This is a repeat of a beer I made a few years ago when I first discovered the hop “moteuka”…someone please tell me how to pronounce that name properly.  This is a fun beer for a few reasons. First, I don’t know of many beers that use this hop, there are a few lagers out there that claim to use this hop but not many, and I think it is an under utilized hop in general. Second, this is sort of my kicking off point to using different and exciting malts. For example, in this beer I’m using aromatic malt. I know in the past I’ve used Special B (I love that malt) and rye but the majority of beers I’ve been brewing for this blog have had pretty boring grain bills. I hope to correct this in the coming year by really pushing myself into new grains. So what is aromatic malt and when should it be used?

This is where I get into trouble and make a mistake. There is some debate about potential differences between “aromatic” malt and “melanoidin” malt. In order to make sure that they are in fact different, I picked up a bag of each (different maltsters). By visual inspection, the aromatic malt I picked up was lighter in color than the melanoidin malt, but not by a lot. The taste of the two were different to be as well (always eat your specialty malts). The overall effect on a wort / beer might be the same but just different intensities. Overall, this malt will darken a beer somewhat and add a nice malty aroma to the overall beer. It isn’t biscuit, more like a Munich malt. I now have a pound of melanoidin malt so I’ll brew a beer with that for comparison sake.

Moteuka hops are a child hybrid of the New Zealand Saazer hop. It can be used for bittering or for aroma, it typically gives a beer a “noble hop” style aroma, popular in lager styles. In my hands, this hop is noble hop-like but with a touch more citrus in the nose and taste. I dry hopped this beer with the Moteuka and did a late additions of the hop to keep the bitterness under control. I’ll see how this turns out.

Batch # 2014.25

5 Gallon Batch
Brew date: October 25th, 2014
Bottling date: November 18th, 2014
OG: 1.045
FG: 1.012
ABV:  4.3% (estimated)
SRM:   7 (estimated)
IBU: 35 (estimated)


8 pounds Pilsen
1 pound aromatic malt
1 pound wheat malt

Mash Conditions:

Grains were mashed in 4 gallons of 152 F water with a pH stabilizer added (pH 5.2). Sparge was done with about 5 gallons of water, vorlauf was done on both the sparge and the mash. Almost 9 gallons was collected.

Brewing Procedure:

Beer was brought to a boil quickly and held there for about 70 minutes. I ended up with about 6 gallons of wort. So I over shot volume (for once). Wort was drained via side port into a waiting fermenter. Notes on the fermenter in the “Fermentation Conditions” section below.

Hop Schedule:

2 ounces Moteuka at 15 minutes
2 ounces Moteuka at 1 minute

There is some inattentive drama concerning the hops. I added the hops but was in the middle of mowing the lawn and playing with the boy, I came back and the pot had over flowed and there were some hops in the driveway and on the outside of the pot. I calmed things down but who knows how many of the first addition ended up going overboard. Probably not very many though.

Fermentation Conditions:

Fermenter holding the 20% Rye Chinook Saison was drained, 2/3 of yeast cake was transferred that the kettle was drained directly into the fermenter, fermentation started about 4 hours later. Over pitch? Maybe but I was in a hurry.


The gravity was a little low on this beer but that is due to overshooting the volume by more than a gallon, I really need to make myself an instrument to measure it. I’ve been pretty bad about that. This beer is headed to bottles and may or may not get dry hopped. I haven’t decided at the time of the brewing.

Follow up note, I did not dry hop this beer and I’m happy with that decision.

Tasting Notes:


Moteuka Abbey Ale
Moteuka Abbey Ale

Beer served in a tulip glass. Beer is amber and hazy, nicely carbonated. Good white head, small to medium bubbles, decent retention, nice lacing on the glass.

Aroma is hoppy, earthy, malty, sweet. It is a little grassy and there is an odd yeasty aroma to this beer.

Flavor is a little off. There is a harshness to this beer that I don’t appreciate. It is a little rough around the edges. The hops are too in your face, they are too grassy, too strong. There is this yeast bite on the palate as well and an almost stale flavor, perhaps from the malt, in there.

I’ve had a couple of these beers now and they are not my favorite, but they do make me want to make this beer again. It isn’t a bad beer, I’m sure plenty of people would like this but this isn’t my favorite, not by a long shot.

Possible improvements (for future batches):

Well this is a miss in my book. I’ve made similar beers on three separate occasions, using the same malt and hops but this one didn’t do it for me. I’m definitely going to make it again. I think I’ll use the melanoidin malt I have but back it off to about 5% of the total grist and drop the late addition moteuka hop. Just keep the addition at 10 or 15 minutes out. I think the makings of a great beer are here, just not right now. I’ll rebrew the replacement this week. I think I might change my water filter first though. I will also not overpitch the yeast cake, I will return to my washing, repitching. Some of the harsh flavors could have come from the yeast cake or any left over chinook hops that was there from dry hopping of the 20% rye chinook saison. Laziness in process never results in anything good.

Upcoming brews:

The day after I brewed this beer I brewed a Wakatu saison…that is also in bottles, write up on that really soon. There is another Galaxy saison coming up and the Russian Imperial Stout will come out of the barrel pretty soon for bottle conditioning. That should be fun to finally taste. I’ve brewed the last of the experimental hop saisons I’m going to brew for the year, so we have that to look forward to as well. I made a saison with Mandarina Bavaria hops that is carbing up in the keg as well as the last in my series of experimental hop beers, ADHA871. All of those posts up before the end of the year hopefully.

My hot sauces fermented with Lactobacillus brevis are done now and I’m finishing the write up on them, that’s a long time coming so I’m excited to finally get something in the blog about those.


“Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” -Ernest Hemmingway


4 thoughts on “Recipe #28: Moteuka Abbey Ale (Batch #25.2014)

  1. Might be a bit late for this…

    Motueka is obviously Māori. As such the vowels are pronounced slightly differently to English.

    This obviously helps with all of the NZ hops, which run a variety of Māori names, often hop district place names.

    Motueka (Motuweka). My Māori wife would pronouce it differently to the Pakeha style as performed beautifully, with a Wellingtonian twang, from Paul @time4another.

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