Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair Ticket Competition

Hi all.

Alltech have very kindly given me a pairs of ticket to give away for their Craft Brews and Food Fair 23-25th February 2017.

All you have to do is answer this simple question: What was the name of the brewery and beer name that won the Dublin Craft beer cup 2016?

Answers please in the comments section below and the winner will be pick on Friday 10th of February.

Alltech Craft Brews and Food Fair

Friday, December 9, 2016

Minch Irish Grown Wheat Malt and Lemon Drop Hops

The second hop test was set to be Lemon drop in a wheat based saison.  Lemon Drop originally released by HopSteiner in 2012 as Experimental #01210. Its described  super as a Super Cascadian hop edging towards  the lemon end of the spectrum  has a unique combination of fruity and herbal notes, ideal for IPAs, Pale Ales and Saisons.-citrus aroma for late kettle additions or dry hopping. 

In the meantime Shane from The Homebrew Company and Alan from Minch Malt has offer me some of the first Irish what malt try out.  A fantastic first for Ireland and something the industry has been looking for a long while.

How is this unique Irish malt produced: “100% Irish grown wheat is malted on the Boby malting plant to produce unique small batch Irish Wheat Malt. Wheat Malt is made with a similar malting process to malting barley. Slightly shorter steeping time as the wheat does not contain its husk, and therefore absorbs water at a quicker rate to allow for germination. Germination takes places at high moisture content to allow for higher modification of the malt. via Minch Malting’s

Crushing the malt on the Blue Bollox

Mashing in time

Wheat Saison:

Batch Size (L):          24   
Total Grain (kg):         5.20
Anticipated OG:          1.047   
Anticipated SRM:           4.3
Anticipated IBU:          25.6
Brewhouse Efficiency:       70 %

   %       Amount               Name                         
 67.0      3.50 kg.        Minch Hook Head Pale Malt 
 31.0      1.60 kg.        Minch Wheat Malt                   
  2.0       0.10 kg.        Sauer(acid) Malt                            

 Amount     Name                             Boil Time
 15.00 g.     Magnum                            60 min.
 60.00 g.     Lemon Drop                      30 min Hop steep
 30.00 g.     Lemon Drop                      Keg hopping

Mixed house culture of  80% Dupont and 20% French sasion

First runnings

Grain bead after first runnings  

Overlay I found the malt lovely to work with, no issues with milling, stuck mash and even a number of  point higher than I was expecting. The Saison ended up at 1.007-1.008 a point or two higher than I want. However, that was more that I forget to  ramp the fermentation temperature at the end to dry it out a little more.But aside from that you can see for the pictures (below) the wheat malt give great head retention.  As for the Lemon drop, it works will with the Sasion yeast phenols and ester. Adding what I could describe as some citrus and lemon with a touch of menthol on the finish. 

Proof is in the drinking

Below is the second beer I brewed with the new Irish wheat malt. It is a New England IPA or white IPA, whatever floats your boat. The grist below is fairly simple, 



     %       Amount               Name                          
44.2     2.40 kg.             Minch Wheat Malt                   
42.3     2.29 kg.             Minch Hook Head Pale Malt
  4.8     0.26 kg.             Flaked Oats                   
  4.8     0.26 kg.             Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt                     
  3.8     0.21 kg.             Crystal 55L                                               


 Amount     Name                         Boil Time
25.00 g.     Magnum                    60 min.
80.00 g.     Mosaic                       30 min Hop steep
50.00 g.     Mosaic                       Dry Hop

WLP029 German Ale/ Kölsch Yeast

Thank  you again to Shane and Alan for letting me try the lovely hops and Wheat malt out . :) 

Friday, September 23, 2016

Hop Test American Pale Ale : Eureka!

Hop Test American Pale Ale : Eureka!

The moment when Archimedes realised that hop steeping is awesome for aromatics hops!

