Yeast: Liquid vs Dry- a beginner’s review

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If you’ve been following this blog you’ve likely read my previous post, ‘My first yeast starter’. Despite my enthusiasm (read:obsession) with home brewing, I have only recently started to use liquid yeast cultures. So how have I found them in comparison to the dry?

The first thing I need to point out is that now I’m confident using liquid yeasts, there are a LOT more yeast options available to me. Previously I was limited to those yeast strains which were able to be dried successfully and withstand the substantial heat required to do so. Whilst the list of dry yeasts is better than it used to be and is growing, it has nothing on the extensive amount of liquid yeasts available.

Another thing I have noticed with my liquid yeast starters is that fermentation kicks in a lot quicker. Whereas previously it wasn’t uncommon for my lag time to be up to 24 hours before I started to see visible signs of fermentation, I am now seeing this in 12 hours. Fermentation could be starting even sooner but I usually don’t make a habit of sitting in front of my fermenter. I can’t help but feel that has got to be a good thing.

Rogue Beard Beer

A brewery in the US actually used the yeast from their brewmaster’s beard!

So is there any difference in taste? I can’t say definitively because I haven’t brewed the same recipe with dry and then with liquid yeast. What I can say is that the lager I brewed recently tasted amazing straight out of the fermenter compared with previous ones I have done that required extended lagering. This may be a combination of a number of things including my focus on doing diacetyl rests but in any event it couldn’t have hurt.

So will I use dry yeasts going forward? You really can’t go past the convenience of a dry yeast. I’ll likely keep some in the house and use the trusty old US05 for american ales. Other than that I may just be a liquid yeast culture convert.

What about you? Have you found any difference with dry yeasts to liquid yeasts?

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The ‘How to All Grain Homebrew Series’: #7 Kegging

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If you’re a keen observer of this blog, you may have noticed in my ‘How to All Grain Homebrew Series: #6 Bottling’ I mentioned this was the last of the posts. I’ve had some people ask me about kegging and thought it may be a great opportunity to give an introduction into how to keg your beer.

One thing I should note is that setting up a keg system can be quite complex and I will likely go into this in detail in another post. For the purpose of this post, I will assume you have a ready made kegerator set up and run through my basic process for kegging and carbonating my brews.

The first thing is getting your beer out of the fermenter and into the keg. As always, sanitation is key and it is important to make sure everything you use has been sprayed down with StarSan (no-rinse sanitiser). Before putting beer in your keg, it is good practice to put a blanket of C02 on the bottom of it. This will assist to minimise oxygen pick up in the transfer. I’ll then elevate my cold crashed fermenter, attach a hose which goes to the bottom of the keg and release.

Once full, I will connect my keg to the C02 and use the force to tightly seal the keg, closing the top. I’ll then ‘bleed’ off all the oxygen in quick sharp bursts. Supposedly oxygen is lighter than C02 so will come out before the C02.

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There are a million different ways to carbonate your beer and I will discuss this in a later post. I will generally just hook up the C02 and let it sit for a week. This ensures consistent carbonation and helps to avoid over carbonating your beers. One thing I will note is you should keep a bottle of Starsan lying around so you can spray all the connections and ensure there are no gas leaks. I lost a bottle of C02 before I figured out that handy tip.

Once again, this is a very high level overview of the kegging process. In future posts, I’ll go into further detail about the different keg setups possible and the different ways to carbonate your beer.

As always if you have any question, don’t be afraid to leave them below. If you’re thinking them, likely many people are.

 

Bar Review: Fitz + Potts Nundah

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I love living in Brisbane at the moment. A few years ago it felt a little bit like a cultural wasteland and I was pretty envious of our brothers and sisters in Sydney and Melbourne. This has been changing rapidly over the last couple of years and not only are we getting great bars in central areas, we are now getting great bars in the suburbs!

Living in Nundah I was pretty excited to hear about the opening of Fits + Potts. The first thing is that this bar looks a lot cooler than my pictures give it credit! I am a terrible photographer so encourage you to go and check it out and don’t judge it based on my photos!

