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My Yachting Adventures
Below is a list of links to the main pages about my yacht, Catlypso and My Yachting Adventures:
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  • My Yachting Adventures.
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    Michael's 4WD Trips
    Click here for a list of my Four Wheel Drive and Camping Trips.
    Home Brewing
    Click here for an article about Home Brewing.
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    "Osborne Shoals West has excellent fishlife and sponge life"
    Michael's Beer Brewing - Anemone Brewery
    Anemone Brewery
    My Brewery Label
    When I moved house to Kirrawee in early 2008, I decided that I would start to brew my own beer. I had never done this before as we had a severe shortage of space. In addition, I also decided that I would keg the beer rather than bottle it. This was mainly because I did not want to waste time cleaning large numbers of bottles.

    After we settled in, I purchased a Coopers home brewing kit. This comes with everything to create your first brew, including 30 plastic PET brown bottles. These are said to be 700 ml but when I tested them with water, they are 750 ml.

    In August I purchased 15 extra bottles as I wanted to make a whole brew of bottled beer and I inadvertently destroyed two by putting almost boiling water in them.

    First Brews

    I started the first brew on 26 April 2008 and discovered that the temperature in the house was a bit too low based on the recommendations in the brew kit. Until this time I had not connected up my home weather station so I was not aware of the inside temperature. The temperature at that time varied between about 21ÂșC in the early afternoon to about 16ÂșC overnight. I put the fermenter in the laundry and using the clothes dryer and a basin with hot water to keep the temperature up.

    As such, it took about six days to be ready for bottling. I did this on 3 May and on 12 May I tasted it. It was quite nice but a little flat. I put this down to the temperature being a bit low for the secondary fermentation. Despite this, it went down well.

    Right from the start I decided to limit the alcholo content of the beers by using less sugar/malt in the fermentation process. I generally use 500 grams of whatever I put in rather than the 1 kg recommended.

    As mentioned, my original intention was to brew in kegs and in mid-May 2008 I purchased the kegging equipment. I purchased two 18 litre kegs, one tap, lines and fittings and a CO2 cylinder. When we moved, our old fridge went under the house and I drilled holes for the lines and set it up. I later purchased another tap so I can have two different beers available from the kegs at any one time.

    What I did not know then but do now is that there are at least two different types of kegs, well, at least the connectors. The first one has pin (bayonet) fittings for the inlet and outlet connections. These are mostly Coke kegs and are considered the older type. In Australia these appear to be the less common type. The second has ball fittings. These are held on by spring-loaded ball bearings. These are mostly referred to as Pepsi kegs. The ones I bought are the Coke pin fitting kegs. The only problem with this is when I went to purchase some extra kegs, I had a bit of trouble finding some. I finally found some on Ebay (more about this soon).

    On 12 May 2008 I started the second brew. This was a Coopers Pale Ale. I made a mistake when doing this as I thought that the Brew Enhancer 2 (which can be added to the standard brew to make it taste better) was added in addition to the sugar. Luckily I did not add it before I realised the mistake. As such, this brew only had normal Coopers sugar added.

    This also took six days to finishing fermenting due to the reasons outlined above. I kegged it on 18 May and put it in the fridge with only a small amount of gas to evacuate the air from the space left inside the keg. After it cooled (one day) I put in 200 kpa of pressure. After two days I dropped this to 100 kpa but when I tested, I thought that the beer was a bit flat so I upped it again for another day. Another mistake! The beer was way to fizzy and I ended up with 80% froth when pouring. After a lot of effort, I got it right (you have to release pressure, shake the keg, release the pressure and repeat till you get it right).

    This beer was great. It tasted very much like Coopers Pale Ale and it was drunk in under three weeks.

    My next beer was a Hahn Premium kit I purchased. It cost a bit to buy but after tasting it when first ready, I am a bit disappointed as it tasted nothing like Hahn Premium. I decided to let it age and not taste it again for a month or more (it tasted okay but not like Hahn).

    After I knocked over the first keg, I decided to do another Pale Ale and this time I did it with the Brew Enhancer No 2. As I was having a house warming party in mid-July, I had arranged to borrow two kegs and this is where I discovered that there are different types of connectors. As I said, I wanted some cheap ones and I found someone in Newcastle selling three on Ebay. I won these for $83. They needed some work done on the o-rings as they are in fairly poor condition. I got one working okay and then a second one. I will need to purchase some o-rings and do some cleaning to get the third one working as well as fix the other two up properly. I still have not done this in 2013!

