 %
0.34 kg Simpsons Chocolate Malt  Grain 5.54 %
0.23 kg Simpsons Crystal Malt  Grain 3.75 %
0.23 kg Simpsons Roasted Barley Grain 3.75 %
0.15 kg Simpsons naked golden oats (5.9 EBC) Grain 2.44 %
20.00 gm Millenium [14.40 %] (50 min) First Wort Hop
Wyeast 1098 English Ale yeast

Thats for a 28l batch at about OG 1.055 FG 1.016 , I threw some chalk in the mash.

US Stout (entered as a forign extra stout)
5.30 kg Crisps Marris Otter 67.79 %

0.27 kg each of Simpsons Crystal, Pale Crystal and Dark Crystal Malts 10.23 %
0.80 kg Simpsons Chocolate Malt 10.23 %
0.80 kg Oats, Flaked 10.23 %
0.12 kg Simpsons Roasted Barley 1.51 %
40.00 gm Northern Brewer [11.40 %] (60 min) Hops 52.9 IBU
40.00 gm Cascade [7.80 %] (1 min) Hops 6.0 IBU
1 Pkgs American Ale II (Wyeast Labs #1272) Yeast-Ale

Again for a 28l batch, OG 1.064 FG 1.017, again I threw some chalk in the mash. This recipe is the same as the one I got 3rd place in Vic Brew with last year, only not with the Pac Man yeast. The buggers at Wyeast just wont make it again and its a real shame as its an excellent yeast.

This beer is also the recipe that I grew out of a conversation with Jamil Z. If you ever hear him speaking on the Brewing Network (the most recent time was here in CYBI at about the 37 minute mark, apparently I’m a real nice guy) about talking to a guy in Australia (at Grain and Grape) about the Shapespear Stout clone and figuring out that it wasnt black enough thanks to the Australian domestic character malts. Not all character malts are created equal what ever teh numbers say, the Joe White Roasted Barley is almost a pale ale next to the Simpsons Product. Anyway it amuses me to hear Jamil speak about the story as a teaching tool, each time it gets a little more stretched out. Some time in the future the beer in question ( it was kind of black but lacked the roast character) will according to Jamil look like a witt beer. Makes me laugh anyway, and it did help me figure out (or get a little closer to figuring out) stouts and character malts/grains.

I also have a bottle of smoked porter from last years Vic Brew that has more or less no smoke flavour left in it. That will be one for the porter section.

I’ve plugged it before but if you have a stout and you are in Melbourne put it in the comp, the Westgate Brewers guys are good fellas and run a good comp. But more importantly enter your beer as feedback can only help your beer. However don’t enter something that you know is a dud! The judges do it for free and really dont need to drink your drain pours.

Well thats about it for me tonight, I’m buggered. I am having a Coopers Forigen Extra Stout though, got a little bit to go. Bed following that I think.

Cheers D

Black Sunday

Hotel AtitlánImage by carlosoliveirareis via Flickr
Boo, I’m buggered. Today I knocked out two batches of stout, an oatmeal stout and an American/foreign extra stout in sis hours. Thats a little more brewing than I usually do in an arvo, especially when I don’t start brewing until 1pm. I wanted to get the two batches done so I’d have something to enter in the Westgate Brewers Stout Extravaganza. I do like an Extravaganza, and stout. Anyway I was running low on free weekend time to brew so it had to happen. And it all happened pretty well, apart from finding a couple of dead mice in my mill, and a couple of mini stuck mashes, and a massive dump of rain. Other than that, and me being a little buggered all good.

Both taste pretty good too, even if I do say so myself. I cant be bothered posting the recipes now but will do some time later in the week. I also had a fairly efficient day as far as brew length. Making less hoppy beers has a nice positive side effect in that I end up with more beer. So as part of my strive for interesting beers I made up a combo of the two worts, about 6litres and added a bunch of American Oak Chips and some English yeast. Not sure how it’ll come out, time will tell.

So that’s about it. Not sure if I’ve solved my issues with leaving blog comments (working on it Mark CA!O), might try and leave a comment somewhere. If anyone knows how to fix this please let me know.

One thing I do know if that Stu is threatening to sell of the key bits to my brewery upgrade. I’m working on getting there, not sure how but apparently I have to get to Beechworth sooner rather than later or my kegs will be back on Ebay where I found them. That would not be good. I think I need the Iron Man suit to fly there. hmmm?

That’s enough for now, not sure if I’ll see out the end of Iron Man (now showing on GO!) but I will see the end of my beer, an accidental beer I’m calling a “new world sour”. Its a blonde ale I made for my Dad last year, it got some really ordinary points in VicBrew (rightly so) but now, what I think is the last bottle has developed a really awesome sour twang to it, not quite an Orval or a Cantilion, but nice and refreshing. I really have to make some of these sour beers, I’d just like it to be deliberate, perhaps repeatable too.

Cheers D

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