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  1. {Flak jacket on} So we've experimented with this concept for 100 times now, and I think it's time to blow the whistle! Why? Because: (1) It grossly distorts the NRL competition, with some clubs losing their better players for quite a few games each year (2) It's Rugby League is it not - so why have different tolerances regarding thuggery and rule interpretations from weekly club games? Oh, because it's SOO - yeah, right - so what! (3) It's degenerated into a gladiatorial over-hyped thug-a-thon I love rugby league, but every year at SOO time, I cringe just a little bit more at the seriousness in which it's regarded. I'd like to shout IT'S JUST A GAME, but it's moved on from that - it's a bloody business, masquerading as a game. {Flak jacket off}
  2. With winter on the way (well according to the calender, but not judging by the weather today - almost summery, and we're well over a month overdue for our first frost here in the hills of SE Queensland) anyway, seems like it might be nearly time to try a mulled ale. Mrs Beeton's Mulled Ale (Mrs Beeton legendary in the UK) calls for: Ingredients 1.25 litres good ale 1 tbsp caster sugar 1/2 tsp whole cloves 60 ml rum or brandy freshly grated nutmeg, to taste Method 1. Heat the ale in a large saucepan with the sugar and cloves. Don't allow it to boil. 2. Warm a jug by rinsing it out with boiling water, then pour the hot ale into the jug, adding the rum or brandy and grated nutmeg to taste. We had a tasting session yesterday afternoon with my home-brewing near neighbour, and tried 4 brews - a delightful lime-infused Cervaza, Mister Sinister, my first AG brown ale, and my second AG, an English Ale FWH with Tettnang, and fermented with Nottingham - beautiful! So I'm thinking either of my AGs might be just the duck's nuts for mulling (if that's the term). Seems like a great cold climate cockle warmer. Anyone tried them? Chad?
  3. I've seen some kits that state 1005 or below for bottling too. I guess the best that can be said about that advice is that it's a massive generalisation, and probably assumes that the kilo of sugars you'll be using are 100% fermentable. That would be OK, but if using straight sugar for example, the finished beer might be a little on the thin side. If using dried malt extract (DME) or Cooper's Brew Enhancers (which contain dextrose, malt, etc) for the kilo of sugars, you'll get a beer with noticeably more mouthfeel and body, and of course, a higher FG, as you'd have a higher proportion of non-fermentable sugars, which bumps up the FG. So the ONLY way is to get those two or three successive readings the same, whatever they might be (as long as they're in the ballpark). A rule of thumb which might help is that typically the FG will be about a third of the OG. ie - OG, say 1040, then FG around 1013 (give or take a few points) Happy brewing!
  4. What? You were slouching inside watching tele, when you should have been outside doing pushups or something similarly energetic? Let's see now - milk's good for you, then it's not, then coffee's bad, then it's good, avoid all fats, but then, wait, your body (and brain) needs fat to function, and dark chocolate - full of antioxidants, no wait, that's not true after all. And a glass of wine is beneficial, no hold on, it'll turn you into an alco. Now beer... Hell, breathing city air is a serious health risk. Life is a terminal condition!!! As Hunter S Thompson famously observed: “Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Wow! What a Ride!”
  5. Well, I managed to try only 2 - the IPA and the Porter. The IPA is a beautiful brew, crisp and clean, which went down a treat, and the Porter exhibited lovely roasted barley notes, not all that far removed from my first AG'er. From all reports, the customers were happy to try something other than mainstream beers. So a good day at the Hampton Festival bar, and maybe an eye-opener for a few visitors who may never have tasted such a variety of beers in one day.
  6. I've had massive overflows in my old FV (screw top lid with air-lock type) when I've done big strong brews, but also huge krausens with my two all-grainers to date. These two AGs were not in the "big strong high OG" category though. Reason for the explosive krausen (I think) is because I aerated the wort with an aquarium pump and airstone for 30 minutes before pitching rehydrated dry yeast. They certainly fermented with vigour! And that's what persuaded me to invest in one of the Coopers FVs with the krausen collar. Haven't commissioned it yet, but the next brew day is not far off. As far as removing the crud above the water-mark in an FV, I usually just seal the airlock hole with a bung, and invert the FV with enough bottle-washing solution in it to cover the crud. By the time I've finished bottling, the crud's soft enough to just rinse off. Beats scrubbing!
  7. Hi Tezza I was thinking along the same lines! I've been to the Granite Belt on a winery tour, and tasted some stunning wines - both white and red. But their beer degustation dinners (7 beers matched with 7 courses) is my idea of a jolly good night out. (Followed obviously by an overnight within staggering distance) I believe their next one is planned for August. Re the brewing - I have two all-grainers under my belt now, and just loving the step-up from kits and bits, even though it does make a "brew day" just that! If it weren't for the curiosity and satisfaction of brewing a beer from scratch (well, almost - I don't grow the barley or cultivate the yeast, but you know what I mean), then I reckon I'd be very happy with extract brewing with the addition of specialty grains and hops. But I've got all the gear I need now for 3V AG, and only a finite number of years remaining to do a lifetime's experimenting and tasting, which is why I'm setting up a local home-brewer's circle so we can all taste each other's latest and greatest, and not repeat our mistakes! (Well, not too often anyway...) Pity you're not a bit closer. I'll report back after tomorrow's festival and give my verdict on the above mentioned brews. Come on tomorrow!!!
