Friday, December 24, 2010

You be Beethoven and other bad jokes

Last brew for a while since I'm not sure I'll be able to do much in Japan. This is the "Brewing Classic Styles" Marzen Madness recipe with some additions to clean out my malt supply. Stay tuned for my beer-related adventures from Japan.

Batch #70
I'llbe Bock
--5lbs Pils
--4lbs Munich
--3lbs Vienna
--4oz Aromatic
--2.5oz Carafa II
--2oz Hallertauer 4.6%AA (60m)
--1/2 tsp calcium chloride (mash)
--whirlfloc (5m)
--1.5L starter made from saved yeast blend from pilsner
OG: 1.062 (okay, so it's more of a marzen/vienna/oktoberfest than a bock)
IBU: ~25

Mash in to 154F, hold for 1 hour. I batch sparged to collect just shy of 7.5 gallons wort pre-boil. Boiled for 90 minutes, chilled, pitched yeast. Fermenting in garage, so probably hovering around 50F.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Stay thirsty AND awake, my friends

Update 12/26 - Kegged yesterday, coffee added today.
Oatmeal stout base, easy on the roast. Cold steeped coffee in secondary. Maybe the lactose is there because I enjoyed the hell out of some Surly Four last night.

Batch #69
JR Stout
--10 lbs Maris Otter
--1 lb Flaked Oats (very lightly toasted)
--0.75 lb British Black Roast Malt
--10 oz British 70/80°L
--4 oz Lactose (10m)
--2 oz Fuggles, 5.1%AA (60m)
--1/2 tsp calcium chloride (mash)
--1 tab whirlfloc (10m)
--4oz Peet's JR Reserve coffee (cold-steeped, secondary)
Safale US-05, 11.5g dry
OG: 1.065
FG: 1.016
ABV: 6.4%
IBU: ~30

Mash in around 152F. Hold for one hour. I actually probably should have mashed a little higher, but oh well. Boil 60m. Chill, pitch yeast, and ferment at 68F. Add cold-steeped coffee to secondary.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Basically, it's a 5 gallon yeast starter

Update 12/7 - Kegged. Sulfury, not picking up any esters or diacetyl.
Update 11/26 - This is a real pain. I can keep it around 58-60F in the fermentation cabinet, 50-55F outside during the day...but ambient is about 30-35F at outside at night. So, this one got a good day or so at 50 and is now hanging out at about 58. Next lager will probably just go in the garage.

Lager season is here. Time fir the inaugural pilsner. This one courtesy of the cool dudes at MoreBeer. Their recipe kit on the house for a competition flub.

Next lager in the queue: smoked märzen.

Batch #68
German(?) Pilsner
--9lb German Pils
--8oz CaraPils
--8oz Crystal 15L
--8AAU Northern Brewer 8% (60m)
--4AAU Saaz 4%(5m)
--4AAU Saaz 4%(1m)
--whirlfloc (5m)
--soft water, 1 tsp 5.2 stabilizer in mash
--Yeast (1 vial WLP830 in 1.25 L starter, pitched to additional 2L starter with 2 vials WLP800)
OG: 1.046
FG: 1.008
ABV: 5%
IBU: ~30

Mashed 90m at 148F. Collected 7.25 gallons wort. Boiled 90m. Fermenting ~55F.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Update 12/2 - kegged. darker than the original, more bitter. awesome.
Update 11/26 - dry hops added.

Liked this beer so much we drained the keg and put the recipe back in the brew queue. So here we are. Minor changes: bumped up the 30m Magnum to a full ounce, gave the Carafa II 15m instead of 5 in the mash to work its color magic, and tossed in some malted oats for a little more character. I don't think we can call this an IPA anymore... I suspect it will just have too much malt character, with the color landing squarely on 'amber'.

Batch #67
Lost Harvest, version 2
10.5 lbs Maris Otter
1 lb British 50-60L
1 lb White wheat malt
8 oz Golden naked oats
6 oz Victory
2 oz Carafa II (last 15m of mash only)
1 oz Magnum, 13.1%AA (60m)
1 oz Magnum, 13.1%AA (30m)
1 oz Centennial, 9.2%AA (20m)
0.5 oz Amarillo, 8.2%AA (10m)
0.5 oz Simcoe, 12.2%AA (10m)
0.5 oz Amarillo, 8.2%AA (5m)
0.5 oz Simcoe, 12.2%AA (5m)
1oz each Cen/Ama/Sim (dry)
1/4 tsp each epsom and gypsum in mash
Safale US-05, 11.5g dry
OG: 1.061
FG: 1.013
ABV: 6.3%
IBU: ~95

Single infusion, batch sparge. Infusion temp: 152F, settled to 150F. Mash 60m. Collect 7 gallons wort. Ferment at 68F.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Beers, cars, beers

Last Saturday a couple of us ended up in Hayward, CA for the 5th Annual West Coast Barrel Aged Beer Festival at the Bistro. Long name. We got in about 11am, right on time, no lines! Forty bucks gets you 10 tastes and a (rather nice tulip) glass, $2 a sample after that. For those not familiar with barrel aged beers, one generally takes a good strong ale and puts it in a used or new barrel to concentrate the beer, oxidize it, and pick up flavors from the wood, which may or may not include whatever booze was the previous tenant of said barrel. In alphabetical order, the two of us managed to knock back a few ounces of the following monstrosities...

