Beer Name:    Hofbrauhaus Berchtesgadener Hell #2l  (Beer Captured)




Click either pic for larger version.


One liter of Helles, ala a German biergarten.  The picture at right is in a smaller glass, similar to the 2005 Helles pic.


Grains:        8 lbs Durst Pilsner 2-row 1.6L

                    1.5 lbs Durst Munich 8.3L

                    .5 lbs Durst Light Crystal 16L

                    .25 lbs Dingemans Aromatic 19L


Hops:        .75 oz Spalt 4.7%AA  60 min   

                    .5 oz Hallertau 4.6%AA  60 min

                    .25 oz Spalt -aroma

                    .5 oz Hallertau aroma


Yeast:         Wyeast 2001 Pilsner Urquell (not specified for this beer but I want it for my next batch).  Made 2 pint starter 2 days prior.


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          1/14/06                        1/28/06                                    2/18/06

Gravity:                        1.051                         1.014                                       1.013

% Alcohol:                   6.8                             1.9                                           1.8

% Sugar:                      13                              3.5                                            3.5

Temp of reading:           60                            64                                              60



- heated 8 qts.  doughed in at about 150.  protein rest at 132 for 22 min

- added 4.3 qts boiling -> 154.  Stirred for a while and dropped to 150.  Added 1 qt boiling.  held at 151 for 50 min.

- had dropped to 145.  added 7.3 qts boiling -> 163 (wanted 168).  held 10 min.

- added 2 gallons of 192 -> 168.  10 min.

- collected only about 5.5 gallons I'd say.  Topped off with a bit of water.  (now that I look at it, I only added about 7 gallons to mash.  If the grain absorbs about 1.5 gallons, that would only have given me 5.5.  Could have paid a bit more attention but no big deal).

- cooling went extra well today.  I was down to 80 after 10 minutes, and with the ice siphon I was down to 58 after another 10 minutes.

- pitched my yeast starter.  Did not really get going until a day and a half later.  It was down to 50 degrees soon after pitching so it just took a long time.  Hopefully it will be great.

01/28/06  Not very clear as of yet.  Doesn't taste much like extract versions I've had (mine, Paul's, Mike's).  It is ok right now but I think aging and clearing will make it even better.  Seems to be the case more with lagers than with ales.

2/18/06  Pretty clear already.  Rich, straw color.  Very similar aroma to extract versions.  Taste is really nice, also somewhat similar to extract versions with a bit more hop flavor.  Wow.  Flat at and room temperature and this is good already. 

05/18/06   Yes this stuff turned out spectacular.  I drank a liter of it and every sip was enjoyable.  Small glasses of it always delight my mouth, if I can be so precious.  This will probably be an annual maker.

08/06   Had one of the bottles I bottled.  Tasted pretty good and reminded me of just how excellent this beer was.





Beer Name:    Good Buddy Pilsner   r.i.p. Flannery the cat  2001-2006 (Pilsner Urquell based on Clonebrews)



Click picture for larger version.


Grains:        9.5 lbs Durst Pils (German 2 row)

                    .5 lbs Durst Light Crystal

                    .25 lbs German Munich


Hops:          3 oz Saaz 3.6% AA  60 min

                    1 oz Saaz 3.0% AA  15 min

                    1 oz Saaz 3.0% AA  2 min


Misc:           2 oz Malto Dextrin


Yeast:         Wyeast 2001 Pilsner Urquell (yeast cake from above.  had blow off by next morning)


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          1/28/06                        02/14/06                                   3/19/06

Gravity:                       1.051                            1.014                                      1.014

% Alcohol:                   6.9                                1.9                                          1.9

% Sugar:                      12.5                              3.8                                          3.8

Temp of reading:          60                                 64                                           60



01/28/06  My first attempt at a true, all-grain, lightly colored beer.

- heated 7.8 qts to 170.  doughed in at 152.  Hit 131-132 deg and held protein rest for 15 min.

- added 4 qts boiling -> 158.   too high so I added some cool water, but then it got too cool:   147.

- drew off 2 qts and brought to boil.  Added back in.  Raised temp to 149 so I sealed.  Held 45 min.

- temp down to 143 after mash.  Added 2 gallons boiling -> 161.  held 10 min.

- collected about 3.6 gallons.

- added 3 gallons 194 -> 172.  Held 10 min.

- collected another 3 gallons so about 6.6 gallons in kettle.

- [First time using 32 qt stainless steel MegaPot.  6.6 gallons was just over lowest rivets].

- boiled 15 min before adding bittering hops to boil off some extra volume.

- ended with just over 5 gallons in fermenter so that worked out nicely.

- due to adding the yeast dregs from the previous batch, it was fermenting only hours after pitching.

- pretty murky and yucky looking with 5 oz pellet hops in there.  But those will settle and hopefully the beer will come out clear in the end.  Should be good drinking this one in early summer.

02/15/06  Hazy, light orange, somewhat golden.  It should clear later.  Not much aroma.  Pretty good pilsner taste.  Bitter taste and pleasant bitter finish, with malt balance.  Smoother bitterness overall from Saaz hops. 

03/20/06  Bottled 6 bottles with 4 Carb Tabs each.  First time using these tabs.  Glad to have a Prime-Tabs-like product back.

Pretty golden color.  Color has changed from first racking.  Hop and lager aroma.  Clean, bitter taste.  Tastes like real Pilsner Urquell.  Now to age some mre, clear, and carbonate.  Then I'll compare with the real one.  So far it is as good as I had hoped.

05/25/06  Did the showdown and took above pic.  Overall, very comparable.  Mine was only slightly darker, had a touch more body and malt flavor in the mouthfeel, and was definitely more cloudy.   So if I was to do it next year, I would try to get the gravity slightly lower if possible, maybe make a little lighter, and do something to make it clear better.  The bitterness in mine lingers more, whereas PU finishes pretty clean and does not have much aftertaste.  But both tasted great and mine definitely held its own.




