AG#21 Stanley Bay – NZ Pale Ale

I’ve gone on about this brew a bit too much, but I’m excited about it and I shan’t apologise!  I wanted to try to clone Hawkshead’s NZPA, I really don’t like the term ‘clone’ as it implies success before you even roll your sleeves up.  I prefer to say that it’s a bad copy of the original.  We’ll see.  So, it was a late brewday and didn’t mash in until 19:40.  Add to this a hard week at work and an ill-thought-out trip to the pub on the way home to imbibe some Anchor Old Foghorn.  Despite these things, it was probably the most straightforward brew I’ve done.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.056
Final Gravity (FG): 1.010
Alcohol (ABV): 6.1%
Colour (SRM): 7.0 (EBC): 13.8
Bitterness (IBU): 45.9 (Average)

3.8kg Golden Promise Pale Malt
0.300kg Caramalt
0.200kg Vienna
0.150kg Pale Wheat Malt
0.150kg Munich I
0.150 Melanoidin Malt

15g Green Bullet (12.7% Alpha) (First Wort)
10g Motueka (7.8% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
10g NZ Cascade (8.5% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
15g Motueka (7.8% Alpha) @10 Minutes (Boil)
15g NZ Cascade (8.5% Alpha) @10 Minutes (Boil)
75g Motueka (7.8% Alpha) @0 Minutes (steep @80C)
75g NZ Cascade (8.5% Alpha) @0 Minutes (steep @80C)

Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), 1 tsp gypsum (mash).  My weighing scales aren’t great and I only require 3-4g, which is a tsp (approx).  Same rule for the epsom salts in the boil.  I really should start looking at my water profile to suit beer style.

Strike temp of 75C, 12.0L liquor for 4.8kg grain.  Mashed in at 66C (single step infusion).

Mashed for 60 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 78C (strike temp 86C), 20.60L liquor. First runnings from the mash were 1.090 20C.  Didn’t take a pre-boil gravity, whoops.

First wort hops were Green Bullet.  I haven’t added hops in this way many times, but may start to do so as standard, my thinking here is that the software tells me ‘X’ IBU’s, but in reality it’s probably a lower extraction than that?  Anyway, as more experienced folk than me keep saying, we (the beer-drinking humans) can’t detect the difference of 5IBU’s either way.

Added the all important protofloc tablet at 15 minutes and remembered to add my immersion chiller this time!  At 80C I added the 150g of Motueka and Cascade.  Cooled the wort down to 22C and then transferred to the FV, pitching the dry US05 yeast in about half way through the run-off.  I’ve started doing this with dry yeast as the drop to the FV aerates the wort and means I don’t need to sanitise a spoon / one less risk of introducing nasties.

Collected my target of 21L of wort post boil with SG of 1.056.  Slightly above my target of 1.054, but nothing worth worrying about.  If the yeast attenuates as per my guesswork it’ll make the beer 6.4%.  A tad stronger than NZPA, but who’s counting!

I’ll be dry hopping in the FV with Nelson Sauvin at a rate of 4.8g/L.  I’d use more if I had it.

Update: 08/10/12 Dry hopped with 100g Nelson Sauvin and 50g Motueka (7.1g/l).

Update: 22/10/12 Bottled 18L, batch primed with 45g sugar syrup (2.5g/l).  FG 1.010 (6.1%).

Update: 18/12/12 I already knew it, but you can’t win them all.  As I feared this brew has issues.  Due to illness the beer was left in the FV on the yeast for way too long and then dry hopped at a ridiculous rate for 14 days.  I knew it was going to have an adverse effect but I was laid-up so nothing I could do about it.  The beer has a musty, yeasty aroma and taste, verging on an infected/clove taste.  It’s a real disappointment, but it reminds me that a lot of the brewing process is about controlling the variables that can consign your beer to the sink.  I’ll have to brew it again, rethink my dry hopping and stay fit and well!

Brewing a NZ Pale Ale

Following on from my New Zealand Saison,  single hopped with Motueka, my next brew will be a New Zealand Pale Ale, which if you want to be picky is an American Pale Ale hopped with NZ hops? Anyway, what better inspiration than the much revered Hawkshead NZPA.  I like this beer, I like the other beers that comes from the brewery, and the head brewer, Matt Clarke, seems to be a nice chap, although his stranglehold over the UK’s antipodean hop supply could change my mind!

The label on Hawkshead’s NZPA lists four NZ hop varieties; Green Bullet, Motueka, Riwaka and Nelson Sauvin.  I set about sourcing these hops only to find that Riwaka might as well be a ‘Class A’ substance, and the Nelson Sauvin in my freezer was there after ‘borrowing’ it from a recent brewery visit.  I decided on NZ Cascade as a replacement for Riwaka, whereas Matt had used Pacific Jade.  I’m told that NZ Cascade is quite ‘soft’ in character so will use it wisely.

I’d already decided to use Safale US-05 yeast, keeping things simple.  So the next step was to try and come up with a malt bill that would get me close to the real deal.  The NZPA label gave me a strong lead to work on…I knew I was looking for malted barley.  After a short Twitter discussion with Matt Clarke and Graeme Coates, a brief gander at the BJCP and the realisation that there is no clone recipe available to guide me, I set about concocting my best guess.

I want to achieve a 6% abv beer, with around 45IBU, the colour will be on the pale end of the style, as per NZPA.  I want to have a medium/full bodied beer, so in addition to 80% pale, I’ll be using a combination of Vienna, Munich and Melanoidin malts to hopefully create a wort that will stand up to the hops.  Pale Wheat Malt for head retention, but also to build the flavours.  Caramalt to add some sweetness/colour but mainly to prevent the beer finishing too dry.  Incidentally, I had to adjust the BrewMate software to accommodate the consistently eager attenuation of Safale US05.  My US Porter achieved 92% attenuation!  “Whooa!” *that’s English for ‘stop a yeast’*.

