Dec 5, 2009

Yippy Three

23 lbs Maris Otter
2 lbs 60L Crystal
1 lb Carapils
1lb 150L Crystal

3oz Cascade 60
2oz Cascade 45
1oz Centennial 30
1oz Centennial 20
1oz Simcoe 10 (12%AA)
2oz Cascade 5
2oz Cascade (Dry) (In each Secondary)

Brewday Notes:
6.75 strike
9.7 sparge

641 - begin runoff
705 - trying to pace it right. Last time I was too slow. O think I am doing it well this time.
811-or shortly afterwards, runoff ends
924- 20 minute addition becomes .5oz centennial and 1oz cascade
942- correctly zeroed scale. Figure for 1pz centennial plus a half oz of cascade
950-chilling begins. It may not take long since it is 32 degrees out here.
1127-all done

I shorted the 1028 batch by almost a half gallon. Take into consideration that the 1968 batch is bigger.

Sent from my iPod


12.26.09 -- Transferred both to secondaries and dry hopped with 2oz Cascade. I also collected two pints of the 1968 that would not have fit. Primed each with 3/4 teaspoon table sugar. Forgot to measure final gravity of 1028, but the 1968 was 1.019, which was similar to the ESB. I think I may have also forgotten to record the original gravity. Regardless, I am positive it was somewhere between 1.060 and 1.066.
12.28.09 -- I was concerned about the amount of headspace in the 1028 carboy, so I went ahead and bottled it. I noticed a little activity in the airlock, so I checked the gravity first: 1.017.
3.6.10 -- The 1028 is certainly different than the 1968 version that sat on the dry hops for so long (a little more than two months). The aroma is obviously not as present, and the mineral nature of 1028 is more perceptable in this beer than in the ESB. Both are fine beers, with the 1968 edging out the 1028. So far there was not a big difference between the ESBs, and a small difference in the Yippys, and we will see about the stout.

Oct 28, 2009


Target Gravity -- 1.060
Original Gravity -- 1.066
52 IBU

Malt Bill:
22# Maris Otter
2# 60l Crystal
1# CaraAroma
.5# Carapils
Hop Schedule:
60 -- 4oz Willamette (4.8%AA)
30 -- 2oz Willamette (4.8%AA)
15 -- 2oz Willamette (4.8%AA)

Brewday Notes:
Mashing thicker than normal 1.3 quarts per pound to produce more dextrines and body. Mash and sparge water was approximately 1:3 reverse osmosis water:Crawford, thinking it may be closer to the harder English water.

8:24 -- Dough-in
8:41 -- 152 degrees
9:36 -- Run-off begins
11:29 -- Run-off ends
11:57 -- Boil Begins
1:00 -- Boil Ends
1:07 -- Chilling Begins
2:10 -- Chilling Done
2:15 -- Beer #1 (1968) Ice Bath Begins
2:47 -- Beer #2 (1028) Ice Bath Begins
3:15 -- END

Mashing thicker went well, and I will likely abandon the 1.3 quart per pound as my norm. Mash / Lauter tun overflowed during sparge, so I will just keep my eye on it next time I use that much sparge water. I also had to bottle a little bit of wort so to check the gravity later because I broke my hydrometer today.

Looking at the times above, I think I will shoot for an 1.5 hour run-off rather than the 2 hour. I have been trying deliberately to lengthen my run-off since I had a bad efficiency day not long ago when I ran off very quickly. This beer came in .006 points higher than I planned for, so a more normal run-off should help that. I am impressed that chilling only took an hour, and that I had the presence of mind (relative sobriety) to let each beer sit in the ice bath for a half hour.


11.03.09 -- Read gravity from bottled wort

11.22.09 -- Racked into secondary Final Gravity = 1.019 (6.1% ABV)
12.19.09 -- Kegged.

