Archive for Beer


St. Patrick’s Day Song

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From a biologist.



I’m off the More Beer to stock up on supplies so that Sunday we can make some of that stuff.  I have a American Amber planned out reusing the WLP 001 yeast that I harvested from the last batch of Pale Ale.  Should be SWEET or rather DRY.

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Daddy Short Legs Porter

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Over the past weekend there was a brew session going on at the DG ranch.  White Wolfie Meadery and I brewed up several (that means more than two) batches of beer / mead.  The main attraction was the Daddy Short Legs Robust Porter in a 12 gallon batch.  I really don’t know what has been going on with my transcription of beer recipe, but this is the second time that its been wrong.  This time with the hops.  If its not right I am going to do the Jamil thing and just pour it down the drain.  More about hops later.

The brew session started out on Saturday with a trip to More Beer in Riverside to pick up some grain and yeast.  All of this stuff was on hand here but Wolfie needed to go to stock up for her Mead thing.  The DG ranch has most all of the specialty grains in 5 lb cans in addition to the large amounts of base malt.

The recipe for the Robust Porter is pretty straight forward right out of the Jamil book, “Brewing Classic Styles“.  I have been having trouble with my PC lap top crashing Windows and the program that I use (Pro Mash) is on that computer.  So, I was rushing before it crashed again to write up the recipe for printing.  The computer crashed a couple of times before I finished writing up the recipe and in the heat of the battle with the computer I did not account for doubling the batch size for the hops.  Oh No Mr. Bill I only included half the amount of hops.  The IBU for this porter is going to be a little slim, damn!  The recipe’s are for 6 gal and I always do 12 gal batches so I have to double the grain bill.

Yeast starters in 2,000 ml with the use of a stir plate is the way to go for healthy yeast.  The benefits of the starter really paid off as you can see in the photo above.  The blow off tube was absolutely necessary for this 6 gal wort in the 6.5 gal fermenter.  The 1,800 ml of yeast starter were pitched around 4 PM and the damn thing woke me up in the middle of the night with its violent blub…blub…blub…..blubblubblub in the blow off glass.  Good thing the temperature has been behaving in the San Gabriel valley.  The fermentation started at 68 degrees and climbed to 72 after two days.

The starting OG is really high at 1.070 and for this Robust Porter a touch over the style guidelines.  The efficiency of the More Beer Brew Structure is around 80% and the recipe’s are written for 70%.  I like it!

This porter may be drinkable and then again it may be fish food for the bay.  The hop profile is going to be pretty thin.  The iMac is great but there is not a good replacement for the Pro-mash software.  Trying Beer Tools currently is not satisfying to say the least.  So I am not sure what I am going to do with my funky old PC laptop.  Maybe the solution is just to divide the iMac hard-drive in two divisions and run Windows on a small portion of the drive so that the Pro-mash software can find a stable home.

Mead!  What the hell is this abomination anyway.  Well as I have recently observed, mead is a honey fermented beverage for old people, aka Wolfie!  The DG brewery supplied the equipment but the work of brewing the mead was all Inga’s.  What a mess and sticky glob of goo that mead thing is. The brewery may not recover from the spilled honey.  Wolfie added some dark DME (dry malt extract) and honey to the boil kettle.  She added some hops casually by the handful – no measurements allowed here – and that was it!  Her yeast was some thing off of the back shelf along with some bathroom scrapings she got from behind the sink.  Its supposed to add a bit of tartness to the mead.  Hmmmm, can’t wait to try that out.  If I survive I will let you know about the “Tartness”.

The final batch was a “short beer” or “small beer” made from the final running’s from the Robust Porter mash.  There was still quite a bit of sweet wort to be had from the mash so we ran it off as a short beer.  Its OG was around 1.040 and boiled down to around 3 gal.  I added a bunches of hops to the mess.  The idea of a short beer is not new.  In fact it is a very old technique but not one that I have had the chance or desire to use.  Maybe that will change in the future.

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First Brew Day on New Brew Scuplture

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Today was the day to fire up the Monster Brew Sculpture from More Beer. I have been brewing with the same basic steps but without a structure to hold the pots. Now with the new Monster I have three burners which should lead to a more efficient brew day. I started with rousting up a yeast slurry that I collected from a batch bottled up a couple of weeks ago. Re-pitching yeast is one of the greatest things that I know of in order to make great beer.

I split the slurry into two 1000 ml Erlenmeyer flasks with a bit of fresh wort in them. After a couple hours on some new wort to roust the yeast the little buggers took off like a ….. bat out of hell? Yes, it took off too quick so I had to let it sit and add additional fresh wort to the yeast two hours before I planned to pitch it to the new batch. Now that it is sitting on the beer in the carboy’s they are very happy. DSC_0009

My plan for the day was to brew up a somewhat simple American Pale Ale recipe from “Brewing Classic Styles” by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer of Brew Strong fame.  On the new system plans don’t always go the way it use to.  Maybe that’s the point of keeping it simple ….. trying to get an expected result.  Well, it did not go perfectly and that is what I expected.

