11 November 2010


5 gallons of beer fermenting at Gerry's house ...

Fine Lemon Wine

Well today I made my first batch of Fine Lemon Wine.

I put in two liters of fresh squeezed lemon juice
3189 + 315 grams of sugar
2 grams of tartaric acid
Water to 22 Liters
Yeast from a riesling I just racked
4 tsp of yeast nutrient
3/4tsp of tannin

Came to a SG of 1065 tossed the yeast and watched it ferment!

I will keep an eye on it once it reaches 1005 I will put in another liter of lemon juice and two more tsp of yeast nutrient and then rack to a secondary a few days later.

10 November 2010

Reflections on brewing

I suppose sometime I ought to think about this. I have in my house right now:

Cider - Bulk storage ready to bottle anytime I want to
Cab/Merlot - Just put into the secondary, bubbling nicely
Riesling - Just put in the secondary, starting to bubble
Sugar Wash - Started yesterday
Lemon Wine - Pitched the yeast about 10 minutes ago

Add to that in one imperial gallon carboys:

Kiwi - Ready to bottle anytime I want to
Lavender - Just put in secondary three days ago

And I am wanting to start a wisteria wine...

04 November 2010


Took some readings today:

Lavender SG - 1.06+
Cab-Merlot - 1.04+
Riesling - 1.05+

31 October 2010

Lavender Wine

Today I made Lavender wine!

1Kg Sugar
2LT Water
85 Lavender Flowers (2 stems I forgot to remove)
1 Lemon squeezed
1/8 tsp of Tannin
1 tsp of Yeast Nutrient

Boil the water put in the lemon and sugar. Poor over Lavender flowers, Tannin, and nutrient.

Let cool.

Add 2LT of fermenting white wine of your choice (I had a riesling going at the time.)

Top up to 4.250 in primary.

Starting Gravity - 1040! Oh my that is not right.

So I added some more water, and some more water, and some more water. I have the SG down to 1010 which I think is too high as well. God knows how much liquid is in the primary right now, I expect I have somewhere near 6LT. It tastes pretty good sweet and full of lavender.

Lessons learned. Don't wing it calculate it! I followed a recipe for 3.8LT and up scaled it to 4.5LT by adding 10% more sugar and lavender flowers.

29 August 2010

Tasting Note

Well well well. You don't need all that candy sugar and hops to have a belgian flavor. All you need is some yeast from a bottle of Chimay Blue.

This (both the Chimay, and Number 17) is a great beer. I wish I could say that it was something that I had done, but truth be known with the exception of using that cup of yeast siphoned off from No. 16 I have been keeping in the fridge I did nothing different than one of our bog standard beers.

The beer itself is dark amber in color, light, and has a wonderful effervescence. More to come as it ages ...

21 August 2010

Tasting note ...

Well well well that was good. So very very good. Kind of one dimensional but definitely in the belgian camp. I can't wait for another 6 weeks as it was only two weeks in the bottle.

A simple brew ...

Number 18 was a very different brew.

We got a 1.5kg can of some lager or another.
and 1kg of dextrose malodextrose (to give it a nice head the label said)
Added 100g of crystal malt
15g of Motueka (7.8%) at the start of the boil
7g of Golding (5.3%) at the end of the boil
tsp of irish moss

Couldn't tell you how long we boiled it for as I was preoccupied doing something else.

1035 SG

Time will tell ...

19 August 2010

tasting note

Really we are not suppose to discuss tasting on the day we bottled. But Gerry got a mouth full when he siphoned it to the primary (I think he does that on purpose) so I poured myself a wee glass out of the primary.

Wow that was great. The belgian yeast really changed the character of the brew. I can't wait to see what it tastes like in a few weeks.

18 August 2010

note to self

don't carry a carboy whilst walking on a wet grassy slope. And if per chance you are let your bum hit the ground in lieu of the big glass bottle that shatters so very spectacularly.

08 August 2010

No problem here

Was a very good brew.

06 August 2010

Belgian Ale

We bottled the Belgian Ale today. It was a beautiful event putting that dark brown heavenly liquid into the bottles. The very first bottle we filled was the Chamay Blue from which it all started, we then did another 15 330ml bottles as this is a heavy beer that is best had in small quantities (well at least we hope so!) All in all we bottled 25 liters.

Two months seems like a real long time to wait ...

01 August 2010

Monique's Turn


Monique here, so now it's my turn.

The house has become a bit of a brewers heaven for Tom and Gerry but not I have to say for me. I have 3 dozen beer, 1/2 dozen wine (which I don't like) and a large barrel of something reddish and vile smelling in the corner of the wardrobe in our master bedroom. There is a old cupboard sat almost in the centre of my dining room with another barrel of something that hasn't taken - the yeast has not made the usual lovely plopping and gurgling sounds that I have come to know well. (Notice the missing "know and love well") I am so looking forward to the "Monique's favorite" beer but so far have not been offered one sampling.

