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How 'lupulin powder' removes the need for hops pellets



The concept of making beer hasn't changed much in a hundreds years but the methods have. While hops have been used for many a year, one company in America might have found a way for a genuine step change in hop use with their innovation of collecting lupulian powder.

You might already know that lupulia is the part of the hops that brewers unitilise to make beers hoppy as that's where the good alpha acids for brewing come from.

In case you didn't know, the alpha acids are converted into bitter iso-alpha acids during the brewing process, and essential oils and are what give beers their varying hoppy qualities.

YCH Hops, a grower-owned hop supplier based in Washington, America has created a new process where the lupulin is extracted from the hops and is collected in powder form.

The powder extraction processes is simple in concept. The collected hops are subjected to cold temperatures in inside nitrogen atmosphere. This limits any oxidation of the sensitive resins and oils in the hop. The hops are 'chilled and milled' and the lupulin is forced from the lupulin gland.

You might well ask, what's the point of this?

Efficiency gains in making beer is the short answer.

Beer hops are often made into pellets form for distribution and preservation. The process of making the pellets actually breaks down the acids and oils meaning the effect on the beer requires more hops than one perhaps needs. Enter lupulin powder which has the superior percentage of 'herbs and spices' over hop pellets meaning less quantity is required.

YCH boasts that their product "offers twice the resin content of traditional whole-leaf and hop pellet products" which basically means you only need to use half as much.

YCH Hops initially started to market their powdered 'Cyro Hops' with the brand name "LupuLN2" to commercial brewers in America. As a small home brewer, you can  soon buy the powder from Amazon!

You can then simply dry hop with it as normal.

You can see the appeal for commercial brewers - less volume means better storage and transportation costs.

The other benefit of the powder is that their use in place of traditional hops means less 'green material' is left in the beer, improving clarity by reducing sedimentation and better beer brightness.

You can see why home brewers who don't have commercial means of clearing beer will love using the powder!

I haven't found any information how long the powder can be used before it loses its potency.

Given the apparent early success of lupulin powder with the American brewers that have used it, we expect that its popularity will slowly begin to spread across the Continent and then the rest of brewing communities the world over - provided it's sold at a cost effective price relative to the economics of using traditional hop pellets it should do well - indeed the prices on Amazon seem pretty fair.

5 mistakes EVERY beer maker should watch out for


5 mistakes EVERY beer maker should watch out for


Beer brewing can be a thankless task at times and no one will thank you if you serve them a horrible tasting home brew when you host your mates for a 'BBQ and Brews' evening.

Here's 5 mistakes that home brewers should bear in mind before they even begin to open the can of malt extract from their kit.

If you follow them well, you'll be sure to produce some delicious tasting brews.

1. Wash, wash away your sins.


We actually mean santize. Sanitise the heck out of everything you use. If you're starting out as a home brewer, your equipment and kit should contain a cleansing and sterilizing agent.

You NEED to make sure that at the very least your drum is fully clean and sterilized before your start your brewery process. If brewing is going to become a hobby, sanitization needs to be a habit.

There is nothing more disappointing that going to bottle your brew and recognizing the scent of a bad brew that has been contaminated by nasty bugs.

2. Temperature 


It would be a mistake to think that home brewing is basically a 'set and forget' process.

It's not.

Well, it can be and a key part of that is making sure that where ever you leave your beer to ferment that it's a place that has the desired temperature and that it is a constant temperature.

Don't leave your beer outside on the back porch to do it's thing! Too much heat will kill the yeast so no direct sunlight. Too much cold and it will go dormant. Leave it wrapped in blankets in your garden shed if you have to, but make sure it's in a generally constantly heated place.

My work colleague leaves her beer brewing in the bath tub!

3. Those bubbles...


Just because the bubbles have stopped bubbling through the airlock, it doesn't mean the fermentation process is complete.

It would be a real shame for your bottled beer to start exploding if you haven't given the beer a chance to finish the process.

Use a hydrometer to ensure the fermentation is finished before you at least consider getting that beer into glass bottles.

