Dec 30, 2008

Rotkapchen Lager

Rotkapchen Lager
O.G. = 1.066
45 IBU
6.7% ABV
Current hop shortages have made recipe planning a little difficult. I was intending on brewing up a batch of Bohemian Pilsener today, but was unable to procure the appropriate hops to do so. My chest freezer is empty now, so that means I have to make some sort of lager to take advantage of the space. I have quite a bit of Mt. Hood hops, so this recipe was made to use those hops in a lager of some sort. The red, which will result from the dash of Carafa, was an afterthought, but makes for a good name.

Malt Bill:

10 lbs Pilsener Malt
2 lbs Munich
.5 lb Carahell
.5 lb Carapils
2 oz Carafa III


1 oz US Northern Brewer (7.4% AA) 90 minutes
1 oz Mt. Hood (6% AA) 15 minutes
1 0z Mt. Hood (6% AA) 5 minuites
1 oz Mt. Hood (6% AA) Dry into secondary

Wyeast Urquell 2001 Yeast

I am using a two step mash with a 30 minute rest at 144 degrees and then an hour at 156. Sparging at 170 degrees should take about 55 minutes:

Brewday notes:
Infusion strike went well, and I ended up right at 144 after fifteen minutes / Mash was a little longer +5 minutes or so because I had to wait for sparge water to heat up / After sparging, I am coming up about a half gallon short. I am heating some more water up to 170 to sparge a little more. I need to learn to make more sparge water than I need -- either that or make my original infusion the same 1.3 quarts per gallon that I use with single step mashes /O.G. read at 1.066, up from the expected 1.062 -- could be because it boiled down to about five gallons instead of the 5.5 that are on my sheet.

1.4.09 -- checked gravity and it was down near 1.017. Started diacetyl rest.
1.10.09 -- Racked into secondary yesterday and added one ounce of Mt Hood. Turned the temperature down around 43, and then down to around 37 today. I will eventually get it as low as 34. I heard to turn the temp down slowly. I tasted my sample (which measured 1.015), and the hop flavor is very nice. Also, I had an enormous amount of trub in this one, so I was only able to collect about 4.5 gallons, if that.
2.20.09-- Transferred into the keg and turned on the gas.
3.2.09 -- This one is a hit. It is very crisp, and the Mt. Hood additions make for some nice flavor and aroma. The alcohol content is quite sneaky, though. This will not last long, but I am sure I will make this one again.
2.28.09 -- Thing is that this is my normal Pilsener recipe with just a small color addition and different hops. This is a good way to become familiar with the Mt. Hood hops.

Dec 15, 2008

Greymalkin's Juicy Dubbel Dubbel

O.G. = 1.098
81% Attenuated
10.5% ABV
27.85 IBU

Actually it should be a Quadrupel or a Belgian Dark Strong ale -- a "dubbel dubbel"; 2x2=4. It will be the second beer in a row with an ass name, but how can one resist referencing Shakespeare and Sir Mix-a-Lot at the same time? Yeah, me either. There was a day when I steered clear of any Belgian style beer. I think I had too many that were not well made, and were mainly high-gravity alcohol vehicles that gave me screaming ass headaches. That all changed the day I first tried St. Bernardus' ABT 12 and found myself lost in all that raisiny, pruny, sherry flavored dark fruit goodness. Now I love about anything from St. Bernardus (even though monks don't brew it).

The dark fruit flavors are what I am going for here, so I am choosing to go with the Candi Syrup rather than the nuggets as per the recommendations in this discussion thread. Here is the recipe I have come up with:
make it) as well as other Belgian breweries. See a Promash page with all the specifics here.

The Fermentables: weight x potentail x efficiency = extract

15 lbs Pilsner Malt
15 x 36 x .80 = 432
2 lbs Munich Malt
2 x 35 x .80 = 56
.5 lb Caramunich
.5 x 34 x .8 = 13.6
.5 lb Special B
.5 x 30 x .8 = 12
1.5 lb Dark Candi Syrup
1 x 30 x .8 = 24
.5 lb Cane sugar
1 x 46 x .8 = 36.8
Total extract = 574.4 / 6 gallons (preboil) = Target Gravity (1.o96)

The Hops:

1 oz of EKG (5.6% AA) @ 90 minutes will yield 19.32 IBUs

.5 oz Challenger (7% AA) @ 30 minutes will yield 8.53 IBUs
Total IBUs = 27.85

White Labs Trappist Yeast (WL500)

Mash Notes:
30 minutes in -- This is the first batch I am making using Promash. I added 5.85 gallons of strike water at close to 170 degrees using Promash tto figure strike temperature. It is a little too warm at 30 minutes in (160 instead of the inteded 154). I threw in a couple of ice cubes. I will check again in fifteen minutes or so. I figure the Promash can help me dial in my system a little better in regards to temperatures and what not. I seem to only be losing ten degrees, but usually it is fifteen. The tun did prime with boiling water for quite a bit longer than usual today.

12.31.08 -- Fermentation has been very active in a tub of water with an aquarium heater and a water pump to maintain temperatures. The 25 watt heater seems to be struggling a little. It is set at around 73, but only can maintain about 69. I have a 50 watt heater on the way.
1.2.09 -- White Labs Trappist yeast (WL 500) is a complete animal. It ripped through this 1.098 wort in seven days, leaving it at 1.019. I am sure adding a 2 liter starter had something to do with this. It is still bubbling a little, but that is likely to be the suspended CO2 escaping. I will check the gravity agian in a couple days to see if I should put it into a secondary to settle out. The 50 watt heater came today, and I may not even need it until later. The temps have been pretty consistently between 68 and 7, with one morning after a very cold night that was at 66.
1.09.09 -- Racked into secondary today.
1.18.09 -- Bottled

2.14.09 -- Opened one and it is barely carbonated. I looked at my notes for "22", and found that was the same issue a month after bottling that beer. I will wait another month before trying another. Tastewise, it is pretty close to what I wanted from what I can tell. The dark fruit flavors are certainly there, and there is a very pronounced dry phenolic character. We will see how some dense Beligian carbonation will affect the flavor. I just pray it comes. See you in a month.