The Mash was perfect holding 152 degrees with a recirculation through the Hot Liquor tank heat exchanger.  The Sparge was a little long at 90 minutes.  I have been using a refractometer to check “the numbers” during the brewing process.  Calibration of the instrument was the first thing I did this morning with distilled water.  The Brix scale number that the Refractometer reading gave me after 30 minutes of boiling was 16 which equates out to about 1.066 on the hydrometer.  My target was more like 1.050 after 30 minutes of boiling so I knew I was heading into IPA territory.  No problem just add more hops, right?  My American Pale Ale had turned into a bigger beer.  Most likely the 90 minute Sparge and the fine crush of the grain was at fault.  Next time I will take this into consideration.  More later.

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Beer Sculpture

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Today was an awesome kid at the candy store kind of day. I picked up the More Beer 2100 Beer Sculpture featuring 26 gallon stainless steel kettles and frame that was ordered in December during their 15 percent discount day.  Despite the rain, Wolfie my Pal and I braved the 60 freeway to make our way to the Riverside B3.

OK, I know you are asking yourself now, What is a Beer Sculpture? No, its not a tower of beer cans. A Beer Sculpture is a welded metal piece of art that holds several brewing pots in the creation of Beer Wort. A typical Beer Structure holds three different kettles identified as the Hot Liquor Tank, Mash Tun, and the Boil Kettle. In a four kettle system there is the addition of a Lauder Tun but our Mash Tun functions as both. The Beer Sculpture not only holds the kettles but provides a frame for the burners and pumps that run the system.  This sculpture is a right to left flat structure which runs on two pumps. Its totally awesome.

Prior to purchasing this 20 gallon system, I was using 15 gallon kettles (10 gallon system) on a make-shift rig consisting of two Banjo burners and an overturned metal trash can to hold the Mash Tun. It was a one pump system that worked very well but required two people to lift the Boil Kettle off the ground after the sparge to set it on the Banjo burner. This was a gravity sparging setup. Now of course that problem is solved in fine style due to the two pumps and multiple burners. Thank you More Beer.

This 2100 Brew Sculpture from B3, is managed through the use of two controllers that fire up and off to control the temperature of the Hot Liquor tank and the Mash Tun enabling fine management of the wort creation process.

In the morning I will fire the thing up, check all the fittings and clean the entire system with PBW. The next brew day will probably be next week sometime and I will post some pictures of the event.

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Bottling Day

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Bottling Day at the Yeast Ranch today.  Last Sunday Wolfie and I brewed up what was supposed to be an ESB (English Extra Special Bitter).  Well I messed up the recipe again.  This time cold stone sober too.  Not that one beer during a brew day is going to mess things up, its just that I had my mind wrapped around a 6 gallon batch when I was doing a 12 gal thing.

Actually, the mess up happened the day before when I went to the grain store – More Beer in Riverside – the happiest place in the whole world, just like Disneyland!  I won’t describe to whole messed up event but its just a matter of doubling the specialty malts for the recipe.  Its like the story when God was handing out Legs and she thought he said KEGS and replied, “I’ll take two fat ones.”  I was looking at the recipe thinking it was for 6 gal and doubled the specialty malts because we were brewing up a 12 gal batch.  What was intended to be an ESB turned out to be an American Amber Ale.  So no worries – I just adjusted to hopping rate and changed the yeast and bingo we are back in the style guidelines.  Its just a different beer.

The bottles are sterilizing in the dishwasher and the coffee is perking in the pot so its off to bottling time this afternoon.  Here is the recipe for 12 gal. batch of an American Amber Ale:

Malt Bill: includes 24 lb English Pale Malt; 2 lb C-15; 1 lb C-120

Hops: Magnum 1 oz. 60 min boil then East Kent Goldings 2 oz at 10 min and 2 oz at flame out. (This is on the fly changes OK because I messed up the grain bill remember).

Mash at 152 for an hour and Sparge at 170 degree to a total of 14.5 gal.  Boil for an hour adding yeast nutrient and bingo its wort.

OG is 1.062 high than expected by a couple of points but whose counting?

FG is 1.012  pretty attenuated.

Tasty now before carbonation so we will see in a month how it came out.

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Hilarious Beer Wars

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Watch it only if you want a good laugh.

I picked this link up through a Twitter feed I have been following.  If you do not know about Twitter its the hottest social networking application to come down the pike in the last year or so.  Move over Facebook here comes Twitter.

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Scarlet Letter American Amber Ale

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Scarlet Letter American Amber Ale   is an American-Style Ale designed and brewed by Brian Rezac.  I tried it out and yummmm yummmm yummmmy results.

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