Saturday, September 11, 2021


 I canned a bunch of beer to take south again this year. I'm also taking a second home brewery so I can make home brew in Baja, should be fun! I really like how the labels came out, kind of reminds me of the old-school fruit boxes. All I did was the lettering, the pictures I found on-line, kudos to whoever took them, they are all very nice.

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Batch 254, Basil IPA

 Another batch of this seasonal ale. Our basil plants in our garden are full and ready, so Basil IPA is on for today. It's like a glass of pizza and beer all in one!


This is an odd recipe, I didn't make this one up. A guy in my beer club made it, I've found the same recipe elsewhere on the internet, so I'm not sure who really came up with it in the first place. Both the biscuit and Special B seem out of place in an IPA, but it does give a bready flavor, in keeping with the pizza theme of this recipe. Although, I usually think of Special B giving raisin flavors, but it does work in this recipe. The hops schedule is also a little strange in using Magnum as first wort hops. Magnum is known for a clean bitterness, where first wort hopping is intended to increase the flavors of finishing hops. Odd. Regardless, this is a great beer!


10 gallon batch


22 lb 2-row -- 18.5 lb actual, I'm out of 2 row now

2 lb biscuit

1 lb special B

1.5 lb white wheat -- 2 lb actual, compensating slightly for the lack of 2-row

Mashed in with 7 gallons of 170F water, hit 151F. Adjusted pH to 5.2. 60 minute mash, vorlauf 15 minutes both batches.

1 oz Magnum, FWH

2 oz Chinook, 60 min

2 oz Cascade, 30 min

2 oz Cascade, 15 min

1 cup basil leaves, 15 min

2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min

1/2 cup basil leaves, 8 min

2 oz Citra, 5 min

1 cup basil leaves, 5 min

90 minute boil. For measuring the basil leaves, I just used a measuring cup and packed them fairly tight. 

Oxygenated, then pitched 2 quarts Wyeast 1272, American Ale II.

OG:1.060, hit that on the nose!

FG: 1.015

IBU: 78

SRM: 8.4

ABV: 6.1

Basil in my garden

Thursday, August 5, 2021

Batch 253, Panama Red


This is the second batch of a two-batch day. I did discover that there is no reason not to heat the mash water directly in the mash tun, then add the grain. For some reason, I've always heated it in a separate kettle, then mixed the grain and water in the mash tun, but this saves some time and some work. 

The only thing I noticed that wasn't right on this batch is it seems the wort flows slowly through the pump and plate chiller. Further investigation shows that it's the chiller that is the problem, I could see crud inside even though I've been meticulous about cleaning it after each brew. I used a lot of high pressure water, got a lot of stuff out, then put a big scoop of oxyclean/TSP in a bucket of water and let it recirculate overnight. It was a dark brown color in the morning, so I dumped the bucket and am doing it again. And again. And again. And again. I ran it for almost a week, changing the water daily.

10 gallon batch

22.25 lb 2-row

1.5 lb Crystal 60

1.5 lb White Wheat

4 oz Chocolate malt

Heated mash water to 168F, hit 154F in the mash tun. Adjusted pH to 5.2. 60 minute mash, 10 - 15 minute vorlauf each batch.

2 oz Mt Hood, FWH

2 oz Centennial, 60 min

2 oz Cascade, 30 min

2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min

2 oz Cascade, 5 min

2 oz Mt Hood, 5 min

90 minute boil. Pitched 2 quarts Wyeast 1272 from batch 250, the Guava IPA. It was kind of pink in the jars, I could see bits of guava paste, I hope that doesn't cause a flavor issue.

OG: 1.063, 1.064 actual

FG: 1.015

ABV: 6.4%

IBU: 66.6

SRM: 11.8

Batch 252, Leeser

 Continuing to make this as an ale rather than a lager, which means I can do two batches today. I did this one plus 10 gallons of Panama Red. It was a pretty easy brew day in spite of doing two batches and it being fairly hot outside.

10 gallon batch

19 lb Pilsner

1.5 lb White Wheat

Heated mash water to 164F, hit 150F in the mash. Adjusted pH to 5.1. Vorlauf 10 - 15 minutes each batch, collected 12.5 gallons in the boil kettle.

1.5 oz Magnum, whole cone, 60 minutes

2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 minutes

3 oz Saaz pellets, 5 minutes

90 minute boil. 

Used a combination of  Wyeast 1318 and 1272 from batch 251.

OG: 1.049, 1.050 actual

FG: 1.012

ABV: 4.9%

IBU: 35

SRM: 3.7

Friday, July 16, 2021

Batch 251, Apple Cider

 Just a plain cider this time. I'll probably add some vanilla and cinnamon when kegging.

5 gallon batch

1 gallon wort from batch 250

11 12oz cans Winco frozen apple juice

Enough water to top it up to 5 gallons

So as usual, I just ran off an extra gallon at the end of the second sparge into a fermenter, then added the 11 cans of apple juice, then topped up to 5 gallons. 

Oxygenated, then pitched a new pack of 1318, London Ale III.

