1800’s Brett B Trois Whitbread porter: a one gallon batch

This is a brew that I have been waiting a very long time to brew.  The first reason it took me so long is that I was waiting for some TF brown malt from the UK to be brought over for me.

The second reason is just plain and simple nerves: a beer that needs to be aged for four months and is NOT a Brett or sour beer just scares me.

The third reason is that I couldn’t for the life of me figure out which yeast strain to use. Had I been in the UK or the States it would have been easy as falling out of a tree,but out herein the homebrew hinterlands, we have to make do with dried yeast.

So, I took the only natural route,the only choice that made sense.

ImageA slightly unclear picture of a sight for sore eyes: a thick slurry of my Brett B Trois culture, the same one that I propagated from the oak cubes given me by Jeff Crane.

I remember thinking to myself” if the recipe says quality ale yeast,I cannot think of any yeast that says quality more than this one”

ImageThe grain bill for a  one gallon batch according to the Durden Park Beer Circle consists of: 1.020 kg of pale malt, 200gr of brown malt and 70 gr of black malt. Hops are given as an oz of Fuggles or Goldings.

I subbed TF mild malt for the plain pale. It was either that or Pilsner/Vienna.

So, we will have what we get. I shall bottle in about 14 days and age for as long as my cat like nose will let me before cracking the first bottle.

Brown malt was TF and black malt was from Canada( sorry, no maltster name given).

I used just over an oz of Fuggle pellets, due to the fact that this Brett strain just seems to eat up the hop bitterness.

She was mashed for 75 minutes at 67c and boiled for 75 minutes.

The only problem encountered in the brew session was that I seemed to loose a LOT more to boil off than I normally do, and I tend to figure on a boil off of 20%.

I had to top up with a whole litre of water to hit just over 4.5 litres. I then let it cool down to 20c overnight.

I shook the FV like it owed me money on a Friday night and pitched the  BBT at about 8 on Sunday morning.

ImageAn hour or so after pitching.

ImageTwo hours.

ImageImageThirty-four hours after pitching,it was quite warm, summer is on it’s way.




Oud Bruin bottling

ImageSo, this is another step along the way for my “memories of yeast” project, in which I was given oak cubes inoculated with Brett and bacteria,by Jeff over at http://jeffreycrane.blogspot.com/

Now as you may well see, this beer is no baby. She is in fact 16 months old and presented no few headaches for me in the lead up to bottling.

1st, I have never before bottled a beer so old and had a few panic stricken moments over the carbonation. But I will say thank you to Sweetcell over at http://www.homebrewtalk.com

2nd, I have never yet “re-yeasted” a beer,so that makes it two firsts for me in one bottling day.

I decided to take Sweetcell’s advice and use 40gr of table sugar for my 5 litre batch,which I boiled in as little water as I could get away with for 15 minutes or so.

I had a small starter,very small, of T-58 going and decided to just wake it up and pitch it into the bottling vessel that I was using.

So, in went the syrup, the yeast and then I siphoned the beer from the one gallon-ish FV to the syrup/yeast mixture, hoping that I would get the sugar evenly distributed.

I then proceeded to bottle in 330ml bottles, of which I had prepared 15,but filled only 14. I would say that was a a pretty bloody good job though.

within 24 hours I could see visible signs of carbonation in the bottles and I have my heart set on trying a bottle on Wednesday.

So, maybe back soon with some tasting notes.

Not beer- The Sand Farmers

Whilst on a trip with my dad the other week I was greatly impressed by something I saw in the small town of Chiang Khong,Chiang Rai province,on the Mekong river and the river border crossing point to Laos.

Sand Farmers!

I have known since in my teens just how fertile the sand banks of this most majestic of rivers is,that people can get up to two extra rice crops from it’s sands in the dry season. But this was not rice and it was in Thailand,not on the impoverished Laotian side of the waters.

ImageThe first thing that jumped out at me were these “allotment” style plots of land/sand, in which garden veggies were growing. I am not a gardener, but the beauty of these green leafy  plants was hypnotic.

Then I noticed some very strange looking containers all lined up in the sand.

ImageI could not, for all my guessing, have figured out what was going on under the tarp.

I didn’t have my camera of phone with me, but decided to ask a young lady who was digging in the sand near the containers what was going on. I had not expected more than a one or two word answer.

Much to my surprise,she gave me a VERY detailed answer and told me that I should come back the following morning to see her boyfriend at work.

ImageDo you like Thai food? Chinese food? Noodles?



She had five “sets” of containers, the weight of which would be about 150kg of fully grown sprouts each and every day! River sand and river water were used and nothing was spent apart from on the seeds from which to grow the final product.

It’s all about 9s,she told me. Nine levels of sand and the same of seeds. Five days of watering and all we have to do is wash them.

So,on,say, Monday set 5 would be taken out and like a Solera beer,would be started all over and become set one.

ImageThis is a picture of day two after planting.

ImageDay four’s crop waiting to be watered.

ImageThe product of day 5 ready and waiting to be washed in the Mekong waters.

ImageThe first container is in the basket and is being loosened of all the sand before the real washing begins.





ImageThe finished product,roughly 11kg of beansprouts ready for market and noodle stalls.

ImageThe gentle winter sun just reaching it’s way over the water from Laos and warming the sands of Thailand.