Beer Name:      Helles Belles (Hell's Bells!)


Click on pic for larger version.  This is a little clearer than it looks, but still has not gotten brilliantly clear.



Grains:        8.5 lbs Durst Pils 1.6L

1 lb Durst Munich 8L

.5 lbs Criess Caraml 10L (did not have light crystal)

.25 lbs Dingemans Aromatic 19L


Hops:           1 oz Perle 7.8% AA  60 min


Yeast:         Wyeast 2001 Pilsner Urquell.  1.2 l starter on stir plate for 48 hours, then decanted.



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          01/23/10                      02/04/10                                  05/09/10

Gravity:                     1.052                            1.012                                       1.012

% Alcohol:                6.9                                1.7                                           1.7

% Sugar:                   13                                 3                                              3

Temp of reading:       60                                60                                             60



Peter Karman came to watch.

- 13 qts 165 -> dough in -> 154 -> ice -> 150 for 65 min.

- 149 after mash.  Add 7 qts boil -> 162.

- collect 3.25 gallons of 15.2 brix.

- add 3.25 gallons of 178 -> 168.

- collect 3.5 gallons of 6.5 brix

- 6.75 gallons of 11 brix in kettle

- little over 5 gallons in fermenter.   Chilled to 60 degrees

- fermenting at 50-52 now.

01/31/10  Fermented 1 week at 50-52.  1.016.  Time to move to warmer room for couple days.  Yeasty taste but I think it will turn out ok.  Too early.

02/04/10  Dropped 4 more points.  Not super light in color.  One sip and I thought oh boy is that good.  This is going to be wonderful.

05/09/10  Very clear at the moment.  Malty, bready sweet aroma and taste.  Clean, just enough bitterness for balance.  Very nice.  slightly richer golden hue than my Pils.  This should be another great drinking beer.

07/18/10  Took above pic.  Somewhat clear, but must have developed chill haze.  Maybe I should try Polyclar one of these years.  Tastes just right though.  Really nice.




Beer Name:      Pilsner 2010 (first time with Rahr Pilsner malt instead of Durst)


Click on pic for larger version.



Grains:       10 lbs Rahr Premium Pilsner 1.5-2L

.25 lbs Briess Carapils 1.4L

.25 lbs Durst Vienna 3.8L


Hops:          3 oz Saaz 3.9% AA  60 min

1 oz Saaz 3.9% AA  15 min

1 oz Saaz 3.9% AA  2 min


Yeast:         Yeast cake from above Helles (Wyeast Pilsner Urquell - harvest vid)



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          02/05/10                      02/14/10                                  03/27/10

Gravity:                      1.057                           1.013                                        1.013

% Alcohol:                 7.5                               1.9                                            1.9

% Sugar:                    14                                3.5                                            3.5

Temp of reading:       60                                 60                                            60



- 12 qts 165 -> 152 -> stirring -> 150.   Stirred once at 45 min in.  After 60 min -> 149.

- added 8 qts boiling -> 166.

- first runnings 16.3 brix.  Collected 3.25 gallons.

- added 3 gallons of 175 degree -> 167 deg.

- 2nd runnings 6 brix.

- 6.7 gallons of 12 brix in brew pot.

- boiled 10 min before adding hops. 

- only about 4.7 gallons in fermenter.  I added two pints of water to bring volume up a touch and made an approximate gravity adjustment (lowered it 1 pt).

- gravity was a little higher than I expected. I don't know if this was due to a very thorough crush, but I suspect that maybe the malt itself yielded a higher extract.  I also stirred it once more and maybe that helped.  Or possibly a very slightly slower-than-normal wort collection.   I guess I will have to continue to experiment.  If this malt tastes good, I could see using it in a Pale Ale and see how it does with that.

- fermenting at 50-52.  Started right away due to yeast cake. 

02/14/10  Not much aroma.  Taste is pretty bitter, but it also has yeast still suspended.  Not clear yet.  Hard to tell any different from Rahr malt at this point.  Wow, quite bitter.  I think it will be ok with more time (and this one won't be kegged for probably 2-3 months).

03/27/10  Pretty clear.  (Rahr Pils = clearer?)  Little Saaz in aroma, and malt.  Taste is good!  Bitter but good balance.  Lingering bitterness.  Not noticeablly different than with Durst Pils.  Not worse.  Maybe better?  Should be just fine.

04/22/10  This beer has a really great flavor, just what I want in a homebrewed Pils.  Not super clear yet.  Has chill haze it seems.

