Sunday, December 28, 2008

A slightly bigger lager.

Update 1/7/09 - SG at 1.012 already! Wow. That was fast. The sugar, I know. After some discussion on the B3 board, I've decided not to call this a doppelbock anymore. I don't know what it is. Bock? We'll see. I'm going to start lagering as soon as I have an empty keg...hopefully in the next day or so.

Used my brand new grain mill today. Looks like my efficiency in the mash was about 65%. It was the first time I've done a step mash, so I'm not ruling that out because I didn't really know what I was doing, but I'll try for a finer crush on the next batch.

I was going to make one of Papazian's recipes today, but decided that his doppelbock, while it sounds good, was a little lighter than I want. I was going to make the B3 doppelbock, but the shop was OUT of Munich malt. What?

So I'm making a scaled down version of the recipe for Samichlaus found in the BYO clone issue.

--14lbs Ger. Pilsner
--1.5lbs Am. Vienna
--1lb Crystal 75-80L
--1.75lb Turbinado sugar
--1.5oz Glacier 6.0%AA (60min)
--3/8oz Sterling 6.0%AA (15min)
--0.5oz Vanguard 4.4%AA (2min)
--1/4tsp Supermoss (10min)
--WLP838 S. Ger. Lager, trub from Dortmunder Lager
OG: 1.080
FG: 1.013
ABV: 8.8%
IBU: ~25

Mashed in at 0.75qts/lb to 110F. Rest 25min while heating water for next infusion. Added about a gallon of water at 190F, mash raised to 135F for 10min. Added remaining 3 gallons of near-boiling water to reach 158F. Mashed 40min. No mash-out (tun full!). Recirculated until clear, collected 3.5 gallons wort while sparging with 170-180F water (2 gallons). Stirred the mash, recirculated until clear, collected another 3.5 gallons. 90 minute boil. Checked on the beer after 8 hours, healthy kraüsen and a couple bubbles per second! Reusing yeast cakes is the way to go.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


Edit 1/24/09 - Kegged. Waited so long because all my kegs were full. Clogged the racking cane...a few times. Tastes pretty good, though.

Edit 1/7/09 - SG at 1.019 for 6.66%abv, so racked to secondary,...and oaked and dry-hopped. =)
Recipe updated as such. I just used the hops I had on hand. We'll see how it turns out.

Heard it was a good one. Don't mind the busy hop schedule, it's three additions of substitutes for Centennial and Amarillo. Might oak it. First time using dry yeast. I blew up a pyrex pitcher, but there's no glass in the beer and it was bubbling happily this morning.

JZ's Evil Twin (AleSmith Evil Dead Red Clone) click for source
--12lbs Brit. Maris Otter
--1lbs Ger. Munich
--1lb Crystal 40L
--0.5lbs Crystal 120L
--0.5lbs Am. Victory
--0.25lbs Pale Chocolate

--3.5AAU Willamette (20min)
--2.25AAU Cascade (20min)
--3AAU Columbus (20min)

--2.5AAU Willamette (10min)
--5.25AAU Cascade (10min)
--4.5AAU Columbus (10min)
--4.5AAU Vanguard (10min)

--2.5AAU Willamette (0min)
--5.25AAU Cascade (0min)
--4.5AAU Columbus (0min)
--4.5AAU Vanguard (0min)

--1oz Cascade (dry hop)
--1oz Sterling (dry hop)
--2oz Am. Oak chips (secondary)

--1/4tsp Supermoss (10min)
--Safale US-05 dry ale yeast, 62-65F ambient
OG: 1.070
FG: 1.019
ABV: 6.66%
IBU: ~25

Mashed in at 154F, 5 gallons, 60 min. Mashed out to 168F with additional 3.875 gallons (to the absolute top of my mash tun!). Collected 6.75gallons over ~1hr...stuck sparge, backflowed to clear blockage. 90min boil. I used pellet hops and had ~5gallons after the boil, overshooting the OG target of 1.066 by a bit. My efficiency came out to about 65%, I think...estimating from OG and volume change.

Bubbling away next evening ~3/second and thick kraüsen.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lager Cherry


Very excited for my first lager brew, despite recent work-related events. Decided to make things simple and use a single infusion mash.

