Archive for the ‘Brewdays’ Category

Barley wine update

Well, just a quick update on the barley wine. I officially kegged it today. I probaby went through half a tank of CO2 but I’m pretty sure I got a near oxygen free transfer. It’s carbing up as we speak in my fermentation fridge. Once that’s done, I will bottle it (also oxygen free) and let it age. I’m sure I’ll probably sneak a taste or two as well. It smells fantastic.

In other news, I haven’t been brewing too much but I have done another Rye IPA, this time with 3 lbs of Malted Rye, 1 lb of Flaked Rye, and its hopped throughout with Nugget, including First Wort Hopping and dry hopping. Hope its tasty!

I’ve also been entering a couple competitions lately. I submitted my Orange Kolsch and my Imperial Stout to the Samuel Adams Longshot competition and I’ve entered those two, plus my Summer Wheat and ama/coe IPA (named because of the hops used) into the Lonerider competition, a local brewery here in Raleigh. I’m not really expecting to win either but I am looking for some feedback. I suppose there’s a chance on the Lonerider one because they cap it at 200 entries and four of those will be mine! ๐Ÿ™‚

I also recently aquired a MIG welder and am busy learning how to weld. I hope to be building myself a three tier (as well as many other things) in the near future with it once I get some skillz.

Anyway, how are things in your brewing world?


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Barleywine Brewday

Brewed my very first >10%ABV beer on Saturday, our version of a Barleywine. I developed and brewed this recipe with a friend of mine, which is good because I needed all the help I could get. The brew started around 10:30 on Saturday mashing in a monstrous 43 pounds of grain! Lots of things went wrong at every step of the way. We had to split the mash into two tun’s, one mash was about 5 degrees low so we boiled some mash water for the other and it turned out about 5 degrees high… oh well. After the mash, we ended up sparging with a ton of water. We ended up with 17+ gallons of wort for what was to be a 9 gallon batch. We were boiling in my 15 gallon pot and his 8 gallon pot at the same time in order to boil off as much liquid as possible, as fast as possible. After about 2 hours of boiling, we were finally down to 12 gallons which meant it was time to consolidate to one pot and start the 90 minute boil timer. We threw in 4 ounces of Nugget at 90 minutes and another 4.5 ounces in the rest of the boil for about 88 IBU’s. Our original gravity came out at 1.109 so we are looking at somewhere between 10.5-12% alcohol.

No matter what happens, this is a BIG beer. I’m super excited to see what this is going to end up like but I guess I won’t know for many more months. If all goes well, I hope to age some for serveral years and see how it ages over time, we’ll see. In a couple weeks, I’ll probably take gravity reading to see how its coming along. Of course, I’ll also have to grab a quick sip although I’m not expecting much from it this early.

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Birthday Brew

On my birthday weekend (Jan. 24th), I had a bunch of friends in town for the party so I figured why not throw together a brew session. I brewed the first iteration of my House Pale Ale and my friends Rob and Tracye (of T and R Brews) were there to brew with me. Rather than telling you how it went, I’ll just point you to Rob’s blog and you can read it for your self. By the way, don’t make fun of his spelling too bad, its not his strongest asset…

Brew day in Raleigh NC โ€” January 24, 2009

Check back soon for another post on my upcoming brew, an Orange Kolsch!

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Stout Brewday

This past Monday night, I brewed the American Stout from Jamil’s podcast. It was a big, honkin’ brew with 17.5 pounds of grain, a 1.076 OG, and 54 IBU’s. I would almost call it an Imperial Stout but Jamil didn’t, so I’m not. I may just call it Big Honkin’ Stout.

Overall, the brew day went really well. One of my co-workers came and brewed with me and we both did all-grain batches together, his first. He made a Pale Ale that I’m hoping to get him to write about and also about his first experience as an AG brewer and my abilities as a teacher ๐Ÿ™‚ His turned out well and he actually overshot his OG by quite a bit (almost 10 points), which I’m a little curious about, but whatever. He was using a direct fire mashing technique so that was a bit of a learning experience but I think it worked well. We ended up covering the garage in equipment and after about 4 hours, lots of beer, and a pizza we had 10 gallons of sweet wort. It was fun brewing with him and I look forward to the next time we can brew together.

My beer seemed to turn out really well. Somehow, I forgot to take on OG reading. I took the pre and post-boil sample but dumped the post boil sample before I tested it. My pre-boil sample was 1.060 at about 7 gallons so using Beersmith, I’ve calculated an OG of 1.076 for the 5.5 gallons I ended up with. It’s a rough estimate but that’s sorta the way everything I brew ends up. I think the brew itself will turn out well. It was very dark and had a nice roasty flavor, despite the sweetness of the wort. It was fermenting pretty strongly in under 24 hours. I anticipate leaving this in primary for about 3 weeks, then kegging, purging the oxygen, and throwing in the closet for another 3 weeks before putting it on the gas for a total aging process of about 8 weeks. I think that this will be sufficient aging time for a stout like this but if not, I’ll probably drink it anyway.