Ale Industries - Fysus (barleywine on Bourbon... a little brothy, if you ask me)
Avery - Rumpkin (my vote for People's Choice; 13.2% pumpkin ale on Goslings rum)
Drakes - Wyld Stallyns ("super-soured" imperial stout and ESB blend on port/merlot/Am. oak)
Drakes - Brett Butler (tripel aged in Pinot with some wild yeast)
Drakes - Kadath Decoded (80% imperial stout on French oak pinot and merlot, 20% barleywine in French oak grenache)
Fifty-Fifty - Imperial Eclipse 2010 (Four Roses Single Bbl 10yr)
Fifty-Fifty - Imperial Eclipse 2010 (Rittenhouse Rye)
Firestone Walker - 14 (Ted's vote, blend of Parabola, Xantus, and Velvet Merkin)
Firestone Walker (Nectar Ales) - Black Xantus (Heaven Hill Bourbon)
Glacier - Beam Stout (oatmeal stout on Jim Beam)
Glacier - Big Woody Barleywine (straight Virgin Czech Oak...winner 2009 and 2010 Toronado Barleywine Festival!)
Iron Springs - Oaked Winterscotch (straight medium toast american oak)
Lagunitas - Blend Saison (blend of saison 75% chard., 25% pinot, Brettanomyces and wild yeast souring)
Lagunitas - Imp. Stout w/ Raspberries (Heaven Hill Bourbon, Brettanomyces, raspberries)
Mad River - 2009 John Barleycorn (Brandy)
Port Brewing - Older Viscosity 2009 (Bourbon)
Stone - Old Guardian 2008 (aged on Cabernet/Merlot French and American oak)
Stone - 07.07.07 (2007 Vertical Epic release aged on Cab/Merlot in Fr. and Am. oak)
Valley Brewing - The End of Evil As We Know It (Collaborative Evil on Heaven Hill Bourbon)
Verhaeghe - Echt Kriekenbier (Vichtenaar Flanders red ale with cherries...delish!)

...grab some lunch at Buffalo Bill's down the street, complete with a (thankfully) small glass of their Imperial Pumpkin Ale (which was okay, but no Rumpkin, and I vastly prefer their standard strength version), and drive off around 2pm.

On the way home, our driver felt a pressing need to ogle some sparkling Italian-bred sports cars at the local Lotus lot. He did not buy one. Yet. Probably because they didn't have a baby blue Exige on hand.

Later... like, 6pm the same day, our hero finds himself back on the same damn horse. This time, at Ted's place for a 2006-present Stone Vertical Epic tasting. The 06.06.06 held up fairly well for not being properly cellared. The 07.07.07 was, disappointingly, not that different from the 07.07.07 at the festical. 08.08.08 was delightful. 09.09.09 is my favorite of those I've tasted and is still a delicious chocolate orange. 10.10.10 is the new kid, and really has some nice wine qualities.
Link for more info on Stone VE:

...and then I was tired. Very tired. I did make it to work on Sunday, but not until about 5pm.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

One to lay down for a while

Update 11/15 - SG 1.025. Will let it sit in primary another week or two.

Just 3 more months in the U.S., and 36 lbs of Maris Otter. First up: big bad brown british barleywine. This is a scaled up malt bill from the MoreBeer "Malty Brown Ale" kit. That was a solid recipe, and I just want something a wee bit bigger. I'm thinking toss it in a keg and hide it for a year.

Batch #66
Multiple Brown Ale
16 lbs Maris Otter
1.5 lb Munich
.75 lb CaraVienne
.75 lb CaraPils
.75 lb Aromatic
.75 lb 60L
.375 lb Pale Chocolate
2 oz Northern Brewer, 8%AA (60m)
.875 oz Vanguard, 5%AA (60m)
2 oz Fuggles, 5.1%AA (30m)
1/2 tsp gypsum in mash
WLP007, Dry English Ale Yeast, 1L starter -> 1.5L starter
OG: 1.098
IBU: ~55

Mash in at 152F. Collect 7 gallons of wort. The Vanguard is in there just to bump up the bittering a little. It was what I had lying around my freezer.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Autumn is Ausumn

Spooky Christmas is again almost here,
so it's time once more for our favorite beer.
Brewed with four pumpkins thrown into the mash,
we'll later add spices but, please, just a dash.
A fistful of caramel and another of chocolate,
a pound of roast malt to make a sweet stout of it.
Just enough fuggles for bittering hops,
we swear that you'll scream, 'this is the tops!'

Batch #65
Pumpkin Stout
8 lbs Maris Otter
1 lb British Roasted Barley
1 lb White Wheat Malt
6 oz British 70/80°L
4 oz British Pale Chocolate
6 lbs Pumpkin flesh (cooked, smushed)
8 oz Rice hulls
1.5 lbs Molasses (10m)
4 oz Lactose, 10m
1 oz Fuggles, 5.1%AA (60m)
1 oz Fuggles, 9.2%AA (20m)
1 tsp calcium chloride (mash)
1 tab whirlfloc (10m)
Safale US-05, 11.5g dry
OG: 1.064
FG: 1.016
ABV: 6.3%
IBU: ~25

Get up earlier than usual. Split, scrape out the seeds, and bake your pumpkins at 300F for an hour to 90m (want the skin to be a little saggy and the flesh to caramelize a bit). Pie pumpkins are best (sweet taste as opposed to just big). I had four pumpkins, weighing almost 17lbs total, to get the 6lbs of flesh (cooked weight). Once cooked, scrape out the flesh and save in a bowl for the mash.

