Archive for October, 2013

Brew #56: Pale Ale 1045

October 30, 2013 Comments off

A quick and easy pale ale with some Kiwi hops thrown in.  Please note the mash temperature which is higher than usual.

I followed the efficiency of my 20L Speidel Braumeister at various stages. Weighted average of degrees per litre for 4.63 kg of various malts was 307. After the mash I poured 0.5 L into the malt pipe resting above the kettle and waited until not much was dripping into the kettle. So just an initial rinse and then I lifted the malt pipe onto the lid and buckets. At this stage there was 24 L of wort in the kettle at 1044 gravity ( I had been targeting 1045) which was 74 per cent efficiency (ME%).

So now when the boil temperature was rising I started rinsing slowly at the same time rotating the pipe as the floor is not even. Rinsed wort is dripping into a bucket through the steam hole on the lid. I pick up 3 to 4 points during the boil so in order to get 1045 I need 1041.

I emptied a bucket into kettle, 2 L and I now had 26 L (top notch on the rod) at 1045, 3 L sparge water in the grain at this stage. ME% 82.

Next, about a litre of 1023 wort goes in from the bucket, so far 27 L at 1042, still 82 %.

So far 6 L have been rinsed into the grain which are still dripping off nicely.

I decide to rinse with one more litre, 7 L in total. Then I have 2 L in the bucket at 1015. I add those and get 29 L at 1040. That is still 82 per cent which is lower than usual, last brew I got 90 per cent and usually get 88 per cent. Higher than usual mash temperature? Still some wort draining from the grain which I’ll add into the kettle later.

Just before I reach 100 degrees I have 29.5 L at 1040 ie 83 ME%. But who’s counting.

name Pale Ale 1045
“style” Pale Ale
brewlength 24 litres
IBU 50
EBC 16
OG 1045
IBU to OG ratio 1.10
brewing date 30-Oct-13
yeast Nottingham
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Pilsner 3.450 74.5%
grain 2 Munich 0.700 15.1%
grain 3 Wheat 0.220 4.8%
grain 4 Crystal150 0.100 2.2%
grain 5 Caramunich II 0.080 1.7%
grain 6 Carared 0.080 1.7%
total 4.630 100%
hops gram minutes ibu
NZ Pacific Jade 15.1% 25 60 38
NZ Pacific Jade 15.1% 5 30 6
Styrian Goldings 3.45% 25 15 4
Bramling X 4.8% 20 5 2
Nelson Sauvin 12.3% 20 0 0
total 95 50
mash schedule minutes deg c
step 1 mash in 45
step 2 70 70
step 3 15 77
Categories: Brewing

Partizan Brewing Beer Tasting Session – Lazy Afternoon with Beer

October 25, 2013 Comments off

Immensely pissed off that a mouse has made a nest in my car’s engine space and has been able to go inside the car and use the padding from the seat as bedding. I fucking hate rodents. To calm my nerves I’ll sample some Partizan Brewing’s beers.  The labels on the bottles are snazzy sort of 60’s design (think Jacques Tati) and the brewing system is an old Kernel set up.

First one off the gates is the Mild at 6.4 per cent abv. Darkest ruby almost black with creamy thin head. Huge roasted and sour aroma. Taste is soft, balanced, creamy, roasted coffee. Very smooth and sophisticated. Good drinkability and feels sessionable. Digestible as the Belgians say. One of the most balanced commercial beers I’ve had in donkey’s years. Very clever and shows the brewer’s skill. The last time I had this good a balanced beer was in August, a Colonel Williams IPA clone home brew, and before that in February this saison.


Next one is Pacific Jade Pale Ale at 4.9 per cent abv.


Aroma is a huge hit of peach and mango and Del Monte’s fruit cocktail in sugar syrup. Taste is bitter grapefruit and it’s all up front and while drinking the nose gets a whiff of that fruit cocktail at the same time. I’ve used Pacific Jade hops more heavy handedly as a bittering hop and it’s interesting to note that it is quite good for aroma and late addition too. Although I’d wish this tasted more like beer instead of tropical juice cocktail. The way I would brew Pacific Jade single hop is to up the bittering and tone down the late additions or what ever they do to bring that huge tropical flavour in the end. Say, bring the 60 minutes to 45 ibu’s, then 30 per cent of the total hops at boil off to soak for 20 minutes. Yes, this beer would benefit from more bitterness.