Hint >> more experienced brewers tend to let the batch sit in the fermenter for at least a week longer than normally recommended on beer kit cans or after fermentation is complete. In the sense that the yeast has stopped feasting on the sugars and making alcohol, fermentation has finished however there's a 'tidy up' phase where sediment falls to the bottom of the fermenter which helps clear the beer and the yeast will continue to tick things over.


3. Running before you can walk



Get the basics of beer brewing down first.

Before you run off and try and make the most fanciest beer you can that features some imported yeast from England and three different kinds of hops, learn the principles of beer making.

You will enjoy your first few brewing experiences if you keep them simple. Then you can start to branch out into more complicated recipes and practices.


4. Not keeping records



If you write down what you did, what you used, when you did it and why you'll have a good basis on which to make judgement about your beer brewing failures and successes.

If you find that you've pulled off a stunner of a beer, you might be able to figure out just exactly how that happened.

It could be the difference between remembering that you used a certain kind of hops in your brew!

5.  You drink your beer too early


Patience my young Padawan.

It is a mistake for sure to drink your beer too early.

Post bottling, your beer needs time to carbonate. It also needs time to just chill and do its thing. The fermentation process is in a sense a simple chemical reaction but there is a complex relationship going on with the beer's ingredients that need time to sort themselves out.

The patient beer drinker who leaves his beer at least three weeks before indulging will be a better beer maker for it. If you can make it to 5 or 6 weeks before you taste, the better your beer should taste. That said, if you are keen a hoppy beer, you can be forgiven for getting in to it earlier.

Image credit Bruno Girin as per Creative Commons Licence

The 5 best ph Meters for making good beer


Don't want to muck around? Here's the 5 best portable ph Meters to choose from:


What's a good ph Meter for home brewing?


Coming from the clean and green wilds of New Zealand, I've never really bothered with wondering about the quality of water I use with my home brewing.

In most places of NZ, the water from the tap is simply delicious, clean and quite perfect for homebrewing.

But not all water is the same.

Ever heard of a place called Flint, Michigan?

My vague recollections from 5th form science is that there's hard water, soft water and everything in between. 

And then there's the pH of water. 

But is that what we care about when making beer? 

Kind of. 

It's really the pH of the mash that brewers like to think about.

pH is the measurement of acidity or alkalinity of a solution, where the amount of hydrogen ion are measured.

In the last 10 years or so, an increased understanding of the important role that the pH level of the mash  plays in brewing really good beer has driven both commercial and backyard brewers to closely focus on monitoring and then adjusting their mash pH levels as required.

So what is a Ph Meter then?

A pH meter is a scientific instrument that measures the hydrogen-ion activity in water-based solutions, indicating its acidity or alkalinity.

The pH meter measures the difference in 'electrical potential' between a pH electrode and a reference electrode. This page has an excellent explanation of how ph Meters actually work and explains the science behind them really wee.

pH meters may be utilized in many applications ranging from laboratory experimentation to quality control and checking that your batch of wine is on the correct fermentation path but for the beer brewer, we are concentrating on the beer mash.


But why do brewers care about mash pH?



First of all, beers brewed within a general range of ph tend to brew better than beers that are too acidic or too low in pH.

So, brewers like to take the ph of their mash to determine if it is in the optimal range for the beer tehy are trying to make.

The optimal range is generally considered to be  pH 5.2 to 5.4. A high reading means the beer is too alkaline.

If a brewer's meter determine the pH is too high, they will then need to adjust the level downward by adding acid or calcium sulfate.

Hopbrewer shares their advice: “The conventional wisdom is that a mash pH of 5.0-5.2 is pushing a crisper beer — you’d aim for that with a pilsner or IPA or pale ale. Once you get to a pH of 5.3-5.6, you might get more roundness and less of that tart character. But you also run the risk of extracting tannins.”


So how do I use a Ph Meter to test my beer mash?



PH meters are basically glorified volt meters that measure the 'electrical potential' produced by a special pH probe.

Using a pH meter is a fairly simple process. One should generally draw a small sample of the wort and put in a vessel such as a shot glass. Dip the probes into it to get a pH reading. Make sure your device is turned on and that you have calibrated the meter first!

