Unterbad - Celebrating Science, Beer and Experimentation!
One of my more popular brews even if it stretches the definition of lager a bit - or perhaps because it does.
The fresh citra hops convey a bright citrus aroma while the juniper berries enhance the bitterness with a botanical bite, creating the ultimate Gin & Tonic, in lager form.
Citra is added at the end of the boil to give the beer a bright lemony aroma, and juniper berries are added to the mash to extract the distinctive dry herbacious flavours.
Brewed in the winter months to take advantage of the colder weather, this beer spreads a few days at 15°C before dropping down to below 5°C to lager for a month.
Brewed in honor of a man who needs no introduction, Einstein Lager is both a play on words, a cheeky nod to New Zealand's own Steinlager and a genuine tribute to his Germanic heritage with the addition of juniper berries.
Einstein Lager 5.5% ABV
a lager brewed with munich malt, citra hops, juniper berries & science
I think I'm really starting to get this brew nailed down and it is turning out great. The only thing I really want to do next is amp up the juniper a little.
Why brew with peppercorns? Why not! I love the sharp aroma of freshly cracked pepper, the firecracker bite on your tongue and wanted to capture that in a beer.
The earthy spice of the tomahawk hops blends with the darker malt to build a smokey profile, ready for the peppery salvo.
Whole peppercorns are freshly cracked and thrown in to the boil at the end, along with the hops, to maximize the aroma without adding to much bitterness. The beer is then fermented a little warmer to give the yeast a fighting chance against the black pepper onslaught.
Brewed in tribute to the one and only Rare Admiral "Amazing" Grace Hopper - a legendary woman who not only lead the team that created the first computer language compiler, but she also encouraged countless generations of young programmers to get out there and just try it, because "If it's a good idea, go ahead and do it. It is much easier to apologize than it is to get permission."
Oh and did I also mention she was also a US Navy Rare Admiral?
Grace Hopper IPA 6.0% ABV
an IPA brewed with tomahawk hops, green peppercorns, munich malt, dark malt & science
This has been bottled for a few months now and the flavors are still developing, but it is just not as hoppy as I was hoping for. Some more tweeking is needed i think.
“If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” ― Carl Sagan
Well I'm not going to go that far but this is my attempt at making an apple pie flavored beer - which might be almost as difficult.
A generous dose of crystal malt is the best place to start however, as it gives this brew a nice biscuity, caramel aroma as well as some doughy sweetness. Whole raspberries are then added to the boil to give the beer a touch of colour and a more rounded flavour. A late hop addition of amarillo adds fruity notes without adding too much bitterness and apple juice is added at the very end to add the apple aroma and a dash of sour bite to the brew.
And of course not apple pie would be complete without a touch of spice, so cinnamon is added during secondary fermentation.
This is my winter warmer brew, to be shared with friends and family on this little blue dot, on cold evenings while watching Cosmos or when reading by a candle in the dark.
To you, Carl.
Sagan Apple Ale 6.5% ABV
a fruit ale brewed with amarillo hops, cinnamon, crystal malt, raspberries, apples & science
I'm going to try carbonating with apple juice next time around, this should help lock in the apple aroma that has been sadly missing from the last couple of brews.
Some may argue that Adam Savage is hardly a great scientist. I would argue that few people have done more to promote science, critical thinking and above all, making, to people young and old all over the world. Adam is an avid maker: he’s a builder and a tinkerer and a creator. He challenges others to get out there and create something that doesn’t exist yet, to research and problem solve and most importantly, to learn from your mistakes and just keep making.
"In the spirit of science, there really is no such thing as a "failed experiment". Any test that yields valid data is a valid test." - Adam Savage
More than any other of my brews this one was directly inspired by Adam. As I’ve taught myself to brew there has been a lot of research, problem solving and failure. But most importantly there has also be a lot of learning and even some success, and a lot of that can be directly attributed to being inspired by Adam to keep working on projects and keep problem solving and to keep making.
In tribute to Adam and the maker culture this beer is brewed with hops I grew myself and with yeast I cultured from my previous brews. And since Adam is not a big drinker himself, I’ve kept the alcohol level low so you can still enjoy a beer while working on your next project.
