IPA Brewshare @ The Local Taphouse

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Last Tuesday night saw the latest quarterly Brewshare event at The Localtaphouse in Darlinghurst. The set style for the night was Indian Pale Ales (IPA) with 21 entries and 5 more in the nights ‘open class’.

Sydney water had a bit of mishap with a water main bursting down the road in Moore Park leaving the pub without water. This caused all in attendance to turn to beer for their hydration but with so many fantastic brews on offer this was hardly a punishment. The beauty of the event is it brings a such a wide variety of homebrewers together with a wide range of skillsets and experience to together to talk shop and enjoy each others work.

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Stout / Porter Brewshare @ The Local Taphouse

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

The rain was pelting down in Sydney last night, but it didn’t stop a crowd of home brewers converging on The Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst. Every few months the Taphouse plays host to an event for beer loves named “Brewshare”. A style for the night is set and homebrewers bring along their brews to share and be judged, last night the theme was Porters / Stouts which was a good choice considering the inclement weather on the night.
It ended up being a great night that was thoroughly enjoyed by all, below are some of the brews I was fortunate enough to taste (sorry to anyone I missed, your sheet didn’t make it home me!):

Oak Imperial Stout

Ben Buxton

8.5% Alcohol


Caramalt, Crystal malt, roasted barley

Chinook & Cascade hops

Irish Ale & Whitelabs super high gravity


This brew sat on bourboned oak chips for 3 weeks. This added a great level of complexity and also help smooth it out, even at 8.5% this brew was pretty easy drinking.

Pret a Porter

Peter Philip


4.8% Alcohol

30 IBU

35 SRM


Pale malt, flaked barley, black barley, caraamber and chocolate malt

East Kent Goldings

Safale S-04


This brew was transferred from keg to plastics bottles which I think result in a loss of the aroma. Although what it lacked in the smell it more than made up with in taste very smooth and easy to drink.

German Dark Ale

Greg Hughes


none provided


Light malt extract, black grain

Northern Brewer & Hallertau Hops

European Ale Yeast


Awesome aroma I think I am a sucker for anything with Hallertau in it, on the palateĀ  very tasty and easy drinking.

The Governor

Michael Hodge


8.5% Alcohol

53 IBU


Light malt extract, roasted barley, crystal grain, caramalt, roasted wattle seeds

Perle & Hallertau Hops

Lager yeast


This was possibly my favourite beer of the night, packed full of flavour. The roasted wattle seeds added a great uniqueness to this brew, on the palate Cherries and raisins shone though balanced perfectly balanced with the heat from the alcohol.

Cherry Fever Stout

Sam Haldane


6.5% Alcohol

30 IBU

60 SRM


Light & Dark DME, Medium crystal, black malt, roasted barley

Northern Brewer & Willamette hops

Wyeast #1272 (American Ale 2)


Very rich the cherries combined perfectly with the stouts richness to produce something akin to a Cherry Ripe in liquid form.

Kobushi Black Dragon

Jesse Hopwood


6.75% Alcohol


Liquid caramel extract, light DME, Chocolate, pale, crystal and carafa I malts

Perle, East Kent Goldings, Chinook, Saaz and Northern Brewer hops

Safale US yeast


This beer definitely didn’t leave you wanting for taste. The extensive use of different hop varieties gave a hug level of complexity.

Coco Coconut Stout

Anthony Mills


5.89% Alcohol

36.5 IBU

70.6 EBC


Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise – Chocolate malt, Simpsons Golden naked oats, black malt, Weyerman Caraamber, Bairds Maris Otter, Light and dark DME

Challenger and Fuggles hops

Wyeast #1028 (London Ale)

Coconut meat, 1 vanilla bean, 90ml Malibu rum, Cocoa beans


This was my own entry into the comp, and it did alot better than I expected it came second and won me a yeast voucher from Daves homebrew store in North Sydney. The first few weeks in the bottle the vanilla was overpowering to the point it I was going to write it off as a dud brew given time to age though this died down to a more subtle level, I couldn’t really taste the coconut although most people said they could.

Related: IPA Brewshare @ The Local Taphouse

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Brewing Ginger Beer

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

gingerGinger is a tuber of the Ginger plant, Zingiber officinale. One of the oldest spices known to man Ginger has been widely used by man throughout the ages for both culinary and medicinal purposes.
Ginger has numerous health benefits some of which include, the improving peripheral circulation, lowering cholesterol and reducing naseua. Although in the western world Ginger is used primarily for its unique taste in food and drinks.
Like most wonder plants, Ginger is great for brewing booze with too! So good in fact there have been times past in American history where the consumption of ginger has even surpassed that of standard hopped beers. Ginger Beer originated in jolly old England back around the 1700’s and reached its peak of popularity in the early 20th century, its popularity has since waned, at least in its original alcoholic form.