11.22.09 -- Bottled. Final gravity = 1.017 (6.4% ABV)
2.27.10 -- Tasting the 1028 version:
  • Appearance: This beer has been cloudy since I first tapped the keg however long ago. It is now beginning to clear a bit, and is a very nice copper hue when held to the light. The head is ample and stays around for a while.
  • Smell: Not a very aromatic beer. The biggest smell I notice is a bit of earthiness from the Willamette. I expected to smell more of the yeast character, but I do not.
  • Taste: Hop character seems to be the lead with a good malty sweetness to back it up some. The hop flavors linger more than the malt, and the English yeast helps tie it together, adding a tiny bit of fruitiness the American strains do not have.
  • Mouthfeel: This beer has a nice medium body that is perhaps accented by a higher level of carbonation than what is recommended for this style.
  • Overall: I think this came out quite well, and cannot think of many things I would change. If pressed, I would say I would get back into the habit of using clarifying agents since this one took so long to clear. I might experiment more with biscuit malt in a beer like this as well. It will be fun to see how the 1028 version compares.
3.29.10 -- 1028 version scores a 32 in the Peach State Brew Off (VG). I expected better.
4.5.10 -- Here is the score sheet from said competition. Maybe I should not have been so down on my 32

Oct 5, 2009

Precipitator / Downpour Ale

Precipitator (6.2% ABV)
Downpour Ale (
6.8% ABV)
Target Gravity -- 1.064 (nailed it)
Estimated IBUs -- 24.9

Grain Bill:
24 lbs Munich II -- 85.7%
1.5 lbs Carapils -- 5.4%
1 lb CaraAroma --3.5 %
1lb CaraMunich --3.5%
.5 lb Chocolate Malt -- 1.8%

Hop Schedule
2 oz Tetnanger 3.2%AA -- 60 min
2 0z Tetnanger 3.2%AA -- 45 min
1 0z Tetnanger 3.2%AA -- 15 min

Bock -- Bavarian Lager Yeast
Ale Bock -- American Ale Yeast

9 gallons strike water (half reverse osmosis / half Crawford
7.5 gallons sparge water (3.5 of which was rain water)

Brewday Notes / Reflections:

9:45 -- Mash-in at 165 / 10:03 143 in middle, 154 on side stir stir stir / 10:18 around 154 had targeted around 151 with thermal mass set to .1 / 11:11 begin run-off / 1:25 boil starts / 2:09 switched propane tanks and added about 20 minutes to the boil since the last few were not very vigorous.

An extremely rainy day , but with a tarp, the shed roof made a nice tent for everything important. I had to take my rain coat on an off several times for other activities outside the shed. I was also graced by Meat Snacks' presence for some of the run-off, the whole boil, and chilling.

I made sure this time to run-off a little slower because last time my efficiency sucked. I also stirred more than I had in the past, which was a good idea since at dough-in, I was pulling up dry pockets of grain for several minutes. Efficiency ended up at 75%, and I nailed my target gravity.

Changed propane tanks halfway through the boil; I need to keep track of how long these are lasting so not to run out again. Now I have two tanks. The only other negative thing aside from the propane misshap that happened was that I may not have chilled the beer enough before pitching yeast. The ale was no warmer than 75, as was the lager. Each spent at least fifteen minutes in an ice bath, so they were probably a good ten degrees cooler than that. I think the level of intoxication influenced patience at the end.

Downpour Ale Notes:

10.21.09 -- Gravity measuring 1.013, which should be close to terminal gravity. I am going to let it sit for at least another week.
10.30.09 -- Kegged. Final Gravity was 1.012. (6.8% ABV)
11.07.09 -- Drinking about my third Downpour from my new .5L Spaten Oktoberfest glass, and I am quite pleased. The cara malts shine through nicely with a light dark caramel sweetness that is accented nicely by the bready toastyness of the Munich malt. The fresh Tettnager hops balance all this sweetness out with a very clean (I know this is oxymoronic) earthy bitterness. This is one of the better beers of late, and a good reminder why the cooler months are the best for brewing.
12.02.09 -- I bottled six of these this week as entries into our homebrew club's contest. What follows is a review on a day nearly as rainy as the day this beer was brewed. I heard a story recently on public radio saying that this year is Georgia'a wettest, as far as climatologists could reckon, in over five hundred years -- I digress:
Downpour Ale Review (during actual downpour ... see map below)
Appearance: Downpour ale is very dark brown, and may be percieved as black from a short distance. When held to the light, very little makes it though, but one can see that it is indeed a mahogany brown. Head is thick, and retains well.
Smell: The first thing one notices is the absence of a yeasty scent, which is expected when using a yeast as neutral as S-05. A faint bready smell and a just as noticeable caramel character are in there too. Hops also provide a little to the overall aroma, but Downpour Ale is for the most part subdued in the smell category.
Taste: This beer is subtle, but with a mild complexity that could be missed by one drinking this as more of a session beer (which I have done, and do not ascribe any fault to that manner of consumption). Bready nature of the Munich malt provides a strong backbone for the dark caramel / coffee sweetness from the dark crystal as well as for the earthy sharpness of the Tettnanger hops. An alcohol note arrives late, but it is not at all overbearing, even though the ABV approaches 7%.
Mouthfeel: This is a medium-bodied beer on par with porters and some lighter bodied stouts.
Overall: I am excited about this beer, and like its chances in the contest. I may be surprised, depending on the number of entries, if this does not make it to the second round. This beer is flavorful, and the drinkability does not suffer as it does in other beers with these kinds of characteristics.

