Sewing for all sorts of purposes

In this case, a new brewing bag.

I’m working on clearing the decks. My project planning has leapt ahead of my completion rates. I realised I had at least five items cut out or pre dyed, but not progressed. I figure I should actually finish a few before I cut anything else out.

I had cut out a new brew bag on a recent mad day of three consecutive beer brews. I had intended to use it that day until I came up with an alternate plan that didn’t need it and simplified matters, which was welcome. I thought I’d better sew it up anyway while I still knew where the pieces were and what they were for.

The old and the new. The old one is a veteran of nearly 6yrs brewing. It’s still perfectly fine to use. Whiter than usual after a long soak.


The fabric is polyester “swiss voile” curtaining. I happened to pick up a few metres at a stash clearing market, left over from someone else’s curtain manufacture. Yay for not buying new synthetic fabric, and preventing some from going to landfill. Here is the new bag just proving it fits the brewing urn:


and for context, this is the old bag, suspended above the urn to allow the new wort to drain out of the grain. If you are curious, look up BIAB (Brew In A Bag) brewing.

first mash 4-1

Right. Done. Next project.



(and reloading the first pic for the being picked up by other sites-ness)



Rye beer tasting notes

When I’m trying to work out what to brew next, I’ll often go buy a selection of commercial beers in a category, to try to work out what I like and get tips for malt, hop selection, IBU levels, all that. A friend asked if I’d tried a rye beer. I’d been curious about rye a few years ago, the books say it contributes “spicy” character to a beer, but what does it actually taste like?  I hadn’t been able to find any rye beer to try though, then. A few days ago I looked again and found four. Below are my notes. I’m no trained taster so thoughts and reflections are in my own words :-). Data on malt bill and hop profile are from the bottles or the company websites.


Edge brewing project, Evil Twin brewing: Collaboration Rye Pilsner

I foolishly neglected to write down my impressions before tasting the next one. Now all I have is a vague memory of a pleasant drop but no details.

Dainton Samurye Lager

Groanful name, fabulous beer, absolutely the winner for me in this set of 4. Quite dark and malty for a lager. Lots going on in the flavour yet balanced and melded too. The second half was better, I think because it had warmed a little. Reminded me pleasantly of Genmaicha tea, which I suppose is linked to the rice and something toasty; the Vienna malt perhaps. This I would love to be able to brew, but being a lager, an attempt will have to wait for next winter.

ABV: 4.5%
IBU: 40
COLOUR: Copper
Malts:  Pils, Rice, Rye, Vienna
Yeast: German Lager
Hops: Motueka and Riwaka


Tuatara Copperhead, red rye pale ale

Sweeter than I prefer my beer. Fruity, malty. There is a bit of a buzz but I’m struggling to tell if that is hops(Bramling Cross) or the rye.


Dainton Red Eye Rye

I’m still not sure what the rye really tastes like. This beer is mostly hoppy to my palate, though lower in IBU than their Samurye lager.  It’s dry which I like. The hops are both fruity and harsh, but then with both Nelson Sauvin and Warrior in there, that’s not surprising.

ABV: 4.8%
IBU: 29
Malts: Ale, Munich Dunkel, Rye, Aromatic, Caramel Munich, Light and Dark Crystal
Hops: Nelson Sauvin, Galaxy, Columbus, Cascade, Hersbrucker, Warrior
In conclusion: I won’t brew anything with rye in the next few months, but will plan an attempt to emulate the Samurye next winter.


Brew day


Brew day today, and while the boil continues, I’m musing on my recent brewing and wondering what to do next. I thought I’d come to the end of the planned brews and looking back to my last Brew stocktake   it seems that’s right. I had planned 4 brews back in April. Turns out I’ve done 6 since then, hmm, actually 7, but this did include all the planned brews, or versions of them. The amber lager as ale idea got split into two (numbers 6 and 7 below). I’m surprised I followed the plan this closely!

  1. The Citra hopped pale ale, bottled as “Trial Tipple”. That was a success. I now know what citra hops taste like and it was so drinkable that it’s now all drunk
  2. The attempted repeat of the good brown ale. Sadly it didn’t work the way I wanted. It’s beer alright and tasty, but came out lower alcohol than intended for reasons I don’t fully understand. Bottled as “Lay Down” anyway, though it’s not ideal for that plan.
  3. A small beer off this brown ale
  4. A lager hopped with Sorachi Ace. Bottled as “Ace of Cups”, which is one of my more inspired brew names IMHO. It’s pretty nice, if you like lager, which I don’t much
  5. My favourite pilsnerish pale ale hopped with Nelson Sauvin hops. Bottled as “Monty’s Choice”. Haven’t tasted this one yet. It’s only been in the bottles oh 3 weeks today eh? I’ll pop one in the fridge to try tonight.
  6. A pale “summer ale”. This is my latest attempt at a fresh summery brew that I actually like. It’s hopped with Centennial, Cascade and a little Hallertauer. I’m hopeful, though the mash started a degree or two hotter than designed. This one is still in the fermenter
  7. Today I’ve mashed an amber ale, hopped with Amarillo and Willamette plus a little centenial at the start. This is still in the urn, nearly finished it’s boil. I hope I’ve used enough hops to balance the fuller grain flavours.

There is still nice cool weather available. Should I brew again before summer? If so, what?




My latest beer has just gone into bottles. Hurrah. The fermenter and other kit is clean and now I’m thinking about the next one.

I took up brewing 6 years ago and have been enjoying slowly learning a new craft. I like all sorts of things about it. I love knowing how things are made from scratch. In the case of food, from actual plant/animal ingredients, not pre prepared industrial food-like products. Even better if I can make from scratch myself in a way that fits in my lifestyle. The beer making is fun and has almost infinite combinations of recipe and method options to experiment with. It also reminds me of laboratory work, the good side of that, all the measuring and being careful with temperature, cleanliness, process, record keeping. Extra bonus points for being a money saver too. I make beer for around a third to a fifth the cost of commercial beer. Plus a bunch of my time of course. I only buy beer these days either in a pub where I can’t byo, or to taste test, the latter is often while considering recipe options.