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Archive for the 'booze' Category

Homebrew Dogmas: Kill Your Darlings, Darlings

Tuesday, August 4th, 2020

In the amateur brewing community we have a legacy of furphies and dogmas passed down through the years. A lot of those misunderstandings are based around the premise that we’re replicating professional brewing environments at scale; some are based on historic misunderstanding about chemistry or inputs; others, a lack of science that has been corrected over time, or experimentation that has proven that the dogma doesn’t hold true.

This is where I really do enjoy the input of people like Drew Beechum and Denny Conn from Experimental Brewing, Marshall Schott and the contributors at the Brulosophy podcast, and Ricky The Meadmaker from Groenfell Meadery with his ongoing video series Ask The Meadmaker.

And I owe many thanks to the authors of a growing number of books, articles and papers and presentations (like the Chemistry of Beer course from the University of Oklahoma) who constantly offer insight into the chemistry of beer and brewing. Because, I’m a geeky kind of guy… if I just wanted beer I would have stuck to the beer kits and kept it all simple.

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Brew Like a Monk (Book Review)

Tuesday, June 16th, 2020

Brew Like a Monk cover

The last year has opened my eyes to the landscape of Trappist and Abbey Ales. And, as any home brewer will confess, the interest in a certain beer category has had a way of sneaking down to my basement and into the fermenters. My interest with Belgian yeast strains is in the pursuit of a complexity of flavour in the beer that I produce. Currently I have a WLP500 Monestary Ale Yeast fermented Imperial Stout ready to be bottle conditioned and another Imperial Stout fermented with WLP575 Belgian Style Ale Yeast Blend that got bottled with a small amount of Brettanomyces bruxellensis and claussenii late last week. I also have two small fermenters of a Cinnamon Cyser fermented with a blend of the WLP500 and WLP575 in one, and good old Lalvin ICV D47 in the other. Next week I’ll be making a Rhubarb Short Mead with the WLP575 at a temperature rising to around 27 Celcius. That will be interesting.

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading Brew Like a Monk: Trappist, Abbey, and Strong Belgian Ales and How To Brew Them by Stan Hieronymus and collecting a few Belgian beers along the way to get an idea of where my flavour intentions are headed.

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Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation (Book Review)

Friday, May 29th, 2020

Yeast by Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff

I’ve come to realise over the years that my core pursuit is farming yeast. The by-product of being a better farmer is a beautiful beer. So, I agree wholeheartedly with the statement that brewers make wort and yeast make beer. I’m not sure if anyone who makes wort and ferments that wort into beer (at least if you want to really make great beer) would disagree. Yeast are complicated organisms when it comes to making beer, every beer is really a chemical experiment in the fermenter; and if you don’t understand the creature you’re farming, then you won’t achieve ideal results. So the better brewers read and study because the more you implement that science and experimentation in your farming of yeast, the greater the improvement to your final beer. I would add that I’m now making beers, in many cases, equal to those I would purchase from craft breweries, sometimes better. Almost certainly, fresher.

This is exactly the reason you may want to read Yeast: The Practical Guide to Beer Fermentation by Chris White and Jamil Zainasheff. At a bare minimum the reading of this book improved three significant misunderstandings or bad practices that affect the beer that I pour. And yes, it’s a dry read if you don’t like science. But, then, if you don’t like science you probably aren’t that interested in making the perfect beer.

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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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