Thursday, April 23, 2009

Good Omens

Yesterday while walking the dog down the valley I made a startling discovery. A stream runs down our valley and just beyond the old Brooklyn Bagel Factory there is a reasonably deep pool which sometimes has eels in it so I always stop there to have a look. Yesterday I was struck by a floral hoppy aroma as I stood gazing into the pool. I looked down and there was a massive patch of hop bines growing up the bank from the stream! I have cut some away and strung them behind the bar, I also took a small bag to the Malthouse last night where an assortment of Brewers Guild members were drinking after a committee meeting. There Dickie Fife told me the hops were immature and still had some way to go before they would be ready to brew with. If the frosts don’t get them it looks like a green hopped Brooklyn IPA might be on the cards!
Now I’m not superstitious but talk about omens, they day after handing my resignation in to sell beer I find a massive patch of wild hops!

Goodbye cheese …Hello beer

I resigned my position at Moore Wilson’s this week. In a months time I will be joining Regional Wines and Spirits, taking responsibility for their beer retail category. It’s very exciting, and I’m sure its going to be challenging.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Alfred’s Audit Ale

I have had barley wine on the mind recently. I have been writing an article for the up coming issue of The Pursuit of Hoppyness on strong blue cheese and Barley Wines as a match. During the course of this Adam has kindly lightened his cellar and we have tried the best barley wine this country ever produced Limburg Oude Reserve 2004. Let me tell you it was fantastic but that’s another story. I have also had my first serious go at brewing a barley wine.
I have held off doing a barley wine up until now for several reasons. Firstly I have been working to fine tune my imperial stout recipe and didn’t want to start trying to perfect two vintage beers until I had the R.I.S. down. Also until recently I didn’t have enough nip bottles. Having collected the empties from every Regional Wine Tasting to have used a beer in nips over the last two years I now have enough to do two vintage beers a year. And so Alfred’s Audit Ale is born…

Alfred’s Audit Ale is named after my grandfather who was born in the draymans quarters above the horse knackering yards. I loved my grandfather and hopefully he would have approved of the beer which will bear his name.

Brewed to a modified clone recipe for my favourite Thomas Hardies Ale I achieved a staggering 1130 original gravity! An initial mash of 5kgs of NZ ADM Pils Malt was left over night at 70C , the runnings of this were then used to strike a mash of 6kg ADM Pils Malt, 4kg Maris Otter Pale Malt, and 200g Dark Crystal. The runnings of this mash were then boiled in the kettle for 3 hours with 60g of NZ Super Alpha 50g of English Goldings added an hour from the end, 50g of English Fuggels and 40g of NZ Styrians were then added 20min from the end of the boil. The wort was cooled to 24c then divided between 2 corny kegs with a sachet of s-04 added to each, the ferment cooled down to 18c over night and has more or less steadily sat there since. I will pitch another ½ sachet into each fermentor after one week has elapsed.

I also made a small beer of 1045 with a second wash of the mash and hopped this with Super Alpha and NZ Cascade.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Golden Ale Challenge 09

It’s taken me awhile but here is the Golden Ale Challenge round up. Last months Autumn Ales Festival included the Golden Ale Challenge where different brewers brewed a golden ale at the same strength with the same ingredients. We ended up having 3 entry’s One from Brendan, one from Ed and one from me. Ed and myself both brewed English style Golden Ales with the character of the NZ hops shinning through. Brendan on the other hand chose to brew a Kolsh. Ed’s Sugerloaf Gold was definitely the best beer, it was bursting with hop aroma , brilliantly clear with a nice malty backbone. My Golden Challenge was a touch on the young side with a bit of diacetyl and raw grain flavour coming through. Brendan’s Kolsh was pretty good, alittle hazy and estery with a subdued hop character that the style dictates. Half way through the evening both Brendan and Ed admitted they had broken the rules and used Golden Promise instead of Maris Otter (Brendan even tried to make out it was some kind of act of solidarity with his Scottish heritage!) so I won by default. I was drinking Ed’s however. I will come up with a porter challenge for winter.

Autumn Ales Fest 09