Slashed Stipend Lager (Dortmunder Export)
--9lbs Ger. Pilsner
--2lbs Ger. Munich
--1lb Crystal 15L
--0.5lbs CaraPils
--1.67oz Sterling 6.0%AA (60min)
--1.67oz Sterling 6.0%AA (10min)
--1.67oz Sterling 6.0%AA (1min)
--1/4tsp Supermoss (10min)
--WLP838 S. Ger. Lager, ~2L starter
OG: 1.052
FG: 1.013 (at time of lagering)
ABV: 5.1%
IBU: 35

Mashed at 152-154F for 60 minutes in 16qts water (~1.3 qts/lbs). Batch-ish sparge: vorlauf and drain - 2.5 gallons collected, add 4 gallons 190F water, let mash rest at 170F for a few minutes, vorlauf and drain - 4 gallons collected. My efficiency suffered a bit, likely due to channeling down the mashtun wall. Oh well, 65%. Roughly 65-70min boil including time waiting for hot break to settle. Dumped the hop pellets right in the kettle today. Collected some particles with a stainless mesh in the funnel on the way to the fermenter. Ended with just over 5.5 gallons in kettle, left ~1/4 gallon behind with hops mess.

Monday, December 8, 2008

I heart SF

Pub crawl in the city this weekend. Hard to beat a beer on the Caltrain at 10:30am.

21st Amendment: 21A - 536 Stout, 21A - Spiced Holiday Ale, delicious Jamaican jerk chicken wings, glazed ribs, cheeseburger
Monk's Kettle: Fuller's London Porter on nitro
Zeitgeist: Bear Republic - Racer 5 IPA, Moonlight - Death & Taxes (black lager)
Toronado: Rodenbach Grand Cru (mmm...flanders red sour ale)
Suppenküche: Köstritzer - Schwarzbier, Gebratene Rehmedaillions in Rotwein-Pflaumensoße mit Rotkohl und Spätzle (venison, red cabbage, spätzle)

and back home by 9:15pm.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Update 12/9/08 - SG dropped a bit more, the beer tastes fantastic, and its in the keg.

Update 12/8/08 - Do you know how hard it is to find unsweetened red raspberries for less than $4/12oz? Safeway has the sweetened stuff. TJ's has BLACK raspberries, which are not the same as red raspberries in color or flavor. Whole Foods has unsweetened red. But I really didn't want to spend $20+ on frozen berries. So I used a big can of Oregon puree (49oz?). Beer's been in secondary on the fruit since the 3rd...I'll give it another few days and then keg it up. SG was at 1.017 at racking, but there's been some more activity (had to stir the puree in, which riled the yeast a bit), so I expect it'll come down to maybe 1.014-1.015. A little lower than I was hoping for, but I guess that's what I get for pitching a healthy starter of WLP001.

Another brown! This one will receive berries in secondary to make a (hopefully) less-syrupy clone of New Belgium Frambozen.

--12.5lbs Am. 2-row (RAHR)
--0.5lbs Brit. Chocolate
--0.25lbs Amer. Crystal 60L
--0.25lbs Melanoidin Malt
--0.5lbs Maltodextrin
--1oz Kent Goldings 4.2%AA (60min)
--1oz Willamette 4.3%AA (15min)
--1oz Willamette 4.3%AA (5min)
--1/4tsp Supermoss (10min)
--4lbs frozen raspberries (secondary)
--WLP001 Calif. Ale, ~1.3L starter
OG: 1.067
FG: 1.013
ABV: ~7%
IBU: ~20

Mash at 150F for 60 minutes in 17qts water (~1.25 qts/lbs). Mash-out for 10 minutes at 170F (add 2 gallons boiling water). Fly sparge with 2.9 gallons at 170F. Extract 6.5 gallons for 60 minute boil. Estimated water usage: 8.2 gallons. Assuming grain absorption of 0.12 gal/lb, about 1.6 gallons lost to grain.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Double duty

Two batches in one day with my equipment meant that today, I was heating, mashing, boiling, chilling, repeat from 9am until 7:30pm. I managed to squeeze in some guitar, laundry, video games, a burrito, most of Iron Man, and some good idle chat with friends. It was a very busy day.

Did I have to brew twice today? No, but I made two starters on Thursday and didn't want to do it tomorrow. It actually ended up saving me some cleaning time, since I figured that the 30 or so grains left in the mash tun wouldn't be the end of the world, nor would the few hop leaves stuck to my chiller (Copper Fonzie) do harm...same hops, after all. I did, however, learn to use a hop bag for my whole hops, as they were more or less...not whole, but shredded. The wassail has more than one hop flower in the fermenter.