Beer Name:     Sierra Nevada Pale ale  (similar to my 2004 one.  For a wedding reception).


Click pic for larger version. 


Extract:       6 lbs Pale LME

                    1 lb Muntons Extra Light DME


Grains:         .5 lbs Durst Light Crystal 20 L

                      .5 lbs Dingemans Carapils  6 L  


Hops:        1 oz Perle 6.7% AA  60 min

                  1 oz Perle 6.7% AA  20 min

                  .5 oz Cascade 5.6% AA  15 min

                  .5 oz Cascade 5.6% AA 2 min

                  1 oz Cascade dry hop (in keg this time)


Yeast:         Safale S-56 dry yeast.  No info about rehydrating so I just "sprinkled on wort" as instructed.


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                           2/19/06                       2/26/06                                    03/21/06

Gravity:                       1.052                          1.020                                        1.018

% Alcohol:                   7                                  2.8                                            2.5

% Sugar:                      13.5                             5.1                                            5

Temp of reading:          60                                66                                            66



2/19/06  Did this as an extract batch to save some time.  Also wanted to try the late addition method.  I added most of the LME with 30 min into the boil, so I boiled some of the hops w/o much extract in there.  This is supposed to extract more bitterness and make it lighter in color.  We will see.   Also, I just used dry yeast, and did not use pure O2 to aerate.  I shook it up very well.  It is fermenting at 64 the morning after.

2/26/06  Not very happy with gravity.  The high FG must be due to either 1) not aerating with pure O2 or 2) not rehydrating the yeast.  However, I have merely pitched dry yeast before and had better fermentations.  So, not sure what happened.  Does not look like it is fermenting any more in secondary.  Had a decent aroma.  Taste is kind of yeasty.  Cloudy too.  Nice light color.  OK flavor behind yeast notes.  Could late extract addition make it somehow less fermentable?  I hope this turns out to be at least ok for the wedding.   I think in a few weeks it will be good, if slightly less bitter/dry than it should be.

03/07/06  It occurred to me that I could add some liquid Beano to drop the gravity down a bit more.  That worked well (maybe too well) with the ESB.  Instead of 6 drops, I added 4 this time.  I have it at room temp and will check the gravity in a week.  I checked the gravity before adding the Beano and it was unchanged.  The taste was much better though.  It tasted pretty good, but could stand to dry out just a touch.

03/21/06  Probably would have dropped even more if I had allowed it more time.  Still, it will be good.  It is very clear, even now.  I dry hopped with Cascade in the keg.  I used a plastic ratcheting tie to fix it to the beverage dip tube, about half way down.  Hopefully this will impart some good aroma while keeping the hop pellets in the bag. 

08/06    Thought I should update this entry.  Some hop particles got out of the hop bag.  I was not at all happy with this flavor, then.  Hop pellet particles were in the beer and gave it an undesirable grassy flavor.  I removed the hop pellets from the keg.  Fortunately, most of the pellet particles were gone by the wedding, and the beer tasted fine during the reception. 




Filled propane tank 02/22/06.   Took 3.8 gallons of ~ 4.6     cost $2.99/gallon  


So far:

3.8 gallons for 7 AG batches (heated some of the water on stove top)    [.54 gallon/batch]

2.3 gallons for 5 batches (3 AG, 2 extract)  [.46 gallon/batch but the extract ones did not require heating sparge water, etc]


*I've been heating my strike, infusion, mash out, and sparge water on the stove.  I don't know how cost of natural gas compares to propane, but it means I will have to fill the propane tank less often.






Beer Name:    Vienna Lager      (BYO Jan-Feb 2006)


Click pic for larger version. 


Grains:        10.75 lbs Durst Vienna malt
                     .5 lb Dingemans CaraMunich  47L


Hops:        Perle 6.7% AA  60 min


Yeast:        Wyeast 2206 Bavarian lager (did not see the WLP920 recipe calls for)

                    Made 2 qt starter 2 days prior.


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          02/25/06                        03/13/06                                04/09/06

Gravity:                       1.058*                          1.016                                        1.016                

% Alcohol:                     7.7                              2.2                                            2.2

% Sugar:                        4.5                              5                                               4.5

Temp of reading:           60                               66                                              60

*my reading of 4.5 gallons of wort into the primary was 1.062.  But taking into account the yeast starter I added (1/2 gallon of 1.030 beer) my corrected gravity would be 1.058.  If I would have only added water, it would have been 1.055.



- doughed in with 8.5 qts water at 142.  Got to 127 for protein rest.  15 min.

- added 5 qts boiling -> 149.  Was shooting for about 152 but just left it.  After 45 min it was down to 145. 

- added 8 quarts boiling for mash out and got to 165.  Held 10 min.  collected 4.25 gallons.

- added 2 gallons for sparge.  Held at about 168 for 10 min.

- Started with 6.25 gallons in brewpot, but only ended with 4.5  Not sure what happened.  More evaporated?  Did not do more than 1 hour boil.  Boiled more vigorously?  Not really sure.  Have to keep an eye on that I guess.  I could have just as easily sparged with a little more water and collected more wort.

- cooled down to 60 and pitched yeast starter.  It is fermenting nicely at 50 degrees now.

03/13/06  Nice, light, clean mostly-malty flavor.  Bready notes.  Will age, clear, and clean up nicely.

04/09/06  Light amber color.  Clear.  Lager aroma.  Clean, mostly malty taste.  Easy drinking moderate flavor.  Good so far.

07/10/06  Took above picture.  This beer is not intended to be a clone of Negra Modelo but I thought I would compare them since NM is supposed to be a Vienna Lager.  Mine is a bit sweeter, less dry.  Mine has slightly more mouthfeel too.  Mine has a bit of diacetyl perhaps, whereas NM is cleaner tasting.  I prefer mine, but there you have it.

09/05/06   This beer took 2nd place at the MN State Fair homebrew competition in the European Amber Lager category.  It really did turn out nice.  I called it St. Paul Smooth for the contest.  It was extremely drinkable and was not too sweet or bitter.  I could see making it again, although probably not every year.