Mashed in with 4 gal water (162F) to reach an initial infusion of 146F (difficult to calculate thanks to the pumpkin and rice hulls (pumpkin = starch, rice hulls = no stuck mash, please). Added tea kettles full of near-boiling water after 15m and 30m mash time to reach 150 and 153F, respectively. This was not my plan. I initially wanted a single infusion at 154F, but the pumpkin threw me off.

Boil 60m, adding hops and adjuncts as indicated. Cool to fermentation temp (I like 68F) and pitch yeast.

Monday, September 20, 2010

So much for that crop

Update 10/4 - Kegged. Tasty! Great hop character and lots of toasty biscuity malt in the finish. So pleased with this beer. SG 1.012.
Update 9/29 - Dry hopped with 1 oz each of Amarillo, Centennial, Simcoe. SG 1.012.

Well, the whopping < 1/8oz of hops (dry weight) that I pulled this year appeared moldy today, so I dumped them instead of using them. Hence the name.

Batch #64
Lost Harvest IPA
10.5 lbs Maris Otter
1 lb British 50-60L
1 lb White wheat malt
6 oz Victory
2 oz Carafa II (last 5m of mash only)
1 oz Magnum, 13.1%AA (60m)
0.5 oz Magnum, 13.1%AA (30m)
1 oz Centennial, 9.2%AA (20m)
0.5 oz Amarillo, 8.2%AA (10m)
0.5 oz Simcoe, 12.2%AA (10m)
0.5 oz Amarillo, 8.2%AA (5m)
0.5 oz Simcoe, 12.2%AA (5m)
1oz each Cen/Ama/Sim (dry)
1/4 tsp each epsom and gypsum in mash
Safale US-05, 11.5g dry
OG: 1.060
FG: 1.012
ABV: 6.3%
IBU: ~80

Single infusion, batch sparge. Infusion temp: 152F, settled to 150F. Mash 60m. Collect 7 gallons wort. Ferment at 68F.

The List 2010 - Part III

Airports are stupid.

My List

Brewery List


Friday, September 17, 2010

The List 2010 - Part II

One festival day down, one to go. Rachel and I conquered the following tasty beverages last night, and will rack up a few more points with the full 10-person drinking team tonight. Current count: 120

In chronological order (yeah, that's right...I took notes!)

Dogfish Head
-Chateau Jiahu
-Grain to Glass

Hangar 24
-American IPA (dWiGhT's pro-am!)

Firehouse Brewery and Grill
-Veles Baltic Porter
-Pete's Support Belgian IPA

Firestone Walker
-Velvet Merlin
-Union Jack

-Palate Wrecker
-Le Freak

Rahr & Sons
-Ugly Pug

-George Washington Tavern Porter

-Imperial Pumpkin Ale
-Double Simcoe IPA

-Flying Mouflan
-Hop Back Amber

New Holland
-Full Circle Kolsch


Flat Branch
-Green Chili
-Indigo Pale Ale

-Starfire Pale Ale
-Edmund Bourbon Imperial Stout

Goose Island Brewpub
-Sgt. Peppercorn
-Goose Me!

-Old Crustacean

-Monk's Uncle Triple

-Cream Ale
-Scottish Export

-Total Domination IPA

Note: Tiara made of pretzels is cool

-Men's Room Red
-Dark o' the Moon Pumpkin Stout

-Black Butte XXII
-Inversion IPA


-Russian Imperial Stout & 10th Anniv. Blen

Black Market
-Rye IPA

The Bruery
-7 Grain Saison

Russian River
-Pliny the Elder

Lost Abbey
-Cable Car Wild Ale
-Framboise de Amorosa

Pizza Port (Carlsbad)
-547 Haight
-Good Grief Brown

Great Divide
-16th Anniv. Wood Aged IPA
-Wild Raspberry Ale

Redstone Meadery
-Nectar of the Hops
-Raspberry Nectar
-Sunshine Nectar (apricot)
[Note: all "Nectars" are same base mead with different secondary additions]

Brooklyn Brewing
-Sorachi Ace
-Local 1
-Local 2
-Manhattan Project
-Black Chocolate Stout

CH Evans / Albany Pumphouse
-Kick-ass Brown


Left Hand
-Milk Stout

-Bourbonic Plague

Elysian (again)
-Wise ESB
-Jasmine IPA

3 Floyds

Square One
-Bavarian Weizen
-Spicy Blonde

August Schell


-Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale
-Unfiltered Wheat

Great Lakes
-Commodore Perry IPA
-Glockenspiel Weizenbock

Fat Head's
-Hop JuJu
-KoKo Head Chocolate Coconut Cream Stout

Thomas Creek
-Vanilla Cream Ale
-Up the Creek Extreme IPA



-Green Monster

-The Maharaja

-WIXA Weiss
-B3K Schwartzbier
-St Charles ESB

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The List 2010 - Part I

Back in Colorado for the Great American Beer Festival. Day one was spent in Boulder. We ended up at Mountain Sun for lunch and then off to the Avery taproom. From there we picked up some bottles for a small party later in the evening and stopped off at Boulder Beer for a quick sample or two.

Now we just have to figure out how to get to Denver for the opening session at GABF tonight.


