Beer Name:      Great Eight Helles   (Celebrating eight great years of homebrewing)


Click on pic for larger version.



Grains:        8 lbs Durst Pils 1.6 L

                    1.5 lbs Durst Munich 8.3L

                    .5 lbs Global Malt Kolsch malt 4.5 L (didn't have Durst Light Crystal 16L)

                    .25 lbs Dingemans Aromatic 19L


Hops:          1 oz Tettnanger Tettnang 6.1% AA  60 min

                    .5 oz Tettnanger Tettnang 6.1% AA  30 min

                    .5 oz Tettnanger Tettnang 6.1% AA  2 min


Yeast:         Wyeast 2001 Pilsner Urquell - yeast starter made and on stir plate for almost 48 hours.  Used 1 cup DME and ended with 1250 ml with gravity of 9 brix or about 1.036.


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          01/17/09                      01/30/09                                 03/06/09

Gravity:                      1.050                           1.013                                      1.012

% Alcohol:                 6.5                                1.8                                          1.7

% Sugar:                   12.5                              3.5                                           3.5

Temp of reading:       56                                 55                                           50



- 13 qts 165 -> ice -> 150.  held for 60 min.   After that it was 149 deg.

- added 7 qts boiling -> 166.

- collected 3.5 gallons of 13.5 brix.

- added 3 gallons of 170 -> 168.

- 2nd runnings 5.8 brix.

- boiled 15 min before adding hops as I had collected 6.8 gallons total.

- in carboy just over 5 gallons before adding yeast starter.  Decanted half of starter off and pitched rest.

- took about 24 hours to get going.  Been fermenting at about 52 degrees.

01/30/09  OK taste.  Slightly more bitter than past Helles (from the extra .5 oz at 30 min?)  We'll see if it smoothes out. 

03/06/09  Pretty clear.  More golden (darker?) than I recall.  Small hint of butter(scotch?) and sweetness in aroma.  Taste is just sweet and smooth.  The bitterness noted above has mellowed!  It is all about the malt.  This is good stuff.




Beer Name:      Go Green Imperial Pilsner  (8 oz of hops!)



Click on either pic for larger versions.  It didn't look as light as it actually is in the pic at left so I put up this other one too.


Grains:        17 lbs Durst Pils

.25 lbs Briess Carapils  1.4L

.25 lbs Durst Vienna 3.8L


Hops:          3 oz Saaz  3.2% AA  60 min

1 oz Saaz  3.2% AA  45 min

1 oz Tettnanger Tettnang 6.1% AA  30 min

1 oz Saaz  3.2% AA  15 min

1 oz Saaz  3.2% AA  2 min

1 oz Tettnanger Tettnang 6.1% AA  2 min



Yeast:         Yeast cake from above Helles (Wyeast Pilsner Urquell strain)



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          01/30/09                      02/08/09                                  04/26/09

Gravity:                     1.070                            1.014                                       1.014

% Alcohol:                9.1                                 2                                             1.8

% Sugar:                   17.2                               4                                             3.6

Temp of reading:       52                                 45                                            55



01/30/09  18 qts -> 167 -> doughed in -> 155 -> lots of stirring -> 150.   held 70 min.

- added 1 gallon boiling -> 155.

- collect 3 gallons (out of 5.5 in there, so left 2.5 gallons behind).  20.5 brix

- added 3.25 gallons of 188 -> 174 -> ice -> 168.  2nd run = 11 brix

- collected 6.25 gallons in brewpot.  preboil about 15 brix (kind of low I thought).

- just under 5 gallons when pitched yeast cake.  50 deg.

- is fermenting around 52-53 deg.  No blow off.

02/08/09  Fermented pretty quickly.  Did diacetyl rest for few days.  Fairly light in color (good) but not very clear at all yet.  a TON of sediment in the primary, probably the most I've ever had.  I really should have whirlpooled and siphoned into primary.  I have never done that, but I should have.  Nice Saaz aroma, like other Pilsners I've made.  Taste is good!  Bitter, sweet, somewhat of a bite.  It's 7% alc and one week old so that could be why.  A month or two at about 40 degrees and this should be really nice. 

04/26/09   Bottled 8 bottles.  Nice golden color.  Noticeable hop aroma and perhaps whiff of alc.  Taste is some sweetness and a robust but smooth bitterness that lingers.  Just about what I hoped for.  Maybe more of a snifter beer than a pint glass.  Hopefully it will come out nicely in the end.

07/19/09   Still a gallon left.  This is really great. It turned out just as well as I could have hoped and usually gets very good comments.  I took it off tap so I can put a Wit on while it is still hot and summer.  I will put this beer back on tap after that.