Precipitator Notes:

10.30.09 -- Racked to secondary. Final Gravity was 1.o19. (6.2% ABV)

Aug 28, 2009

"22" Strong Lager Tasting

"22" Strong Lager
Brewed November 2007
Bottled 3.18.08
Tasted 9.28.09

Appearance -- Dark bronze and a little cloudy. Head settles down to about .25 and inch.

Smell -- At first may be too cold to smell much, but the notes are toasty and bready (like crusts -- the hallmark scent of Munich malt) I am surprised I am not noticing any alcohol aroma yet (9.4 ABV)

Taste -- Very bready. The hop presence is there, but not pronounced, much like a super-Munich Dunkel might be. Again, alcohol presence is lower than I would have expected. Perhaps the year and five months in the bottle has toned it down some. Caramel flavors emerge after beer warms up a few degrees. The alcohol note also emerges a little in the finish. As I drink this and look at the hop bill, I reminded that no real deciphering was done as to projected IBUs. If I were making this beer today, I would certainly add more hops, because it is obvious to me that my utilization was blunted by the thick wort. I have come quite a way in the area of mathematics as it contributes to brewing since the day I brewed this one.

Mouthfeel -- Thick and chewy without much carbonated effervescence. Though this beer was dosed with fresh yeast at bottling, it is not terribly carbonated. I probably could have primed it better than the usual however many cups to gallon rule. I have since begun using carbonation calculators when bottling. Once beer warms a little, the finish thins out like a lager normally does. My one real issue with this one at this point is the carbonation level. It just kind of slides down your throat at this point instead of sparking in your mouth for a minute. I think many of the flavors could be better perceived if there was more gas present.

Overall -- Still a wonderful beer, especially with some age on it. Certainly has its shortcomings, but serves as a wonderful illustration of the specifics I have added to my craft in the past couple of years. The IBU level of this beer is a bit of conundrum for me at this point. I would like it to be a little higher, as I have mentioned above, but if it were, it would not really be what it was intended -- a strong Munich style lager.

Jul 28, 2009

Belgian Ale(s)

Belgian Ales
o.g. 1.060
27 ibu

DSB6 Ardennes
F.G. = 1.010
6.55% ABV

DSB6 Belgian Strong:
F.G = 1.007
6.9% ABV


18 lbs Pilsener Malt
2 lbs Malted Wheat
1.5 lbs Caramunich
1.5 lbs Biscuit Malt
3 lbs Piloncillo (in boil)


2 oz East Kent Goldings (5.6% AA) -- 60 minutes
1.5 0z Sterling (7% AA) -- 20 minutes

27 IBU

Half will be fermented with Wyeast Ardennes, and the other half with Wyeast Belgian Strong Ale Yeast.

Brewday notes:

Doughed-in at around 6:30 a.m. / 15 minutes in - about 150 / set temp loss to .2, but still too warm / started run-off around 7:30 / ended at 8:12 / boil begins at 9:31 / ends at 10:30 / chilling begins in earnest around 11:00 after some system issues / chilling ends at 12:30/ ice bath begins / gravity 1.060 after temp adjustment / (1.058 @ 80 degrees) / loss of efficiency due to fast run-off? / less than 45 minutes / about 1/2 gal left in boiler too; maybe that is it (too watered down) /80 degrees when bath started /glass (ardennes) bath lasted 35 minutes / bucket (Belgian) 1:05 - 1:25

Reflections on Brewday:
Horrible efficiency, probably due to such a quick run-off. Last time when I accedentally only mashed for 60 minutes, I made sure I ran-off very slowly, but I do not know why I did not do it this time. Efficiency was around 67%. Gravity is still right at 1.060 when I cooled the sample down to 60 degrees. If I get the attenuation I got from these yeasts last time, everything should be fine.