09/08/06  Got 2nd Place at MN State Fair.  Score sheets:  One  Two



Beer Name:    Rye IPA  (by Denny Conn)


Click pic for larger version.  Took this pic on hop harvest day 2006.


Grains:        11 lbs Rahr 2-row

                    3 lbs Rye  Wyeermann 3.5L

                    1.25 lb Durst Med Crystal  48L

                    .5 lb Briess CaraPils  1.4L

                    .5 Flaked Wheat


Hops:        1 oz Mt Hood  3.8% AA   First Wort Hops (first time doing that)

                  1 oz Columbus 16.1% AA   60 min

                  .5 oz Mt Hood 3.8% AA 30 min

                  1.5 oz Mt Hood 3.8% AA  2 min

                  1 oz Columbus  16.1% AA  dry hop


Yeast:         Wyeast 1056.   Made 2 pint starter 2 days prior.


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          03/18/06                        03/26/06                                05/09/06

Gravity:                       1.078*                          1.023                                    1.020

% Alcohol:                   10.1                              3                                            2.5

% Sugar:                      19.5                              6                                            5.5

Temp of reading:            70                              66                                           60

*taken of 4.8 gallons wort in fermenter before adding yeast starter.



03/18/06  Couple new things for this brew.  First time doing First Wort Hopping.   Did NOT do a mash out due to how much grain I had.

- 20 qts water doughed in at 168.  -> 156.  Stirred until 154 and then shut lid for 60 min.

- No mash out.   Colleted about 3 gallons.

- Sparged with 3.2 gallons of boiling water.  -> 174.  Stirred in a quart of cool water.  -> 167.  Held 10 min.

- collected 3.2 gallons for a total of about 6.2 gallons.

- ended with 4.8 gallons so I know that my new brew pot loses about 1.5 gallons in an hour compared to about a gallon in my old one.

- cooled to 70 degrees in 20 min with help of cool snow water around the brewpot in the laundry tub. 

- next morning was up to 74 so I put some ice jugs around and got the temp down in a few hours.

03/26/06  Hazy orangish brown.  Hop aroma, with malt.  Strong taste.  Complex bitterness.  Has edge to it still and it will need to mellow some.  Slight alcohol hint.  It's a big beer.  Can kind of pick up rye but it will hopefully come through more later.  Robust hop finish.  Reminds me of my AB clone.

04/09/06  1.021, 2.8, 5.5.  It has fermented a little more so I moved it to cold room to give it some cold conditioning while the temp is still naturally cool.  I'm happy enough with that gravity and I won't keg it for a while so maybe ti will ferment even more.  Good hop aroma.  Taste is getting better.  Strong bitterness, malt support.  Can taste the tang of the rye and hops.

05/09/06  Amber copper color.  Fairly clear.  Decent hop aroma, hint of alcohol.  Wonderful complex hop flavor.  Bitter, lingering finish.  Slight alcohol warmth.  Pretty darn good so far.  Will age nicely.

09/05/06   What a great beer this turned out to be.  The keg is getting low already so I am going to back off on drinking it a bit.  Wonderful hop aroma and flavor.  The rye gives it a zesty tangy zip.  The malt, rye, and hop flavors combine to give a wonderfully complex and pleasing taste.  It has cleared up nicely too.

 09/08/06  MN State Fair score sheets:  One  Two  Three



Beer Name:     German Hefeweizen  (based on Weihenstephaner recipe in Beer Captured)


Click pic for larger version.


Grains:        5 lbs Durst two row Pils 1.6 L

                    5 lbs Durst wheat


Hops:         .5 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker 3.3% AA   60 min


Yeast:         Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen   - 2 pint starter 2 days prior


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          07/08/06                      Skipped                                    07/19/06

Gravity:                       1.048                                                                           1.012

% Alcohol:                   6.5                                                                               1.8

% Sugar:                      12.5                                                                             3.2

Temp of reading:           74                                                                              72



First time brewing in almost 4 months.  Quite a break due to Evelyn and it's good to be back.

- 12.5 qts and doughed in around 159.  Hit 149.  60 min.

- was down to 143 after 60 min.

- added 8 qts 210 -> 163.  Held 10 min.

- collected 3.75 gallons.

- added 2.5 gallons 183.  -> 165.  10 min.

- ended with about 6.1 in brew kettle and 4.8 gallons in fermenter.

- added .25 gallons of yeast starter.

- was fermenting within hours, had blow off overnight, temp around 72-74, fermentation slowed down a lot 24 hours after pitching.  Pretty fast for the main fermentation.  Will probably keg this weekend.

07/19/06  Light, straw color, good and hazy.  German hefe/yeast aroma and taste.  Ready to drink now!  Went right to keg and skipped secondary.  When a tap opens up I will get drinking this.  Good start.

09/05/06   I am quite happy with the taste of this beer.  It is just what I wanted, slightly yeasty and tart with a refreshing wheat taste.  Unfortunately it is clearing up a bit, but I am not sure what I could do to make it remain cloudy.  I still have to take a picture.

09/07/06  Took above pic yesterday.  I enjoyed this glass of beer.  It is slightly more enjoyable right now than it was over the last month.  I didn't think this beer would get much better with additional time, but it has matured and mellowed a touch. 

09/08/06  These score sheets indicate a lack of banana/clove aroma and flavor.  I'm somewhat confused by that too.  Did I use an incorrect yeast?  I would not have thought so.  MN State Fair score sheets:  One  Two  Three




Mead Name:      White Sage Mead  (same basic recipe as last year)


Some of this mead I added to raspberries.  One gallon of that, I added to some cranberries for a raspberry cranberry mead.


Click on pic for larger version.  Straight mead at left, raspberry at right.  Taken Jan 2008.