05/31/10  This beer has cleared.  Man it is tasty.  I would love to have a beer like this on tap all the time.  I really should make an ale version of it with the same grain/hop bill sometime.  It is nicely bitter but not like those made with high AA% American hops. 



Beer Name:       Wheat IPA (made up recipe with all homegrown hops) 


Click on pic for larger version.



Grains:        10 lbs Rahr Premium Pilsner 1.5-2L

                     4 lbs Rahr White Wheat  3L

                     1 lb Simpsons Med Crystal 55L


Hops:          1 oz Cascade (homegrown) first wort hop

                    1 oz Cascade (homegrown) 60 min      

                    1 oz Centennial (homegrown) 60 min

                    1 oz Centennial (homegrown) 45 min

                    1 oz Centennial (homegrown) 30 min

                    1 oz Cascade (homegrown) 15 min

                    .5 oz Cascade (homegrown) 2 min

                    1 oz Centennial (homegrown) 2 min  


Yeast:         Wyeast PacMan (1.2 L starter made 1.5 days prior and on stir plate)


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          04/23/10                      05/06/10                                  05/24/10

Gravity:                      1.074                           1.017                                       1.017

% Alcohol:                 9.8                                2.2                                          2.2

% Sugar:                    18.5                             5                                              5

Temp of reading:       65                                60                                            60



- 19 qts 168 -> 155 -> ice -> 152.  after 60 min still 152.

- added 1 gallon boil -> 156.

- collected 3.8 gallons of 19.5 brix

- added 3.2 gallons of 180 -> 167.

- collected 3.4 gallons of 8 brix.

- 7.2 gallons of 16 brix before boil.  Boiled about a gallon on kitchen stove for 45 min to reduce volume.  Added to main brewpot with about 15 min left in boil.

- used pizza screen and grain bag trick to get whole cone hops 'down' in kettle while I scooped off the wort.  Also had a strainer over the funnel going into the fermenter so most of the hops should not have gone into the fermenter.  Overall this is quite a bit of extra work.  Even had to get a very small cup to get as much wort as I could, near the end.  Got 4.7 gallons and just pitched the entire yeast starter to get a total of 6 gallons in fermenter.  

- Fermenting at 60-62 degrees.

05/06/10  Somewhat hazy, orange light brown color.  Not much aroma just now.  wow, taste is much improved.  Hint of alcohol.  Wheat flavor?  Not sure.  Decent hop bitterness with nice malt flavor.

05/24/10   Nice color.  Fairly clear, orangish red.  Some alc in the aroma.  Taste is very clean.  It's a strong, balanced pale ale with a little alc warmth.  Not super hoppy but nice flavor.  Should be fine.  Still not really getting the wheat flavor I thought. 

07/18/10  Took above pic.  this beer is perfectly quaffable, but not the bitter hop bomb I was sort of trying for.   I guess I will give up trying to make a really hoppy beer with only homegrown hops as it does not seem to be very possible.  I would have to throw in at least some commercial hops for good bitterness.





05/09/10   Pulled Imperial Stout off tap and put the keg in the closet until the Fall/Winter.

Hopefully it will hold pressure and taste good when the weather cools.





Beer Name:      Brett Experiment (beer with Brett strains as the only yeast.  Loosely based on Charlie P's Orval Clone).



Click on pic for the picture set.


Here is the paper that was inspirational in trying this experiment:  A Horse of a Different Color


Grains:       11.5 bls Rahr Pils 1.5 - 2 L

                    .5 lbs Briess Caramel 20L


Hops:         1 oz German Tradition 6.9%AA (60 min)


Yeast:        Wyeast 5151-PC  Brettanomyces claussenii  (into 3 gallons)

                   Wyeast 5526  Brettanomyces lambicus (into 3 gallons)


Misc:        1 lb (2 cups) white sugar


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Bottle Date:


Date:                          05/31/10                      06/13/10                                 12/30/10

Gravity:                      1.057                          1.011 (C) 1.012 (L)                 1.010(C) 1.004(L)

% Alcohol:                 7.5                               1.5           1.6                          1.5         .5

% Sugar:                    14.5                             3              3.1                          2.5          1

Temp of reading:       70                                70             70                           55          55



- 15 qts 164 -> 152 for 60 min.  Down to 151 after 1 hour.

- Add 2 gallons of boiling -> 165 deg.

