Tasting notes: HIx Beers (Vic)

From Hickinbotham of Dromana

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Hickinbotham of Dromana

Hickinbotham of Dromana

Andrew Hickinbotham of Hickinbotham of Dromana, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria
Hickinbotham of Dromana, Mornington Peninsula, Victoria


There are a number of winemakers around the country who also turn their hand to brewing craft beer and doing so very successfully.

Amongst the winery workings at Hickinbotham of Dromana is a working brewery, brewing up a range of beers sold entirely through the restaurant and cellar door.

Andrew Hickinbotham prepared these tasting notes to whet your amber appetite. 


Hix pilsner

Our pilsner is made to the German purity law, using only the four essential ingredients, malted barley, hops, water and yeast, no other additives are used. The types of malted barley used are pilsner malt, cara-malt, and acidulated malt all of which are German from the maltster called Best.

The hop used is Australian grown German Hallertau, otherwise known as Southern Hallertau, it is used at the 60min and the last 5 min of the boil for both bitterness and flavour.

Water used is filtered tank water which is very soft which enables us to add brewing salts to the water to recreate the famous brewing water profiles from around the world.

Yeast used is the famous German strain developed in famous brewery Weihenstephaner W34/70.

Brewing method: the Pilsner is brewed using the modern day single infusion mashing method. The mash takes place at 66oC for 1.5 hours, then run into the boiler, and boiled for 1.5 hours producing hot wort. The wort is passed through the heat exchanger to reduce the temperature from 100oC to 14oCin a single pass.

Once the wort is racked off the grain into the fermenter and the liquid aerated, the yeast is pitched. When the yeast begins to ferment the sugars, the temperature is further reduced to 8-10oC for two weeks.

At the end of the fermentation process the beer is lagered (stored in the cold) for a month allowing the yeast and protein to settle out until the liquid is crystal clear.

A second racking takes place and the beer is kegged or bottled with a small amount of sugar to allow for natural carbonation on its fermentation which takes a month. On pouring the beer you will notice a small amount of yeast at the end of the bottle.

Alc/vol: 5.7%


Hix Pale Ale

This is the fastest growing beer style in the world, made once again using only the four ingredients:

  • The malted barley comes from Germany, UK and the USA.
  • Pale malt is Simpson’s “Golden Promise” is a Scottish spring malt to give a beautiful clean malty character.
  • Crystal light malt from Best Maltster in Germany imparts the colour and flavour to help support the aggressive hop character of this beer,
  • and finally a small percentage of Briess Victory malt to add richness.

Hops give the beer the traditional pungent citrus notes. Currently we use Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe, Citron and Galaxy (an Australian hop which is gaining in popularity in the industry).

Yeast: US05 or WYeast strain of 1056, which produces a clean tasting ale without too many fruity esters allowing the other ingredients to shine through.

Brewing method: single infusion mash at 660C for 1.5hours, boil for 1.5 hours with hops added at 60 mins, 5 mins and in the soak while the wort is being racked into the fermenter. This retains the delicate oils and fine aromas of the hops and reduces their vaporization.
Ferment is for 1 week and then lagered for 2 weeks.

The ale is then racked into keg or bottle, with fresh yeast and malt sugar to bottle condition for one month.

Carefully decant off yeast as you pour.

Alc/vol: 5%

Hix Brown Ale

A style that is gaining momentum and public acceptance particularly in the cooler months with this American/English hybrid beer exhibiting luscious chocolate and citrus hops.

Malted barley is Golden Promise pale malt, Simpson’s “Dark Crystal” and “Chocolate”, Bairds Crystal, Joe White Chocolate malt and Australian Joe White modified wheat malt.

Hops: similar to those selected for the Pale Ale, American citrus hops, Cascade, Centennial, Simcoe, Citron and Australian Galaxy. They are introduced at the start of the boil (60mins) 5 mins from the end for flavour and in the soak (at the end of the boil) for aroma.

Brewing method: mashing is carried out at 67.5oC which leaves the finished beer with substantial sweetness and mouthfeel as well as flavour.
Boiling is carried out for 1.5 hours with three hop additions designed to balance out the big malt profile of the beer.

Fermentation goes for 1 week and the beer is lagered for 3 weeks, then bottle and keg conditioned for a further 3 weeks.

Alc/vol: 4.3%


Hix Irish Stout

The base malt of this beer is Australian Joe White Pale Ale malt, Simpson’s “Dark Crystal”, “Chocolate”, and “Roasted Barley malts.” A dark rich beer with a loyal following.

Hops used are Warrior hops a high Alpha acid hop which gives a clean bitterness with minimal hop debris. They are only used at the beginning of the boil for bitterness not for flavour or aroma, to accentuate the big roasty malt flavour of the beer.

Water: profile is very important for a stout as it is for every beer, but even more so for stout. Due to all its coloured malts it tends to be very acidic in grain structure so it needs very alkaline water for mashing the grain to bring the pH of the mash to within 5.2-5.4.

It also helps with producing a beer less acid and burnt in flavour and making it more rounded and gentle on the mouth feel. Calcium carbonate is used for this.

Yeast: as for the other ales US05 is used in ferment but London 1318 yeast is used for bottle conditioning.

Brewing method: mashing at 67.5oC for 1.5 hours, boiling for 1.5 hours with one hop addition for 60 mins.

Fermentation is carried out for 1 week and lagered for 3 weeks, then racked and naturally refermented in bottle and keg for 1 month.

Alc/vol: 4.3%


  • Mornington Peninsula (VIC)

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November 12th, 2012
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