Thursday, December 22, 2022

Batch 280, Panama Red

 Still trying to make decent beer here in Baja. Going for a Panama Red, going to ferment at least 10 days this time.

5 gallon batch

12 lb 2-row

12 oz Crystal 60

12 oz White wheat

2 oz Chocolate malt

Mashed at 153F, added 1 tsp phosphoric acid to the mash. Collected 6 gallons in the boil kettle.

1 oz Mt Hood, FWH

1 oz Centennial, 60 min

1 oz Cascade, 30 min

1 oz Cascade, 5 min

1 oz Mt Hoos, 5 min

2 packets of Safale-04.

Pretty easy brew day, hope this one comes out good.

Update 13 Jan 2023: it's okay, it's not quite Panama Red, but it's drinkable. A little diacetyl, but not as much as previous batches.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

Batch 279, another "Smooth" IPA

 I got a new fridge to replace my busted kegerator. My local Mexican fridge repair guy was unable to fix the kegerator, so I got a new, regular style fridge and put the taps through the door. It looks nice and actually cools better than the kegerator anyway, so better overall. 

As I was brewing this, Dan and his wife stopped by. Here I am in Baja, and Dan is the guy in Boise that I bought the brew setup from in Boise. It's a small world -- he camps at the next beach south of our house.

A 5 gallon batch

12 lb 2-row

12 oz Crystal 60

12 oz white wheat

Heated water to about 168F, but only hit about 150F in the mash tun. I expected it to be a little warmer. I added 1/2 tsp phosphoric acid. I don't have a pH meter here, but that seems to be what I usually add in the other world.

I got a big bags of pellet hops from a friend camping on yet another beach. He'd stopped in the San Diego area on his way down to Baja to visit a friend who works at the 805 brewery. It was about 1.5 lb of unknown hop pellets. I gave half to my neighbors here who also brew as I'll never be able to use them all. I used them like they are Cascade hops, but I really don't know.

1 oz 60 min

.5 oz at each of 50, 40, 30, 20, 10, 5 min

1 oz at flame out. I left these in the fermenter for 2 days.

I think that part of the flavor problems I've been having is overcooking the wort, so I was careful to keep this at a low simmer. My burner is one of those "jet" style burners, and my pot is quite wide (so the wort is shallow), which I think lead to the overcooking. This is just a guess, I'm still working out how to use this system to make good beer. Oddly, the boil kettle it big enough to do a 10 gallon batch, but the rest is really for 5 gallons. I may get a somewhat smaller pot for boiling.

2 packets of Safale S-04 yeast. 

Dec 16, 2022: Brewed on Tuesday, done fermenting on Friday, which seems pretty quick to me, but it was down to 1.012 already. I forgot to get an OG, math says it should have been 1.061. The hydrometer sample tasted decent, the clarity isn't too bad. Turned the temp down to cold crash and will add gelatin to the keg this time. 

Dec 23, 2022: Okay, it's definitely diacetyl. I need to ferment longer and/or do a diacetyl rest. That Tuesday to Friday fermentation isn't enough. It seemed quick, but I don't have a lot of experience with dry yeast, so I thought it's probably okay. It's clearly not. Next batch will get at least a week in the fermenter, maybe even 2 weeks just to be safe. 

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Batch 278, Another Baja attempt

 I forgot to write this batch down, so this is all from memory, almost 2 months later. We're back at our beach house in Baja, on the 5 gallon system, as as before, I made beer, it was drinkable, but not very good. Still figuring this out. In the mean time, my kegerator died. A local refrigerator repair guy tried to fix it. He had it for about 6 weeks, so I didn't brew. Instead, I used my chest freezer to serve the beer with a picnic tap that I cobbled together from the kegerator parts. Not the best, but it worked okay.

So it was a 5 gallon batch, just a simple pale ale:

10 lb 2-row

12 oz white wheat

1 oz chocolate malt for some color

Mashed at a reasonable mid-150F, did the usual, I'm sure.

1.5 oz Magnum, 60 min

1 oz Cascade, 5 min

1 oz Citra, 5 min

I'm sure there was some Irish moss at about 15 minutes.

