25 November 2012

1942 Dark Lager A Murrays Craft Brewing & Hunter Beer Co Collab Brew!

A special brew created for Newcastle Craft Beer week by two of Australia's finest brewery's Murray's and Hunter Beer Co.  It no secret the favorite beer style here in the Hunter for generations is good 'ol dark ale, described as mothers milk to some especially on tap! I'd like to think brewers Shaun Sherlock (Murray's) and Keith Grice (Hunter Beer Co.) considered this fact when crafting this tasty brew for this beery week.

I got my growler/s filled at Murray's Brewery here in Beaut Port Stephens Australia yesterday afternoon and didn't even consider having a taste test as I am.... as many of you know now I am a massive fan of dark lagers and  have a lot of faith in these brewers to create something spectacular!

And I tell ya they haven't let me down at all!

Pours a sensational dark brown body with awesome creamy white head!  Served this abit colder than my regular ales due to the style.

On the nose a delightful hoppy aroma along with some malty notes- definitely the best of both breweries on showcase here! NZ hops come to mind and some chocky malts.Yum!
Going down very creamy head and quite a full body for a lager very satisfying almost like a porter style but with the drinkability of a lager  -Malty goodness followed by a somewhat subtle bitter dryish finish with a slight hoppy hit. Very refreshing--- I likey!

I must say very well done to the Brewers on this special one off brew it really is that good! Keith's passion for German style lagers and Shaun's expertise in using New Zealand hops really is well displayed in this brew for the good people of Newcastle and visitors alike! Grab one while you can!

05 October 2012

Newcastle Craft Beer Week 2012

Newcastle Craft Beer Week

Yeesss fellow PROPER BEER lovers. This years Newcastle Craft Beer week is almost upon us! The events will run from the 18th of November 2012 till the 25th with the week concluding at the awesome Warners At The Bay Beer Festival 2012! Check out the QR code below to get on the official Newcastle Craft beer week site to check out the fantastic events this year! Always remember check back to your favorite PROPERBEER blog for updates on the week of beery goodness too!

19 September 2012

Anchor Liberty Ale

A big thanks to Lee and Tanya for bringing this tasty brew all the way from San Francisco- USA for me to try out along with a cool Hula Girl Bottle opener from Hawaii......Cheers guys!

Pours a awesome golden colour with a fantastic creamy head which- by the way lasts all the way as the beer goes down. An aroma of zesty citrusy hops on the nose that are not overpowering at all and a hint of the sweet ale malt is also pleasantly present
Going down it is quite sparkly and the flavour of the malts really do remind me of good 'ol Coopers Sparkling Ale . Nice and balanced malts with a hint of sweetness on the end of the palate along with some slight citrus coming through as well. Very refreshing.

I would personally categorize this brew in style of a English Special Bitter or a English Pale Ale and not a American Pale Ale as it is known, Probably due to the many more recent American Pale Ales that I have had the pleasure of drinking have been much more aggressively hopped and give you that hop hit many expect from a "APA". This is not a bad thing at all this brew has everything going for it and would be a great entry beer for people who are scared of hops!

All in all a very satisfying brew but again not a massive hop head experience by any means. I would pair this brew with some spicy Tex-Mex style Nachos or a tasty home made Burrito.

Hope to see more of Anchor Brewing Brews over here in Australia.... Coopers Brewery apparently have the distribution rights here as Anchor distribute Coopers brews in the USA so it could even make it to Asia too!    


26 July 2012

Stouterik with cookies!

Got this tasty Stouterik Stout from Kenny at beerbeer.org Cheers Mate! The brew hails from the Brasserie De La Senne Brewery in Brussels Belgium ...

Thought that I would review it with my favorite cookies from Malaysia: Famous Amos  double chocolate chip with pecans! Now PROPERBEERMATE doesn't have much of a sweet-tooth but I really like these cookies!

Unfortunately we can't get these cookies in Australia so every time we head over to Beaut KL I make sure we pick up a pack or two from our favorite Famous Amos outlet at Sungei Wang Plaza near Bukit Bintang.