And remember, the mash can be hot, so be careful not to burn yourself.

THAT said, pH levels should be measured at near room temperature to get an accurate result (that's just good science). So if you could cool your sample quickly (a short time in the fridge), maybe give a stir, you'll get a genuine reading. Don't cool it too much as you'll go below room temperature. I've read that one dude keeps shot glasses ready in the freezer to help with cooling!

Eh, that's a bit of mucking around, maybe do not worry too much....

THAT said, many of the best ph Meters will have Automatic Temperature Calibration features and speaking of features...

What are the specifications of a good ph Meter?


The best ph Meters can have the following specifications or qualities:
  • Replaceable electrode 
  • 2-3 point automatic calibration 
  • Accuracy of 0.01 pH 
  • Portable 
  • A price point between $100 - $150 gives a confidence in quality 
  • Automatic Temperature Compensation (ATC)

What is Automatic Temperature Compensation?


Many higher quality meters use ATC functionality. This is when the unit compensates for the response of the pH meter's electrode with varying temperature.

 As mentioned elsewhere in this post the mash's pH measurement is ideally conducted at room-temperature. This helps to avoid  measurement errors that can be caused by temperature effects on the probe and chemically in the mash.

So ATC accounts for differing temperatures of the mash.

Probes can wear out so require proper storage


Probes wear out over time and you should expect that you’ll have to replace quality ones every 2-3 years if you take good care of it and how how much use they get.

The probes should be stored in a pH storage solution to preserve their lifespan. Open, dry air ruins their potential. So when buying your pH meter you need to purchase a pH buffer or 'calibration kit' . This is why units like the Milwaukee MW102 come with solutions but replacement calibration kits can be separately brought online. You might see them called 'reference solutions'.

Keeping the probe clean after each use will prolong their life - it's a good idea to clean the outside with a soft toothbrush, being very gentle with the bulb part of the probe if this is the kind you have.

It's extremely important to never let the probe dry out. To this end it is fairly important you store the electrode as per the manufacturers' instructions. The normal way to store the probe electrode is in the recommend storage solution which is normally a concentrated form of potassium chloride.

Here's 5 of the best, mid range and mid price meters that you can find online:


Oakton EcoTestr pH 2+ Pocket pH Meter


Oakton EcoTestr pH 2+ Pocket pH Meter reviewThis is a fairly popular pocket product from Oakton. The display is fairly large with a good viewing angle.

It has indicators for battery life (1000 hours), readiness, and calibration (one touch), and shows both the parameter and temperature readings at the same time.

The cap was recently redesigned to be leak-proof and can be attached to the top of the meter when not being used— so no more lost caps for the home brewers!

The cap features a fill line, so you know how much beer wort sample you need for an accurate reading when using the cap as a sample cup. It is also wider, providing a base to keep the meter upright for hands-free measurements.

The new housing is compatible with lanyards to prevent losing or dropping, but is still waterproof and floats just in case you drop it in your mash...

Takes four A76 1.5 V miniature alkaline batteries which can achieve a battery life of 100 hours. Check the price on Amazon.

Milwaukee MW102 PH and Temperature Meter


Milwaukee MW102 PH and Temperature Meter
The MW102 Standard Portable pH / Temperature Meter Standard is a standard portable meter with no frills. 

The Milwaukee brand is recognized as having a reputation for producing low cost durable meters for quick and reliable measurements. 

Milwaukee’s Standard manufacturer advertises that their meters are "manufactured to be easy to use, practical and accurate. Ideal for the classroom, laboratory or for general field use".

The MW102 is a microprocessor based pH/Temperature meter with extended range (-2.00 to 16.00 pH), Automatic Temperature Compensation, automatic calibration in 2 points and ±0.02 pH accuracy. The meter is supplied with pH electrode and calibration solutions.

It's thus quite ideal for anyone working on a low budget but still requiring fast and reliable measurements.

