Reviews

Black Rock Bock BernieW June 15th 2015

A Bock

The Bock taste i there and other reviewers may be disappointed with the lack of hops, but a low hop flavour i typical of Bock. Could be stronger It brewed short

Continental Pilsner elreplica June 3rd 2015

BREWERS BEST

I recently cooked up a batch of the BB Continental Pils I bought as a "clear out" from my local HBS. It's too bad they're stopping carrying them, but they are pricey. Anyway, I got this one for $40 reg. $50 CDN (for 5 USG or approx. 19 litres) deciding to try it after brewing their marvellous Imperial Blonde Ale. The kit comes complete with caps, grain sack, priming sugar, LME and dry extract and steeping grains, making this a "partial" mash. I was going to swap out the yeast but decided to try it with its stock Brewferm Lager yeast to get a baseline. I "lagered" it in my SS fermenter for four weeks on the basement floor between 10-13C, as my lager fridge was full of beer :-() Then off to a brief crashing in secondary carboy to a final rack in two x 2.5 USG mini kegs. I have to say there was a dirty pile of trub and hops, so the next time I'll be using a hop sock. I ended up with approx. 17 litres with a few bombers (22 oz) and a couple Grolsch swing tops. It has an interesting flavour about it for sure. But I'm leaving it for a couple more weeks in the kegs and then I'll pound the gas to it and post an addendum to this review. I'm giving it three stars as a placeholder and will adjust accordingly.

Abbey Ducky April 30th 2015

Pretty good for a first time

Brewed this as my first beerkit. I used dark candy sugar. I also replaced the standard yeast with Fermentis Safbrew Abbay.

The result is a nice and bitter yet sweet brown beer in the best tradition of Belgian Abbey Ales with some fruity banana flavours.

I had a friend blind taste it together with several other commercial beers. It wasn't the best, but it certainly wasn't the worst.

Grand Cru Ducky April 30th 2015

Great with honey.

I brewed this one with Brewferm Blanche yeast instead of the standard Brewferm Top yeast that comes with the kit. I also opted for honey instead of sugar and the water used for this brew was boiled with some coriander.

After primary fermentation I split the brew into 2 batches. I dry-hopped 1 batch with Fuggles, the second batch was dry-hopped with Amarillo.

The Fuggles-batch turned out to be a very nice, sweet and spicy beer while the Amarillo resulted in a sweet, refreshing and fruity beer.

 

Certainly going to do another brew with this kit in the future.

West Coast India Pale Ale elreplica April 14th 2015

Festa West Coast

I finished up those mini kegs in short order and have a few 22 oz talks aging on the dark shelves in basement. When Festa brewing, I use a grappler on back of kitchen shears to pry the cap. I then just mickle on to the wort bag to dump it in primary bucket. When using the Fast Ferment (smaller hole) or carboy, I made up a gizmo with a Festa cap drilled out to accommodate a brass bulkhead, rubber washers and a length of braided hose - 18 inches I'm thinking with a 1/2 inch ID. I snap this on to the bag and can squeeze dump the flattened bag from my counter in whatever. Unfortunately the aforementioned gizmo doesn't work with the Brewhouse kits, but I'm finding them too pricey anyway - same price here as Festa - need to swap out yeast as it's always Coopers Ale yeast. I usually upgrade to a Safale US O4, 05 depending on the brew.  As rated before, I pitched a Brewhouse Munich Dark over a West Coast slurry of US 05 and it was one of my best brews ever. Still hoping to find a bottle or two in my collection somewhere!

West Coast India Pale Ale jon630271 March 31st 2015

Compliments, and I'm not even an IPA fan

Brewed last summer with only entry level expectations, but quite surprised.  I didn't think I'd like it to such a degree (hot weather required).  Did a side by side with a local "west coast ale" and preferred the festabrew.  It's held up well over time, and by demand of others I will be brewing again.  Big hop flavour and aroma, solid bitterness for my tastes (I can see it a bit mild for some).  I'll take it everytime over any "light lager."
My only criticism is it could be sweeter by a grav point or 2, for about spot on balance.  With certain foods or the mouth's mood, I get a hint of bitter in the vegetable spectrum.
Easier than even extract kits.  Pour into fermenter.  Yeast.  Done.  Costs a little more but worth it!  If you ferment in carboys whip the hose around as you siphon (or get a big funnel) to aerate wort.  Mine finished fine that way.  Mid 60's ferment, 4 weeks primary, no secondary, bottled.  Tip: Get a plan for that FestaBrew cap.  Tape it upright in a cut hole in the box to not spill and use a butter knife or blunt wedge to pry the cap.

4/5:  Great!  (there's no 4.5)

Black Rock Lager jon630271 March 24th 2015

English Session Ale - Brewery Pouch acotiga March 16th 2015

English Pale Ale

This was the standard kit with which my fermenter kit came. It was my first brew but I read a lot beforehand. I used the English Pale Ale pouch, the enhancer pack it came with and the standard yeast. I used a yeast starter and pitched at 23deg C. Brewed it short at 21L. Due to a misunderstanding of Palmer's How to Brew book, I boiled the extract and water and enhancer for about 45min.

