Calling all turophiles!
Archives for September 2013
Inside the box was a 5 litre demijohn, a bag of hoses, a bottle brush, and an airlock, and a calico bag.
Within the calico bag were a bag of light malt, sanitizer, malt grains, detailed instructions, and another bag of ingredients.
Within the bag of ingredients were Wattle seeds, yeast, and three bags of hops pellets. One for bitterness and two for flavour.
So the big difference with this kit and an extract can type kit is that you have to steep the grains and add the hops during the process. It takes a bit longer, however it was very interesting performing the entire process myself. All the utensils were readily available in my kitchen. Things like a strainer, two pots, a stirring spoon, and funnel.
So let me step you through the basic process (for a more detailed process, check out the videos on the Brew Smith site). Firstly you add the grains and wattle seeds to some water which is about 70C. These steep while you prepare the other ingredients.
Then in a large stockpot add water, bring to the boil and add the first bag of hops (labelled add me first) and the malt. I then lowered the heat to medium and then during the process added the second bag of hops.
Once about 45 minutes of boiling is completed, you add the strained liquid from the grains to the malt and hops liquid (wort) and the final finishing bag of hops. Stir well. Then cool it all down in the sink. The sink is half filled with cold water to get the wort down below 30C.
Whilst waiting for it to cool, you sanitize all the brewing equipment, which is quite an easy process and essential in any fermentation process. It kills any wild yeasts that may infect the brew.
One comment I have to add in was there is much more packaging with this form of brewing. I figured that it was plastic type 4, which can be recycled, and I placed it in our plastic recycling bag to be deposited when next I visited the supermarket.
Once the wort has been cooled for about 30 minutes, you add the wort to the demijohn, add the yeast sachet, top up with water and shake the heck out of it. I found that you have to be careful not to drop it as it is quite heavy. Push the long hose into the bung, and place the bung in the demijohn and the other end in a bottle filled with sanitizer solution. It bubbles away like this for a couple of days, then you add the normal airlock.
One final observation which would be a nice touch, would be to add the full description of each ingredient on the bags and what role it has in the process. This extra information would be the icing on the cake.
So there you have it. This is the stage I am up to right now. The beer has been brewing for two days, with lots of CO2 being generated by the yeast. I will fit the airlock tonight, and let it completely brew out.
Once I have bottled the beer (in my own saved bottles), I will be sending back the clean demijohn and other equipment to BrewSmith. I decided that the only gift I would accept would be the beer itself (which I made).
After the in-bottle fermentation is completed I will write up a taste test. It should make up about thirteen 330ml bottles. After the initial investment of the kit, refills are $20 or $1.50 per stubbie. Quite economical compared to commercial beer which is about double the price for the same volume.
I think that this type of brewing is called a mini-mash, but I may be mistaken. The process was easy to follow, and I believe that if you can follow a normal recipe then you can brew beer. I am looking forward to the taste test in a few weeks time!
Have any of you made beer from scratch using a similar method?
On Thursday night, I was invited to attend the book launch event for Changing Gears, by Greg Foyster, where there were over 80 guests.
I had never been to a book launch before, let alone one with a bicycle theme, but was willing to support my friends Greg and Sophie. Besides, there was free solar brewed beer and food. 😉
It was held in the Affirm Press HQ located in South Melbourne, in what looked like their loading bay. Nice open space, and along the lines of the simplicity mantra of making do with what you have. There were wooden pallets leaned up against one wall to be used as bike racks. Very nice.
Anyway, on to the photos and my perspective of the event!
Future Spark supplied two bikes that have generators attached, and the electricity generated from them was to power the PA system during the speeches. Here is Greg showing everyone how it works.
Good Cycles kindly offered to provide a free bike assessment and tune-up for cyclists, so everyone was encouraged to ride their bike to the event. The mechanic must have repaired/tuned about 15 bikes on the night.
Then there was the food. It was supplied by TacoBike, owned by Cara Munro. The vegetarian tacos were delicious. All served off a trailer attached to a bike, naturally.
And of course, a book launch wouldn’t be complete without beverages on a bike!
These were supplied by The Good Brew Co, owned by the cheeky Dean O’Callaghan, who’s beer, cider, and soft drinks (magic tea) were too good to refuse. His Pilsner was outstanding! I can only say that I did partake in lots of beer cart chat and the odd beverage! Thankfully, shanks pony and public transportation were my designated driver for the evening.
Then it was on with the speeches. With the Future Spark bikes whirring away, Greg was introduced by Michael Green, a journalist who once upon a time interviewed me for The Age newspaper (he is freelance). Nice to meet him in person, a great guy and you can check out his blog, http://www.michaelbgreen.com.au/. Nice introduction as well.
Then there was Greg’s speech. Anyone who knows Greg would understand when I said he over prepared for it. At the start of the evening he showed me his three pages of prose, but in the end, after he had just finished peddling for Michaels introduction, he was out of breath and just winged it. He kept it short and sweet (10 minutes), but meaningful. I think he really captured the essence of the book.
Then it was Sophie’s turn on the milk crate podium. She ended up reading out all of the daggy things that Greg got up to on their trip up to Cairns. It was hilarious! Both Greg and Sophie spent the rest of the evening book signing, which is what the author does at a book launch.
I spent time working the floor, meeting new people including Greg’s Mum and Dad who mentioned that they loved my podcast interview with Greg and Sophie. Apparently, according to Greg’s Mum, I sound just like Shane Jacobson (aka Kenny), and very down to earth. Well there you go, who would have known!
Then, after many beers with my new friends Samuel Alexander and his partner Helen aka FunkBunny (pictured above in her riding gear), it was time to walk to the tram stop, take a little trip to Southern Cross Station and catch my v-Line train home.
I had a great evening, albeit a late one, arriving home at around 11pm. If all book launches are like this one, I want to be invited every week.
You can catch Greg and Sophie on their cycling book tour. They are currently riding from Melbourne to Sydney and stopping frequently along the way. You can see their itinerary at this link (scroll to the middle of the page); http://simplelives.com.au/book/. I highly recommend their book and please take the time to say gidday if they are in your neck of the woods.
It was great to be surrounded by so many like minded people, don’t you think? Have you ever been to an event where you just fitted in perfectly?