Honey:   15 lbs NB White Sage mead    


Yeast:        71b Narbonne dry yeast


Misc:         2 tsp yeast nutrient;    1 tsp yeast energizer


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          07/29/06                        09/12/06

Gravity:                       1.116                            1.020

% Alcohol:                  15.5                               2.8

% Sugar:                      28                                 5.1

Temp of reading:          75                                70



07/29/06   I messed up a little with not cooling down the must enough.  The directions did not say to use an ice bath for the warmed honey water, so I didn't.  When I added it to the chilled water, the temp was about 87.  I waited to pitch the yeast.  After it got down to about 75 (hours later) I aerated with pure O2 for 90 seconds and pitched the rehydrated yeast I had put in the fridge.  Because it is not ideal to leave dry yeast rehydrated any longer than necessary, I pitched an additional two packets the next day (rehydrated one of those, and just dumped in the other).  It is starting to ferment now at 70 degrees.

09/09/06  Took readings.  1.020, 2.8, 5.1.   Hey it fermented!  Tasted was good, if still a little sharp.  I will probably rack it soon and use the yeast for the next batch of mead. 

09/12/06   I was thinking of putting it on raspberries right away, but decided to let it age another month and then take a final reading to see if it dropped any more.  I want to wait until it is done fermenting before adding raspberries.  Maybe this would help it not consume all of the sugar in the raspberries.

10/08/06   1.019,  2.6,  5.1.  Looks like it is done fermenting.  Racked 4 gallons onto 6 lbs of garden grown raspberries.  Racked 1 gallon into a 1 gallon glass jug (will bottle that as is).

11/06/06  Racked 4 gallon raspberry part off raspberries.   Had a tough time getting siphon to continue with hop bag over racking cane.  Eventually I had to put hop bag on siphon tubing in new carboy to catch any raspberries making it through.  Hope I did not aerate it much.

06/21/06  Bottled all of the mead except 1 gallon which I added 3/4 of a jalapeno pepper too.   On 6/26 I tasted it and it had some heat but I will leave it a bit longer.

**Note.  This mead is not as sweet or viscous as the 2005 batch.  Looking over those notes, I started with 15 lbs and ended up adding 2 more back into it at the end.  With this mead I used 15 lbs and that was it.  I suppose that is why.   Looks like I should added some more back in.  Wonder why I didn't think about it.  Well, this will be a less sweet mead then, perhaps more like a wine.




Topped off propane tank since I was getting grill tank filled.  I think it took 1 gallon.





Beer Name:   Baby Spit Wit  (based on Celis White in Beer Captured)


Click on pic for larger version.


Grains:       4.5 lbs Dingemann's Belgian two row pils

                   3 lbs Durst Wheat Malt

                   1.5 lbs flaked wheat

                   .25 lbs Dingemanns Arromatic  19L


Hops:        1 oz Willamette 4.1 %AA  60 min      (was going to use .75oz but some blew off in a little boil over so I added the rest)

                  .5 oz Willamette  15 min

                  .5 oz Willamette  2 min


Misc:         .75 oz Belgian Bitter Orange peel (15 min)

                    1 tsp crushed Coriander seeds (15 min)

                   .5 (I used .25) oz Belgian Bitter Orange Peel (2 min)

                    1 tsp crushed Coriander seeds (2 min)


Yeast:        Safale T-58  (two packets)


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                            08/19/06                     skipped                                  08/26/06

Gravity:                       1.046                                                                         1.013

% Alcohol:                   6                                                                                1.8

% Sugar:                     11.5                                                                            3.5

Temp of reading:         60                                                                               60



08/19/06  Matt and LaRue came over.  

- 11.5 qts 161 ->  149.   60 min   (1.3 qts/lb and maybe got slightly lower efficiency)

- mashout.  Added 7.8 qts boiling ->  163 deg.  10 min.

- collected 3.4 gallons.

- added 3 gallons 190 ->  176.  Added few cups cool water -> 170.  10 min.

- 5.1 gallons into fermenter (did not pour in yeast starter wort - did not make one)

- just pitched 2 packets of above yeast right into fermenter when it was 80.  Could not get below 80 with wort chiller after 30 min.

- next time make sure to do ice water siphon (make ice ahead of time)

- put ice jugs around fermenter and this morning it is down to 72.  Was fermenting couple hours after pitching.

8/26/06  Orange peel aroma.  Yeasty, tart,dry flavor.  Some yeast will drop out.  Only 1 week old so pretty good so far.  Will leave at room temp for a little while in case any final fermenting will take place.

09/05/06   The beer has a couple characteristics that I am not nuts about right now.  First, it is even more tart than past Wits I have made, perhaps due to the two packets of yeast.  Maybe more of this will drop and get pulled out through the dip tube.  Second, it is a little dryer and has less of a malt balance than other Wits.  I thought some of these things with my Hefe but that has gotten better with a little additional aging (to my surprise).  I will see if the same thing happens with the Wit.  It's a decent drinking beer, but I might try to get it to retain a bit more body and sweetness next time. 

The best things about this beer so far are the citrus aroma and the murky yellow color with almost a white tint.

10/18/06  I've had a couple glasses of this recently.  I have come around to it.  It is a little better now than I first thought.  Maybe it just needed some time to mature.  It is basically what I want in a Wit.  Maybe either it has changed, or I have just accepted it for what it is.



Beer Name:    Bookish Bitter   (based on McMullen's AK Original Bitter in Beer Captured)



Click on either pic for a larger version.  The one at left was taken for a poster for the fundraiser.


Grains:        6 lbs Crisp Maris Otter  3.5-4.5L

                    5 oz Simpson Med Crystal 55L

                    4 oz flaked maize

                    1/2 oz British chocolate 412L


Hops:        .75 oz East Kent Goldings 6.2% AA  60 min

                  .5 oz East Kent Goldings 6.2% AA  15 min

                  .75 oz East Kent Goldings 6.2% AA  2 min


Yeast:      Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale  (2 pint starter made 1.5 days prior)


Misc:   .75 cup white sugar (recipe = 6 oz invert cane sugar)  

              1 tsp Irish Moss   15 min left in boil


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          08/27/06                        09/02/06                                09/12/06

Gravity:                      1.042                             1.014                                      1.014                    

% Alcohol:                  5.5                                1.9                                           1.9

% Sugar:                    10.6                               3.7                                           3.7

Temp of reading:        74                                  74                                            70



- This will be the fundraiser beer this year.