2.23.09 -- I got wise and moved all the bottles out of the laundry room to the kitchen and living room where it is five to ten degrees warmer.

3.3.09 -- A "square root day" that only happens a few times every century. . . Had the first Greymalkin that was adequately carbonated, but still has a little way to go in that department. This is going to be a most wonderful beer in a couple more weeks. The dark fruit notes seem to be mostly cherry at this point. I need to see what I hand to say about Chimay since this is their yeast. That review is very remeniscent of this beer.

4.30.09 -- Regardless of what I had to say about "decent carbonation" in the above entry, it turned out not to be entirely true. The next couple of bottles I opened were flat as hell. Dejected, I resolved to wait until it began getting warmer in the house before I tried another. That happened this past weekend, and the results were very encouraging. Though I do not think this beer will ever have a fluffy full head like those that enjoyed an addition of fresh yeast at bottling, there is now ample head and effervescecnce that lifts the flavors onto the pallate. In short, it drinks like a beer rather than a wine now, and the dark fruit and malt falvors are so much more pronounced and enjoyable than before.

11.08.09 -- I had about 20 bottles (12 and 24 oz) of this beer left, and the carbonation never got much better than an initial fizzle. I decided today to open each one, sprinkle in a bit of dry yeast, and then recap them. We'll see. I cannot think I have done anything that would have made the carbonation less. Several of the bottles showed some immediate reaction to the yeast, so I took that as a good sign.

1.1.10 -- Drank one while brewing. The carbonation is greatly improved, but the head still fades pretty fast. At least now when it fades there is still head until the bottom of the glass.

6.15.10 --

Tasting Greymalkin's Juicy Dubbel-Dubbel

Appearance -- Carbonation has always been an issue, and that does not bode well for appearance, especially for style. No carbonation - no head. As I look back at the recipe, I wonder why I did not add any wheat in there. The color is pretty ruby/brown, and the beer is not very clear.

Smell -- A clean, plum scent is the most prevalent. The yeast character does not come through aromatically, but I think it should. I think this is also an issue attributed to the poor carbonation.

Taste -- This is a great tasting beer with the dark fruit flavors I wanted with a ginger-like spicyness from the yeast. The alcohol notes are muted well by the sweetness, and then come through in the finish in a fashion that is not at all harsh. After agitating the beer in the glass, and then drinking while it was still active, a cotton candy hint rides along with the finish.

Mouthfeel -- This beer is a great example of how much carbonation affects the other aspects of beer. The mouthfeel is flat and almost watery at times. This is improved by agitation in the glass, or by swishing in the mouth. The sheer volume of the malt bill compensates a bit for the otherwise absence of mouthfeel (unless artificially produced).

Overall -- In light of everything above, I still consider this one of my better works. The flavors are exactly what I wanted, and this beer, in my opinion, has only one flaw, albeit one that has such an overall effect on the drinking experience. I have not failed to re-yeast strong beers or beers that conditioned for a long time. That is something I can take away from this -- that, and beer. I look forward to tasting this one at the five-year mark, and perhaps past then. I think this beer will have more a port or sherry character if allowed to age for a while, especially since this is a beer that could handle it.

Nov 14, 2008


Munich Dunkel
O.G. = 1.050
24 IBU
4.9% ABV

Grain Bill:

11 lbs Munich II
.5 lb Carapils

Hop Schedule:

1 oz Spalt (3.4% AA) -- 60 minutes
1 oz Saaz (3.5% AA) -- 30 minutes

Wyeast Urquell Yeast

I want to use a three step mash with a 20 minute rest at 144, a 60 minute rest at 156, and then a 10 minute mash out at 170. The method I am using can be found here in John Palmer's How to Brew , or in some of my other brewing posts.

Initial Infusion Equation:
Strike Water Temperature Tw = (.2/r)(T2 - T1) + T2

(.2 / .75) (144 - 85 ) + 144 = 159.7 degrees (two gallons)

Mash Infusion Equation:
Wa = (T2 - T1)(.2G + Wm)/(Tw - T2)

(156-144) (2.3+8.6) / (210-156) = amount of boiling water needed to get to 156

(12)(10.9)/54 = 2.4 quarts

(170-156) (2.3+18) / (210-170) = amount of boiling water needed to get to 170

(14) (20.3) /40 = 7.17 quarts / 1.8 quarts

Brewday Reflections: Perhaps starting out with .75 quarts per pound is not quite enough. The run-off got stuck, and thankfully I still had my trusty drilled out five gallon bucket along with my old bottling bucket. It was time to go old school. I just hope I reaped the gravity I was hoping for and the beer will be as clear as if it were run through the manifold in my normal tun. Thankfully I had plenty of homebrew to help me relax and not worry. One should also notice that I did not check the temperature all the way through like I may have in the past. I have found the formula above to be reliable, so I just trusted it.

11.23.08 -- Checked gravity, and it was down around 1.014, which 72% attenuated. I did not expect it to be this far. I am raising the temperature as much as I can in hopes I can get a few more points out of it, eating up diacetyl in the process.

11.28.08 -- Gravity was down to 1.012. Racked into secondary and turned temperature down to 34 degrees.

12.26.08 -- Racked into keg

1.3.09 -- First impressions: Very drinkable! This beer is light bodied and certainly smooth. The bread crust flavors of the Munich malt come through very nicely, though next time I may add a little crystal to make it a tad more complex. I am not complaining though. A great beer that probably wont last long. I will have to be sure to take a picture before it runs out.