Here is hoping some day they will remember me and offer a wee glass.

I do have to say that I have been impressed in their fervor and passion. If either one of you read this may I ask that the outside beer cupboard be built sooner rather then later.


29 July 2010

belgian yeast again

This day we made a normal brew but through in some of the belgian yeast we had been saving.

We started with the a 1.7kg
750g of malt of some sort and 250g of Monique's organic sugar (thank you Monique)
Added 100g of crystal malt
5g of NZ Hallerbeu (sp?) at 40 minutes
10g of Motueka at 20 minutes
15g of Golding at 5 minutes
1 tsp Irish Moss

29 June 2010

More train

I generally ride the train downtown in the mornings, and take the bus home in the evenings.

Wellington Metro trains are so very old. Yesterday on my way into town (ironically on the bus - long story) I was talking to a long time wellintonian about the arrival of new cars on the Johnsonville line (my line) I was wondering why they were replacing perfectly serviceable trains abet old.

He informed me that recently Kiwi Rail approached a local museum to offer to refurbish one of their cars on display.

Of course there is a catch.

They needed to put the car in service for a few years as there is a shortage of cars and spare parts to operate them.

The museum piece was too tempting to pass up all its spare parts laying there unused for 20 years or so.

New cars are on the way they are wider but I expect still will not have any leg room.

27 June 2010

Sunday afternoon draft

Today I went to our brewhause to create another cullinary masterpiece (to make up for 13 & 14 - more on that later)

1 Can of Coopers Draft
250g of Crystal Malt
750g of Spray Malt
250g of Organic (very expensive she says staring at me and gritting her teeth) Golden Fair trade sugar
30g of Hops full boil Hallerbutu
15g of Saaz (moteau)
1tsp of Irish Moss

12 June 2010

Houston we have a problem

not a major problem, i don't think. but the brew is flat, flat as a pancake. could be because i kept it in the basement for the two weeks. oh well what a loss, will let you know in two if it is any good.

03 June 2010

Belgian Ale

Them there trappist monks have come up with quite a wonderful brew, or two. There is no reason why we cannot duplicate it here at home, especially if we can get the yeast ... and I did just that. I bought a bottle of chamay ale, not just any bottle, but chamay blue the best of the best, and I cultured the yeast. that means I decanted all but the last dregs of the bottle and tossed that into a small jar of warm diluted wort and let it go to town. Now two weeks later we have enough yeast to start a five gallon batch of belgian ale.

Bulletproof Monk
16-E Belgian Specialty Ale
Author: Rumshpringa Brewing

Size: 5.0 gal
Original Gravity: 1.070
Terminal Gravity: 1.018
Color: 19.1
Alcohol: 6.97%
Bitterness: 65.9

Following is the recipe. Slightly modified in that I made a 26ltr batch due to having a bit more malt than it called for:

Light Lager 300 steep 20 min
Crystal Malt 214
Malt 3600.0 boil 60 min
Candi Sugar 1028.6g
NZ Hallertau 64.0g
NZ Goldings 32.0g boil 20 min
Motueka 32.0g
Irish Moss 1tsp boil 5 min
Water 26.0Ltr

My original gravity was suppose to be 1.070. I measured it at 1.048. So I added another 250g of crystal malt to move my gravity up to 1053. I don't know why it is so low as I did follow the directions very carefully.

No I wait for the wort to cool off to room temperature to pitch the yeast. I sure hope this works.

05 May 2010

Cooper's Draft
Cooper's Brewing Sugar

250g Crystal Grain
100g Light Lager
30min 15min 0min
NZ Hallertau 10g 5g
Stickenbract 15g 15g


our second attempt at making Monique's Favorite Brew did not turn out as well as the first attempt. Not that I am conplainging for the brew is deligtful and anyone would be proud to have made it (and even happier to drink it.)

Gerry's very cynical neighbor was quite impressed with this particular brew. He sat there for 10 minutes looking suspisiously at the full glass. When Gerry left the room he tasted it and upon Gerry's return it was empty with a pleasing look for more in his eys. Gerry also claims this very same neighborhood gathering he went through six bottles of No. 11. And as his whole allotment was 15 bottles that was a very expensive gathering.

Now for the notes ...

It taste great and is less filling. What I mean is that there is an excellent hoppy smell and flavour (notice the kiwi spelling.) The mouth is a bit watery. It needs more something, as I am not an expert at that that may be I will have to ask within the brewing club.

24 March 2010

Monique's - The second attempt

For this second attempt at Monique's Special Brew (see No. 3 for the first) we have started with coopers lager. It was cheap but more importantly it was around the corner at the grocery store. Then we added a kilo of Chez Pilsner Malt in lieu of sugar.

I felt like living it up so we put in a bit more of the crystal malt and lager grain to see what that would do to it. And we shuffled around the hops a bit not changing the quantity just the time in the wort.

