Monday, September 23, 2019

Batch 230, Oktoberfest

I've been really disappointed in the last couple of Oktoberfest batches that I've done. I really didn't change the recipe between those batches, the first one was awesome, the next two were forgettable or dumpable. This time I've gone with an entirely different recipe of my own creation, based off of the BJCP guidelines and what I have on hand.

10 gallon batch, as usual

22 lb Pilsner malt
1.5 lb Caramunich
1.5 lb White wheat
3 oz Chocolate malt

In previous recipes, I'd used Crystal 60 instead of Caramunich, which made the beer overly sweet for the style. The chocolate malt is for adjusting the color to be in spec, plus I think the little bit of darkness and roastiness will enhance the malt flavors that should shine through on this style. Mashed at 150F, adjusted pH to 5.15, collected 12 gallons in the boil kettle.

1 oz Magnum at 60 minutes

That's all, no flavor hops at all. Magnum is very neutral, but will provide an appropriate amount of bitterness.

Oxygenated and pitched combination of:
Wyeast 2278 Czech Pils
Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager
from batch 229. I pitched 3 quart jars, because that's what I had on hand and because this is the last brew I'll do this year.

OG: 1.053, actual was 1.062, which corresponds to an efficiency of 80%, I only had 70% dialed in for this recipe
FG: 1.015
ABV: 5.3%, but with 1.062, it will be more like 6.2%
IBU: 21.7
SRM: 10

This falls pretty much within the range for an Oktoberfest, except for I overshot the OG.

Update, 16 April 2020, this beer is quite good, I'd make it again. It needs a touch more hops, maybe add a little Mt Hood at 30 minutes?

Update, 3 Oct 2020, so this beer is over a year old. I'd canned a few earlier this year, thinking to enter them into a competition, but with covid, the comp was canceled. I noticed I still had one can left, so popped it open tonight. Darn it, it's gone sour. It's still drinkable, but it's no longer an Oktoberfest. Still, this was a very good batch and I'd make this recipe again.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Batch 229, Leeser

The Leeser blew recently, much to the chagrin of the ladies around the house. I probably won't lager this one too long so it can get back on tap soon!

10 gallon batch

21.5 lb pilsner malt
1.5 lb white wheat

Mashed at 151F for 60 min, adjusted pH to 5.3, collected 12 gallons, batch sparge.

1.5 oz Magnum, 60 min
2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min
2.75 oz Saaz, 5 min (pellets in a nylon)

90 minute boil.

Mix of:
Wyeast 2278 Czech Pils
Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager
from batch 222.
Pitched at 68F, will ferment at 55F.

OG: 1.055, 1.060 actual
FG: 1.014
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: 33.8
SRM: 4.0

Super easy brew day.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Batch 228, Basil IPA

I finally got around to making Gordon's Basil IPA. It smelled good!

10 gallon batch

22 lb 2-row
2 lb biscuit malt
1 lb Special B

Mashed at 145F, adjusted pH to 5.22. Picked the basil fresh from the garden while the mash was happening.

1 oz Galena, FWH
2 3/8 oz Chinook, 60 min (the odd weight is that finished what I had on hand)
2 oz Cascade, 30 min
2 oz Cascade + 1 cup basil + 2 tsp Irish Moss15 min
1/2 cup basil, 8 min
2 oz Citra + 1 cup basil, 2 min

60 minute boil

1.5 qt Wyeast 1272, American Ale II

OG: 1.060, 1.058 actual
ABV: 6.1%
SRM: 8.4
FG 1.016
IBU: 81

Aug 22: The cider isn't ready to cold crash, but the IPA is, so I transferred the IPA to kegs and put them in the fridge to cold crash.
Aug 24: Racked to clean kegs, it was kind of a pain since the poppet on one keg got clogged with yeast/trub and sprayed all over the inside of the fridge when I disconnected the jumper hose. Added gelatin, connected CO2.
Aug 29: Nicely carbonated, subtle basil aroma and flavor, it's quite good!

I keep forgetting to document my ciders. I ran off an extra gallon of wort to make another Berry Cider.

So a 5 gallon batch of cider:

11 cans Winco frozen apple cider juice
2 gallons of water
1 gallon of wort

Mix it all together to make 4 gallons, pitched the other 0.5 quart (that's pint, or 2 cups) of Wyeast 1272 American Ale II yeast.

Aug 22: Fermented for 11 days, it's finally down to 1.020. Ran 4 lb frozen mixed berries (also from Winco), strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, through the food processor to break them up and let the juice out. Added water to make a gallon, then dumped the whole thing into the fermenter.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Gelatin for fining

I used to do this, way back when, but haven't done it in a long time. It turns out it's easy and really helps with clarity. Here's the process for 10 gallons of beer:

  1. Transfer beer from fermenter to kegs.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup water into a measuring cup. 
  3. Pour 1 packet of powered, unflavored gelatin into the cup and let sit for a minute or so.
  4. In the mean time, heat 1 cup water in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes.
  5. Pour the hot water into the measuring cup on top of the gelatin.
  6. Stir until the gelatin is dissolved.
  7. Pour 3/4 cup into each 5 gallon keg, purge and carbonate. 
Beer should be super clear in a day or two.