- 8qts 162 -> 150.  held for 60 min

- 8 qts 195 -> 163.   10 min

- collected 3 gallons

- add 3.1 gallons 180 -> 170.  10 min.

- about 6.1 gallons into brew pot.

- had 4.75 gallons into fermenter.  added 1/4 gallon of yeast start for 5 gallons. 

* double crushed grains at NB so is that why I got more than TG of 1.037-1.038?  Something to try again I suppose and see if my efficiency goes higher than the typical 70%.

09/02/06  Toasted aroma, nutty, pretty light flavor.  There is not a whole lot to like or to dislike - it's just drinkable.  After I thought about it, it does remind me of the cask bitters in London, beers that go down pretty easily. 

09/12/06  Very clear beer.  Tastes better now too.  Simple, light, balanced flavor.

11/13/06  Still have a bit of this around.  Have not been drinking it because it is nearly gone and I don't have any other beer to put on tap.  It is super clear and I took a new pic (see above) to replace the older, cloudy one.  Still tastes as good as it did (i.e. not going bad at all).



Beer Name:    Smokin' Good Time Rauchbier (Schlenkerla clone I created.  See here)


Click on pic for larger version.


Grains:        11 lbs Weyermann Smoked Malt  2L

                    .25 lbs Weyermann Carafa III  470L


Hops:        6 AAU Halltertau Hersbrucker  60 min  (i.e. 1.5 oz 4% AA)


Yeast:       Yeast cake from above Bookish Bitter Wyeast 1187 Ringwood Ale  **see note on yeast


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          09/04/06                      09/09/06                                  09/30/06

Gravity:                       1.059                          1.014                                       1.014

% Alcohol:                   7.8                              2                                             2

% Sugar:                      15                               3.8                                          3.8

Temp of reading:          60                              70                                           68



** Note on yeast.  This is the only part of the recipe that is not authentic Rauchbier style.  It should be a German Lager yeast, but because I want to be drinking this in the Fall/Winter, and not just starting to make it, I decided to use an ale yeast.  And since I just brewed a Bitter the weekend before, I decided to use the yeast cake from it.

This beer was pretty cheap to make.  :)

-- first time using new thermometer.  I like it quite a bit.  It's fast, accurate, and said to be water proof. 

-- 14 qts 166 -> 153.   60 min.  Only lost 2 degrees after 1 hour.  covered with lots of blankets.

-- added 8 qts boiling -> 162.  10 min.

-- collected 3 gallons.

-- added 3 gallons 190 -> 173.

-- added .5 gallons cool water -> 165.  10 min.

-- collected 6.5 gallons in brewpot total.

-- put 5.1 gallons into fermenter.

-- pitched 1/4 gallon of yeast slurry and it was fermenting nearly instantly. 

09/09/06    I am not exaggerating when I say this beer was basically finished fermenting 24 hours pitching the yeast.  The next afternoon there was basically no activity in the blow off bucket, and the krausen had already fallen.  The sample had a mild smoke aroma and taste.  It was not nearly as potent as the real thing.  This was surprising as I used all the smoked malt that I could.  Maybe it will be a little more drinkable than expected.  I don't know if that is a good or a bad thing.  I wanted it to be ultra smoky.

09/30/06  Good, solid, drinkable.  Decent smokiness, not overpowering.

11/06/06  People like this more than I expected, probably because it is not over the top with the smokiness.  As it is, it is well balanced.  It is a nice dark ruby red color.  There is some hop presence but it is mostly about the fine malt flavor.  I bought a bottle of Schlenkerla Marzen and I will do a side by side and photo some time.

12/19/06  Took above pic and compared the two.  If Schlenkerla Urbock is a 10 on the smokiness scale, I would rank mine about a 7, and the Schlenkerla Marzen an 8.5.  The Marzen not only has more smoke aroma than mine, but it also has a richer and deeper smoke flavor.  The flavor brings to mine smoked wood, or maybe a sauna.  I think the beech wood smoked malt is more potent than the Weyermann smoked malt I used.  Mine has decent smokiness, but it is a more "clean" flavor, which by saying that I guess I just mean milder, smoke flavor.  I would probably have to figure out how to smoke a portion of my own malt to get it as smoky as the Schlenkerla beers.  But all in all I'd say mine at least stands up to some degree.



Mead Name:    Beekeeper's Special -Mead


Couple gallons of Beekeeper's Special getting the cranberry treatment.



Click on pic for larger version.  Pic taken of straight mead in Jan 2008.



Honey:   4 quarts (about 12 lbs) honey from a farm in WI purchased through my neighbor.    


Yeast:      used above yeast cake from White Sage Mead (Narbonne yeast)


Misc:       1 tsp yeast energizer,  2 tsp yeast nutrient


Brew Date:   Adj OG:             Rack to Secondary:               Bottle Date:


Date:                          09/12/06        09/26/06                10/24/06                                12/02/07

Gravity:                       1.083            1.111                      1.001                                    1.033 (see below)

% Alcohol:                   11                14.9                        .1                                          4.6

% Sugar:                      21                27                           .1                                          9

Temp of reading:         64                60                            64                                        65



09/12/06  I paid $24 for this 12 lbs of honey, so I saved some money.  Tasted great too.  Everything went well.  I aerated for 2 min with pure O2 and shook very well before taking sample for reading.  I will definitely add at least 3 more lbs of honey, maybe 4, to get it back up to where I like my mead OG's to be.

09/26/06  Added 4 lbs of NB's Wildflower honey.  Based on the idea of 7pts/lb of honey in a 5 gallon batch, I calculated adjusted the OG.  I heated up a couple pints of water to boiling, then cooled slightly, dissolved honey in it, then siphoned into fermenter with sanitized tube.

