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. =)