200g Crystal Grain
50g Light Lager
30min 15min 0min
NZ Hallertau 10g 5g
Stickenbract 15g 15g
Organic Hops 5g

The method is the same:

Steep the Grain
Boil the wort, put in the hops at the appropriate hour.
Mix it up with water in the fermenter.
(We did run the malt through a sieve to remove all the dried Organic Hops.)
Toss on the yeast and pray.

17 March 2010


Today we put down a merlot - Celler Classique Super Tuscan 18LT kit to be precise. This kit has three extra liters of juice, and two extra envelopes of stuff! Those additional envelopes are key. The first one had genuine American Oak shavings and the second one (well it was really a plastic jar) had real crushed merlot grape skins (5.5lbs of real winery stems and seeds.)

These two additions are suppose to give the final product the mouth you have come to know and love in store bought merlot. I would normally not fork out so much money for a kit however it was on sale at 30% off and was within the budget I have so we went for it.

The mixing was uneventful, well except for shoving those aforementioned grape skins into the little muslin bag.

Bottling ...

We bottled the second cider today and the second wine. Gerry came on over with a bunch of bottles, I obviously have been slack in my drinking and have only put away 12 bottles of beer in the past month!

The actual bottling was a bit of a fiasco.

We started with the cider as it was in the primary fermenter ...

Once we were ready we realized that Gerry had left his little extension at home we use for the bottling. So Gerry goes off and gets it while I got things ready.

I got the beer bottles sterilized, rinsed and primed. I primed the bottles with a heaping measured teaspoon of sugar. Last time I used a teaspoon from our flatware set. The results were a somewhat insipid flat cider. At least time it will have gusto when it comes out of the bottle.

So Gerry comes back with the attachment and says I ought to get one of my own so that he doesn't have to run back and forth. I said "No, I would be tempted to bottle on my own and I would much rather do it with you. Besides that you have the capper ..." We looked at each other with blank faces as he reached for his keys to go back to his house.

Mind you his house is not that far away, just a quick 10 minute drive ... in all fairness to Gerry it does seem real far when you do it six times in a day (don't ask how I know.) It did give me enough time to get all the wine bottles ready so I don't think it added too much time to

Minimal mishaps after this. We just got in to our bottling routine used all but one of the beer bottles for the cider. All went well.

After cleaning the primary we racked the wine into it. The racking only takes a long time when you want it to go fast. We realized that Gerry should have brought his primary with him one of the three times he came today!

At the end of the day we realized that we had not even drunk the beer that I had put in the fridge for the evening festivities. With all the running back and forth we had missed the whole purpose of this activity ... to drink good beer!

Well here is Gerry bottling the wine ...

22 February 2010

Cider #2

Today I whipped up another batch of cider in an attempt to duplicate scrumpy.

1x Can of Cider Mix
2x Lemons
20g Ginger
2028g Sugar

I squeezed the lemons and then tossed the whole things right into the must.
Sugar was 2028 because I couldn't be bothered taking the 28g out of the pile.
Ginger was graded.
Into the primary fermenter and sprinkled the yeast on top.

08 February 2010

Getting Lazy

So today we started another wine.  The Riesling was a hit so we just did another.  This kit is a 15Ltr kit verses the previous 12.5Ltr kit.  We followed the normal procedures.  Mix up the clay, add the concentrate, add the water to temp and volume.

The only difference is the flavor enhancer (sweetener) we added at the primary fermentation as opposed to after we stop the process.  That is because we thought the previous was a bit too sweet and we wanted a dryer wine this time.

Now as to being lazy, measuring the starting gravity.  We don't know!

The beer hydrometer did not go that low. We are too lazy to drive to my house and get the wine hydrometer and take a reading.  Alas we will never know the potential alcohol of this wine!  Not too worried we plan on drinking it admits friends so we will take a punt if asked.

24 January 2010

2nd Georgie

2x Georgie Lager
1 Kilo table sugar
180g Crystal Malt
30g Light Lager

                                  40min              25min               0min
Hallertau                      15g                    5g                   10g
Stickenbrach                10g                                             5g

The process today went without problem.  Except for turning on the wrong burner.  (that would be me -- Tom who did that one) The wort never got to a boil and I thought it was the stove!

Starting Gravity  1051
Final  Gravity     1014

08 January 2010

Georgie Sternlof Lager

First brew of the new year!  Good to get back to the fun.

Having had such great success at doubling up the malt we are keeping on with our plan.  This time we have chosen Georgie.  The reason would be they are in stock ... the end of our cheap kits!

2x Georgie Lager
1x Powdered Pilsner Malt
180g Crystal Malt
30g Light Lager

                                  40min              25min               0min
Hallertau                      15g                    5g                   10g
Stickenbrach                10g                                             5g

The process today went without problem.  Except for turning on the wrong burner.  (that would be me -- Tom who did that one) The wort never got to a boil and I thought it was the stove!

Starting Gravity  1051
Final  Gravity     1015