23rd Annual Mooroolbark Home-brew Taste Test

Posted on October 26th, 2015


Another year and another Mooroolbark Home-brew Taste Test making this year the 23rd event. Filling the jockey box to the brim with ice and chilling the kegs over night in the kegerator we were ready. Nick’s Amber Ale and my Hopped “Czech” Pilsner along with a few bottles of chocolate stout I had bottled from a keg a while back. Taxi arrived on time and we managed to fit all the gear in the back hoping for a smooth ride for the kegs.

Arriving slightly early we had first choice and scored a great little table to set-up the jockey box on. Thanks to the chill plate and plenty of ice, foaming was a non-issue unlike previous years where we had to allow a half hour for the kegs to settle again. The weather was perfect and I managed to taste almost every keg out of at least 16 from memory along with some random bottled creations. From cider and stout to hoppy IPA’s there was quite a selection and all did really great. Everyone is exceptionally nice and are more than happy to spill their recipes or methods.

A little water, some BBQ to pad some of the beer out and I was in heaven. Somehow I managed with walk away with 2nd place for ‘Best Keg’ category with my Hopped “Czech” Pilsner which was a nice surprise too. I’ll be posting up the full results table when they’re available too.

A special thanks to Lou for hosting the event, Phil, Gavin, all the judges and everyone else involved with making the day run as smoothly as it does every year!


Jockey Box Updates

Posted on October 14th, 2015


It’s getting close to several beer related family and friend events which we have been preparing for over the last few months. I’ve been putting the final touches on our jockey box which is soon to get quite a work out. After discussion we decided to add chalkboard signs, paint the sides and fix an emblem to the front to make it ours.


First I recreated an old logo I had made previously to stick on our kegs then printed it out and use that to trace over with a soldering iron into the wood. This was much harder (and hand searing hot) than I had anticipated but I think the rustic look works well with it. A few careful runs over with the soldering iron and a a couple coats of lacquer and it was done.


I bought some chalkboard paint and some cheap frames which I converted into little signs to label each tap. Having so much leftover chalkboard paint I painted the rest of the cooler to hide the blue/white original design. A few more coats, some liquid nails along with some resin tap handles and it was done. I purchased a drip tray to complete the look and think it all came out pretty good. The best part (other than the cold beer) is that you can draw on the sides and back of the jockey box with chalk too which cleans off easily.

The final step is for us to give it a good workout this weekend with an American Pale Ale and a Mosaic SMaSH we have sitting here patiently. Cheers!


Beer Sampling

Posted on October 13th, 2015

I love home-brew beer and enjoy the process of making it (except the cleaning) but I also love trying as many different beers as I can commercial or otherwise. If I come across a beer I have yet to try then I’ll buy it as long as I can afford it otherwise those really pricey bottles are for special occasions.

Here are some of the beers we have been sampling recently over the Grand Final Weekend.


From left to right we have Thunder Road IPA, Feral Karma Citra Black IPA, Nail Ale Pale Ale, Nail Ale Hoppy Summer, Southern Ocean Ale Pale Ale, Prickly Moses chainSAW, Three Troupers Pale Ale, Quiet Deeds Vanilla Porter, Quiet Deeds IPA, Smiling Samoyed Kolsch, Barrow Boys Pale Ale, 3 Ravens American Pale Ale, Beard and Brau Milk Stout, Mash Brewing Grasscutter and Bridgeport Kingpin Double Red Ale.


I had been waiting to try Sierra Nevada and Brauhaus Riegele‘s partnership beer aptly named Oktoberfest. I picked up some of Sierra’s seasonal Summerfest Larger too along with Dainton‘s Insane Uncle IPA and a can of Garage Project‘s Garagista IPA.


Finally I’m looking forward to sampling these which I’m saving for the upcoming weekend. Exit‘s #010 West Coast IPA, 4 Pines West Coast Red Rye IPA, Abbey Collaby 5 DIPA, Brouwerij Pink Grapefruit IPA, Moon Dog Black Lung V Stout, Heretic Torment Belgian Style Dark Ale, Stone Ruination Double IPA, Brew Dog Dead Pony Pale Ale.

So excited to try these very soon, cheers!


What I could carry home to enjoy later

Posted on September 28th, 2015

After tasting so many different beers at the NCBF these are the ones that made it home with what little room in my bag I could make. From left to right we have Small Ale from Colonial Brewing Co (3.5% ABV), Little Creatures new Dog Days Summer Beer (4.4% ABV), Quiet Deeds IPA (5.5% ABV) and Limited Vanilla Porter (6.2% ABV), Barrow Boys Pale(5.3% ABV), Prickly Moses Chainsaw Ale (4.8% ABV), Hills Cider Hop Edition Apple Cider (8% ABV), Three Troupers Pale Ale (4.5%) and finally Bridgeport’s Kingpin Double Red Ale (7.5% ABV). There would have been a lot more than that but funds and carry space were limiting.