Beer with cookies... what the...  You say?  You bet! If ya have a quality Stout like this Belgian beauty and something chocolate for instance brownies, chocolate cake or even chocolate itself  they can match quite well.
The trick is to eat the cookie first and drink the Stout after running over any chocy bits left over ya mouth to bring out the chocy qualities of the dark brew and sweetening up any bitterness from the beer too!
Works really well if you have any friends or family who love chocolate (or even yourself) give this method a go it really does work well!

The stout I have here has a good malty aroma on the nose extremely smooth going down, slightly robust- finishes dry and doesn't have any candy sweetness at all despite being from Belgium. A great brew kinda reminds be of a good Porter styled brew and to be honest my first from this little brewery.

I really was expecting some Belgian candy sugar quality to this beer as pretty much all the Belgian brews I have tasted in the past have that sweetness included bar the lagers and Wit beers.... But again I  was pleasantly surprised it didn't and thus went awesome with the cookies I chose for this review.  

20 July 2012

Stone & Wood

On our way back home from our trip to Malaysia and Thailand via the Gold Coast we pulled in to Byron Bay on NSW's north coast to check out one of Australia's most innovative Breweries  in terms of beer Style, Stone & Wood. This visit would also turn out  be one my best beer experiences ever!

Being a Saturday afternoon the brewery was actually closed for business but just by chance we were greeted by Ross Jurisich one of the founders of Stone and Wood Brewing  at the gate as he was there with his mates doing a father and son brew day.... and after a quick chat he kindly offered to show me and the fam around!

Stone and wood produce one of my favorite beers ever Pacific Ale which was formally known as Draught Ale which is hopped with a fairly new hop to the brewing scene-Galaxy- a hop that produces an awesome fruity passion fruit aroma and taste- which also in fact is an Australian hop!

It has become one of the PROPERBEERMATE staple of beers (which is very rare these days as I am always looking to try something new)  awesome off tap and great out of the bottle too as long as it's poured correctly for example slowly pour half of the bottle into the glass first then swirl the remainder round for a bit and again pour the rest in!

Awesome passion fruit aroma on the nose, sparkly almost wheat beer and very well carbonated mouth feel going down with the accompaniment refreshing taste of fruity hops going down. The after taste is awesome on this brew again with the Galaxy hops playing center stage with basically no bitterness linger coming into play at all. Great for hot day at the beach!

This brew is a really good converter beer for people not really into craft brew- it really is that approachable! A good food match would be a basic Chicken Schnitzel with heaps of lemon and salty chips or a serve of tapas style Garlic Prawns would also go great!

Back to the brewery tour ......

As Ross showed us around the fantastic but simple set up  the main center piece were the two newest members of the Stone and Wood Brewery the twin 10,000 litre tower vessels stood out in the centre like beacons of triumph in the craft brewery  and could tell Ross was very proud of them.  Looks like there's gonna be alot more of Stone and Wood's brews out in the wild soon!

It was great to listen to Ross explain the brewing process at the brewery of basically keeping it simple and user friendly to achieve at the end of the day a tasty brew. We had a smell of the hops including some great fresh Hersbrucker which is a spicy noble hop used in Stone &Wood's  Jasper Ale~ a kinda German alt/Amber ale styled brew.

Another great brew from these guys, Enticing red hue and a dark amber colour on the pour  along with with some spicy hoppy aroma paired with the smell of rich maltiness. Goes down smooth as while giving a ever so slight hop bitter bite on the aftertaste. Pretty much a to me a all seasons beer with would pair great with a spicy Beef Rendang or a hearty hot pot stew!

But I must say the best part of the tour was having a cheeky taste of the beer straight out of the fermentation tanks above.... Above: Oooh fresh Pacific Ale just about ready to be bottled an kegged! So fresh and tasty a little on the warm side from ale fermentation temps but definitely one of my best beer experiences ever! Cheers Ross!

