Sunday, February 15, 2015

Brewing setup

I have been using this setup for 3 years now, there is just enough elevation left to fill a 6.5 gal carboy.  No pumps and no lifting needed!   Note the water filter on the back wall.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Very useful brewing chart

I refer to this during every brew.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Great video on making beer

I thought this was really well done.

3 things she could have done to help her beer taste better:
  • Don't let the water boil when soaking the malted grains!!! The water should be no hotter than 170f.
  • Hydrate the yeast before adding it to the fermenter.
  • Leave the lid off the boil kettle, there are compounds given off during the boil that should not be trapped by a lid (partially open isn't horrible, but no lid would be a safe bet).

4 things that were not shown but are very important:
  • Sanitize the fermenter before fermentation
  • Sanitize the bottles before bottling
  • Add 3/4 cup of corn suger before bottling so your beer will be carbonated.
  • Keep your fermenter in the dark, or cover it with a dark cloth to ensure the beer isn't light-struck.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

2 Lagers

I did a Pilsner and a Dunkel last month, and they are slowly finishing fermentation in the chest fridge. I re-used the yeast from the Pilsner on the Dunkel, and now I am waiting for the last 15% of gravity to ferment away, it is taking a long time, I had hoped for 2 weeks in primary and 4 weeks in secondary, but it looks like it will be more like 8 weeks in secondary.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Reusing Yeast

I have reused yeast before, by pouring it out of the carboy and into a jug, preparing another starter prior to brewing and using that yeast. It worked as well as purchasing yeast at the homebrew shop and saved me $6.00.

This time, I brewed my West Coast IPA , and then 2 weeks later when fermentation had stopped, I racked it to secondary and brewed my Pale Ale and poured it on the yeast cake in the bottom of my primary carboy.

I was amazed at the difference, the beer went from a gravity of 1.059 to 1.014 in 2 days, completing fermentation in about 20% of the time! I will be racking to the conditioning keg tonight and may be able to drink the beer within 1 week of brewing!

I have decided to brew my stout this weekend and use the yeast cake 1 more time.

Friday, April 9, 2010

My best beer so far

West Coast IPA - I only have a couple bottles left, but this one is a winner. My brother-in-law loved it too.

It is modeled after the Green Flash IPA, and inspired by the Mammoth IPA. On a related note, I got up to Mammoth last week and tried their double brown, another winner. If you are anywhere that Mammoth beer is sold, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Recent Brew Results

West Coast IPA - Still Fermenting 4 weeks later. Gravity is down to 1.016 so it should be ready next week. Tastes promising, it is still quite cloudy but it is hard to tell if that is the yeast or other issues. I plan to crash cool this beer once it is fully fermented.

American Lager - Tasted pretty good, I made another lager after that with all barley that tasted good as well, but it was a bit sweet. The mash for that lager was a step mash and I mashed out at 165. I think for my next lager I will be more careful on the mash temperatures and not let them get above 152, and let the mash go a bit longer.

Disaster Porter 2 - Was good, it went quick. I may back off the hops a bit more next time.

Hoppy Amber Ale - Was great, I would like to have this on tap 12 months a year if I had the space.

Extra Stout - Amazing flavor. The oak really helped. I used too much agave in this beer, it could stand to have a bit more body considering the alcohol levels. I have kept several bottles of this beer to ages since I think the alcohol bite will mellow with time.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

West Coast Trip

The wife, kids and I headed up to Oregon via Yosmite and I got a chance to have some great beer. The bar at Curry Village in Yosemite serves up Mammoth Pilsner (good) and their Epic IPA (great).

I also got to taste the Deschutes Red Chair IPA at the Suttle Lake resort's restaurant. It was also amazing, and only $4.00/pint on tap there! After paying $9.00 for a 21 oz glass at Yosemite it seemed like a screaming deal.

I enjoyed the Mammoth IPA so much I decided to brew an IPA as one of my next brews. It tasted a bit like the Green Flash IPA that I found a recipe for here:

Green Flash Co.: West Coast IPA

6 Gal. batch
OG: 1.069
FG: 1.013-1.014
SRM: 8.8
IBU: ~93

14# American Two Row
1.31# British Carastan 30-37
1.31# CaraPils

0.5oz Simcoe @ 90min
0.5oz Columbus @ 90 min (optional)
0.25oz Simcoe @ 60min
0.25oz Columbus @ 60min
0.25oz Simcoe @ 30min
0.25oz Columbus @ 30min
0.75oz Simcoe @ 15min
0.75oz Columbus @ 15min
1oz Cascade @ 10min
0.5oz Simcoe @ Flameout
0.5oz Columbus @ Flameout

0.5oz of each: Amarillo, Simcoe, Columbus, Centennial, Cascade for Dry Hop

Mash Temp: 152F, Boil Time 90min

Yeast : WY1056 or WLP001
Ferment Temp: 68F -> 72F

Monday, May 11, 2009

Brew 14: Disaster Porter 2

The original Disaster Porter is of my favorites so far, and a favorite of my friend Greg's. He wanted to get in on another batch and came over with Ed to watch and help out.