Savage Session IPA 3.5%
a low alcohol IPA brewed with munich malt, homegrown hops & science
The latest batch turned out pretty good but it was left on the hops for too long and has picked up some grassy notes. I'll aim for a shorter primary fermentation step next time with lots of dry hopping while the yeast are active.
If there ever was a stereotypical genius mad scientist then Fritz Zwicky was that man.
This beer has a much more subdued character than Fritz himself, but I can imagine this brew might remind him of growing up in Switzerland. This is a kellerbier, a tradition rustic farmers beer, typically served straight from a wooden barrel. To capture that flavor I’ve added some rye to the malt bill for a little grainy spice and the beer is then fermented on oak chips to give it a woody background. And in honor of the great astronomy himself galaxy hops are added to give a bitter citrus taste and passionfruit aroma – which might not exactly follow the style guides for a kellerbeir, but then Zwicky had a style all of his own.
Zwicky was a tinkerer and an eccentric thinker. One night while working at the Mount Wilson observatory he was annoyed by the atmosphere turbulence blurring his images, so he asked his assistant to fire a gun in the same direction as the telescope and try to smooth out the night sky. It didn’t work, but it was that kind of thinking that lead to the laser based adaptive optics that we use today. He even created the first ever artificial meteors by intentionally detonating rockets at high altitudes and sending pellets of metal screaming through the atmosphere. It’s thought that one of these pellets may have actually escaped earth’s gravitational pull entirely!
He’s credited with discovering supernova, neutron stars, gravitational lensing and dark matter – although most of his discoveries were usually ignored because he was also a crazy old bastard who had a habit of annoying the wrong people. While that may be true, he was also a great humanitarian and after the Second World War he worked with others to help establish war orphan villages and to collect and distribute scientific books to the war ravaged libraries all over the world .
Fritz Zwicky Zwickel 4.5% ABV
an oak aged lager brewed with rye malt, galaxy hops & science
This one turned out a lot more woody than the last one so the oak aging process needs some work.
Sour beers can be a little tough to swallow for new comers to the style, so this brew plays up the raspberry and tones down the sour for a mellow, fruity experience. But to make sure things don't get too boring it is also fermented with Brettanomyces so the flavors and aromas really develop over time.
Most of the grain bill is pale malt, but with a dash of wheat to add a bit more depth and character. An overly generous amount of raspberries are then added to the boil, imparting more fermentable sugars, aroma and tartness, and of course their rosy colour. Ella hops, my personal favorite are added at the end of the boil to added another layer of tropical and berry aroma. Fermentation is then achieved with a secret blend of different bacterial and yeast strains - so secret in fact that I am no longer sure exactly what is in there, other than Brettanomyces, there is no mistaking that brett bouquet.
Brewed in tribute to the legendary Pythagoras, the genius mathematician, musician and astrologer, an avid traveler, teacher and diplomat. It is also said that he glowed from within, had lived many lives and could be in several different places at once - so he was obviously also a Time Lord.
Pythago Raspberry 5.5% ABV
a sour beer brewed with ella hops, raspberries, wheat & science
I'll be splitting this next batch up and aging them separately. One part will go in to an old wooden barrel while the rest will be more cleanly fermented with some different bacterial and yeast strains - then I'll just leave them alone for a few months and see what happens.
A spicy, dry, refreshing brew with citrus notes and a lively character.
Saisons are a varied bunch, but one thing that unites them all is that they bring their yeast to the front and really let it shine. This brew is no different, using a lighter malt bill to give a clean dry profile with a touch of rye to add a little spice. Southern Cross hops are added both early and late in the boil to give the beer a mild bitterness and notes of lemon, pine and spice. Finally lemon and orange rind are added at the very end to really bring out a clean citrus character.
But the yeast is the real star here bringing out some more citrus and fruity aromas as well as peppery esters and bright carbonation. This beer is also fermented a little warmer than normal to give the yeast more freedom to thrive and really develop the character of this brew.
Brewed as a tribute to Annie Jump Cannon, the astronomer whose work was instrumental in the development of the stellar classification system used today. She also manually classified over 300,000 stars, greatly contributing to the understanding of stellar evolution and to the ultimate fate of our own solar system (Spoiler: it doesn’t end well.) She was also a pioneer for equality in science, helping woman gain the acceptance and respect they deserve within the scientific community.