    As the temperature in the house in Winter was so low, I purchased a cheap single bed electric blanket. I put the fermenter and any bottles on this and used the blanket to keep the temperature right (I stopped using this later as the colder temperature just means it takes longer to ferment).

    I plan to try and keep three full kegs in the fridge and another in production so I can age them a bit. I will report on the ageing process once I have some that are older than the 7 weeks that I have so far achieved.

    Since brew 3, I have been using the electric blanket to keep the temperature right for both primary and secondary fermentation. The bottled beer produced since then have been much better, with far more bubbles than the first ones.

    Also, when I created brew 5, I added a chilli to three bottles. In mid-July, I tasted one and it was quite interesting. The beer went down well, but left a tingling taste in my throat. I was funny that my lips and tongue were not affected. I was going to the other two bottles out during my party but I forgot. I took another one to a ski weekend and those who tasted it found it very interesting.

    In August 2008 I purchased a Coopers Bitter kit as I wanted to try it out. This brew came out very, very dark. It looks more like an old beer. I quickly tasted it after I gassed it up and it seems nice. However, it was a bit too dark for my liking and I doubt that I will make it again.

    I also puchased a Coopers International European Lager and made this up. I decided I wanted to bottle this as it recommends putting it away for three months. Therefore, I purchased another 30 PET bottles. I decided that I would not drink this till near Christmas 2008. I tried it after 96 days and it was excellent. After over four months it got better. One of the best brews I had made to that date and even in 2013.

    I also purchased a Coopers Pilsner. This has been the best beer I have made so far. I made another brew almost straight after I kegged this one. This time I put them all in bottles. I left this brew for over two months before I tried and it was even better than the first one. I have since made another and intend to make one about every four brews.

    In early November 2008 I made a Coopers Cerveza. I did not like this and will make again.

    In late November 2008 I made a Coopers Real Ale. I added 200 grams of honey to the brew and tried it on New Year's Eve, it was nice.

    Purchase Cost

    Beer Kit$84
    Kegging gear$300
    Extra kegs$83
    Extra bottles$52
    Gas cylinder$300
    Extra keg tap$60

    Later Brews

    In about 2009 I have moved all the fermentation to under the house. The temperature there is normally around 20Âș to 22Âș in summer and down to about 14Âș in winter. I now let my beer brew in the fermenter for between 21 and 28 days, no matter the temperature. This has produced far better tasting beers as well as making them much clearer.

    I also started using 500 grams of honey in the Lager, Draught and Real Ale brews instead of sugars. If I am in the country and I see honey for sale, I purchase some 1 kg bails of whatever is on offer. The honey does not give a honey taste to the beer, but it does add a flavour which very much depends on the type of honey. I have also used commercial honey and have found that the Woolworths premium brand is very good.

    I have also been given some more bottles which means I can have a lot of beer in storage. From the first brew I have been putting away two bottles into a box for aging. I generally let these get to at least 10 months old before I drink them. I am now averaging about 12 months before I drink the last one. Some have even made it to 600 days, with many around the 500 days mark. Of these, virtually all have been much better than the younger bottles of the same brew. Only one or two have been a little flatter than I remembered the earlier ones to be. It seems that you can keep the beer in the plastic bottles for at least 500 days without it going off or flat.

    I have also been making Coopers Pilsner in winter when the temperatures are lower. I bottle these and do not start for at least three months. In 2012 I left a brew for about six months before I tasted it and about 10 months before I actually started drinking it. They are excellent and my favourite beer.