White Labs WLP001 California Ale Yeast

I guess that's it. I did cold crash, then transferred to a keg, but I didn't add any gelatin, so the beer remained cloudy until it was gone. As I mentioned, it was drinkable, but not very good. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Batch 277 - Leeser

This is the second half of a double batch brew day. Overall, not too bad of a day, I got started at around 10 am and was done by 5 pm, so 7 hours for 20 gallons of beer. Usually it takes me about 5 hours to do a 10 gallon batch, but I was able to overlap the two brews for a pretty good time saving. Both this beer and the Dunkel will lager over the winter and be perfect next spring.

10 gallon batch

21.5 lb Pilsner

1.5 lb White wheat

Mashed with 7.5 gallons at 166F, hit 156F in the mash tun. I was aiming for a little lower, like 152F, but I didn't adjust. Adjusted pH to 5.2.

1.5 oz Magnum, 60 minutes

3.0 oz Saaz, 5 minutes

Wyeast 2124, Bohemian Lager

Wyeast 2278, Czech Pils

One new package of each, no starter.

OG: 1.055, 1.050 actual (I wonder why this is low?)

FG: 1.014

ABV: 5.6%

IBU: 33.8

SRM: 4.0

Batch 276 - Erdinger Dunkel clone

 Today is a double brew day, first up is a clone of the fabulous Erdinger Dunkel beer.

10 gallon batch

14 lb Pilsner

10 lb white wheat

13 oz Chocolate malt

Mashed in with 8 gallons at 170F, hit 154F in the mash tun. Adjusted pH to 5.25.

1.5 oz Hallertau, 60 minutes

1 oz Hallertau, 10 minutes

60 minute boil

Wyeast 1010, American Wheat, new package, I made a 1 quart starter.

OG: 1.055, 1.052 actual

FG: 1.013

ABV: 5.7%

IBU: 20.3

SRM: 14.7

Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Batch 275 - Panama Red

 Another slightly modified batch of Panama Red. I'm still out of Cascade, so I'm substituting Centennial.

10 gallon batch

22.25 lb 2-row

1.5 lb Crystal 60

1.5 lb White wheat

4 oz Chocolate malt

Mashed with 8 gallons at 166F, hit 149F in the tun. A little low, should have gone with 170F. Adjusted pH to 5.3. Collected 12.5 gallons in the boil kettle.

2 oz Mt Hood, FWH

2 oz Centennial, 60 min

2 oz Centennial, 30 min

2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min

2 oz Centannial, 5 min

2 oz Mt Hood, 5 min

Wyeast 1272 from last batch of Basil IPA.

That is all.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Batch 274, Basil IPA

 The basil in the garden is ready, so today I made a Basil IPA. Same recipe as last year, which turned out really good, although last year I was a little short of 2-row, this year I had plenty. 

10 gallon batch

22.0 lb 2-row

2.0 lb Biscuit malt

1.5 lb White wheat

1.0 lb Special B

Heated 8 gallons of water to 168F, mashed in, hit 155F, adjusted pH to 5.13. Mashed for 45 minutes, then started recirculating for 15 minutes. Drained off 4 gallons into the boil kettle. Second batch sparge with 8 gallons at 180F, for a total of 12 gallons in the boil kettle.

1.0 oz Magnum, FWH

2.0 oz Chinook, 60 min

2.0 oz Centennial, 30 min

2.0 oz Centennial, 15 min

2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min

1 cup basil leaves, 15 min

1/2 cup basil leaves, 8 min

2.0 oz Citra, flame out

1 cup basil leaves, flame out

90 minute boil. I see there is a variation from last year, I'm out of Cascade, so I substituted Centennial. For the basil leaves, I cut just the leaves off of the stalks, then packed them fairly tight into a measuring cup. I really don't see any reason to not just stuff the whole stalks into a cup and throw them in stem and all, but that isn't what I did, maybe next year.

Oxygenated, then pitched a quart jar of 1272 from the guava IPA I made a couple of weeks ago. 

OG: 1.061, 1.060 actual (nice!)