Oct 21, 2008

Before the Blog 2006 - 2007

Superstition Coffee Porter -- October 1, 2006
Good Head Red -- October 20, 2006
Good Head Red II -- December 30, 2006
Yippie IPA II -- March 10, 2007
Rauchbier -- April 2007
Good Head Red III (first all-grain batch) -- August 2007
Schwartzbier -- Fall 2007
Stout -- October 2007
Good Head Red IV -- November 3, 2002 (R.I.P. -- November 24, 2007)


Yippie I.P.A. -- January 18, 2009
Bohunk -- February 20, 2009

Extra Pale Ale -- February 20, 2009
Good Head Red 2009 -- March 10, 2009
Black Belgian Ale -- March 27, 2009
Bavarian Lager -- May 15, 2009
Belgian Strong Golden Ale -- May 15, 2009
Bavarian Amber Lager -- July 12, 2009
Belgian Blonde -- July 12, 2009
Belgian Ale (ardennes) -- July 28, 2009
Belgian Ale (Strong Ale) -- July 28, 2009
Precipitator -- October 12, 2009
Downpour Ale -- October 12, 2009
DSB ESB -- November 1, 2009
Yippy Three -- December 5, 2009

The Early Days 1995 - 2004

  1. Porter -- Summer 1995
  2. Dry-Hopped Ale -- Fall 1995
  3. Chocolate Stout -- Winter 1995
  4. Ginger Honey Experiment -- Early 1996
  5. Black Ale -- Early 1997
  6. Kolsch -- Early 2002
  7. Alt -- Spring 2002
  8. Dunkelweizen -- Summer 2002
  9. Das Riddlor -- July 2002
  10. Yippie IPA -- July 2003
  11. Orange Cru -- March 24, 2004
  12. Wheat -- Spring 2004


37 / 37 Jr. Big American Brown / Brown

37 Target Gravity = 1.095
37 O.G. = 1.090 (see below)
8.1% ABV

37 Jr. Target Gravity = at least 1.042 (before addition of Piloncillo)
37 Jr. O.G. = 1.056
4.7% ABV

It is that time of year again, the time to brew a double batch -- one being a strong beer to ferment and age in the cold weather, and then be bottled in the spring. The second runnings of this batch, "37 Jr." will be an expirement with wet hops. Both beers will be best classified as American Browns, though the Jr. may not be as hoppy, depending on how the wet hops (which are first year hops) work out.

I was fortunate enough to receive my Beer Advocate Magazine (II, IX) the same day I was to design this one since it had an article about Parti Gyle, which is the process of running off two beers from the same grain. The equasions in the article were most helpful in the predictions of gravities of both beers, something I thought was guesswork. The recipe below is for 10 gallons: four preboil gallons of "37", and six preboil gallons of "37 Jr.".

"37 Jr." is also an experiment with wet hops, which also happen to be a first year crop. If "jr." ends up being very sweet without much hop balance, we will know the rest of the wet hops in my freezer are shit. I do not think this is going to happen, though. The wet nugget hops smelled oily, earthy, and kinda funky.

Malt Bill (both beers):

16 lbs Marris Otter
3.6 lbs Biscuit Malt
3.6 lbs Crystal Malt (50L)
1.6 lbs Chocolate Malt

Hops (37):

1 oz Millenium (15% AA) 60 minutes
2 oz Mt Hood (6% AA) 15 minutes
1 oz Mt Hood (6% AA) End

Hops (37 Jr.):

1 oz Mt Hood (6% AA) 90 minutes
6.5 oz wet Nugget (?% AA) 15 minutes

Adjuncts (37 Jr.)

1 lb Piloncillo in boil

8 gallons strike water at 168 degrees hoping for a 154 degree mash. I used the equation from last time.
6.13 gallons sparge water

Brewday Notes:

32 Minutes into the mash: temp was around 150 with variations depending on where in the mash I stuck the thermometer. I stirred it a good one and closed the lid.
Later: I realize that opening the lid and checking temperatures every thirty minutes or so is just a source of unneeded stress.

Reflections on Brewday:

Mathematics were never my first love -- more a necessary evil. I imagine it was my faulty math that let to the first beer to measure at a gravity of 1.120. I suppose this was not a bad problem to have, but I think the yeast would not have been able to tolerate alcohol above 10%. It was a good thing I had about three quarts of purified water left over to add to the wort. After that addition, the gravity was down to 1.090. I suppose I will check my math to see if that is where I went wrong. Maybe I will even post it if I get bored enough. I may have also ran off a little more slowly than what would fit my 75% efficiency calculation. All in all I cannot complain. The pari-gyle equation allowed me to get a second beer with a gravity of 1.056, which is much better than the "jr." I got last time I did this.

10.28.08 -- Issues, issues, issues. Issue #1: when using a blow-off tube, do not stick the free end into another empty carboy. The gas has to go somewhere. Fired off like a cannon and the counter presser squirted about 3/4 a gallon of wort all over the orange room. (Wives are generally supportive of the brewing arts until wort gets on the curtains). Issue #2: temps in the house are dipping below 60, and with the American Ale Yeast's (Wyeast 1272) optimum temperature being 60-72, I am experiencing very slow activity in the big beer.
11.7.08 -- Measured gravities: 37 = 1.030; Jr. = 1.022. I think 37 could be ready to rack into secondaries if I know it will continue to ferment since it has only attenuated 66% with an expected attenuation of 72 - 76%. I think I will leave Jr. in the primary until I am ready to keg, but that will be at least a few days more since it has only attenuated 61%.
11.14.08 -- Jr. reading at 1.020, which is still too high to keg. I am surprised it has not dropped more than this. 37 is reading at 1.034, which is high too. Both are around 63% attenuated, so I will wait and hope they both continue to drop.
11.21.08 --Falling temperatures coupled with a poor placement of the carboys (away from curtains) seem to have contributed to a stuck fermentation. After adding a starter made with dry American Ale yeast and placing it in a water bath heated with an aquarium heater and circulated with a water pump, big 37 is up and bubbling again. This is a relief since most of the resources are sunk into the bigger of the beers. Jr. does not seem to be doing much of anything, even with the addition of Champagne yeast. He will likely be kegged this weekend, if not today. I will keep my fingers crossed that the shaking I did to rouse the yeast does not result in oxidation issues. (later) Kegged Jr. Will update later.
11.23.08 -- 37 is reading at 1.031 right now, so it is still fermenting, albeit slowly. If it can get down to around 1.025, I will be very pleased since that will be nearly 72% attenuated. I tasted the sample and it already has a nice flavor, but still very sweet.
11.28.08 -- Down to 1.030. I am going to raise the temperature a little in hopes to have this done by next week so I can start on a new batch.
12.2.02 -- 1.029. Seems to be falling a point every five days. If I can get it down to 1.027, it will be 70% attenuated and 8.25% ABV. I will be happy with that. The hard thing will be the decision to bottle it or keg it.
12.17.08 -- "37 Jr." has been kegged for a couple weeks now, and the oxidized flavor was certainly present. It was not overwhelming, but I knew it was there. Today I said screw it, and dumped 2 oz of Challenger hop pellets into the keg along with the four or so ounces of cherrywood chips I have been soaking in 100 proof Southern Comfort. The keg will stay at room temperature for a while, and then we will see. "37" is reading at 1.028 right now, so it is getting kegged. The ABV will be close to 8.1%, which is an estimation since I added extra yeast / starters which could have changed the gravity.
1.3.09 -- Some good, some bad. "37" is a very respectable beer. It is a deep dark brown (black) with caramel nutty aromas. The taste has notes of oak and vanilla, though neither were used in the recipe. Certainly a sipper at a little more than 8% ABV. When I bottle my Quad, I will also bottle a couple of these to store away for a while. "37 Jr." is just fucked. I never got to know how the dry hopping / chip addition worked since the chips seemed to have clogged the keg. I cannot get anything out of it. I did smell the tell-tale oxidized scent, so I think I will dump it. My first keg dump ever.

