Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Beer Blokes Beer Update

April/May 07

As the Blokes move into the New Age of Ale I thought a quick update was due. Much research and book looking has been conducted because we wanted to produce a true-to-style Bavarian Weizenbier. That’s a wheat beer. You know, like Redback? Actually, like Redback used to be before Fosters dumbed it down.

By way of a bit of background, Redback was the beer which stole the show at the beer awards a while back and as far as I can tell it was the first wheat beer made in Australia. Brewed originally in Western Australia by Matilda Bay Brewing Company which was taken over by CUB in 1990, it began life as an unfiltered and unpasteurised bottle conditioned wheat beer. It is not the beer it once was. Since shifting to the Fosters stable it has become a filtered and less citrusy wheat beer as well as a kristallklar (called Crystal) which the Dr and I decided was a little light on for taste, flavour and body. They come in at 4.7 and 4.5% respectively.

The first Beer Blokes Wheat comes from a tin of Morgan’s concentrate and a kilo of Morgan’s Master Blend Beer Enhancer. Containing a portion of honey in the extract it had a nice colour and aroma and this time next week I’ll tell you what it tastes like. This is our first attempt at a ‘recipe’ brew where you follow a chart of ingredients including yeast to mimic a commercial product. Of course this is done without the exact yeast strain, computer controlled fermentation and lagering as well as the many scientists in lab coats and marketing men working in a building unaware of the presence of a brewing team.

The number twelve brew is a follow up Pale Ale and is something of a tribute beer. Brewed on ANZAC day it is the offspring to the first Pale Ale which, as reported earlier, has come good after a wobbly start and actually tastes quite good. What the first one lacked, however, was the Pale Ale style hop flavour and enough bitterness to really qualify for the category. Here is where the tribute part comes in. Using Cascade hops for bitterness, Goldings for flavour and Fuggles for aroma the hops represent the three major allies who landed at ANZAC Cove in 1915. I know that ideally I should have used a New Zealand, Australian and English hop variety for true authenticity but a) they were unavailable, b) Cascade, while American sounds like it could be Tasmanian and anyway, it’s got more bitterness than Pride of Ringwood and c) I only thought this all up on ANZAC morning and, of the 13 hops I had to choose from, these were the only non German or Czech ones.

Interestingly, the two recent brews have identical ABV %s but both have quite different gravities. The wheat beer started out at only 1038 but fermented out to 1006 – so good alcohol but not heavy in the flavour department as planned - and the Pale began at 1044 but only fermented out to 1012- same alcohol but more malt character and flavour, again as planned!

The Blokes are next embarking on another breakthrough brew – our first ‘No Can Brew’. Using just malt extract and hops and yeast we hope to create nice Amber Ale along the lines of The Malt Shovel Brewery’s James Squire Amber Ale. It will be an all malt affair and will be a neat stepping stone towards doing a grain addition brew before eventually graduating to a mini mash and culminating in every brewer’s dream of doing a full mash beer brewing extravaganza type thingy.

But, I need more empties.

Who can get me some empties?

Prof. Pilsner.

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