Mountain Sun
-Hop Vivant (2009 Alpha King winner...delicious)
-Resinous Rye (good...had better versions of the style)

-Joe's Pilsner (great!)
-Jerry's Roggenbier (nice chocolatey rye)
-India Pale Lager
-IPA w/ Chinook dry hop
-Altar Boy (The Reverend, oak aged and dosed with Brett....excellent)
-The Maharaja (cask...excellent)
-Seventeen Anniversary (hoppy black lager)
-Out of Bounds Stout (cask)
-Missionary (Belgian quad with guava)
-Voltron (sour blend...good but Altar Boy was better)
-duganA IPA

Boulder Beer
-Singletrack Copper Ale (very nice)
-Bourbon Singletrack (nowhere near as good as the straight version)
-India Brown Ale (cask...too much oak)
-Mojo Risin' (DIPA on nitro, nice)


Ska Brewing
-Ten Pin Porter (tasty)
-True Blonde Ale (my last of the night...good, not one of my usual go-to styles)
-Pinstripe Red (great)

Left Hand
-Black Jack Porter (excellent)
-Polestar Pils (very nice)

Great Divide
-Titan IPA (excellent)
-Claymore Scotch Ale (excellent)
-Samurai Rice Ale (only had a drop but Rachel liked it)

Boulder Beer
-Hazed and Infused

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mystery Beer

Update 9/20 - Kegged. Kinda gross. Cinnamon phenol from the dry hop. Don't care what the FG is.
Update 9/9 - Dry hopped in primary. Didn't check SG

MoreBeer put out a mystery kit for their forum competition this year. Entries due at the end of September, so hopefully this will be ready by then. My guess is that the steeping grains are 1 lb of a medium crystal (40-60L) and 0.25 lb pale chocolate malt for color.

Batch #63
Mystery Beer (5.25 gal)
8 lbs Light Malt Extract (syrup)
1.25 lbs Steeping grains
Sugar, 5m
1 oz hops "A" (60m)
0.5 oz hops "B" (5m)
0.875 oz hops "C" (1m)
1 oz hops "D" (dry hop)
Whrilfloc, 5m
Safale US-04, 11g dry
OG: 1.058
IBU: ???

Steep the grains for 30m (start cold, ramp towards 170°F). Mix in the extract at the start of the boil (burner off!). Add hops, etc, as indicated. I plan to ferment around 68°F.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Update 12/27 - Bottled. SG 1.024-25. A little cloudy, but pretty tasty and I'm tired of waiting.
Update 10/4 - Racked. SG 1.025. Still very sweet and cloudy.
Update 8/28 - Racked to secondary. SG 1.032. Note that I missed the straining step in Phil's procedure, so the plums were in primary for the past week.

That's the price on plums this weekend at the market near us. So, naturally, I bought 12 pounds. This is basically Phil Montalbano's recipe, but I'm pretending I know better and reserving acid blend and tannin additions until after I've tasted the post-fermentation product.

Plum Wine
12 lbs plums, pitted, chopped (next time: freeze 'em first)
8 lbs sugar
2 gal water
2 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp Fermaid K
1 tsp Go-Ferm
8g RC-212 dry yeast
Potassium metabisulfite
OG: 1.110
FG: 1.024
ABV: 11.3%

Follow the directions HERE. Use Campden, not KMBS...the powder is way more potent than the tablets, and as a consequence, I needed to make a stock solution to get the right amount.

P.S. "Black Plum" is a stupid name for a fruit that's yellow on the inside and red on the outside. "Red Plum" is an okay name for a fruit that's black on the outside and red on the inside. They should switch.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Strawberry Cordial

While at a mead class a couple weeks ago (on Mead Day, as it were), this recipe came up. Super easy. I made a half batch. It's real purdy and smells good.

Strawberry Cordial

3C Sugar
4lb Strawberries, washed, stemmed
5C Vodka

Chop up the berries, mix sugar and vodka. Put it all in a gallon jar for a while. For the half recipe I used the handy-dandy 1/2 gallon Ball jar that I got as a growler from Lagunitas last weekend.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Road Trip!

Some friends planned a trip to Sonoma wineries for this weekend, and due to conflicts, my car ended up empty. That is, until it was transmogrified into the brewery car. Then, it was transmogrified again. This time, it became somebody else's car to the breweries. Mostly 'cause what's-her-name took mine to work. Something about gas.

We hit Healthy Spirits on the way north through SF. Great selection, expensive, not so friendly. Again, GREAT selection of beers and whiskey. Picked up Avery duganA IPA bomber and Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! Peche Mortel. $15.

First stop - Marin brewing. Ran through the 7 beers on tap in 4oz sampler form for $12. All of it was okay, didn't care for the wheatwine at all... think it was the yeast they used (Fullers esters out the wazoo, not much else...didn't work for me). E.S.Chi was an interesting herb beer. Garlic fries a-okay. Bought a bottle of Mt Tam Pale. Good bottle prices.

2nd stop - Moylans. FYI, same company as Marin. Some of the same beers. MUCH more on tap, including some nitros and a couple cask. I thought it was alright. We only went through 6 samples here. Bottle of the Bridal Ale (commemorative for Jessica and Brendan Moylan's wedding.) $14 for the lot.

3rd stop - Lagunitas. The rumors are true. The place rocks. Pints in custom Lagunitas-branded mason jars. Growlers are half-gallon Ball jars. Delicious grilled veggie sammich, 8 samples, plus a bonus (Lucky 13...over-pours given out gratis) including SEVERAL not available anywhere else or even in growlers. (Jerks, I wanted to bring home a growler of the Ginger IPA!!!). Growler of Fusion II (IPA with some black malt, but not quite to CDA/BlackIPA levels). $20 growler, $14 for the sandwich and flight of 4 samples...I think. There was booze, so my numbers might be off. Live music! Outside!