Fermented for 1 week in primary FV at between 20-22deg C, then racked for 2 more weeks in secondary carboy. Primed with 98g of white sugar and bottled. Used standard finings 3 days before bottling.

Tested two bottles 6 days after bottling. Carbonation is OK-ish, another week is needed, at least. Not very clear. Clear enough but could be way better.

Clean tasting but very very very bitter. And it's more of the background bitterness with very little forward, aromatic hops. 

I'm sure that if I would have brewed it at 25L, the bitterness would have been better, but then it would have been thin from an AVB point of view. As it is, it finished at 3.9 in carboy plus 0.5 in bottle for a total of 4.4%. 

If I would ever do it again, which I doubt since I'm not an ale drinker, I would probably brew at 25l and add another 0.5 of brew sugar of light DME. I would also add some aroma hops since it definitely lacks those.

 

As it is, it's a very bitter un-aromatic average beer.

West Coast India Pale Ale elreplica March 11th 2015

West Coast

While the left coast may not be the best coast, the namesake makes a pretty good drop. My first attempt was really good, bottled it off in 500 mL PETs and gave it some time. Good alcohol levels  c. 6-6.5% ABV and rich and hoppy. My second bombed as I bottled the batch in 1000 mL PETs. The caps turned out to be defective as the beer never carbonated and oxidized. My third attempt was much better. I racked the batch after several days in the primary to a 23L carboy for a couple months, cold crashed and kegged in two 2.5 gallon mini kegs - approx. 19 litres. The remaining five were capped in US "fifths" (26 oz) tall glass browns. I sampled the golden amber liquid and it tasted very good indeed - so good it could almost be drank flat. Stay tuned for the final results.

UPDATE: 24 hours in a mini keg 2.5 gallon with a carbonation lid and the draught was perfect. Smooth and clear with a hoppy nose and decent lacing. A number of these knocked me out as I sat around the pellet stove trying to stave off an oncoming flu. Good medicine perhaps, but perhaps not a good sessions beer.

Czech Pilsner elreplica March 10th 2015

Festa Czech Pils Part Trois

Well, well, well...lagering season is in full swingtop - in the basement floor mode at least - as well as my lagering fridge. I just pulled another Czech Pils from six of the 341 mL Steam Whistle crown capped bottles I set aside to lager until July. Yep, July lol. I can't resist it after I tried one the other day. It's amazing ... So clean, clear and crisp - even with the "low end" stock Fermentis S23 that came with it. It's been in the bottle since Dec. 4th. I'm going to try and leave the last three until July. Meanwhile, in the carboy I've got another identical batch ready to keg. Two other fermenters have Czech Pils - one with a slower starting Fermentis 34/70 yeast and the second with the 34/70 and an added 500g of light DME. Just experiments, but I don't know if I can improve on the bottled CP. I do still have a smackpack of Wyeast liquid Bohemian Lager yeast to try, as well as an experiment with a vial of White Labs liquid lager yeast. Mini kegging in two new US 2.5 gallon cornies will also be implemented. Hopefully, in a couple weeks cooking will resume on the back deck. That lack of snow in January was replaced with a ton of February snow. Too much to even get at the deck.And I need to find out what concoction gave me the bottle of nectar I pulled out from my stash the other day. Seems as though my late summer wetting of my basement caused a frantic shuffling of bottles and this one got mixed up. Will I ever reach Beer Nirvana?

Black Rock East India Pale Ale Hutto75 February 23rd 2015

Not bad at all.

Ive brewed this with BE 2, dry hopped with Galaxy and nelson sav. Ive used both saf blue and red yeast depending on the day. Made it about a dozen times. I reccomend leaving it in the keg for at leased 2mnth before drinking. Use saf blue yeast . The two months in the keg takes away some of the sharpness. Its not a real IPA but it tastes good. At parties this has always been a fav with my friends , they say its a bit like drinking orange juice beer. Lots of citrus flavour from the Galaxy hops.  I think the hops really make it. I use galaxy and nelson in a few different brews now. Tried this with Thomas Coopers IPA and found that it too needs a lot of time in the keg. I much prefer the Black Rock as its not as sharp.

TCB Wetpak - English Bitter beer belly February 20th 2015

english bitter

First time with a wet pack. Easy to make easy instructions, great tasting beer

One week to ferment at 22deg, kegged and drank three weeks later, will do again.

Muntons Yorkshire Bitter beer belly February 20th 2015

Yorkshire Bitter

 

I regularly brew this, adding Morgan’s master caramalt, and the yeast that comes with the kit. Brew at 22deg one week then keg. Three weeks in the keg and drink.

 

The only place in NW Australia you can get a decent pint of Yorkshire bitter, my fridge. Converting a lot of Aussies from the lagers they drink.

