Homebrew Wednesday – Hopsinjoor

I’ve blogged about other people’s homebrew before, but hope to start contributing to the Homebrew Wednesday ‘thing’.  I say ‘thing’ because I’m not sure of its origin, but know that people interested in homebrewing have allocated Wednesday as the Holy Day.  Be it; brewing, blogging, vlogging, tasting, or sharing their latest brewkit project, Wednesday is the day to do it.

I have made some friends while brewing and blogging, and one such friend recently sent me a couple of his beers.  I haven’t asked him if he’d like to be Wednesday’d, but I don’t think he’ll mind.

Blog: Hopsinjoor’s Brewing Spot

Twitter: @hopsinjoor

Among other things, Al likes to brew beer at home.  I’m writing this as I look at two of his beers, both labelled and packed with vital stats and ingredients.  Off to a good start then!  I’m guilty of sending homebrew out to friends, and when they ask me what’s in it, I tell them what I can remember, which is usually good enough to be honest.  I drank the beers before reading the contents.

Smashton’s Bruxellensis IPA (Mk 1)

Pours murky amber colour, decent white head, good carbonation, smells fantastic (think Axe Edge meets Orval), sweetness, hops are jumping out of the glass, peach, sweet orange, lemon, bready.

Flavour/taste: resiny, grassy, peppery, fruit salad sweets, alcohol

Medium body, good carbonation

Really balanced bitterness and the punchy Mosaic hops play nicely with the Belgian yeast.  Pretty boozy.

Slightly dry on the finish, and then a long, subtle bitterness (considering the 70 IBUs).

Really complex beer, full of flavour and backed up with generous aromas.  It’s difficult to get across how good this beer is.  This is Al’s 31st All Grain brew and is not yet on his blog.

wpid-storageemulated0DCIMCamera2014-02-12-21.04.09.jpg.jpgSmashton’s Bruxellensis IPA Mk 1
Original Gravity (OG): 1.065
Final Gravity (FG): 1.008
Alcohol (ABV): 7.5%
Bitterness (IBU): 71.3 
Brewed: 21/11/2013
Bottled: 16/12/2013
Grain:  Marris Otter, Munich, Crystal, Wheat
Hops: Magnum (bittering), Magnum, Mosaic
Yeast: WLP650 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis

I’ll enjoy this beer, then update the post with beer #2 later this evening.  Cheers Al.

Smashton’s Winner Staison Bretted Stout (Mk 2)

Next up, stout.  It’s stormy outside, the stove is blazing, and I now have a glass of stout.  Same as before, drank the beer before reading the details on the label.

Opened with a fizz and gushed a bit, but lost very little beer.  Skills.

Pours black, the initial fizz settling into a thin head – fed by a stream of carbonation (just visible at the side of the glass).

The aroma is all about the yeast, and a faint whiff of roasted malts.  It has a Belgian yeast esters going on, and really mixes you up….reading stout on the label, pitch black in the glass, and then “Hallo!”

Initial taste is intense tartness – and I get the two mixed up, but – sour, like sherbet crystals.  The sourness dissipates leaving a smooth coffee flavour.

It’s a really interesting beer, I’ve had nothing quite like it.  I think this beer is too refined for me….it’s tough when you have no reference points.  It’s a sour stout, right? Al?  I’m thinking, acidic dark malts, and then the blend of yeasts playing tricks on me?  I need to know more about this one.

Definitely one to sip and enjoy, which I intend to do.  Cheers once again for the beers Al.

wpid-20140212_223910.jpgSmashton’s Winner Staison Bretted Stout Mk 2
Original Gravity (OG): 1.078
Final Gravity (FG): 1.009
Alcohol (ABV): 9.0%
Bitterness (IBU): 62 
Brewed: 27/10/2013
Bottled: 08/12/2013
Grain:  Marris Otter, Roasted Barley, Wheat, Flaked Oats, Chocolate Malt, Rye
Hops: Bramling X, Galena
Yeast: Saison / Brett

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.