4th stop - Bear Republic. Split the 5 specialty taps - $6 for ~3oz pours. Mediocre at best. Was unimpressed. Maybe just tired and ready for...

5th stop - Back south to Russian River for dinner. Flight of 2oz belgian samples (incl. sours) for $8. Pint of Hopfather IPA (stick to the Pliny or Blind Pig, IMHO), $3.25 with AHA card. Tasty tasty meatball sandwich, <$10, and a growler of RR IPA to go, $14. Live Music! Inside, 10 feet from me (what's the opposite of "!"?)

Clear winner of the day was Lagunitas. I love RR (almost) as much as the next guy, but the gang in Petaluma won my continued loyalty today. Do it to it!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Update 5/15/12 - FG 1.003. Bottled. Tart, tasty, just a hint of sweetness and alcohol (tasted at room temp)
Update 10/31 - SG 1.026. Racked off of berries. Will try to let the gravity drop a little more.
Update 10/14 - SG 1.035. The blueberries float. Recommend mesh bag and some weights to submerge next time. Pretty tasty. Magenta color.
Update 9/13 - Racked to secondary with blueberries. SG 1.050. Probably should have stirred up the lees a couple times before now. Oh well. Patience and maybe some more yeast in the coming weeks.

Made some more mead. Yaaaaay.

Mead Batch #03
Black and Blue Melomel
-12lbs Orange Blossom honey
-2lbs Blackberry puree (frozen, primary)
-3lbs Blueberries (frozen, secondary)
-Water to 4 gallons
Split yeast: 71b-1122 (8g)
OG: ~1.116 (estimated, too much fruit gunk in solution to measure)
FG: 1.003
ABV: ~14.8%

Mix it all up. Go!

Saturday, July 24, 2010


As mentioned in the last post, I like Kai's Brezel recipe. It works. I used baking soda, and after rereading the directions, I realized that my first two batches came out weird because the baking soda solution needs to be hot to get the action needed.

Kai is metric, here's US for you:

4 C flour
1 C water
1 Tbsp dry malt extract (table sugar if you don't have it...but it won't be the same)
2 tsp salt
2 tsp butter
1 tsp yeast

4 tsp baking soda
2 C water

Saturday, July 17, 2010


Update 8/11 - Tapped, a few bottles prepped for comps. Gelatin is amazing. A little gritty in the first pour, but is brilliantly clear now!
Update 8/4 - Kegged. Trying gelatin as a fining agent. It's pretty cloudy now since I missed the clarifier during the boil and haven't been seeing great cold breaks lately. This might be going to competition, and it might not be. We'll see.

I've been meaning to brew an altbier for a while. It's essentially a German amber ale. Clean, dry, yet still malty and complex. This recipe is inspired by the Kaiser Alt recipe over at I saw Kai speak at the AHA conference and in checking out his website found the recipe (and one for Brezels!). I've also wanted to try a decoction just to see how it turns out. Lucky me, Kai's all about traditional German technique, and his recipe recommends a step mash with a single decoction at mash out. So here we go.

Batch #62
Altbier (Kaiser Alt)
--8lbs Munich
--1lb CaraMunich
--1.5oz Carafa II
--2oz Hallertauer 4.2%AA (60min, pellet)
--1/4 tsp gypsum (mash)
--WLP008 East Coast Ale
OG: 1.048
FG: 1.012
ABV: 4.7%
IBU: 25

Mashed in to 132°F, held 20m. Raised to 149°F, held 45m. Decocted ~40% of mash and boiled for 20m (heat slowly to a boil, ~5°F/m). Returned decocted portion to main mash to hit 168°F, held 10m. Collected 7.25 gallons wort. Boiled 70m, chilled to 64°F and pitched yeast.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

It's hot outside.

Update 7/15 - Kegged. Primed with 3oz table sugar (~3+ vol CO2). Added peach flavoring.

Easy drinkin' summer wheat beer time. I only used 1 vial of yeast and no starter. I know, high crimes... but I just plain ran out of time earlier in the week. I was trying to get WLP320 (Am Hefe) but couldn't get it in time for the brew day. The 060 is rumored to be a blend of WLP001 (Chico/Sierra Nevada), WLP051 (Anchor Liberty Ale), and probably also WLP810 (Anchor Steam). Thought I'd give it a try since White Labs boasts a good complexity from it and not quite as much hop emphasis as the WLP001.

The hop schedule is not my ideal, but I was cleaning out the freezer. That was all I had, and it's just barely enough. In a perfect world, I would have liked some nice noble hop aroma additions and a little more bitterness.

Batch #61
American Wheat, 5.5 gallons
--5.5lbs Wheat Malt
--4lbs German Pils
--1lb Maris Otter
--4oz Melanoidin
--4oz CaraFoam
--1oz Saaz 3%AA (60min, whole)
--0.125oz Willamette 4.8%AA (60min, whole)
--0.375oz Vanguard 5.8%AA (60min, whole)
--1/4 tsp supermoss (15min)
--1/4 tsp gypsum (mash)
--WLP060 American Ale Blend
--3oz table sugar (priming in keg)
--2oz peach flavoring (priming in keg)
OG: 1.053
FG: 1.010
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: ~15

Mashed in to 153°F in 4.25 gallons water and held for 60m. Batch sparged with 18.5qts at 185°F (raised mash temp to 168°F) and collected 29qts wort total. Boiled for 90m. Chilled and pitch yeast at 68-70°F. Probably get some fruit in secondary.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Let's try that again...