The full kit comes with:
  • MW102 Unit
  • 9v Battery
  • Temperature Probe (MA830r)
  • PH Probe (MA911B/1)
  • PH Probe cover (a small bottle that fits on the PH Probe when not in use that holds storage solution)
  • User Manual & Registration Card
  • 20 ml sachet of PH 4.01 Calibration Solution
  • 20 ml sachet of PH 7.01 Calibration Solution
  • 20 ml sachet of PH Storage Solution Packet
The battery life is estimated by at 300 hours and it features an an auto-off after 8 minutes of inactivity.

A keen brewer reviewed the Milwaukee 102 as a "fantastic tool to have in my brewing arsenal. I originally bought it for taking readings while kettle souring, but its been invaluable as I dove deeper into water profile and mash pH adjustment. It's a bit more expensive than some of the cheaper meters out there, but you get what you pay for. Worth every penny in my book, and I regularly recommend it to those in the market for a high quality meter."

Hach Pocket Pro + Plus 9532000 with replacement electrode

hach pocket pro ph tester

Manufacturer Hach reckons that their Pocket Pro + will "take the guess work out of your measurements" which is entirely the point of a pH meter so a good start that we are on the same page.

Hach Pocket Pro+ is engineered to deliver accurate results. Hach boasts the Pro is backed up with built in performance diagnostics, you never have to guess when to clean or calibrate the sensor.

Featuring a large, easy-to-read LCD screen, the pH range covers 0 to 14 pH meaning it can be used for more than beer brewing, like hydroponics.

The unit takes 4 Triple AAA batteries which are easy to replace. Hach recommends that the electrodes are replaced every 6 months. This unit comes with a replacement unit.

Hanna Instruments HI98128 pHep 5pH / Temperature Tester


Hanna Instruments HI98128 testerThe Hanna Instruments HI 98128 is a popular compact pH tester used in laboratory and industrial applications.

It features:
  • Automatic Temperature Compensation
  • Automatic calibration
  • Dual-line LCD screen
  • Replaceable electrode cartridge
  • Housing that floats in case you drop it. 
The dual-line LCD screen simultaneously shows the current measurement and the current temperature, and a hold function freezes readings for recording. 

The meter has automatic calibration at one or two points with two sets of standard buffers (pH 4.01/7.01/10.01 or pH 4.01/6.86/9.18). 

The meter has a water-resistant housing, a tactile grip casing, and floats. 

The unit requires four 1.5V AA batteries which provide approximately 300 hours of continuous use. The Hanna meter switches off after eight minutes of inactivity to preserve battery life. 

The meter also comes with a HI 73127 pH electrode, an electrode removal tool, and instructions on how to properly use and care for the unit. Check out the price on Amazon.

Apera Instruments AI312 PH60F Premium pH Pocket Tester


This handy unit boasts the following features:
  • Easy-to-install Replaceable flat sensor
  • Triple-Junction structure prevents clogging, works great for regular pH measurement
  • Easy Auto Calibration with auto buffer recognition
  • Auto Temperature Compensation 
  • Unique High/Low Value HEADS-UP function, instantly reminding you of any results that need your attention with a red backlight; 
  • Auto recognition of stable values (with optional AUTO HOLD function) 
  • Large, clear Liquid Crystal Display with 3 backlit color (indicating 3 different modes)
  • Display both temp and pH simultaneously 
  • Also comes with calibration buffer solutions, calibration bottles, storage solutions, AAA batteries, and a lanyard all in a portable carrying case!
  • Check out the price on Amazon

Be wary of buying cheap ph meters


The cheaper the unit, the more likely you will get less than accurate readings and the units electrodes themselves will not last long if used frequently.

Many a brewer has found that by investing in a better quality unit, they get better results. To that end, we generally recommend a price point from 100 to 150 dollars. That said you can go cray cray on price so if going high value, make sure you will get the benefit.

More serious brewers tend to go for bench top units rather than the portable kind.

You could liken it to how beginner brewers start out. The first thing they buy is a brew kettle or potand they usually get the get the cheaper, smaller size kettle – and then suddenly they find they want to keep going with beer making and so need to purchase the bigger kettle or brewing pot. It's the same with the ph Meter - get the better one to save you having to buy another later on.

