Hopshubbkk.com

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This is one of the newest additions to the small number of homebrew shops now operating in Thailand.
Just think,five years ago,there were none!

There tends to be very little to set one shop apart from the others.
That is until you come to hopshobbkk.com

They have the biggest selection of hops ; 49 kinds of pellet hops,all in 2oz increments, starting at 180Baht, and 2 kinds of plugs.

They offer discounts on multi-packs of dry yeast, of which they have 47 choices from Fermentis,Mangrove Jack’s and LallemandDanstar.

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But the real difference in choice is that you can pre-order liquid yeast from them. They can obtain 49 strains from Wyeast and 29 strains from White Labs, for a flat charge of 690Baht.
They are not the only shop to offer pre-order,but they are THE only shop to offer liquid yeast.

Now,if you do the maths, the price is WAY above that paid by lucky brewers in the US,even in the UK the price hike is not so much.
But I believe these yeasts are sourced in Australia and if you take into acvount the very expensive postage from the relatively close country,it is not all that expensive.
So,over-sized starters and stored yeast are the way to go.

Hopshubbkk do use a site that is difficult to order from,but the staff are super helpful and will reply to email(the same cannot be said for one other site!) as quick as a flash.
Takky,the young lady that I contacted there by email was very good at keeping me up to date with my order status and even introduced me to Udomsak and helped set up my recent beer swap.

I will be giving preferance to this shop for sure.
Thank you very much Takky of hops hub.

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Viennese Sour,Cabin Blend 2 tasting

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Brewed back in March 2014,this is one of a three way split,fermented with Windsor and the cultures I was sent by Ethan T.
Colour: Amber,almost brown. A little darker than my Vienna lager.
Pretty one finger head the VERY quickly vanishes to leave a thin ring around the glass.
Has the faintest of haze.

Aroma: Musty/sherbert-like Brett profile,bread/malt,a hint of diacatyl.
Dried raisins and golden toasted white bread. Faint hint of acid.

Taste: There is a hint of diacatyl on the palate,which is quickly swept away by Brett,dried fruit,old fruitcake,lemon juice,saurkraut,pickled herrings without the fish,preserved Kiwi,lemon and bitter orange.

This beer has a great coating mouthfeel,helped by the filling,puckering sourness that follows from the initial impression. The acidity is high enough to clibg to the palate but not the back of your throat.

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As the beer warms,faint hints of berries(not able to pin down what kind) come through and the diacatyl is no longer noticable.

Given all of the descriptors used,it is not overly complex. It does,however, give the desired hit of sourness without any “flaws”.

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I did two things differently with this beer,from my last long aged sour;
1) I remembered to “feed” the bugs a month before bottling,as I do with Brett secondary beers,thus negating the need for new yeast.
2) I prepared myself,thanks to The Sour Hour,for a kick-up of Pedio related by products after bottling and was able to give it enough time to settle into itself after refermentation.

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For the first bottle,this beer drinks very well indeed. I very much look forward to charting the development of this batch in the bottle over time.

Again,a huge thank you to Ethan T for making this beer possible. Two more tastings to come in the not to distant future.

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Saison de Mosaic

Strange one this,a beer to compare with Mr. Styles,identical in all but 10% of the fermentables.
Well,kind of……..
Oh,bugger,O.K. You got me,I cheated.

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After splitting a 100gr pack of Mosaic pellets posted from Australia,we threw recipe ideas around via Line for a few days and came up with this strange competition-ish idea.

We would brew the same beer with as little room for individualism as posdible,just for the sake of it.
Recipe:
35% Pils
35% Vienna
20% wheat malt
10% up to the brewer’s fancy(mine was cane sugar)
The idea was that the base OG before our 10% addition should be 1.050( mine was 1.059)

Hops:
We would add nothing except our 50gr share of the Mosaic and NONE of the hops would be before 20 minutes left in the boil. Strange idea right? It was mine.
I went with 10@20, 5@15, 15@10,10@ flame-out and 10 as dry hop.

Yeast;
We have both been playing around with Belle Saison quite a bit,so we split a big slurry I had and used that.

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Fermentation;
The stipulstion here was that we cool to 20c-ish and let fermentation take the temperature where it wanted.

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advantage to me; whilst Mr Styles brewed a 15 litre batch with his 50gr of Mosaic,I wanted bang for my buck and so brewed only a five litre batch!
Cheating;
So,I cheated a few ways and shall list them for you here.
1) I used citric acid in the mash at a rate of 0.67gr/kg of grain.
2) I used water salts at a rate of 1 tsp per 5 gallons of water treated( thank you AJdelange) of gypsum and calcium. I also added about 0.25 teaspoon of Epsom salts. I brewed with 100% R.O water.

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3) I had about 40 gr of CF115 whole hops still in the freezer and threw them into the mash.

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4) I let the fermentation start,dare I say it, (you are not judging me right?)in me fridge at 23c for the first 8 hours.

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So,now that is off my chest and my soul is laid bare to you,it was bottled at the 14 day mark as per my tendancy and primed with 1.8 gr of cane sugar per 500ml bottle aiming for soft English carbonation at about 1.8 volumes.