08/29/09  Back on tap and there can't be much left.  It still is very good.  I couldn't be too much happier with this, except if there was more left.




Name:      Acerglyn - Maple Wine  (recipe compiled from few diff places on the internet)


Click HERE for more pictures.


Recipe for 2 gallons


Sugars:   2 qts maple syrup (given to me (by B&K Farms, Deer Park, WI 715-268-2872) if I could make something with it)      

                2 cups brown sugar

                1 cup white sugar


Misc:    yeast nutrient, yeast engergizer


Yeast:  Lavlin 71B-1122  Narbonne


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Bottle Date:


Date:                          02/27/09                      04/11/09                                   2/14/10

Gravity:                      1.110                           .992                                          1.026 (see notes below though)

% Alcohol:                 14.5                            -.9                                              n/a

% Sugar:                     26.5                           -2                                               n/a

Temp of reading:         70                              65                                              n/a



- put 1/2 gallon water in brew pot

- added 2 qts maple syrup (not sap)

- brix = over 32 so off my chart.  I knew it was too high at this point.

- added 1 qt water.  brix =28 (about 1.120)

- I wanted to try to get up to 2 gallons total and at this point I was only at about 1.25 gallons

- ended up adding 2 cups brown sugar and water until I had about 8 qts (2 gallons) in brewpot. 

- at that point the gravity was 27 brix and I knew it was about where I wanted.  (see above readings).

- decided to not add all the nutrient and energizer at one time.  Decided to split it up and add very 12 hours for first couple days as advised by some mead makers.  I will add about 1/4 tsp yeast energizer and 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient each time for about 4 times.

- aerated with pure O2 for at least a minute.  proofed yeast in warm water for about 10 min.

- fermenting at 70 deg.

03/07/09  19 brix  ~1.055 according to the calculators.   about 8% alc so far

03/14/09  Still bubbling 2 times/minute.  Been about 68 deg.

03/21/09  1.012, 1.8, 3.5.   Dropped lower than I expected.  Strong, sharp, but drinkable and it will get better.  13% alc already.  Might have to add some maple syrup back into it.  Not only will this sweeten, but it will give it more maple flavor which surprisingly is not very present any longer.  Before I do that I will let it ferment a couple more weeks and take another reading.

04/05/09   .992  -.9  -2  Good grief!   Alcohol aroma.  Immediately warming when drink it.  Very little trace of all that maple syrup left.  Will have to add some maple syrup back in and hope yeast is done fermenting.   Actually, I will crash cool and rack off as much yeast as possible.  Maybe I should not have done the adding nutrient and energizer every 12 hours as it seems to have done too good of a job.  It is about 15.5% when the yeast tolerance is supposed to be up to 14%. 

04/08/09  Moved to cold room, prob about 45 deg.  Idea is to cause yeast to floculate as much as possible.

04/11/09  Dissolved 1 lb of syrup in 16 oz of water and warmed slightly.  Racked into sanitized carboy.  Racked acerglyn on top of that leaving behind as much yeast as I could (I don't want it to ferment any more, and it probably can't anyway.  Doesn't seem to be as I type this the next morning).  Stirred gently but well.  Reading:  1.018, 2.2, 4.5.  After stirring in the maple syrup it tasted better, with a little more body.  Touch of sweetness.  But really I think it could use a whole additional lb of syrup.  I will see if it ferments any more and perhaps add another lb like I just did.

05/03/09  Basically no change in gravity (about 1.018) so good news is it seems to be done fermenting (15.5% alc).  I think I will still add more syrup but not sure how much.

11/22/09  1.015.  It has fermented slightly.  Weighed out 12 oz of real maple syrup and dissolved in a little water and then siphoned it in.  Taste is ok but it still needs a whole lot more time.  It is about 16% alc I figure.  After adding in the maple syrup it is 1.023 and does taste better.  Little more viscous, little more syrup flavor.  Guess I will give it a few more months and check again.  I could still possibly add in a bit more syrup, like 6-8 oz. 

02/14/10  Recently I had taken a reading and it was 1.026.  So it did not appear to be fermenting any more.  And the taste was just sweet enough that I did not think it needed more syrup.  At 16% alc and only 10 months old, though, it does need more time.  I think it will be nice in a year. 

02/14/10   Sweet and maple-syrup-tasting enough to bottle without adding more syrup.   Bottled 22 6-oz bottles and 10 12-oz bottles.  HERE are a few pics.  Lots of warming after I take a sip.  I expect this to taste good for 5 years or more.   I won't even be drinking it much for many more months.  At 15-16% alc it needs a lot more time.