Just some brewery chores today

I did a bunch of stuff in the brewery today, and yesterday --

  • Cleaned the mats. They were filthy with dirt, wort, hops, grain, etc. I soaked them in a big trash can with PBW, then hosed them off, they look like new! 
  • Cleaned the keggles and the SS Braids, I should take a new picture of the braids, they look just like they did when I first made them, just as shiny. A couple of days soaking in PBW cleaned off all the discoloration. Ditto with the kegs. Super easy cleaning routine, just fill with water, add PBW, toss in anything else that needs cleaned, let soak for a few days. nothing left to scrub, just rinse and done.
  • Transferred a Panama Red to a new keg to help with clarity. However, I'd already added gelatin to this keg, so really, nothing came out except for really clear beer. Put this one on tap in the garage, a berry cider went empty the other day when I filled a growler for a tennis match (lost horribly, double bagel).
  • Skimmed the hops off the top of the Mosaic IPA I made a couple of weeks ago. I wasn't thinking when I dry hopped -- I'd transferred the beer off of the yeast to my second fermenter, then just tossed in 2 ounces of Mosaic hops flowers. I really should have put them in a nylon, which hit me about 10 seconds after I'd dumped them in the beer. Oh well. I was able to skim quite a lot of them off of the top with a strainer. I put a nylon over the outlet hose on my pump when transferring to kegs, thinking that would catch any hop debris, but it really didn't get much in it.
  • Kegged that Mosaic IPA. It's all Mosaic in this recipe, and the peach aroma is almost overwhelming. I'd named this recipe "Peaches" in the past, and it's definitely true to its name. Added gelatin to the keg, I've been really impressed with the clarity of my beer since I resumed doing this a few weeks ago.
  • Connected the second keg of Panama Red to the Panama Red tap. Had a taste. It was good. Had 3 more cups. Damn, that's a good beer. Should have eaten first. It's 1 pm, I haven't eaten all day and I'm 3 cups in, thinking of a 4th. Better go eat something.
  • Kegged a pale ale I made a week or so ago. Added gelatin to the kegs.
  • Harvested the yeast off of the pale ale. I should go take pictures, that yeast looks just awesome! London Ale III, in case you were wondering.
Went back and took a couple of pictures:

SS Braids after soaking in PBW for a couple of days. The one on the left is still slighly discolored, it's the one that usually goes in the boil kettle.

Really creamy looking London Ale III. I've done two batches with this yeast in the past two weeks. I've always liked this yeast because it harvests easily, and drops out for very clear beer.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

New to me keg issue

So I was filling kegs the other day, and as usual, hooked up the CO2 and sprayed soapy water over the lid and around the posts. All looked normal, no discernible leaks. I left the CO2 on for a while while I did other things in the brewery. Then I noticed the keg was leaking from the pressure relief valve. It took a while before I noticed, just little bubbles around the valve. Usually, I just spray, check the lid and the posts, then wipe off the soapy water. Fortunately, I didn't do that as quickly this time. It turns out to be a pretty easy fix.

The leak is from the small holes next to the lid.

A 1/4" socket extension fits the square hole in the relief valve well enough. There is some slop, but not enough to cause a problem.

Lubed the o-ring and all is well.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Batch 227, Pale Ale

Just a pale ale, nothing special, but it'll be beer!

10 gallon batch

22 lb 2-row
1.5 lb white wheat
1.0 lb biscuit

Mashed at 148F, pH at 5.2.

2 oz Chinook, 60 min
2 oz Cascade, 30 min
2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min
2 oz Cascade, flameout
2 oz Centennial, flameout

60 minute boil

London Ale III, pitch on the yeast cake from Batch 226.

Uneventful brew day, although it was hot! Nothing but a swim suit and flipflops.

OG: 1.055, 1.060 actual
FG: 1.014
SRM: 5.2
IBU: 60
ABV: 5.5%

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Batch 226, Mosaic IPA

I still have a lot of Mosaic hops that were given to me 2 years ago. They've been in the freezer the whole time, and still look and smell good, so I thought I'd make a real hoppy beer to use most of them up. As it turns out, I still have over a pound left.