Shane from The Home Brew Company kindly offered me some of the new hop varieties that recently come to the market to try out. The first up is Eureka! The concept was fairly simple, brew a straight forward APA, not a SMaSH but a recipe that will allow the hop and malt to play together. With Eureka for last/dry hop additions and a batch size will be around 22 liters.

Eureka is decided as An offspring of Apollo and German Merkur, Eureka! has aromas and characteristics of strong herbal notes, pine, mint, grapefruit rind, tangerine, and other citrus. Great for brewers looking for varieties to use in late addition, whirlpool, or “hop stand” hop additions.” Via Some have also called to simcoe  on steroids !

Anticipated OG:                1.050   
Anticipated SRM:              6.8
Anticipated IBU:                38.0
Brewhouse Efficiency:       70 %

Name                                        %     Amount                          
Pale Malt                                   90.0     4.50 kg.
Cara-Pils/ Dextrine Malt           5.0     0.25 kg.                  
Crystal 40L                               5.0     0.25 kg.                    

Amount     Name                            Form        Time
20g.        Herkules                         Whole       60 min.
70g         Eureka                            Pellet        Hopsteep 30 minutes.
30g         Eureka                            Pellet        Dry Hop

Yeast: US-05 , Fermented at 19c for 10 days

Mash in time!

First runnings  

70 grams of Eurka ready for a hop steep 

With an aroma of bright pine needle with tangerine, I found it a real mix of a simcoe and summit with a dank edge and a touch of sulphur on the noise. Very nice on its own but I think it could really shine with something bright like mosaic or on the danker side like Columbus.

An again a big thank you to Shane at The Home Brew Company for the hops

Friday, July 8, 2016

Dancing at Lunasa……..

Pours deep orange in the glass with a lovely very firm fluffy hear head.  The aroma on the noise is of spicy with a touch of pepper from the Belgian yeast following up with orange citrus notes.

Taste wise yeast spices and phenol playing a major role, finish in with a shot but pleasant hop bite. The body was a little bigger and the carbonate a little on the low side than I would have expecting from a Sasion, but did not affect it drinkability.

 It is something that could be quite popular on draft filling on the bar, filling a niche for an a approachable, but with something a little different in a beverage.  An Irish shock top perhaps? Food wise could see it pairing nicely with some fish cakes or  just something to enjoy on a summer's day, BBQing,  if we ever get one again….

A big thank you to Jack Cody's for sending these beers to try 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Summers here ....

Summers here….

Eight Degrees  Mandarina Bavaria (Single Hop):

From the bottle it pours, bottle amber-orange in the glass with a good head. The aroma starts of with some light fruits that then opens up to candy-citrus orange, ending with a pleasant herbal finish.  A beer I would very much like to try on draught and I suspect one you could easily let slip down while out with a few mates. 

Yellow Belly Beer (collaboration) Castway:

Kettle sours have been on the rise in the Irish craft-brewing scene and something I think they are something to seek out, see Kinnegar Brewing range for example.  I had some rune the castaway collaboration beer with YellowBelly, Hope brewery and Shane smith as something to get hold of.  Aroma was up front this topical fruit leading towards a big passion fruit, ending with a slight sour note. I did not detect any acetic acid on the nose, which is usually and indicator of a good kettle sour.

Taste wise upfront pleasant sourness, following with lots of passion fruit all mixing to give a fruit pastille effect. A very good beer and could well be my beer of 2016. 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Through the door: The Open Gate

Through the door: The Open Gate

I was cordially invited to The Open Gates for their Taste of Beer. This event featured a few of the vendors (Shuck London oysters, The Cupcake Bloke, Cúlcow artisan ice cream, The Little Milk Co, Natural bakery, Asian market) that will be at the Taste of Dublin next weekend ( The event was a food and beer pairing with the emphasis on using some of the Open Gate beers in their produce.

Cúlcow artisan ice cream:

A scoop each of the Strawberry porter and Special Export stout ice cream from Cúlcow. Stout ice cream was a first for me, very different but good.  The Strawberry porter was my favorite.