Aug 5, 2021: I'm not sure what happened exactly. The yeast never took off, so I scraped some off of the top of batch 250. That didn't get it going either, so I pitched a quart of 1272. It finally started to ferment and finished at 1.004. Kegged on Aug 3, added gelatin to the keg.

Batch 250, Guava IPA


Hopefully, just like last time.

10 gallon batch

20 lb 2-row

2.5 lb white wheat

1 kg guava paste, added at end of primary fermentation

Heated 8 gallons to 165F, mashed in, hit 154F in the tun. Adjusted pH to 5.27. 60 minute mash. Recirculated 15 minutes each batch. Collected 12.5 gallons in the boil kettle, plus another gallon into a fermenter for a cider.

1.75 oz Citra, FWH

2 oz Magnum, 60 min

2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min

3 oz Citra, 5 min

90 minute boil. 

2 quarts Wyeast 1272. No starter, just warmed up the jars to 65F.

Easy brew day, did some ukulele blues with Lisa for Tyler.

OG: 1.058, 1.060 actual
FG: 1.015
ABV: 5.8%
IBU: 82.6
SRM: 9.7

Update, Aug 5, 2021: I added the guava on July 25, I just chopped it into cubes, put it in the blender with a little water, and blended until smooth, then dumped it into the fermenter. We headed out of town on July 27 for a week vacation, but on the 31st, I was able to use the handy remote control app on my phone to turn the Inkbird down to 33F to cold crash, so it would be ready to keg when I got back on the 2nd. Nice! Kegged on Aug 3, added gelatin to the keg.

Friday, June 25, 2021

Batch 249, Porter

 I bought a new brewing system, used, from Craigslist. I want a second system to take with me in the winter when we go to Mexico. We're there over half of the year, so it makes sense to be able to brew there and have a change from Tecate or Pacifico. It's a 5 gallon system, I should have taken pictures, but it's 2 - 5 gallon igloo coolers, 1 - 10 gallong igloo cooler, a 13 gallon stainless cook pot, and a March 809 pump, plus associated stuff. So I gave it a try, and found a few problems. The main problem is the mash tun, it has one of those "screens" make out of slotted copper pipe. Nothing is soldered together, every thing is just shoved together. Of course, it came apart while stirring in the grain, so that's got to go. 

5 gallon batch

8 lb 2-row

2.5 lb British Brown malt

8 oz Chocolate malt

10 oz White wheat (that's all I have)

Heated 4 gallons to 170, mashed in, hit 153F, adjusted pH, but poorly, I wasn't thinking this is a smaller batch, so inadvertently adjusted to 5.0. Recirculating didn't go well at all, everything got clogged up from the strainer falling apart in the bottom of the mash tun.

1 oz Magnum, 60 minutes

Wyeast 1312, London Ale III, 1 quart

Forgot to get an OG.

OG: 1.052

FG: 1.014

ABV: 5.1%

IBU: 46

SRM: 27.7

27 June 2021, the yeast isn't working, so I scooped some of the top yeast from batch 248, the Belma that is fermenting right beside this batch and tossed it in. Checked the next day, and it's going just fine.

30 May 2022, yes, an update almost a year later. I just got back from Baja today, and saw this was still on my nitro tap. It's quite good! There is also a mostly full keg of Basil IPA in the beer shed fridge, but the CO2 had been off while I was gone, so it's flat at the moment. It should be good in a few days, although I'm a little concerned about the hops and/or basil flavors being gone by now. The Porter held up splendidly!

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Batch 248, Belma pale ale

 I ordered a pound of Mosaic from, and they threw in a pound of Belma hops with my order. I had to look them up, they are specific to the Puterbaugh farm, found growing wild near their hops processing facility. Supposedly it's a cross between Magnum and Kitamidori. I use Magnum a lot, it's a nice, neutral bittering hop. I don't know Kitamidori, so I looked it up, it's a Japanese hop that is no longer cultivated commercially, and has a flavor profile similar to Saaz, but apparently has some strawberry/fruit flavors. So I thought I'd do a brew using mostly Belma to see how these taste. It's not a single hop brew since I'm using Magnum as the bittering hop.

10 gallon batch

19 lb pilsner malt

2 lb biscuit malt

1 lb white wheat

Mashed in with 8 gallons at 170F, hit 152F in the mash tun. Adjusted pH to 5.22. Recirc 15 minutes each batch. Second sparge also at 170F. Collected 12.5 gallons in boil kettle

1 oz Belma pellets, FWH

1 oz Magnum whole cone, 60 min

2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min

3 oz Belma pellets, 5 min

90 minute boil. I put the Belma in nylon stockings so they don't clog my system. I noticed that the wort was quite cloudy going into the fermenter, likely due to the fine hops particles from the Belma.

Wyeast 1272, 1 quart fairly thick slurry from batch 247, so it's very fresh.

OG: 1.052, 1.060 actual

FG: 1.013

ABV: 5.1%

IBU: 60

SRM: 5.5

Easy brew day, the hop schedule meant I had a lot of free time, so I worked on my car. The driver side door wouldn't open from the inside all of a sudden, so I had to roll down the window and use the outside handle to get out. It turns out a plastic part where the inside handle connects to the release cable has broken. Bought a new one from ebay for $57, should be here Monday. I'm using a piece of parachute cord in the mean time to be able to open from the inside. Good times! Oh, and was comfortably numb most of the day :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Batch 247, Pale Ale

 No special name for this, it's a pale ale loosely modeled after Bell's Two Hearted, but that's an IPA and this isn't, but it showcases Centennial none the less.


