Rasputin’s Betrothed – Brewing 14 Feb 2015 (Russian Imperial Stout).

February 14th, 2015

So I’ve had an idea to make a RIS and age it for a bit in a barrel previously housed some Kellermeister Wild Witch, but before I get up to seeing if I can’t come to some agreement with Markus that I better get in a bit of practice making them. So kicked off with a kit based recipe as follows:

1x 1.7kg Coopers Lager
1x 1.7kg Coopers Dark Ale
1x 1.7kg Coopers Stout
1x 1.5kg Coopers Dark Malt Extract (Syrup)

Topped it out to 20L total volume.

OG: 1.112 (Shooting for 1.026 FG will see how we go in a few days @ 10.5%).

UPDATE: Gravity at 21/Feb: 1.038 after 7 days. Krausen has collapsed decanted the beer into a different fermenter will see how it is in 12 days time, with a plan to bottle in 14 days, if day 12/13 show activity stopped in the 1.022/1.025 range.

Bottled on 3/April @ 1.036 FG. For an alcohol content of: 11.38%. It’s very green (taste, colour is black!) and hugely bitter at the moment, but there is some very interesting sarsparilla/liqorice/toffee/coffee aciton going on. Will be interesting to see how this develops over time.

This one will require some aging (3 months) before trying and should be capable of ageing like a wine, will see if I can’t stretch it out for for 10 years.

I eventually hope to move on to full all grain in the future.

Getting sma-bluetooth working with SMA SM5000TL-21

November 29th, 2014

Getting sma-bluetooth to connect to my inverter, and upload to pvoutput proved to not be an exactly trivial exercise. In brief overview the below are the steps I took to get it working. It does however, now work well for auto uploading of data.

So after much fun and games, I finally managed to get monitoring and upload to pvoutput working with sma-bluetooth.

Step 1 – Grab the code

hg clone https://sma-bluetooth.googlecode.com/hg/ sma-bluetooth

Once the code was grabbed, I changed into the directory and ran make.

./smatool -INSTALL -U dbuser -P dbpass

There was a table missing, so I manually created it as per

CREATE TABLE `LiveData` (`id` BIGINT NOT NULL AUTO_INCREMENT ,`DateTime` datetime NOT NULL, `Inverter` varchar(10) NOT NULL, `Serial` varchar(40) NOT NULL, `Description` char(20) NOT NULL , `Value` INT NOT NULL , `Units` char(20) NOT NULL , `CHANGETIME` timestamp NOT NULL DEFAULT '0000-00-00 00:00:00' ON UPDATE CURRENT_TIMESTAMP, UNIQUE KEY (`DateTime`,`Inverter`,`Serial`,`Description`), PRIMARY KEY ( `id` ) ) ENGINE = MYISAM;

Now the biggest gotcha for me was the below code block:

To make things happy and working, I added the following block to “invcode.in” and used this new ?model in my smatool.conf file.

Inverter 5000TL21
Code1 0xde
Code2 0x15
Code3 0x2e
Code4 0x38
InvCode 0x8a


Update: For reference, I’ve switched to using SBFspot?the bluetooth dongle is shockingly unreliable (eBay jobbie) will have to find something a little better, will update as info becomes available.

Home Brew Oct 14 – Hop Slam (UK)

November 1st, 2014

This brew is shooting to be a UK style IPA with an overt hoppy character.

Ferment Ingredients:

  • 1.7kg tin Thomas Cooper IPA
  • 1.5kg time Morgans Extra Pale Malt
  • 200gm Simpsons Medium Crystal Malt
  • 45gm Bramling Cross Hop pellets
  • 11gm Nottingham Ale Yeast

Dry Hop:

  • 25gm Bramling Cross Hop pellets


Slow boil the Bramling cross Hop pellets in 1.7L water. Add 300mL additional water to drop temp, add the crytal malt. Leave for 20 minutes to steep.

Mix the malt and kit in fermenter, strain hop+grain mixture into the fermenter (so the liquid goes in, but the solid do not).

Fill to 20L. When wort hits 22C sprinkle the coopers yeast sachet and the Nottingham ale yeast on top. Place into the fermenting fridge at 21C.

On 5/Nov put 25gm Hop pellets into the fermenter in hop sock, leave until bottling on 8/Nov. (Prime @ 8gm/L).


OG: 1.053

FG: 1.010

ABV 5.64%

Fruit Salad Ale Homebrew Oct 2014

October 11th, 2014

Today I put down a “Fruit Salad Ale” derived from a recipie on the Coopers home brew site.

I did things a little differently.

