Category Archives: Union Jack 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


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

Ops Vale Dry, meant to get the Vale Ale

Following all the carry on after the “Hottest 100 Craft Beer 2010 poll” conducted by the Local Taphouse (an awesome establishment where I will be drinking this Saturday) I have felt a need to reacquaint myself with the winning beer, Vale Ale put out by the good people at Mclaren Vale.

I’ve had the beer before and never thougt much of it but a hell of a lot of people voted for it so it cant be all that bad right? Many would argue against this. The carry on around the comp centred around a) was it an awesome beer? and b) did they somehow use social media to rort the system? I’d say no to both.

The beer is more of a gateway beer (i.e. one that your VB swilling mates with like and could transition them to better beers) and not at all something that the beer geeks will get into. It is not a bad beer though, there is nothing wrong with it it just doesn’t go wow, that was fucking amazing. As for the “unfair use of social media” this contest is like the logies, a popularity poll. Blue Heelers was not a good show, not Lisa Mcune a good actor but all the old Nana’s who buy TV week voted. That’s the rules, I might not agree with them, but that’s the way it goes. All the carry on was bullshit.

I personally had some issues with some of the big brewers putting in their craft beer(i.e. Fat Yak) but they make it within the rules so its fair game. It needs to be noted that the best been in Australia is voted on at the Australian International Beer Awards. This is a judged contest with blind tastings and not a popularity contest. Personally I put more heed to the results of this contest as a guide to whats good. But that’s just me.

Now to the beer. I got the wrong one. I got the Vale Dry rather than the Vale Ale. Vale Dry finished at number 9 in the hottest 100.

What I can say about the Vale Dry, an unfiltered dry lager, is that it is a very clean beer with no real faults but not a whole lot going on in the flavour department. It also went well with the spicy Thai food at Yim Yam. On top of this apparently it has really nice labels and bottles (not a big draw card for me). But that’s what you get in a light lager, nice soft finishing beer with subtle hops and malt. I perhaps need to add that I’d had a pint of my saison before it, and had a 7 month old IPA after it. These are beers with somewhat more character so may have influenced my thoughts. But still Vale Dry has little going on. The IPA on the other hand, wow. This beer is well past its prime for the hop burst, being the last bottle of the beer that got 1st place in the Vicbrew IPA category for 2010, the Union Jack clone. What it has now (or had) was an aged hop and yeast character that reminded me of some of the US Barley Wines I’ve had, Live Rogue Old Crustacean. Really interesting and awesome. I think I need to brew a US barley wine and let it sit for a year of 2. Will not be trying to clone Vale Dry though, doesn’t float my boat and I’m not set up to brew lagers.

I will get and try the Vale Ale though.

Cheers D

Off to the Nationals Baby!

Washington NationalsImage via Wikipedia

Hello Folks,

Right now I am a touch sore from paint ball. I work on the theory of no pain no glory. It also turns out that I play paintball like I play Halo, the best way to shoot someone is to walk out and shoot them. Taking cover is no fun. In the final game where it was you loose by either running out of paint balls or running out of pain threshold. Turns out I ran out of paint first and am dealing with that now. No doubt there will be some photos. Playing like the T 1000 in the free for all was awesome fun. The bruises will be memories that last for some time.

Now on to the Vicbrew results. I did pretty good even if I do say so myself, below are the results, the scores are out of 150. Basically anything over 100 is pretty good
1. Californian Common Larger – 89
2. Blonde Ale – 60.5
3. American Pale Ale – 100.5
4. American IPA – 2 Foot Tex IPA 116 1st place for IPA. Off to the nationals
5. Oatmeal Stout – 64
6. Foreign Extra stout – 112 3rd place in Strong Stout – Off to the nationals
7. Russian Imperial Stout – 97.5
8. Smoked Porter – 85
9. American Brown Ale – 98
10. Belgian Triple – St Muggery Tripple. 118.5 5th and my highest score.
11. Belgian Double – St Pardo Doubble. 87.8
12. Oak aged coffee bourbon infused stout – 83.5
So there we go. I’m off to the nationals with 2 beers and fucking stoked. The stout will hold up well in the bottle but I’m worried that the IPA will be past its prime by the Australian national homebrew comp but i don’t have time to rebrew it. Will have a pint with Dan tomorrow night and see if more dry hops are the go??? Bit nervous about being in the nationals but overall happy that people seemed to like a couple of my beers. Bit disappointed with my tripple, still think its one of the best beers I’ve made in a long time, and the US brown ale, having one right now and its awesome. Also think the smoked porter may have been an under carbonated one, that batch has been a bit up and down. Anyway below is me pre paint ball enjoying a 2 foot tex IPA.



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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