Update 7/8 - Bottled with 3oz table sugar and a fresh dose of Saflager dry yeast.
Update 6/6 - Kegged, started lagering ~45°F

Making the St Pat's black lager again. This time for somebody else. So, once again...I won't get much of it. I might try to sneak a gallon in bottles for drinking and competition, since it seemed to be very popular a couple months back. I also get to try out my submersible pump for chilling today. The idea is that instead of dumping gallons and gallons of chilling water, I recirculate it over a block of ice and save some water, with the possible added benefit of dropping my wort a few more degrees into the lager zone (Kenny Loggins called, but it was a wrong number).

For this version, I've fixed the Chocolate/carafa proportion (last time I was emptying some inventory), and had to make a substitution for the perle hops. I also opted to try out Papazian's yeast, which is supposed to be good for both ales and lagers. I figured it would be a good idea in case I can't quite get the lower temps in my fermentation space (although the weather has been mild, so it might not be an issue).

Batch #60
--8lbs Pils
--2lb Munich
--0.5lb Chocolate
--0.5lb Carafa II
--0.5lb Crystal 40L
--0.5lb Melanoidin
--4AAU Vanguard (60min)
--4AAU Willamette(45min)
--2AAU each Van. and Wil. (20min)
--0.5oz each Van. and Wil. (0min)
--Whirlfloc (10min)
--WLP862 Cry Havoc, two-stage starter - 1L, 1.5L
OG: 1.056
FG: 1.016
ABV: 5.2%
IBU: ~25-30

Mash in with 17 qts - all grains except chocolate and carafa - at 154F, hold for 30m. Stir in dark grains, mash temp falls a bit, hold for 30m. Batch sparge with 17 qts. Boil for 75m (pils malt!). Chill to 50F, pitch yeast, and ferment to 55F. Bring to room temp for a day or two diacetyl rest, rack off yeast and ramp temp down to ~34F for lagering.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

They don't allow you to have bees in here.

Update 8/2
Bottled lager yeast portion, final gravity 1.001.
Update 7/8
Bottled mead yeast portion. Racked lager yeast portion, started lagering.
Update 7/3
Water: 0.4+ Brix (I need a tiny screwdriver to calibrate properly)
Mead yeast: 5.5 Brix; (~13%abv) Dry, floral and perfume - almost medicinal.
Lager yeast: 8.4 Brix; (~11%abv) Sulfur aroma, slightly harsh. Might benefit from lagering.
Both have a nice hint of the source honey.

More mead! This one's going to be a little lighter in alcohol.

Mead Batch #02
Wildflower Mead (5 gallons)
-12lbs Wildflower honey
-1/4tsp Fermaid K
Split yeast: WLP720 Sweet Mead yeast (1L starter), Fermentis Saflager W-34/70 (11.5g)
OG: ~1.082 (19.5°Brix) <--yep, bought a refractometer.
FG: 0.997 (WLP720), 1.001 (W-34/70)
ABV: ~11% (WLP720), 10.6% (W-34/70)

Boiled 4 gallons water with yeast nutrient, let it cool just a bit, and mixed in (almost) 12 lbs honey to reach (almost) 5 gallons. I spilled some on the way, which is why my shoe smells so good. Chilled and split the must into two 3-gallon carboys. Fermenting the WLP720 around 70F and the W-34/70 at 50F.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Hop Watch 2010

About a month ago I planted a Chinook rhizome in a 24 gallon pot. It sprouted two weeks ago, and I'm just now getting around to posting pictures.

Instead of making a new post every time the plant grows a little, I've made a new gadget so the latest picture and link to the slideshow will live off to the right, just below the status of my fermenters and taps. [Hint: it's the part with the picture]

Now that I've taken the two seconds to learn how to set that up, I'll start posting pictures of the beers, any awards they earn, and probably shots from some events, too.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Neil's Party Part 2 of 2

This one is based on Odell's Easy St Wheat. Never had it, but sounded like a good American wheat beer. Cleaned out my RAHR, so there's a bit of pils in there, too. Added the last of the cascade whole hops for fun. Original clone recipe in brackets where changes were made.

Batch #59
American Wheat, 5.75 gallons [5 gal]
--5.375lbs Wheat Malt
--3.25lbs 2-row RAHR [4.375]
--1.25lbs German Pils [--]
--8oz Munich
--2oz Crystal 20L
--0.75oz Cascade 8.7%AA (60min, whole) [3.5 AAU Cascade]
--0.5oz Cascade 8.7%AA (20m, whole) [--]
--1oz Saaz 3.0%AA (2m, whole)
--1oz Vanguard 5.0%AA (2m, pellet) [Tettnanger]
--Whirlfloc (15min)
--1/2 tsp gypsum (infusion water)
--US-05 - 1/2 cup slurry [Kölsch yeast]
OG: 1.045
FG: 1.007
ABV: 5%
IBU: ~30 [16]

Mash in to 149°F in 4.25 gallons water and hold for 60m. Batch sparge with 4.25 gallons at 170°F to collect 7 gallons wort. Boil for 60m. Chill and pitch yeast at 68-70°F. Came in at 66% efficiency and right on target.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Neil's Party Part 1 of 2

Neil's having another party and he said "Hey, can I get two batches of beer for a month from now?" A week later I had some time, and was planning to either make two batches in one day using extract, or enlist the help of a fellow hausbraumeister to make one of them. I did end up hosting a friend to brew, but he made his own thing, which is remarkably similar to the beer I was going to assign him. Oh well. Wheat beers are fast, so I should still have time if I get it done before next weekend.