10 gallon batch

25 lb 2-row
2 lb biscuit
1.5 lb white wheat
2 oz chocolate malt

Mashed at 152F

2.5 oz Mosaic, FWH
3 oz Mosaic, 60 min
3 oz Mosaic, 30 min
5 oz Mosaic, flameout

Wyeast 1318, London Ale III

OG: 1.066 target and actual
FG: 1.017
SRM: 7.9
IBU: 134
ABV: 6.7

22 July 2019: transferred off of the yeast cake to secondary fermenter, added 2 oz Mosaic for dry hopping.

31 July 2019, kegged, added gelatin to the keg. See this post for some more details.

Batch 225, Panama Red

The last batch of Panama Red was a huge disappointment, somehow it came out sour. I tried to drink it, I really did, but I ended up dumping it. My notes say that I made a starter from yeast from last August, my guess is that yeast had an infection that soured the beer, even though the starter looked good. I am woefully behind on brewing and have 2 empty taps and 3 more that are close to empty, so I brewed 2 batches today.

10 gallon batch

The usual grain bill:
22.25 lb 2-row
1.5 lb crystal 60
1.5 lb white wheat
4 oz chocolate malt

Mashed at 154F, adjusted pH to 5.27.

The usual hops bill and 90 minute boil:
2 oz Mt Hood, FWH
2 oz Centennial, 60 min
2 oz Cascade, 30 min
2 oz Cascade, 5 min
2 oz Mt Hood, 5 min

Brand new, right out of 2 smack packs, Wyeast 1272, American Ale II.

OG: 1.066 actual (target was 1.063)
FG: 1.016
SRM: 11.8
IBU: 66
ABV: 6.4

Easy brew day, but damn, it was hot today. I probably lost 10 lb in sweat.

22 July 2019: kegged, added gelatin to the keg for clarity. Seem to be a little short, only got about 9 gallons in the kegs.

Monday, July 8, 2019

SS Braid update

Just over 8 years ago I updated my stainless steel braids. The old ones looked really ragged. I'm still using my updated braids, they still work perfectly to screen out hops and trub.

Here is a shot of the old and new:

And a shot of the new ones back then:

And a shot of them now:

Not as shiny, but still working perfectly and they still look good!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Batch 224, End of the World

This turned out to be a really easy brew day. Two 5 gallon batches done in less than 5 hours! This is a repeat of the End of the World that I've made a couple of times before. The grain bill is a little different because I didn't have 8 lbs of wheat.

27 lb 2-row
3 lb wheat
1 lb crystal 120
0.5 lb crystal 60
0.75 lb chocolate malt
0.5 lb roasted barley

The roasted barley is new to this recipe, it smelled good and seemed appropriate for this style, so I added a little. Mashed at 151F for 60 minutes, adjusted pH to 5.29. Ran off 5.5 gallons into the boil kettle, which is short of what I wanted, so I ran in another gallon of the second runnings for 6.5 gallons for the strong beer, then ran off another 6.5 gallons for the small beer.

Hops for End of the World:
6 oz Chinook at 60 minutes

Oxygenated and pitched 1 quart Wyeast 1272, got just under 5 gallons in the fermenter.
OG: 1.093 by recipe, 1.094 actual.

Hops for brown (small) beer:
2 oz Cascade at 60 minutes
1 oz Cascade at 5 minutes

This one should turn out to be a fairly standard brown ale, I think. The small beer out of this recipe has always been very good.
OG: 1.047 by recipe, 1.060 actual
Not sure why the gravity is bigger than expected, the volumes came out just right.

Oxygenated and pitched 1 quart Wyeast 1272, got right at 5 gallons in the fermenter.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Batch 223, Panama Red

It's that time again, the current supply of Panama Red is nearly gone, so doing another batch today.

10 gallons

OG: 1.061 planned, actual was 1.070
FG: 1.015
IBU: 64
SRM: 13
ABV: 5.9%

20.25 lb American 2-row
1.5 lb Crystal 60
1.5 lb Wheat
0.25 lb Chocolate malt

Adjusted pH to 5.21, mashed with 7 gallons, which made for a fairly thick mash. Don't know why, but I didn't think to check the mash temperature.

2.5 oz Mt Hood, FWH
2 oz Centennial, 60 min
2 oz Cascade, 30 min
2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min
2 oz Mt Hood, 5 min
2 oz Cascade, 5 min

90 minute boil

Wyeast 1272, 1 quart starter from batch 221.

It was a pretty straighforward brew day, although I ended up high on the OG:

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Batch 222 Leeser

Prepping to brew a Leeser tomorrow. Started my yeast today, it's a little different than usual, but should still be great.


2 qts RO water
1 cup DME
1 Wyeast 2278 Czech Pils
1 Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager

I meant to buy Bohemian Lager, but the home brew store was out. I actually like the specs on these yeasts better than the Bohemian lager:

Bavarian Lager (2206):
Flocculation: medium - high
Attenuation: 73 - 77
Temp range: 46 - 58F

Czech Pils (2278):
Flocculation: medium - high
Attenuation: 70 - 74
Temp range: 50 - 58F

I'll be fermenting this at 55F. Compared to Bohemian Lager (2124), which I what I've been using:

Flocculation: low - medium
Attenuation: 73 - 77
Temp range: 45 - 68F

I assume these new yeasts will make a slightly clearer beer.

