Grog Blog – Plum Cider: The Execution

The plan looked nice and simple. A little too simple.

I started to do some extra reading and discussed it a bit with some people who know lots of things about this kind of stuff. I started to notice that pectinase was getting mentioned. A lot.
For those playing at home: Pectinase is an enzyme that breaks down pectin. Pectin is a polysaccharide (big sugar) that is undigested naturally by yeast. There is also a lot of pectin in sour plums. I was using sour plums.
It was becoming pretty obvious that I was going to need some to achieve my goal of crystal clear plum cider.

Then came the roadblocks when looking around for some ready before the pressing day.
It was only a couple of days before Christmas and online suppliers were not going to be able to get any to me in time.
My local home brew store was able to order me some and it would arrive in time, but it would have to be in bulk and not the tiny portion I actually needed. I wasn’t keen buying a scale of magnitude more than what I needed, so I had to pass on that.
I contacted anyone I knew working in a winery or a brewery that has done cider and they were either all out or not around on the holidays so I was left with no choice but to go without.

It couldn’t be that important. Right? So my cider would just be a bit cloudier than I originally wanted. That’s not a deal breaker.

So I gathered up everything that wasn’t pectinase and got to work.

The plums were pitted and fed into the sausage mincer.
The minced plum was wrapped up and put in the cider press.
The cider press was wound down and the plum mince was compressed.

No juice came out. This wasn’t like juicing apples at all.

It turns out that the juice was bound pretty well in the minced plum flesh.

This was an eleventh hour problem. I was out of help options. I had one choice.

All of the pulp in the mincer was scraped out into a fermenter and all further minced plums went in with it. Along with a helpful dosing of potassium metabisulphite. What could go wrong?

Grog Blog – Plum Cider: The Plan

What am I doing?

I am making some delicious, crystal clear, sparkling plum cider.

Why am I doing it?

I don’t remember ever having Plum Cider, so why not make some?
Plus, I don’t make much cider. The stuff I do make is nearly always apple cider and it is nearly always working with other people and not as a solo effort.

What am  I making it with?

There is a Chinese Plum tree in my yard that produces a modest amount of fruit each year. Sometimes I get to harvest those fruit before the hoards of birds and bats consume them all.
Last year was one of the years that I managed to get a harvest in.

I ended up with about six shopping bags of fruit and a desire to make something from them.

I picked up some cider yeast and borrowed a sausage mincer and cider press. My old glass fermenters were pulled out of storage for their first use and I began wistfully looking at my calendar for a free afternoon.

How am I making it?

The outline was simple (long, but simple):

  1. Remove the pits from the fruit.
  2. Put the flesh through the sausage mincer.
  3. Put the mince in the cider press and make some delicious plum juice in a plastic fermenter.
  4. Maybe dilute the juice down a bit.
  5. Add some potassium metabisulfite (precaution after the great lemonade explosion of 2017).
  6. Wait two days.
  7. Pitch some yeast.
  8. Primary ferment until completion.
  9. Crash chill.
  10. Transfer into glass fermenters (with some more K-meta).
  11. Wait 50 days.
  12. Rack into another glass fermenter (with more K-meta).
  13. Wait another 50 days.
  14. Rack into another glass fermenter (with even more K-meta).
  15. Wait ANOTHER 50 days.
  16. Package it.
  17. Drink some delicious, crystal clear, sparkling plum cider in the sun shine.

When am I doing it?

It is already underway. Step 14 of this initial plan has already happened. And so many things have gone different to plan. Stay tuned for what the hell happened.

Grog Blog – The Author

Hi. I’m Tyrone.

I am a founder and the current President of the Grog Cobras.

I thought I would run a small blog series on this site. Partly to generate some content and partly to provide a creative outlet via writing which has sat dormant for way too long.

I have been home brewing for quite a few years. I started making kit beers in the kitchen with my dad in my late teens and eventually moved on to acquiring my own equipment and setting out on my own.
It took me a while to step out from the safety of kit brewing but once I did I never looked back.

Since stepping up my brewing game I have managed to move into brewing professionally, which has been an incredibly rewarding decision.

I tend to spend way more time than necessary refining recipes and tinkering with the never ending home brewery build slowly taking up my entire workshop.

That being said, in the coming posts I hope to share with you some of the activity going on when I’m brewing out back.

Oktoberfest wrap up

The final major event for the year is done & dusted.

The weather was fantastic as was the crowd, food & beer.

We had 8 beers along for tasting ranging from a Strawberry & Lemon Stout to a Lime & Papya IPA, but the crowd favourite by far was the Cranberry & Blueberry Wheat which saw Joel S & Joel R take the (joint) crown as the latest club champions.