Beer Name:      Heck Yeah American Red   (modified red ale recipe (BYO or Zymurgy, summer-ish 2009) with mostly homegrown hops)


Click on pic for larger version.



Grains:        6 lbs Rahr two row pale 2.4L

3 lbs Durst Munich 8.3L

.5 lbs Dingemanns CaraVienne 23L

6 oz Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal 160L

3 oz Simpsons Roasted 550L

1 lb Weyermann Rye malt 3.5L

.5 lbs Weyermann Pale Wheat malt 1.5L 


Hops:          .5 oz Centennial (homegrown)  First Wort Hop

.5 oz Centennial (homegrown)  60 min

1 oz Tettnanger 6.1% AA (pellet)  45 mini

.5 oz Centennial (homegrown)  30 min

.5 oz Centennial (homegrown)  2 min


Yeast:         US-05 dried yeast.  proofed before pitching.


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          04/25/09                      05/03/09                                05/25/09

Gravity:                      1.058                          1.015                                       1.014

% Alcohol:                 7.8                               2                                             2

% Sugar:                    14.5                            4                                              4

Temp of reading:       68                                68                                           60



- First time trying thinner mash.  Used 1.75 qts/lb and skipped mash out.  Got to TG and maybe just barely over so I might try this technique another time or so and see if I continually have good results.  Will also see if beer does not taste any different.

- heated 20 qts 164 -> doughed in -> 155 -> ice -> 152 for 60 min.   After 1 hour 151 deg.

- collected 3.2 gallons of 16.5 brix.

- added 3.2 gallons 195 -> ice -> 165 deg.

- 2nd runnings 7 brix.  6.4 gallons in kettle of 12.5 brix.

- just under 5 gallons in fermenter.

- fermenting later that night.  been fermenting for few days now 64-66 deg.

05/03/09  Not very clear yet.  Dark red or brown color.  Not much aroma.  Decent taste.  Somewhat sweet, noticeable hop bitterness.  Finishes with a touch of roasted, burnt flavor.   Maybe I should have cut out the Roast barley or got a lighter Crystal, like Medium?  Should be good enough when clear and less yeasty.

05/25/09  Darker, reddish brown.  Crystal malt and hop aroma.  Nice taste.  Smooth, slightly bitter, better than before.  Thought about dry hopping but I did not. It might have been a nice addition to this beer to ratchet up the hop presence, and it could be slightly more bitter too.  But it should be a nice drinking beer.

07/10/09  Turned out very nice.  Mostly malty with a little caramel sweetness.  Not as bitter as I expected but hops are there.  Could use more hops to make it a true "American" Red. 

08/01/09  Took above pic.  This came out quite nice.  Drinkable, not especially bitter but it is there.  Kind of a caramel vibe (if that is the right term) that I'm sure comes from the Munich.




Beer Name:      Dim Wit  (based on Jamil's recipe in Brewing Classic Styles)


Click on pic for larger version.


Grains:        5.5 lbs Durst Pils 1.6L

.25 lbs Durst Munich  8.3L

5 lbs Flaked Wheat 1L

1 lb Flaked Oats 1.5L

(also used .5 lbs rice hulls)


Hops:         .5 oz German Magnum 13% AA (over a year old, been in freezer)


Yeast:        Safale T-58  (just sprinkled on wort.  had 1" krausen in 6 hours)


Misc:        .5 oz bitter orange peel  15 min

                  1 tsp crushed coriander seeds 15 min

                  .5 oz bitter orange peel  2 min

        1 tsp crushed coriander seeds 2 min



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          07/12/09                        skipped                                   07/19/09

Gravity:                      1.049                                                                            1.012

% Alcohol:                 6.5                                                                                1.7

% Sugar:                    12.5                                                                              3.2

Temp of reading:        70                                                                                70



- used somewhat thinner mash of 1.5 qts/lb but wasn't a batch to see if it helps since I was using so much flaked ingredients (wheat/oats).

- 18 qts water 163 -> 152.  60 min mash.  still at 152.

- added 1 gallon boiling -> 159.

- collected 3.33 gallons of 13 brix.

- added 3 gallons 174 -> 165.

- 2nd runnings = 6 brix.  6.8 gallons in pot.  pre boil = 11 brix

- let it sit overnight covered with blankets in brewpot. In morning it was 137 deg (still very hot).

- 5.2 gallons in fermenter (didn't take brix reading?)

- from just sprinkling yeast on wort had 1" krausen in 6 hours.  fermenting ~ 70 deg now. 