This was the first time using my old chiller as a pre-chiller and my new one in the wort. Aside from some technical troubles (hoses blowing off and squirting me), it worked very well. I was able to chill the wort down to 80 degrees in about 1.5 hours. I was able to get it down farther with an ice bath. I am unsure of the pitching temp, but I would guess somewhere around 70, or maybe a little lower.

DSB6 Ardennes Notes:
8.07.09 --
Gravity down to 1.010 at 60 degrees (83% attenuated) tastes much cleaner than the Belgian Blonde, probably due to chilling the wort better.
8.11.09 -- Gravity still 1.010 at 60 degrees. I am going to cold crash this starting tomorrow or the next days so I can bottle it this weekend. The sample tasted very good. There was a good toastyness as well as a rummy note. This one is going to be nice.
8.13.09 -- Racked into a keg and put into chest freezer at 34 degrees.
8.22.09 -- Bottled at 3 volumes using around 6oz corn sugar. Realized that the temperature to enter into the carbonation calculator is the fermentation temperature, not the secondary chilling temperature. This means my strong golden ale from another batch is not really four volumes.
1.16.10 -- As I am finishing a glass of this beer now, I think back on its life thus far. Initially thought of in lofty esteem, and then regarded in mediocrity, some age has done this chap quite well. His more piercing and uncomfortable qualities have tempered substantially allowing true personality to show. I do not think we are all the way there yet, but I am encouraged by how phenolic off-flavors can fade. This one only had a hint of it, but now it is almost undetectable. I hope the same is true for the BS version, which I initially liked better. I am not sure if this is still the case.

DSB6 Belgian Strong Notes:

8.07.09 -- Down to 1.012 at 60 degrees (80% attenuated). I think this one is going to have to wait a little longer to get the terminal gravity lower. It is still bubbling, and I got close to 90% last time I used this yeast.
8.11.09 -- Down to 1.009 (85% attenuated). Going to let this one go a little more to see if I can get a few more points out of it.
8.20.09 -- Racked into a keg and put into the refrigerator at around 40 degrees. Final gravity was at 1.007.
8.22.09 -- Moved from refrigerator to chest freezer (34 degrees)
8.29.09 -- Bottled at 2.75 volumes instead of three since I am a little concerned about bombs. This required 5.4 oz of corn sugar.

Jul 12, 2009

Belgain Blonde / Bavarian Amber

Belgian Amber:
O.G. = 1.061
7% ABV

Amber Lager:
O.G. = 1.052
5% ABV

I have not thought of cute names for these two yet. Brewday went quite well -- it was the first time I used my new keggle, so it was also the first time I was able to brew a full ten gallons.

Malt and other Fermentables:

12 lbs Pilsener Malt
10 lbs Munich Malt
1 lb CaraPils Dextrine Malt
1 lb Piloncillo (in Blonde)


2 oz Sterling (7%AA) -- 60 minutes
1 oz Mount Hood (6%AA) -- 20 minutes
1 oz Mount Hood (6%AA) -- 15 minutes (with two Whirlfloc tabs)

Bavarian Amber -- Wyeast Bavarian Lager Yeast
Belgian Blonde -- Wyeast Ardennes Yeast

What follows is what I wrote while I was brewing:

13 gallons to get 12 with 1 boiling off.
5.5 in each carboy = 11
152 degrees after 15min -- (set tun loss lower than .3 next time)
added a few ice cubes and that brought the temp down a few degrees. Left lid open for a little while and got it close to 147.
Only mashed for 60 minutes oops! Thought about shutting run-off down for a few minutes, but then reconsidered because the sparge water was cooling.
Added two whirlfloc.
Will there be a pronounced caramel flavor? I boiled that piloncillo pretty good (in wort)

Reflections on Brewday
Things went rather well for having a pretty new set-up. I got a little retarded for a minute, and only mashed for 60 minutes. We will see if that caused any issues. More wort boiled off than I planned, but there was still the right amount for the two carboys. My biggest challenge was chilling that much wort, and i only got it down around 100 degrees before bringing it in the house. I figured the chest freezer will chill the lager wort down quicker, and I will be able to pitch the Belgian yeast around 85 degrees if I need to. Next time I will have a new lager chiller and my current one will be a pre-chiller. I will measure gravities once the wort cools down to pitching temperature.

