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#1 muzled

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 11:01 AM

So the conclusion from my first day back at work is - I need to start brewing my own beer.

 

That conclusion wasn't mainly from buying expensive craft beer which has become a pricey but very enjoyable norm over the last 12 months, but from buying a box of Monteiths 'pale ale' which I thought would be ok to swill away on while it's nice and hot.  Coz generally anything cold tastes ok when it's hot.  But even after arriving home on the pushbike dripping in sweat yesterday it tasted like watery sheite (I'm not even sure why that surprised me tbh)

 

So thanks Monteiths, I'll brew my own beer which will work out cheaper and with any luck taste a whole lot better.

 

I don't have the time or inclination to do the wholegrain thing at this stage so it'll just be off the shelf kits which are from what I've heard guys that have brewed all grain beer for years say - really good.

 

Yeah yeah, I know I probably sound like a snobby bastard but countries like Belgium/Germany/Czech etc have been brewing amazing beer for hundreds of years and yet the norm here is still mass produced tasteless watery lager.  

 

Is anyone else brewing or turned into a beer snob like me?


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#2 Knot Me... maybe

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 12:35 PM

Is anyone else brewing or turned into a beer snob like me?

Sort of but no brewing and snobbery but definitely more 'discerning'.

 

When we go to Welly, which we do a lot, it's good to find lists that are not all the usual big names, in some cases the biggest names aren't even on the lists. I pig out big time on the craftys. Some are so-so, some are sh*t but more and more are damn nice. 

 

3 minutes walk from our house is Cuba Street and on that is a little fav called 'Grill Meats Beer'. They match beers to the food and are damn good at it, it's a great way to try a few. They also run a significant 'specials' board with guest beers. Not a Stieny, Hiney or Lion red to be seen, it's magnificent. Lots of local brewed beers like Garage Project and Parrot Dog.........

 

crap, now I've made myself thirsty....bugger.

 

One fav at the moment is 'Cucumber Hippy'. First tried in Welly purely due to it's WTF?? like name only to find it is damn tasty and ripper for stinking hot days. Made by No8 Brewing in Walkworth, fancy that. 

 

Also been doing a few Tuatara Kapais, a APA, Aotearoa Pale Ale. Nothing like many pale ales or the Cucumber Hippy but still a tasty drop.

 

Now super thirsty so going away before I dessicate myself :)


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#3 Chloe

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 12:59 PM

Have home brewed for years, Have gone though the whole rigmarole and now just use the kit's that one can buy anywhere.

 

And brew on board boat for use on boat. Works out at about $17 for 28 750mil bottles, and tastes real good cold, after the first one. On real hot days it takes 4 or more. After that Havana club is in order.


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#4 Fish

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 01:05 PM

I used to do a lot of brewing pre-kids. Now I'm time poor I prefer to pay for the quality stuff.

 

I've always used the malt kits, no problem with those.

Ways to make really good beer:

1) add additional hops, or hop mixtures to suit your taste

2) get a good yeast. I don't use the kit yeasts. The yeast has a big influence over the style and flavour of the beer

3) careful temperature control during the brewing. Its best if you can avoid the diurnal temp change of day and night. The greater temp change over the brew period causes different metabolites to be produced by the yeast, which means a less clean flavour. I used a large water bath (like a tub) to sit the fermentor in, then regulate the temp with an aquarium heater. Works great in winter, not so good in summer. I liked low temp long slow brews for a good crisp flavour. The water tub gives the whole thing a thermal mass so it wont heat up during the day.

 

You can also get fussy about the water you use. Chlorine in the town supply is not great. I'm on tank water so had a good fresh, unchlorinated supply. You can also get into adding your own maltodextrins and malt extracts. This is getting a bit techo for a good basic beer. These help give a better (smoother or fuller) mouth feel. If you are adding a lot of hops you can throw out the balance with the malts, where some malt extracts can balance things up again. If you go down this path a brew can end up costing a fair bit, so don't get carried away.

 

You can get the kits in cans or sachets. The sachets don't have the heat treatment the canning process does. This means they have a better, more balanced flavour, mainly as the resin in the hops is nuked during the canning process.

 

Oh, and keep a diary of what and how you made it, so that when you strike a really good one you can make it again.

 

And the really good thing about home brew, the beer is fresh. Once you have a fresh (and un-pasturised beer) it is really hard to go back to old stale bottled beer, even from a good craft brewer.