07/19/09  Aroma is yeast and coriander.  Taste is mostly dry. Huh.  Orange peel must contribute to the bitterness.  I'm glad there is no more bitterness from hops than what is here.  Not even a week old.  It could have more citrus aroma and taste.  Good thing it did not ferment any lower.  Hopefully it will be decent once carbonated and chilled. 

08/01/09  As some of the yeast drops out and gets pulled out of the dip tube first, it is getting a little better.  It was perhaps too yeasty at first.  Nice color though.  I am still only so so on this one and I will see if I come around to it before it is gone.

08/19/09  Better now.  A perfectly decent, drinkable wit.  Maybe more detailed tasting notes to come.






07/12/09       Got propane tank filled.     Took 4.4 gallons (it ran out so I used the grill tank).






Beer Name:       Orange Rye IPA  (based on Denny Conn's recipe and my 2006 take)



Couldn't pick just one picture so here are four.   Click on any picture for a larger version.  I like the lacing left by each successive sip in pic 3.  And the autumnal orange glow I got when the sun shone just right.



Grains:       11.5 lbs Rahr two row 2.4L

 3 lbs Weyermann Rye malt  3.5L

 1 lb Simpson Medium Crystal 55L

 .5 lbs Briess Organic Carapils 1.5L

 .5 lbs Rahr White Wheat  4.5L


Hops:          1 oz Centennial homegrown   first wort hop

1.2 oz Cascade homegrown   60 min

1 oz Tettnanger Tettnang 6.1% AA  60 min

1 oz Centennial homegrown   30 min

1 oz Tettnanger Tettnang 6.1% AA  30 min

1.2 oz Cascade homegrown   2 min

1 oz Centennial homegrown   dry hop


Yeast:         Wyeast 1056.  1 liter starter ( ~ 1.036) on stir plate for 48 hours and crash cooled over night)


Misc:         zest only from 2 oranges added with 15 min left in boil


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          07/27/09                      08/02/09                                  09/05/09

Gravity:                      1.070                           1.012                                       1.012

% Alcohol:                 9.1                               1.8                                           1.7

% Sugar:                    17.5                             3.5                                           3

Temp of reading:        70                               70                                            70



- 22 qts 165 -> stirred -> 152.  held 60 min.  stirred once at 30 min (prob didn't help efficiency).

- 150 after an hour.

- no mash out.    collected 2.7 gallons of 21.5 brix.

- added 3.5 gallons of 195 deg water and it was in the high 170's!  Added ice immediately!  Got to 168.

- 2nd runnings were 10.5 brix. 

- 6.2 gallons of 16 brix in kettle.

- held overnight and was 137 deg in morning.  Added first wort hops then.

- ended up with 5.2 gallons in fermenter.  Did not boil quite as vigorously and did squeeze all homegrown hops to get the wort.  If I did not do this I probably would have lost a lot.

- aerated 90 seconds with pure O2.  Had krausen 6 hours or so later.  It is fermenting at 68 now.

08/02/09  Not clear yet.  Orange, coppery.  Not too strong of an aroma yet (will dry hop later).  Great taste.  Nice malt sweetness and firm bitterness.  Some citrus notes in taste, probably from orange peel.  So far, very nice.

08/19/09  Dry hopped with 1 oz homegrown Centennial.

09/05/09  Pretty clear and beautiful copper orange color.  Citrus and alc aroma.  Taste in clean.  Fairly bitter but not too much so.  Balanced with sweetness.  Pretty good right now.

10/19/09  This is coming along.  It is clearing.  Haven't picked up the keg but I hope there is a gallon or two left.  Not super bitter.  If I wanted more bitterness in a beer I think I would have to buy some hops to use.  I do not seem to be able to get a really strong bitterness out of my homegrown hops even when using as much as I did above.  Took above pics this past weekend.





Beer Name:      Bard's Head Imperial Stout  (loosely based on my Shakespeare Stout)


Click on pic for larger version.



Grains:        15 lbs Rahr two row pale 1.4-2.0L

1 lb flaked oats  1.5L

.5 lb Simpson Chocolate  412L

.5 lb Simpson Extra Dark Crystal 160L

.5 lb Simpson Roast 550L

.5 lb Simpson Black 550L


Hops:          1 oz Chinook 11.1% AA  60 min

1 oz Cascade 7.1% AA  30 min

1 oz Cascade 7.1% AA  2 min


Yeast:         Wyeast 1056 Activator.  1.75 liter stir plate starter ran for 48 hours then sat in fridge over night (1.5 cups DME for gravity ~1.038)


Misc:         1 cup ( ~ .5 lb) white cane sugar.  Was going to do a lb but saw my gravity was looking pretty good.   This would add 4.5 pts.


