Toast Auckland 2012

Photographer: Emma
20 Litres. 4.4% ABV

Building on the baking competitions we have had in the past, and a growing passion for brewing amongst our fellow cohorts, it was decided that we would step things up a little and host a brewing competition.  Sam Possenniskie of Yeastie Boys fame and Nick Jones, a passionate home-brewer with links to Mike’s Organic Brewery, kindly posed as our judges, wowing us with their knowledge and refined palettes.  We were blown away by the obvious time and effort that had been put into both the brewing itself as well as the packaging of the finish product and thus picking a winner wasn’t an easy task.  The team that took out the title however couldn’t have been more deserving.  Over to the winners Alun and Owen to introduce their winning brew:

Owen and I work in the IT department at Fisher & Paykel. For years he’s been my manager and friend, gently suggesting that I should take an interest in something other than IT.  Two and a half year’s ago I mentioned in passing that I had an interest in brewing. I’d always enjoyed cooking and as a previous title holder of the IT bake-off competition brewing seemed a natural progression.  Owen had never mentioned that he brewed before – perhaps because I hadn’t asked – but said that when he worked at Boeing he had learnt to brew there. After that I took him a bit more seriously and we start creating brewing recipes in earnest.

Brewing is more-or-less a simple process which uses a few standard ingredients – water, malted barley, hops and yeast. The malted barley is heated in water, converting the starches in the barely to sugar (mashing).  The spent grains are then removed and the remaining solution (wort) is then boiled with hops.  Hops add the bulk of the aroma and, dependent on the style of beer, the flavour. Once the wort has cooled, a friendly yeast is added to convert the sugars to alcohol.

The art of brewing comes through subtle changes to the ingredients and the basic process.  Salts can be added to the water to enhance flavours and yeast propagation. There are numerous variations of malted barley and other cereals like wheat and sorghum can also be used to provide the sugars.  Hop varieties offer citrus, pine, spice or floral flavours as well as bitterness.  And you can always enhance your beer with fruits, nuts, herbs or spices.  The options are infinite, but remember to record your process, you may have just created the next great beer.

Brewing is contagious and differently complex and has allowed my passion for local and New Zealand ingredients to shine.  It is just so exciting to experiment using your own hops or by harvesting Kawakawa leaves to add to your beer, investigating what it does to alter the taste of the finished product. I really need to stress that not every experiment is going to be great but our experience has shown us that you need to try it a couple of times to find out.

The Katipo brew is the culmination of multiple brewing efforts which saw us experiment with different lager and ale yeasts and subtlety different grain bills to, funnily-enough, return to our original recipe.  Dark roasted malts come through the almost pale ale-like body adding coffee chocolate notes perhaps more in the style of the early NZ dark ales.


3.73kg NZ Pale Malt
460g Caramalt (British)
200g Black Patent Malt (British)
200g Roasted Barley

Brewing salts
7g Calcium Chloride
4g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate)

Boil kettle additions
10g Super Alpha Hops @ 60 minutes
10g Super Alpha Hops @ 30 minutes
3g Irish Moss @ 10 minutes
20g Motueka Hops @ 0 minutes

Safale K97 Yeast

8g Dark Muscovado sugar for every 1 litre of beer


The mash
1. Place grain, salts and 14 litres of water into a 32 litre pot. Raise the temperature to 45°C and hold this temperature for 10 minutes.
2. Raise the temperature to 65°C and hold for 60 minutes.
3. Raise the temperature again to 75°C and hold for a further 15 minutes.

Extracting the malt
1. Filter the liquid off the grain using a grain bag in to the fermenter.
2. Sparge (run the 16.75 litres of water through the grain in the bag to extract the last of the sugars).

Boil the wort
1. Bring the pot to the boil. Add the hops as per the boil kettle additions. During the process of adding the hops, take the time to sterilise the fermenter.
2. Cool the wort to 20° as quickly as possible. An immersion or plate chiller helps with this.
3. Once the wort has cooled to 20°C take a hydrometer reading, taking note of the outcome. Transfer wort to sterilsed fermenter/fermenters then add in the last of the hops and the yeast. Stir vigorously with a sterilised spoon.

Fermentation phase
1. Keep the fermenter at 14 – 20°C. The more stable the temperature the better it is for the beer.
2. After 4 days rack the beer into a secondary glass carboy and leave for a further (approx) 3 days or until the final gravity has stabilised and reached 1012.
3. On the day of bottling, add 8g of dark musk Avado sugar for every litre of beer in the carboy. To do this take out approx a cup of beer from the carboy (pouring it into a sterilsed jug) add the sugar to this and mix until combined. Return to the carboy.
4. Bottle the beer into sterilsed bottles making sure that anything that is used in this bottling process has also been sterilsed.