A great innovation by stone and wood recently is the Mash Collective-rather than going down the well trodden path of doing collab brews with other brewers,  The Stone & Wood guys give the everyday beer lovers and homebrewers the chance to come and put together a style of beer and brew it together.  I Present to you the Amasia Rumweizen!

A very interesting brew.... hints of strong sweet maltyness on the nose and pours a cloudy dark amber with good carbonation. It tastes sensational extremely smooth going down with a big rum raisin ice cream flavor and a tiny rum burn/bite paired with well placed sweet malt on the finish. A absolute cracker of a brew! Reminds me of a good German Dunkle but... with balls! Get it if you see it in your local.....Goes great on a cold rainy night!

Stone Beer is another brew that the the guys bring out once a year which is brewed by a more traditional way of brewing by grabbing some stones and heating them in a wood fire at the brewery. A very tasty brew that from what I hear ages well.

Their 2012 release is out now and I plan to grab some to review!

A German styled Pale Lager is also a flagship brew by the Stone & Wood crew which I have had the pleasure indulging in a fair while back..... I plan to pick up a case or two this Summer!

Again Cheers to Ross for taking the time out to show us around and good on the rest of the Stone & Wood crew at beaut Byron Bay for making truly approachable and tasty brews for the average punter and beer geek alike!

16 July 2012

Cheers Kenny! -beerbeer.org

Just back from my trip to Malaysia (KL) and Thailand and would like say a big thanks to Kenny from beerbeer.org (who I write for also) for his awesome hospitality (especially introducing me to the awesomeness that is Wonton Mee) and the crew at Taps Beet Bar in KL for looking after us- Alvin, Milli, Adrian and Ricky... Cheers Guys!
Here's some beery gifts that Kenny gave me as a farewell pressie.

Cant wait to try them!
Here's a Pic of some of that amazing Wonton Mee supper in KL that Kenny took me to, It is sensational after a session of good PROPER beers at TAPS. Look at that massive Wonton!

Cant wait to get back over there! Over the next couple of weeks look out for my beer review adventures in both Malaysia and Thailand. Till then....Cheers

13 June 2012

Home Brewing with ProperBeerMate Part 3

Part 3!

So here we are the next morning bright and early to transfer the cooled wort to the fermenter. Personal preference I am using a strainer to catch/filter any unnecessary hotbreak material  left over from the boil when I pour the malty/hoppy goodness into the fermenter. I have in the past not used a strainer at all and the brew turned out fine also–just made cleaning out the fermenter just a little bit harder ; ) .

So with the wort transferred to the fermenter time to add some water…..(note: it’s good to take a hydrometer reading  and write it down after adding the water—to work out how much alcohol will be in the final beer)

After adding enough water to fill fermenter up  at just under 20 litres I give the brew a mighty stir with my coopers brew spoon to aerate and make sure the water  mixes well with the cooled wort.  Once that has settled abit  it’s time to add the yeast!

This time round I’m using Muntons Premium  Gold yeast to see how that goes. I have previously used Safale US-05 and had fantastic results-so I’d recommend that if you’re keen on brewing this wonderful beer.
You can also use liquid yeasts such as Wyeast…here’s a pic of an swollen smack pack of Wyeast ringwood ale which is great for English style pale ales and the like. Liquid yeast is usually twice the price than dry yeast strains though.

Any ways back to our brew --the dry yeast is sprinkled over the brew– fermenter cover and air lock goes on and the yeast is  left to fall in and eat those malty sugars to create esters , some Co2 and produce our friend alcohol.  Magic……

After 5-7 Days of primary fermentation I rack/transfer  the brew over to another fermenter (secondary) using a clean plastic tubed hose to help clear the brew and improve drinkability in when it’s finally in my glass!

Another method I use like many other homebrewers here in Australia is instead of using a cover and airlock for my fermenter I use plastic cling wrap and a rubber O ring to seal and it makes it easier to see whats going on with ya brew!

