Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why not?

Update 9/13/08 - Bottled 4.5 gallons. Tart right now, but should mellow over the next month or so. Primed with 4oz corn sugar.
Update 9/7/08 - Racked to secondary, added 1# frozen berries.
Update 9/1/08 - Ack! Well, more of a "BOOM" and a soft rattle of the house. I forgot that this one tends to ferment really fast and didn't hook up a blow-off tube. So I instead spent about half an hour cleaning up the closet and am doing laundry to get the blackberry out of everything. At least my fancier clothes that share the closet weren't hit. Smells good, though.

Competitions are coming, and just for the hell of it, I decided to submit one of my favorite brews. Changed it up a little this time to enhance the berry flavor. Should be ready in time for the California State Homebrew Competition, and the MoreBeer forum competition, which I will be stewarding to try and get in to the judging thing (at the very least, to refine my tasting skills). I'll probably also submit the GoP Trippel.

In other news, my mash efficiency jumped up today. Turns out the mill I was using didn't grind well enough for all grain. With the other mill in the shop, my efficiency (nothing else significantly different) jumped to around 75%.

Batch #21
Blackberry Stout 3 (All-grain), Irish Ale Yeast (White Labs 004)
--9 lbs Amer. 2-row Pale (RAHR)
--1 lb Crystal 40L
--8 oz Black Roasted
--4 oz Black Patent
--4 oz Chocolate Malt
--1 oz Glacier 6.0%AA (60min)
--1 oz Glacier 6.0%AA (1min)
--4 lbs Frozen blackberries (~10min)
--1 lb Frozen blackberries (secondary)
--1/4 tsp Supermoss (10min)
OG: 1.054+ (right on the money for 75% efficiency!)
FG: 1.011
ABV: ~6%
Calc. IBUs: ~23

Mashed for 1 hour at 154F in 3.5 gallons water. Fly sparge (by the pint) with 170F strike, collected ~ 6.5 gallons wort. Added 4 lbs berries with clarifier to sterilize. One pound of berries will be added to the secondary.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Update 9/13/08 - Bottled just under 5 gallons. Nice and peppery. Hazy because I forgot the clarifier on brew day, but delicious. No competition until the haze settles out. High expectations for aging on this one. Primed with 4oz corn sugar.
The Westmalle Trippel is delicious. This is not it. But based on a clone recipe for it from BYO. But definitely not going to be Westmalle's trippel. It was mainly an excuse to use the grains of paradise!

Again, low mash efficiency. I may have to chat up someone that knows what they're doing here...

Batch #20
GoP Trippel
--12.75 lbs German Pilsner Malt
--1 lb Clear candi sugar
--1 lb Amber candi sugar
--1 oz Glacier 6% AA (90min)
--1 oz Mt Hood 5.2% AA (15min)
--1 oz Mt Hood 5.2% AA (5min)
--1/4 tsp lightly crushed grains of paradise (5min)
--White Labs WLP500 Trappist Ale Yeast (2L starter)
OG: 1.070 [target 1.081 >:( ]
FG: 1.006
ABV: 8.4%
Calc. IBU: 38

I added the grains of paradise, subbed in Mt Hood and Glacier (available and in my freezer, respectively), and split the 2 lbs clear sugar into 1 lb clear, 1 lb amber. Also, I'm an idiot, and didn't see the Belgian pils bin right next to the German at the shop. Whatever. Obviously, I'm not trying to make Westmalle.

I mashed in at 135F in 4 gallons. Over the next hour and a half or so, I ramped the temperature to 148F by adding ~3 pint amounts of hot water. After 10 minutes at 148F, I added enough water to get the temperature to 167F and let the mash sit for another 10 minutes before starting the lauter. With no sparging I was able to extract 7 gallons.

This was a two hour boil. I boiled the Glacier for 90 to account for the slightly lower AA compared to the Styrian Goldings called for in the Westmalle clone recipe. The sugar went in with 30 minutes left. I lightly crushed the spice (just enough to split the corns in half or so) and boiled that for the last 5. Chill. Pitch yeast.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Update 9-4 - Kegged. Cleared the keg with CO2, racked, set seals, put in fridge at 40F with 10psi. Also, very tasty, with a nice aroma.
Update 8/28 - Racked to secondary. 1.5oz Willamette added. Tastes great. Will keg in a few days.