10/21/06   Sweet Lord what have I made?  The gravity at 64 degrees was 1.001!  .1% alc and .1 sugar.  This thing is 15% alc.  It was somewhat thin in mouthfeel with quite a bit of alcohol nose and flavor.  It needs to have a least 3 lbs of honey added back in and hopefully that will fix it.  I bet that using an entire mead yeast cake is what made it ferment so low.

10/24/06  Dissolved 3 more lbs (now used 19 lbs total) NB Wildflower Honey in a bit of water.   Put in bottom of 6 gallon carboy and racked mead onto it.  Stirred with sanitized racking cane.  Took gravity just to see if it had dissolved evenly and got about 1.021, so I know that it did (each lb of honey adds about 7 pts).  However, the taste was still not quite to my liking, so I will add 3 more lbs of honey soon (NB CA Orange Blossom) for a total of 22 lbs!  The volume is up to about 6 gallons now, so I know that theoretically messes with the gravity and alcohol readings, but I am not going to mess with adjusting them.

11/04/06   Added 3 more lbs of honey for a total of 22 lbs.  Tried to soften it in hot water before just adding it through a funnel.  It was kind of gloppy though and even though I stirred with a racking cane, I am not sure if it all got dissolved.  Maybe in the future I will stir it again before racking.  After I mixed it as well as I could the gravity was 1.036.  I would have expected it to be in the low 1.040's so maybe it was not fully mixed in yet.

12/11/06  Racked again.  Tried to leave some sediment behind and better mix in the honey I've added.  Took a gravity reading for fun and it was 1.036 still.  Taste was ok, but unlike some of my other meads, this one is going to need an extra long time to age.  It tastes somewhat sweet and I think it will be good in the end.  But it will for sure need a year, and maybe more.

06/07  Guess I didn't record doing this but I racked a couple gallons of this onto some cranberries.  I think I had 1 lb of cranberries in each gallon.  I let it sit a month or so and bottled in June 21, 2007. 

07/11/07  Racked to free up the 6 gallon carboy it was in, and put 1 gallon on a jalapeno pepper.  1.036, 4.9, 9.5.  Clearer but not crystal.  Wow, it is much better than I remember it.  Sweet honey flavor.  Thank God, I used enough honey!?!  Warming alc finish in throat but not so much in flavor.  This should turn out ok after all.  Also, I had a bottle of the cranberry mead and the cranberry flavor was very slight, but just there.  It was pretty tasty too.

12/02/07   Bottled the remaining gallons in a carboy (about 2.5) and also the 1 gallon of jalapeno.  Gravity reading of 1.033 shows it might have fermented a bit more in the past months.  That is a pretty high bottling gravity and I hope over time they don't become too carbonated.  I gave it many  months of time to ferment out.  Taste is good, but still, at 11% it is going to take even more time to mellow and get really nice.  Off to a good start, but man did it take a lot of honey to get it there.  Jalapeno was very nicely balanced much like the portion of the 2005 mead that I added jalapeno to.  




Beer Name:    Ten Buck Ale #2  (see a few pics of brew day)



Click on either pic for a larger version.


Grains:        10 lbs two row pale Rahr

                    1 lb Durst Vienna 3.8L

                    .5 lb Simpson Crystal 75L

                    .5 lb Durst wheat


Hops:       .5 oz homegrown Cascade first wort hop

                .5 oz Summit (pellet)  17.7% AA   60 min

                .5 oz homegrown Cascade  45 min

                .5 oz homegrown Cascade  30 min

                .5 oz homegrown Cascade  15 min

                ~ .5 oz homegrown Centennial  dry hop


Yeast:         Safale S-56


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          09/15/06                      09/25/06                                    10/08/06

Gravity:                       1.054                           1.014                                        1.012

% Alcohol:                   7                                 2                                               1.5

% Sugar:                     13.5                             3.7                                            3

Temp of reading:         72                               66                                              66



Well, not quite as cheap as I wanted, but close.  Next year I will re-use some yeast and cut back on the grains, and get it down to actually ten bucks.

I took a screen cap of the Pro Mash report here.


- 13 qts 168 -> 155.  little cool water -> 152. 

- after 60 min it was at 150.

- add 7 qts boiling -> 163.  10 min

- collected 3.6 gallons.

- add 3 gallons 185 -> 168.

- collected 6.6 gallons total.

- ended with 5.1 gallons in fermenter.

- pitched dry yeast at 72 degrees.

09/25/06   Little yeast in suspension still so it is a orange copper color, but cloudy.  Otherwise nicely balanced.  The malt is there and so is a big grapefruit flavor from the hops (from the Summit or Cascade?)  Not overly bitter but a complex hop flavor, probably from all the hop additions.  I am starting to wonder if first wort hopping does provide a noticeable, different effect.  I was going to put dry hop flowers in a hop bag but I was having trouble getting it into the fermenter.  I decided to just put them loose in the beer, and then put the hop bag over the racking cane at kegging time.

10/08/06  Pungent, orange peel, lemon, grapefruit aroma.  Pretty clear.  Nice light copper, orange color.  Fine, balanced taste.  Hoppy, enough malt balance, slight citrus aftertaste.  Couple points higher in FG and it might have been better but seems very good as it is.

11/12/06  This beer came out wonderfully, maybe even a little better than last year's.  The Summit hops for bittering were a nice choice.  The other hop additions from the homegrown hops worked out great.  The dry hop is especially noticeable so that was a good use of my Centennials.  It is well balanced and the only problem is trying not to drink it up too quickly.

12/02/06  Took above pic.  This came out really great.  Still has decent hop aroma but even better is the hop and malt balance and flavor.




Beer Name:    Dead Guy Ale clone   (based on Zymurgy Sept/Oct 2003 or see here)


Click on pic for a larger version. 