FG: 1.016

ABV: 6.1%

IBU: 80.4

SRM: 12.4

Update, Aug 30, 2022: Fermentation was complete on Saturday, set the fermenter to 33F for cold crash, kegged today, added gelatin.

basil in my garden

Also a note about how I chill the wort: I have a nice plate chiller, I recirculate with a pump out of the brew kettle, through the chiller, then back into the kettle until the wort is down to about 120F or so, which takes around 10 or 15 minutes. By then the wort is coming out of the chiller at around 70F, so I start running it into the fermenter, which is at 65F, then oxygenate and pitch. 

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Batch 273, Guava IPA

 Just a repeat of a previous batch, with a couple of minor differences. Last time, I used 20 lb of 2-row, this time I used 23.2 just to finish out the bag. Also, I'm going to use a little more guava, the 1 kg packages of guava I usually buy was out of stock, so I got 3 14oz packages, which works out to 1.2 kg.

10 gallon batch

23.2 lb 2-row

2.5 lb white wheat

42 oz guava paste

Mashed in with 9 gallons of 170F water, hit 154F, adjusted pH to 5.17. Mashed for 45 minutes, then vorlauf for 15 minutes for both batch sparges. Collected 12.5 gallons in the boil kettle.

1.75 oz Citra, FWH

2 oz Magnum, 60 minutes

2 tsp Irish Moss, 15 minutes

3 oz Citra, 5 minutes

90 minute boil. Transferred to the fermenter, oxygenated, pitched 1 quart Wyeast 1272.

I'll add the guava next Wednesday or Thursday. 

Update, July 28, 2022: Added the guava. Killed our blender doing it, I'd chopped the three 14 oz blocks of guava paste into cubes, put them in the blender, covered with RO water, and blended, and the blender died. It popped an internal fuse, I have a new fuse coming from Amazon tomorrow. I finished the blending in a food processor, that worked just fine.

Also, there was a blowout. I don't think I've ever had a blowout with my current set up, 10 gallons of beer in a 13 gallon fermenter gives quite a lot of head space. There is a 13 gallon trash compactor bag in the fermenter, and then I put an 8 gallon trash bag over the top. I press all the air out of the 8 gallon bag, so it's just CO2 output from the yeast that makes it balloon up. Apparently, it was a very active fermentation.


Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Batch 272 - Centennial Pale Ale

 Another pretty simple recipe, using only Centennial hops. I have almost 2 pounds on hand, so I thought I'd do a single hop beer with them.

10 gallon batch

20.0 lb 2-row

1.5 lb biscuit malt

1.5 lb white wheat

1 oz chocolate malt, just for a little bit of color

Mashed with 7 gallons water at 170F, hit 155F in the mash tun. Adjusted pH to 5.3. After 45 minute, started a 15 minute vorlauf, both batches. Collected 4.5 gallons on first runnings, then another 8 gallons on second runnings for a total of 12.5 gallons in the boil kettle.

1.0 oz Centennial, FWH

1.0 oz Centennial, 60 minutes

2.0 oz Centennial, flame out

90 minute boil. Chilled to 120F, which put the plate chiller output temp at 72F, so diverted the output to the fermenter. Oxygenated 60 seconds, pitched a quart jar of 1272 from a previous batch (probably a pint of yeast). Covered the fermenter with a plastic bag, pressing out all of the air above the wort. 

OG: 1.054, 1.056 actual

ABV: 5.3%

SRM: 6.5

IBU: 39

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Batch 271, a Belma pale ale

 Another variation on a Belma-based pale ale, similar to the last one. This one is a little less hoppy. I had a request to make a Leeser, but I'm out of Saaz and I don't have any lager yeast on hand, so I'm going for a lighter (as in less hoppy) pale ale that the girls might drink since they don't have their beloved Leeser.

10 gallon batch

19 lb 2-row

1.0 lb biscuit malt

1.0 lb white wheat

Mashed in with 7 gallons @ 170F, hit 155F in the tun. 15 minute vorlauf each batch. Collected 12 gallons in the boil kettle.

0.25 oz Belma, FWH

1 oz Magnum, 60 min

2 oz Belma, flameout

90 minute boil, added 2 tsp Irish Moss at 15 min. 