The ingredients were:

  • 1x 1.7kg Coopers Australian Pale Ale Can
  • 1x 1.5kg Morgans Extra Pale Malt Extract Can
  • 150gm Simpsons Medium Crystal Malt
  • 20gm Amarillo Hops
  • 20gm Citra Hops
  • 20gm Cascade Hops
  • Danstar BRY-97 American West Coast Yeast

I steeped the hops and grain in 2L of hot water for 20 minutes.


Filled the fermenter to 23 L and put in the fermenting fridge set to 20C.

Original Gravity: 1.049

Final Gravity: 1.008

ABV: 5.38%

Two days before bottling I plan to dry hop with 5g Amarillo, 10g Citra and 5g Cascade hops.

Update [22/Oct] – Dry hopped 22/Oct?in the afternoon (bottling 27/Oct in the afternoon) with 6g Amarillo, 12g Citra and 6g Cascade hops.

At the end of this I’m expecting and hoping for a fairly hoppy, very fruity ale to be consumed come December.

Trial Stout #1 – July 2014

July 6th, 2014

This trial stout is to make a rich stout, with less than usual bitterness to see if it suits the wifes palate – still desiring heaps of chocolate/coffee/toffee up front but without the bitter finish (that I love).

1.7kg tin – Coopers (Thomas Coopers Irish Stout)
1.5kg – Dark Liquid Malt Extract
200gm – Simpsons Chocolate Malt – cold steeped 24H

OG: 1.056


Pitched yeast at 22C on 6 July 2014

M&D “The Uncle Fred” Stout – Special Reserve (22 June 2014)

July 5th, 2014

Laid this one down on 22/June to keep the laundry company while a heater was used to dry out due to a slow drip from the washing machine.

18.6L of Wort (over shot the filling by 3%) 3KG of ESB “Extra Special Stout” kit + 200gm of simpson chocolate malt (2L water/200g/20min), the starting gravity was 1.055


Not yet in bottle – will see how it goes.

Eden Road (April 2014 Cellar Door Visit)

June 28th, 2014

A relatively new winery in the Canberra region. A fantastically presented cellar door. As the new kid on the block these guys have a simply massive range of wines available for testing. They’re massive range must give them scope to play around and determine what works best from a wine making perspective. As a punter they have many of the same varieties that have been grown in different regions, giving an indication what some of the (relatively) local microclimates offer and bring to the table, some of the differences are far from subtle. Their wines are great, so check them out for that, but if nothing else, check them out as a way of seeing the differences in where the vine was grown causes differences in the wine in the bottle.

[ Key ]:
B = Purchased
S = Smelled
T = Tasted
W = Wishlist

Riesling (Canberra) 2013 [S]: Flowery; Scent indicates that the acid in this will be pretty good, chalky lemon notes too.

Riesling (Off Dry – Canberra) 2013 [S]: A wild ferment, More muted nose but similar to the dry, but would expect this to be more food friendly.

Pinot Gris 2013 [S]: Peary nose w/ a slight (clean) musky scent.

Chardonnay “The Long Road ” 2012 [S]: A phenolic nutty nose

Chardonnay (Tumbarumba) 2012 [S]: A more elegant version of the long road. I’d expect this to go for a while, a nutty finish, and hints of green honey dew melon.

Chardonnay “Courabyra” 2012 [S]:?(Slightly cooler?climate to Maragle) – Sharper

Chardonnay “Maragle” 2012 [S]: ?(Slightly warmer climate than Courabyra) – Bigger nose, peary, more interesting at this stage on the nose.

Pinot Noir “The Long Road” 2012 [S]: Different fragrances compared to most PN’s recently smelled. A slightly sweet nose.

Pinot Noir “Tumbarumba” 2011 [S]: Spicy, somewhat more austere than the long road.

Shiraz “The Long Road” 2012 [S]: Cool climate pepper, red fruit – smells juicy.

Shiraz “Hilltops” 2010 [S+B+T+W]: Pepper fading into dark red fruits, good acid.

Shiraz “Gundagai” 2011 [S+T]: Slightly lighter than the Hilltops in palate.

Shiraz “Canberra” 2011 [S+T]: White pepper, softer mouthfeel. Pepper finish.

Cabernet Sauvignon “Gundagai” 2012 [S]: Cooler Cab Sauv, slightly bitter tannins, Good nose with some hints approaching tar but not overt (tar + smoke).

Nebiolo “Gundagi” 2011 [S+T]: Lighter colour, clean finish, almost too clean, ends quickly.