I realized something with this brew. Watching someone else brew is like watching someone else cook. If you really want to do it yourself someday it is cool to learn, otherwise it isn't that much fun. They were good sports though, and we brewed up 10 gallons of delicious porter that is now in secondary and will be bottled for them and put on tap for me in about 2 weeks.

This was the first brew with my 10 gallon rubbermaid cooler, and the difference is amazing. I did a step mash as you can see below, and for the first time I nailed the temps and they held. The process went much faster even though I did 10 gallons instead of 5. The cooler could have held another 2 lbs of grain, but no more.

1:20 PM 5/2/2009 dough in at 154
1:32 PM 5/2/2009 Temp @ 140
2:00 PM 5/2/2009 Recirc 2 gals (draw off, boil, add again) + add hot water to 155
2:30 PM 5/2/2009 Recirc 2 gals to 165
2:44 PM 5/2/2009 Started Sparge
3:35 PM 5/2/2009 Started Boil of 12.5 gallons
3:45 PM 5/2/2009 Added 60 min hops
4:15 PM 5/2/2009 Added 30 min hops
4:40 PM 5/2/2009 Added 7 min hops + Wort chiller coil + Irish Moss
4:45 PM 5/2/2009 Added 0 min hops, started chill

Brew 13 - American Lager

My father-in-law only likes lagers like Kirin, Bud, and Sapporo. Last time he was here a year ago my brewing skills were not what they are now, and he didn't enjoy my homebrew very much, although he was polite and drank it.

For a while it looked like he would be coming back this year to visit so I decided to try to brew a Kirin clone.

My only other attempt at a Lager resulted in a bitterness that the owner of the local homebrew shop attributed to tannins from the malt husks. I can't for the life of me figure out how you are supposed to do a decoction mash without getting those tannins, but didn't want to repeat the experience and did a more basic step mash.

I didn't exactly want a Kirin beer, I like it well enough, but I prefer a Helles or all-malt lager like a Grolsch, so I reduced the 1.5 lbs of rice called for in the recipe to 1 lb and added some bitterness.

Well, the beer is now almost 2 months old and it is a bit sweeter than i like but not too bad. It turns out that my father-in-law won't be coming for a visit, but that is ok, at least I will enjoy it, and as the heat builds it is a good time to have a lighter beer on tap.

Final gravity is high at 1.014 instead of a targetted 1.010.

The process follows; it is the last brew I will do with my keg mash tun, I converted to a 10 gallon cooler and I like it a lot more.

Mash Strategy

Dough in at 150, observe drop to 130 wait 20 min.
Add soupy Rice
mash 135 to 145 for 45 min
Decoction to 150 to 155 for 20 min
Decoction to 160 wait 10-20 min
Start Sparge

12:56 PM 3/28/2009 water @ 150, ph = >6.2
12:59 PM 3/28/2009 Added 8 lbs of grist, mash at 142,
1:02 PM 3/28/2009 added 2 qts cold water, mash at 135
1:17 PM 3/28/2009 1 lb of Rice added, mash at 130
1:21 PM 3/28/2009 Sparge water is distilled, ph < 4.6
1:34 PM 3/28/2009 1 gal Decoction @160 added mash raised to 135
1:40 PM 3/28/2009 1 gal Decoction @170 added mash raised to 140
1:52 PM 3/28/2009 1.25 gal Decoction @180 added mash raised to 145
2:07 PM 3/28/2009 Mash ph = 5.4
2:07 PM 3/28/2009 Temp check: 140
2:25 PM 3/28/2009 1.25 gal Decoction @212 added mash raised to 150
2:32 PM 3/28/2009 1 gal decoction @212 added mash raised to 155
2:53 PM 3/28/2009 1 gal decoction @212 added mash raised to 158
2:50 PM 3/28/2009 started heading sparge water
3:03 PM 3/28/2009 Started Sparge
3:16 PM 3/28/2009 2.5 gal
3:33 PM 3/28/2009 7.75 gal, started boil

3:56 PM 3/28/2009 60 min hops added
4:46 PM 3/28/2009 10 min hops added w Irish moss

4:50 PM 3/28/2009 wort chiller inserted
4:56 PM 3/28/2009 Flamout, hops added
5:08 PM 3/28/2009 Wort chilled to 75