Posts Tagged ‘Nelson Sauvin (hops)’

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I love beer!

August 13, 2010

I haven’t written a post in a while – I’ve had some beery ideas but then I get too lazy to bother writing a full post – this is usually after sampling a couple of my latest home brews and wasting time on Facebook. So anyway, here’s a summary of some beer stuff I love.

  • I love vouchers – the perfect birthday present. As a result I now have Pete Brown’s ‘Man Walks Into A Pub’. A while back I got his ‘Three Sheets To The Wind’, which was a great read on global beer culture so I’m looking forward to getting into this one. I also have a spend up at McCashin’s pending thanks to my sister – they’re now making beer and I had a couple of samples of their lager trials last time I visited. Also on the cards is a visit to Founder’s as I recently won their e-newsletter beer quiz. You can sign up for this on their website. It’s their 10th Anniversary and have some celebratory brews coming out. I’ve tried and enjoyed the Blonde, plus a barrel-aged Stout is also now also available.
  • I love all-grain home brewing. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the use of a friend’s all-grain gear for the past few months and popped out five brews – all rather good if I do say so myself. It’s a bit hard to go back to malt kits after that so I’m investing in my own gear which should be up and running soon. Just in time for the SOBA 2010 Homebrewing Competition, which begs the question is – is the World ready for Wrecking Ball Pale Ale or Pacific Gem Golden Ale?
  • I love local beer. I don’t buy that liberal, middle-class guilt that buying local is the solution to the World’s social and environmental problems but I’m quite happy to celebrate good quality, local beer. For the past month, the Moutere Inn and the Free House have had only local beers on tap as part of the Nelson Ecofest Challenge. While it might be a dubious decision to allow in riff-raff from Marlborough, I’m prepared to be flexible considering the calibre of beers coming out of the Renaissance Brewery. I managed a trip over there recently and had a great hand-pumped Elemental Porter and some delicious pizza from the Dodson Street Bistro. Last night, I picked up a bottle of the 2010 batch of 8 Wired’s Hopwired (contract brewed at Renaissance) and am prepared to say that this is the best beer I’ve ever had (yes, it’s true)! I was a bit apprehensive as the bottle I picked up last year didn’t compare to the freshness of the pint I had from the pub. However, it’s hot off the bottling line and just as good at the moment – I just can’t get enough of the amazing Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops. Brewer Søren reports that this year’s crop of NZ hops are a little different from last year’s and I picked up similarities to the 2010 Sauvin flowers I’ve used in my home brew. The Moutere Inn and Townshend Brewery are also holding an IPA challenge on 19th August featuring three versions of Townshend’s JCIPA on hand pump- the favourite one will go on to be brewed as a springtime release.
  • I love contract brewing. Hopwired is proof of the great things NZ’s contract brewers can achieve and Yeastie Boys discuss this successful business model further here on their blog. Of course, Yeastie Boys have been up to great things themselves lately – their ‘Return to Magenta’ Belgian Pale Ale impressed me greatly – it doesn’t get much better than enjoying a pint of this on a clear and warm autumn day, sitting outdoors at the Moutere Inn while taking a day off work. There was also the battle of the NZ and US pale ales – Motueka Monster vs Yakima Monster. Eric at Offsetting Behaviour puts an economic spin on the discussion here. I like the idea of micro economics, as in micro-brewing far more than Alan Bolland and his weapons of macro destruction!

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My first Lager

June 10, 2009

Now that winter has turned my abode into an ice cave, it’s the perfect time to try my hand at home brewing a true Lager. The first step was to purchase a glass carboy for secondary fermentation which will allow the beer to cold condition over several weeks without introducing oxygen. These aren’t cheap with the current exchange rate but I figured it would be a good investment to improve all my beers through secondary conditioning and dry-hopping.

After lots of reading on Lagering, I settled on a plan that would utilise the temperature around the house rather than a temp-controlled fridge which I don’t currently possess. The plan was to initiate and undertake primary fermentation around 10 degrees (spare room), increase to around 20 degrees for a 48 hour diacetyl rest once primary is complete (hot-water cupboard), then transfer to the carboy and lager at around 4 degrees for several weeks (icy water bucket).

I also decided to do a 11.5L half-batch in case things don’t work out. Experimenting is great but hasn’t been entirely successful lately – the sleepout cupboard is full of dodgy wheat-beer and pale ale. The latest is a batch of mouth-puckering, bitter pale ale thanks to my over-zealous addition of too many Super-alpha hops.

The malt-kit I selected is Mac’s 1.7Kg ‘Late-hopped Lager’. I tried this a few times several years ago in my first home brew phase. The taste was pretty good but I had some over-carbonation problems, including a couple of exploded bottles when I arrived home after a few pints on the town one evening. It wasn’t until a few years later that I tried brewing again. I figured with increased knowledge and different yeast, I could avoid the bottle grenades.

For my yeast I used the dry S-23 strain as it’s readily available and seemed like a good place to begin. There’s some debate over dry yeast being capable of true bottom-fermenting lager brewing but this variety has reasonable reviews. I made a yeast starter the day before brewing to ensure an adequate pitching rate at low temperature.

The kit goes on about how greatly hopped it is but by my definition, it’s probably pretty tame so I added some Super-alpha and Nelson Sauvin for bittering; Motueka, Pacifica and Nelson Sauvin for flavour / aroma and will be adding these 3 varieties again into the secondary for dry-hopping. I don’t have a wort chiller so the hops were boiled in water, cooled and then added with the malt and cold water into the primary fermenter to quickly reach a low temperate before pitching the yeast starter.

I was a bit nervous but things started bubbling after about 16 hours. Now it’s time to sit back and wait. Hopefully I’ll be enjoying my first crisp lager around spring-time.