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          08/15/09                      08/28/09                                  03/09/10

Gravity:                      1.092                          1.020                                        1.020

% Alcohol:                 12.1                             2.6                                            2.6

% Sugar:                    22.5                             5                                               5

Temp of reading:        70                               70                                             60



- 25 qts of 165 -> 154.   Ice -> 152.  held for 1 h 20 min.  then 151 deg.

- first runnings 22.5 brix, 3.5 gallons.

- add 2.5 gallons 194 - 167.  collected 2.8 gallons of 13 brix so 6.3 gallons total at this point.

- 2nd sparge!  added 2.5 gallon of 168 -> 166.   Color was little bit lighter.  7 brix.  collected in own pot and boiled down.

- ended up boiling down about 8.6 gallons for 90 min before adding any hops.  Got it down to about 6.5 or less gallons before adding first bittering hops.

-  So it was the first time doing a 2nd sparge, first time "over" collecting (on purpose) and first time boiling for so long to condense wort.  But, it all seems to have worked in the end as I must have got close to 70% efficiency, and that is good for that big of a beer. 

- before boil I had 6.5 gallons of 19 brix.  :)  (almost 1.080 already).

- 5 gallons even in fermenter

- aerated for a little over 2 min with pure O2.

- fermenting at 68-70 degrees now, trying to keep it around there.  No blow off yet (2 days later).

08/22/09  1.020, 2.6, 5, 70 deg.  Fermented at 68-70 deg.  Was most finished in 4-5 days.  It is 9.5% alc.  Alc is in the aroma.  Taste mostly warming from alc.  Some bitterness from hops, some burnt coffee, bitter acrid flavors from black malts (roast, choc, black).  Maybe it is good it did not get lower.  I will not do anything to make it get a lower FG than what it will get.  Will rack next week. 

08/28/09  Little better now.  Just needs more time. 

01/31/10  Still 1.020.  Hmm.  Seems ok.  Not very sweet.  Not bitter though (hops), which is good.  Warming.  Roast, burnt, some rum or plum type notes.  Not sure if I should keg/bottle or keep aging until Fall 2010 and then keg.  Argh.  I should have brewed it in April or May, not August. 

03/09/10  Time has served this well.  It is much more drinkable now.  Mellowed nicely.  Somewhat roasty but a touch of sweetness.  Finishes clean with a bit of warmth.  9% alc - hard to pick up on that.





Beer Name:    Organic Pale Ale #2  (here is #1)


Click on pic for larger version.


Grains:       10 lbs Briess Organic two row pale 1.8L

1 lb Briess Organic Munich 10L

.5 lb Briess Organic Carapils 1.5L

.5 lb Briess Organic Crystal 60L


Hops:          1 oz homegrown Cascade (2008) first wort hop

1 oz homegrown Centennial (2009) 60 min

1 oz homegrown Cascade (2009) 45 min

1 oz homegrown Centennial (2009) 10 min

1 oz homegrown Cascade (2009) 10 min 


Yeast:         Safale S-04  - first time using this British dried strain



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          09/05/09                     09/09/09                                   10/01/09

Gravity:                     1.048                           1.013                                        1.013

% Alcohol:                 6.3                              1.9                                            1.9

% Sugar:                   12                                3.5                                            3.5

Temp of reading:       70                               70                                              70



- 16 qts 163 -> 150 (wanted 151, should have used warmer strike water)

- 75 min mash, down to 148

- added 8 qts boiling -> 164

- collected 4.5 gallons 14 brix

- added 2 gallons 176 -> 164 (wonder if now doing more of an equal sparge amount is to blame for poor efficiency?)

- 2nd runnings was 7.3 brix

- 6.8 gallons of 11 brix in kettle (at this time I wondered if it was high enough)

- boiled 15 min before adding hops to reduce volume

- don't know if I blame the malt, or the crush, or the sparge.  You would think I would not have these problems any more.  I wanted it to be more like 1.055+.  I think the crush was ok but I do remember questioning it but deciding it looked at least all right.  My previous beer with organic malt went fine, so I think maybe it is important to sparge with more than 2 gallons.  That must have been the problem.  I should have collected more wort and just boiled it down, maybe even in additional pots on the stove top (like the Imperial Stout above, which worked great).

- just sprinkled on yeast, and aerated for 70 seconds.  Was fermenting hours later and totally done within a few days.  It was around 70 deg or just under.