1.06.09 -- Jr. got dumped out.
3.2.09 -- Bottled two "37"s from the keg and hid them somewhere I may not find them again for a couple of years.
3.10.09 -- Put the rest of the 37 in bottles.


Jahrfunfzehn Lager -- January 1, 2010
Turkey Vulture Blonde -- January 1, 2010
Double Toasted Oatmeal Chocolate Too Many Adjective American Stout -- February 26, 2010
Bavarian Amber Lager -- April 2, 2010
Belgian Dubbel -- April 2, 2010
Spiced Special Ale -- April 2, 2010
Jahrfunfzehn Helles -- June 12, 2010
GOld Scratch -- June 12 2010
Don Juan Saison -- July 17, 2010
Funky Don Juan -- July 17, 2010
Oily Bohunk -- September 4, 2010
Belgian Amber Ale -- September 4, 2010
Sour Brown Ale -- October 23, 2010
Mordecai Brown -- October 23, 2010

Padunk-a-Dunkel -- December 22,2010
Brown Trout -- December 22, 2010

2007 - 2008

"22" -- November 2007
"22" Junior -- November 2007 (first draft beer)
Oily Bohunk Bohemian Pilsner -- January 18, 2008
Orange Cru II -- February 1, 2008 (extract)
Good Head Red V -- February 1, 2008
Wannabe Special Bitter -- February 15, 2008
Gold Glove Leapday Ale -- February 29, 2008
Noc-a-homa I.P.A. -- March 15, 2008
Schwarzbier -- April 5, 2008
For Real ESB -- May 3, 2008
Noc-homa I.P.A. II -- July 13, 2008
Peasant Beer -- July 13, 2008
Rustic Farmhouse Ale -- August 9, 2008
El Jeffe Weizen -- August 29, 2008
Slightly Olier Bohunk -- October 3, 2008
"37" -- October 25, 2008
"37 Jr." -- October 25, 2008
Padunk-a-Dunkel -- November 14, 2008
Greymalkin's Juicy Dubbel Dubbel -- December 26, 2008
Rotkapchen Lager -- December 30, 2008

From a Breweriana Book . . .

Jul 19, 2008

Slightly Oilier Bohunk

My brewery witnessed a major improvement this week with the addition of a chest freezer to control fermentation temperatures. Originally I was planning on brewing a Bavarian Lager similar to Bittburger or Ayinger's Jahrhundert, but the hops I need are unavailable. Fortunately Saaz are, so I will be making some Bohemian Pilsner. (later) As you will see, the gravity ended up being well higher than the mark, so this does not qualify as a Bohemian Pilsner.

Target Gravity = 1.055

O.G. = 1.068
F.G. = 1.016
ABV = 6.8%

Target IBU = 40

Malt Bill:

80% Pilsner Malt -- 10.5 lbs
10% Munich I -- 1.3 lbs
5% Carapils -- .7 lb
5% Carahel -- .7 lb

Hop Schedule:

1 oz Sterling (7% AA) -- 75 minutes
1 oz Sterling (7% AA) -- 45 minutes
1 oz Saaz (3.4 % AA) -- 15 minutes

I am going to try another multi-step mash like the one I used with the Gold Glove Leapday Ale. There will be two steps: a protein rest for 30 minutes @ 144 degrees, and then an hour @ 156. Here is the equation I will use:

Initial Infusion Equation:
Strike Water Temperature Tw = (.2/r)(T2 - T1) + T2

Mash Infusion Equation:
Wa = (T2 - T1)(.2G + Wm)/(Tw - T2)

r = The ratio of water to grain in quarts per pound.
Wa = The amount of boiling water added (in quarts).
Wm = The total amount of water in the mash (in quarts).
T1 = The initial temperature (¡F) of the mash.
T2 = The target temperature (¡F) of the mash.
Tw = The actual temperature (¡F) of the infusion water.
G = The amount of grain in the mash (in pounds).
Initial Infusion:

(.2/.75)(144-75)+144 =
(.2666)(69)+144=162 degrees

13.2 lbs of grain x .75 quarts = 9.9 quarts / 2.5 gallons of 162 degree water

Mash Infusion:

(156-144)(26.4+9.9) / (210-156)
(12)(36.3) /54
435.6 / 54 = 8 quarts / 2 gallons boiling water

30 minutes in: The temperature was reading a little under 130, so I have no idea about what happened. I went ahead and added the 2 gallons of boiling water, and set the timer for another 30 minutes. I will then check out what is going on and see if another step infusion is needed. I probably should have used more than .75 quarts per pound of grain.
59 minutes in: I get three different temperature readings with three different thermometers. One says 138; one says 152; one says 158. AHHHHH!
61 minutes in: I just compared three thermometers in a pot of water that was already on its way to boiling, and they read the same. I then checked my mash with one of the thermometers other than the one I leave in there, and I got a reading of 158 -- two degrees hotter than I wanted. I am going to go with this. Maybe leaving the thermometer in the mash is a bad idea.