 

Randomly, some brews would taste great after a few weeks in the bottle, and rubbish after a couple of months, where other brews would taste like sour lemons after a few weeks, but would be the most amazing beers after several months... It does get a little hard work having to constantly sample so many batches... just one more beer  ;-)


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#5 muzled

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 01:27 PM

Sort of but no brewing and snobbery but definitely more 'discerning'.

 

When we go to Welly, which we do a lot, it's good to find lists that are not all the usual big names, in some cases the biggest names aren't even on the lists. I pig out big time on the craftys. Some are so-so, some are sh*t but more and more are damn nice. 

 

3 minutes walk from our house is Cuba Street and on that is a little fav called 'Grill Meats Beer'. They match beers to the food and are damn good at it, it's a great way to try a few. They also run a significant 'specials' board with guest beers. Not a Stieny, Hiney or Lion red to be seen, it's magnificent. Lots of local brewed beers like Garage Project and Parrot Dog.........

 

crap, now I've made myself thirsty....bugger.

 

One fav at the moment is 'Cucumber Hippy'. First tried in Welly purely due to it's WTF?? like name only to find it is damn tasty and ripper for stinking hot days. Made by No8 Brewing in Walkworth, fancy that. 

 

Also been doing a few Tuatara Kapais, a APA, Aotearoa Pale Ale. Nothing like many pale ales or the Cucumber Hippy but still a tasty drop.

 

Now super thirsty so going away before I dessicate myself :)

 

8 wired stuff is some of my fav, their 10% I Stout is so good.  Not tried the cucumber though.

 

The Doctor by Sawmill Brewery is one that picked at random a while back, 1st sip and I was like, wow, this sh*t is good!  First time I'd ever tried a brown ale and not something I'd normally pick.   

 

Liquorland Forest Hill has an ever changing lineup of kegs, I've put far too many dollars through there in the last 12 months, bloody good though.  You get to taste them before buying as well.


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#6 muzled

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Posted 09 January 2018 - 01:53 PM

I used to do a lot of brewing pre-kids. Now I'm time poor I prefer to pay for the quality stuff.

 

 

2) get a good yeast. I don't use the kit yeasts. The yeast has a big influence over the style and flavour of the beer

3) careful temperature control during the brewing. Its best if you can avoid the diurnal temp change of day and night. The greater temp change over the brew period causes different metabolites to be produced by the yeast, which means a less clean flavour. I used a large water bath (like a tub) to sit the fermentor in, then regulate the temp with an aquarium heater. Works great in winter, not so good in summer. I liked low temp long slow brews for a good crisp flavour. The water tub gives the whole thing a thermal mass so it wont heat up during the day.

 

Interesting you mention yeast, was talking to a mate over winter who is now selling his beer at a few pubs and he was saying how important the yeast was.

 

So even with the kits you're best to do temperature control?  Was watching a few vids last night and they said pop the fermenter somewhere cool and let her be.  I was going to put it down in the garage which has concrete walls but still heats up during the day as garage door has a bit of a gap that the wind can whistle through at times.


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#7 erice

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 07:32 AM

used to grow my own hops and buy malted grains direct from a brewer in 20kg sacks

 

but have moved now and just buy beer

 

1 - buying, countdown do a good malty, bitter german beer for $29 a dozen 750ml

 

2 - brewing, most of the kits get half? their alcohol from adding 1kg sugar to the 1kg? malt

 

the sugar is cheap but gives the home brew a cidery taste

 

better taste, but more expensive, to use 1kg of malt extract, dry or wet in place of the sugar

 

and if you want bitter beer, use 2 kits for 1 batch - twice the price but you get a 100% malt beer with extra bitterness

 

3. - brewing - temperature...there are some really good-expensive brew machines out there now, but for most home brewers simply choosing beers to match the ambient is easier

 

ale yeasts like to work about 18C, so brew ales in spring + autumn

 

lager yeasts like to work about 5C, brew them in winter

 

current auckland summer temps of over 20C mean the beer brews too fast, tastes yeasty and has a higher chance of getting a bad tasting bacterial infection without extra cleaning care

 

4. hops - think of hops like tea leaves.

 

30sec after pouring hot water over tea in a teapot, you'd have a beautifully fragrant, mild tea tasting, non-bitter brew

 

3min, gives a lightly fragrant, good tasting, lightly bitter tea

 

20min gives a strong, bitter brew, all the fragrance and the good taste have gone...

