About Me


My name is Dene McDonald, I live in Dunedin New Zealand, and I work in the Information Industry. I have an interest in all things digital, tinker with coding and my language of choice is Python. I also like collection match worn Rugby jerseys, support Otago, the Highlanders and the All Blacks.

I’ve been brewing since 2010, and enjoy making a range of styles by my favourite is a good session Porter – my favourite commercial beer is Emerson’s London Porter. For a short while I owned and operated a small homebrew shop in Dunedin, Brewphoria. I didn’t have enough time to dedicate to it and sold it (it was later rebranded and then closed).

Brewing System
RobobrewI brew on a Robobrew 3.0 35 litre all in one system which I purchased from League of Brewers in New Zealand. I have previously brewed on a 3 vessel system and now that I have kids I needed a compact system, and one that meant a shorter brew day.

As the Robobrew is a pretty well designed and solid machine I have very few upgrades, and with the only 2 being the Grainfather Overflow Filter to grain bits during the mash, and the Robobrew Whirlpool Arm which is excellent. I’ve previously tried a Mangrove Jack’s Hop Spider but I found this unnecessary due to the Robobrew false bottom. I buy my grain as I need it so don’t have a grain mill.

Filling my keg from the Robobrew
I operate a single fridge with a Inkbird ITC-308 WiFi model and a Mangrove Jacks heatpad, and use run of the mill Ampi style plastic fermenters. It’s a pretty basic setup but it provides good results. I also sometimes use my kegerator as a fermenter as well. I would love to add a digital hydrometer like a Tilt, but due to the cost it’s hard to justify.

My general process is to ferment in primary only, initially for 12 days, and then cold crash and use gelatin for two days for clarity.

I’ve converted an old 70s Fisher and Paykel fridge into a kegerator by adding a Krome Dispense Two Tap Tower. My planned upgrades are to use push fit fittings to make everything easier for cleaning, and I’d like to use a chest freezer instead of an upright fridge.