Shiraz “Canberra” 2012 [S+T+W]: Would have been a buy buy buy if it were available for purchase (was not technically available for tasting on this day ;-)). Pepper and fruit come and play together nicely. Pepper finishes the deal, fruit dominates the mid palate. Awesome Wine!! (Available now at time of posting)

Riesling 2009 [S+T+W]: ?Slight kero nose. Fruit is still great, Lemon Pithy finish, nice mid palate. (Available now at time of posting).

Pinot Gris 2014 [S+W]: Tank sample (who’s a lucky taster then). Better than the ’13. More clean fruit which exposes some sweetness.




Shaw Vineyard Estate (Apr 2014) Cellar Door Visit

June 28th, 2014

The Shaw Vineyard Estate cellar door is locate up the back of Murrumbateman near the top of a hill, it’s in a nice location, and the restaurant attached looks appealing. There are a decent range of wines available to taste and buy.


[ Key ]:
B = Purchased
S = Smelled
T = Tasted
W = Wishlist


Riesling 2012 [S]: Pale almost as transparent/tinted as water. A shy nose, chalk stick with a lemon/lime combo.

Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2011 [S]: Sauv nose, lots of passionfruit w/ some cut grass.

Shiraz 2012 [SW]: Black pepper, mid to dark fruit, spicy.

Cabernet Shiraz 2009 [SW]: Truffly, wood box, smells awesome.

Cabernet 2009 [S]: Minty start, juicy smells, screams for a steak.

Botrytised Semillion 2008 [S]: Nice nose. Obviously a stickey, hard to pin down the unique scents.

Clonakilla (CD Tasting/Smelling Notes April 2014)

June 14th, 2014


The cellar door was manned by the winemaker Tim Kirk on our visit. He’s a man who’s got a good product and he knows it. One of the best things at the cellar door was that all wines available for purchase were available for tasting, including their wonderful Shiraz Viognier. As per the history for any who have read the slowly trickling through notes from this 23/April visit to various Canberra region cellar doors, I took my mum around who was over for a visit, and as driver, did primarily smelling.

[ Key ]:
B = Purchased
S = Smelled
T = Tasted
W = Wishlist for another day (most of the wines are want?s at some point but given limited budgets, the ones I really want to come back and grab a couple of). At this winery – all wines are on my wishlist, including the as yet not released Riesling for ’14.


Viognier 2013 [S]: Apricot in and out nice smells. Mum commented that it had a high acid backbone. I expect this would be very much to my tastes.

Shiraz Hilltops 2012 [S]: Pepper; Hints of almost blueberry. Mum rates as moorish, mild tannins.

Shiraz O’Riada 2012 [S]: Pepper up the wing wang, fruit layered underneath.

Shiraz Viognier 2012 [S]: White pepper; Mild apricot undertones. Told great balance, with a pepper finish.

Shiraz-Cab Franc-Merlot Ballindary 2011 [S]: Floral nose; Tiny bit of what indicates tannins would be present.

Capital Wines (CD Tasting Notes April 2014)

May 31st, 2014

Capital Wines:

The cellar door while pretty is quite a dark affair. The food is good and eating out under the marquee is pleasant. Any comments regarding tastes reflect the thoughts of the person I was driving around, if not indicated that I tasted.

[ Key ]:
B = Purchased
S = Smelled
T = Tasted
W = Wishlist for another day (most of the wines are want?s at some point but given limited budgets, the ones I really want to come back and grab a couple of).

?Riesling “The Whip” 2013 [S]: Chalky pithy lemon dominated nose with white flowers. V. Sharp Acid (Sounds appealing if you ask me ;)).

Riesling “Gundaroo” 2013 [S]: Lemon with white flower, less chalk; More delicate and refined. Slightly less acid than “The Whip”

Sauvignon Blanc 2013 [S]: Fruity nose, smells like it would have more acid than NZ Sauv Blanc; Some passionfruit.

Sangiovese 2013 [S]: A more fragrant Sangiovese than most. Does not have the dustiness that some Sangiovese often develops. Florally/Herby notes and even some rose/violet at the end.

Merlot 2012 [S]: Edge of tar, Fruit seems to be hiding. Told that it’s quite tannic in the mouth, which would indicate wanting more time, however it was mentioned that there is a tail end of bitterness going on.

Shiraz 2011 [S]: Starts of pepper (which shows in the taste) then goes herby, then fruit (plums and cherry). Some greenness.

Tempranillo 2013 [S]: Jubey initial, nice raspberry/cherry. Sour finish on palate – nice.

Riesling “Treasury” (Late Picked) 2011 [S]: Nice phenolics, slight hint of petrol.

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