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The interior is op-shop chic which makes for a pretty cosy area. At first we struggled to get any decent seating (it is already pretty popular) and ended up sitting somewhere pretty awkward seats but then something opened up and the area got pretty relaxing.

The beer choices are epic and I was pretty excited. I had a Pirate Life Throwback IPA which wasn’t what I was hoping for, considering how epic the IIPA was! I didn’t hang around too long but I will be back pretty regularly.

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This is a great bar which just happens to be a local for me making it even better. I highly recommend you check it out, particularly if you are on the northside.

 

Clone Corner: Samuel Adams Boston Lager Clone

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You may not realise this but I have not always been into ‘craft beer’. In fact, when I first started drinking I didn’t like beer at all. It wasn’t until I turned 18 and realised beer was cheaper than spirits that I ‘forced’ myself to like beer. Back then my drink of choice was VB and one carton of Coronas on christmas as a special treat. From there I tried Hahn Super Dry, Toohey’s Extra Dry and anything else that was reasonably priced.

It was about this time Dan Murphys was becoming a thing and my roommates and I set out to try different beers from all over the world. I recall the Samuel Adams Boston Lager was tried and was really enjoyed. I subsequently had this beer many times and in particular, when I lived in Canada. For this reason, this beer holds a special place in my heart as the beer that introduced flavour into the beer equation.

With Christmas approaching I was looking for a lager that would appease my family members but that would be interesting enough for me to really enjoy finishing it off later. With this in mind I thought, why not brew a Boston Lager?

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Fortunately for me, the ‘Can You Brew It’ series on the Brewing Network did a clone recipe of Samuel Adams Boston Lager. My recipe was based off that and was as follows:

OG: 1.051
FG: 1.008
ABV: 5.5%
30IBU, 15.9EBC
Efficiency: 59%

Barrett Burston Pale Ale Malt 5.52kg 94.7%
Bairds 60L Crystal Malt 310g 5.3%
Tettnang 4% 60g @ 60mins (40mins adjusted for no-chill) 25.4IBU
Hallertauer Mittelfrüh 18g @ 20mins (cube adjusted for n0-chill) 4.7IBU
Dry Hop: 14g Tettnang, 7g Hallertauer Mittelfruh
Yeast Bohemian Lager 2124 2.5L starter

It was this brew that I started to get my efficiency situation a bit sorted and went back to 63%. This meant that the OG was 1.057. I watered it down with 2.9L to meet my gravity which in turn likely reduced my bitterness. The good news was that I had a keg AND a couple of tallies.

I intended to pitch onto 10 degree wort but became impatient as it hit 16 degrees so ended up pitching at that and just letting the temp go down in my fermentation fridge. Not optimal but it seemed to work. At 8 days the gravity was at 1.011 so I dry hopped and increased the temperature to 19 degrees. I cold crashed at 12 days, added gelatine and then kegged.

Like all good lagers this took about 12 weeks to really find its form which placed it right in Xmas. A lot was had over christmas and everyone seemed pretty happy with it. I also at this time figured out how to fill growlers so this beer was a hit at a lot of parties.

I thought it might be interesting to compare it to the original Samuel Adams Boston Lager and bought a bottle from Dan Murphys. This bottle had been likely mistreated in the way only Dan Murphys knows how so I was interested to see what different flavours there would be compared to one that remained cold and in the keg the entirety of its life.

Unfortunately, with the christmas period, by the time I tried this I was nearing the end of the keg and getting some cloudy pours. I can say that when the beer was at its prime they had a pretty similar colour although I suspect my clone was a touch darker. This was likely due to the different malts available in Australia as they are all different.

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My first pour was a little cloudy making it a touch darker. It was likely darker already though.

I found the aromas to be quite similar and mine had a stronger, fuller flavour. This was likely added to by the yeasty cloudy pour, so I repoured and found beers that were far more similar (although mine was still a bit cloudy). It was clear mine was better having been treated better and this became very apparent as they warmed up. The Samuel Adams had some pretty serious case of light strike which my wife described as “tasting like a Heineken.” By the way, the taste of Heineken is light strike which is a pretty serious off flavour.

