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