Archive for the ‘beer’ Category

You Brew Your Own Beer? Pretzel beer?

I am taking a break from brewing starting January so I can prepare for my Professional Engineer exam in April. I have some backstock ingredients so I have been working them down. Today I brewed an experimental beer that I hope reminds me of pretzels.

Here is the recipe for 1.5 gallons:
10.00 g Sea Salt (Mash 60.0 mins) Water Agent 1 –
1 lbs 10.4 oz White Wheat Malt (2.4 SRM) Grain 2 69.5 %
4.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 3 10.5 %
4.0 oz White Wheat Malt-toasted (2.4 SRM) Grain 4 10.5 %
2.0 oz Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 5 5.3 %
0.30 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] – Boil 90.0 min Hop 6 23.1 IBUs
1.6 oz Cane (Beet) Sugar (0.0 SRM) Sugar 7 4.2 % post krausen

I did a step mash, biab, stovetop. The first rest was 122F for 30 minutes. The second rest was 152F for 60 minutes. I did a 90 minute boil. I didn’t have any beer yeast, so I used a packet of Montrachet. Hopefully it rips through the sugars, I’m not looking for yeast character on this one anyways. Hopefully the acid malt gives the hint of sourdough, the salt, well salt, and the toasted wheat that toasty outer crust of a pretzel. The wort tasted pretty good going into the fermenter.

I used a 5 gallon paint strainer for this BIAB on my stovetop

The mash, really light with the white wheat

Sleeping bag wrap for the rests

Almost the scale of steeping grains in extract brewing…

Back to the kitchen sink cooling

While I was brewing, some other things were going on at Little House on the Sandpit…

Panels for gingerbread houses were made

I tried some pine needle and spruce tip tea

and our sick chicken started to feel better, she can stand without falling over now.

You Brew Your Own Beer? (and Cider) Stovetop Pasteurizing

Got my Wee Scottish 60 shilling into the fermenter and happily bubbling away.

The Recipe
Type: All Grain
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.25 gal
Boil Size: 8.75 gal
Boil Time: 90 min Equipment: BIAB
Est Mash Efficiency 82.0 %

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
4 lbs 6.1 oz Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 1 80.0 %
8.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 2 9.1 %
4.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (60.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.6 %
4.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 4 4.6 %
1.5 oz Pale Chocolate Malt (200.0 SRM) Grain 5 1.7 %
0.64 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 6 14.8 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) [50.28 ml] Yeast 7 –

Est Original Gravity: 1.031 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.035 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.008 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 3.0 %
Bitterness: 15.3 IBUs Calories: 114.8 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 9.5 SRM

Then I pasteurized my Caramel Apple Cider
View the recipe here: Caramel Apple Hard Cider on Homebrew Talk
The cider is finished high then more sugars are added (back-sweetening) and it is bottled. I watched closely as it carbonated up by putting a couple in plastic bottles to check for firmness and by opening a few along the way until it appeared to be carbonated enough. Once ready, I put 10 bottles in 190F water for 10 minutes to kill the residual yeast, thus preventing bottle bombs. Apparently the sugar striated some or I have older bottles because 4 bottles burst in the process. Three blew in the pasteurizer kettle, and one on the counter cooling. A little bit of a mess and a scare, but I had a cover and towel over the kettle just in case and the counter one burst in the back of the bottle line so nobody was hurt.

I preheated the bottles in 100F tap water figuring it would lower the temperature in the pasteurizer less.

The bottles in the pasteurizer under the towel, the bottles preheating in the kettle, and bottles on the counter cooling.

The cider came out really good, a little sweeter than I had hoped so next time I will backsweeten a little less. Also, I think this would taste great aged a bit on oak and/or with a little bit of amber malt. This goes on the “to brew again” list for sure.

PS Sorry no in the glass picture, I keep forgetting to take one, I guess I get caught up in the yumminess.

You Brew Your Own Beer? And Cider? – Productive day at Two if By Sea Brewing

Got some brewing done finally. Nothing big, just some things that have been on the back burner for a while. It isn’t easy with two working parents and three kids. My youngest was not feeling good this morning so with our plans to go out canceled, I seized the opportunity to get the Canadian Red kit and kilo kit in. And I transferred my Moravian Pale Ale into a bucket and dry hopped it. To top the day off, I put together a Caramel Apple Hard Cider. Now I just need to get off my butt and bottle that lemon wine…

Far left is the Candian Red and to the right is the Caramel Apple Cider

It takes a lot of 1/2 gallon bottles to make 5.25 gallons of cider…

Product Review-Beer Use: Eva-dry E-500 Renewable Wireless Mini Dehumidifer

I went through my first full cycle of a beer in my ferementation chamber (a chest freezer with temperature control) with an . Works great! I usually find 1/2″ to 1″ of water in the bottom of the freezer after a beer is done. Not a single drop, not even any moisture in there. For $20, this is an investment well worth it. Hopefully it works as advertised drying out by plugging it in. The unit is made out of heavy plastic and looks to be very durable. It comes with a hook to hang it, I hooked it around the glass one gallon carboy I use as a blowoff. There are no batteries or plugs to deal with, the beads inside the unit absorb moisture. The say the beads will last 10 years and there is a 5 year warranty on the unit. This model is supposed to handle 500 cubic feet of area so it is quite a bit of overkill for the space inside a chest freezer; however with the ferment going with warm air and liquids, it is a pretty humid environment so overkill is probable best. The unit is oval in shape, about 8″ long, 6″ high and a couple inches thick so it is easy to fit wherever you need it.