    Brews to Date

    126 April 2008Cooper's Lager 500g4.3%Bottled 3 May 200812 May 2008Tastes nice but a bit flat. Too cool when secondary formation
    212 May 2008Coopers Pale Ale500g4.3%Kegged 18 May 2008 (+8 750ml)21 May 2008Very nice. A bit flat but later put too much gas in. Got right in the end and polished off with the neighbour!
    319 May 2008Hahn Premium (Blue Mountains Lager)400gMalt and dextrose4.0%Kegged 27 May 2008 (+6)30 May 2008Cloudy and does not taste like HP but is a nice drop anyway
    49 June 2008Coopers Pale Ale500gEnhancer 24.3%Kegged 14 June 2008 (+7)17 June 2008Was very nice, totally consumed at party
    514 June 2008Coopers Blonde500gEnhancer 14.0%Kegged 22 June 2008 (+6)25 June 2008Was very nice, totally consumed at party
    622 June 2008Coopers Pale Ale500gEnhancer 24.3%28 June 2008 (+6)19 July 2008Quite nice - about five litres consumed at party
    77 July 2008Coopers Blonde500gEnhancer 14.3%13 July 2008 (+6)6 August 2008Very nice, going down well
    814 July 2008Coopers Pale Ale500gEnhancer 24.3%20 July 2008 (+8)25 August 2008Excellent
    98 August 2008Coopers Bitter550g5.4%(?)14 August 2008 (+7)7 September 2008A bit too dark for me, I drank it but I will not make it again
    1016 August 2008Coopers International Lager550gEnhancer 26.9% (?)Bottled 25 August 2008Very, very good
    1126 August 2008Coopers Pale Ale500gEnhancer 24.0%30 August 2008 (+8)10 October 2008As good as all the other Pale Ales I have made
    1230 August 2008Coopers Pilsner300g dextrose500g Light Dry Malt2.8%20 September 2008 (+8)19 October 2008A bit flat in kegs but tasty, bottles excellent
    1320 September 2008Coopers Pale Ale500gEnhancer 24.8%26 September 2008 (+8)7 November 2008Flat at first but now great
    1412 October 2008Coopers Lager600g dextrose3.2%15 October 200827 November 2008Very nice
    1515 October 2008Coopers Pilsner300g dextrose500g Light Dry Malt4.6%24 October 20083 December 2008Excellent!!
    1624 October 2008Coopers Blonde500g Enhancer 12.9%29 October 20087 November 2008Very good
    177 November 2008Coopers Cerveza500g Enhanced 22.7%13 November 200813 December 2008Yuk!
    1827 November 2008Coopers Real Ale500g200g honey4.6%3 December 200831 December 2008Excellent
    1910 December 2008Coopers Pilsner300g dextrose500g Light Dry Malt4.3%17 December 200826 January 2009
    2022 December 2008Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 22.9%28 December 2008Got better as it aged
    213 January 2009Coopers European Ale500gEnhancer 22.9%12 January 200910 May 2009Not good, brewed at too high temp
    2227 January 2009Coopers Draught500g honey3.8%6 February 200921 March 2009Very nice
    236 February 2009Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 22.4%15 February 200929 March 2009Very good
    2414 March 2009Coopers Blonde500g Enhancer 14.6%23 March 20092 May 2009Very good
    2524 March 2009Coopers Pilsner500g special mix5.1%2 April 20092 May 2009Great and got better
    262 April 2009Coopers Draught500g honey4.6%17 April 20094 June 2009Loved it
    2719 April 2009Coopers Real Ale500g honey5.0%1 May 20095 June 2009Very good
    284 May 2009Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 23.8%19 May 200917 July 2009Not as good as previous
    2919 May 2009Coopers Blonde500g Enhancer 24.8%2 June20097 August 2009Very good
    302 June 2009Morgans Sheaf WheatSpecial mix4.6%16 June 20091 September 2009Okay but not worth extra $
    3119 June 2009Coopers Pilsner500g special mix4.0%18 July20091 October 2009Very nice
    3218 July 2008Coopers Lager500g honey4.6%9 August200922 November 2009Nice and got better
    3311 August 2009Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 24.6%August 200915 November 2009Excellent
    3412 September 2009Coopers Real Ale500g honey3.5%11 October200920 December 2009Excellent
    3511 October 2009Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 25.4%29 October200924 December 2009Very good
    369 November 2009Coopers Blonde500g Enhancer 24.0%22 November 200923 April 2010Very good
    3724 November 2009Coopers Real Ale500g honey4.6%13 December 200930 January 2010Tasty
    3813 December 2009Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 23.5%10 January 201026 March 2010Got better as it aged
    3913 January 2010Coopers Pilsner500g special mix5.4%3 February201015 May 2010Excellent
    403 February 2010Coopers Draught500g honey6.2%17 February 201019 June 2010A great beer
    4117 February 2010Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 25.4%8 March2010? 2010Nice
    4210 March 2010Coopers Blonde500g Enhancer 24.8%27 March201025 April 2010Excellent
    4329 March 2010Coopers Real Ale500g honey3.5%27 April 201010 September 2010Great
    449 May 2010Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 25.4%3 June201012 November 2010
    453 June 2010Coopers European Ale500g Enhancer 25.1%27 June20101 December 2010Nice
    4628 June 2010Coopers Pilsner500g special mix5.1%24 July 201025 November 010Best I have made
    471 August 2010Coopers Pilsner500g special mix5.1%9 September 201025 February 2011Very good beer
    4815 September 2010Coopers Lager500g honey5.4%9 October201017 December 2010Very refreshing
    499 October 2010Coopers Blonde500g Enhancer 25.6%31 October201029 July 2011Very refreshing
    501 November 2010Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 24.3%20 November201028 January 2011Nice
    512 November 2010Coopers Real Ale500g honey6.3%11 December20103 July 2011Great beer
    5211 December 2010Coopers Lager500g mango pulp5.1%10 January 201117 April 2011Interesting, not great
    5312 January 2011Coopers Blonde500g Enhancer 24.8%6 February 20118 Spetember 2011Refreshing
    5412 February 2011Coopers Draught500g honey2.1% (!)28 March 201117 October 2011Housesitter drank them all!
    5519 April 2011Coopers Real Ale500g honey5.6%15 May20113 December 2011Very nice, got better
    5623 May 2011Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 25.1%28 June20119 November 2011
    573 July 2011Coopers Pilsner500g special mix5.5%24 July20113 September 2011Very good
    583 August 2011Coopers Draught500g honey5.4%6 September201112 December 2011
    5915 September 2011Coopers Pilsner500g special mix5.4%11 October20118 March 2012Excellent
    6014 October 2011Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 25.4%29 November201115 May 2012Brilliant!
    6112 December 2011Coopers Blonde500g Enhancer 22.7% (!)12 January201221 October 2012Had to throw out as went off due to holidays and not bottling
    6214 January 2012Coopers Lager500g honey4.8%1 March201217 August 2012
    6325 March 2012Coopers Blonde500g Enhancer 22.7%15 April201230 September 2012Not as good as others
    6416 April 2012Coopers Real Ale500g honey4.0%6 May201210 June 2012Excellent
    6510 May 2012Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 25.4%1 June201211 January 2013Excellent
    664 June 2012Coopers Pilsner500g special mix4.7%25 June2012
    6730 June 2012Coopers Blonde500g honey5.1%25 July20129 NovemberNice and easy
    682 August 2012Coopers Pilsner500g special mix5.1%27 August2012
    697 October 2012Coopers Draught500g honey2.9%21 October2012
    7012 November 20112Coopers Pale Ale500g Enhancer 25.6%7 January2013
    7127 January 2013Coopers Blonde500g Enhancer 24.6% 2013
    72? March 2013Coopers Draught500g honey4.6% 2013
    7314 April 2013Coopers Lager500g honey4.6% 2013

