Category Archives: Beer

Any good beer? Drink any lately? I am learning.

Try another brew

Have to pick up the reading on brewing beer. I picked up an ‘old’ recipe for Rajah India Pale Ale (from Wine & Hop Shop). Ingredients are not that easy to come by here in Hong Kong. Anyway, I went to Chris’ shop and grabbed some hops (Willamette & Kent Golding), along with a pound of Caramel 10L crashed grains. I skipped the Oak Chips and put in orange peels instead!! I am taking this brew as if I was cooking a common dish when not all ingredients are not available at the spur of the moment. I believe why my sweet-and-sour pork is different than those that I used to get at some American-Chinese restaurants (you know what I am talking about) because I don’t use pineapple juice. Are we saying about the same for beer brewing, giving rise to the different taste and body? I like to find out the ‘science’ behind of it all. For now, let me catch up my reading before I run my mouth more on brewing as if I had done that many times over. I am still at kindergarten level.

Craft Beers in and of Hong Kong?

(original post: July 17, 2013) I have a few opportunities to try out some craft beers in the United States, especially IPA types. Here is just one example. One flavor of Lagunitas Beer I am now having a can of Harbin beer, with a 3.6% ABV and an ingredient of rice (大米). There are other choices such as the Pearl River Beer and the Heineken. I wonder if craft beer can have a place in the beer drinking community in Hong Kong or in Southern China? Wonder if any brewmasters out there is thinking of testing out such markets? I am quite interested in such endeavor, now trying my hands first time in home brewing. Not sure how it comes out yet – I will know in another week.

If you share similar interests, drop me a line with ‘craft beer’ as the subject line.

Happy Fun Pig Bar (樂趣朱爸)

(original post: August 25, 2013) I started the ‘Fade to Black IPA’ brewing last week (15th of August). A recipe from the Wine & Hop Shop in Madison, Wisconsin. A bit struggling with the cooking, or steeping as I could only use the medium burner in my gas range!! Well, I was happily following directions from the instruction that came with the recipe. I was happy when I poured the two plastic bottles of dark malt extract into the water, knowing now that for another hour, I would be watching the bubbles rising from the bucket of wort!! Yeah! The cold break took a bit effort as ice did not come easy. I can’t jump into the car, speed down to the neighbourhood Smith’s grocery store and come back with a bag or two ice. No, siree. Not here in Hong Kong. So, I filled my water bottles with tap water and made a few ‘ice bottle cubes!’ the cold break went slowly with the help of running tap water. The wort finally reached the desired temperature without killing the yeast that was about to jump in and kick into action fermenting… In the wort, there were two packages of Columbus hop and one Centennial hop. I do like the smell of hops. Will find other ways to use the hop later. So, into the bucket with the wort and some cold water; dumped the package of dry yeast in, snapped on the lid, tightened the fermentation lock, and stored the bucket into the air-conditioned room. Happy. Day one, the bubbling was going up here and there; felt a bit curious as it was not as rigorous as the one gallon brew I did last time (the very first time after the lesson from HK Brew). Well into the 7 days, the bubbling subsided too early; no head that I could see through the ‘clear’ white plastic bucket!!

Anyway, I opened the bucket on the 8th day and racked the content into a carboy (with a package of Columbus and a package of Centennial inside already). Color looked ok, smell was ok and the taste a bit bitter; ok for me. Not crisp. Not clear. No worry. Capped the carboy with the air lock. Then I went back to the recipe for a checkup – because when I got those two packages of hops for the second stage of fermentation, I found two remaining packages in my recipe pack!! One is glucose (for bottling), and one pound bag of brown sugar. Yes, I checked the recipe, there was that one pound. Scanning down the instruction, and there it was – add malt extract AND brown sugar!! Oh no. I skipped completely – smart alley not looking at the recipe when doing the wort!! No wonder the yeast was not happy. They were not fed right with the sugar, seriously reducing their fermenting behaviour.

Ok, to save myself, I panically dumped the whole pound into the carboy and wish myself luck. To be continued.

Back to Title of this post – that would be my first try to a name of the bar that I am trying to start. Good luck to me. More on this later.