Natural bakery:

Keep with the stout theme, I opted to try there two brown breads that were on offer. With the special ingredient been either the Strawberry porter or Special Export stout. Again like the ice-cream I favored the porter bread over the stout.

The Little Milk Co:

The pairing of cheese and beer is an ancient one and I have yet to find a beer and cheese that did not get along together. However, on their recommendation their blue cheese did really match well with the Special Export stout.

Strawberry Basil Porter:

Interesting beer this, probable best describe the strawberry contribution as subtle. It was there but hard to pick out.  The basil on the other hand was a little more pronounced on the finish.  One that  enjoyed even if the strawberry where a little stage shy. 

Special Export (Belgium version) rum barrel aged:

Much improved on the first version I had and on a visit back before Christmas 2015. Now boasting an extra 4% abv coming that has leached from the rum barrel. A lot of the initial Special export stout flavor had been stripped out buy the barrel, but in its place there was big sherry and rum aromas on the noise. For a 10-11% beer, the alcohol was remarkable well hidden.

Tropical IPA:

A pint at The Open Gate:  Dark golden to amber in color, medium body with a tannic hop finish on the palate.  There look to be a good dose of some sort of dark crystal malt, leaving me to consider it more of an English style IPA or strong bitter. The aroma was of mango-ish hops, which were surprising some of the reviews I have previously heard, also considering it’s filtered and pasteurized to boot. Overall, not in your face hop bomb as one might expect given the name.

At the end of the night, we were present with a growler of it to bring home. It had four day in the fridge before I got around to it.  Sadly, those tropical aromas had departed, reinforcing the suggestion of traditional English ale that one from the US west coast. But  enjoyable no the less. 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Review: “The Blue Bolix” Malt Mill

There are couple of big leaps a number of brewers go through as they delve deeper into home brewing. Going all grain, fermentation temperature control and crushing your own malt. The last was something I had put on the long finger for years. I was always very happy with the crushed malt I bought from the homebrew company since I started all grain brewing.  Thank you to Shane at The Homebrew Company for the chance to review the infamous “The Blue Bolix” malt mill.

With only a small bit of assembly required that of the hopper. It can be a little fiddly works but it is no huge effort. A couple of minutes invested and it’s completed. Therefore, with that done, the first job was to calibrate the two rollers for optimal crush. The consensus is the distance between the rollers should be enough to all a credit card to pass through. This turned out to be an easy process to set and lock in with the clamps at the back of the mill.

A view down the hopper, the design allows the grain to funnel down on to the mill rollers.

The hopper holds around 2kg of malt comfortable; I opted to use the hand crack to crush this malt. However, you can also use a drill for a less strenuous malt crush.  

Nice crush on the lines of what I got from me brew buying pre-crushed malt from the home brew company. The grist by the way as 2kg Pilsner and 2kg Munich malt.

Mash in under way at 66c

Wort happily boiling away, as the gist was 50% pilsner malt I went with a 90-minute boil, to avoid a possible DMS issues. Mash efficiency was 70% bang on what I was working, well done to the Blue Bolix on perfect crush.

Here is the fermentation temperature profile that I went with. It starts with the classic Narziss method, pitching WLP820 two or so degrees below your preferred fermentation temperature and then allowing it to free rise or slowly be heated. Fermentation temperature is maintained for 5-7 days or until 50 %, attenuation is reached. After this period, the fermenter is slowly heated around 2 degrees every 12 hour until 18-20c is reached. Hold this for four or so day 
 and slowly ramp down by 6 degrees every 12 hours to 1c.

A quick check of the FG at kegging, 1.010 right on the number I was hoping for and no stalling fermentation that can be associated with this yeast. Force carbonation and let it sit for a few weeks to lager.

So all in all a very successful début of the "The Blue Bolix" malt mill, easy to use and assemble. A big thank you again to Shane at The Homebrew Company for a use of the mill.