I have had a few of these  now and am most impressed with how it turned out. I shall post tasting notes in a day or two.

Hamilton’s Harley Nelson: a dry hopped saison

I have been meaning to throw together a tasting and recipe notes for this beer for AGES.
Now,am I ever lucky that I managed to find two bottles of this stashed away at the back of my brew cupboard.

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I have to say a thank you to Harley Hamilton of Hamilton NZ for sending me a pack of Nelson Sauvin hops(been waiting for ages to try) and a pack of Motueka.
They were a thank you to me for references provided.
There is constant talk of how Nelson lend a “wine like” character to beers. I like to look at a lot of pale sours as being somewhat like young dry white wine.
The other thank you on this post goes to HBT member Drummerguysteve from whom I got a culture of Cascade Brewing’s Lacto Brevis in a swap.
I wanted this beer to be a better version of a Berliner. That means it has hops.
So,the quick soured dry hopped saison was born.

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Two pictures of the Lacto Brevis starter.

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A starter of Belle Saison which would do the mopping up end of fermentation.

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The partial mash fermentables ready to go.
To say this was a beer brewed as an experiment,it went so well that I am doing a re-brew with the Motueka hops in the nex month or so.

The Brew: I mashed 750gr of wheat malt at 66c for 40 minutes and sparged as “normal”, added the light DME and boiled 8 litres or wort for 15 minutes,adding hops at 15 and 2 minutes.

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It was then thrown into a fermenter with the lacto to keep warm.

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I had planned on letting the Lacto Brevis only go for 48hours before pitching the saison yeast.

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After having a look and a taste,I decided to let it go for 10,yes 10 days,as I wanted more sour.
I then pitched Belle Saison and let that work for ten days,just to make sure.
I bottled in 630ml bottles with 4gr of sugar to prime each one.
Recipe;
750gr wheat malt
2lb pale DME
10gr Nelson@15
10gr Nelson@2
80gr Nelson dry hop for 5 days.

The beer

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Crappy pic,but you get the carbonation.

Colour: beautiful light golden sunshine with streaming carbonation.
Pours with a pretty two finger head that quickly dissipates to a fringe.

Aroma: pineapple,big big big goosberry and passion fruit with sour bubblegum,young white wine and a very mild funk. A little wood,even though it touched none.

Taste: mouth filling catbonation coats every single mm2 of the mouth and brings with it a beautiful wash of lactic sourness.
Young dry white wine with passionfruit and goosberry.
No pineapple evident,or bubblegum.

With the out breath comes slight honeydew melon and honeysuckle sweetness.
A very slight earthiness comes through mid-palate as the tongue warms.
After almost two months, the dry hop presence has diminished only slightly and is still as evident as that in a young IIPA.

What can I say,other than” Nelson,what a hop,made in heaven to be best friends with Lacto Brevis”?

I get the impression that there might be some Brett in the culture,but am not complaining about it.
I would,however,like to get a pure culture to see if there is a difference.

My first ever beer-mail

It was last October when I heard Ethan Tripp speak to James and Steve on Basic Brewing Radio about his Sour Solera Project. I must have listened a good few times because I lost a morning.

I was very envious of ET and was about to do my thing of contacting those amazingly cool American home brewers to ask for something. It would take a long time. I would doubt that it would happen. But it would all be well worth the wait, the uncertainty, the cursing of the postman(sorry mate, I went to the temple to make it better,the monk assured me it would be just fine!).

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I contacted James Spencer and asked that he put me in touch with Ethan. I asked a whole load of question, to which Ethan gave me very detailed answers and also agreed to send me some dregs with which to sour some of my own brew.

The only catch ( if you can call it that) was that I accept sole responsibility for the outcome, be it good or bad.

So, after scores of things getting in the way, I finally heard from ET about ten days ago saying that the package had been posted and that it included not only four vials of Brett/bugs, but also a bottle of the brown ale spoken about in the podcast.

ImageNow you tell me that this bottle is not the most beautiful beer related thing you have seen today and I will eat my hat!

When the package arrived at the office last Friday I was teaching a TEFL course and was on my way for a coffee break,cup in hand,as I walked past the teacher’s room window. I very briefly stopped dead in my tracks and dropped my coffee(ouch!) and ran screaming and shaking like a leaf in a storm,into the room.

Well what with all the shaking ( I had stopped screaming by now) and the mad skills of master wrapper Mr. Tripp, it took m,e ages to get into the goodies.

My heart sank ever so quickly as I noticed that one of the five vials had leaked. WAIT A FLIPPING MINUTE! Five, not four vials.

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So, here is what they were:

1: Cabin Blend 1 containing stuff,hey, we all like a bit of stuff!

2: Cabin Blend 2,containing Anchorage White out, Vapeur En Folie, Timmermans Gueuze, BFM Abbaye St. Bon Chien 2009 and 3 Fontienen Doesjil 2006.

3: Petrus Aged Pale ale Brett

4: East Coast Yeast Bug Farm 01 with some Jolly Pumpkin(god how Iong to get my grubby little hands on one of their beers). This is in three of the barrels and is the basis of the Solera.