Belgian Blond Notes:

7.13.09 -- Pitched yeast after wort cooled close to room temperature (80 degrees, and holding pretty steady)
7.20.09 -- Gravity has gone from 1.061 to 1.010 -- 83% attenuated. It was hard to tell how this may taste from the sample. I did taste something like the phenolic / fusel character of the Black Belgian, then again, maybe it is paranoia.
7.22.09 -- I read yesterday how the solvent character can be produced by initially high temperatures instead of letting it climb. I was then reminded that the Belgian beers I have made in cold weather, and then placed in the water with the aquarium heater (Dubbel Dubbel, Farmhouse Ale) did not have this characteristic since the temperature rose as fermentation progressed. Here we have one that started higher than or right at the fermentation temperature, so I am a bit worried. My fears are a bit assuaged with the taste of my Strong Golden Ale, but I will not know for sure until I take another gravity reading in a couple of days.
7.24.09 -- Gravity down to 1.007. I still detect a hint of ethyl acetate (solvent character), but it is not as pronounced as in the Black Belgian. It may not be so much of a distraction that I won't want to drink it, and it may become less detectable with carbonation and a cooler serving temperature.
7.25.09 -- Kegged. I will try to hold off on this for a week or so for conditioning purposes. Smelling the beer as it racked made me less worried about the ethyl acetate. I think what I am smelling is the spicyness of the yeast. Keep your fingers crossed.
8.2.09 -- This beer has a sour / spicy note that is what I thought was the ethyl acetate. It is of a higher alcohol nature, so I am pretty sure it is there because of the way I fermented this beer. It is a fine ale, and I will drink it all and derive much pleasure from doing so. I am even more anxious to try the batch that is fermenting now because I got that one down in the 60s before pitching.
10.05.09 -- from above: "and I will be able to pitch the Belgian yeast around 85 degrees if I need to". This is the greatest lesson from this batch of beer as well as the rest of the Belgian lot I brewed this summer -- that Belgian yeast can take the heat, but they need to start cool. The good news is that after a while of being ignored, the acetate flavors seem to have mellowed to hardly noticeable at all. I hope this is not wishful thinking. By Ardenes abbey ale has a little of it too from fermenting at 80 degrees, but that seems to be mellowing too.

Bavarian Amber Notes:
7.13.09 -- Pitched yeast after wort sat in the chest cooler for about 24 hours.
7.20.09 -- Gravity has gone from 1.052 to 1.031. This needs to get around 1.024 before I start my diacetyl rest.
7.24.09 -- Gravity down to 1.020 -- started rest at around 65 degrees.
7.28.09 -- Racked into secondary and began lagering. Final gravity - 1.014.
10.18.09 -- Kegged and gassed this beer about two weeks ago to make room for the Precipitator in the chest freezer. This beer lagered for much longer than the typical DSB lager, and it seems to show. The beer is very easy drinking and crisp with a nice contribution from the Mount Hood. This is one of the best beers I have made in a while, which is something I needed.

Jun 21, 2009

Rustic Farmhouse Ale 2009

this recipe is for 7 gallons since this will be the first time I am using my keggle. There may be more evaporation, and I want to be sure I have at least 5.5 gallons to put in the fermenter.

Malt and Adjuncts:
10.5 lbs Pilsneer Malt
1.5lb Munich I
1.5lb Rye Malt
2lbs Wheat Malt
1lb Piloncillo in Boil

1.5oz Sterling (7%AA) -- 60 minutes
1oz Mt. Hood (6%AA) -- 20 minutes
1oz East Kent Goldings (5.6%AA) -- ten minutes
IBUS should be around 42

Pre-brewday notes:
-Use the strike water calculator on Promash so you do not have to prime the tun with boiling water. This should save at least an hour.
-Same recipe as last one with minor hop adjustments (Sterling instead of Saaz / Boil 60 minutes instead of 90).

7.2.09 -- Decided to go a different direction. Thinking of a split batch Amber Lager / Belgian Amber.