I thought for a party that a wheat beer would go over well. They usually do. No one complains too much about hoppiness or roastiness. But Neil wanted two beers. So he gets an amber, too. It is the prerogative of the brewer to challenge party guests' palates at will. So looking at my recipes for amber ales in assorted beer magazines and books, I came across BYO's Bike Clones issue. Fat Tire? Too bland. Boulder Beer Single Track Copper Ale? Now wait a minute, it's brewed with toasted rye. Not your typical amber. Of course the shop had no flaked rye, so I ended up with rye malt that isn't toasted in the oven because a) I don't think that would work as well as toasted flaked rye and b) I overlooked that tidbit until reviewing the recipe to see how my numbers hit (well is the answer, check the vitals!). I opted for a big pitch of clean ale yeast, and doubled the bittering hops because I was skeptical of the BYO numbers. I also boosted the volume to account for transfer losses on the way to the keg. I get better efficiency than BYO assumes, and all my math worked out to be about where I wanted it. Original recipe differences indicated in brackets below.

Batch #58
Single Track Fraternal Twin Ale, 5.75 gallons (5 gallons)
--8.75lbs Ger. Pils [2-row, but with kolsch yeast, probably pils]
--0.5lbs CaraPils
--12oz Rye malt [flaked, toasted]
--0.75oz Cascade 7.5%AA (90min, whole) [3.1AAU Nugget, which is, like, 1/4 oz]
--1oz Vanguard 5.0%AA (30m, pellet) [Tettnanger]
--1oz Vanguard 5.0%AA (5m, pellet) [Tettnanger]
--Whirlfloc (15min)
--1 tsp gypsum (infusion water)
--US-05 - 1/2 cup slurry
OG: 1.054
FG: 1.015
ABV: 5.1%
IBU: ~30

Mash in to 156°F in 4 gallons water and hold for 60m. Fly sparge with 4.5 gallons at 170°F to collect 6.5 gallons wort. Add 1 gallon to reach 7.5 gallons total, boil for 90m. Chill and pitch yeast at 68-70°F. Rocked 78% efficiency and came in right on target.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

This beer needs a good name.

Ok. It's either my scale, or MoreBeer, or both, but every time I weigh my hop pellets out, the total is less than the 2oz I'm paying for. It's possible that there's some moisture loss between these batches, but I don't think it would account for nearly a third of an ounce, especially considering these things are already dried before being pelletized. Anyway. A couple months back I had the Grimbergen Dubbel and decided I needed to brew something in that style. So tasty...

Batch #57
--14lbs Ger. Pils
--1lbs Munich
--8oz Belg. Aromatic
--8oz Special B
--8oz CaraMunich
--1lb Belg. Candi Syrup "D" (80 SRM, 1.032ppg)
--1/3 tsp table salt (~2.5g, infusion water)
--1oz Perle 7.5%AA (60min)
--Whirlfloc (15min)
--WLP530 - Abbey Ale Yeast (sufficient starter)
OG: 1.085
FG: 1.015
ABV: 8.8%
IBU: ~18

Single infusion mash 154F in 21qts water + salt addition, fly sparge with 14qts at 170F. I ended up just shy of 7 gallons wort at 1.062, making for a whopping 82% efficiency (I even widened the gap on my mill today...just goes to show how much more efficient fly sparging is when you've got the time). Ninety minute boil, add hops at 60m mark. I initially planned to add a little near knockout for some aroma, but once again, I've been shortchanged. The salt is to add a little sodium to the beer to boost the perceived malt flavor. The amount I threw in is around 50ppm in 5 gallons of beer, so it should be enough to make a difference, but not so much that the beer is at all salty.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sandeep's Commission

Update 4/5 - Wheaty, but the orange and coriander show well. Tastes awful with toothpaste. SG 1.008
Sandeep asked for a Blue Moon Clone. So, I don't know, I guess this might work. I don't drink Blue Moon very often, so this might be a bit more citrus than the real deal, but as I recall there's honey and people who claim to have good clone recipes use marmalade. Also, I thought I'd use an inconspicuous high flocculating yeast to help keep the beer American and clear.

Batch #56
Cold Pressed Ham
--5lbs Ger. Pils
--3lbs White Wheat Malt
--2lbs Flaked Wheat
--4oz Munich
--1/2 tsp gypsum (infusion water)
--0.67oz Perle 7.5%AA (60min)
--Whirlfloc (15min)
--8oz Orange Blossom Honey (5min)
--fresh zest from 2 tangerines and 1 grapefruit (5min)
--2T orange marmalade (5min)
--crushed coriander (5min)
--Safale US-05
OG: 1.052
FG: 1.008
ABV: 5.75%
IBU: 15

Single infusion at 154F in 16 qts. Sparge with 17 qts at 170 to collect 7 gallons for a 90 min boil. Spices and such just a few minutes before flameout.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Yeast Wars!

Update 3/30 - Belgian FG 1.018, bottled.
Update 3/28 - American FG 1.011, bottled. Belgian SG 1.018, check back tomorrow.
Update 3/21 - Dry hopped late last night.
I'm hop bursting the crap out of this. Expect an update with dry hops in a week or two. I also bought smaller carboys so I can split my brews into two batches for yeast and dry addition experiments. Today's lesson: Fermentis Safale US-05 vs Safbrew T-58.