    Favourite Brews

    As you can see from above, I have concentrated on Coopers' kits. Not only are these cheap and available in supermarkets, they are great! I generally now only brew the following:

  • Coopers Pale Ale - with 500g of Enhancer 2
  • Coopers Real Ale - with 500g of honey
  • Coopers Lager - with 500g of honey
  • Coopers Draught - with 500g of honey
  • Coopers Blonde - with 500g of Enhancer 2
  • Coopers Pilsner - with 500g of special mixture - brewed in winter so that temperature is less than 15
  • In 2013 I will also do a Coopers European Lager as I have not done one for a long time and I did enjoy it.

    I probably like the Pilsner the best, but the Real Ale is a close second. The honey seems to make it a much better beer. As mentioned, the type of honey used can make a big difference to the taste and the alcohol content. The honey purchased direct from the country bee keepers seems to be stronger tasting and have more sugars.

    Cost of Beer

    This cost includes capital cost and recurrent cost of making the brews.

    BrewsCapital CostRecurrent CostKegsBottlesEquals Cans Cost per CartonCost per canRecurrent per can


    I designed some labels for my beer and printed a few up. They are shown below.

    Anemone BreweryAnemone Brewery
    Anemone BreweryAnemone Brewery

    Copyright © Michael McFadyen 1990 to 2024
    Non-commercial use of an article or photograph is permitted with appropriate URL reference to this site.
    Dive shops, dive operators, publications and government departments cannot use anything without first seeking and receiving approval from Michael McFadyen.
    This web site has been wholly thought up, designed, constructed and funded for almost 30 years by Michael McFadyen without any help from the Australian Dive Industry.
    Website created 1996!