Saturday, October 25, 2008

Booky in the Bottle

Emerson’s Bookbinder is an important New Zealand Beer. Not only is it the beer I most regularly order across the bar but it has also served as a ‘gateway beer’ for many people giving them the first glimpse that there might be more to beer than brown adjunct full lager. The beer has gone through many changes through the years and suffered for awhile when Emersons swapped to NZ pale malt from maris otter, thankfully it is currently back in great nic. The beer has always been available on draught only with riggers being the only take away format, that is until now. Emersons have finally decided to bottle Bookbinder, a risky decision as much of what makes a Booky fantastic on the tap is its fresh hop character and at 3.7% its not a beer designed to stand up to the rigours of bottled life. As I bought my first bottle I confided in the boys that it would probably be crap, thankfully I was very wrong!

Emersons Bookbinder 3.7%abv

From the bottle

Pours a sexy copper with a fluffy white head which stays right to the bottom of the glass. Aroma features melonfruit, a hint of lemony citrus and grainy whole grain malt. On the palate there is ripe melon, tangy grassy hops, a citrus note, a berry fruit/vinous character, sweet nutty malt, a minerally mouthfell leading to an assertive bitter finish. Great beer!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Bringing Christmas to the People

When I lived in Newtown not only did I have a fantastic local pub in Bar Edward but I also had a top local fair trade coffee roastery in Peoples Coffee. I’m always keen on celebrating the local, you can see that in the names of my beers which almost all come from local place names. When I was living there I brewed a Peoples Coffee Porter and gave the boys a rigger of it to try. Memories of that beer have obviously lived on and the company have enlisted me to brew another batch to give away for Christmas this year.
I was meant to be brewing a pilot batch today however having run out of co2 and then finding that the depot had also run out (I use co2 to propel caustic and sanitizer through my fermentors) has left me catching up on my blogging. Not so bad, I was long over due

Former long time flatmate and O-Street beer consumer Dan now works for Peoples. The beer will be my current Hall St brown porter recipe with espresso shots added both to the end of the boil and into the conditioning vessel.

Yeastie Boys Are GO!

Last week I attended the launch of the first beer from the Yeastie Boys at Bar Edward, a new player in NZ beer scene. Yeastie Boys is the brainchild of fellow SOBA founder and Wellington Homebrewer Stu McKinlay and rate beer extraordinaire Sam "The Grandmaster" Possenniskie. They are currently contract brewing seasonal releases at Steve Nalley’s Invercargill Brewery. The first release is a highly hopped porter called Pot Kettle Black, which I’m told is a Wilco Song, musical theme here Beastie Boys, Yeastie Boys, get it? Despite not being a style I would normally get into it’s a damn tasty drop and was very good through the handpump, particularly once the sparkler was banished. The next release for Summer is a hoppy golden ordinary bitter, I cant wait.

Again Photos by Adam, cheers!

The Great Brett Project

Brettanomyces is a word that will often strike fear into the hearts of brewers and vintners alike. This incredibly hardy, some would say indestructible, wild yeast is the bane of many a brewer, it is often the death of pieces of brewing kit, but is also highly appreciated by some for its funky sharp aroma and flavour. In the modern era it’s more usually associated with the sour ales of Flanders and the spontaneously fermented beers of the Senne Valley rather than English Ales. However as Mr Cornell recently taught me in his piece on the history of yeast Brett was originally isolated from English Stock Ales and indeed its name is Latin for British Fungus.
While I would never be so foolhardy as to introduce Brett into any of my vessels, last month I came across a unique opportunity. At the annual Belgian Beer Tasting at Regional Wines and Spirits one of the beers we tasted was Lindemans Geuze bottle conditioned and in 250 ml nip bottles I couldn’t resist taking the bottles. I will clean and sanitise the bottles to the best of my abilities, despite treating the bottles with caustic soda and Sodium Percarbonate I don’t expect to remove the Brett. Then I will bottle some of this year’s Merchant of the Devil Imperial Stout and some of Alfred’s Stock Ale, a strong barley wine named for my late grandfather who was a drayman’s son, and see what happens. The nips will have their bottoms painted red so that the Brett bottles don’t end up getting mixed in with my ‘clean’ nips.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Harvey’s Imperial Extra Double Stout

Last Thursday I brewed this years batch of The Merchant of the Devil , my own Imperial Stout. The brew went very well and despite suffering the only stuck mash I have ever had with my current mash tun set up I achieved an O.G of 1111, and was able to make a small beer of O.G. 1056 from the late runnings. That evening I celebrated by opening the bottle of Harvey’s Imperial Extra Double Stout that Greig had brought me back from Sussex. Let me tell you this beer pushed my buttons, if only I had some cases of it.

Harvey’s Imperial Extra Double Stout 2003 (9%abv)
2003 vintage, Pours a viscous pitch black with the faintest disappearing wispy head. The aroma features a stunning cornucopia of aromas. Dried fruit, raisins, prunes, figs, a distinctive sour fruit character reminiscent of the Rodenbach beers, Passionfruit, iron and a touch of saltyness blended a delicious funky brettanomyces character. Complex to say the least. On the palate there is luscious aged malt, a surprising level of body considering the sour/brett character in the nose, a salty note, some passionfruit and iron, a suggestion of sourness, roasty malt notes and a hint of autolysised yeast. Outstanding beer, my beer of the year in fact.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

BrewNZ and Beervana Photos

Ok, it’s been along time coming but I finally got round to salvaging the photos from my ruined camera. Here are some snap shots of judging at BrewNZ and the extremely successful Beervana Festival that followed courtesy of Adam as my camera was history by that point. Cheers