Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Pumpkin Ale

Thunderstruck Pumpkin Ale. I used this as a model, did all-grain and used BeerSmith2 to scale it down, I then rounded the grains to 1/4 of ounces. I also did not use pumpkin, cause I didn't want to deal with it.

Got to use my JSP MaltMill for the first time. And I forgot some basic physics whilst doing so. I turned my drill on and then poured grains into the hopper, got about 1 lb in and since I was not holding onto the drill, the friction from the grain resulted in the drill spinning around and around until the cord stopped it from turning. My brain took awhile to catch up to the situation and after forgetting to disengage the lock switch on the drill trigger, I plugged it back in and the grain mill hopped off the bucket and spilled an ounce or so of grains. Then my stupid brain caught up and all was good after that. Got a great crush and my efficiency is over 80% with this batch.

Brewed 9/24

7 lb Rahr 2-row malt
1.5 lb 60L crystal malt
1 lb biscuit malt
.5 lb wheat, flaked
1 oz Fuggles for 60 min
1 pack Saf-05

Single infusion mash with 3.75 gallons water at 154° F for 45 min
Mash out at 168°F for 15 min (added ~2 gallons at 205°)
Sparge with 3.75 gallons of 170°F water (pulled off 6.75 or so gallons due to larger than expected boil off in last 2 brews)
Boil 60 mins

BeerSmith est. OG: 1.049
Measured OG: 1.060

I pulled off a little too much wort and ended up with a batch size of about 5.5 gallons in the primary, maybe even 6. I didn't get near the boil off that I've been getting recently.

It's been very active in fermentation and took off like crazy after less than a day. Tuesday (9/27) I saw the krausen came out of the bubble lock, so had to replace that. Wasn't a bad spill, stayed contained on the lid. Still bubbling as of last night every few seconds.

At transfer to secondary, I will add 1 tsp of a pumpkin pie spice soaked in brandy or vodka overnight.

Updates to follow.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Simple Apfelwein recipe...or hooch, which is kinda what it is. The original recipe is from a homebrew forum, which will be the first or second result in a google search for Apfelwein.

5 gallons apple juice, non-pasteurized, 100% juice
4 lbs dextrose

Mix those however you see fit and put it in a carboy. Add a packet of champagne yeast, or any wine or beer yeast that will handle upwards of 15% alcohol. The champagne yeast lends a drier end product.

Now, this is nice and all, but I wanted something a little more cider like and sweeter. So I did the following for the second batch.

5 gallons apple juice
1 lb dark brown sugar
4 lbs dextrose
2 cinnamon sticks
Capful of whole cloves

I took 3 gallons of the juice and added everything else to it. Brought it to a boil and went 15-20 minutes. Cooled it and tossed it into a carboy with the rest of the juice. Added a pack of champagne yeast and let it go.

About 1 month in, I tried it and tested the SG. Went from 1.100ish to 1.030 in that time and was a little too sweet. Tested again a week later and the same. So, I added another pack of yeast and have let it sit since. This addition saw noticeable activity in the airlock for a few days.

It has since been allowed to sit until cleared and has not been tested. Will bottle once the yeast has appeared to all settle out again, which should be soon. I'll bottle by end of September.

Each taste has been good. Spices come through and the brown sugar definitely added a nice sweetness to it. Definitely more pleasing than the 2 cases of hooch I brewed with the original recipe.

Double Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal Stout

Also Known As: Hagrid's Stout

Yup, I'm that kinda nerd. Anyway, here's the recipe.

Lafayette, IN city water was used

Grain Bill:
9.5 lbs. 2-row Malt, this one was from Canada
18 oz. Quaker quick oats
.75 lbs 120L crystal malt
.75 lbs chocolate malt
.25 lbs Carafa III
1 tbsp 5.2 pH stabilizer

1 oz. Northern Brewer hops 60 min
.75 oz EKG hops 15 min
.25 oz EKG hops 5 min

Danstar Nottingham yeast in primary
Danstar Windsor yeast in secondary

1 can of Hershey's Special Dark powdered cocoa
5 lbs pie cherries in secondary

Mash grains using 15.5 qt water at 153-158 F for 60 min. Strike water about 168 F.
Mash out with 6.25 qt at 168 F for 20 min. Strike water about 202 F.
Fly sparge with 2.75 gal at 168 F.

Boil 60 min with hop additions as noted above. Added chocolate at 5 minutes left in boil.

Primary for 1-2 weeks.

