#332 Kowhiti Brewing – Archer’s Ale

Name: Archer’s Ale
Brewery: Kowhiti Brewing (Wellington, NZ)
Style: Barley Wine
ABV: 8%ish
Source: Dad

Archer’s Ale is Dad’s first crack at a Barley Wine – which incidentally is the only style of beer his Granddad used to drink, apparently. (This doesn’t surprise me – they’re all  total lushes on that side.)

It pours a beautiful clear amber, and smells fruity (plums and apricots), vinous, and strongly of toffee malt. In the mouth it’s much lighter than I’d expect for the style, malty and alcoholic but without much depth. He only bottled it two and a half weeks ago so it think it just needs more time to develop. On the other hand, my grandparents thought it was just gorgeous as it is (lushes, I tell you, the lot of them!).

Speaking of Kowhiti Brewing, the other day me and Dad finally got around to making Ye Olde Cock Ale. This is something we’ve talked about doing ever since Dad came across this page in this book by C.J Berry, detailing a recipe originally from “The Closet of the Eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digby Kt. Opened,” 1677:

How could anyone  read a recipe that began “Take 10 gallons of ale and a large cock, the older the better” and not immediately decide to make it? Exactly. So that’s what we did.

For our cock ale we used a clone recipe for a scotch ale called Old Jock Ale, combined it with this historical above (made slightly more modern here), and added a few extra bits and pieces (raisins, dates and treacle) to make it our own. It looked a little something like this:

The base was British 2-row pale malt, plus a little British crystal and some other I can’t remember…

There weren’t a lot of hops, but we used Target, Willamette, and East Kent Golding.

Yeah I know this looks effing gross but it’s just chicken, parboiled and soaked overnight in whiskey and wine to kill any bugs. That’s raisins and chopped dates underneath.

Unfortunately this won’t be ready in time for me to include it as part of my 365, but I promise to come back and update this post with the verdict. For now though, I’m quietly confident that it’s going to be the finest (and sure, also the only) cock ale that this country has ever seen!

Published in: on July 18, 2012 at 6:39 pm  Comments (2)  

#163 Kowhiti Brewing – Grasshopper

Name: Grasshopper
Brewery: Kowhiti Brewing (Greytown, New Zealand)
Style: Aotearoa Pale Ale
ABV: 5.5%ish

Hey guys, guys, guys!

Guess what?

I made this beer myself!

The Grasshopper (because it’s hoppy, geddit?!) is my first attempt at homebrewing. I made it with my Dad out in Greytown (his place out there is called Kowhiti), where he conveniently has a cider orchard and so most of the equipment that we needed to make beer.

Neither of us had any idea what we were doing. That was fine though – because I had John Palmer’s “How to Brew”, a great recipe from a book called “Clone Brews” by Tess and Mark Szamatulski, and the most important thing of all – lots of beer to drink while we brewed a Can Do attitude!

The recipe was a clone for Sierra Nevada Pale (which I wrote about here), and used Cascade, Perle and Nugget hops, and a mix of crystal malt and dried malt extract. I got everything from the nice folks at Brewers Coop in Ellerslie – who sensed that I didn’t know anything about anything and kindly steered me around the store finding everything I needed. Because of TGAHS (I hope you remember your acronyms!), we used NZ Cascade instead of American.

Making the beer was really fun. My sister did actually document this fun with photographs – but they’re still on her camera so you’ll just have to take my word for it until I upload them later. The bubbling wort smelled and looked amazing, as did the hop pellets, and even though we botched a couple of things up (straining the wort through muslin was a shitty idea which came close to giving me third-degree burns), everything was A-OK in the end.

I think we feremented it for a couple of weeks, then dry-hopped it liberally and transferred it to a secondary fermenter for another week. In the end we had about 20L, which we bottled in the 500ml glass bottles Dad uses for his cider.

And how did it taste? Only like THE BEST BEER IN THE WORLD!

OK, so it could be a bit maltier. And there’s a bit of astringency at the finish which I’d like gone.  And although Dad disagrees – I think it smells like apples (less so now, a month or two on) which is probably a sign of acetaldehyde.

Despite all that, it has a lovely colour, a fruity aroma (citrus as well as apples), a satisfying chewy toffee malt flavour and a nice crisp, refreshing mouthfeel.

Best of all – we made it ourselves! And that’s why it tastes like the best beer in the world.  (Awwwww.)



Published in: on January 21, 2012 at 1:09 pm  Comments (8)