Grains:       10 lbs Rahr two row pale  (recipe says 8 lbs)

                    2 lbs Munich Durst 3.8L

                    1 lb Briess Caramel 10L  (recipe called for Crystal 15L but NB no longer can get this grain)


Hops:        1 oz Perle 7.7% AA  60 min

                  .5 oz Saaz 3.7% AA  60 min

                  .5 oz Saaz 3.7% AA  10 min


Yeast:         Rogue PacMan yeast (!) from Wyeast


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          10/21/06                       10/30/06                                11/15/06

Gravity:                        1.054                          1.011                                    1.010

% Alcohol:                   7.1                               1.5                                        1.2

% Sugar:                      14                                2.8                                        2.1

Temp of reading:         70                                 64                                        56



10/21/06   The recipe said you could get 1.068 from 11 lbs grain at 70% efficiency.  I do not believe this to be possible.  Knowing my system, and using Promash, I came up with a grain bill to get the TG of about 1.065.  However, for some reason (Rahr malt?) I got quite a bit less than I should have.  I hit all my temps and everything seemed to go normally.

I also omitted the 90 min boil but used more hops to get the same IBU's (around 49).

- 15 qts + .5 qt to cool.   mashed at 151 for 1 hour.

- added 1.5 gallons boiling -> 161.  10 min.

- collected 3.9 gallons

- added 2.5 gallons 180 -> 168 deg.

- had 6.4 gallons in brew kettle and 5 gallons into the fermenter.

[ waited 4 hours to boil after wort was collected.  temp when starting boil was 139]

- 1 tsp Irish Moss 15 min left in boil

10/23/06  It is well documented that John Maier ferments most of the Rogue beers around 60.  Currently this beer is in a 55 deg room fermenting at 60 degrees.  I will bring it to a warmer place for the last couple days so it can completely finish.

10/30/06   Had it around 64 degrees for last 4 days or so.  Really fermented low but does not taste at all thin.  Orange, copper color. Number of particulates still in suspension.  Hopefully they will drop out in next couple weeks.  Smooth, sweet taste, very drinkable.  Not very hoppy for 49 IBU's.  Nice and drinkable though.

11/15/06  Pretty clear already.  Somewhat more hop bitterness than I expected, maybe due to the low FG.  Funny that a couple weeks ago I was not tasting the hops.  Tastes pretty good right now but I think it will be better in a month.  Eventually I will have to do a side by side with the real thing.

01/18/07    Did the side by side last night.

Rogue Dead Guy:  mild alcohol flavor.  Sweet, malty, low hop character.  Reddish huge more than mine.  Bit of dryness from specialty grains.  Also kind of peppery finish.  Even after warming, alcohol taste is still there.  As it gets much warmer, it begins to become less pleasant.

Homebrew Dead Guy:  some bitterness from hops.  Clarity is similar.  More yellow or straw color than Rogue.  Kind of buttery sweetness to go with the substantial bitterness.  A peppery flavor in the finish, too.  Pretty similar to Rogues, but slightly sweeter.  The homebrew is the preferable of the two. ha.




Cider Name:      Cider 2006 #1


Click on pic for larger version. 


Fermentables:  ~ 5.5 gallons apple juice from MN Homebrewers club buy  


Yeast:        Lalvin Bourgovin RC212


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                         11/04/06                         11/22/06                                01/07/06

Gravity:                     1.055                               1.000                                     "

% Alcohol:                 7.5                                  0                                            "

% Sugar:                    14                                   0                                            "

Temp of reading:        60                                  65                                          60



11/04/06  added 5 crushed camden tablets 24 hours prior to pitching yeast.  Stirred in with sanitized racking cane.  Pitched yeast straight without rehydrating.   Aerated with pure O2 for ~ 1 min.  

Decided to not do any fruit peel or spice additions this year and just see how it comes out.

11/22/06  This one tastes pretty good already, perhaps slightly better than batch #2 below.  But I like this more than I usually do at this point.  It should work out fine after it is sweetened.

01/07/06   Would have forgotten to add sorbate if I had not read past cider entries trying to find out how many cans of concentrate I usually use.   I added 2 tsp of sorbate.  I added 3 cans of apple juice concentrate.  I also put it right into the fridge and it is carbonating now.

** Note.  I did something stupid.  I had marked the carboys with a dry erase marker to set Cider 1 apart from Cider 2.  Well, those markings are gone.  So, what I am calling Cider 1 now might actually be Cider 2.  Because there was hardly any difference between the two, it isn't a very big deal.  Both of these yeasts did a wonderful job for cider.

04/02/07  Still on tap.  Tastes great.  Pretty clean tasting with a tartness balanced by a very slight sweetness.  Using 4 cans of concentrate would make it a touch sweeter, but this preserves more of the flavor of the unsweetened version.



Cider Name:       Cider 2006 #2


Click on pic for larger version. 


Fermentables:  ~ 4.5 gallons apple juice from MN Homebrewers club buy  


Yeast:        Red Star Premier Cuvee



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                         11/04/06                       11/22/06                                 05/17/07

Gravity:                     1.053                            1.000                                      .95

% Alcohol:                 7                                  0                                                0

% Sugar:                   13.5                              0                                                0

Temp of reading:        60                                65                                             60



11/04/06  added 5 crushed camden tablets 24 hours prior to pitching yeast.  Stirred in with sanitized racking cane.  Pitched yeast straight without rehydrating.   Aerated with pure O2 for ~ 1 min.

Decided to not do any fruit peel or spice additions this year and just see how it comes out.

11/22/06  Wow, best taste ever at this point in a cider.  Tart but still drinkable.  Cleanly fermented.  great start.

05/17/07   Am experimenting with NOT adding sorbate.   I want to see if the taste is better without it and I want to see if the yeast can eat some of the new sugar (3 cans of apple juice concentrate) even if they are in the fridge.   So far preliminary tasting makes me think it will be better without the sorbate, and maybe not have a certain sharp character.   But time will help me know for sure.