The hop schedule is also guess-work, but with four lovely hop varieties to work with, I will be hard pushed not to get good results.  Right?  Green Bullet for bittering, then a couple of mid boil additions of Motueka, NZ Cascade, then large additions of the same to steep.  Dry hopping (5g/l) with all the Nelson Sauvin I have and may use some Green Bullet too.

I’ll be brewing this evening and will blog the results.  Comments welcome.

AG#20 NZ Saison

As outlined in my last post, I have brewed my first Saison.  Here’s how it went.

Original Gravity (OG): 1.059 (°P): 21.3
Final Gravity (FG): 1.013 (°P): 5.1
Alcohol (ABV): 6.07%
Colour (SRM): 5.2 (EBC): 10.3
Bitterness (IBU): 30.1 (Average)

3.1kg Golden Promise Pale Malt
0.800kg Vienna
0.450kg Cane Sugar
0.300kg Munich
0.250 Pale Wheat Malt

25g Motueka (7.8% Alpha) @60 Minutes (Boil)
15g Motueka (7.8% Alpha) @30 Minutes (Boil)
10g Motueka (7.8% Alpha) @0 Minutes (Boil) (steep at 80C)

Water treatments: Campden tablet (HLT), 1 tsp gypsum (mash).

Strike temp of 72C, 12.0L liquor for 4.450kg grain.  Mashed in at 64C (single step infusion).

Mashed for 60 minutes and temp remained constant.  Sparged at 78C (strike temp 85C), 22.17L liquor. First runnings from the mash were 1.084 at 24C.  Pre boil gravity of 1.050 at 26C, this was before the cane sugar was added.

I decided on a 90 minute boil, I usually go with a 60 minute boil these days but wanted to ensure a good hot break and hopefully achieve a really clear beer.  I’d be interested to hear what others think about this? So my thinking was that 30 mins rolling boil to get a good hot break.  I’ve always been a bit weird and skimmed the ‘scum’ from the copper… just one of my Obsessive Compulsive Brewing quirks, in the belief that you get better wort clarity?   First hop addition of Motueka  added at 60 minutes for bittering, then further small additions at 30 minutes and at flame out to give some hop aroma, but hopefully without fighting for attention with the yeast.

Added a protofloc tablet at 15 minutes and forgot to add my newly built immersion chiller!  So, the boil was extended by 15 minutes, which will make the brew slightly more bitter than I had planned, but I had targeted a conservative 30 IBUs, so this should still be well within the limits of a palatable Saison.   Cooled the wort down to 20C and then ran to the FV losing the final 1C before pitching my 1.4L starter of WLP585 Belgian Saison II.

Collected my target of 19L of wort post boil with SG of 1.066 (the 1.4L of 1.040 starter will obviously increase this to 20.4L and adjust the OG, but I’m not sure how to calculate this).

24/08/12   OG1.066   19C

27/08/12  SG 1.048   19C

30/08/12 SG  1.038  18C

No dry hopping for this brew, as I said above I want the yeast to sing.  I’ll need to try my best to increase the temperature of the FV to around 22C (minimum), otherwise it’s unlikely I’ll get anywhere near the FG 1.008 (around 7.7%) I’m hoping for.  Ideally I’d want to get it to mid-twenties to try and get some interesting esters from the yeast.

As mentioned in my previous post, this brew was inspired by the Twitter generated #SupSaison event taking place on the 15th September.  A few other homebrewers are brewing the style at the moment, including Neil Gardner @leedsbrew, Andy Parker @tabamatu and Ian Darvill @lugsy51.  Hoping to swap some bottles with these guys soon!

Saison Brewday

I’ve been mulling over a few ideas for my twentieth brew, hardly a major milestone but still an opportunity to try and brew something I hope will be a bit different to what I’ve done so far.   As there is a Twittery Saison tasting day (#SupSaison) coming up (15th Sept) I thought I’d get involved with a beer or two, but also to brew a Saison in support of the guys who have organised the ‘event’, which I understand is being marked by a few watering-holes as well as thirsty army of social media beer geeks.
I’ve wanted to brew something with New Zealand Motueka for a while now, it looks to be a good all-rounder so will make this a single hopped NZ Saison, a variation on the style which hasn’t been brewed too many times commercially, and I’m not aware of any homebrewers having done something quite like this?  I’m sure there has, but yet to read about it.

I’ll no doubt tweak this recipe before the brewday, so any suggestions are welcome.  You will notice that  I am using Golden Promise pale malt rather than the traditional Pilsner malt, but I opted to spend the money on hops and what I hope will be a lovely yeast.  Besides, the Vienna and Munich malts should add enough colour and complexity to get away with this omission:


63% Golden Promise Pale Malt

15% Vienna Malt

9% White Sugar

7% Munich Malt

6% Pale Wheat Malt


100% Motueka


WLP585 Belgian Saison II

I’m hoping this will brew a 7%ish beer with enough strength to accommodate a Belgian spice and sweetness as well as a solid bitterness and of course some farmhouse funk, perhaps even some tartness if the yeast profile is anything to go by….what the hell, aim high, right?  I’ll be priming this to have an effervescence true to style, without overstepping the mark and blowing any bottles up.  The recipe should give me something around 40IBU, 7 SRM OG1.070 FG 1.019, but I’ll need to look at this again, read around to see how the yeast attenuates and adjust accordingly, although an 8%+ beer wouldn’t be the end of the world.

I’ll update my blog after the brewday.