After another week of secondary fermentation you can either bottle the brew using carbonation drops or dextrose to carbonate and age the brew ready for drinking.  I’m lucky enough to have a keg system so I’m going to keg this hopefully tasty brew and let it carbonate with some good ‘ol food grade CO2!

In the keg it goes and I’ll connect it up to my gas let it slowly carbonate in my draft system fridge for about 7 to ten days….Cant wait to drink it!  As you can see I have another brew on the go as well -- an English style pale ale brewed with east kent golding hops. It's always good to get ahead with your brews and have a few fermenting so you don't run out of beer!

About twelve days later the brew is nicely carbed up and  is ready to drink. There are methods of speeding up this process but I find the set and wait method works out the best.

Home brewing this way is a bit of a mission but ya look at that PROPER pint it was worth every step and time it took to create this PROPER homebrew.

**Mini review: Cola tinge in colour and a creamy head on the pour and not overly carbonated at all due to the slow carbonation.... Nutty choc going down taste with a nice bitter finish from all those Czech Saaz hops I used, body is a little thin which complements drinkabilty and is very refreshing. Roasted coffee beans on the aroma.
For a food match I would recommend BBQ Chinese style Char Siew Pork. The Smokiness and sweetness of the pork would complement the nutty and roasty aspects of the beer and combat some of that bitterness at the same time.  Mmmmm... : )

29 May 2012

Home Brewing With Properbeermate Part 2

Back again with with Part 2!

Time to wake up the brew after 60 mins mashing time in the beer-bed .

I now unwrap the pot and bring her back out side and pop the lid.

Mmmmm.......Nice intense malty aroma just what we want! You can actually give this stuff a taste just to get an idea how the level of maltyness in the final beer will be . Very sweet stuff aye..... brewers actually call it "sweet water".

I pick up the heavy bag and let the rest of the sweet water pour into the pot which is great for my biceps!  The bag can get real heavy with all that grain and liquid so what I do is when my arms get tried from holding it up I place it into another big pot to drip out .  Another way of doing this is to get an "A" frame ladder and tie the brew bag to the top of the ladder over the brew pot and let it drip out that way.

Time to put the big brewpot full of sweet malty goodness on to the burner to start the boiling process. Once the brew has come to a good rolling boil I add whatever liquid is remaining in the smaller pot as well. Some people like to sparge some hot water over the remaining grains to get more malty goodness out and add that to the brew too. Personal preference I don't do this as I am quite happy with my past results without doing this : ) .

Time to get the hops ready!

Woo-hoo-- Hops! One of my favorite things in the world! These are Czech Saaz hop pellets which are basic compressed and extruded hop flowers which are great for home brewing.  I have added a bit more hops than the recipe calls for as I had some left over Saaz from a previous brew day and I 'coz love my hoppy character in beer. This single hop addition will change the sweet water's flavour and aroma from sweet and malty to something a a bit more bitter and aromatic that resembles beer in its purest form.

So once the brew has come to a good rolling boil I add my first and only hop addition for this simple recipe @60mins. The count down from 60mins starts now. Some other recipes such as big IPA's  can have 15 hop additions throughout the boil at different intervals. Usually the first addition at is for bittering and towards the end for the boil eg @10-15mins the hop addition is for taste and finally @zero mins the addition would be for aroma either in the brew pot or as a dry hop in the fermenter.

Now at of the boil ten mins to go I add my whirlfloc tablet to assist in clearing the brew and stir the brew to make sure it dissolves properly. Once the count down has finished I turn off the burner (flameout) and put the lid back on the brew.

I use the Aussie no-chill method  to get the brew down to a suitable temp for pitching the yeast... As it is Autumn here in Australia at the moment and the temp is around 10-18 degrees C at night here I let the brew cool on my cold garage floor making sure the lid is on securely and not letting any nasties in. If you are in a warmer  climate I suggest putting the pot into an ice bath or I have even heard of some brewers using their swimming pool as a solution! The best way is actually  with extra equipment such as a wort chiller or plate chiller which i'll be asking Santa for later this year!