09/09/09  Fruity aroma not from hops.  Taste is surprisingly not too hoppy.  Still kind of yeasty.  Pineapple?  Heard that can happen with this yeast.  Then it will go away later.  Sort of meh.  Actually more grapefruit hoppiness comes in with more sips.

10/01/09  Not much aroma.  Wow tastes like a nice PNW pale ale, like Deschutes or Bridgeport.  Better than before.  Pretty light color.  Not very clear at this time.

11/21/09  Took pic.  Not clear.  Aroma is not especially hoppy.  Flavor is bready malt, crisp bitterness.  It is ok but I think the organic malt does make it taste different and I don't prefer it.  Or is it the yeast that I don't like?  I should check and see if I liked my previous OPA very much...   Hmm.  Sounds like that one was better so maybe it is this yeast.  I guess maybe one day I will make another OPA with a more normal yeast, maybe even 1056, and see how it is.




Beer Name:       Gratuitous - Surly Imperial Brown  (got wort free from Surly at the AHA rally)


Click on pic for larger version.



Fermentables:        82% Canada Malting Pale Ale Malt
                                10.8% Fawcett Brown Malt                   
                                1.8% Fawcett Crystal 85L
                                1.8% Fawcett Dark Crystal 120L

  3.6% Dark Candi Syrup


Hops:          Columbus -bittering
                    Willamette  -whirlpool/aroma


Yeast:         Wyeast 1056 - 1.5 liter starter made 2 days prior and put on stir plate



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          10/10/09                      10/27/09                                  01/16/10

Gravity:                      1.081                           1.016                                      1.016

% Alcohol:                 10.6                             2.2                                           2.2

% Sugar:                    19.5                             4.5                                           4.5

Temp of reading:        60                               60                                            60



- I ran some numbers in Pro Mash so you could make this at home.  The %'s differ slightly from the above but keeps the amts relatively simple to measure.


Assumes 65% (efficiency goes down as the gravity goes up, so...)


14.5 lbs   Pale two row.  (84.7%)
1.5 lbs Brown malt 70L  (8.8%)

.33 lbs Crystal 85L  (1.8%)

.33 lbs Crystal 120L (1.8%)

.5 lbs Dark Candi Sugar (not syrup so might be different) (2.9%)


1 oz Columbus 15% AA pellet 60 min

? oz Willamette near end of boil


IBU:  64

OG:  1.081

SRM: 26.6


- Fermenting around 65 degrees.  Active fermentation kept up for a week and then quieted down.


10/19/09  Been fermenting over a week so I took a reading.  Was surprised to see it as high as almost 1.030 without much ongoing activity in airlock.  I think I might buy a packet of champagne yeast, gently swirl up the yeast cake at the bottom, add in the champagne yeast and then give it another week before taking another reading.  As a last resort there is always Beano but it would be nice to get it to below 1.020 w/o having to use it.

10/20/09  Added a little yeast energizer and gently stirred.  It foamed over!  Lots of trapped CO2.  Lost a little beer but hopefully not too much.

10/27/09  More alcohol aroma and a bit of warming in taste.  Much different than at 1.030.  It will have to mellow fro some time I think.

01/16/10  Fairly clear.  Medium brown color with red tint.  Alcohol in nose.  Tate has come along.  Sweet mostly but fairly firm bitterness, finishes with alc warmth.  Not bad but still can use more time.   Bottled 8 bottles to age.

11/02/11  I see there has not been an update to this log for a long time, and I definitely need to put something in here.  I was right all along! This beer got A TON better with age.  Yes indeed.  All of us agree.  It was not even that drinkable for a full year.  I wish I would have aged in in the secondary much longer before putting it on tap.  It was 8.4% alc, and after it mellowed (maybe a year after brewing?), it was much nicer.  Smooth, sweet flavors of caramel and sweet malt blended well with the strength of the alc.  Even now at two years old, it still tastes delicious.  I have a handful of bottles let, thankfully.  So if I ever make this again on my own, I will know to age it for a number of months before putting it on tap.  Three months from brew day to tapping is not enough.  Not sure how a homemade one would compare to the Surly one, but it would be fun to try.  Maybe notch up the bitterness slightly.




Cider Name:       Cider #1 -Champagne Yeast


Click on pic for larger version.


Fermentables:    5 gallons apple juice purchased via MN Homebrewers club buy (6 jugs not quite full)


Yeast:                 Lalvin EC1118  champagne yeast.  Added w/o rehydrating.


Misc:                 5 camden tablets 24 hours before pitching yeast.    Aerated with pure O2 60 seconds.