This is getting interesting now.  Three more to go. Galaxy, Citra, Amarillo at 5.2 per cent abv. Looks a lot like the previous one:


On the nose this has some of that Pacific fruitiness but a lot more grape fruit. No pine or resin at all. I’d say the aroma is “better”, not as sickly but refreshing. Oh yes, this tastes more bitter and is then followed by freshly squeezed grapefruit juice. During the GBBF 2013 I hated many of the grapefruity beers on offer but this has a lot of balance – early bitterness to balance off the fruitiness. So in essence this is a lot more drinkable and thirst quenching. Obviously there’s not much to write about malts here either, these two pale ales are about hops and this one gets my vote.

Looking good, now an IPA at 7.1 per cent abv. Citra, Amarillo, Simcoe.


Seems like it’s back to the Pacific, some ripe mango here. In the the taste there is grapefruit bitterness first upfront, some lemon I think in the after taste, mandarin (can’t believe I have become one of those people who find mandarin in their beer – but I do! What a ponce!) for sure.  Compared to the previous two pale ales, perhaps a touch more bitterness but definitely less late hop aroma. No idea about the bitterness levels but if it’s more than 50 then a) this beer is bloody balanced on the sly, or  b) my own 45-50 ibu bitters are actually 70+…because this beer seems so smooth. 7.1 per cent abv? Hard to believe. I use soft water myself, and still my 35 ibu beers seem more bitter than this. I suspect there are some clever things going on by the brewer, so soft. Now after 15 minutes drinking this I start to feel some tingling in my mouth. Uncanny.

Let’s wrap this up. FES at 8.6 per cent abv. A big boy of the bunch. Pitch black, viscous:


Roast and coffee. Has that ashy aroma associated with black malt.  Doesn’t have that sourness on the nose as the Mild had. Ooh! Suit you Sir! Not that heavy again, soft and balanced, can’t really say when malt ends and hops begin. Slightly bitter on the tongue, no sourness, slightly sweet, roasted, salted liquorice. Salty otherwise too. Unfortunately, not a night cap front of a fire place sort of beer – too refreshing and drinkable. Scrumptious.

I think the two dark beers stand out and both relied heavily on balance. Somehow to me tropical fruits in a beer spell gimmick and trickery. But even those paler ales were quite understated and restrained. What can I say, the recipes and brewers behind these beers seem quite clever.


Brew #55: Worthington’s White Shield (IPA) Clone

October 19, 2013 Comments off

Historically the same beer as Bass Red Triangle. This clone is not an exact copy of course but similar at least, I wanted a simple grist which would hopefully showcase Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) malt which I’m using for the first time. Target OG 1053 meant I had to leave sugar out of the fermentables as otherwise I would’ve been left with an odd amount of MO. Wheat is there just to help with head and its retention.

Speidel Braumeister heated up the strike water from 9 to 45 degC in 39 minutes ie 65 seconds/degC.

name Worthington’s White Shield
“style” English IPA
brewlength 24 litres
IBU 47
EBC 16
OG 1055
IBU to OG ratio 0.86
brewing date 19-Oct-13
yeast Nottingham
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Maris Otter Pale Ale 5.021 92.6%
grain 2 Crystal150 0.250 4.6%
grain 3 Wheat 0.150 2.8%
total 5.421 100%
hops gram minutes ibu
Challenger 6.92% 30 60 20
Northdown 8.16% 25 60 19
Northdown 8.16% 20 15 8
Northdown 8.16% 10 0 0
total 85 47
mash schedule minutes deg c
step 1 mash in 45
step 2 70 66
step 3 15 77
1 tsp Gypsum in kettle
Mash efficiency 90%
Categories: Brewing

Beer snack: Samoosas

October 17, 2013 Comments off

I can only dream about samoosas sold in the parking lot of the world’s largest liquor store, Benny Goldberg’s on Louis Botha Avenue in Joburg, now long gone). That was in the 80’s and I remember the peas, minced beef, chili and curry powder. Half a rand a bag. Cheap as chips. Those were the days when a pint of Lion lager was 50 cents too (always a Lion man, never Castle).