Wyeast 1272 from batch 269.


OG: 1.050, 1.052 actual

FG: 1.013

ABV: 5.0%

IBU: 37.9 (Tinseth)

SRM: 4.3

Easy brew day, lots of time between hops additions, so I cleaned and cleaned the beer shed.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Batch 270 Arrogant Bastard clone

 A lighter version of Arrogant Bastard, this should come out at 5.8% ABV rather than the 7.2% of the commercial version. I have quite a lot of Chinook on hand, but I didn't want to open the new bag for the .75 oz I was short in the old bag, so I filled out the recipe with the last of my Citra.

10 gallon batch

23 lb 2-row

1.5 lb white wheat

8 oz Crystal 120

Mashed at 155F, collected 12 gallons in the boil kettle.

3 oz Chinook, 85 min

2 oz Chinook, 45 min

2 oz Chinook, 15 min

1.25 oz Chinook, flameout

2.0 oz Citra, flameout

90 minute boil

Wyeast 1272, 2 quart starter

Monday, June 6, 2022

Batch 269 Panama Red

 I'm back in the US, brewing on my regular home system. So much nicer than the setup I have in Baja. Panama Red, of course, however, I'm out of Cascade, so I substituted Centennial.

10 gallon batch

22.25 lb 2-row

1.5 lb crystal 60

1.5 lb white wheat

4 oz chocolate malt

Mashed at 152F, collected 12 gallons in the boil kettle.

2 oz Mt. Hood, FWH

2 oz Centennial, 60 min

2 oz Centennial, 30 min

Irish moss, 15 min

2 oz Centennial, 5 min

2 oz Mt Hood, 5 min

90 minute boil 

Wyeast 1272, made a starter from yeast from last August.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Batch 268, another pale ale

 I'm still trying to get my brewery in Baja to make beer like I want. It keeps coming out "okay", but not nearly as good as when I make it at my US brewery.

Here is the recipe as produced by BrewTarget, but with a few changes made when I actually brewed it. I thought my pellet packets were 2 oz, but they were just 1 oz, so I adjusted on the fly. I'm hoping to get some actual hop flavor this time, maybe even an IPA out of this?

baja pale ale - American IPA (14B)
Batch Size  5.500 gal
Boil Size   6.000 gal
Boil Time   1.000 hr
Efficiency  70%
OG          1.055 sg
FG          1.014 sg
ABV         5.6%
Bitterness  92.9 IBU (Tinseth)
Color       6.6 srm (Morey)

Name                  Type   Amount     Mashed  Late  Yield  Color
Pale Malt (2 Row) US  Grain  10.000 lb  Yes     No    79%    2.0 srm
White Wheat Malt      Grain  12.000 oz  Yes     No    86%    2.0 srm
Chocolate Malt (US)   Grain  1.000 oz   No      No    60%    350.0 srm
Total grain: 10.812 lb

Name     Alpha  Amount    Use   Time        Form    IBU
Magnum   13.5%  1.000 oz  Boil  60.000 min  Pellet  73.4
Cascade  6.0%   1.500 oz  Boil  60.000 min   Pellet  6.5
Cascade  6.0%   1.000 oz  Boil  5.000 min   Pellet  6.5
Citra    12.0%  2.000 oz  Boil  5.000 min   Pellet  13.0

Name        Type    Use   Amount     Time
Irish Moss  Fining  Boil  1.000 tsp  15.000 min

Name                           Type  Form    Amount     Stage
WLP001 - California Ale Yeast  Ale   Liquid  2.37 tbsp  Primary

Update: It wasn't very good.

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Batch 267, Panama Red

 Second attempt at brewing Panama Red in Baja. Things are going better, I'm getting used to the system, how much loss there is, measuring liquids, boil off rates, and so on. 

5 gallon batch

12 lb 2-row

12 oz Crystal 60

12 oz White Wheat

2 oz Chocolate malt

Mashed at 155F for 45 minutes, recirculated for about 10 minutes, collected 3 gallons in the boil kettle. Did the math right, mashed in with 5 gallons at 165F, hit 155F, no problem. Calculated absorption, figured I needed 3 gallons for the second sparge, that worked out exactly right, I got 6 gallons total in the boil kettle. I still need to figure out a better way to do the sparging.