There is the unit in my freezer, hooked on the 1 gallon jug.

I give this product 5 out of 5 hop cones.

You Brew Your Own Beer? BIAB Moravian Pale Ale

Go little enzymes, go forth and convert

The mash

Grains so heavy…

Chickens love spent grains. Chickens give eggs. Little House on the Sand Pit loves eggs. Win win.


All tucked in

Got some miscalculation on this batch. Ended up with an extra gallon which means the OG, ABV, and IBUs will be much lower than planned. Oh well. It will be beer. Serves me right for not brewing for so long. I put the blowoff from the main batch into 2 one gallon jugs. The yeast went in the main, we’ll see if the blowoff can get the overflows stated fermenting as well.

I’ve got a face made for Podcast

I was quoted on Basic Brewing Radio:

The mailbag section near the beginning talking about sour mashing with spent grains.

“Since we did those partigyle sour beers mentioned during your interview on the “Partigyles gone wild” podcast, I have used the sour mash method to squeeze out what I call a bonus beer many times with mostly good luck.

What I do is at the end of the brew day of a moderate to strong beer, I don’t throw out the grains. I do BIAB so I pitch the whole bag into a round cooler. I stir in a couple pounds of crushed 2-row and a couple ounces of torrified wheat (I find the first mash strips out head retention proteins, at least that is what i guess it does), and take a temperature reading. I then prepare a couple of gallons of strike water to reach ~120F and stir it in. I press plastic wrap onto the top of the mash and screw the top on. I take my BIAB insulating comforter and wrap the cooler. I let that sit undisturbed for 24-48 hours then brew day is on. I heat up a couple gallons of water to 170F+ and dunk sparge the grains in it and wring the snot out of it. DON’T FEAR THE FUNK! It usually smells horrible. I pour the wort from the cooler in, top up to 5 gallons plus my boil off and take a gravity reading. I calculate the probable OG and do a 60 minute hop addition to reach around 12 IBU.

Sometimes I do coriander and/or grains of paradise. I do a 60 minute boil, cool, ferment with a clean yeast, and bottle as normal without worry of contamination of my equipment on future non-sour beers. What I get is a very light (2-4% ABV), lemony pucker beer. All for a couple bucks in grains, hops, and yeast. I often just let the blow off from the first beer dump into the sour beer to ferment for even more frugality.”

You Brew Your Own Beer? Bottle and transfer

Part 1 of a Pale Ale experiment

Skeeter Pee finally got down below 1.000. Yeast kill, clarify, and backsweeten are the next steps.

NED year 2!

Today marks my second year of No Evidence of Disease. Three more and I will be officially Cancer Free! So of course that means time to sample the Russian Imperial Stout I am aging for 5 years.

Fancy Grolsch bottles with wax for extra aging protection

Beautiful beer!

Appearance: 2 finger head subsided to 1 finger off white mostly medium bubbles. Pitch black, no sediment visible in pour all the way to the bottom of the bottle.

Aroma: Chocolate, coffee, ashy.

Taste: big smooth chocolate up front with a hint of coffee, the chocolate turns to dark chocolate at the end, and a burnt flavor at the end, not overpowering

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy, not a big carbonation bite but a bit there.

Drinkability: Single beer only, will blow your taste buds out with big flavors. Not to say it is harsh, it is very smooth, just a very complex beer with bold flavors that would wreck a pale ale drunk afterwards. Drink this beer as a relaxing sipper.

Overall: I wouldd pay for this at a bar and be happy with my purchase. It is hard to believe i brewed this one, it is so commercial like. I really want to chill another bottle to drink, but no, you must last another 3 years for a big celebration.

Aging: The flavors are really melting together well. No sign of oxygenation. The flavors are smoother than last year. No issues yet. See you next year RIS.

Does colon cancer run in your family? Got a relative that had cancer at a young age? Do you know when you should get a colonoscopy?

If you have a family history, get screened 10 years younger than the youngest case of colon cancer in your family. I was 38 when diagnosed. Had I waited I could easily have been a sad cancer story instead of a survivor. Lynch is just one of several genetic cancer diseases and it isn’t just colon cancer, that is just the biggest one.

Beeriments – Hop Schedules

This Beeriment has been knocking around in my head for a while. The idea is fairly simple, it has to do with hop schedules and all the different ideas on hopping. The traditional hop schedule with 60 minutes bitter, 20 minutes flavor, and 5 minutes aroma has been challenged with first wort hopping, hop bursting, and whirlpool hopping. We’ve all read about the differences in these hopping techniques and tasted beer either commercial or homebrew that use these techniques. But what about first hand knowledge of exactly the impact your hop schedule has on a beer? That is my goal with this experiment.