Reflections of the Brewday: I learned a thing or two today. First, I think leaving the thermometer in the mash is the source of much unnecessary stress. The other two thermometers (which measured the same as the one in the mash when placed in 100 degree water) showed that the one left in the mash was inaccurate since it read differently than the other two when they were placed in the mash. Secondly, running off my wort too quickly was certainly the reason for my shitty efficiency -- so much that this beer will turn out much stronger since I calculated for 70% efficiency, a lower figure to compensate for my poor performance of late, and I ended up being 79% efficient. I am not complaining at all about that. It is better to figure out what what causing poor efficiency than hit a target gravity on the nose. I will next time. The original gravity of this batch ended up being 1.068, when I was planning for 1.055. This also means I will need to recalculate the IBUs for this one since the wort was denser than I figured for.

10.6.08 -- Figured that if I want to start my diacetyl rest 75% of the way through fermentation, I should turn the temp up once the gravity reads 1.031. (68 GU x .74 attenuation = 18) -- (31 is 25% of the way from 18 to 68, thus a gravity reading of 1.031 would denote 75% fermented.)
10.10.08 -- Used new "thief" to check gravity. 1.041.
10.13.08 -- Refigured IBUs (58.53) while sanitizing my "thief" and found that I was way off on my math originally (left out an important zero), so this beer will be way hoppier than expected. Since the beer will be stonger too, the GU:BU ratio still fits a Bohemian Pilsner (.86). Later: gravity measures 1.032 right now. I turned the temp up to around 68. Will probably rack to primary in a couple days.
10.17.08 -- Racked into secondary and placed in freezer at 34 degrees. I will leave it here as long as I can, knowing that if I need the room in the freezer, I can keg it and put it in the fridge which is at 40 degrees.
11.14.08 -- Measured final gravity at around 1.016 and then kegged. May be a bit early, but I had to make room in the chest freezer for Munich Dunkel
11.21.08 -- Debuted this beer a night or two ago, and I am very impressed. The head retention is wonderful, yet the beer still needs to clear a little -- probably due to a little collection of yeast that has settled to the bottom of the keg. The beer has wonderful body, perhaps more than a Bohemian Pilsner should, but with the O.G. I ended up with, seems appropriate. Hop level seems to be where I want it too.
12.26.08 -- Blew out before I could get a good picture.

Your Favorite Band Sucks Episode 7

Here ya go. I even took out most of the dumb ass talking. I will add the track listings as soon as someone gives enough of a shit to listen to it and perhaps ask me, "what was that bangin' ass song after that other kick ass shit?". I'm holding my breath, chin nuts.

El Jeffe Weizen

I figured Hefeweizen would be the next wise choice to ferment while the weather is still warm. Knowing that a target fermentation temperature of 70 degrees is preferred, mine will probably do its thing around 75. I did not do major calculations on this one. Instead, I used books at the brewshop to come up with a very simple Hefeweizen recipe:

The Malt Bill:

7.25 lbs Wheat
5 lbs Pilsner

The Hops:

1 oz Spalt (3.5%AA) -- 60 minutes
.5 oz Spalt (3.5%AA) -- 15 minutes

IBU = 15.97

Weihanstephaner Yeast

4 gallons strike water at 165 degrees hoping for a 150 degree mash. This is the first time I am calculating my heat loss at 15 instead of ten degrees. This would have gotten me right on the money this time.50 Minutes into the mash: temperature was about 142, which is crazy. I am heating up one quart of water to add.
63 Minutes into the mash: I added a quart of 200 degree water, and I am not doing anything else until I sparge.

This ended up with an O.G. of 1.045, which is a little sad = around 60%, which I cannot believe since I primed the tun and wrapped it in a sleeping bag. After a little research, I suspect my sparging techniques are to blame. I let it run out too fast when I should let the sparge water sit in the grains for a few minutes. I boiled about a half pound of DME to add to the fermenter which is not yet active. I do not see the harm in this, and it should boost the O.G. to somewhere in the 1.048 neighborhood. I will not know the exact figure, but at least this is a learning experience.

Click to play El Jeffe Weizen
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8.31.08 -- We had an explosion this morning. When am I going to learn and use a blow-off tube? Temperature hung in there around 70 yesterday, but was 73-74 this morning. I moved it to where I can blow the fan on it.
9.3.08 -- Putting ice jugs in the water in which the carboy sits has been helping, but this crude method of temperature control provides results that are anything but precise. I have read the temperature as low as 68 degrees and as high as 74. Things could be worse.

9.26.08 -- Debuted this one last night with my good pal Meat Snacks. My first impressions are that this is a good, very normal heffeweisen. While it lacks some of the character found in other examples that have been brewed for centuries, it is still very pleasing. The crude temperature control methods seemed to have worked okay since the banana flavors are not present.

11.12.08 -- All done.



American Keller Beer -- January 22, 2012
Cask-Conditioned Kellerbier -- January 22, 2012
Ugly American -- January 22, 2012
Curley's Wife -- April 2, 2012
Mordecai Brown -- June 7, 2012
Mordecai Bruin -- June 7, 2012
Captured Wild Yeast Test Beer -- July 15, 2012
Ugly American Yella Beer -- July 15, 2012
Grisette -- July 30, 2012
Cyrus Wheat IPA - September 29, 2-12
Black and Mild - December 15, 2012
Ornery Old Bock -- December 31, 2012

Rustic Farmhouse Ale

I am unsure if you are supposed to pronounce it (Says-on) (Say-sun)or (Sas-son), so I am avoiding the term "Saison" in favor of a description of what it is: a French / Belgian beer made with available ingredients with a strength so to fortify but not get the farm hands who drank it completely sloshed so they could continue doing their work. Okay, I do know how to pronounce Saison, but saying I did not lent itself well to that lovely first sentence, huh?
Many recipes warn drinkers to the surprising strength of Saison. Mine should clock in at around 1.070. Since this beer seems to have a history of including what you have on hand without overcalculating, I am rounding the weights. For example 1.6 becomes 1.5 and 1.93 becomes 2. This will also be my first time using Rye (which should add spiciness) and Piloncillo (a partially refined sugar from my favorite supermercado).