Start Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          11/08/09                      12/03/09                                12/17/09

Gravity:                      1.044                           1.004                                     1.003

% Alcohol:                 5.8                               .6                                            .5

% Sugar:                    11.5                             1                                             .8

Temp of reading:        60                               60                                           60



fermenting about 65 degrees.

11/29/09  1.004, .6, 1.  Tastes ok.  Fairly typical but pretty clean (thanks to this yeast).  Needs more time and sweetening but good start.

12/03/09  Racked to secondary.  Did not take additional tasting notes.  Now sitting in cold room (mid to upper 40's) for a couple weeks.  Then I'll keg and tap.

12/17/09  Added 2.5 tsp sorbate.  3 cans of apple juice concentrate.  Tastes great. Lower in alc than usual so tastes better at this early stage.

02/21/10  Took above pic.   Tasting very nice.  Reminds me of pretty much every year, but it's more drinkable earlier due to the lower alcohol.  Not sure if  would rather have it be 1% more or not.  Maybe.  I suppose it would not be hard to add 1 lb of brown or white sugar if I notice the gravity is going to be lower than some years. 




Cider Name:      Cider #2 -Nottingham Yeast



Click on either pic for larger version.



Fermentables:    5 gallons apple juice purchased via MN Homebrewers club buy (6 jugs not quite full)


Yeast:                 Danstar Nottingham dry yeast packet.  Added w/o rehydrating.


Misc:                  5 camden tablets 24 hours before pitching yeast.   Aerated with pure O2 60 seconds.



Start Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          11/08/09                     12/09/09                                   07/02/10          

Gravity:                      1.046                          1.003                                        1.002

% Alcohol:                  6                                .5                                              .1

% Sugar:                    12                               .5                                              .1

Temp of reading:        60                              60                                              70



fermenting about 65 degrees.

11/29/09  1.026, 3.8, 7.5.  A lot slower than #1!  Smells yeastier (makes sense).  Also tastes much sweeter, of course.  I stirred it gently and added 2 tsp of yeast nutrient.  I also moved to a warmer spot (66-68).  It is bubbling very often and still actively fermenting.  Maybe I will take another reading in a week.  It would be fun to let the beer yeast do all of the fermenting but if I have to add champagne yeast, I will.

12/06/09  Shortly after above reading I added 2 tsp yeast energizer and swirled gently with sanitized cane.  Brought to a room where it was in the upper 60's too.  It worked!  Now it is 1.003.  Yeasty smell.  Somehow not as tart or dry as Cider #1, but also oddly has a 'beer' taste that has to be due to the yeast.  Should be fine with age.  This one will sit until next summer.  It will be in cold room all winter and spring.  Will rack to secondary soon (it is in cold room now so as much yeast as possible can drop out). 

12/09/09  Clearer already.  Should be fine in 6 months.

07/02/10  Added potassium sorbate about 48 hours before kegging (2.5 tsp).  Added 3 cans of apple juice concentrate at kegging time.  Fairly clear.  Taste is what I usually get, if perhaps a bit milder.  Should be fine once sweetened, carbonated and chilled.

11/13/10  Took above pic.  This stuff tastes just fine.  I like it as much as most of my ciders.  I think I've found over the years that the yeast really doesn't make that much of a difference (although admittedly I have rarely used "cider" yeasts).  You can use any cheap wine/dry yeast as long as it will ferment it down to where you want (and most will).




Beer Name:      Pale Rauchbier #3   (Rauchbier with 100% smoked malt but made to be lighter in color than a traditional version).


Click pic for larger version.


Grains:        9.5 lbs Weyermann rauchmalt

2.5 lbs home-smoked malt with Beechwood (smoked and donated by Adam Stern)


Hops:          1 oz Perle 7.5% AA 60 min


Yeast:         Wyeast 2112 Calirfornia Lager ("Steam" beer yeast).  On stir plate 48 hours. Chilled in fridge over night before brew day.



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          11/24/09                      12/09/09                                  12/19/09

Gravity:                      1.062                           1.013                                       1.013

% Alcohol:                 8.1                               1.8                                            1.8

% Sugar:                    15.5                             3.5                                            3.5

Temp of reading:        60                                60                                            60



- 15 qts 165 -> 152.  75 min.  down to 150.

- added 7 qts boiling -> 162

- collect 4 gallons of 17 brix

- added 2.5 gallons of 180 -> 172 -> ice -> 168.

- 2nd runnings 7.5 brix.

- 6.5 gallons of 14 brix in brew pot

- left overnight.  Was 133 deg in the morning before bringing to boil.