Nutcracker Brown Ale
--10lbs Brit. Maris Otter
--0.5lbs Caravienne
--0.5lbs Amer. Crystal 60L
--0.25lbs Victory
--0.25lbs Brit. Chocolate
--1oz Willamette 4.3%AA (60min)
--1oz Willamette 4.3%AA (5min)
--1oz Willamette 4.3%AA (1min)
--1/4tsp Supermoss (10min)
--WLP002 English Ale, ~600mL starter
OG: 1.055
FG: 1.016
ABV: 5.1%
IBU: ~15

Mashed 70min at 154F. Again, forgot to start the mash-out water on time, hence the extra 10 minutes. Mash-out at 168F (10 minute rest). Extracted 6.25gal with a 67% efficiency. Boiled for 60 minutes with hops as indicated. Chilled and pitched yeast for fermentation just under 70F (it's still warm here...not radiator action needed yet!). This is the B3 Nut Brown recipe, with Willamette subbed for Northern Brewer.

I really ought to calibrate my hydrometer and get some fermometers. Also on my list: finishing that damn stir plate and hooking up temperature control to the fridge.

Winter warbler

Update 11/28/08 - Bottled. It's...interesting. We'll see.

Update 11/18/08 - Decided this should be boozier. Threw in 2 pounds of turbinado (raw) sugar. That should give the yeast something to think about now that the kraüsen is settled. I figure it's good for another 2%abv or so.

Winter beer time! After careful consideration and some serious drinking (emphasis on serious and not on drinking), I decided to brew three beers for the coming holiday season: a nut brown, a wassail, and a raspberry brown. The inspiration for this came from three sources: a nutcracker tap handle in the works, a desire to brew a traditional holiday ale, and New Belgium Frambozen, respectively.

I started with the wassail (you know, for wassailing). Some people just spice, others claim it's a blend of brown ale and spiced cider. This is probably the longest ingredients list I've dealt with in my experience. Here's the recipe I used:

Batch #24
Winter Warbler Wassail
--7.25lb Scot. Golden Promise
--1.5lb Vienna
--0.5lb Caramunich
--0.5lb Amer. Special Roast
--2 oz British Chocolate
--8 oz Brown Sugar
--8 oz Honey (15min)
--1oz Kent Goldings 4.2%AA (60min)
--1oz Willamette 4.3%AA (30min)
--1/4tsp ginger
--1/4tsp nutmeg
--1/4oz sweet orange peel
--1 whole cinnamon stick
--1 whole clove
--2qts unfiltered apple juice
--1/4tsp Supermoss (10min)
--WLP005 British Ale, 1L starter
OG: 1.055
FG: 1.012
ABV: 7.7%ish?
IBU: 20-25

Mashed grains for ~70 minutes (forgot to start the mash-out water on time) at 154F in 3.5gal water (up to 4gal after temp adjustments). Extracted 6gal wort, mixed in brown sugar. Brought to a boil. After 15-20minutes (my timer stopped working...rargh!), added first bittering hops. I used whole hops today. Added second hops with 30 minutes to go, honey with 15, spices in a stainless steel tea ball for 5 minutes (crushed cinnamon into large pieces). After the ~75min boil, I had around 4.75gal of wort. Added the apple juice and pitched the yeast. Fermenting just under 70F. My efficiency came out to about 67%, but I'm not certain of the expected yields and need to calibrate my hydrometer (although it shouldn't be off by more than about 2 points).

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Small feather, but it's in my cap

The latest incarnation of the blackberry stout took 2nd place in its category at the Beer, Beer, and More Beer forum competition. Okay, so it was 2nd out of 4 or 5, but still, I'm proud of it. I have yet to see the judges' comments,...even though I was at the competition as a steward and could have read them. =)

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Updated 11/06 - So good...wouldn't change this recipe except maybe to get the right rye/wheat grain. Dry kegging definitely not necessary.

Updated 10/23 - Kegged, tastes great, no time for dry hopping. Not sure I'd want to do it, the hop/rye nose is so nice right now.

Denny Conn apparently makes a mean Rye IPA. Given the hops that aren't surviving my freezer too well, and the shop being out of two ingredients, mine's a little different from his recipe:

Batch #23
R.I.P. Ale (Based on Denny's RIPA)
--11 lbs American 2-row Pale Malt
--3 lbs Flaked Rye (Denny calls for rye malt)
--1.25 lbs Crystal 60L
--0.5 lbs CaraPils
--0.5 lbs American White Wheat Malt (Denny calls for flaked wheat)
--1 lb Rice Hulls (Phil at Los Altos MoreBeer's suggestion)
--1 oz Mt Hood 5.2%AA (1st wort hop, 60min)
--1 oz Columbus 12.2%AA (60min)
--0.5 oz Mt Hood 5.2% AA (30min)
--1 oz Glacier 6.0%AA (20min)*
--1.5 oz Willamette 4.6%AA (2min)*
--1.5 oz Mt Hood 5.2%AA (1min)
--1 oz Columbus (dry hop 3 days)**
--1 tab whirlfloc (15min)
Yeast: White Labs California (WLP001), 1.25L starter
OG: 1.066
FG: 1.012
ABV: 7%
IBU: 60-65

Mash at 154F for 60 minutes, mash out for 10 minutes at 168F. I collected 6.25 gallons of wort and ended with just over 5 gallons. Again, my efficiency is not great. Add Mt Hood hops during lauter (1st wort hopping), bring to boil, add hops as scheduled, whirlfloc at 15 minutes. Chill, pitch yeast.