After about 3-4 days, fermentation stuck at about 1.030. This is where Windsor yeast comes in.

For cherries, I brought to 165 F +/- 5 F for 15 minutes. Cooled and put into secondary vessel. Racked beer on top.

Let sit for a day. Then added Windsor yeast. After seeing no bubbler activity for 2 days, checked gravity. Then checked next day. They were the same at about 1.022.

Decided to go ahead and bottle. Probably should have left in secondary another week, but didn't.

Smelled of chocolate at bottling. Tasted like ass. But taste was reticent of Hairy Porter I made, so just needs time in bottle to age. Will update in a couple weeks for results, as that will be about a month in the bottle.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


I brewed up an IPA modeled after a Stone IPA clone recipe from the Clone Brews book by the Szamatulskis. Had another blow-out with this brew sometime between Sunday afternoon and Monday afternoon when I went to check on it and my brew had bubbled over some and there was no sanitizing solution left in the bubbler. No beer made it to the floor this time.

I also converted a cooler to a mash tun, but I'm not enamored with it's performance as I did need to add water multiple times. It was my first time and I don't think I added hot enough water on my initial strike, so we'll try again and see how it works. I do need to get or make a z fitting (or maybe a single elbow will work) to get the line lower on the drain side of the cooler. Also made a wort chiller with 30' of 3/8" copper tubing and some washing machine hosing.

3 lbs. 2-row malt
6 oz. 20L

The grains were mashed in my new cooler mash tun at 145 to 150 F for 90 minutes with 2 gallons of water to start and 1 tbsp of 5.2 pH stabilizer. I added around 3 quarts of boiling water at various times. I added 2 gallons of ~200 F water and let it sit for ~30 minutes. (I will not spend this much time with the next one, but this book calls for 90 minute mashes which is just unnecessary)

Poured off to my boiling pot and began heating. Added the following extracts:
3.3 lbs light LME
3.7 lbs light DME

Brought to a boil, added 1 oz Northern Brewer (this is where my recipe differs, Chinook are called for) and 1/2 oz Magnum. At 45 minutes added 1 oz Columbus and 1 tsp of Irish Moss. At 55 minutes I added 1 oz. of Centennial. Cooled with the new wort chiller, poured into the fermenter, pitched yeast and aerated for about 15 minutes before foaming too much. Put in basement to ferment for 1 week. Will transfer and dry hop this weekend and should bottle 10-12 days from now.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

If you care, please absorb and repeat ad nauseum

The recently passed GOP budget requires a $6 trillion increase in the debt we take on. The GOP is now refusing to raise the debt ceiling for the very budget they agreed to. This is a perfect example of hypocrisy and counting on you, the American voter, to be too stupid to realize it. Don't let them get away with it.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Robust Porter - Brewed May 29

Extract with specialty grains.

1/2 lb chocolate malt
1/2 lb black patent malt
1 lb 60L crystal malt

6 lb amber extract

1 oz Chinook, bittering
1 oz Cascade, flavoring
1 oz Fuggles, aroma

Bring 1 to 1.5 gallons of water to 160 degrees Fahrenheit then add all specialty grains. Keep at 150 to 155 degrees for 45 minutes. Strain the grains from the pot (or just remove the grain bag) and give the wort the heat and begin to bring to a boil. Add the extract while stirring when near boiling.

Once boiling, add the first hops, in this case 1 oz of Chinook. At 45 minutes add the flavoring hops. At 55 minutes add the aroma hops. Kill the heat at 60 minutes and preferably use a wort chiller to bring wort down to less than 80 degrees. Transfer to your primary fermentation vessel.

Add yeast, I used British Ale yeast from Wyeast and made a starter, and close it all up. Primary fermentation for 1 week. Secondary fermentation + dry hopping with ~0.5 oz of Amarillo hops for 1-2 weeks.

Had a nice hoppy, bitter flavor at transfer. Had a blow out on my 6 gallon carboy fermenter at some point in the first night. The yeast really took off on this brew, hopefully the gravity doesn't go too low where I lose body. Had an original gravity of 17 Brix (1.070 SG) and this should ferment down to a final gravity of about 1.010. Beersmith says an IBU of about 47 at bottling.

This particular brew was different than the first robust porter I did (which I also added coffee at bottling) with Chinook rather than Northern Brewer hops due to a mix-up at the brew store when I purchased this and a Stone IPA clone recipe (not a kit) from Great Fermentations. So the Stone will receive Northern Brewer instead of Chinook and I decided to try Chinook in the Robust Porter instead.