Goal: Taste different hop additions in the same beer.

Planned Procedure: Mash for 12 gallons of beer (final volume), and split into six 2 gallon batches. Hop each batch differently with the following schedules.
First Wort Hop
60 minute hop
20 minute hop
5 minute hope
whirlpool hop
Then brew one batch with the traditional 60/20/5 hop schedule.

Ferment all in the same chamber with the same yeast for the same amount of time. Then bottle and age the same. Then sample together, starting with the traditional schedule as the base then working from the bottom of the list, whirlpool hop up, to the first wort hop.

First I started with a SMaSH beer recipe for 12 gallons and fiddled around with the hops to get even quantities for 6, 2 gallon batches for ease of ingredient ordering. A SMaSH beer is Single Malt and Single Hop. I figured this style would work great for this experiment. I chose Vienna malt and German Tradition Hops. The Vienna has a little complexity to it to make the base beer tasty but not dominant. The Tradition Hops are dual purpose and aren’t overpowering either. I didn’t want something like a Citra that would take over. I chose a fairly clean, very reliable yeast in the Nottingham dry yeast. I will ferment on the low side, say 62F to keep it clean.

The Base Beer Idea:
Type: All Grain
Batch Size (fermenter): 12.00 gal
Boil Size: 14.00 gal
Boil Time: 60 min
Equipment: 15 Gallon Brewing System
End of Boil Volume 2.00 gal
Brewhouse Efficiency: 82.00 %

Amt Name Type # %/IBU
18 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 1 88.9 %
1 lbs 4.0 oz Acid Malt (3.0 SRM) Grain 2 6.2 %
1 lbs Caraamber (30.0 SRM) Grain 3 4.9 %
2.00 oz Tradition [6.00 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 4 20.0 IBUs
2.00 oz Tradition [6.00 %] – Boil 20.0 min Hop 5 12.1 IBUs
2.00 oz Tradition [6.00 %] – Boil 5.0 min Hop 6 4.0 IBUs
2.0 pkg Nottingham Yeast (Lallemand #-) [23.66 ml]

Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.051 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.011
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.2 %
Bitterness: 36.1 IBUs
Est Color: 5.8 SRM

Brew Day

1. Mash for 24 gallons of wort.
2. Remove 4 gallons of wort and add 1 oz hops immediately, then normal boil process, cool immediately.
3. Remove 4 gallons of wort, bring to boil, and add 1 oz hops for 60 minutes, then normal boil process, cool immediately, transfer to carboy.
4. Remove 4 gallons of wort, bring to boil, and add 1 oz hops with 20 minutes left, then normal boil process, cool immediately, transfer to carboy.
5. Remove 4 gallons of wort, bring to boil, and add 1 oz hops with 5 minutes left, then normal boil process, cool immediately, transfer to carboy.
6. Remove 4 gallons of wort, bring to boil, boil for 60 minutes, and add 1 oz hops at flameout, let site for 20 minutes then chill, transfer to carboy.
7. Bring remaining 4 gallons of wort to boil, add 1/3 oz hops for 60 minutes, add 1/3 oz hops for 20 minutes, add 1/3 oz hops for 5 minutes, cool immediately, transfer to carboy.
8. Ferment at 62F.
9. Bottle.
10. Age.
12. Sample

Potential Snares
I do full volume, BIAB mashing. 4 gallons x 6 batches = 24 gallons of water. Way over my kettle volume for full water volume mash. I may take half my water volume then dilute down. So shoot for 12 gallons out of mash, split into 2 gallon batches and add 2 gallons to each batch.

Boil-off on small volumes. I haven’t done small volumes like this so will I get 2 gallons an hour boil-off? More? less?

I chose to keep the hop amounts constant because I am looking at what the hops at each time point in the process do. I could do weighted additions in an attempt to keep IBUs the same for them, but the quantities would be unrealistic.

Time. This is an ambitious brew day. It would be really good to do this with another brewer side by side and split the 2 gallon batches into single gallon batches each. Use wine jugs for fermenters. They would fit in the chamber better. I chose 2 gallons because I felt 1 gallon batches may be a little low on the boil volume for my comfort. I could scale everything in half and move indoors to the stove if I wanted to do the 1 gallon batches. I may do this.

Have I chosen a decent hop/malt combination for this? Would there be a better combination?

It was difficult to balance all the different schedules. To get a 60 minute hop amount that doesn’t blow you out of the water while still getting enough from the same amount in a 0 minute addition was difficult. There may be too much of an extreme between these all. But I guess that is part of what I could learn with this.

Anyone want to weigh in with ideas?

The batches, by the numbers.

5 Minutes
Bitterness: 14.1 IBUs

20 Minutes
Bitterness: 42.8 IBUs

60 Minutes
Bitterness: 70.7 IBUs

First Wort Hop
Bitterness: 77.7 IBUs

Whirlpool Hop
Bitterness: 35.1 IBUs
(Note, I estimated bitterness by moving to 15 minutes of boil in the calculations)

Bitterness: 42.1 IBUs

Feel free to weigh in with ideas.

Hops – 5/1/12

Just some shots of the Magnums.