- first runnings 4.1 gallons of 14.8 brix.

- added 3.5 gallons 170 deg -> 168.

- second runnings another 3.5 gallons of 5 brix.

- total of about 7.5 gallons, so held off one gallon and added it as boil progressed.

- it was VERY heavy lifting the pot, about 6.5 gallons of wort, and the wort chiller up into the laundry tub sink.  I might have to scoop out some wort if I ever want to end with that much again.  I barely made it!  But, everything else went well and I aerated each carboy for 60 seconds and pitched the respective packs.  They are both 70 degrees for the first 24 hours.  I brought the Lambicus upstairs to around 75 after a few days so it could ferment at a warmer temp.

06/13/10   Claussenii took about 48+ hours to get going, and the Lambicus more like 72+ hours, so much slower than normal brewers yeast.  Claussenii was done in about 4 days, but the Lambicus took more like 12 days or so.  Both got to about the same gravity when I racked to secondary.  I will see if they drop further in a month or so.

Claussenii - Clearer than Lambicus, sort of a light brown in carboy (pale golden in glass).  Musty aroma.  Barnyard taste.  :)  Nt as powerfully Brett as you would think.  Sort of like Orval, actually.  Not getting the fruit I read about (pineapple, apple).  Fairly dry.  Pepper note?  Fairly drinkable beer at this point.

Lambicus - Hard to get a good idea of aroma and taste due to all the suspended yeast.  Color is milky yellow still.  Needs to clear, but it seems to have a bit of a tart note in the taste.  Question is why?   The suspended yeast?  Or the result of the yeast strain?  I will know more after it clears.  This one also is pretty drinkable, if a little more potent than the other one.


Claussenii - 1.010.(dropped 1 point)  Clearer, nice.  Pale orange color. Aroma?  Little musty. Taste somewhat fruity like apple, orange, peach.  Somewhat dry and funky.  Lingering dryness.  Pretty nice stuff.

Lambicus - 1.006.  Dropped 6 more points?!  Still fermenting.  Hmm.  Maybe should not bottle yet.  Still somewhat cloudy.  More of a yeasty nose.  Little more tart but tastes more of yeast.  Ok, but bit more edgy.  Drinkable but as they are now I prefer the Claussenii.  Will have to wait couple months and take another reading.

11/13/10   Here is a pic from this tasting.

Claussenii - 1.011 (unchanged)  Clear.  Light barnyard/horse blanket aroma.  Taste fairly clean with some of the musty typical Brett taste.  Clean and drinkable!

Lambicus - 1.005 (basically unchanged, ready to bottle I'd say) - Some haze still.  Little more funk in aroma than Claussenii.  Taste is more murky like its appearence.  Better than previous tasting.  Little mellower.  Not sour or tart though.  Just slightly "dirtier" than Claussenii.

12/30/10    Bottled!  Gravity does not seem to have changed in the last 1.5 months so I bottled it.  Used 5 oz priming sugar (packet from NB) for 6 gallons.  Dissolved in an amt of water, and split the water (priming sugar) evenly between each 3-gallon batch.  Hope it carbonates!  (but not too much).  Each tasted about the same but the real test will be once it is carbonated.  Also pitched 1/2 packet of dried yeast into each 3-gallon batch to help with bottle conditioning.  I sure hope that the yeast will settle to the bottom so I can decant the clear beer off the top.  Over time, that should be possible.

05/12/11  James Spencer (Basic Brewing Radio) and I talked about this beer on his podcast.  Listen here.  Or look up the episode with the date May 12, 2011.





Beer Name:       Hefeweizen


Click on pic for larger version.



Grains:        5.5 lbs Rahr Pils

5 lbs Weyermann Pale Wheat malt


Hops:          1 oz German Hallertau 3.8% AA  60 min


Yeast:        White Labs WLP300 Hefeweizen (liter starter on stir plate for 24 hours)


Misc:         1/2 lb rice hulls


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          07/01/10                        ** skipped **                        07/10/10

Gravity:                      1.050                                                                           1.012

% Alcohol:                 6.8                                                                               1.8

% Sugar:                    12.8                                                                             3.5

Temp of reading:        70                                                                               70                               



- 14 qts 165 > 154.  mash 60 min.  after 1 hour, 153  (higher FG dude to higher mash temp?)

- add 7 qts boil > 162.

- collect 3.3 gallons of 12 brix

- add 3 gallons 177 > 170 > ice > 168.

