Archive for February, 2009

2 blonde brewday

Today is the day I re-brew the sour blonde from earlier this winter that wasn’t as sour as I had hoped.  I am brewing 10 gallons, and splitting the wort between two different fermentations.   The first will use Wyeast belgian ale, lactobacillus, pediococcus, and Brettanomyces Brux.   All of these will be added in primary this time to try to increase the sourness of the final beer.   The second 5 gallons will be inocculated with only Lacto along with White Labs’ Brettanomyces Claussenii.   I have two liters of starter of the Brett C. ready to go, and am very interested to see how this works in a primary fermentation.  I did have to change the hop bill a bit as I didn’t actually have the Styrian Goldings I thought I did.   So I will likely use Tettnang or something as the hop flavor is not prominent in this beer so the fact that it is not a great substitute should not matter much.

I’ll post the recipe later, I don’t have access to my promash right now.

The brew went well with the exception of a semi-stuck mash.   There was a little trouble sparging, probably due to the amount of grain and that the cooler/mash tun was filled COMPLETELY to the top.   It only took a little persuasion to get everything flowing smoothly though.   I think I ended up around 1.058 for the OG so pretty good shape.  No pictures since I was sort of multi tasking during the brew….too bad because I wanted one of the completely stuffed mashtun.   I’ll have to remember that next time.

Half Barrel Fabrication Shop

So I spent parts of this past weekend helping hook a brutha up with some shiny new all grain equipment. Namely, a screen for the mash tun, new keggle, and a counterflow chiller.

The screen was easy, cheap, and works great in the cylindrical 10 gallon coolers as a filter. It’s much easier to take apart the hose with an angle grinder and cutting wheel than a hacksaw and needle-nose pliers!

The keggle went fairly smoothly as well once I got some new cutting wheels. Somehow, the wheel that was on the grinder wore down in a really strange pattern and was way off center. Also the step bit I have been using for conversions has taken a severe beating and is becoming quite dull….disappointing for a $30+ drill bit (and I bought the cheaper one – maybe that’s why it’s wearing so fast), but I think it should be able to make it through my last keg before it’s completely done.

The counterflow chiller was interesting. I bought one several months ago and LOVE IT. Chills super fast, and isn’t all that more difficult to use than an immersion chiller. So, we used mine as a template to build a new one… went pretty smoothly despite our mediocre soldering skills. The main issue we had was shoving the copper tubing through the hose. We used what we thought was a decent amount of soap/soapy water to lube up the copper so it would slide easier….well, it was still quite a wrestling match to get it through (though we did end up making like a 30 ft chiller which might be a bit longer than is needed, but oh well). Anyhow, we ran a couple tests on it and no leaks so seems to have been a successful couple days in the shop.

Next up for the shop?

1- Redesign my grain mill set-up to give it a smaller footprint

2- Build some storage boxes for the champagne and Belgian style bottles I use for my sour beers

3- Design and build the mobile brewing unit 9000 (aka brewstand)

4- Build the bar for the basement

weird, wild stuff….

Wild FermentThis past weekend it finally warmed up, so I fired up the brewery.  I decided on doing a beer with no traditional brewing yeast…that is to say, all brettanomyces and lactobacillus.   The recipe is basically all pale malt with a touch of wheat and some pilsner to help convert the marris otter pale malt that I use.    I made a 2L starter of a package each of Brett Brux. and Brett Lambicus about 2 weeks ago, and have had it stashed in the fridge awaiting an above 20 degree day.  I pitched the Lactobacillus alone and let it do its thing for about 8 hours before pitching the Brett starter.   The brett also took about 24 hours to get going so I am hopeful that this will have a nice tart lactic character.   I checked on the fermentation last night and was pleased to see a inch or so of  krausen and some vigorous fermentation going on.   I will probably check the gravity and take a taste in a week or so to see where we are at.   I am interested to see how this turns out as I have always only used the brett and lacto in secondary.

Sour Pale

A ProMash Recipe Report

BJCP Style and Style Guidelines

19-E  Belgian & French Ale, Belgian Specialty Ale

Min OG:  1.040   Max OG:  1.070
Min IBU:    20   Max IBU:    40
Min Clr:     3   Max Clr:     8  Color in SRM, Lovibond

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal):         5.00    Wort Size (Gal):    5.00
Total Grain (Lbs):       10.00
Anticipated OG:          1.057    Plato:             14.04
Anticipated SRM:           5.0
Anticipated IBU:          23.3
Brewhouse Efficiency:       75 %
Wort Boil Time:             60    Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts

Evaporation Rate:      15.00    Percent Per Hour
Pre-Boil Wort Size:    5.88    Gal
Pre-Boil Gravity:      1.048    SG          12.02  Plato

Formulas Used

Color Formula Used:   Morey
Hop IBU Formula Used: Rager

Additional Utilization Used For Plug Hops:         2 %
Additional Utilization Used For Pellet Hops:      10 %


%     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM
90.0     9.00 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row)              Great Britain  1.038      3
5.0     0.50 lbs. Wheat Malt                    America        1.038      2
5.0     0.50 lbs. Pilsener                      Germany        1.038      2

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time
1.00 oz.    Styrian Goldings                  Pellet   3.50  16.7  60 min.
1.00 oz.    Sterling                          Pellet   5.25   6.7  15 min.


pitched lacto solo for 8 hours.

pitched 2L starter of Brett B and Brett L at 8 hour mark

took off after 24 hours, 1+ inch krausen on top & going strong

Stout, Stout

stout.jpgSo I LOVE Rogue’s Shakespeare Stout.   I accumulated a bunch of “clone” recipes from magazines and message boards to come up with something close I could brew.   I ended up brewing the recipe I think that appeared in BYO, but also was given by John Maier after his visit on the BrewingNetwork last year.   So I brewed it basically per the recipe including the Rogue Pacman yeast.

Shakespeare Stout

66.2% 2 row
10.5% C120 Great Western
10.5% Baird chocolate
9.7% Regular Rolled Oats
2.9% Baird Roasted Barley
Mash at 148
Hops are all cascade, IBU’s 69 O.G. 1.060

So I got around to tasting it head to head with a bottle of the original the other day.   Upon pouring, it looked great, pretty much identical, though the head on mine was a touch darker.   The real test though is flavor, and I thought this came up a bit short.   The taste was more coffee/roast driven and had a thinner mouthfeel than the chocolate hints and creaminess you get from the original   It made a nice stout, but head to head you could really see the differences.   Additionally, the hops came through a bit more in the clone (not that it is a bad thing).    So, I have one pack of pacman left, so I will try and re-formulate this a bit by mashing higher and subbing in some chocolate wheat and pale chocolate to get some more depth than just the roast the regular chocolate provided.  I might move the hops a bit too, as I had quite a bit of late additions in the first batch.