So the brew (wort) is going to take another rest overnight to cool next to it's final home my PROPERBEER kegarator fridge!
Part three will be up in a couple of days!

16 May 2012

Home Brewing with ProperBeerMate Part 1

Hey Guys I'm going to show you how I brew my beer at home here in Australia. Today I'm doing an all grain brew using the Brew In A Bag method (BIAB)  I'll be brewing a Czech Dark Ale Version of one of my all time favie beers Budvar Dark!

Here's my Grain bill and Ingredients which is a recipe from my local Home Brew Shop-- Marks Home Brew  here in beaut Newcastle Australia!

Cracked extra fine (0.9mm) for BIAB
Premium Pilsener  3.230 Kg
Munich Dark 0.586 Kg
Cara Munich T2  0.586 Kg
Wheat Chocolate (yummy!) 0.220 kg

Saaz Czech (T90) 79g @60mins boil time

Safale US-05 (I'm using Muntons Prenium Gold this time)

Here's my Equipment & Grains

From Left :
  1. Thermometer -decent scientific one.
  2. Hydrometer  to calculate abv and gravity
  3. Whirlfloc tablet- finning/to clear the brew at end of boil
  4. Saaz Hop Pellets-Yay- Hops!
  5. Grain bill-Malty goodness!
  6. Burner- Mine's an Italian spiral type
More Equipment:

-My good 'ol faithful brew bag that holds 5 kgs of grain no worries! Cleaned and ready for action!

My Brew pot that I picked up In Thailand last year- 36 litre capacity and does the job. Filled up with just over 20 litres of good 'ol H2O.

Here's some Spare Pots from previous brewing adventures along with a strainer and my mash paddle which is also great for stir frys too!

I prop the burner up onto my old barbie (BBQ) for safety reasons pop the pot filled with water on top  and connect the gas up to the burner and let her rip! Aiming for 50 degrees Celsius strike water temp I grab the thermometer and monitor the temp.

Woo-hoo! After about 10 mins the water temp nears 50C strike temp-- time to get the bag and grains ready!

So after the temp hits just over 50c I turn off the gas and take the pot down off the burner (with oven gloves on- as I don't like getting burnt) . Now the bag goes in the pot followed by the grainy goodness being poured in nice 'an slow.

Now the grain is given a good stir making sure I get all the lumpy bits mashed and all the grains are wet.
Oohh it smells good! Once thats done I pull the tie on the bag to seal it up and pop the top on the brew pot.

Now I'll put the brew to bed for 60mins to let it mash--- have a beer and read some beerbeer.org and properbeermate!

What I use to wrap the pot up to maintain the mash temp is a towel and some old clean bed covers -does the trick!
In Part two the which will be posted  next week we'll start the boil and add the magic that is HOPS!!
Cheers till then!

10 April 2012

Vale IPA

This little beer caught me by surprise at last years Warners at the bay beer festival. I have since then been eagerly awaiting  for the bottled version to hit my local  bottle shop and well just the other week it had!

On the pour the beer presents itself with a fantastic amber glow followed by an awesome foamy head which is not overly carbonated at all. Big fresh citrusy aroma on the nose with some hoppy pine thrown in too!

These wonderful smells reminded me of  a  a good IPA poured off the tap at a PROPER craft brew pub.
The marvelous aroma follows though going down with good hoppy bitterness that  lingers coupled with a smooth mouth-feel thanks to the malts used in this brew. Great finish too leaves me reaching for the glass again for another hypnotizing hop hit! 

Doesn't have a heavy resin mouth-feel at all like as some other American styled  IPAs out there, which ultimately adds to it's character and overall drinkability. At 5.5%ABV  this brew is a great sessionable ale too if you can handle/love your hops!

If are a hop lover or just curious why people like me go crazy over hops- and you see it out there at your local- grab a four pack/pint you wont be disappointed.

Some good 'ol aged tasty cheddar cheese and crackers or tapas style garlic prawns would be my food match recommendation with this tasty brew.