May 13, 2009

Bavarian Lager + Belgian Strong Golden Ale

Bavarian Lager = O.G. = 1.059
18 IBU

(this is the only known photo of the Bavarian Lager)
Strong Golden Ale = O.G. = 1.077
33.2 IBU*
The chest cooler is empty, so I have to get on that. I thought I would do the same thing I did when I brewed the Bohunk + Extra Challenger, which was to run off ten gallons of wort and then boil them separately. I am also going for a lower gravity beer for the lager this time (around 1.o54) instead of the typical 1.066 I have made of late. This should make it more sessionable, but also make it easier to add cane sugar to the smaller batch to make Strong Golden Ale. If the first gravity would have been too high, adding two pounds of cane sugar (around 20%) would have been a little much.


19.5 Lbs Pilsener Malt
2lbs Cane Sugar (SGA in boil)

.5 oz Sterlinf (7%AA) -- 60 min
.5 oz Mt Hood (6%AA) -- 15 min

Bavarian Lager Yeast (Wyeast)

Belgian Strong Golden Ale:
1 oz Willamette (4%AA) -- 60 minutes
.5 oz Sterling (7%AA) -- 15 minutes

Belgian Strong Yeast (Wyeast)

Brewday went off pretty well with the exception of the SGA coming in at 1.103 to start. After adding an additional gallon of water, it was back to 1.077, which is close to what I wanted. It seems as though I just added back a gallon of water that got boiled off. I calculated the recipe at 4 gallons, so everything may be as planned, just in an unconventional way. *IBUs may be a little off for this reason, but then again, maybe not.

I suppose it should also be noted that my mash temp was a little higher than I intended. This batch mashed between 150-154, and I was shooting for around 145. This may make the beer a little sweeter, and may result in the Strong Golden Ale to be called a Tripel.

Bavarian Lager Notes:
5.26.09 -- Gravity measured 1.032 which is not low enough to start a diacetyl rest. We are leaving to go to the beach for a week on Saturday. Had the following discussion on Beer Advocate. Since I pitched well over three quarts of fresh starter, I am not going to worry much about diacetyl. I will do a rest when I get home -- just in case, and then lager as normal.
6.6.09 -- Gravity measures 1.019. I turned up the temperature to around 60, and I hope I can get a few more points out of it. I am sure I can since it is only 68% attenuated at this point.
6.9.09 -- Racked into secondary and placed in the chest freezer. Gravity was down to 1.015, which is 75% attenuated and gives the beer an ABV of 5.8%
6.30.09 -- Kegged
7.5.09 -- This beer is light and refreshing. Bavarian yeast is interesting compared to the Urquell that I have used so much in the past. I know I say it all the time, but I know this one will not last long at all. I know I will do something like this again, but I may play with the hop profile a little. I may be getting a little tired of Sterling and Mt. Hood.

Strong Golden Ale Notes:
6.6.09 -- Gravity reads 1.007, which is surprising. This will make the ABV a little above 9.
6.9.09 -- Racked into three gallon carboy and put in chest freezer. Dropping the temp over the course of the next couple days on the way to 34 degrees.
6.30.09 -- Primed to carbonate at 4 volumes and bottled. I am glad I saved so many thick bottles.
7.21.09 -- I got nervous about the possibility of solvent-like flavors, so I opened one of these up to try. While I think they could use a little more time to get the CO2 dissolved in the beer, the beer is most excellent. It is very light bodied, the spicyness of the yeast comes through well, the color is bright, and the finish is as dry as I wanted it. I am very pleased, and dare I say it is very similar to Duvel? I will have to try them side by side.
3.7.12 -- Filled out a BJCP scoresheet for this beer: HERE

Mar 29, 2009

Black Belgian Ale

Target Gravity = 1.066
Original Gravity = 1.072
36 IBU
Final Gravity = 1.014
81% Attenuated
7.6% ABV
This is going to be my entry in the Copper Creek Creative Libation Contest, and the intent is to make a black trippel with a tad of sweetness coming from a pound of medium crystal. The contest calls for a "bent beer" that does not fit easily in a traditional category. I think the unorthadoxy here will mostly be visual -- I am trying to keep it subtle since I think many of the other competitors will go over the top with their entries which could lead to less drinkable beers. We'll see.