Just need a recipie for boddingtons bitter then i will be happy 

 

Red Ale goforet February 19th 2015

My First FB Kit

This Red ale was amazing.  Followed the directions to a T !  This beer had a real great mouth taste and refreshing taste.  I would make this my go to Red Ale !

Brown Ale goforet February 19th 2015

AWESOME !!

This was the second brew I attempted.  I brewed this and bottle it. Started drinking and sharing it about 1 month ago.  I really just want to keep it to myself but I've shared it with several of my friends and everyone has the same reaction...can I get some more.  Need to brew another one and keg it, it will certainly be a staple beer in my kegs !  You'll fall in love the first time you drink this.

India Pale Ale samjellyman February 17th 2015

John BULL IPA Review

This was the first 'single can kit' I tried. I wanted something a bit cheaper for a change. In all honesty I wasn't expecting much from this kit but it totally blew me away, so much flavour, character and just a very enjoyable pint. I'm not a fast drinker so I have the barrel for around 6 months and it just kept getting better and better! It's cheap and quick but boy it's good. If you're in any doubt, just try it, I think you'll be surprised. Im glad that it was recommended to me by someone at www.brewbitz.com . It's that nice I've just started off another batch!

5 stars without a doubt!

Brown Ale RagingRanter February 9th 2015

First time brewer - turned out great

I purchased this kit from a local brewing store here in Ottawa. It's a little pricier than the other kits, but requires zero preparation - just pour it into a pail, pitch the yeast, and let it ferment. This was the first time I home-brewed anything. The Festa Brew Brown Ale turned out fantastic. Better than I dared to hope. While I've never brewed before, I am quite well versed in various microbrews and craft brews - I know my way around beer, and know a good beer from a bad one. This stuff turned out on level with many craft brown ales that I've had, and in fact, better than many of them. Another friend of mine who also knows his craft brews tried it and said, "This is craft brew quality right here." 

I can't take credit for it myself. Obviously, the quality of ingredients and preparation of the wort before it even gets to the store shelf is what makes the difference. I was really careful with sanitation every step of the way. Other than that, it was all up to the wort and the yeast to produce the results. And it exceeded my expecations. I've seen it compared favourably with Newcastle elsewhere, and I must concur, it is perhaps more like Newcastle than anything else I've tried, and honestly I don't think it's inferior in any way. 

I left it in the primary for only 3 days. For the first day and a half, I had a space heater in the room, and kept the temperature at about 78-80 F to make sure the yeast got a good start. By the end of day 3, the head had collapsed already. I then transferred into a glass carboy, being careful to leave the trub at the bottom. I left it in the carboy, with the room ranging from 68-72, for another 11 days. Then transferred to bottling bucket - once again leaving the trub at the bottom - added 142 grams of priming sugar mixed with a cup of boiling water, and bottled into 750 ml swing tops. 3 weeks later, it had carbed beautifully. I've already drunk 5 bottles in 3 days (not by myself). Will be transferring to the basement to store at cellar temp tonight. I can't wait to start my next batch. I think I'll try the Festa Brew Cream Ale next. For anyone thinking of starting out, start out with this stuff. It is top notch.

 I should remark on how clear and clean this beer turned out. There is a tiny bit of sediment at the bottom of the bottles, but it does not come out with the beer when poured. And I got this result without "cold crashing". I had no place to cold crash, and was concerned I'd be stuck with cloudy, murky "yeasty" beer with floaters. Nothing of the sort. The beer is amazingly clear, and there are no funky "off" or after-tastes at all. This gushing review probably sounds like a fake endorsement from someone at the company. I assure you it is not. I am just a first-time home brewer in Ottawa, and could not be happier with the results. 

Coopers Bitter oxpecker February 9th 2015

Coopers Bitter

Its getting better with time, but definitly not my favorite bitter, or kit in general.  Definitly not bad enough that I wont drink it though.  Brewed to kit instructions.

Morgans Dockside Stout Curramore February 9th 2015

Heavy stout, just black and beautiful!

Kit can plus 1.5 kg Black Rock Dark Liquid Malt extract, plus a 1.5 kg Terry O'Brien Stout dry mix of Dark DME, brown sugar and dextrose with 3 fifferent dry hops and the kit yeast. Took forever to ferment and kegged 6 weeks after pitching. Really solid brew with a nice hop/malt balance which really rips your tits off after a couple of pints.

Double India Pale Ale pdrewcock February 3rd 2015

A hop bomb!

I have put together three of these kits so far. The first was as per instructions. VERY hoppy. IBU's off the taste chart. However, it was also very tasty with a good hop/malt ratio. Altogether a pretty heavy brew that you wouldn't want more than one of at a sitting.

The second two I adjusted to 23 liters and reduced the hops somewhat. I used the leftover hops to dry hop in the secondary. A much more drinkable brew with a decent ABV and hop profile.

The kit comes with grains, so it is a bit of work, but well worth the premium price.

Cheers!

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