Monday Mar 06, 2006

A Kallangur of a trip to Brisbane

Continuing on writing up our holiday.

We went to start off on Monday morning for the Gold Coast. Turned ignition key, absolute silence. Someone must not have shut a door properly. Fortunately, we have roadside assistance with NRMA who have an agreement with RACQ.

We got RACQ out and battery was totally flat and alternator was all but dead too. He put enough of a charge on to get us to an auto-electrician to replace the alternator.

As we got onto Anzac Avenue (highway type road), I start getting complete loss of power. Naturally I thought that we had used up what was in the battery. I managed to get the car off the road and call RACQ again. This time they manage to leave us stuck on the side of a highway with kids in the car on a hot day for FOUR HOURS.

When the tow truck finally got there, he wanted to only tow us to the next service station, not the auto-electrician 4-5km down the road in Kallangur (pronounced close to Clanger). We managed to get him to take us. The auto electrician explained that tow truck drivers don't like towing to him as he does not do the $50 back hander.

I was impressed with the guys looking at the car and the facilites that were offered to breakdowns. They had a room off to the side with a nice comfy couch, where Lyn slept for a few hours and a TV and playstation for the kids. Jake played on the playstation and Lucy got into Age of Empires II on the notebook.

Anyway. the alternator was fixed a 4:30. I went to drive out and still had loss of power, so we backed the car back into the garage. It looked like carburettor problem that would not be fixed that day, so we give up a night in a 5 star resort (prepaid, non-refundable) for an NRMA funded stay in a "cheap" motel. The room had one double bed and one single, both in the same room. The owner promised to bring around a fold up bed for the other child. About 9pm I went around to remind them of this and got the bed. The jug and microwave were in the "bathroom" and the fridge was empty but for ice. The cost of this room was borne by our roadservice, but was about half of what we would have paid for the five star resort room. I was less than impressed.

The next day, it looked like we must have got some bad fuel. They had cleaned out the carburettor, the injectors, drained the fuel from the tank and cleaned it too. We got on our way about 1pm and headed for Kirra Beach.

I'll write up the stay at Kirra later.

Thursday Oct 06, 2005

Brew #5 - Two Rows Lager from the Malt Shovel Brewery

The extra week appears to have made an amazing difference to this brew (the instuctoins said to leave it for three weeks rather than the two I normally do). I made it exactly as per instructions as I've always liked the beers that these folk make and sell. I was not disappointed. This is a lovely beer. I think that it's not going to last very long.

I can seriously recommend this mix. I saw it in Big W, but you'll probably be able to find it in other places.

It's a real toss up between #4 and #5 for my favourite now.

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Tuesday Sep 13, 2005

Bottled Brew#5

I took yesterday off to go to the kid's school concert (which I thoroughly enjoyed and will be purchasing the DVD of the event as it was professionally videod). After getting home I got around to bottling brew #5.

The instructions say to let it stand for three weeks (instead of the normal two), so as I'm following the instructions for this, I look forward to cracking open the first of the fifteen 740ml bottles on September 3.

I've updated my brewing log with the bottling dates and SG/predicted %alcohol numbers for this brew.

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Wednesday Sep 07, 2005

My Brews

In case anyone is interested, I keep a spreadsheet with information about my brews. I've uplaoded a number of it's columns here, and I'll shortly add a link on this page somewhere.

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More on Brew#5 (MSB Two Rows Lager)

Further to my entry on brew #5, I was at home helping to lok after my sick wife and daughter yesterday and I took thte ime to check the specific gravity of that particular brew. It started at 1044 and by yesterday was down to 1010. As a result I also had a tube of the brew, so I tasted it. It's tasting really very good, I put it into the fridge for a few hours and I can see that the recommended drinking temperature of 3-5 deg C (if I recall correctly) is going to make for a very nice drop.

I'm going to leave it for another day or so to see if I can get the SG down to around 1006 before bottling.

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Monday Sep 05, 2005

Opened Brew#4 and started #5

Opened a bottle of the last brew (#4), and I swear that this has to be the nicest one that I've ever made. I think that the honey in the mix has made an amazing difference taking away the hint of bitterness in the aftertaste that I noticed early after bottling.

Anyway, om Sunday I put down a James Squire Two Rows Lager. I've done this one as per the instructions before I start playing with it, as I generally like beer from the Malt Shovel Brewery. This one cost a little more and only makes about fifteen 740ml bottles. The instructions also specify that no sugar needs to be added to the mix (except for the bottling sugar). This looks to only have malt as the "sugar".

As I left for work this morning I was just starting to see bubbling in the airlock.

I'm looking forward to trying this one (brew #5), but in the meantime, I have more than a few bottles of brew #4 to enjoy.

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Sunday Jul 17, 2005

New Brew laid down

Mid last week I noticed that I had a grand total of four bottles of the last brew left. eeek.

Decided to try something slightly different this time.

I'm sticking with the idea of using two 1.7kg premixes instead of one and 1kg sugar. This time, instead of adding some malt, I added 500g of honey. I simply placed the jar into hot water and once it had warmed just poured it in after the mixes and water.

I also tried to use the remaining yeast from two of the remaining bottles. Unfortunately by Saturday morning, I still wasn't seeing much in the way of fermentation.

I ducked over the road to see another fellow home-brewer to see if he had any yeast that I could use (to save myself a drive up to my nearest home-brew shop). I was fortunate enough that he was just about to start cleaning out his barel from his most recent brew. As a result I got just under a litre of the "sludge" at the bottom of his barrel. Put that in and it's going great guns.

Should be ready to bottle in the next few days.

Note to self: Remember to bottle up some of the sludge from this brew to use in the next.

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Monday Apr 11, 2005

The Latest Brew

I noted back here about what I did with my latest brew, but didn't comment any further.

OK, It took some time to get the Specific Gravity down to something reasonable to bottle, but it finally got there. I cracked open the first bottle about two weeks ago.

Definitely interesting. It's certainly got a strong flavour. I find I like it best if I take a large mouthful at the beginning. I certainly like it.

My neighbour just let me try one of his latest that was very differeent. Along with the 1.7kg kit mix, he added the 1kg of sugar and 500g of honey. The taste is nothing short of amazing. Scarily drinkable. I think, I might throw some into my next brew :)

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Thursday Feb 17, 2005

Laid down a new brew yesterday

I'm trying something different with this one.

After reading Greg Lehay's brewing pages (and some of the wonderful mixing of Unix and Brewing that he is playing with), I decided to try some of his ideas.

Secifically, I'm using the yeast from a couple of bottles of Coopers Pale Ale (which is bottle conditioned), and instead of sugar I'm adding an extra can of the brew mix. In this case I'm trying a Tooheys Special Lager. I've also dropped in about 250g of Light Malt.

Just waiting for the temperature of the mix to get down to room temperature before adding the yeast. I'm looking forward to trying this one.


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Alan is a kernel and performance engineer based in Australia who tends to have the nasty calls gravitate towards him


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