4.6.09 -- Gravity measured 1.014, which was around 80% attenuated. I racked the beer into a keg so that I could condition it in the chest freezer at 34 degrees. The beer is not as black as I wanted it to be, and I am afraid that I have done nothing more than make a sort of Dubbel with the crystal malt addition taking the place of the candi sugar that would normally be there.
4.24.09 -- I took the keg out of the cooler and hooked it up to the gas. I turned the pressure way up (around 23psi) to get major carbonation going. A couple days later, this beer was about ready. The first few glasses had me worried since it tasted a little like rotten garbage, but after the yeast was cleared from the bottom of the keg, the Chimay yeast gave off its signature dark cherry notes. I am still unsure if this recipe is "bent" enough for the contest since it tastes an awful lot like a typical dubbel. I cannot complain though. This beer is light bodied, strong, and flavorful.
5.20.09 -- I turned in one of the five bottles of Black Belgian Ale I filled on 5.15.09 for submission into the contest.
5.24.09 -- Found out a couple days ago that my beer did not make it to the second round. Oh, well. I still like it.
5.29.09 -- got the notes back from whoever judged my beer. It seems as though they did not even taste it. They said it was "phenolic" and stopped there. I am very dissapointed that they did not give it any more time than that. This beer with this yeast is meant to be phenolic, though I would admit the phenols in this beer are a little more pronounced than they should be. I do not think it was anything to prevent someone from going further than just smelling it.

Mar 3, 2009

Good Head Red 2009

Target Gravity = 1.063
O.G. = 1.060
37 IBUs
View the Recipe Here

Good Head Red was going to be the house beer for a while, but then I gave it a rest. That is until I unearthed a bottle of "ass" the other day and it was just lovely. Ass, you might ask. Well, that is the last bits from the bottling bucket that I would squeeze out even though it was full of spent hops and other crud. These bottles usually disappear for years. This particular one was from my first all grain batch. The recipe was a little different than the one here, but the idea is the same.

This one is made mostly from ingredients I have already: Sterling, Mt. Hood, and Willamette hops, and I will be pouring the wort on top of the yeast cake from Extra Challenger Extra Pale.

3.10.09 -- First outdoor brew day. Everything went fine with a few minor instances of trying to do too many things at once. The temperature got close to 80 upstairs yesterday, so I brought the carboy down. This will be the last non-Belgian beer to ferment upstairs until the weather cools off in the fall.
3.20.09 -- Measured gravity = 1.023.
3.29.09 -- Still measuring 1.023, which is confusing me. The temp of this beer should not have dipped too low since I had it mostly submerged in water with the aquarium heater. I will have to add some dry yeast to see if it will start back up. Maybe the yeast was wore out? This would be the third generation.
4.6.09 -- Gravity was down to 1.018. This was without adding dry yeast. All I did was raise the temperature a few degrees and made sure there was as much water surrounding the carboy as possible. The sample tasted very nice already, so I think I am going to skip the dry hop addition. It may be a while before this one gets drunk since it is behind three other beers already.
4.25.09 -- Kegged the beer to get it out of the attic since it is getting hot. Right now I am working to keep this keg pressurized, but am not carbonating it yet. I will probably charge this up more once the other two beers are nice and gassed (Black Belgian Ale and Oily Bohunk)
5.13.09 -- Perhaps not my best work, but still a fine beer. I think Ringwood Ale yeast needs a bit more aggressive hop profile to even out the fruity character it adds. Also, I am thinking the flavor addition of Willamette should be reserved for darker beers, or those with a more caramel flavor. Don't get me wrong, this beer is nice and drinkable, even though I have criticisms. I would give it a solid "B". The malt profile, I like -- and it is very similar to the one I used for my last version of Yippie I.P.A. I think this profile will show up more later. The next time I make this, I will likely use American Ale yeast, or something else a little more modest. I will also use a more continental hop for the flavor addition.

Feb 15, 2009

Bohunk + Extra Challenger Extra Pale

This was originally going to be a parti-gyle batch, but I decided running ten gallons off into a big tub, and then separating them. They will be the same gravity that way. The Bohunk batch will be six gallons (pre-boil), and the Extra Challenger Extra Pale will be four -- for a total of ten.

I wanted to make the second beer to use the Challenger hops I have wasting away in my freezer. Since I will be using all of the four ounces I still have, the Extra Challenger Extra Pale is going to be quite the hopster.