  8. I live just down the road from Hampton (between Toowoomba and Crows Nest), and have been volunteering this week with preparation for Sunday's huge annual food and art festival. Couldn't help noticing lots of cartons from Granite Belt Brewery (near Stanthorpe) in the bar shed, and it turns out they've got at least four offerings - IPA, Irish red Ale, Wheat Beer, and a Porter (I think that's what the bar manager said). Anyway, from checking out their website, looks like a nicely organised brewing setup, and I for one look forward to trying them all! (Looks like a cracker festival on Sunday, so if you're in the area, as Molly used to say - "Do yourself a favour...") Lots of wines there too. edit - forgot to add: http://www.granitebeltbrewery.com.au/our-beer
  9. Gday Guzz Saved money? Yep. 368 batches? Over the course of 40 years! Fine brews? Only in the last 6 months, really. Pressures of work/lack of time was why I was brewing K & Ks, predominantly Coopers (and quite happy with too I must add), but I only started on the next level (Kits & Bits, with specialty grains, extra hops, etc) last year, and now upped the ante again, and have started 3V (HLT, mash-tun, and kettle) All Grain brews - 2 done to date. Interestingly, and probably fairly common, I started HB'ing to save money, and pretty well stuck with Cooper's Original Series until the last few years. Then got adventurous with the International Series, and really liked the Australian Pale Ale and Canadian Blonde. Never got into the TC Series, as BigW didn't/don't stock them! Anyway, emphasis now is not on saving money (although you still do compared with buying slabs at the bottle shop) but brewing BETTER beers. Of the Kits and Bits I've done, I love the Cooper's "Chubby Cherub", "Mister Sinister", and the "Hop Slam IPA"- easy to do, and what brews they are! Looking forward to my AG'ers now, but will still do Kits & Bits, as they're a real time-saver, and you can make some fabulous beers in any style you want with them. AG's give you that warm fuzzy feeling of doing it from scratch though...
  10. Hi Ben After reading the below' date=' I elected to cool my wort by draining it through an 18 m copper coil in an ice bath. It uses about 16 kg ice from the freezer to do it, but cools it from near-boiling to 25 C in the space of, what, 30 seconds! Quote from "How To Brew": [i']At the end of the boil, it is important to cool the wort quickly. While it is still hot, (above 140°F) bacteria and wild yeasts are inhibited. But it is very susceptible to oxidation damage as it cools. There are also the previously mentioned sulfur compounds that evolve from the wort while it is hot. If the wort is cooled slowly, dimethyl sulfide will continue to be produced in the wort without being boiled off; causing off-flavors in the finished beer. The objective is to rapidly cool the wort to below 80°F before oxidation or contamination can occur. Rapid cooling also forms the Cold Break. This is composed of another group of proteins that need to be thermally shocked into precipitating out of the wort. Slow cooling will not affect them. Cold break, or rather the lack of it, is the cause of Chill Haze. When a beer is chilled for drinking, these proteins partially precipitate forming a haze. As the beer warms up, the proteins re-dissolve. Only by rapid chilling from near-boiling to room temperature will the Cold Break proteins permanently precipitate and not cause Chill Haze. Chill haze is usually regarded as a cosmetic problem. You cannot taste it. However, chill haze indicates that there is an appreciable level of cold-break-type protein in the beer, which has been linked to long-term stability problems.[/i] I'm aware that there is a school of thought which says that John Palmer's methods/suggestions are a bit "old hat" etc etc. All I can say is my beers are clear.
  11. Last night was an unwanted FIRST for me - I tipped an HB down the drain, it was so bad! It was from my Brew #68 (currently on the fourth series, as I return to 1 when I reach 99 -- can't fit more than two numbers on the cap). So that works out to first failure in about 11,000 bottles! So what caused it, I ask myself? The brew was a Cooper's "Kits & Bits" Oktoberfest, bottled late January. I had bottled some of that batch in 500 ml bottles, and the rest in 740 ml tallies. All the 500's are finished now, but I noticed some of them tasted different from the rest. The one last night was a tallie, and it initially tasted OK, followed quickly by a not-very-appealing aftertaste. So working on the basis that life's too short to drink bad beer, out it went! So what caused it? All I can think of is that I changed over to Cooper's bottle caps in January, from the BigW ones I'd always used previously. Now I have never sanitised my caps, working on the assumption that they'd be clean enough straight out of the packet. This dog has just learnt a new trick! Guess what new step I'll be incorporating into my bottling days now! The sad part is that I've bottled another 180 tallies since then, with un-sanitised caps. Guess each one will be a lucky dip...
  12. Hi Beans I can't answer directly, as I haven't bought a beer at a pub for a while. But, going on the price of a cup of coffee wherever you go, I'd say probably AU$3. The "coffee price" theory is that no matter where you are in the world, a cup of coffee will cost the same number of units of currency. So in Australia, AU$3.50 for example. In the US, US$3.50, in the UK, 3.5 pounds (don't have an English keyboard!), in France, 3.5 Euros, etc. It's what a traveler told me, so I can't vouch for it, but it's an interesting theory, which if true, could probably apply to beer as well.
  13. Your majesty Jaycar sell led's in many colours that automatically flash when you apply DC to them. Just imagine a control panel with lots of (not connected to anything) switches and dials' date=' and a bank of flashing led's!!! Impressive is hardly the word. [img']cool[/img] Your loyal hero RR
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