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  1. I did my first brew according to the instructions, used sugar instead of malt and got a thin beer as a result. I’d say your temperatures are way too high, and agree that it’s ideal to try to keep the ferment around 18° to 20° as much as possible. Don’t follow the instructions on the tin, use the instructions in the recipes section of the Club or the Forum, that’s the path to brewing happiness!
  2. I’m currently testing recipes for making vegan ‘cheese’ for our pizza shop, and tapioca flour is used as a thickener. It’s also used for making the pearls in bubble tea.
  3. As soon as we finish a longneck of home brew, I rinse the bottle, then give it another swoosh and let it soak for a few minutes. Each time I’m using about 100ml of water. Generally that’s all that’s needed, but sometimes with a heavier beer that has been in bottle for a year or so (like a stout, Rad Abbot etc) then there will be a yeasty crust on the bottom of the bottle. I just drop in a teaspoon of DiSan, a bit of warm water, swoosh it around and soak for a while. Rinse, then perfect!
  4. My son, who has just completed his Chemistry PhD, alerted me to this article. Clearly it’s all about a different method for getting particular compounds into beer, but we agree it’s an industrial process rather than the craft approach that we favour.
  5. My wife likes saisons, but I’m not a fan. Some months ago I tried a kettle soured stout, fermented with raspberries, using Wyeast’s French saison yeast. Sensational! Next time you’re in the badlands of Thebarton, call into The Wheaty and see if they have Benatar on tap. It was one of those amazing revelations about the endless possibilities of brewing. I’m going to give it a go over the Christmas break, to have a supply ready for next year. Cheers and best wishes to all!
  6. Our local has had quite a run of milk stouts and novelty beers featuring lactose over the past few months. Some of them have worked really well, but the common feature has been that none of them are sessionable - they get a bit cloying and sickly-sweet. That thread was really interesting, but lactose up to 13% sounds absolutely dreadful.
  7. Recently I was reading an American book about beers of the world, and it contained a pretty vigorous discussion about what could be described in the industry as “craft”. Personally, the term craft only has meaning if the beers are special or unique in some way. The Yanks say that a craft brewery must be small (by their standards), independent and use traditional methods; the latter seems to be a slap at the substitution of sugar etc for malt by some of the more industrial brewers. We don’t have a definition here, seemingly because it might exclude some of the larger members of the Independent Brewers Association. The recent purchase of Pirate Life by InBev might prove to be a prime example of a craft brewer growing away from its craft roots. What do you reckon?
  8. I’ve always loved Prancing Pony, Lobethal Bierhaus, Mismatch, Bridge Road and the kiwis (8 Wired, Panhead, Garage Project) and a few others. Pirate Life is OK but ridiculously expensive; we live near their brewery, but Weihenstephan from Bavaria is better and cheaper - go figure! PL is good beer marketed as great beer. They say they’ve sold out so they can fund a beer barn/ restaurant thing at Port Adelaide - really? I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this, but I’ve never been impressed by their brews. Hard to see how they’ve demonstrated the adventurous spirit they learned at Brewdog. Good luck to them though, they’ve built a brand in 2 1/2 years and nailed it, made a mint.
  9. Vodka infusions are pretty easy, just add whatever takes your fancy to a bottle of vodka (minus a few shots), shake every day, leave in a cool cupboard for 2 - 4 weeks, than strain and replace in the bottle. Stewing a few stalks of rhubarb with a bit of sugar and a split vanilla bean, or just a vanilla bean, or about 150g of chopped caramels and a pinch of salt; all delicious! Now that I think of it, we tried a popular drink in Estonia - vanilla vodka and cloudy apple juice - surprisingly more-ish.
  10. That’s a great idea, Christina, I must try it too. We are big fans of making our own infused vodkas; rhubarb, vanilla and salted caramel are our favourites. Amy Stewart spoke at Writers Week here in Adelaide early this year, she was fantastic. She covered her work on botany (The Drunken Botanist and Wicked Weeds) and historical novels (her stories about the Kopp sisters, fascinating). The Drunken Botanist is a great book, freely available in our public libraries. Enjoy your liqueur!
  11. I’m a classic liberal/conservative who believes that change is only desirable when it clearly is an improvement (I’m sick of unintended consequences) and that the role of the state should be limited to maintaining the basic fabric of society. So I’m a big fan of SSM, because it treats all loving couples equally, and recognises that sexuality is no one else’s business. The best parents are loving parents. I’ve seen plenty of dysfunctional straight couples who are doing irreparable harm to their children, and gays who are great, so clearly we straights don’t have a monopoly on good parenting. As a lapsed Roman Catholic (but still a great fan of passion and mystery) I’m in favour of religious toterance, but totally against religious bigotry. In the meantime, I’ve started brewing a Coopers amber ale for my forthcoming birthday. Hopefully the SSM legislation will be passed before then, so it will be a double celebration of life, liberty and happiness.
  12. That’s shameful - for ages our local bottle shop was selling 3 500ml bottles of Weihenstephan beers for $10. They are beers that put most locals to shame, shipped from near Munich to Adelaide, and still cheaper than megaswill; ridiculous!
  13. I’ve brewed a raspberry saison based on the Australian Pale Ale Kit, using wheat and a bit of sugar, and it was delicious. I’ve done a couple of cheery beers based on the OS Lager and DME, also very well received. A full kilo of frozen fruit, a couple of days into the ferment, works a treat.
  14. I’ve added frozen cherries or frozen raspberries a few days into ferment, as Christina suggests, to make some lovely fruit beers. Basically it’s a regular beer, with the colour and flavour of a suitable fruit. Up to 1kg in 23 litres works really well.
  15. A mate’s neighbour brews a chocolate stout with milo - it’s dreadful, milo being only partly malt, and mainly fillers. If you want chocolate in a porter or stout, use pale choc malt, roast barley, etc. the RoboChoc recipe is a great starting point.
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