08/13/07   I am not positive it tastes better without the sorbate.  I think it might, but I also think it is possible that the yeast slow has fermented some of the apple juice concentrate.  It is getting slightly tarter with time.  Again, that does happen normally too so it is hard to tell.   But this cider still tastes good after 9 months of aging.  Not much left of it now.





Beer Name:     Shakespeare Stout clone  (based on Zymurgy Sept/Oct 2003 or see here)



Click on either pic for larger version.  At right you can see how the Rouge head (on right) is a bit darker.



Grains:       11 lbs Rahr two row pale

                    .5 lbs Briess 120 Crystal

                    .5 lbs Simpson chocolate 412L

                    1 lb flaked oats 

                    3 oz Simpson Roast Barley 550L


Hops:        2 oz Cascade 5.3% AA  60 min

                  1 oz Cascade homegrown 30 min (in hop bag)

                  .5 oz Cascade homegrown 2 min (hop bag)


Yeast:        yeast slurry from above Dead Guy Pacman yeast


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                         11/06/06                      11/11/06                                    11/25/06

Gravity:                      1.058                          1.014                                        1.014

% Alcohol:                 7.8                               2                                               1.8

% Sugar:                    15                                3.8                                            3.5

Temp of reading:        68                               54                                              54



11/06/06  Everything went well.  Skipped mash out due to 13 lbs of grain.

- 18 qts 164 -> 152 (60 min)

- collected 2.8 gallons

- added 3.5 gallons near boiling ->178.  Added ice cubes -> 170.  10 min.

- collected 6.3 gallons in kettle

- 5 gallons even into fermenter.

- added .25 gallons yeast slurry and it fermented nearly instantly   

11/12/06  This was done fermenting literally about 35 hours after pitching.  Had blow off gunk go all the way through the tube into the bucket.

Pretty dark color.  Brownish red tints at side of glass.  Chocolate and coffee flavors are present.  Some hop bitterness.  Not too dry.  Solid, clean, and should be a very nice stout. 

11/25/06  Sweet, chocolate aroma.  Nicely rounded stout flavor - some silky sweetness, hint of roast bitterness, some complexity with coffee/chocolate flavors.  Clean taste (attribute that to the yeast).  Good stuff.  Yeast floculated totally.  If I hold the beer to the light, it is clear.  Pretty dark, and only when held to the light do I see red and brown colors. 

So far PacMan yeast is very impressive.  With both of these beers it fermented fast, clean, at cool temps, and floculated well. 

02/03/07  Took above pics and tasting notes.

Rogue:  First thing I notice is the head is darker.  That must mean the beer is darker although from looking at them in these glasses I cannot tell.  Burnt coffee aroma.  Taste has dry bitterness from highly kilned malts (black patent? chocolate?)  Lingering bitter dryness in finish.  Also, respectable hop flavor somewhat masked by roasted malts but present.  Only taste the hops in middle of flavor.  Later when I poured more and smelt right away I picked up a good hop aroma.  Mine does not have this.  Dry hop mine next year?

Homebrew:  Comparatively sweeter aroma.  Almost milk stout aroma, lactose, sweet.  Some lighter coffee and roasted flavor.  Somewhat sweet and clean finish.  Some hop bitterness.  I thought it was aggressively hopped but it could be even more.  Hard for hop flavor and bitterness to come through the roasted malts, but Rogue's does so to a degree.  Rogue's definitely has more of the highly-kilned, burnt grain kind of bitter dryness and flavor.  I like it.  I like mine too, but to make it more like theirs I would have to add perhaps more roast.  6 oz?  Add a little black patent?  I'd have to read about that grain.  Could bump up chocolate perhaps too.  Mine is a good, solid, drinkable stout, but not quite the same as Rogue's.




Beer Name:   Reticent Rye Bock  


Click on pic for larger version.


Grains:        3 lbs Weyermann Rye 3.5L

                    7.3 lbs Durst Pils  1.6L

                    1.7 lbs Briess CaraPils  1.4L

                    1 lb Durst Munich  15.5L

                    .75 lbs Briess Caramel 60L

                    2 oz Weyermann Carafa III  470L


Hops:        1 oz Halltertau  4.2% AA  60 min   

                  .5 oz Hallertau  4.2% AA  30 min


Yeast:         White Laps WLP833 Bock.  made 3 qt starter with 1.5 cups DME 3 days prior


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          12/09/06                        12/26/06                                01/26/07

Gravity:                      1.054                             1.013                                    1.013

% Alcohol:                  7                                    1.7                                        1.7

% Sugar:                    13.5                                3.2                                        3.2

Temp of reading:        65                                  60                                          60



I could not coax the sugars out the grain that I wanted to.  I had hoped to get more ~1.068 for an OG so 1.054 is kind of disappointing.   I think the biggest culprit is my made up mash schedule.  I will probably not do that again.  I would have been better off doing a known, step infusion or just doing a single infusion.

-8.5 qts 118 -> 112 deg.  40 min (hydration stage, per Horst)

- add 5 qts 197 -> 131.   34 min. 

- add 7 qts 206 -> 149 deg.  35 min.  (this might not have been long enough to get full conversion?)

- collected 2.8 gallons.

- added 3.5 gallons 179 ->159 (should have used hotter water to get closer to 170).

- collected 6.3 gallons total in kettle.

- 4.9 gallons went into fermenter.

Cooled wort down to 63 degrees in 25 min, so that was good.  Currently it is fermenting at 50-52.

12/26/06  Dark red color, maybe too light for a bock.  Toffee aroma.  Somewhat bitter flavor that must come from the rye.  It is not as malty as a normal bock would be.  I am not sure what I expected from adding the rye, but so far I would say the rye sharpness is a stronger flavor than the sweetness from the malt.  It is not unlikable, but different than a traditional bock.  Fairly clear now and I think it will clear up even more.  I will put it in my cold room until kegging time (right now at about 48 but will drop when the temp does.  It's been around 30-40 outside lately).

01/26/07   Lost my notes from kegging day.  I am not positive on the day but it was close to here.  I will have to describe the beer and post my notes some time.



Next Page 2007