Another thing that got me all excited was the fact that this style loves hot weather. Some people ferment this one at temperatures upward of 90 degrees. Hot Damn. I wish I knew this years ago.

Rustic Farmhouse Ale:
Target Gravity: 1.070
Original Gravity: 1.066

Malt Bill:

9.33 lbs (60%) Pilsner Malt
1.5 lbs (10%) Munich I
2 lbs (10%) Rye
1.5 lbs (10%) Wheat

1 lb Piloncillo (in boil)

2 oz Saaz (3.8%AA) -- 90 minutes
1 oz Mount Hood (3.7%AA) -- 60 minutes
1 oz East Kent Goldings (5.6%AA) -- 30 minutes
.5 oz Saaz (3.8%AA) -- 15 minutes

35 IBU

Big Belgian Saison Yeast Starter -- about two quarts, maybe unnecessary . . . (the starter part that is).
Recipe Cost = $39 (which includes ice and water)
4.65 gallons of strike water
3.14 gallons sparge water needed
Brewday Notes:
My last beer, Noc-a-homa II suffered from temperature losses almost all the way through the mash. I suppose this was because I thought that since it was the summer time, I did not need to prime the tun with boiling water or cover it with blankets. This time I primed it, and got down my zero-degree sleeping bag to wrap it up. I will be surprised if I loose much heat at all.
16 minutes into mash: temperature was around 152-153, so I am pleased. I also know the thermometer needs a little time to get it all the way up sometimes, so I am good. I am not going to check again for a while.
64 minutes into the mash: temperature was right around 150. It surprises me that I am losing any heat at all, but I am not going to worry. I need to stop worrying so much about temperatures (not that they are not important); a fluxuation of a few degrees should not get me all riled up. This is a rustic beer anyhow.

Since the O.G. (1.060) came out a little bit lower like last time, I am going to have to recalculate my efficiency. It is not at the 75% I have been using anymore.


9.33 lbs Pilsner Malt x 36 = 335.88
1.5 lbs Munich I x 35 = 52.5
2 lbs Rye x 29 = 58
1.5 lbs Wheat x 38 = 57
1 lb Piloncillo x 46 = 46

335.88 + 52.5 + 58 + 57 + 46 = 553.8 (total potential gravity)
6 gallons x 66 (1.066) = 396

396 / 553.8 =
72% Efficiency (not bad)

-- Just like I heard Saison yeast was supposed to do, this beer bubbled away for about two days, which included a small but messy explosion, and then pooped out. I took it and a thermometer upstairs, and proceeded to wait a couple days for it to actually warm up. Once the rain and nice cool weather abated, it is bubbling again in the mid - to - high 80s upstairs.
8.23.08 -- We have had rainy / cloudy weather (which is such a rare blessing for us), and I think that has caused fermentation to come to a halt. It was in the mid 70s this morning, and I know that is not enough to keep this going. It did spend quite a few days in the 80s. I am going to wait until the weather heats up, and see if that causes it to wake up. If it does not, I will assume it should be racked in to the secondary. My wet hops arrived in the mail today.
8.25.08 -- I figured racking the beer into the secondary carboy would be best done upstairs so not to lug the beer up and down. I was largely correct except for a small spill (approximately one half-gallon) that got through the floor and rained down through the ceiling downstairs. It was minor, but it did not appear to be to my wife who had a minor conniption about the whole thing. She still loves me, and the gravity measured 1.013, so much fermentation has already happened.
8.29.08 -- After no additional activity, I kegged it, and it still had a gravity of 1.013. I turned the gas up more on this one to give it the carbonation character it needs. ABV should be 6.9%.
9.3.08 -- After getting gassed for five days, this beer is ready, and my first impressions are very positive. The beer is a bright gold color, and has nice spicy complexities. More later. . .
10.9.08 -- There is absolutely no reason I won't brew this up every summer. This beer is so pretty and complex. The Rye gives it a bit of a sour apple essence, and the Belgian yeast provides a spicey edge. Perhaps I will continue exploring the possibilities of Saison and other Belgian styles.


Your Favorite Band Sucks Podcasts:

Episode One

Episode Two: blues

Episode Three: mouth a little to close to the mic, but the music is good.

Episode Four: from the vault . . .

Episode Five: a little dirty, dead, and wilco

Episode Six: thought to be at the time my finest work

Episode Seven: the latest and greatest

I Used to Make Playlists While Brewing Beer:

Jul 13, 2008

Peasant Beer

Peasant Beer
O.G. 1.026

F.G. 1.012

1.83% ABV

I read somewhere how brewers of old would brew three batches of beer each brewing session. One would be strong, one would be pretty regular, and the last would be super weak beer for the peasants. Peasants were encouraged to drink it since they knew it was sanitary. I am getting about three gallons of water up to sparge temperature and adding it to the grains from Noc-a-Homa I.P.A. II.

I added a 1/2 oz. of Challenger (7%AA) at around 60 min, and then the other half with about 15 min to go.

I collected about 2.5 - 2.75 gallons of wort.

7.21.08 -- Bottled two gallons of peasant beer, and primed with about 4.5 oz of dextrose.8.31.08 -- See the Red Stripe bottles? I am drinking one of them now (see picture). It only filled the big liter glass half way, but when you are a peasant with beer, the glass is always . . . forget it. This beer is not bad at all. This, that I poured just to take a picure of, is something I think I will actually finish. The smell of this beer is not very inviting since there is no real malt or hop aroma to cover up the stinky, which is mild. The taste is very neutral, kind of like an NA beer or maybe even "premium light". Mouthfeel is very sparkley and watery, which would be refreshing for a peasant who just lugged a big cart of ox shit up a hill. I am deciding now not to dump these. I may dump a growler if I need it.
10.25.08 -- Drank nearly a whole growler of this while brewing "37 / 37 Jr." . . . pissed a lot and hardly caught a buzz.