I found the head dissipated quite quickly on the Boston Lager whereas the clone held a full foamy head. That being said, whilst the beers were both cold, I would not have noticed if I had finished drinking one and was handed the other. I would have assumed they were the same beer and the differences were subtle.

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The second pour was less cloudy. The head difference was quite noticeable though.

I find with my lagers in particular that by the end of the keg, there is a lot of cloudiness. Next time I might give them more time in the fermenter so I can rack off the yeast as much as possible.

So was it cloned? I would say it was pretty close. I could bottle it in green bottles and then leave it in a 40 degree shed for 2 months and maybe I would get an exact clone but its probably not worth it. What I can say is that I was just a bit excited that I am able to brew a beer equal to or better than a beer I once held up as the pinnacle of beer (including its flaws). It got me really enthused about the hobby and all the possibilities as I further explore it.

I look forward to making a few more clones and comparing them to their originals to get a really good gauge of where my brewing is at. As always, if you have any tips or comments, leave them below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beer of the Moment: Nomad Supersonic DIPA

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I must say I am a bit of a sucker for a double IPA. Whilst I love a good balanced beer sometimes we all need an over the top, alcoholic hop bomb which blows us away. It’s always important to make sure that you don’t plan on sampling any more beers after this because usually they are wasted (as are you).

I recently had the opportunity to try the Nomad Supersonic DIPA. This was a beer fresh in the fridges of Cellarbrations Stafford so I thought I would snap one up in the hope it was super fresh and super hoppy.

Nomad Brewing Co is relatively new to the scene having brewed their first beer in August 2014. Nomad Brewing is a joint venture between one of Italy’s leading craft brewers Birra Del Borgo and a beer importer, Experience It and is based in the northern suburbs of Sydney.

So how did I feel about the beer? Sadly, very disappointed. The first thing I noticed was that there was very little hop nose on this beer, in fact, literally none. I really can’t say if the bottle is old but I suspect it is not. They really need to consider dialling up the hops on this one.

The appearance was a dark orange with a little haze. I read after I poured the beer that it was bottle conditioned so this may explain the haze as I poured without concern for this assuming it wasn’t. The first sip I had knocked me back a little in how alcoholic the beer tasted. Whilst I acknowledge the 8.5% is quite a bill the alcohol taste should not have been as sharp. I suspect it was young which is good, but still no hop character.

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I tasted a strong, sticky full body and would have preferred to see a dryer beer to achieve the high alcohol. The description on the bottle described it as ‘double dry hopped’ which makes me wonder what the single dry hop tastes like. All in all I wasn’t blown away by this beer and gave it a 2.5 stars on Untappd. I’m hopeful that this is perhaps a bad batch but won’t be rushing out to buy anymore Nomad anytime soon.

If you’re looking for a justification to drink a lot of beers, why not get Untappd and add me as a friend? The badges give you the sense of accomplishment the beers take away from you. Check me out on username: benbrett14

Book Review (kind of): BYO Magazine

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I always knew I would be into homebrewing, the question for me really was when.

In my late teens/early 20’s I started doing some basic ‘kit and kilo’ brewing. I worked at a supermarket and would usually mark down the ‘damaged’ tins in order to feed my hefty university beer requirements. The beer was truly horrible but at a time when money was scarce, my friends and I were just happy to have something to drink which didn’t cost the entirety of our meagre incomes. Read More

Clone Corner: Rogue Dead Guy Ale

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Those who know me well know that i have a soft spot for Hawaii. If I could wrangle being a ‘remote employee’ I would move there in a heartbeat. The beautiful beaches, the massive delicious meals and the large amount of available craft beer, it really is heaven on earth. Last year my wife and i spent a week on Oahu (well technically my wife was there 2 weeks because she could score the extra week off work but we don’t talk about that!) Read More