10 gallon batch

21.5 lb Pilsner malt
1.5 lb white wheat

Mash at 148F. Collect 12 gallons.

1.5 oz Magnum, 60 min
2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min
3.0 oz Saaz, 5 min

90 minute boil.

Yeast as above.

OG: 1.055
FG: 1.014
ABV: 5.6%
IBU: 33.8
SRM: 4.0

Friday, April 12, 2019

Batch 221 Mosaic IPA

I still have quite a few Mosaic hops from last fall, so I'm doing a single hop batch.

10 gallons

2-row, 25 lb
Biscuit malt, 1.5 lb
White wheat, 1.5 lb
Chocolate malt, 2 oz

Adjusted pH to 5.2, mashed at 154F for 1 hour, recirc for 10 minutes each batch. Collected 13 gallons in the boil kettle, plus 1 extra gallon for cider.

Mosaic, 2 oz, FWH
Mosaic, 2.5 oz, 60 minutes
Irish Moss, 2 tbs, 15 minutes
Mosaic, 4 oz, 5 minutes

90 minute boil

Wyeast 1272 from batch 219. Did a 1 qt starter, which blew out of my 1 gallon starter container.

OG: 1.061, 1.062 actual
FG: 1.016
ABV: 6.2%
SRM: 7.9
IBU: 82.4

Easy brew day, no problems with the pump, hit the mash temp dead on the first time, volumes all look good. Cleaned the plate chiller with PWB (oxyclean and TSP 50/50 mix), still some crud coming out even though I cleaned the crap out of it last week.

Recipe and doodles
Yeast from batch 220, it's a little pink because of the guava, the colors looked really nice. This is the container I use to make starters in.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Batch 220, Guava IPA

Update, 6 May 2019:

OMG! This is it! This is the best version of this recipe so far! The guava is present, but subtle, the hops are prominent, but not overwhelming. Yeah, this is the one.

And back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Yet another variation on the guava IPA.

10 gallon batch

20 lb 2-row
2.5 lb white wheat
2.2 lb (1 kg) guava paste, added at end of primary fermentation

Mashed at 154F. I missed the initial mash temp due to cold equipment, so I turned on the flame under my mash tun and got it up to 154F, stirring constantly. Unfortunately, unknown to me at the time, I'd knocked the SS braid off of the internal plumbing, so when it came time to recirculate, nothing happened. I scooped most of the mash out into buckets, got the plumbing cleared of grain and got the braid reattached. Kind of a pain, but not a big deal. Adjusted pH to 5.2. 60 minute mash, 10 minute recirc, and again on the sparge batch.

1.75 oz Citra, FWH
2 oz Magnum, 60 min
3 oz Citra, 5 min

90 minute boil

Pitched about 1.5 quarts Wyeast 1272 from Batch 219.

OG: 1.058
FG: 1.015
ABV: 5.8%
IBU: 82
SRM: 9.7

In previous batches of this, I've added the guava at the end of the boil. This time, I'm going to add it towards the end of primary fermentation, which I hope will help improve the guava flavors. I have some notes about a side-by-side comparison with Short's Freedom of '78 guava IPA that I did a while back, one suggests adding the guava later, so I'm giving that a try. I'm not sure I like the canned guava concentrate, so I didn't use any in this batch.

Here's a picture of a nifty antique colander that I'm using to distribute the wort more evenly during recirculation:

And here's what the grain bed looks like afterwards:

Looks nice, no channeling at all. 

This is the guava paste I used, bought it on Amazon:

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Batch 219, Panama Red

We've been gone since last October, just got back to the world 2 days ago, so of course I had to brew some Panama Red. Unfortunately, my prior planning was a bit off -- I thought I had enough 2-row, but I was short a few pounds...

10 gallon batch

17 lb 2-row
To make up for the 3.25 lbs I'm missing:
2.5 lb pilsner
.75 lb british brown
And the usual:
1.25 lb Crystal 60 (short 1/4 lb, but I think the brown will compensate)
.25 lb chocolate malt

Mashed at 150F, which is lower than usual, so this might come out a bit drier that I'd like, but oh well.

2 oz Mt Hood, FWH
2 oz Centennial, 60 min
2 oz Cascade, 30 min
2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min
2 oz Mt Hood, 5 min
2 oz Cascade, 5 min

Wyeast 1272 from last August, did a 2 qt starter that looked really good.

OG: 1.061, 1,058 actual
FG: 1.015
SRM: 13
ABV: 5.9