 

this is where kits suffer...they can pretty much only add hop oil to the malt extract, meaning no fragrance, little taste  but lots of bitterness

 

so the big step up from basic kits is adding dried hops to the brew to get flavour and frangance

 

read up on that if you're interested

 

but when doing the whole mash thing with fresh green hops

 

a lot of hops would go in for a 20min boil  to add bitterness

 

more would go in 15min later for a 5min boil to give good flavour

 

and some would go in 19min after the start of the boil, for just 1 min boiling, to give aroma

 

the resulting beer would be so aromatic, flavoursome of grapes, raisins etc that people who had only ever had DB/Lion style factory beers, would refuse to call it beer  


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#8 muzled

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:06 AM

 

ale yeasts like to work about 18C, so brew ales in spring + autumn

 

lager yeasts like to work about 5C, brew them in winter

 

current auckland summer temps of over 20C mean the beer brews too fast, tastes yeasty and has a higher chance of getting a bad tasting bacterial infection without extra cleaning care

 

 

 

Hmmm, I was wanting to crack into it this w/e.  

 

Might have to get an old duvet cover out and dunk it in some water to try the evaporation cooling method being mentioned in another thread.

 

Did you ever brew Saisons?  Sounds like they brew better in warmer temps?


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#9 Fish

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 09:58 AM

The thing with brewing is there is a very long continium starting from something that tastes like bilge water and ending in the most amazing craft beer ever put in a beer fridge.

 

Depending on your tastes and expectations for beer, you don't need to do any of the stuff erice or I are talking about. You could get a basic kit from the supermarket and whack it down, but you will most likely end up with a beer of similar quality to Lion Red. Plenty of people are more than happy drinking that quality of brew.

 

The temperature thing at this time of year is tricky. I used to have an in-floor tile spa pool in the house, on the cooler shady side. I'd put my fermenter in that, in a water bath to further regulate the temperature. I have also tried using a muslin cloth (cheese cloth) to get some evaporative cooling, with limited success, the brew still went too fast. Some guys use beer fridges to ferment in, but then you get into the whole area of temperature regulation with thermostats etc. I found that, in the cool side of the house, and other than the hottest part of the year, the fermenter in the water bath worked well, esp with an aquarium heater to stabilise the temp in the winter / cooler months.

 

The thing with garages and the like are they are almost always not insulated, so you get a big diurnal difference in temp, hot in the day and cold at night. That is not good for the brew. it can be mitigated by using a water bath to give more thermal mass. I'm just talking about a fish bin, large chilly bin (ideal) or a plastic storage container. It is the variation in day and night temps that is the main issue, other than the temp level over all. A warm stable temp is better than a slightly cooler average temp with lots of peaks and troughs. That upsets the metabolism of the yeast and makes for a grubby tasting brew, that classic rough yeasty flavour of home brew.

 

To start with, I'd go for a good quality sachet kit, a specialist yeast in a packet (about $6) and maybe some extra hops. Your first brew is often a learning curve anyway, so keep it simple and have a go. There is a big difference between the sachet kits and canned kits in terms of flavour.

 

Just a thought though, in this weather you may be better off just trying the kit yeast. They aren't as good as the specialist yeast, but are often better suited to faster brews / warmer temps. That would give you a base point for a drinkable but 'a bit rough' first brew. Then you can start refining your processes and recipes to suite your tastes from there.


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#10 muzled

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Posted 10 January 2018 - 10:37 AM

The thing with brewing is there is a very long continium starting from something that tastes like bilge water and ending in the most amazing craft beer ever put in a beer fridge.

 

Depending on your tastes and expectations for beer, you don't need to do any of the stuff erice or I are talking about. You could get a basic kit from the supermarket and whack it down, but you will most likely end up with a beer of similar quality to Lion Red. Plenty of people are more than happy drinking that quality of brew.

 

To start with, I'd go for a good quality sachet kit, a specialist yeast in a packet (about $6) and maybe some extra hops. Your first brew is often a learning curve anyway, so keep it simple and have a go. There is a big difference between the sachet kits and canned kits in terms of flavour.

 

Just a thought though, in this weather you may be better off just trying the kit yeast. They aren't as good as the specialist yeast, but are often better suited to faster brews / warmer temps. That would give you a base point for a drinkable but 'a bit rough' first brew. Then you can start refining your processes and recipes to suite your tastes from there.

 

I was hoping to get something half decent for sure, otherwise might as well just buy a dozen more of the sh*t pale ale currently taking up room in the fridge.

 

Was def going to use one of the sachet kits and add an enhancer pack, quite happy to add on a few extra dollars for yeast as well.  For the sake of paying an extra $20/$30 for your brew (compared to a cheap kit) it probably still only works out to $3/litre overall.  Paying a little more seems like money well spent to me.


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