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“Mitsu”, Amarillo single hop IPA

I’m currently working on an Amarillo single hop IPA. The first trial batch is available to taste at the brewery. It was a very simple one. I’ve had really good, just an Amarillo Ale wort kit brewed undiluted – I’ve had really good feedback about this wort kit.

I used a soft American yeast instead of the usual Safale US-05/Wyeast WLP001/Wyeast 1056. This yeast has a hard finish, and its lack of fermentation character makes it a bit boring, especially when so many beers are fermented with it. Extra Amarillo was added in the fermenter.

So far people have liked it. I will do another trial brew – but from scratch over the coming week.

Will call this beer “Mitsu” which is my mother-in-law’s name, she loves this style of beer. Will use this 1947 photo of her on the label.

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Cerny Pivo wort kit

I am now brewing wort kits every Monday. This coming Monday (July 15th) was supposed to be the Wheat beer again. But, I don’t have enough wheat malt so I decided to brew with the malt I have.

I haven’t brewed a dark wort kit yet so with the malt there is I have settled on a Cerny Pivo or Czech style black lager. They’re like a maltier Schwarzbier. The most readily available commercial example is Kozel Dark. Most of the Czech breweries do a dark beer.

Interestingly, Budweiser do a dark beer. It is only available at the brewery.

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New England IPA: hype & disappointment

I’ve been thinking about brewing a New England IPA (NEIPA). The style has been hugely popular for several years now. I first learnt about it maybe three or four years ago when Sam Haldane from Shennanigans sent me some articles about it. He sent me the articles because he knew I really liked the Wyeast London Ale III (1318) which is one of the preferred yeast strains for the style. I find the 1318 is a nice soft yeast despite being reasonably attenuative, and it brings up the hop nicely.

I’ve read other things about the style, my understanding is that the originators wanted lots of hop flavour and aroma without the excessive bitterness of West Coast IPAs. While I’m not a fan of the citrusy US hops I am really sympathetic to the project. I find too many American IPAs smell great in the glass but when you drink them the bitterness just kills any aroma and flavour from the hops.

Yet in all this time I have never drunk a NEIPA – until the other evening. On Tuesday I bought two cans of local NEIPA – on from Sydney, the other from Melbourne. What a disappointment!

Usually the word for NEIPAs is juicy. Now to me juicy suggests not just flavour but sensuality as well: soft and sweet. A juicy mango or strawberry, a juicy piece of eye filet, a juicy tomato. A plain old fruit juice has a sweetness and mouth filling texture to it. Next time you drink some orange juice – take a little time with it, smell the juice in the glass, hold in your mouth and swallow it slowly. This is sort of thing I was keyed up to expect. Was I disappointed.

We, Ryoko and I, tried the Sydney one first. It certainly smelt like a breakfast juice in the glass, but in the mouth that went missing. The beer was dry and bitter (40 IBU or a bit less I guess). The Melbourne one had less aroma, was similarly dry and a little more bitter (40 to 45 IBU). Both beers were one dimensional, apart from the bitterness there was nothing else really happening, not much mouthfeel or malt flavour. The bitterness in both lingered nicely but by itself it’s boring. I also got the sneaking feeling that there might have been some US-05 involved, but I’m prepared to be wrong. Both of these beers are reckoned to be pretty good local examples of the style.

So why is the style so popular? Is it just hype? There is a lot of “bandwagonism” in the small brewery industry

Anyway, I still want to have a go at something like this. I brewed a trial beer before Christmas and thought it not too good – 20% flaked oats is too much, there’s a harsh edge in the beer. But since the other night I have decided that maybe my blind attempt is not that bad after all. Some extra conditioning and dry hopping and I could put it on in the brewery and see what people think.

I’d like to do a brew and take maybe 600 or 700 litres for wort kits and ferment the rest to do some bottles and kegs. I’ll have to wait until suitable new season hops are available, which would allow me to do another trial brew.

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First runnings brettanomyces dark ale now bottled

The first runnings strong dark ale has been bottled. I did call this beer a stout, but I now think that misses the mark. The base beer is a dark ale, Night, with an OG of 1048. After boiling, the first runnings had an OG of 1084. The grain bill has crystal malt in it, which to me is a little out of place in a traditional stout.

The beer tastes of sherry, raisins, dark chocolate, plums, and a gentle brettanomyces character. There is also a warming character from the alcohol – at 10%.

There are thirty six 750 ml bottles which will be available for sale shortly (waiting on blank labels) for $35 each at the brewery and on-line. There are also six 330 ml bottles which I’ll use for a tasting or two and to monitor the progress of the beer in the bottle. It is bottle conditioned and will mature for quite some time to come. I think the earliest sensible drinking time would be this winter.

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First wort beer – Brettanomyces Stout

While brewing a new batch of Night several weeks ago, I collected about 35 litres of the first runnings. This is the best part of the wort. After boiling the gravity was 1085, it was hopped to 50 IBU with Fuggles. The cooled wort was divided into two batches, one of about 26 litres, the other 6 or so litres.

The larger batch was fermented normally with two strains of yeast. To the smaller batch I addded one litre each of an old or stock ale, and another of a triple stout. Both of these beers were brewed about six years ago and with brettanomyces. I have been waiting for the right opportunity to use these beers. The smaller batch kicked off – the brett is pretty hardy, and fermented for about a week or so, it was added back to the main batch when that had finished fermenting. Some more of the stock ale and the aged stout has been added. Although young, the beer is tasting quite good. At 11% alcohol, there is quite a warming character to the beer.

Over the Christmas and New Year break I will keg a couple of litres for sampling, and bottle the rest will be bottle conditioned in 750 ml bottles. There will probably be about 35 numbered bottles.



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New opening hours

I’ve got all the paperwork done with Penrith Council and the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing. Starting this Sunday October 28th the brewery will be open for cellar door sales of bottles, growlers and keg fills:

Thursday 6pm to 8pm
Friday 6pm to 8pm
Saturday 2pm to 6pm
Sunday 11am to 4 pm


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DA approved

The DA for cellar door sales has been approved. Still more officialdom to come. Need to apply for changes to the retail hours on the liquor licence. And still need to have Council come and inspect the “work” for the DA and issue and Occupation Certificate. Getting there.

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New hours coming for cellar door sales

In the next month or so I hope to have regular retail hours for cellar door sales. Looking at Thursday and Friday evenings, Saturday afternoons, and Sunday days. Currently wading through officialdom to get it done.

Will be able to do growlers and keg refills while you wait as well as bottle sales.

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Growler & keg refills

Now able to offer filling of growlers, corny and mini kegs. All fills are done under counter-pressure.

For the time being, you will have to order your fill online and either

i) drop your container off at Absolute Homebrew (map) and pick it up the following day, or
ii) arrange a time to come to the brewery and have your container filled while you wait.

You can order here: Growler, corny and mini keg refills