Finally, a word on ph strips


Did you ever get to use litmus paper in school science to determine if a solution was an acid or a base? The red paper turned blue or something. Either way, you can use ph strips if you wish but those will only given an indication as to your water or brew's pH level, and will never be as accurate as a quality meter. 

How to 'cold crash' home brew beer

tips on cold crashing beer

'Cold crashing' is not missing the turn on a cold winter's evening and ending up  driving into a snow bank.

It's not feeling horrible from a viral infection.

It's when you make your beer so cold that all the yeast 'leftovers' in your brew fall to the bottom meaning you can bottle or key your beer, safe in the knowledge there will be little sediment and it will be quite clear.

Cold crashing is a popular alternative to using finings such as gelatin to achieve a clear beer.

For many brewers, a good colour beer profile is a badge of honor and it can greatly add to the drinking experience.

So how do you cold crash home brew?


What you need is a very cold area.

Maybe you brewed your beer under kitchen sink and it's ready to bottle condition. Now is the time to cold crash. If it's winter, you're in luck, place the fermenter or carboy in your extremely cold shed for a full 24 hours.

This will cool the beer so that gravity can do it's thing and the yeast can clump together (floccuate) and other impurities can fall to the bottom. Leave it for a week at least.

Or, you can do what so many brewers do and place your 23 litre drum in an old refrigerator.

The ideal temperature is as close to zero and five degrees centigrade as one can get - without freezing the beer of course!

What's happening during a cold crash is that the yeast and other solids are dropping to the bottom of the barrel and this makes the beer clear.

Different yeasts have different behaviors in the cold.  'Flocculent' yeast strains will drop out in a day or two but for some of those poncy Belgian yeasts, you might be looking closer to a week. That said, many home brewers report that a week of cold crashing achieves the best clarity results.

It will be hard to achieve 100 percent clarity when you cold crash - commercial brewers have plenty of tricks up their sleeves to do that but remember that by properly conditioning your beer in a glass bottle or keg, the fermentation process will continue and their will be increased clarity occurring too.

When do I cold crash?


Begin the process only when you are sure that fermentation is complete. You can use a hydrometer to determine this - make sure you take that first reading!

What is the best temperature to cold crash beer?


There's many opinions out there but the common recommended range varies from 33 degrees Fahrenheit to 40 degrees F, with 38 degrees F being a fairly popular temperature point.  40 F is about 4.4. Centigrade.

Just don't freeze your beer. 

What do I do after I have cold crashed?


Keg or bottle in the normal fashions. Try not to stir the trub up!

Does cold crashing affect dry hopping?


It's a fair question given many brewers like to dry hop just prior to bottling. This is when hops are added to the fermenter a day or three prior to the end of fermentation. Most brewers report that dry hopping at the normal time and then cold crashing does not cause a great deal of aroma dissipation.

You could do it the other way too...

Some tips on cold crashing beer

  • Only cold crash when your beer is fully fermented. Crashing causes yeast to fall out of the beer so if done too early, you won't end up with the beer you intended to make.
  • If you keg your brew, you can cold crash right in a keg. Let the keg condition (uncarbonated) for a few days in your 'kegerator' so the yeast flocculates and drops out. Keen brewers can then transfer the batch to a second keg, many most of the sediment is left behind as well.
  • Perhaps somewhat ironically, cold crashing can increase the chances that chill haze will occur. While chill haze is actually prevented earlier in the brewing process, if it occurs during the cold crashing stage a quick application of finings will help. Chill haze will not affect the taste of your beer though you may not like the look of it, especially if it's occured in a light coloured beer. 
  • If you are concerned that hops causes too much sediment, consider using mesh bags.
  • If you are getting serious about cold crashing in a fridge, a temperature controlled one will keep the beer at a consistent level.
  • You do not need to re-pitch yeast for bottling as their will be sufficient yeast left for bottle carbonation. That said, it may take a little more time than usual for carbonation to occur. Results may vary!
There's another means to improve beer clarity.

Cold conditioning or 'lagering' your homebrew


Did you know that the word lager is derived from a German word, lagern?

