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.
Posted on November 10th, 2014
Hit 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.
22nd Annual Mooroolbark Home Brew Taste Test
Posted on October 25th, 2014
Another year and another home-brew competition! A long but fun filled day thanks to everyone involved from the organisers and judges to the brewers and attendees. I only brought the one keg this year which is an American style Pale Ale with plenty of hops but not too bitter. Something new this time I dry hopped the keg with a couple handfuls of Vic Secret leaf hops in a fine mesh hop bag. I’m proud to say the keg didn’t last long and managed to walk away with first place for best keg category along with 3rd best bottle too.
I am already looking forward to next year and have bigger things in mind so we will see if it all goes to plan.
Here are the three trophies I’ve won this year which includes runner up for best beer at the first annual SA homebrew comp.
Keeping Kegs Cold
Posted on September 16th, 2013
The yearly Mooroolbark homebrew competition is almost upon us so it was time we started thinking about keeping our kegs cold for the long day. This year we have four kegs between the two of us and having enough taps was also an issue since the single tap Jockey box wasn’t going to cut it. We both had a pluto beer gun each but a quick trip to the store and a little work we had another two ready to go.
My mate was utilizing a 20L bucket as a vessel to chill his corny keg though the only problem we discovered was that it didn’t leave a whole lot of room for ice. After spending half an hour in the storage aisles of Bunnings and comparing every worthy container possible I settled on a simple outdoor plastic trash bin. Factoring in our need for four of everything the plastic bin seemed to suit best and with just an hour of dremel work I was able to make use of the lids which I was initially planning on discarding. I cut a hole for the top of the keg to poke through (also handy for quick access) and then segments cut out for the three meters of beer line to keep it looking tidy.
The final touch was a cheap bracket bolted onto the rim to provide a resting home for the pluto gun rather than the ground. I’ve seen plenty of drunken attempts to balance the pluto gun on the top of the keg which is not always an easy task. Now I just need to hope my I.P.A and Pale Ale both come out as nice as I intend, only time will tell. Cheers!