Oktoberfest update

The third annual Grog Cobras Oktoberfest is this weekend.

There is also a last minute location change. Chris M is no longer able to host so we will be moving a few blocks over to Tyrone M’s home. Other than that, all is the same.

Oktoberfest incoming

Winter is coming gone, Oktoberfest 2017 is nearly here.

The Grog Cobras are gearing up to bring you the third annual Oktoberfest celebration.
It’s nearly time to join our Germanic brethren, don some stylish leather shorts and enjoy some hand crafted beers and delicious smoked pig.

On October 28th Chris M’s home will once again transform into the hub for food, friends and frothy beverages.
For just $15 you can purchase a perfect pulled pork poboy and there may just be a home brew or two to wash it down.

Taco Fest wrap up

The food

Chris M put on a (yet another) tasty spread of food.
The pulled pork wraps (with crackling) were only enhanced by his new range of home made chilli sauces. The crowd in attendance was routinely heading back to the kitchen for seconds (and even thirds).

The beers

We saw possibly our strongest display of competition beers for the <3.5% ABV theme.

In the end Chris T’s Chocolate Mocha Porter beat out Jimbo G’s prickly pear cider, making Chris T our new club champion.

Taco Festa 2017

Taco Festa is back!


Chris M has stepped up to the plate for a second time after hosting last year’s inaugural fund raiser. The food will be flowing from his garden and kitchen to feed the hungry masses.


The Grog Cobras will also be hosting the next round of their competition series on the night and the event attendees get to be the judges. The club will have entries for the under 3.5% ABV competition ready for tasting on the night.


Great Australian Beer Festival home brew competition standings

Final winners

Champion home brewer

Grant Smith


Champion Lager

Dominic Tyley-Miller (126)

Champion Wheat Beer

John Fraser (121)

Champion Pale Ale

Timothy Ivan Ward (102)

Champion IPA

Grant Smith (127)

Champion Dark Beer

Timothy Ivan Ward (112.5)

Champion Specialty Beer

Deon Smit (107)


Final runners-ups


2nd          Jordan Elwell (96)
3rd           John Fraser (93)

Wheat Beer

2nd          Dominic Tyley-Miller (111)
2nd          Adrian de Leiros (111)

Pale Ale

2nd          Sam Harvey (97)
3rd           Dominic Tyley Miller (84)


2nd          Scott Hunt (123)
3rd           Adam C North
4th           Aaron Whitehand

Dark Beer

2nd          James Rimmer (112)
3rd           John Fraser (73)

Specialty Beer

2nd          Dominic Tyley-Miller (98)
3rd           Roddy Nash (96)


Non-finalist placings


Wheat Beer

4th           Sam Harvey (119)
5th           Timothy Ivan Ward (100.5)
6th           Gerald Gierer (96)
7th           James Rimmer (73.5)

Pale Ale

4th           Dean Pierce (95.25)
5th           Robert Green (92.5)
6th           Grant Smith (91.5)
7th           Aaron Whitehand (90.75)
8th           Damien Mark Carroll (87.75)
9th           Grant Cadwallander (78)
10th         John Fraser (75.75)
11th         Sean Keneally (53.25)


5th           Damien Mark Carroll (115)
6th           Sam Harvey (107)
7th           Dan Koorey (105)
8th           Dominic Tyley-Miller (100)
9th           Adrian de Leiros (91)
10th         Deon Smit (85.5)
11th         John Fraser (70)
12th         Sean Keneally (31)

Dark Beer

4th           Aaron Whitehand (100.5)
5th           Clayton Morrison (99)


Specialty Beer

4th            Sean Keneally (126)
5th            Grant Smith (117)
6th            James Rimmer (115.5)
7th            Damien Mark Carroll (110.25)
8th            Clayton Morrison (107.25)
9th            Grant Cadwallander (96.75)
10th          Leon Douglass (94.5)
11th          Adrian de Leiros (82.5)
12th          John Fraser (78)

Please note that the beers were judged in two rounds. In the first round the beers were judged and the top three beers in each category were selected to proceed to the final round.

In the final round the beers were judged to a stricter criteria by a panel of three brewery professionals. The scores reported for the finalists are for the second round of judging. This may have resulted in a finalist having a lower score than a non-finalist. All finalists have placed higher than non-finalists regardless of score.

GABF home brewing competition winners

Hi everyone.

Full results will be up tomorrow.

For now, the winners address are…

Best Lager:
Dominic Tyley-Miller

Best Wheat:
John Fraser

Best Pale Ale:
Timothy Ivan Ward

Best IPA:
Grant Smith

Best Dark:
Timothy Ivan Ward

Best Specialty:
Deon Smit

Champion Home Brewer:
Grant Smith

Congratulations guys. Well deserved.