1 oz Mt Hood, FWH

1 oz Centennial, 60 min

1 oz Cascade, 30 min

1 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min

1 oz Cascade, 5 min

1 oz Mt Hood, 5 min

60 minute boil. All my hops are pellets now, the whole flowers that I vacuum sealed didn't survive the trip down to Mexico, what with the temperature fluctuations and all.

Safale US-04

This is the only yeast I have in Baja, it seems to be a decent choice, thanks for the recommendation, HomebrewStuff! 

I got my chest freezer fixed yesterday, it had a leak somewhere, the repair guy just filled it with freon and it started cooling right away. He thought he knew where the leak was, so he tightened a few screws, but didn't offer any guarantee -- maybe it'll work for a year, maybe until tomorrow, who knows? It's working well at the moment, I'm hoping it'll last at least until I can cold crash this batch. He suggested keeping it running when it's not in use, he thinks that will help it not leak out.

Other things to adjust --

  • I need a measuring stick. The boil kettle has a sight glass, but it's missing most marks.
  • The boil kettle has a bazooka screen, which is nice, I guess, but it leaves a lot of liquid behind unless I tip the kettle.
  • I need more o-rings. The heat here just eats them up.

Saturday, March 12, 2022

Batch 266, a pale ale

 Second batch in Baja. Things went better, but my chest freezer still doesn't cool well, so no cold crash, and no real temperature control. It looks like the fermentation temperature peaked at about 76F, oh well...

5 gallon batch

11 lb 2 row

.75 lb wheat

.5 lb Crystal 60

Mashed at 155F for 45 minutes, recirculated for about 5 minutes. Collected about 6.5 gallons in the boil kettle. Measuring things is not going well for me yet.

1 oz Magnum, 60 min

2 oz Cascade, 7 min, maybe?

1 tsp Irish Moss, 15 min

60 minute boil. I did get the new sink hooked up, which is really nice, so I was able to run the immersion chiller this time, which is a bit help.

US04 yeast.

Brewed on Saturday, fermentation was done on Monday, which seems really quick. I suppose a combination of the dry yeast and the higher fermentation temps helped out.

The initial taste from the hydrometer sample seems a little thin, and not quite as hoppy as I would have guessed, but it's okay for a recipe I made up as I did it.

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Batch 255, Panama Red, First Brew in Baja

 I finally got enough stuff together to brew at our place in Baja. I'm splitting the rent on a garage with another guy, so it's a nice size space to brew. Since it was the first time doing it here, things went wrong, of course. Lots of trips back and forth between my house and the garage -- the garage is about 2 blocks away from my house. 

What went wrong:

  • One of the connectors for the pump leaked, broken o-ring, fortunately I had one more. I lubed them all.
  • Power was out for the first part of the brew, so I couldn't use the pump.
  • The satellite internet guy decided he needed to run cables exactly where I was brewing.
  • Missed my volume by a lot, I only got 3.5 gallons when I was aiming for 5.
  • I don't have a way to measure volume well, I'll need to figure that out.
  • No connectors for the chiller, so I just put the hot wort into my chest freezer and let it sit over night, pitched the yeast the following morning.
  • It's Panama Red, I've made this recipe a lot, but I'm using this as a 5 gallon system (it could to 10, I suppose, but I don't have fermenter space for 10), so I'm pretty sure I put in 4 oz of chocolate malt rather than 2 oz as would be right for 5 gallons.
5 gallon batch

11.5 lb 2 row
3/4 lb wheat
3/4 lb crystal 60
2 or 4 oz chocolate malt

FWH 1 oz Mt Hood
60 1 oz Centennial
30 1 oz Cascade
15 1 tsp Irish Moss
5 1 oz Cascade
5 1 oz Mt Hood

60 minute boil -- I usually do 90, but I was afraid to boil off too much as it seemed a little short in the boil kettle.

US-04 dry yeast. I didn't bring any liquid yeast down as I wasn't sure I had any way to keep it cold.

We'll see.

I really need some shelves or something to get organized.