Friday, 17 February 2012

Yeast Additions

An article from Barry

For a lot of home brewers, yeast addition is a bit of a mystery.

Should I add 1 packet or 2, should I make a starter (and how big should this be?), how much slurry from a previous batch should I use? These are all questions that we all ask from time to time.

Well here is a great little web site to help you calculate out how much yeast to pitch into your brew, It is a calculator created by Jamil Zainasheff, and there is also a iPhone app available for a few dollars (web site is free though).

You simply select the type of beer you are making (in this case a Helles Bock with an OG of 1.072) , type in the OG and the volume of wort you want to ferment and presto, you now are told you need to get a bank loan to buy 6.2 Wyeast activator packs, as you need 602 billion active yeast cells. That option is not very inviting, so what other options do we have.

You are also given the alternative of making a “small” 10.14 litre starter, using 2 smack packs (100 billion yeast cells each).

Switching to the Dry Yeast tab, you will see that you need 33 grams of dry yeast, or 6.7 of the 5 gram sachets (ouch another bank loan required).

Finally, if you look at the “repitching from Slurry” tab, you find that you can get the required 602 billion yeast cells from 265 mls of yeast slurry, if the slurry is half way between thin and thick (very scientific measurement required here – call in the
So, an economical way to get your yeast for your Helles Bock is to get the yeast slurry from the Munich Helles you are brewing now for the February comp and you can save yourself a call to the bank manager.

I have set the preferences on the preference tab as seen below. The web site
defaults to US Gallons, but remembers your preferences.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


…an article from Phil

An un-informed person might have thought that the scarring across my wrists indicated a low self-esteem problem instead of a determination to progress on an adventure into the unknown – in this case into the depths of that place that only Peter Rabbit could possibly find comfort in, the dreaded blackberry bush.

But first a little history lesson.
Ireland and Blundy are permanently set within the history of Forrest, Yaugher and surrounding districts in the Otaway Ranges just south of Colac. I had previously spoken to Steve from Otaway Estate Brewery about the wild hops that existed in the area and I noticed some advertisement proclaiming that the new brewery at Forrest is to brew with these mysterious hops. Bertie Ireland was in-fact the last person to grow hops in the area way back in the twenties and at that time the Large Grey American (Cluster) dominated as the hop of preference, yet these wild hops pre-dated these by some forty years. A search on google brought me into contact with the Forrest & District Historical Society and their publication "Hop Growing at Forrest‟. Compiled by Pam Jennings this booklet details the families associated with the hop farming and the conditions under which they persisted, yet references to varieties that were grown are scarce. Where-by Helen Pearce‟s book "The Hop Industry in Australia‟ published in 1976 provides the clues as to the heritage of these hops that now grow wild, scatted throughout the lower gullies and river banks.
Since 1866-67 the introduction of hops to Victoria from Tasmania saw several different varieties of English (Kentish) – Tasmanian hops being grown. The Canterbury Golding was one of the better adapted varieties for Victorian conditions where-by Early White Grape, Later or Green Grape, Red Golding and Canterbury were the foundations of the Tasmanian harvest. As mentioned earlier the introduction of Cluster into the Yaugher district did not start until early in the nineteenth century and my first stop was to Bambra just east of Deans Marsh which is significant because it‟s hop farming did not progress past the turn of the century. Nestled amongst the thick blackberry bushes down in a deep gully were hop bines extended past the height of the blackberries, trying to gain as much height as they could. The existence of these bines were only discovered by chance by a neighbor a couple of years ago.

My next destination was the newly opened Forrest Brewery and a chat with the owner/brewer Matt who in-turn suggested a location north of town along the west branches of the Barwon River, that provided the perfect environment that Bertie had utilized some 100 years earlier. Now here was the exact same bines that I had earlier seen some 30km to the east taking claim to the same blackberry bushes, as well as extending it‟s foliage high amongst a number of established trees that line the river bank. These bines were awash with cones that were at an early development which contrasts against my own hop plants which in the proceeding days are to be picked. This might again be a clue to it‟s identity as a late harvesting variety but I can be almost certain that these hop bines are of the Golding variety. There was an attempt in 1901 to introduce new Kentish varieties in the form of Brambling, Early Bird and Cobb‟s Hops, distributed to as many growers as possible (all Golding varieties) but these remaining hops growing wild are most likely the Canterbury Golding hop.

As far as the scarring on my arms, well that‟s what one has to endure if ones willing to gather some root stock and collect a number of lateral cuttings in an attempt to propagate these 100 year old hops in the confines of my own backyard. For the time being though, I‟ll leave it to both Matt and Hendo to utilize these wild hops in what will certainly be some very flavorsome and historic brews.


Cheap electrical elements for hlt’s and boilers By Barry
Here is an article on how to build yourself a temperature controller to control the temperature in your fermenting fridge. The temperature controller will automatically control the temperature at the required set point and within the tolerance you set eg. 18 oC plus or minus 1 oC. It will switch on the fridge if the temperature goes above 19 oC and switch on a heating belt or plate (that you put inside the fridge) if the temperature goes below 17 oC.

The cost of the controller is as follows :

1. Temp controller $25 (STS1000 purchased off ebay).
2. Jiffy box $9 (purchased at Jaycar)
3. GPO plug for heater and fridge $5 (Bunnings)
4. wiring $11 (a 3 meter extension cord, wire connectors – Bunnings)

Here is the STC1000 I bought from ebay. They typically come from Hong Kong and take 2 weeks to arrive.

The double GPO mounted on the back of the jiffy box and the hole in the front ready for installation of the STC1000.

The ST1000 installed in the Jiffy box.

The spaghetti wiring system, just before I tidied it up and finalised the installation of the controller and GPO.

A close up of the wiring showing the connectors

The finished controller. It is measuring the temperature of the thermocouple at 26.2oC, and as I have a set point of 18oC, it is in refrigeration mode (see the red dot in the top left hand corner of the display).

The buttons on the right hand side of the unit are used to change the set point and tolerance. For those brewing the HEFE from the brew day, Bryce’s recommendation of starting at 17oC and increasing the temperature each day by 1oC is easy if you have one of these units. You simply move up the set point each day with the flick of a few buttons – job done.

For those of you that do not have a fermentation fridge, join and you should be able to pick yourself up a good working fridge in your local area for free. An alternative is to pick up an old fridge off ebay for approximately $50.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Underage Drinking .....

I can remember back at the 2010 Vicbrew Comp and listening to Mark mutter something about old beer shirts being resurrected by the stewards for such an event and I don't think he was too impressed.
Well I believe a great beer tee-shirt has a lot to offer.. Whether it's acknowledging your favourite brewery, commemorating a great session you've attended, or maybe  the quirky sense of humour that such a subject matter can pertain to.
Well here's your opportunity to show us what you take pride in wearing, post your picts, write something descriptive and lets see them in all their glory.

Oh and Mark, Tin Tin doesn't count..

I  asked my daughter to throw on one of my shirts so I could post a picture and she proudly informed me that she has her own  from the German Oktoberfest of 2010. Travelling through Europe at just 16 is in my opinion fairly impressive although as the following picture clearly show, she struggled with the local brew.
- (phil)