Target Gravity for both beers:
O.G = 1.064

The Malts:
20 lbs Pilsner
2.5 lbs Munich I
1.25 lbs Carahel
1.25 lbs Carapils

Bohunk Hops:
54.6 IBU
1 oz Sterling (7% AA) -- 90 minutes
1 oz Sterling (7% AA) -- 45 minutes
1 oz Sterling (7% AA)-- fifteen minutes (with a whirlfloc)
Bohunk Yeast:
Wyeast Urquell

Extra Challenger Extra Pale Hops:
57 IBU
(1/2 teaspoon gypsum in boil)
1 oz Challenger (7% AA) -- 60 minutes
1 oz Challenger (7% AA) -- 15 minutes
1 oz Challenger (7% AA) -- 5 minutes
1 oz Challenger (7% AA) -- Dry
Extra Challenger Extra Pale Yeast:
Wyeast Ringwood Ale

2.28.09 -- Gravity on Bohunk measuring 1.036, so I need to wait a little longer before starting diacetyl rest. This batch seems to be taking a little longer, and that could be due the age and generation of the yeast.
3.01.09 -- Gravity measured 1.028. Started dyacetyl rest.
3.10.09 -- Extra Pale racked into secondary. I was not paying as close attention as I should have, and it overflowed a little -- losing about 25% of the dry hop addition. Bohunk also racked into secondary and put in the cooler at 34 degrees.
4.6.09 -- Kegged Extra Pale, but did not check gravity. If it fermented all the way, it should be 1.019. which would make the ABV around 5.8%
4.15.09 -- I have had several glasses of the extra pale, yet I still do not know what to think of it. I do not think I can recommend using Challenger hops in this quantity. The bitterness is harsh, and the hop flavor, what may be called 'floral' tastes like rotten roses and earth in this amount. The beer is clean and dry, but the bitterness is just weird and challenging to say the least.
4.25.09 -- Dumped the remainder of the Extra Challenger out. Not a complete loss since I learned something valuable. Kegged the Oily Bohunk and hooked it up to the gas. I took a little sample and can already tell that this beer is going to be the shit.
5.1.09 -- Sampling Bohunk and it is as good as ever. I seem to have had to sample it three times today already.
5.13.09 -- Maybe not "as good as ever". The hop profile is not a spicy as it has been in the past. I think if I check my records, I used mosty Sterling for my last Bohunk with a little Saaz added at the end. That may be the difference. Also, the Urquell yeast I used for this batch was on its third or fourth generation, so that could have also resulted in mild quality issues. Still a solid beer, but I feel I could have done a little better here.

Jan 17, 2009

Yippie I.P.A.

Yippie I.P.A.
O.G. 1.071
72 IBU
6.9% ABV

This is the third incarnation of the recipe which was the first of my brews that I very proud of. Don't get me wrong, up to that point in 2003 I had made plenty of good beer, but this one was a little better. This recipe is a little different than the first two times, but how different, I do not know. I lost the index card on which the original recipe was written, but I know it had European hops rather than the American varieties in this one (Simcoe, Centennial, and Amarillo).

1.18.09 -- (Brewday) I intentionally neglected to add all kinds of blogging notes while I was brewing. Promash is helping with that, especially since its settings provide the same deciphering as the equations I have been using. I pitched 2.25 gallons of yeast once the wort cooled to around 70 degrees. That is about all there is to report other than the fact that I am now using my new 50 watt aquarium heater which seems to be keeping up much better.
1.31.09 -- Measured gravity, and it measured 1.018. I added the dry hops and racked to secondary. Since there was extra beer in the primary, I also filled two 16 oz and two 12 oz bottles and added priming sugar. I added .5 teaspoon of cane sugar to the 12 oz bottles, and .75 to the 16 oz bottles.
2.20.09 -- Drinking the first of the bottle conditioned samples, and it is excellent. The hop profile is both citrusy (but not overly so (cat piss)) and earthy. It will be fun to compare these to the beer that is still in the secondary with the dry hop addition. Table sugar also primes beer very nicely.
3.10.09 -- Kegged.

4.22.09 -- The comparison between the dry hopped and the not dry hopped occured this past weekend, and in my opinion the beer without the late addition was a bit better. The beer with the 2 oz dry hops has a more aggresive (naturally) hop profile, and can be metallic tasting at times. I am pretty sure this is because of the Amarillo addition. Overall, the beer is quite good; the color is nice; the malt stands up to the hops, and it is most drinkable.