She even has a crater on the moon named after her.
Jump Cannon Saison 5.5% ABV
a saison brewed with southern cross hops, cirtus rind, rye malt & science
The longer this brew matures the better it gets! So I should really brew again soon, but I need to hammer out a few details first because the latest brew has some serious gushing issues, not to mention is cloudier than a New Zealand winter.
As dark as a moonless night but bursting with galactic flavour. This is a warming brew to be enjoyed on a cold night while out star gazing. Dark roasted malts blend with creamy milk sugar to produce a rich full-bodied background and heady galaxy hops provide a pungent passion-fruit aroma. Then underscoring it all is the velvety vanilla.
The milky way, our home galaxy, is named after the milky band of light seen in the night sky, and the word galaxy comes from the Greek word for milk, so it seemed only fitting to brew this milk stout in tribute to Edwin Hubble. He was the first to discover the universe is teaming with other galaxies, and his work lead to the discovery that the universe actually still expanding.
Sixty years after his ground breaking research changed the field of astronomy another mind blowing discovery was made. Astronomers using his namesake, the Hubble telescope, discovered that not only is the universe expanding, but that this expansion is actually accelerating - all those beautiful galaxies that Hubble discovered are actually flying away from us faster and faster every day, so we had better enjoy them well we can!
Something to think about while sipping on this galactic brew.
Hubble Milk Stout 6.5% ABV
a milk stout brewed with vanilla beans, dark malt, galaxy hops and science
I'm actually really happy with how the latest batched turn out, so I probably wont change too much, other than to tone down the lactose a little.
A tribute to facial hair or a scientifically themed expletive – either way this brew is out to grab your attention.
A wit is a Belgian style of wheat beer which is a little spicier, sweeter and more citrusy than the warmly aromatic German weissbier – and this beer borrows a little from both, using traditional Belgium ingredients like coriander and orange peel and blends them with a Bavarian yeast strain to create soft vanilla and banana aromas on top of the spiced orange flavor. Oats are added to the wheat and pale malt mash to give a smooth soft body, and citra hops are only added at the end to impart their lemony aroma without adding too much bitterness. The result? A creamy fruit salad breakfast beer – the perfect start to a full day of science.
Brewed in tribute to Charles Darwin and his ironically iconic beard. The story goes he grew the beard in an effort to disguise himself so that he could attend events without being hounded after the release of his book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection. And now it hard to picture him without it.
His book might be exceedingly dry, exceptionally well researched and a undeniable foundation shaker, but this beer is certainly not – about the only thing this beer has in common is that it has evolved beyond its origins, it’s a new species with links to the past that stands out from the rest, and it’s a recipe that will develop over time.
Darwin's Beard 4.5% ABV
a wheat beer brewed with citra hops, orange peel, coriander & science
I am really happy with how this turned out, but as ever, there are a few things to tweak. Firstly I want to to be a bit paler, so I may need to adapt the malt bill, and secondly I want to up the carbonation, to give a snowy white head, like the man himself.
There is a fine line between a lifesaving medicine and a deadly poison and it’s typically the dose that makes all the difference. This pale ale plays with that idea by keeping the alcohol levels in check but elevates the antiseptic galena hops content. Galena hops are spicy sweet, like a pineapple-pinetree, and galena is also the name for lead ore, which is only mildly toxic, under the right conditions. A healthy mash of robust pale and revitalizing crystal malt make up the backbone of this beer, while a generous spoonful of curative alpine honey is added to the mix to ensure this medicinal brew goes down a treat.
Brewed in tribute to the bombastic Paracelsus, a Swiss physician, philosopher and notable drunkard, who coined the immortal term “the dose makes the poison” and in doing so founded the study of toxicology. A champion of evidence based medicine he abhorred untested theory, disregarded academic titles and worked hard to make medicine understandable to the common people.
For is troubles Paracelsus was drummed out of Switzerland, but his name lives on in hospitals and chemists throughout the country and now also in this beer.
So, what’s your poison?
Para Celsus Pale Ale 4.5% ABV
a pale ale brewed with alpine honey, crystal malt, galena hops & science
This first batch actually turn out pretty good. It is a little too bitter but the nose is fresh cut pineapple, amazing!