I’ve decided I’m starting a new format where I post the recipe in the blog post and then only move it to the recipes section once I am confident how it turns out. This is because I don’t feel comfortable with putting unproven recipes in there. At the very least, I may want to suggest changes to my recipes for future iterations. With that said, here is the recipe for Big Honkin’ Stout:

Big Honkin’ Stout

Grain Bill

12 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 68.57 %
3 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 17.14 %
1 lbs Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 5.71 %
12.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 4.29 %
12.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 4.29 %

Hop Schedule

1.25 oz Nugget [14.20 %] (60 min) Hops 48.1 IBU
1.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (5 min) Hops 5.4 IBU


0.5 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
1 tbsp PH 5.2 Stabilizer (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
2 Pkgs American Ale (DCL Yeast #US-05) Yeast-Ale

Mash at 154° for 60 minutes. Ferment at 68° until fermentation subsides, then raise to 72° for a total of three weeks. Keg or bottle, then age for at least another month.

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Ruination IPA Clone

This past Friday, I brewed the Stone Ruination IPA Clone. This is the recipe that is in the latest issue of BYO. It was a great time, nice and relaxing. Everything went off without a hitch other than two of my friends never showed up to brew with me… jerks! Anyway, this is a big, hoppy beer and is my first 100+ IBU beer. It has a TON of hops, 6.5 ounces to be exact. I actually ended up using Nugget hops instead of Magnum for the bittering addition because I had them on hand and I don’t think it will make a huge difference in a 90 minute boil. Either way, it should be pretty good and will definitely be hop-tastic.

One thing I realized about this beer is that it specifies an original gravity of 1.072 and a final gravity 1.012. The article suggested that hoppier beers, including this one, should have a drier finish and that a high FG in a hoppy beer can cause it to lack drinkability. Well… I’m really worried because the yeast they suggest using is White Labs WLP002 or Wyeast 1968. I’m worried because I used the 1968 and this yeast is known for having a low apparent attenuation (measure of fermentability of the sugars) and my calculated FG for this is about 1.020. I’m hoping it gets alot lower than that and I’ve been rousing the yeast and raising my fermentation temps to try to promote that. I plan on racking to secondary after about 10 days or so and if my FG is any higher than 1.015 or so I’m thinking about re-pitching some more yeast with higher attenuation numbers to hopefully lower it a few more points. I need this to be ready for my birthday bash though so I can’t mess with it for too terribly long.

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Electric HLT

Yesterday, after putting up the Christmas lights on the house in the freezing cold, I decided to punish myself more by brewing up a Carolina Brewing Company Nut Brown Ale clone. Everything went great. The main reason is because this is the second time I’ve used my new electric HLT (pot that heats the water) and I’m really getting the hang of it. It makes it SO much easier for mashing and sparging. It’s not much to look at, but man does it make effortless to hit the proper temps. It’s basically just a 4 gallon pot from my extract brewing days, a heatstick made out of a water heater element, and a Ranco Temperature Senso with the probe slid down a piece of copper tubing. Since this photo, I added some insulation to help hold the heat. With it, I can hold my water at a perfect 165ยฐ (or whatever) for when I’m ready to mash and then add more water, set the Ranco on 180° and walk away. When I come back to sparge, my water is perfectly heated. No noise, no propane, and no dangerous flames that I can’t walk away from.

As far as the rest of the brewday, it went pretty well also. I did miss my mash temps by about two degrees under so it might be a little thin for a brown ale. I left the grain in the garage all weekend and forgot to adjust BeerSmith for the colder grain so I think that’s the cause. Oh well, it’ll still be beer. I’m sure it will still be pretty good and this happens to be one of my wife’s favorites (at least in the commercial form) so I hope it turns out well. This morning, it was already bubbling away, probably because I used two packets of yeast (US-05) instead of the usual one. I did this because I’m brewing again on Friday and I want my fermentation cabinet (refrigerator with a heater in it) to be available by then. I figure if I make it through the majority of the fermentation by then, I can let it ‘age’ in the house while the next beer gets to bask in the perfect 68ยฐ warmth.

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Amarillo SMaSH brewday

This past Friday I took a half day to brew my Amarillo SMaSH. This is a beer that I’ve been wanting to brew for a long time. The idea of making a beer with a single malt (Maris Otter) and a single hop (Amarillo) just appeals to me for some reason. There’s no hiding off-flavors with roasted malts or adding head retention with a little crystal… it is what it is. It went really well, I got started around 1 PM after going to Carolina Brewing Company to pick up some of their new Winter Porter. It’s pretty good by the way but the mouthfeel was surprisingly thin. Anyway, I started to mash the grains about 1:30 and used 12.5 pounds of Maris Otter. I really wanted to take my time this brewday to make sure I made no mistakes. I immediately started heating my sparge (grain rinsing) water with my new electric HLT (temperature controller and heatstick ๐Ÿ™‚ ).

I’ll skip through all the boring details but I ended up with just the right amount of wort (5.25 gallons) and used 3 ounces of leaf Amarillo and will dryhop with one more ounce in secondary. I expect about 6.2% ABV and 53 IBU’s. This is really sort of a light IPA. It bubbled pretty vigorously for 3 days and then settled down. After about 10 days, I’ll transfer it to secondary with the hops and then keg in another 10 days or so. Since this will be the first beer that I plan to keg from start to finish, I will cold crash the secondary and then cold condition in the kegerator for a few weeks while I’m carbing. Here’s the recipe: Amarillo SMaSH

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