It means ‘to store’. This should be a strong clue on how to make a good lager or any beer really. The lagering process was born when it was realised that beer left in cold caves turned out pretty good.

Due to lager yeasts operating best at lower temperatures, they actually ferment the beer at a lower rate than compared to ales which often ferment at higher temperatures.

This can mean that to get a lager brewed from a kit to be at its best for drinking, you may need to let it ‘lager’ for more weeks than you normally let an ale sit. So hide it in a dark corner of the garden shed during winter.

This will help with your beer clarity too!

If you are doing a boil, chilling your wort can also help remove unwanted items from your beer.

Using 'finings' to clear homebrew beer

clearing beer with finings

Simple instructions for using 'finings' to clear beer


If you've ever bought a beginner's beer kit it may have come with a sachet of 'finings'. That's basically how I was introduced to them when I got a brewing kit for Christmas.

So this (then!?) inexperienced homebrewer naturally had to ask:

What are beer 'finings' ?


Finings are agents that are usually added at or near the completion of brewing beer to the fermenter.

Their purpose is to remove unwanted organic compounds to help improve the beer clarity - as no one likes cloudy beer.

They are also used for wine, cider and non alcoholic drinks such as juice.

The finings act by precipitating and binding with compounds that reduce beer clarity. They they then fall to the bottom of the brewing fermenter drum or carboy and so are effectively removed from the beer.

How do I use beer finings?


If you have made a batch of beer in a drum or carboy, just add in the sachet to the beer, about 3 days before you intend to bottle the beer.

Do it quickly and reseal the drum so that there's no chance of infection occur by way of a stray spider or sneaky germs.

If you have done a boil, you can simply add the finings at the end of that process.

That's all you have to do! Easiest beer making instruction ever eh?

What are finings made from?


Finings can be made from all kinds of things. 

Isinglass (biofine) is a clearing agent made from the protein called collagen. It is extracted from the swim bladders of fish!

Ordinary gelatin is an effective fining agent as it will remove proteins and polyphenols. It's similar to isinglass in that it is also collagen agent but the key difference is that gelatin is made from hooved animals.

That's right, if you use gelatin to clear your beer, you are adding horse feet!

Kinda...

You can use unflavoured gelatin by add one tea spoon to a cup of hot water, mix and then add gently into the fermenter.

Add the finings a couple of days before you intend to bottle to give the fining time to do its thing.


A very popular fining is Irish Moss.

It seems to be a bit of a misnomer as Irish Moss is actually derived from seaweed! Irish moss is added in the last 10-15 minutes of the boil and not generally used with beer kits that go straight into the carboy.

Whirlfloc tablets are also very similar to Irish Moss and can be used in the same way.

There are other fining products that you can use such as Chillguard and Polyclar and silica gels like Kieselsol.

How do finings actually bind with unwanted compounds?


Fining products usually have large molecules that are 'positively' charged.

Think back to your science class days at school!

These molecules attach themselves to negatively charged contaminants (opposites attract remember) and then precipitate them out of the finished beer - and by that we mean they fall to the bottom of your fermenter.

Silica gels like Kieselsol are actually negatively charged! They are basically silicon dioxide products.

So do I actually need to use finings?


The choice is yours and it depends on how much you care about beer clarity.

If you are after clear or cloud free beer, then using finings is one very easy trick to help you with that goal.

If you are adding hops to your beer, you may want to consider it. This is because hops leave polyphenols in the beer which can cause a lack of clarity. Finings will work on the polyphenols as per usual.

Malt also produces polyphenols so finings can take care of any the malt in your beer may produce.

Finings definitely work however it would be fair to say that it's not a necessary part of the brewing process for ordinary home brewers.

If you are intending to enter your beer into a competition where the clarity of beer is considered an important criteria, you'd be silly not to employ this method. 

One thing to beer in mind is that the use of finings does add to the cost per bottle ration of your beer.

It's the same argument for using beer enhancers. You don't need them but they really do improve your beer's mouth feel and all round taste performance.

