May 2014

After a week the gravity is 1.018 / 8 brix. I hope there’s still a little to more to ferment but looking at the top, the yeast isn’t that active.

Ferm temp was highish at the beginning – pitch about 30, then dropped throughout the week from early 20s, to late 10’s, and finally yesterday to early 10’s – another indication that the yeast isn’t active much now, because the yeast would be warming the fermentation chamber.

Taste is sharp bitterness with slight citrus aroma. Flavour dominated by creamy biscuit, like a creamy baby rusk. I don’t taste distinct hoppiness but I can feel it is┬áthere blending the bitterness and creaminess. I like it and maybe should leave like this, but I still have the memories of my second Swan Lake Amber last week which was too much, so I want some extra hops in the aftertaste – also to balance out the bitterness more.

Added 30g Amarillo and 28g Centennial. The Centennial seems very genki but the Amarillo… I don’t get a great aroma from it, so I’m not sure it’s the very best condition. Hence going for 2oz between the two hops, which might be a tad excessive otherwise for a 13-14L. I’ll need to watch this over the next few days.

I’m leaving 509 out of the fermentation chamber today to raise the temp a little bit – hopefully give the yeast a final boost and allow it to do some cleanup, perhaps get down a few points. I’ll put it back in the chamber tonight.


Up at 6:30am for a brew with the new equipment (mill, kettle, chiller). If you look at the pictures, it all looks like it went swimmingly. Did it b#ll#cks.





Apart from screwing up the first hop addition with almost double the bittering hops and having to recalculate the recipe, and apart from the little one getting up and throwing up half way through the brew (thankfully not in the brew), I ended up 5 1/2 litres short from the boil. Over 25% short of the intended 20L.


A combination of collecting a little bit less from the mash+sparge than intended, a very vigorous boil from the new kettle, and underestimating the amount of water the hops would absorb contribute… ut I can still barely believe it was 5 1/2 litres short.

The 14 1/2L was stronger than anticipated, but after calculating how much I could water down to reach the planned final gravity (1 1/2L) I decided not to bother – 14 1/2L will fit in a mini-keg with a few bottle to spare.

So clearly I have some homework to do. But sod that, I have beer brewing and it’s Sunday night. Time for curry.



Very nice those Parrot Pale & IPA’s. From NZ but they use Maris Otter, which gives a subtle bread/biscuit taste. And co-incidentally, bread and biscuit flavours were the aim of today’s brew, with a Amber (Biscuit) malt, Munich (II – Dark), and Maris Otter.

509: New Equipment Crack-of-dawn Amber

Intended recipe below, recalculated after screwing up the first addition. Result was 14.5L fermentation at 1.057.

IBU 113
Alc 5.1%
OG 1.052
FG 1.013

70% efficiency
23.28L Boil
20L Fermentation

3.2kg Maris Otter
1.0kg Munich II
0.5kg Amber
0.16kg Carared
0.15kg Crystal 60L

27g Zeus (17.5% AA, FWH + 60 min)
15g Amarillo (8.9% AA, 15 min)
15g Centennial (10.5% AA, 15 min)
15g Chinook (14.2% AA, 15 min)
32g Amarillo (8.9% AA, 5 min)
32g Centennial (10.5% AA, 5 min)
32g Chinook (14.2% AA, 5 min)
32g Amarillo (aroma)
32g Centennial (aroma)
32g Chinook (aroma)


Best pils I have had in a long time. I made damn similar with my first ever pils (the beer which actually made me appreciate pils). Have never been able to replicate it again.


This is what brewing is all about. Making beer that tastes better than the majority of beers out there.

After a week of Citra dry-hopping and force carbed and chilled overnight, 507 tastes absolutely gorgeous. The photo doesn’t do it justice. Fresh malts, and abundance of hop aroma, and the complexity of all those hops together.

I don’t need to fake pleasure enjoying this. I could drink the full keg of this tonight.


Pilsner Malt
Maris Otter

Now all I need is the malt mill. Hopefully I will have one next week.


You are looking at 506 Coconut Pils (in a slightly muddy dark photo). After bottling with 3g of sugar, this now tastes gorgeous. I’m astonished. A definite success when it comes to beer rescuing.

Unlike 504 Black Rock Export Pilsner Saaz’d Up. Unsurprisingly it’s the same base as 506, and despite the saaz, and despite keg hopping with a bag of chinook, it still tastes sugary, tingly, and not at all drinkable. I contemplated ditching the keg, but after 506 working out so well, I’ve decided to do something rather radical.

Another 200g of unsweetened coconut. Roasted. Put in a muslin bag soaked in starsan. And popped in the keg (after taking out the chinook).

This will probably go wrong for all sorts of reasons. The hot coconut hitting the 4 degrees beer. The muslin bag that discoloured the starsan solution from previous hops or grain. And the fact that you can’t be lucky TWICE, can you?

Still if it does work out, I could definitely enjoy a full keg of Coconut Pils.

Completely screwed up the chilling on this by using the ice while it was still slush. Got nowhere near the right temps.


Final size 20L. Boil 11L.
Bitterness:38 IBU
OG:1.020 FG:1.008

Steeping (in 2L 65-70 degrees)
100g American crystal 60L
40g American crystal 30L

1kg Light dry malt extract

14g Simcoe (14.5% AA, 10 min.)
14g Centennial (10.5% AA, 10 min.)
14g Mosaic (12.5% AA, 10 min.)
14g Simcoe (14.5% AA, 5 min.)
14g Centennial (10.5% AA, 5 min.)
14g Mosaic (12.5% AA, 5 min.)

Split the fermentation chamber in two to handle two fermenters on the go (the other has 507 with 30g Citra dry hopping). Was impressed by the fermentation chamber before splitting it – with extra foam tiles it consistently kept temps 7 degrees cooler than room temps, and it would maintain the temp for more than 24 hours. Will be less effective split in two tonight but I hope to free some more plastic storage boxes over the next few days.

22nd May 2014: I wouldn’t recommend making this. Something didn’t quite work with it; the hops flavours did’t come through. It may be because I used bags for the hops. Dry hopping didn’t help either – but that also may be because I used bags for the hops. In any case, it didn’t work. After dry hopping with Simcoe, Centennial, and Citra, I ended up blending it with another 503 (Pils) to create something drinkable, but not quite what I wanted.

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