Fortunately for the home brewer it is extremely easy and cheap to make a batch to enjoy. Coopers and Brigalow both sell Ginger beer extracts in kit form, although some people have told me they find the finished product’s taste a bit funny on the palate. Personally I haven’t tried either, i have never seen the point when the ingredients to make your Ginger beer from scratch can be located so cheaply and easily at your nearest supermarket.
If you don’t have some already, you will need to get yourself some brewing gear to make Ginger beer. A fermenter, hydrometer and some sterilizing powder is about all you need to get started, these can be purchased from any home brew store (find one near you here), and will cost you around $40 all up. Another option is buying a Coopers brew kit from Big W these are around $70 last time i looked, contain a few extras and have everything to get the budding home brewer up and brewing in no time.

Once you have the necessary equipment you will also need to get:

  • 1 Packet generic ale yeast or ginger beer yeast
  • 3 Lemons
  • 2 Limes
  • 60 grams Cream of tartar (baking section of the supermarket)
  • 2kg Brown sugar
  • 150 grams of freshly grated Ginger root

Making the beer:
First zest the lemons and limes (thinly cut off the very outer coloured edge of the skin) in a pot with 3 liters of water on the stove. Bring the pot of water to the boil and then add the cream of tartar, the ginger and the sugar. Stir until the sugar is fully dissolved then turn off the heat and pour into your sterilized fermenter. Juice the lemons and the limes and add to the fermenter along with 15 liters of cold tap water.
Stir the mix in the fermenter thoroughly, sprinkle your satchel of yeast on top stir again.
Seal up your fermenter and put it somewhere in the house that is around 18 – 25 degrees Celsius. The temperature where the fermenter is going to be doesn’t have to be spot on but try and avoid places where the temperature is likely to fluctuate a lot during the day i.e near sunny windows etc.
The airlock on the fermenter should start bubbling around 16 – 32 hours later, and will continue to ferment happily for around the next 8 days (exact time will vary depending on the ambient temperature and exact yeast used). When the airlock appears to have stopped bubbling take a hydrometer reading wait 48 hours and then repeat if both readings were the same you are now ready to bottle. If your hydrometer readings differed wait a few days and repeat the testing process again as your beer is still fermenting.

Bottling your brew:
Bottling is easily the most time consuming part of the brewing process and for one fermenter, sterilizing the bottles, filling, priming and capping will take around 1 1/2 – 2 hours of time.
First you need to sterilize enough empty bottles (375mL Stubbies or 700mL longnecks work best) to hold your brew. You now need to add some more sugar to the fermenter so your beer will end up fizzy. If you stuck to the recipe and have exactly 18L of beer you will need to dissolve 150 grams of sugar in 500mL of water and cool add to your fermenter and stir.
Fill all your bottles and cap, then put them aside for 1 – 2 weeks to prime before chilling and drinking.
I personally prefer this brew better when the ginger flavours are nice and fresh with some bite so don’t worry about leaving it to age for an extended period before drinking.

Troubleshooting your brew

The fermenter airlock never started bubbling:
Check the temperature where the fermenter is the yeast may just be dormant due to the cold, try moving the fermenter somewhere warmer.
Did you add the yeast to the fermenter after adding the cold water? The Yeast will be killed if its added while the temperature is too high. If you suspect you have killed the yeast buy another satchel and add it to the fermenter, if your lucky you can recover from this mistake.

Beer not fizzy when you open a bottle:
Did you remember to prime your brew with sugar? Secondary fermentation in the bottle is necessary to gas your beer. Not much that can be done to fix this mistake as the beer is already in the bottles. It is still alcoholic and perfectly fine to drink so its not a total loss.

Bottles of beer exploding:
You either primed with too much sugar or didn’t wait until the fermentation was completely finished before bottling. Be sure never to bottle if the hydrometer reading is above 1.012.

Ginger beer smells and tastes bad:
When it comes to brewing cleanliness is number one! Some sort of bacteria has no doubt made itself at home in your brew. Throw the beer out and start again making sure everything your ginger beer comes in contact with is sterile first.

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