- 5 gallons even in fermenter.  Decanted most of starter.

- Started fermenting hours after pitching.  Fermenting around 60 degrees.  First few days it was below that but still chugging away and nearly had krausen in blow off tube.

12/06/09  1.013 at 70 deg.  Had brought it upstairs to warmer room to finish fermenting for a few days.  Cloudy.  Smoky and musty, pineapple or ripe apricot aroma?  wonder if I smelled similar with this yeast after primary fermentation.  [checked brew log]  Yes, I have written things like "Earthy, pungent, citrus orange aroma" at this point before so maybe that is normal.  It should clean up as far as that goes for a cleaner smoky taste.  And as for that, it is not overly smoky at all.  I will cold crash it for a couple days then rack off this yeast, and save the yeast for the next batch. 

12/09/09  Tastes pretty good.  Should be decent.  Weird that it does not seem smokier than it is. 

12/19/09  Nice light color.  Light orange copper straw.  Smoke in aroma and taste but nothing too strong.  Slight bacon flavor.  Good stuff.

02/14/10  Took above pic.  Not super clear, but it worked!  It is lighter in color and fairly smoky.  It is lighter in flavor than I had expected.  Todd Haug commented it is almost like a smoked Helles.  Well, a really really smoked Helles, but I know what he means.  I have no problem drinking a big glass of it.





Beer Name:      Imperial Steamin' Wife Lager  (annual beer gets the bump treatment:  bigger gravity, more complex grain bill, and American hops).



 Click on either pic for larger version.



Grains:        12.5 lbs Rahr two row 1.7L

1 lb Weyermann Rye malt 3.5L   

.5 lbs Crystal 55L

.5 lbs Gambrinus Canadian Honey malt 28L

.5 lbs Rahr White Wheat 3L


Hops:        .75 oz homegrown Centennial - first wort hop

        .5 oz Columbus 14.2%  70 min

        .5 oz Amarillo 8.6%  55 min 

        .5 oz Amarillo 8.6%  40 min 

        .5 oz Columbus 14.2%  25 min

         was going to add some hops at flame out but forgot.  :( 

         1 oz Amarillo 8.6% dry hop for ~ two weeks 


Yeast:         Yeast cake from above Pale Rauchbier (2112 CA Lager yeast)



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          12/11/09                       12/26/09                                01/06/10

Gravity:                      1.069                            1.015                                     1.015

% Alcohol:                 9.1                                1.9                                         1.9

% Sugar:                    17                                 3.8                                         3.8

Temp of reading:        60                                 65                                          60



- 18 qts -> 167 -> dough in ->155 -> ice -> 152.  75 min mash -> 151.

- add 1 gallon boiling -> 156.

- collect 3.5 gallons of 19 brix

- add 3 gallons of 183 -> 167.

- second runnings = 10 brix

- 6.5 gallons in brewpot - 14.5 brix

- held overnight and was still about 134 in the morning

- collected 5 gallon even in brewpot.  dumped in less than 1/4 gallon of yeast slurry from above batch.

- fermented at 58-60 degrees.

12/18/09  Brought up to 65 for few days.  Took sample.  1.017.  Cloudy, pretty bitter.  Some sweetness.  Doesn't need to get much lower (needs malt presence for balance) but will give a few more days at warmer temp before crash cooling.  Not bad.  With dry hop, clearing, carbonation and a little cooler it should be good.

12/26/09  Not very clear yet but nice deep orange color.  Citrusy aroma (even before dry hop).  Mildly sharp.  Probably better in a month or two (7.2% alc is fairly high).  Huge yeast cake so good to get it off that for clearing and again.  Need to drink soon (low supply!) but try to give it a couple weeks in cold room before kegging.  Kind of like a nice, hoppy balanced IPA.  Hope the Amarillo dry hops add some good aroma.

01/06/10  Clearer now.  Strong grassy hop aroma.  Also in taste.  Wonder if dry hopping at colder temps (40 or below) does that?  Hopefully the grassiness will mellow.  Nice orange color.  Tastes nice but if that grassy flavor lessens it will be better. 

03/21/10  Took above pics outside on a sunny March day.  The beer was tasting about as good as it ever has.  The grassiness is mellowing.  Hopefully I still have a gallon left.  The smell is still pretty decent due to the dry hops and the taste is very firmly bitter with a ton of malt balance.  It is a really good beer and I guess it makes sense that a beer this strong is going to need a few months to come into its own.





CO2 tank filled 12/28/09.  $10 at Weber and Troseth on University Ave, St. Paul.  Previous fill was 9/18/08).





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© 2009 Don Osborn