*My additions
**Changed my mind and left this one out.

Monday, September 29, 2008

8th Annual Autumn Brew Review, Minneapolis, MN

Hooboy, that was fun. Harder to handle than the Russian River Beer + BBQ Revival, mainly due to the lack of all-you-can-eat BBQ.

But we're still alive...his (J) and hers (R) comments and ratings on a scale of :( to :)

MN Breweries:
  • August Schell Brewing Co: Schell's Original, :| (J, correctly guessed at the "guess the MN beer" game put on by
  • Barley John's Brew Pub: Belgian Enkle :) (J); Wedding Ale :) (R)
  • Brau Brothers Brewing Co: Ring Neck Double Nut Braun :) (R); Strawberry Wheat :| (J, too much berry)
  • Finnegans: Irish Amber :) (J+R)
  • Fitgers Brewhouse: Wildfire Lager :) (R...really, it's hhhhHot); Dread Pirate Dunkelweizen :(:) (J...mmm...hoppy); Tugboat Irish Stout :) (R...not as good as Big Boat Oatmeal)
  • Herkimer: Sky Pilot :) (R)
  • Lake Superior Brewing Co: Special Ale :| (J...okay...nice bitterness, nothing fantastic...R guessed correctly and won us a pint glass)
  • Lift Bridge Brewery: Blueberry Blonde :| ( was purple...not well balanced with bitterness IMO)
  • Minneapolis Town Hall Brewery: Oak Porter :D ( good); Fresh Hop 2008 :) (R...again correctly guessed!)
  • St Croix Brewing Co: St Croix Maple Ale :| (J...needed more hop, if I recall); Cream Ale :) (R)
  • Summit Brewing Co: Wet Hopped Extra Pale - Cask :) (R); Something...Wet hop? :) (J...I remember liking it!)
  • Surly Brewing Co: Furious :D (R the hophead); Cynic Ale :) (J...mmm...saison!)
  • Vine Park Brewing: Rabid Penguin Porter :) (R), Flanders Red? :) (J...okay, maybe I like some sours)
(J...very disappointing); Starfire Pale
Non-MN Breweries:
  • Avery Brewing Co: New World Porter :| (R); 15th Anniversary Brett Gueze :( (J...not a fan of most sours I'm learning...)
  • Bell's Brewery, Inc: Amber Ale - Cask :) (R); 3rd Coast - Cask :| (J)
  • Boston Brewing Co: Sam Adams Cherry Wheat :| (R...mmm...cough syrup?)
  • Some Meadery...: Blueberry Mead :| (J...too sweet)
  • Boulevard Brewing Co: Unfiltered Wheat :| (; Bob's 47 Oktoberfest :) (R)
  • Furtermore Beer: Knot Stock :D :D :D ( pick of the day!); Something nutty...definitely not Knot Stock or Oscura... :) (R)
  • Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co: Oktoberfest :) (R); Big Eddy RIS :( (J...blech, not a good RIS, IMO...too sweet and smoky without enough bitter?)
  • Moyland's Brewery & Restaurant: Moylander DIPA :) (J)
  • New Belgium Brewing Co: 1554 :) (R); Giddy Up! :| (J...okay, not great)
  • New Holland Brewing Co: Ichabod Pumpkin :) (R...can tasty the pumpkin, a little clove heavy); Dragon's Milk :| (J...better for long sipping...bourbon aged black ale...kinda soy saucy)
  • North Coast Brewing Co: Scrimshaw(?) :) (R)
  • Brewery Ommegang: Hennepin :) (R...fantastic, really); Witte :| (J...not what I was in the mood for, I guess)
  • Shmaltz Brewing Co/He'Brew: Lenny's RIPA :D (R..."if our RIPA smells like this, I'll be really happy"); Rejewvenator Fib Dubbel :| (J...kinda figgy, duh)
  • Tyranena Brewing Co: Bitter Woman IPA :) (R); Dirty Old Man :| (J...again...the whiskey barrel ruined it for me...the idea of an imperial rye porter i like, though)

I guarantee I missed one (we played the game where you try to remember what you had after the fact, and not all of it was in the tasting guide...the game's hard when you have about 50 smileys between two people)