Can’t be rocket science to make these at home…first the filling:

Onion, garlic, mince, pepper, salt, curry powder, piri-piri chili, cumin, nutmeg, worcestershire sauce, tomato paste. Fry in the pan, add a little flour and water to make it sticky. Make the curry powder the dominant spice. Then add peas and tiny cubes of potato:


The dough for four large samoosas or pies as I decided to do as I couldn’t be arsed to tinker with rectangular shapes of pastry triangles. Three cups of flour, 3/4 cups water, four tablespoons of oil, one teaspoon of salt. Mix into a dough ball and cut into four, then with a rolling pin flatten them into round flat thin discs. Put some filling in and make moon shapes:


Look like Russian meat pies…then enough oil in the pan so these are almost covered, fry them from both sides until golden colour, drain the excess oil.




Enjoy with home brew. Scrummy.

Categories: Cooking

Spatchcock Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

October 15, 2013 Comments off

The strict diet holds very well and this is this week’s treat. The point is the flavoured herb butter which cooks the root vegetables as the chicken roasts in the oven.  Root vegetables work here very well as they are left quite sweet and caramelised. I  spatchcocked the chicken but that is not necessary.

Herb butter: butter, olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, tarragon, basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram.  Mix well and keep cool so it’s easier to work under the chicken skin.

Root vegetables: I only had baby potatoes and swede but parsnip would be king here. Celeriac, carrots etc are nice too. Chop them up and mix with roughly chopped onion and garlic. Put in an oven dish with salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice.  Veggies act as a bed for the chicken and soak up the herby lemony olive oily buttery goodness as they roast.

Rub the butter on both sides of the chicken and especially under the skin, between the meat and skin. Salt and pepper on both sides and place the bird on top of the vegetables. Looks like this:


Roast in the oven until tender and delicious:


Have a home brew to wash it down:


Categories: Cooking

Brew #54: Smoked Porter

October 12, 2013 Comments off

Target OG 1045. Having rinsed with 7 litres (26 litres in the mash to begin with) OG was showing 1044 in the kettle for 27 litres and last drops coming through the grist were looking at 1017. At this stage there was still good amount of wort in the rinsing bucket. Pick up during the boil is usually around four points. When all the wort was in the kettle the OG was 1043 for 29 litres and efficiency around 88 per cent. Too arsed to liquor down. First time ever I was getting black currant aroma from Bramling Cross.

Never gets old this:

name Smoked Porter
“style” Porter
brewlength 24 litres
IBU 49
EBC 155
OG 1047
brewing date 12-Oct-13
yeast Safale S-04
fermentables grain kg %
grain 1 Rauch 2.000 42.8%
grain 2 Pilsner 1.800 38.5%
grain 3 Chocolate 0.250 5.4%
grain 4 Crystal 0.250 5.4%
grain 5 Wheat 0.220 4.7%
grain 6 Black 0.150 3.2%
total 4.670 100%
hops gram minutes ibu
NZ Pacifica Jade 15.1% 15 60 23
Bramling X 4.8% 40 60 21 FWH
Bramling X 4.8% 20 15 5
total 75 49
mash schedule minutes degrees c
step 1 mash in 45
step 2 70 66
step 3 15 77
Categories: Brewing

Tasting impressions #52: Rambler’s Respite Bitter

October 8, 2013 Comments off

Fermentis Safale S04 took this beer down to OG 1012 and 3.9 per cent. Bottled version has raisins in the aroma and the taste is ever so slightly roasty with raisins (dark fruits). Dusty hoppiness, on the light side though – could benefit from more of the upfront bitterness. Very drinkable and sessionable, maltiness dominates and there is a whiff of yeast on the nose.


Cask version more than a week later. Roastiness has disappeared, usually the minicask version is softer but in this case the opposite is true – even the hops seem perkier. Clearly the better version, also the slight yeastiness has disappeared. In a blind  test it would not be easy to think these two are the same beer. Two explanations, either the flip/swing-top bottles are not in their prime anymore or S04 yeast needed some more time. I think the latter and it pisses me of I only have this one cask left – damn you neighbourly barter and flat car battery.


I even get some slight toffee notes now. Next brew will be OG 1045 smoked porter with NZ Pacifica Jade hops but after that it is back to this theme here.

Work is the curse of the drinking classes.

                                               —Oscar Wilde

Categories: Tasting my brew