Batch #55
Honey DIPA
--15lbs 2-row RAHR
--4oz Honey Malt
--6oz Melanoidin
--6oz Carafoam
--2.25lbs Mesquite Honey
--1/2 tsp gypsum (infusion water)
--1oz Cascade 6.7%AA (60min)
--1oz Cascade 6.7%AA (30m)
--11oz Cascade 6.7%AA (every 2m until knockout starting at 20m)
--3oz Cascade (dry hop, split evenly between carboys)
--Whirlfloc (15min)
--Split batch: Safale US-05 and Safbrew T-58, 11.5g dry (each)
OG: 1.089
FG: 1.011 | 1.018
ABV: 10.2% | 9.3%
IBU: ~85?

Mash in with 5gal at 152F (slightly higher than normal for my DIPAs to account for the honey), hold for 60m. I batch sparged with 4gal to collect 6.75gal total. I also immediately began heating the first batch while collecting the second. Hopefully this will add a slight caramel, but I don't expect much. Bring to a boil, and make sure to use a big hop sock or lots of bags to avoid cramping your pellets. Chill and pitch yeast. I plan to free ferment in 64F ambient for a couple days then limit at 68F in my chiller if needed.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Stupid February

Yeah, no brewing in all of February. I guess it was something of a busy month between lots to do in lab, friends getting ready to leave the country, and, oh yeah, some sort of beer event.

That said, the red ale's kegged and needs some gas, the ryewine's coming along nicely, and my imperial mild developed a mild twang that seems to be a real crowd pleaser.

More beer is on the way as soon as I can get a weekend to myself!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

T-minus 45 days.

St Patrick's Day is not that far away. So here's the red ale, with a bit of a tweak. I'm hoping that the rose will come through but not be overpowering. If it works, I'd like to add rose hips to the recipe, too, since they contribute a bit of color as well as a citrusy tartness. The extra time to sit in the keg should help the rose mellow a bit and blend with the caramel and honey in this.

Batch #54
Irish Rose Ale
--11.75lbs 2-row RAHR
--4oz Honey Malt
--6oz Crystal 40L
--6oz Crystal 120L
--4oz Carafa II (30m mash)
--4oz rose water (15m)
--1/2 tsp gypsum (infusion water)
--2oz Cascade 7.5%AA (60min)
--Whirlfloc (15min)
--WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast, 1L starter
OG: 1.065
FG: 1.015
ABV: 6.5%
IBU: ~40

Mash in all grains except carafa at 154F in ~17qts water. Stir in carafa after 30m. Batch sparge with ~17qts hot water for mash out to 168F. I collected 6.75gal wort.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Hello, my name is Dr. Greenthumb

Preordered a hop rhizome. I don't know what I'm going to do with it. Other than brew an IPA with a whole lot of chinook at the end of summer.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Update 3/11 - SG 1.017. Kegged with 1.75oz table sugar.
Update 3/1 - SG 1.020.
Update 2/14 - SG 1.024 and has been for a few days. Racked to secondary and fermentation jump started with WLP001 (1L starter, crashed, decanted, repitched into a second 1L starter to proof).

One of my goals for this sack o' grain was to make a barleywine that doesn't suck. Then I got to thinking. Wouldn't a ryewine be kind of fun? Turns out I'm not the only one who thought so. I've heard of recipes ranging from 20-50% rye. I went for a solid 24% rye with 8% wheat. Shouldn't be overwhelmingly spicy, but I expect it will have enough potency to balance the caramel and honey flavors from the specialty grains. This recipe maxes out my mash tun. Rumor has it there's a fantastic oatwine out there that includes a hefty 60% oat malt bill.

Batch #53
--15lbs 2-row RAHR
--6lb Rye Malt
--2lb White Wheat Malt
--12oz Crystal 60L
--8oz Crystal 75-80L
--6oz Honey Malt
--4oz Crystal 40L
--2oz Crystal 120L
--4oz Rice Hulls
--1/2 tsp gypsum (infusion water)
--2oz Magnum 14.4%AA (60min)
--1oz Mt Hood 5.2%AA (30min)
--1oz Mt Hood 5.2%AA (15min)
--1oz Mt Hood 5.2%AA (5min)
--1oz Mt Hood 5.2%AA (1min)
--Whirlfloc (15min)
--1/4 tsp fermaid k (15m)
--WLP002 English Ale Yeast, 1.5C slurry from stout
OG: 1.100
FG: 1.017
ABV: 10.9%
IBU: ~75

Mash in with 29 qts water to 146F. This gives a decent water/grain ratio of about 1.15, and fills my 10gal cooler mashtun almost to the brim. The low mash temp is to make sure that I don't end up with a finished product that's cloyingly sweet. Bonus: 146F is within the range of protease activity, so the rye gets a decent treatment. Nice big thermal mass, the temp stays the same for a solid 90m mash (no wind either...too wet outside, so I was in the kitchen). Fly sparge with 10qts water at 170F. Ideally, more sparge water is needed, so my efficiency suffered some (59%), but I was running into the limits of my kettle, and with the crystal malts, I didn't want to boil too long. 60m boil, hops as noted. Cool to ~60F, pitch yeast, ferment in low 60s (don't want too much of the esters from the yeast...just a hint). I may have to add more yeast later, say after a week or so rack and pitch active WLP001 or something else hungry. That way I don't stress the english yeast too much and don't have to worry about sitting on trub and dead yeast while the ferment completes.