Archive for June, 2009

#25 Golden Winter Steam

June 17, 2009

Some months ago I bought ingredients in bulk to make a couple of batches of ale. But as is usual, I never get round to brewing it in time. Ale yeasts generally want warmer temperatures – but being I was going to be brewing in colder temperatures I was going to need to look at getting a lager yeast. So I compromised: Wyeast’s California Lager yeast variety is a lager yeast that can handle warmer temperatures (14-20°C), and is characteristic of the American West Coast Steam beers; alternatively, you could use it for ales brewing at a colder temperature, which is kind of what I have been going for here.


  • 2.25kg Ale malt
  • 500g Light Munich malt
  • 100g Light crystal malt (55L)
  • 50g Chocolate malt
  • 1kg LDME
  • 20g Northern Brewer (AA 9.5%) @ 60mins
  • 1x Cascade plug (AA 6.84%) @ 15mins
  • 1x Cascade plug (AA 6.84%) @ 10mins
  • 77g Cascade whole fresh flowers (AA unknown) @ flame-out
  • ½ tab Irish Moss @ 5mins
  • Wyeast 2112 California Lager (1Lt starter) liquid yeast
  • Est. OG            1.052
  • Est. IBU           39.2
  • Est. EBC          22.5
  • Actual OG        1.051
  • Actual FG        1.011

ALC/VOL. ~5.4%


  • Mash grains in 10Lt water (~65°C) for 1 hour.
  • Add 270g LDME to wort and boil hops as per schedule above.
  • Add Irish Moss 5 mins before end of boil.
  • Add remainder of LDME.
  • Add fresh hops flowers, and let sit for 20 mins.
  • Top us with water to 20Lt.
  • Add liquid yeast starter.

The colour is a rich golden hue, reminiscent of JS Golden Ale. Its really clear, and the hops aren’t too overpowering.

This batch only took four days to ferment, which I figured was due to the amount of yeast I pitched. It was late at night, and I accidentally pitched while the wort was about 28°C – I truly thought that I may have shocked the yeast, but it started to bubble away within a few hours, much quicker than usual.

I made 2lt of starter with this liquid yeast pack, using 1Lt for the batch, and splitting the rest into 6 stubbies, which I stored in the fridge for later use.

After only 7 days, I bulk-primed with 167g Dextrose in 2cups water and bottled.


Do you want your own urban farm?

June 16, 2009

From this,

ft house day1

To this ……..


Would you like support to create your own urban farm?

Do you have a vision of a food oasis but don’t know where to start?

Could you do with a hand to start or even refresh your garden?

I am offering personal or group sessions in our urban farm or in a location to suit you.

Some ways in which I can help,

  • food garden planning,
  • bushfire retardant gardens,
  • garden mentoring,
  • sourcing plants and products,
  • problem solving,
  • total food garden maintenance,
  • natural behaviour and nutrition for pets and livestock.
  • improving soil/plant nutrition
  • developing and implementing recycling and composting systems
  • sustainability planning and development,
  • community/school workshops and presentations

I will tailor services to suit your needs and budget. Discounts are available to concession card holders, community groups and I am always open to barter 🙂

To find out more please contact Deborah on 0423 150 448.

I am looking forward to helping you create your own urban farm.

#24 Spicy Ginger Beer (gluten-free)

June 1, 2009

This recipe is actually suitable for anyone who is either coeliac/gluten-intolerant or fructose-intolerant.


2kg Fresh Ginger
1kg Dark Brown Sugar
150g Corn Syrup (maltodextrin)
500g Lactose (milk sugar)
500g Dextrose (glucose)
2x cinnamon sticks
10g cloves
3x lemons
½ tab Irish Moss
4g Yeast nutrient
Red Star Premier Cuvee (champagne) dry yeast pack


Chop up lemons and ginger, add to pot of water and bring to the boil. I did this over the space of a number of days, adding water when the level got too low, and keeping the pot covered when not on the stove.

Once I was satisfied that I had extracted as much of the ginger as I wanted, I strained the ginger into my boiling pot, and adding the corn syrup and dextrose, bringing to the boil once more.

Once it started boiling, I added the spices and the brown sugar. I left this boil for 1 hour. Five minutes before flame-out, I added the Irish Moss (dissolved in 1 cup water) and the Lactose. I poured this solution into the fermenter, and then topped up with water to 23 litres. I then added the yeast nutrient at this point, covered it and let it cool down a bit more.

I rehydrated the yeast in 50ml water, which was about 40°C. I pitched this yeast when the wort was about 32°C. It had finished fermenting after 7 days, which I then bulk-primed with 170g raw sugar and bottled.

  • OG 1.045
  • FG 1.010
  • ALC/VOL. ~5.2%

This is a very popular recipe of mine – the perfect ladies’ drink! Given that colder weather is here, the addition of spice should make this somewhat warming.

I found the ginger on sale, it is conventionally farmed and grown in Australia. Obviously, I want to avoid food miles… however, the time I made this with organic ginger, te taste was far better. The problem being the price… organic ginger sells for around $15/kg. If conventional stuff is only a couple of dollars less, I usually go for it, but when conventional is half the price, it makes a difference when buying kilos of the stuff.

The Dark Brown sugar is also essential. It certainly darkens the colour a bit, and also gives off an almost ‘rummy’ aroma – remembering that rum is essentially fermented from sugar cane. You could replace all of the fermentable sugars with this (ie, dextrose), but I find dex is better at fermentation, so I use this blend. Of course, if gluten isn’t an issue, try using malt!

Also, because there is no malt, GB’s tend to love a bit of a shake-up. Often in beer brewing you avoid splashing of the wort as much as possible, as introducing oxygen can sometimes affect flavour. However in this case, oxygen just gives the yeast something extra to play with. Every couple of days, give the barrel a shake.

You can also re-use the chopped ginger to make your supply of ginger paste for cooking. Just put it back into a pot with a little bit of water, mash it up using your blender/bamix until it turns into a paste, and reduce right down. Then decant it into jars (or other container) and refridgerate or freeze. Commercial ‘fresh ginger paste’ has vinegar as a preservative, but it should be ok without it so long as its in the fridge. Commercial stuff is usually 92% ginger, with the rest being water and vinegar – so I’m not sure about how much vinegar you could add if you wanted to store in a pantry. Its really amazing to see how much gingery flavour is still left after having boiled for the GB.