This category is for home brewers blogging about practically everything to do with beer. Brew days, brew tips ,tricks and yes, whatever comes to mind :)

Easy Growing beer hops in your backyard



Growing hops in your backyard and or in containers is easy. Starting with hop rhizomes or young potted plants from a nursery is the best way to go. Hop rhizomes are cheaper and easier to order online than potted hop plants. Rhizomes weigh little and come wrapped in newspaper and a large envelope ready for planting.

If you’ve limited space or planting in containers you might consider planting dwarf hops such as Prima Donna (First Gold). Prima Donna hops are an excellent choice as they only grow 2-3 meters tall and have short laterals making it quite manageable to grow up strings or small trellises. Prima Donna is a dual purpose hop. It has well balanced bitterness and a fruity, slightly spicy note. Excellent in EPA, American Pale Ale, IPA, English bitter, Blonde Ales.

Normal hop varieties grow very tall. A plan is needed to give the bines good support. There are many ways to support hops, from customised trellises, growing up sides of the house to training them to grow along garden fences. There’s always room, so it’s simply finding what works best for you in your particular garden.

Home growers naturally plant their favourite variety of hops or if they’re feeling adventures they’ll opt for a more exclusive hop not often sold in home brew shops. Phoenix is an excellent choice. It’s quite a unique hop. According to The British Hop Association, Phoenix is "a little known hop as it was originally grown and sold to just one brewer" Phoenix hops have fresh flavour characteristics that include pine, floral, chocolate, molasses and slightly spicy. Phoenix is a dual purpose hop and interesting results have been acclaimed when used as a late hop addition. Excellent hops in India Pale Ale, Bitter, Golden Ale, Triple India Pale Ale, English Ale, Extra Special Bitter (ESB), Stout Porter.



Planting of hop rhizomes is done in the spring and harvested in autumn. The first years harvest will be small. The second year will be moderate. The third year will give a full crop of hop cones and a healthy hop plant will bitter and give aroma to approximately 50 -100 litres of beer.

Hope you have fun growing hops and enjoy your homemade beer produced with the freshest hops your likely to come by :)




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John Guest fittings for beer lines be gone

We'd all love to get the perfect beer line fittings and John Guest fittings seem to be just that. They are a push and pull and fit to beer lines within seconds. What could be more convenient than that. The home brewers dream. Some would say they are a tad expensive for after all they are mostly made of plastic but if they last it could be worth it.

Having bought JG fittings for a four keg draft beer system it was not long before discovering the fittings broke very easily, resulting in leaked gas and beer. Not at all what you would expect of an industry leading product as the sellers would have us believe.

In conclusion John Guest fittings are expensive troublesome crap that the home brewer should avoid like the plaque. We’d all be better off saving on time, money, beer and gas!

Get decent beer and gas line fittings – John Guest – be gone!

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Brewing recipe for »oak-flavoured beer« 50-litre Braumeister III


Mash programme

  1. 38 °C Start mashing
  2. 65 °C 30 min
  3. 72 °C 40 min
  4. 78 °C 5 min
  5. Boiling 80 min

Hop addition

50 g Tettnang hops 80 min before end of boil

38 g Perle hops 70 min before end of boil

25 g Tettnang hops At end of boil

Original gravity

17 °P with 47 litres

Sparging: about 5 litres

Move malt pipe several times up + down at 78 °C


Fermentation temperature at around 12 °C

150 g of oak cubes for fermentation


23 days at room temperature,

followed by 34 weeks

in the refrigerator at 5 °C


52 l Brewing water plus sparging water

11.0 kg Munich malt

1.5 kg Carahell

0.5 kg Wheat malt

75 g Tettnang hops (4.2 % alpha)

38 g Perle hops (10 % alpha)

1 packet Saflager SW 34/70 yeast

150 g Toasted oak cubes

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Brewing recipe for "oak-flavoured beer" 50-litre Braumeister


Mash programme

  1. ​​38°C Start mashing
  2. 65°C 30 min
  3. 72°C 40 min
  4. 78°C 5 min
  5. Boiling 80 mins
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How to Carbonate

The Importance of CarbonationCarbonating beer is an important factor of beer brewing and a small challenge to the home brewer. CO2 adds mouthfeel, perceived body, and contributes to the way hop and malt aromas are presented to our sense of taste and smell. Adding just the right amount of carbonation according to a beer stylesheet or personal taste ...
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