5: De Molen Leif and Leed, Istastegi Basque Cider, Cantillon Fou Foune 2013, BFM Abbaye St. Bon Chien 2006 and Cantillon Kriek.

In Ethan’s words”Ah, Cabin 4 was a “why not” addition. It’s not really been proofed, save that it smelled fantastic. It also got quite ropy, so be aware, there lies pediococcus, and it does weird things, but it makes great beer”.

So, as would any respectable home brewer, I rushed to brew something on Saturday night. I decided that the grain bill must be two things. 1) Simple 2) made up of grains I had on hand.

With that in mind I put together a 15 litre batch:

1kg Vienna malt

1.4 kg Pilsner malt

130gr flaked oats

120gr Carahell

30gr Carafa Special II for colour

I mashed it with 2.5 litres/kg at 69c for an hour. At 60 minutes I added 10gr of year old Glacier pellets which after calculating the residual AA content, gave me about 5IBUs.

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I then boiled for an hour and cooled by “showering” the outside of my brew kettle before sitting in an ice bath for a while. After 20 minutes, by this time it was 01:30 in the morning, I sprayed the lid with Starsan and went to bed, leaving the pitching and dividing for the next morning so that Wenlock could help me.

Sunday morning the wort was siphoned into the 5 litre FVs and I “pitched” or rather “spooned” two desert spoons of re-hydrated Windsor into all of them. Into the two at the back, I also pitched CB1 and CB2( not together).

The FV at the front will have about 200ml of amber LME wort added, which I will boil with some hops and then pitch the Petrus Brett ready for aging.

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This was today at about quarter to five:

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A big fat thank you very much goes out to E.T. for his help,generosity and all round wickedness!

I will update when I brew with the other two,which I am thinking of giving to Tylerization, and again when I open that Sour Brown Solera.

Cantillon comes to badleebrewed via Paulus Maximus

ImageFirstly I have to say an amazingly big thank you to Paulus Maximus for giving me this in our office secret Santa( it’s not that secret!). He knew that I had been hankering for this beer for years AND that I not only wanted to experience it but also use the dregs for my homebrews.

Now I had some pretty high expectations of this beer, a benchmark of sour beer. It was going to blow me away, it was going to turn my head inside out with sourness, it was going to be sensory overload,it was going to be challenging…………..

I had to be prepared because I needed to harvest the dregs, so I made sure that I had a nice wheat starter from second runnings of my Lambic wort. I was also bottling my Dunkel Honig Weizen so I had to be quick and careful.

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I waited a good 20 minutes before opening the bottle so that it would not be too cold for me to enjoy it.

It pours a deep gold with bright highlights and just looking at it warms your heart and soul. I know that I am now starting to sound like a bit of a love struck teenage hippy and I may well get worse.

Aroma: Sherbert sweets,old fashioned lemonade,oak,cork,Brett and sawdust. There is something faintly animal related, but I cannot put my finger on it. There is red wine and cheese and the last thing that comes through is digestive biscuits.

Flavour: sherbert, lemon,pomelo, grapefruit, oak infused with love,honey. It is not quite as sour as I thought it would be, yet it is just sour enough. It is mouth filling, mouth coating and slightly puckering. The sourness is a slight hint of vinegar(very slight) with a honey sweetness and light carbonation. Grapefruit and pomelo on the aftertaste.

As it warms the oak and sourness increase and a slight bitterness shines through that is almost like the pith of citrus fruit.

I once read in “A Saison for every season”, the author refer to Amarillo hops as “grapefruit love”. He was wrong! This beer is grapefruit love.

It is spring and summer, it’s honey and sunshine,it’s love and birth and all the weirdest things you can imagine , and then some more things.

What there is none of is “mouse” or “goat” or “urine” or “barn yard”. There is, however, hay, seeds and kernels, a breeze blowing through the forest in Autumn.

If I had ready access to this beer, my house would be full of it. I don’t think I have ever been drawn back to a beer with such frequency and with a sense of urgency, just making sure that it is still there and every time be surprised that it is AND that it is different, always different, yet always the same.

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Again, thank you for the best beer day of my sour life Paulus Maximus. This beer will live on not just in my memory, ’cause I can’t get any more, but in my homebrew for years to come.

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A good friday as usual

Friday is not my favourite day of the week because it sees the working week (for some) at an end, but also because I teach very cool kids at a very nice school.

12 years after starting teaching with my employer I spend the last day of the school week at my very first schol teaching EFL to grades 7&8. I did two lessons that failed at another school,unchanged, and they were a great success. I have to say a very big thank you to the kids in lower Mattayom at JittraWittaya school here in Chiang mai.

Also I am now very much looking forward to seeing my best mate Martin who,as I type,is thundering through the skies from Canada. Martin is not only a great teacher,awsome cook and great buddy,but is also my chief sponsor in my home brew endeavors. Every time he comes over he has a big bag full of goodies for me. Last time it was 10 packs of dried yeast and half a kg of assorted hops.

The one ritual we have is that ASAP we get a brewday in and the bottle and drink the first few together(sometimes they are a little green still) and it is the ultimate in guy time.

Soon to come, Raspberry sour brown brewday.