Noc-a-homa I.P.A. (II)

Noc-a-Homa I.P.A.
O.G. 1.053

52.6 IBUs

This is the second batch of this recipe.

You can read how the loss of heat I was experiencing cost me some gravity. This recipe should have been 1.060. I am sure it will still be good.

Efficiency = 66% -- lowest since beginning to record


26 Minutes In: Temperature is under 150 degrees (we want 155), so I am boiling 2 cups of water to add.

33 Minutes In: Added the water. I will check again in ten minutes.

44 Minutes In: Added another 2 cups of boiling water because the temp was still under 150.

50 Minutes In: Added yet another two cups of boiling water. The temp did not move much at all (it was only six minutes). I will wait a full ten minutes to see what is going on. This issue seems very familiar. Maybe my thermometer has an issue?

65: Again.

83: Temp was 146, a full nine degrees less than what I need with only seven minutes to go. I added 4 cups of boiling water, and will add more time to the mash. So far I have added an extra twelve cups (1.5 quarts of water).

Other Notes:

7.21.08 -- Racked into secondary after a week of fermenting between 74-77 degrees. A little warm, I know. This will be a good opportunity to see how the higher temperature affects the beer since I can remember well what the last batch, which fermented closer to 70-73, tasted like. I also chose to dry hop this one with 1.5 oz of EKG instead of the 1 oz in the last one. Gravity read 1.020 at transfer tim

7.27.08 -- Kegged the beer. The gravity still read 1.020, which means this beer will be a little weak (4.3% ABV)
9.26.08 -- This beer blew last Sunday when I was watching the Falcons' game. This was by far not my best work, but a good beer nonetheless. In other words, if I would have picked up a six-pack of this without knowing what I was getting, I would not have been too disappointed. The beer certainly lacked the body I was going for, but it still matured into something nice.

Apr 29, 2008

For Real ESB


Target Gravity = 1.055
Target IBU = 44
Original Gravity = 1.055
IBU = 42.65

Wannabe Special Bitter was a very nice beer, but it certainly was not a real bitter since I used Cry Havoc yeast, which was originally collected by Charlie Papazian from a keg of Budweiser, which makes it a lager yeast. Supposedly, Budweiser uses a different strain of yeast today. The yeast was advertised as a lager / ale hybrid, but I think they meant that it was more resistant to high temperatures than other lager yeasts.

This time I am going to use London ale yeast, and I have also tweaked the recipe a little to try to get a more complex malt taste as well as achieving the color I want without adding Carafa at the end. I am hoping the Crystal, Chocolate, and Roast malts will get me what I want.

The Malt:
8 lbs Pearl Pale Malt (66%)
2.66 lbs Crystal 60L (20%)
1.63 lbs Munich II (13%)
2.5 oz Roasted Malt (1%)

The Hops:
.5oz Challenger (7% AA) -- First Wort Runnings
.5oz Challenger (7% AA) -- 60 minutes
1 oz East Kent Goldings (5.5% AA) -- 45 Minutes
.5oz Challenger (7% AA) -- 15 minutes
.5oz East Kent Goldings (5.5% AA) -- End

The Mash:
12.45 pounds of grain x 1.3 quarts = 4.05 gallons of strike water. Strike water will be 165 degrees hoping for a 155 degree mash. I seem to be losing around ten degrees when I treat the tun with boiling water and then cover it up with blankets -- at least for the first while before I have to make adjustments later.

20 Minutes In -- The temp was not much more than 145, but I do not think the mash is really that cool. I am going to wait ten more minutes and see if the thermometer catches up a little.

30 Minutes In -- The temp was around 146, which makes little sense to me. It is warmer than the last few times I brewed, I primed the tun with boiling water, and I have blankets over it. The last couple of times, I was only losing around ten degrees. I am nuking some water to throw in there now.

37 Minutes In -- Added one pint of boiling water. I will wait five minutes to check temp.

45 Minutes In -- The temperature is still the same; I don't get it. I am nuking more water.

50 Minutes In -- Added another pint of boiling water, and noticed that the valve on the empty hot liquor tank I have connected to the tun was open. This may be the reason for the heat loss.

57 Minutes In -- Temperature has climbed to around 150. Meanwhile, I am nuking more water. This is getting ridiculous.

64 Minutes In -- The temperature is STILL FUCKING LOW after adding a quart and a half of extra boiling water. Nuking more water.

70 Minutes In -- Temperature was up near 154. I added about a half pint more of boiling water (I really do not know why). I also added thirty minutes to the clock since the temp has not been up to 150 yet. I am not going to fuck around with this any more until it is time to run off.


12.45 pounds of grain x .125 absorption = 1.56 gallons. 4 gallons - 1.56 = 2.44. 6 gallons - 2.44 = 3.56 gallons of 170 degree sparge water needed.


-- Transferred to the secondary. Fermentation stayed around 73 degrees all week. London III yeast is a lot more active than I thought it would be. Maybe I just got a really fresh batch.

5.23.08 -- It is getting hot outside, so I put the carboy in the fridge. It will stay there until one of the two kegs in there (IPA and Schwartz) is empty.

6.15.08 -- I kegged this beer and put it back into the fridge. The final gravity is 1.019. ABV will be around 4.7%.

6.23.08 -- First Impressions: The yeast really does it to this beer. The difference between this and the Wannabe is large. In short, this is a great fuckin beer, and since I have so many EKG and Challenger hops, I will make more soon.

7.25.08 -- This is a most solid ESB. The color is on, and it is very drinkable. I am not sure of changes I would make to this beer, but I may still compare it to examples like Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale or Bombardier. Like this says above, this beer will be made again, but I am concerned about the temperature I have been losing lately. I think next time I am going to wrap the tun with a 0 degree rated sleeping bag.

8.15.08 -- A session beer par exelance . . . Nice and clean now; could drink them all night. Might be my next brew. . . oh, and the sleeping bag turned out to be a good idea.

8.28.08 -- This blew tonight. I got about a 4oz farewell.

