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Some of my Favourite Beer Ingredients

As a committed home brewer it’s a natural thing to have favourite beers and favourite ingredients that go into those beers. Yes, I’m one of those lone wolves of the home brewing scene because I don’t belong to any club, and I’m not interested in meeting specific style guidelines for competition. What I’m interested in is making beer that is at least as good as the craft beer that I buy. Hopefully, sometimes, fresher and better beer than I can buy. Pouring a super fresh XPA into a glass from my own fridge is a special experience.

Home Brewing Motto

My home brewing motto is simply to love the beer you’re with. Sometimes it’s not the beer you set out to make, but is it a good beer? If so, enjoy the hell out of that beer and make another one. Another way of saying that is don’t expect perfection because perfection is like a rainbow and you’ll never get to the end. Chasing rainbows is fun; just do it knowing tomorrow is another beer. Keep it real.

Home Brewing Philosophy

My home brewing philosophy is pretty simple, too. Follow your tongue. I’m not much into the style guidelines as a Bible of right and wrong; I am into whether or not it’s a Porter in my glass or a Pale Ale as far as I want to describe one. If it tastes good, then drink it. And if your tongue suggests you might like to tweak the flavours, then it’s your experience to experiment and enjoy. Experimentation is fun. I have a basement riddled with bottles of experiments that keep paying off in my glass.

Favourite Beer Style

My favourite beer style is a wandering vagabond… I enjoy a Porter with just a bit of bite; I enjoy Imperial Stouts aged in Bourbon Barrels; I enjoy beer with interesting Brettanomyces character; I like Belgian Quadrupels and Dubbels; a Wee Heavy is a fine beer, indeed.

Favourite Yeast

My favourite yeasts for home brewing are dependant on the style, of course. I love Dark Ale, Porters and Stouts brewed with WLP006 Bedford British Ale yeast because it has a unique ester profile. There is a flavour that other yeasts don’t seem to equal. I really like WLP500 Monestary Ale Yeast for Porters and Stouts as well, fermented at the cooler range, although overwhelming the roasted malts in a Stout with Belgian yeast seems to provide a muddled flavour profile. It needs to be restrained.

My new favourite warm weather yeast is WLP644 Saccharomyces “bruxellensis” Trois. I’ve got an XPA in the basement that has nearly fermented out from 1.060 in 48 hours. Pitched at 23 Celcius and pushed up over the two days to 27 Celcius, this yeast throws off a lovely fruity pineapple flavour that works well with a beer that I usually don’t give a second glance – an XPA, somewhere at the border between Pale Ale and an IPA. I’d much prefer this yeast to the Kviek strains that I’ve tried, although I learned something only today about PH and soft water that could improve the Kviek beers. I have a rather nice Kviek fermented Chocolate Rye Porter on tap at the moment – one third of a glass of coffee milk stout with two thirds of the glass of the Kviek fermented porter… and about 5ml of Jim Beam Double Oak. Lovely indeed.

Favourite Base Malt

My favourite base malt for the style of dark malty beer that I generally make would be a mix of Maris Otter and Golden Promise. In a Dark Ale, Porter or Stout there is nowhere I need to go past the good old British base malt favourites. I haven’t gone past them to try more broadly for a reason; they work.

Favourite Specialty Grain

I’m only going to say that Midnight Wheat impressed me in recent months. A Marris Otter/Golden Promise base with 500gm of Midnight Wheat and you have an absolutely lovely 15 litre batch of Dark Ale. I also seem to come back to Chocolate Rye. It’s got that something special when I’m fermenting with WLP006 Bedford British Ale. Again, I haven’t used a lot of specialty grain variation so I can only speak to my experience. Throw 50-100gm into a 15 litre Porter recipe and it’s got a lot of character to contribute.

Favourite Piece of Equipment

This one is easy. While my SS Brewtech Brew Bucket Brewmaster Edition makes the beer… I’m a sucker for the DIY two tap kegerator in our ensuite kitchenette. That delivers a nice beer in a very civilised manner, indeed. Perhaps it’s just a little too dangerous for a beer lover, like myself. I put off the kegerator project for a long time, but I wouldn’t look back. Bottling is for chumps and big beer bottle conditioning. In the end the hobby of home brewing, for me, is about the enjoyment of the product. Big person cake. Rinse and repeat.

Steven Clark, article author and home brewer

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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