Richard P Grant and his BioLOG (biolog); the wee blog, weblog, or web blog; things not necessarily biology related. The anti-blogger.


22 March 2008

This is spinal tap

A voluptuous little number…

(There should be a couple of images in this entry.  If you’re using Firefox, you might not see them)

This beer is full bodied, flavourful and about 10% ABV (I want to say ‘it goes to eleven’…) . Appropriate precautions are recommended. It’s only a week old, so it can only get better.


  • 7 kg wheat (including a few dozen weevils)
  • 25 g Tettnang hops
  • 1 kg dextrose
  • 1 kg Coopers Brew Enhancer #1
  • 1 oz coriander seeds
  • 11.5 g Safbrew WB-06 yeast

Day 1

Washed the wheat well to get rid of chaff and weevils, and soaked from ~13h to 21:30. Drained and rested overnight. Seven kg is about 2 kg more than I’d normally use, but the last batch was not very strong and I wanted to use the wheat up.

Day 2: Germination

Washed again, and added water to cover at 08:30. Drained about 18h, and put into various roasting dishes, casserole pots etc. in plastic bags in the dark.

Day 5: Drying

This time I pushed the germination for an extra day, as it was a bit cooler than the last time.


Took about 1/6th of the total amount and dried/roasted in the Weber gas barbecue (up to 80 – 90°C). I dried the rest in a very slow but ‘normal’ fan oven, over the following two nights.

Day 7: Milling and mashing

This time, I used the large blender on the Kenwood. When I was certain the grain (light malt) was dry I blended it in 1 1/4 – 1 1/2 pint batches, in 30 s – 1 minute bursts on high. About 3.9 kg of this went through the colander, and I re-blended the remaining 1.6 kg grain the same way.

For the dark malt, I finished the drying b y roasting at 125°C for about 20 minutes. Some of the grains had burned while on the gas, but I blended all 1.1 kg of it in 1 1/2 pint lots, once, hard. It smelled of nuts and chocolate and coffee; quite incredible!

I heated 15l water to 53°C in the ‘big’ barrel and added all the light malt, and let sit for about 45 minutes. I took half of the mash and warmed it in the stock pot through 60 – 70 °C for about an hour, then heated to 80 – 90 °C for 30 minutes. In the meantime I boiled up the dark malt in about half a gallon (bit more), strained it, sparged with 2 l boiling water, then boiled the combined extract with the hops for about half an hour.

I poured the boiling ‘coffee’/hops mixture over the dextrose and brew enhancer, mixed it up and combined with the first light mash (I used extra dextrose and brew enhancer because the previous batch, although fantastic to taste, was rather weak and I wanted to boost the ABV. Turns out that I’ve got the malting and milling right this time, and needn’t have worried. . .). We strained the light mash through a muslin bag and sparged with a few litres of boiling water.

I threw in about an ounce of whole coriander seeds to the mix, and mashed the second batch of light malt at 60 – 70 °C for about an hour. Again, this was strained into the existing mix, and the whole brought up to 21 l by pouring boiling water through the bag. In retrospect, I should have taken it to 23l, or even more.

Days 8 – 15: Fermentation

Next day, the mash was down to 34 °C. This was a little high, but the weather had turned warm again and the mash was not going to cool quickly. I was worried about contamination (as in the first wheat batch I ever tried) so I thought ‘sod it’ and threw the yeast on top. I measured the SG at 1070.

Ploppy beer – end of Day 8.

The following Sunday, although the plopping hadn’t quite stopped, the specific gravity had been steady at 1005 for two days, so we bottled it. This is equivalent to ~8.5 % ABV, before the priming sugar ferments. . .

Today is day 21. It’s drinkable, already. It’s very strong, and we’re going to attempt to forget about it for a couple of weeks, and get our livers into some serious training.

Kate stealing the Spinal Tap

Filed under: beer,Beer recipes — Tags: , , — rpg @ 19:10

2 March 2008



  • 1 can Coopers Lager™
  • 1 can Morgans Caramalt™
  • 1 kg dextrose
  • Cascade Bohemian Yeast™

Day 1: SG 1045

Day 10: SG 1012

Day 17: SG 101

Bottled into 30 x 750 ml PET bottles with 7 g priming sugar per bottle.


Six weeks after bottling and being tasted by a colleague who proclaimed “I don’t like homebrew” it rated a “bloody fantastic”.

Definitely more of a cooler climate brew – the caramalt added a wonderful rich finish to it. Another one to be brewed again methinks.

Filed under: Beer recipes — Tags: , , , — rpg @ 14:08

Spicy Goat


  • 1 can Cascade Spicy Ghost™
  • 500 g dextrose
  • 500 g powdered malt extract
  • 250 g powdered corn syrup
  • 2 fresh red thai chillies

We used Windsor Ale yeast

Day 1: SG 1040

Day 7: SG 1010

Bottled into 30 x 750 ml PET bottles using Coopers Carbonation Drops™ to prime.


Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, quite a lot of burpitude with this brew. Will definitely be doing this one again.

Filed under: Beer recipes — Tags: , , , — rpg @ 13:39


There is a honey research group at USyd and who regularly have vast quantities of honey going spare. We thought that mead was a good idea…


  • 5 kg honey (a mixture of leptospermum, banksia and eucalyptus)
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon and 1 lime
  • 1 tsp each of: coriander seed and cloves
  • 1 piece of liquorice bark approx. 4 cm in length
  • 3 pieces of cassia bark approx. 4 cm each in length
  • 1 black cardamom pod, split
  • 1 nutmeg freshly ground
  • 25 g Fuggles finishing hops
  • Made it up to 23 litres

We used Lanvin EC118 champagne yeast and kept the fermentor at a reasonably constant 22 °C.

Day 1: SG >1050 but we didn’t have a hygrometer capable of measuring any further at the time.

Day 49: SG 1020

Day 67: SG 0995

Day 84: Racked it off into a clean barrel and added 1 tsp finings

Day 102: SG 0993 bottled into 30 x 750 ml PET bottles – no priming involved this time.


Two months after bottling it was clear and slightly fizzy. Very dry.

The honey has given it a very strong flavour (yum) and I prefer to dilute it a bit with lemonade.

Filed under: Beer recipes — Tags: , — rpg @ 13:31



  • 1 can Coopers Cerveza™
  • 1 kg Coopers Light Dry Malt™

Day 1: SG 1040

Day 10: SG 1016 and added 1/2 tsp yeast

Day 15: SG 1015 added finings

Day 16: Bottled 30 x 750 ml PET bottles, 7 g priming sugar per bottle


Day 32: Nice flavour but not very fizzy

Two months later it was crystal clear and tasted wonderful. V. fizzy. Perhaps the cooler climate (Southern Hemisphere Autumn) meant we should bottle condition for longer.

Filed under: Beer recipes — Tags: , , — rpg @ 13:07

Ginger Beer


  • 1 can Brigalow Ginger Beer™
  • 1 kg Dextrose
  • 1 x Coopers Beer Enhancer No.2™
  • 1/2 cup of grated fresh ginger

Day 1: SG 1035

Day 10: SG 1005, 1g gelatin added (finings)

Day 13: Bottled 30 x 750 ml PET bottles with 7 g priming sugar per bottle


Sediment settled nicely and brew remained slightly cloudy. Nice flavour but needed more ginger. We have since discovered cans contain precious little ginger. I think we will make it up from scratch next time…

Filed under: Beer recipes — Tags: — rpg @ 12:54

First Batch Ever

We will be making our homebrew recipes available for all ((hic)).  Kate will be writing them up and they will be in a separate category for your Bacchanalian pleasure.


  • 1 can Brigalow Ale ™
  • 500 g powdered malt extract

Day 1: SG 1040

Day 8: SG 1010, finings added

Day 13: Bottled 30 x 750 ml PET – used 7 g priming sugar per bottle.


Crystal clear! The ‘homebrew’ tang took approx. three weeks to clear.

We saved a couple of bottles and had them a year later – still wonderful!

Filed under: Beer recipes — Tags: , , — rpg @ 10:26

31 January 2008

Good head

You might remember my promise to try again with the wheat beer.

Beer, ready to drink

Well, the hopped cerveza (called ‘Kanga Beer’, because — well, look, if you need me to explain it won’t really be worth it) worked a treat so I tried again. This time I didn’t have Chu Kong and Pearson ‘helping’ me, and actually got as far as bottling it before nicking off to Enzed for a couple of weeks. There was a faintly sulphurous nose when I bottled it, so I thought that leaving it 3 weeks at least would be a Good Plan.


And by crikey but it’s good. Citrus flavours at the top, and very refreshing with it. Rather gassy (look at the head on it!) and the faintest whiff of sulphur towards the bottom, but that should disappear with more aging (and indeed, it’s less pungent than a commercial summer wheat beer that we bought in NZ. Beats that one into a cocked barrel, it does).

Only downside is that there’s only 13 12 bottles left. Better get your skates on, this is available for a limited time only.


Filed under: beer — rpg @ 21:29

24 January 2008

A real Kiwi bloke


We’re back.

Filed under: beer,nu zillund,toys — rpg @ 10:23

7 December 2007

One bourbon, one scotch, one blog – Part VI

Brew was infected.  I’ll try again when we’ve made some hoppy Cerveza.

Filed under: beer — rpg @ 22:15
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