10 gallon batch



22 lb 2-row

1 lb white wheat

12 oz Crystal 120

Mashed in with 8 gallons at 170F, hit 151F in the mash tun. Adjusted pH to 5.3. Second sparge was 8 gallons at 170F to collect 13 gallons in the boil kettle.

Hops, etc:

1 oz Centennial, FWH

1.5 oz Magnum, 60 min

2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min

3 oz Centennial, 5 min

90 minute boil.

Oxygenated, then pitched 2 quarts Wyeast 1272 harvested from batch 245.

Super smooth brew day! I even remembered to take a hydrometer sample:

OG: 1.052, 1.062 actual, might need to adjust the efficiency on BrewTarget

FG: 1.014

ABV: 5.2%, it's going to be higher due to overshooting the OG

SRM: 8.1, looks fairly paie going into the fermenter

IBU: 60, that's higher than I was aiming for, but at the last minute I decided to add the 1 oz of Centennial as FWH.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Batch 246, Berry Cider


I keep forgetting to write down the details of the ciders I've been making, so I'm going to start recording them as a separate batch. I made this at the same time as the Panama Red from batch 244. Here's the basic recipe and process:

  1. Make a beer, save a gallon or so of wort, no hops!
  2. Put the gallon or so of wort in a fermenter
  3. Add 11 cans of frozen apple juice, thawed first
  4. Add enough water to make 4 gallons
  5. Oxygenate, then pitch yeast, I like to use an English yeast like London Ale III, Wyeast 1312, as it has a pretty neutral flavor, but I have used other ale yeasts like American Ale II, Wyeast 1272.
  6. At the end of fermentation, blend 3 lbs frozen mixed berries with enough water to make a gallon.
  7. Add the berries to the fermenter, top up with water to 5.5 gallons if necessary.
  8. Let it finish fermenting. The berries have enough sugar that fermentation will restart and go for several days.
  9. Cold crash.
  10. Siphon into a keg, being careful to get as little berry debris as possible into the keg.
  11. Add gelatin to the keg. I know some people like to add gelatin to the fermenter, but with all the berry debris, it's better to put it in the keg.
  12. Lager for a week or so.
  13. Transfer to another keg using a filter to help keep out any berry debris.
  14. Carbonate and serve.


This is really a malted cider, the apple juice by itself doesn't have enough yeast nutrient to be able to ferment the batch, but the wort does. I don't back-sweeten this. I do sometimes (if I think of it) add 2 tsp of cream of tarter to add some acidity, which helps knock down some of the residual sweetness, but it really isn't necessary. I do let it ferment completely, so the cider comes out fairly dry, which everyone seems to like -- I get a lot of comments like "It's not as sweet as I expected" and "Usually ciders are so sweet, I could drink a few of these" and then they proceed to do so!

Today's batch was pretty much like above, almost. I'd drained 1 1/2 gallons of wort out of the spent grains into a fermenter, topped up to 4 gallons, oxygenated, pitched a quart of London Ale II, Wyeast 1312. Then I walked out of the brewshed to notice that I'd left the 11 cans of apple juice sitting in the sun to thaw. Well, crap. Those were supposed to have gone in before topping up to 4 gallons. Dumped them into the fermenter. 

OG? What's that? :)



Batch 244, Panama Red

 Back to brewing after a long break in Mexico. Panama Red, of course, and a batch of cider at the same time. It was a pretty smooth brew day, a few minor glitches -- my scale was dead, so new batteries, water filter leaks, so greased the o-ring, hose leaks, so ordered a new end piece, and a variety of spider webs on a lot of my equipment.

I made a minor change in the recipe, I changed the 1.5 lb of Crystal 60 to 12 oz of Crystal 120. I should get the same color, but a little less sweetness. I also mashed slightly lower, at 152F, so hopefully this will come out a little drier than previously.

I also realized that I forgot to take gravity readings, but I've made this enough times and everything seemed to go well, so I'm sure it'll come out about where it should.

10 gallon batch

22.5 lb 2-row

1.5 lb white wheat

12 oz Crystal 120

4 oz chocolate malt

Mashed in at 152F, adjusted pH to 5.25, 60 minute mash. Started recirculating the first batch at 45 minutes, so a 15 minute vorlauf. Ditto for the second batch.

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

90 minute boil, 2 tsp Irish Moss at 15 minutes.

Wyeast 1272, American Ale II, new package, made a 1 quart starter. I was going to brew on Thursday, so I started the yeast on Tuesday, but my covid vaccine decided to kick my butt on Wednesday and Thursday, so I added another 1/4 cup of DME to the starter


I forgot to measure OG, so this is from the recipe.

OG: 1.061

FG: 1.016

ABV: 6.1

IBU: 68 (Tinseth)

SRM: 11.8

Calories: 202/12 oz