The Small Ale cans from Colonial Brewing Co. are pretty awesome too where the entire top opens up rather than just a small mouth piece. At 3.5% ABV these cans deliver a nice little hop bomb for the warmer weather without knocking you over.


Northern Craft Beer Festival

Posted on September 28th, 2015


A perfect day to spend at a prison sampling some fantastic craft beer and food. Arriving just before it opened at noon we had an early glimpse before the crowds started to roll in. A long hallway with cell after cell and beer stall after stall.

My goal was to sample as many of the different beers as I could that I had not yet had a chance to along with many of which I had before. Starting with Hawkers Saison on tap and ending the day with a Chocolate Chilli Stout from Tooborac Brewery.

Some breweries that really stood out for me personally were Quiet Deeds which I snagged a bottle of their Vanilla Porter and IPA along with the Barrow Boys Brewing Co which I picked up some of their Pale Ale.

There were so many other fantastic beers which I didn’t document in my endless mission to sample all but want to give thanks to the very friendly stall holders, staff and organisers of the event. Proof that the craft beer lovers can hold a fun filled event without any drama.


Brew Day Returns

Posted on September 26th, 2015


Wanting to brew Nick’s Imperial IPA for kicks along with his his Amber Ale to enter into competition in a month. Also two SMaSH (Single Malt and Single Hop) beers for fun, one with Mosaic hops and the other Vic Secret hops we had quite a lot more brewing to go still.

We had to make a large yeast starter for the Imperial IPA with a huge starting gravity of 1.10 Hopefully the yeast will be able to work it’s magic and we will reach the goal of around 10% ABV.

The two SMaSH beers are pretty straight forward with 20g in at the last 30 minutes and 20g  in at the last 10 minutes of boil. Finally with 40g dry hopped and yeast starters using Danstar American Ale Yeast. We used Pilsner Malt with one and Traditional Malt with the other leaving the hops to be the centre of attention.



Double batch brew day

Posted on September 20th, 2015

Brew day arrived! Made a double batch of American style Pale Ale and double batch of Czech Pilsner using our dual burners. Weather worked out perfectly so we were outside most of the day enjoying a bit of sun and beer. Here’s a mate milling some grain directly into one of the pots using the BIAB method which we maintain still has great results. The electric brewery is another project a little further in the distance.


A few of us will be hitting up the Northern Craft Beer Festival in Coburg on Sunday the 27th too. Check out this link for more info. Expect pictures and nonsensical postings next week!

New jockey box

Posted on September 18th, 2015

Weddings, home brew comps, bachelor parties.. a lot is coming up this October with most of it involving beer so it was time for us to rethink our dispensing set-up.

In the past we’ve used keg bins which have worked great partnered up with pluto guns but over time and with lots of use and abuse the plastic composite pluto guns have broken down with only the stainless steel one remaining. The thought of spending so much on ice to keep kegs chilled for several days with warmer weather around the corner too prompted for change.

So it was time to finally build the new jockey box we’d discussed for so long. New Euroball taps, dual line chill plate and stainless disconnects. An old cooler and a little bit of work and we had our new and efficient jockey box read to be put to the test! Check out the full guide here



Weekend away with the girlfriend

Posted on September 14th, 2015

Went to Trentham for my 5th anniversary with my partner and enjoyed picking up some beers from the Holgate Brewery and a nice pub meal with more local/craft beers at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. If you are ever up this way it’s also worth checking out the Royal George Hotel in Kyneton,VIC which has a massive selection of awesome beers on tap.



Some of the beers we took up with us and the Holgate sampler we grabbed on the way. Hawthorn, Sierra Nevada, Evil Twin, East 9th, Renaissance. Monteith’s and some Carlsberg.

Fermenter Upgrades

Posted on November 10th, 2014

fermenterHit the big 3-0 the other week so to my surprise everyone chipped in and bought me a 100L Stainless Steel Conical Fermenter and damn it’s big. I have to step my game up a bit now but I am excited to be able to fill 4 or 5 kegs from one large batch rather than 1 keg at a time.

Basically the set-up is I can dump/collect the trub/yeast from the base valve and rack off the beer from the lower valve which I have running to a beer line disconnect for easy keg filling. I can gravity feed the kegs for a little then can apply a low amount of C02 pressure via the lid. During fermentation I can use the lid line as a blow off valve in a bucket of water. There is also a temperature gauge on the side which makes monitoring temps an easy task.

You can see in the image on the right how it towers over the kegerator. I’ve ran a complete leak test on all connections and found I had to put teflon tape on the temperature gauge thread to prevent a slow leak. The other issue I found is the clamp for the lid must be very secure to provide an air-tight seal which is only really required for pushing the remaining liquid into the last kegs. After ironing out these issues I have everything ready to go for a big brew day next weekend. I will post some pictures of it all in action soon.