GABS Brewer 2014: Neal Cameron from The Australian Brewery in Rouse Hill, NSW
What beer are you making for GABS?
We are making Australia’s first Sake Beer. We are doing this as a collaboration with Go-Shu sake brewery based in Penrith. Trials are still underway, however the process so far is looking as follows. To start the sake brewing process, they take Australian rice and carefully steam it to breakdown the starches but retain the structure of the rice. They then mix the rice with a fungus called Koji which excretes enzymes similar to those in barley during the mashing process which breaks the starches down into component sugars. This occurs over 48 hours at elevated temperature. We are taking this “Koji” or malted rice and using it 50 per cent with barley in our mash. The brewing process then proceeds as normal with the intention to create a pilsner style sake beer. We will ferment the Koji/barley wort with a pilsner yeast until complete and then add sake yeast to take the fermentation further and make a much drier beer. We’re using mainly Nelson Sauvin hops to add the expected wine-like sake characters. What is most interesting is the effect of the elevated levels of umami found in Koji rice. The trials thus far have a marked savoury almost mushroomy character that should pair brilliantly with savoury foods.
Does it have a name yet?
We think “Koji”
Where did the inspiration come from?
We are about to distribute in Japan with Go-Shu sake’s parent company, Konishi – we have got to know the local sake brewers well and it didn’t take long before we all just wanted to know what a sake beer would taste like.
Do you think it’ll be a one-off or are you considering adding it to the range after GABS?
Between ourselves, Go-Shu and Konishi, I’m pretty sure this will be an ongoing product – we’re putting it in cans too.
What do you think of the concept of GABS?
I adore everything about it. The craziness, the inventiveness, the pleasant rivalry and the astonishing level of organisation. Only the morning after lets it all down.
The Great Australasian Beer Spectapular (aka GABS) is on in Melbourne on May 23-25, 2014.