Tuesday 20 July 2021

All Inn Brewing Co - Blind Axeman Amber Ale Fresh Wort Kit (FWK) Review

Due to time contraints giving me limited time for a full all-grain brew - I decided to try my hand at a fresh wort kit (FWK).

One of the common kits that I've seen available online and in home brew shops are the ones made by All Inn Brewing Company - located in Banyo, Queensland. After making several lighter coloured beers - ie. pale ales, I figured it was time for something different - albeit a little darker and with more of an emphasis on malt flavour instead of hops. A bit of research quickly lead me to the "Blind Axeman" amber ale - perfect.

What is a Fresh Wort Kit (FWK)?

For those who don't know - a fresh wort kit is essentially an "unfermented" beer kit - also known as "wort". Wort is what is created by mixing malt/grains with water at particular temperature(s) to extract the sugars from them. The wort is then fermented with yeast that consume the sugar and convert it to alcohol. Creating the wort from scratch is a very time consuming process and is what takes up basically all the time during a brew day - with a mash (typically 60 minutes) followed by a boil (also typically 60 minutes). A fresh wort kit has already done all of this, so you literally pour the FWK into your fermenter, top it up with some water and then pitch your yeast. Easy, right?

Be Careful when Opening/Pouring the FWK

A warning for anyone attempting one of these in the future not to make the same mistake as I did. Releasing the seal on the plug from the FWK to pour the wort into the fermenter can be quite tricky - a fair amount of force was required to release it. And when I eventually did release it, the wort came out FAST, leading to quite a bit of spillage on my garage floor. Next time I do it I'll have the FWK sitting upright so the spout is pointing directly up to hopefully avoid this in the future. I found it a little tricky handling 15L of wort in a box on my own - a second pair of hands would certainly help - and I'll be doing it on the lawn so I don't have to mop up any future spillages.

Topping up with water

After pouring the 15L FWK into the fermenter, I then topped it up with 5L of water as per the recommendations for this kit. This is optional and not adding the water will result in less beer, but with more flavour/alcohol. For me, a 20L batch is perfect to fit in one of my 19L corny kegs.
I decided to use a 5L spring water bottle to eliminate the possible of any off flavours from plain old tap water - although I'm sure others have used regular tap water without any problems.

Pitching Yeast

I opted to use a new yeast that I hadn't used before for this batch - Lallemand BRY-97. This is one of the recommended yeasts from All Inn Brewing Co for this particular FWK. It's a fairly neutral flavoured yeast which will be perfect for this style to allow the malt flavours to shine through uninhibited.


Fermentation was slow to kick off - it's currently winter where I live which resulted in the wort being at a cooler 17C when the yeast was added to the fermenter. The temperature dropped to 15C over the next 36 hours, after which the temperature slowly started to rise as fermentation began. The recommended temperature for the yeast is 15-20C so being at the lower end of this range meant things were a little slow to start.
Once fermentation was underway though, things moved quite quickly. Even with a 36 hour lag time, the fermentation was still done after 4-5 days - I then left it for another day to condition before cold crashing for 72 hours and then transferring to my keg.

Dry Hopping

All Inn Brewing Co suggest you can dry hop this beer with 25g of Warrior hops, however I decided not to worry about it for this beer.

Is it any good (review)?

In a word, yes. I must admit I feel a little lazy making a beer this way - I certainly haven't gotten the same amount of satisfaction when drinking it, when compared to something I've brewed entirely myself. But in terms of convenience and value for money, this FWK is great. 

Blind Axeman Amber Ale by All Inn Brewing

The beer itself as the name suggests, is a dark amber colour. When I first tasted it it reminded me of a 50/50 - which is a 50/50 split of Tooheys New and Tooheys Old - which isn't a bad thing at all.

Taste and mouthfeel are great - and no doubt water chemistry has been taken care of when the wort was created which certainly helps improve the quality of these kits.

So if you're time poor and have run out of home brewed beer to drink, I'd certainly recommend giving one of these FWK's a go - I'll certainly be brewing another one in the future.

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