Saturday, December 2, 2006

A BOTTLIN ‘ - 101

After months of study and research, planning and positioning of equipment and nine days of fermentation, the inaugural brew was yesterday tapped off into bottles. A grand total of 47 stubbies (375ml) and 5 longnecks ( 740ml) of Thomas Cooper’s Heritage Lager have now taken pride of place under the laundry table where they will sit patiently for the next two weeks to bottle condition - a secondary fermentation to carbonate the beer and up the alcohol level - after which time the Beer Blokes will sit patiently and attempt to NOT drink it all, but play the waiting game.

We want to determine just how much our brew will improve (in taste) and clarify (in appearance) when left to mature in the bottle. Normally this would involve simply drinking a stubby or two each week and tasting and logging the maturation. But, in the interests of science, and so as not to offend the geeks, Dr Lager has developed a method by which this process can be assessed and measured more accurately. And this is where “suffering for your art” takes on a whole new meaning. If we use a couple of clear glass bottles per batch we will have a visual guide to the clarity and colour of our beer and be able to photograph and log the development.

To this end Dr Lager purchases some store-boughts to provide the clear empties. And here is where he takes a bullet for the team. He buys XXXXXX XXXX . For the unfamiliar, this is an Australian beer mass produced by a large commercial brewer bottled in clear glass and filtered using a technique which removes impurities from the brew using cold filtering. I can only assume that it does this by attaching the impurities to the beer flavour itself. I know it is a beer because it says beer on the label. This is clever marketing because if you were offered this beer, without knowing what you were being offered, and you drank it, you might not know that you were drinking beer. The label should carry a warning suggesting that you ‘ read label carefully before assuming that contents are beer’ and ‘WARNING - MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF BEER’.

* You will notice that I have hidden the true identity of the beer purchased. You will also note that I have employed X’s to assist in this subterfuge. Do not mistake the X’s for XXXX, or Fourex, a Northern Australian states’ flagship brew. This is a completely different yet equally shit quality beer. * see note below

Now, because Dr Lager does not have any clogged drains around his house, he decides to actually consume the XXXXXXX XXXXs. Here is where we draw the fine line between madness and genius. From a seemingly unwinnable situation, Dr Lager has created brilliance. You see, when he eventually recovers the power of taste, he will better appreciate our homebrew. And other beers. Like I said. Brilliance.

FOOTNOTE; though I have back-handed a couple of beer brands in this piece, I should note that I love beer. All beer. Some are just better than others and some are more commercially popular than others. Some are fiercely defended on the basis of state boundaries and for this they, and their drinkers, are to be commended. It was just too good an opportunity to have a go at a Queenslander. By the way, the mystery beer is Carlton Cold.

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