Review of Mangrove Jack's New Zealand Brewers Series Beer Kit

mangrove jacks new zealand brewers series review

Review of Mangrove Jack's New Zealand Brewers Series beer pouch kit


I was in checking out Brewshop the other week and I saw that Mangrove Jack's (an Aussie based company) had a new kit on the market called the "New Zealand Brewer's Series".

This piqued my curiosity as what is uniquely New Zealand about beer kits? 

Other than Black Rock and Williams Warn both being made in the Speights factory, Nothing is the answer - so this means the kit is probably just a rebrand of their existing products for the NZ market.

I spied their Golden Ale, which purports to be "A clear golden ale with subtle malt and fruit undertones, finished with a pleasing bitterness."

At 20 NZ bucks, it was a competitive price so I thought I'd give it a brew and review.

So, what do we do first? I cleaned and sanitized the fermenter drum with boiling water and sodium percarbonate.

I then added the brew enhancer from Brewshop and added a kettle of boiling water.

pouch kit review mangrove jacksI then opened the Mangrove Jack's box pack and to my surprise, it was actually a pouch inside the box.

This actually should have been no surprise as Mangrove Jack's are well known for their kits being in pouch form rather than tin can!

I cut open the pouch with my key chain multi-tool and added the contents to the drum. Perhaps the kit's contents were a bit cold as I really had to squeeze it out.

Indeed, I felt there was quite a lot left in the pouch so I added some boiling water to it to help melt the remainder and made sure I got most of it out it and into the wort.

This process was a bit more difficult than doing it with a tin can kit. I venture a complete novice at brewing would have made a huge mess!

I then gave it all a good stir and then added water so that there were about 23 liters in the drum. I then added the yeast that I had set aside in a glass of warm water to help hydrate it.

I noticed when adding the yeast that it all came out pretty easily and there were not many bits of it stuck to the inside of the packet (which happens a lot with Blackrock kits for example).

I then chucked the drum into the shed.

It's currently the start of winter so it will be a bit cold out there so we'll see how the fermentation goes!

Let's check back in about ten days after primary fermentation.

...and we're back.

It's actually been two whole weeks and tonight I have just bottled the beer. Instead of batch priming, I sugared each bottle individually. This is because I have somehow managed to over prime my last two stouts and those were some wee fizzy buggers which kind of ruined the beer drinking experience.

So, let's check back in another two weeks for a taste test.

...and we're back.

Honestly, this is an 'average' result. Not average in the sense people say that word to not mean good but average in the mathematical sense. It's not an inspiring brew by any means however it feels like a stock standard beer.

Another two weeks conditioning will improve this beer but I've made enough of these brews to know where the beer is headed.

It's flavour would definitely have been improved by the addition of some English or Citrus type hops.

So, what we've got here is a good result in the sense this Mangrove's Jack offering is a stock standard homebrew kit and for the price, you can't complain if that's the kind of beer you want to make!

If you want to try a different kind of brewing experiment, consider brewing with two malt kits at the same time!

1 comment:

  1. I too saw the bag-in-a-box Mangrove Jack's at my local supplier and was attracted to it by the 'new' flavours.
    So I thought I would give it a whirl.
    Huge, huge mistake.
    Being the community brewer for several mates I brew 6 x 23 litre barrels at a time so it is a little production line here in the farm shed.
    First issue was how to economically empty the sachets other than standing there hanging onto them for an hour at a time over the barrel, even after following the instructions to put them in boiling water.
    In the past it was just a case of 3/4 opening the can, bend lid up and place over barrel with lid top wedged inside on top of indented barrel handle. Simple.
    One could then do other tasks, such as mow the lawn, wash the car etc. as they completely drained.
    Back to the sachets: The emptying issue by me was mostly solved by getting the jumper leads from the Ute and using the ends to attach the bag to side of brewing barrel so it could drain.
    The next issue was how to place hot water into what seemed a self closing bag and swill to get the dregs out without making a mess all over the floor. Being in Australia that would have had entire families of flies and ants in attendance within minutes.
    And so it went on with more hand washing to get the 'stickiness' off the hands, the equipment, the floor and the bench.
    I just hope the effort is worth it when the taste test arriveds.
    From this change from cans to sachets one can only assume that Mangrove Jack has a new CEO screaming for a need for cost savings, or worse still a new Marketing 'guru', straight out of Uni with gungho ideas, but absolutely no idea of customer preferences.
    If so, let me give him a few tips from an old retired marketing man:
    [1] If it ain't broke don't fix it.
    [2] What YOU dream could likely be a customers nightmare.
    [3] Salesmen build castles in the air, but don't let marketeers move into them. Do your research.
    [4] Admit you got it wrong and quietly go back to what customers want. Recall the Coke disaster of 1985.

    Me, as a 20 year home brewer can only hope that Mangrove Jack's competitors in the market do not go down the same path because I will now be with a competitor.

    Dennis

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