Archive for September, 2010


Wimmin and beer

September 22, 2010

I was taking suggestions from my co-workers today on what style of beer I should brew in the weekend (as you do) and was taken aback by one of my female colleagues asking ‘beer is beer isn’t it?!? After recovering my composure and explaining about the numerous styles of my favourite amber liquid, I wondered – ‘are women missing out on beer and if so – why?’

On one hand, this is someone who frustratingly drinks wine every time we go to the Freehouse – a beer candy store if ever I saw it – but then on the other hand, seems pleasantly surprised when sampling my home brew. While I also work with some European ladies who love their beer and either home brew or bring me back bottles of Weihenstephaner after trips home – what makes the average female more often than not, choose wine when not under obligation to sample a colleagues latest garage creation?

There are the biological explanations – woman’s tongue’s have more taste buds than men’s so are not as amenable to the bitterness of hops but I’m sorry, this seems like BS to me. I gave my wife a home brew today and while she thought it was a bit too bitter, I’m pretty sure that any pantywaist male who thinks that Tui makes Pale Ale; Southern Cross is a bunch of stars rather than a high alpha New Zealand hop; and who hasn’t had his tongue obliterated by tons of hops would say the same thing (grrrr, hops are manly!!)

To me, the issue is a cultural one. As my wife explained – beer is perceived as first and foremost, a man’s drink; is highly carbonated so may lead unfeminine belching; and is altogether perceived as a more risky option than safe wine. There is also the perception that beer is a singular and uninteresting entity (an opinion still common amongst many males) which tastes like crap – and this makes perfect sense, given the offerings of many mainstream brewer’s (though said males have learned to enjoy these, again for cultural reasons).

So, like some crazy Pastor who has seen the big JC, I’m keen to spread the gospel of hops (and malt if I have to) – these ladies are missing out and need to see the light! What’s your opinion? Are ladies really biologically wired to  hate hops?; should we leave them to their primitive vinous beliefs?; am I really just a misogynist?


Jools Holland female medley:


All brewed out

September 13, 2010

Phew, I’m exhausted after a beer-filled weekend (and it didn’t even involve much drinking) – first was the brew gear building man-fest on Saturday morning, followed by gear cleaning on Saturday afternoon, beer bottling on Saturday night, brew preparation on Sunday morning and finally brewing on my new set-up on Sunday afternoon.

Here’s some pics of my new all-grain gear. The hot-liquor tun is a 37L stainless pot – I’m currently heating this on a 3-ring burner but will soon be putting in an electric element. Mash-tun is a 10 gallon Rubbermaid drinks cooler – picked up half-price (though still quite expensive). It currently has a looped piece of braided hose which may be shortened to a single loop depending on performance. My kettle is a 54L stainless pot heated on the 3-ring burner. And last of all is the massive immersion chiller made from 15 metres of copper with stainless barbs simply hammered in the ends and hose fittings – no brazing required.

A few more bits and pieces and it will be all be complete – thanks to members Dale, Greydog and Evan for your help in getting this set-up. The recipe is a NZ Pale Ale which may be entered in the SOBA 2010 Homebrewing competition, all going well.

Ready for mashing

Grist + some green things

Mashtun with braided hose

Polystyrene cap to keep mash at temperature

Mash ready for sparging + more green things

First run-off

Filling the kettle + even more green things


60 min boil under way

The beast - 15 metres of 15.88mm copper

Chilling (+ doing the dishes)