I brewed up a batch of St. Rogue Red Ale clone last night. I made a bittering hop substitution since the shop was out of Chinook. An ounce of Magnum gave me a slightly higher AAU than the recipe called for. That in combination with the faster evaporation rate than expected led me to do a 75 minute boil instead of 90. The problem, though, is that my gravity came out 10 points shy. TEN! Even more irritating is that the hydrometer reading actually dropped between lauter and flame out. So my initial mash gravity reading of 1.043 (which would be perfect!), was probably high due to stratification in the collection vessel (despite my efforts to stir it around). This means that my overall efficiency is low...back to the books, eh?

Batch #19
St. Rogue (with substitutions)
--7 lbs 2-Row American Pale Ale Malt (RAHR)
--1 lb Dark Munich (recipe calls for "Munich", but this smelled tastier)
--1 lb Crystal 15L
--1.25 lbs Crystal 40L
--1 lb Crystal 75L
--1 oz Magnum 13.1% AA (75min)*
--1 oz Centennial 10.4% AA (2min + whirlpool)*
--Whirlfloc (15min)
--White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast (1L starter)
OG: 1.040 [target 1.052 >:( ]
FG: 1.010
ABV: 4%
Calc. IBU: 45ish

*Recipe calls for ~ 10AAU Magnum for 90 minutes, and ~ 10AAU Cent. in whirlpool or hopback

Mashed grains for 60 minutes at 155F. Sparged with water at 168-170, extracting 6.5gal. The recipe calls for 6 gallons wort + 0.5 gallons water. I thought that was stupid.

At flame out, I removed the bittering hops, gave the wort a whirl with the Centennial. Chilled to about 70, and pitched just the slurry from my starter. Lag time of more than 3 but fewer than 10 hours (I sleep sometimes). I'll likely secondary with the leftover Willamette from the pumpkin brew to give it some more hop aroma.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Vonnegut plus two.

So, now that I've actually read Slaughterhouse V...

No, of course there are no real parallels to this little operation. I simply translated the name of a street to English. Now, back to Trafalmadore.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

It's pie time I brewed this.

Update 8/14 - Bottled. Spices are good, pumpkin flavor is a little mild. I think I'll add that a little differently for the next round. In other news, I'm done with WLP007. I don't really want a FG below 1.010. I didn't even really want that yeast, but am too impatient to wait for the Los Altos B3 shop to get the right strains in stock.

I was advised to try brewing Old Pumpculiar, as everyone that has made it seems to love it, and I'm looking for a good pumpkin brew for the fall. So, it being August, I decided to give it a go. I figured that if this is ready by September, that gives me plenty of time to decide on changes before the Halloween edition.

Batch #18
Old Pumpculiar (with substitutions)
--8 lbs 2-Row American Pale Ale Malt
--1 lb Flaked Wheat
--2/3 lb Crystal 75L*
--8 oz Cane Sugar
--8 oz Molasses
--75 oz Canned pumpkin* (in mash)
--1 oz Glacier 6% AA (60min)*
--0.5 oz Willamette 4.6% AA (15min)*
--Whirlfloc (15min)
--1 Tbs Pie spice* (15min at flameout)
--White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast
OG: 1.046
FG: 1.006
ABV: 5.2%
Calc. IBU: 23

*Substitutions and changes. I added cloves to the pie spice because they belong there.

Mash grains and pumpkin (fresh or canned) at 153F for 60 minutes. I collected 6 gallons of wort, which makes for a slightly small batch. I'd recommend 6.5 gallons. My OG was about 10 pts low - I think due to over sparging during lauter. [I ended up making closer to 7.5 gallons of wort and not collecting all of it. The mistake: submerged hose tricked me into thinking I needed more water in the tun. So, my efficiency was low (really 50-60%) unless I use the 7.5ish estimate which puts me right around 75%.]

Add hops and sugars at the appropriate times during the boil. Add the spices at flame-out and rest for 15 minutes before chilling. I used yeast from a 2L decanted starter. Good kraeusen when I checked about 10 hours after pitching.