Here's some more tips on making clear, cloud free beer

An experiment with a lager kit, riwaka hops and a bottle of Golden Syrup


brewing lager with riwaka hops
I sniff around a couple of homebrew Facebook groups and every time a beginner pops up asking for a really simple beer recipe for using a kit, this dude pops up says something like:

"Mate, I've had some amazing brews with a lager, riwaka hops and golden syrup!"

I was like, hmmm. 

Would this really work?

I prodded the guy a little bit and he then added that he also would use a beer enhancer. 

Which makes sense as enhancers really do wonders for your beer's performance - both in body, taste and mouth feel. 

So, I put this idea to the test. 

I used the following ingredients for what I'm going to call the Golden Riwaka Lager recipe :

·      Black Rock's Lager Kit and standard yeast
·      One whole packet of Riwaka hops
·      One 300 ml bottle of golden syrup
·      One beer enhancer which contained dextrose and DME.

To clarify, golden syrup is treacle, not molasses, nor maple syrup. 

I prepared the brew as per standard beer practices - cleaning and sanitizing the fermenting drum with sodiumpercarbonate, using boiling water and making sure my stirring spoon was nice and clean.

I made my wort and then I dryhopped the whole packet of Riwaka hops pellets. Gosh, they smelled like beer heaven. At a pinch you could probably substitute some Saaz hops as Riwaka was born out of the Saaz variety but the point of this exercise is to try what the random dude on social media suggested...

I then wrapped the fermenter in some old sheets and left it in my man shed for a week. 

The first day I went in to check that fermentation was occurring, my nostrils were swamped with that delicious hops smell that had just enveloped the whole room and I could hear the airlock bubbling away quite happily. 

Winning. 

So, after one week the bubbling had died down to a slow occasional blip, so I decided to bottle. 

I've recently been doing a bit of a cheat when it comes to bottling my beer. Despite recommending it elsewhere on this site, I've become lazy in a sense. What I do after each bottle has been emptied of its liquid gold, I rinse it out at the kitchen bench, adding in some washing up soap and using the bottle brush as need be. 

The bottle then gets a spin in the dishwasher. My theory is the heat from the dishwasher kills any nasty germs that are lurking. Be clear though, it's not likely much hot water is getting into the bottles to help clean them, it's the heat that I am after. 

I then store the washed bottles in a 50 litre washing basket with a sheet over the top and use as required.

If I start to notice a few bottles tasting a little off, I know that it's time to do a proper santisization where the bottles are soaked in sodium percarbonate for a couple of hours at a minimum. 

Phew, we wondered off the track there a bit!

Where was I?

Ah yes bottling.

I batch primed the brew with 80 grams of sugar, capped the bottles and put them back in the shed for some alone time in the dark.

Now, I know that the seasonal warmth coming into summer is not really the ideal time for making a lager. Anyways, this patient brewer will wait and see how my Golden Riwaka Lager pans out.

-

So, it’s been a couple of weeks and I’ve had a chance to sample the batch.

I placed a bottle in the fridge overnight and sampled it with my dinner. 

Holy shit, I made a damn good beer. That random dude on social media has stumbled on an amazing combination of ingredients.

lager with riwaka hopsIt's a little fruity as the hops are quite strong. It has a good mouth feel for a kit lager. It feels fresh on the mouth and as a real summer beer vibe. 

It looks like the 80 grams of sugar was just right as the beer has good amount of bubbles that continue to rise up in the glass. 

Given it's nature, this beer is definitely best served cold. 

Would I brew this again? 

Most definitely but I would reduce the hop level, a whole bag of Riwaka feels like overkill but that's down to personal taste. The choice is yours. 

How to get that bottle washing done quickly!

how to attach a brush to a drill for bottle washing

Not a bad way to help get those glass bottles clean!

Bottle washing sure can be a chore but with a bit of DIY, problem solved.

Take your bottle brush, cut the end off and then add it to your electric drill as you would your drill bit.

You do need to make sure that the brush is well set into the drill so make sure you have enough width for the drill head to really clamp down on.

Photo Credit: Ryan @ Home Brew Blog NZ