Apr 2, 2008


Target Gravity = 1.050 (6 gallons x 50 = 300)
Original Gravity = 1.051

50% Munich II x 300 = 150
42% Pilsner Malt x 300 = 126
4% Carahel x 300 = 12
4% Carafa x 300 = 12

(Potential Gravity / 75% efficiency)
150 / (36 / .75) = 5.55 Lbs Munich II
126 / (36 / .75) = 4.66 Lbs Pilsner
12 / (36 / .75) = .44 lbs Carahel
12 / (35 / .75) = .46 lbs Carafa

*Additional .5 lb carafa in sparge*

1 oz Tettnanger (4% AA) 90 minutes = 16.16 IBU
1 oz Tettnanger (4% AA) 30 minutes = 11.41 IBU
1 0z Tettnanger (4% AA) End = 2.85 IBU

Total IBU = 30.42

The Mash:

11.11 Pounds of grain x 1.3 quarts = 3.61 gallons strike water.
Strike Water will be 160 degrees aiming for a 150 degree mash. Like the last time I brewed, I am priming the tun with boiling water, and will be covering it with blankets through the mash.

Calculating Absorption and the needed amount of sparge water:
I have been debating on the necessity of this step, thinking I may just fill the hot liquor tank with sparge water, and then use all I need to collect six gallons. I am resisting the
temptation to do this now, but think there must be some reason for doing this. So, here it goes:

11.11 pounds of grain (x .125) = 1.38 gallons of water absorbed.
3.61 gallons strike water - 1.38 = 2.25 gallons
6 - 2.25 gallons = 3.75 gallons of sparge water needed.

40 minutes in: Temperature reads 148 degrees. I will check again in about 20 minutes to see if it drops.
60 minutes in: Temperature was down near 140 degrees. I added 2 cups boiling water, and started another two cups. I will check again in about ten minutes.
About five minutes later: Temperature was back up to 150.

4.20.08 -- Transferred to secondary.
4.27.08 -- Since it is getting warmer outside, I kegged this beer and stuck it in the back of the fridge. I am not force carbonating it yet; just pressurized it up to around 20 lbs and put it out of the way so it can stay cold. I will hook it up to more gas when one of the other kegs are empty.
5.10.08 -- I should have checked the keg sooner. When I checked, it had no pressure left, so I hope it had not been that way for a while. I imagine the pressure inside and outside the keg were equal, so I should not worry about oxygen getting in. Anyhow, I plugged it up to the gas, and it should be ready to serve in less than a week.
6.15.08 -- This schwartz has prooved to be a very solid beer. It is very black, but light with a smokey aroma and taste. This is a nice black beer for the summer time, and this example shows exactly what the original brewers of this style had in mind (if I do say so myself). Picture soon.
6.23.08 -- There is the picture. Doncha just love my cock?

Mar 11, 2008

Noc-a-homa I.P.A.

Target O.G. = 1.060 O.G. = 1.060!
Target IBU = 50 IBU = 52.6

This is the first beer I am making with the help of Designing Great Beers by Ray Daniels. Never before have I set a target original gravi
ty and IBU. We will see how close I get. I am also making this with on East Kent Goldings for hops since I bought a pound of them on ebay. I expect this beer to be gold / amber; a step or two darker than the Gold Glove Leapday Ale. I am still reading the chapter on color.

Malt Bill:
85% (11.5 lbs) Marris Otter Two Row (x 36 Potential Gravity) = 414
11% (1.5 lbs) Crystal Malt 10L or 20L (x 34 Potential Gravity) = 51
4% (8 oz) CaraPils (x 34 Potential Gravity) = 17

I have been averaging efficiency at 72% ( GHR, Bitter, and Golden). I am going to shoot for 75%.

Target total potential gravity = 482 of which 360 (6 gallons x 60) is 74.68%.

The Hops:
Bittering Hops = 1 oz East Kent Goldings (5.6% AA) -- 90 minutes
Flavoring = 1 oz East Kent Goldings (5.6% AA) -- 30 minutes
Aroma = 1 0z East Kent Goldings (5.6% AA) -- 15 minutes
Aroma = 1 0z East Kent Goldings (5.6% AA) -- end
Dry Hop = 1 oz East Kent Goldings (5.6% AA) -- dry hop in secondary

The above additions equal an estimated IBU of 52.6, which is higher than the 50 I targeted, but the hops I am using are a little old, so this may even out.


13.5 pounds of grain x 1.3 quarts = 4.39 gallons. I am going to heat it to 165 hoping for a mash around 155. I have boiling water in the tun now hoping to minimize heat loss.

By my calculations, I will need about 3.3 gallons of sparge water to run off 6 gallons. This will be 170 degrees.

Fifteen minutes in: Temperature is at 156 degrees, so heating the tun up and covering it with blankets seemed to help. I am going to let this do its thing and not fuck with it to read temps for a while.

One Hour, Fifteen minutes in: I checked the temp and read it as 150.

One Hour, Twenty-two minutes in: I added about one pint of boiling water and shut the lid.

Running Off -- Wort looks paler than I expected.

Boiling -- Was boiling . . . 90 minutes.

As you might have seen above, I hit my target gravity on the nose -- 1.060. I did not expect that to happen. What can I say?


3.23.08 -- Transfered to secondary and dry hopped with 1 oz EKG (5.5% AA).

4.20.08 -- Kegged. Final Gravity = 1.021. ABV = 5.1%. Sample in the hydrometer tube did not taste overly hoppy. We'll see.

5.11.08 -- I am very pleased with the Noc-a-homa. I intended this to be a milder IPA, not something more typical of an American Pale Ale. The English hops and the target IBU makes this beer mild, yet hoppy. It is, however a bit overcarbonated since I jacked the gas up and then forgot.

6.0.08 -- Noc-a-homa has cleared up very nicely, though it still is a bit overcarbonated. I have found this to happen in beers I have dry-hopped. With the abundance of EKG in my freezer, I will certainly make this again, though I may increase the IBUs just a tad. I do not want to make this taste like an APA (which would be hard without any C hops), I just would like to make the EKG a little more pronounced.