- collect 3.2 gallons of 5 brix.   6.5 gallons of 8.5 brix pre boil (boiled down to about 4.6 after 1 hour, plus having some on stove top to boil down further).

- added starter to 4.6 gallon for about 4.8 gallons in fermenter.  Aerated for 60 sec with pure O2.  Fermented at 70-72.    Will probably leave for about 10 days and go straight to keg.

07/10/10  Aroma - hint of banana but cloves too.  Taste cloves/phenols with hint of sweetness.  Could be even sweeter.  What would it have fermented to if I had used a lower mash temp, geesh?  Should be ok.  A lot of yeast still in suspension and most of that will drop out after being in the fridge a few days.

07/31/10  This has come around nicely.  The banana IS more pronounced than it once was.  It is a lot closer to what I was trying to do so maybe this yeast is a good one to use.  I still am not sure if I should ferment it lower or warmer than I did to get maximum banana.




07/02/10       Got propane tank filled.     Took 4.4 gallons (it ran out so I used the grill tank). 





Beer Name:      Patersbier   (Northern Brewer recipe that I very slightly increased the gravity)


Click on the pic for larger version.



Grains:        10 lbs Belgian Pils


Hops:           1 oz German Tradition 6.9% AA  60 min

 1 oz Czech Saaz 4% AA  10 min


Yeast:          Wyeast 3787 Trappist High Gravity  - liter starter on stir plate for 36 hours.



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          07/18/10                      07/25/10                                  08/07/10

Gravity:                      1.051                           1.013                                       1.013

% Alcohol:                  6.8                              1.9                                           1.9

% Sugar:                    12.8                             3.5                                           3.5

Temp of reading:        70                               70                                            70



- 12.5 quarts 165 > 152.  held for 60 min.  was 152 after one hour.

- added 7 qts boiling > 166.

- first runnings:  3.25 gallons of 15 brix.

- add 3.25 gallons of 170 > 166.

- second runnings: 5.5 brix.

- before boil had 6.8 gallons of 11 brix

- heated to 190 at night and was 160 in the am. 

*** First time doing a whirlpool after beer was cooled.  Let things settle for 15 min.  Siphoned out of the side with sanitized tubing and ran that through my sanitized grain bag.  Much less sediment went into the fermenter.  It was not too much more work, but maybe added a half hour to the brew day.  If it results in a clearer beer it might be something to do for lighter colored beers.***

- collected 4.8 gallons in the fermenter and added whole yeast starter to get around 5 gallons.  Aerated fro 60 seconds with pure O2.  Fermenting around 74 degrees.

07/25/10  Not very clear.  Lots of yeast suspended.  Light in color.  Hopefully it will clear.  Use something to help?  Polyclar?  Rich fruit aroma, blood orange.  Taste is very nice.  Lightly sweet, hint of bitterness.  Good balance.  Some zesty tang from yeast that should lessen.  Good start.

 08/07/10  Fairly clear but trying a first for me - I put it in the keg and in the fridge for 24 hours.  Then I added gelatin and then put on CO2.  I used 1 tsp in 1 cup cool water and let sit for 30 min.  Then heated until clear, around 140 deg (in microwave).  Pouring into keg and pressurized to 30 psi and tipped over a couple times.  Left at 30 psi for a day.  So far it is a nice light beer, little sweet, hint of bitterness and Belgian yeast.  Very drinkable.

09/13/10  Took above pic while picking Cascade hops.  Turned out great.  Tasted good all the way through.  I could see making this again.  Also, I believe the gelatin did make it clearer!  I could see using that again as well. 





Beer Name:      Pliny the Elder clone (based on the Zymurgy circa July 2010, recipe provided by Vinnie himself!)



Click on either pic for larger version.  Here is a video of the side by side tasting.



Grains:        14 lbs Rahr two row pale malt

           .6 lbs Simpson Medium Crystal

 .6 lbs Carapils 


Hops:          3.5 oz Columbus 14.4% AA  90 min

.5 oz  Columbus 14.4% AA 45 min

1 oz Simcoe 12.2 % AA  30 min

2 oz Simcoe 12.2% 0 min

1 oz Centennial 9.2% AA 0 min

1 oz Columbus 14.4% dry hop 12-14 days

1 oz Centennial 9.2% AA dry hop 12-14 days

1 oz Simcoe 12.2% AA dry hop 12-14 days


Yeast:         Wyeast 1056 - 1.5 liter starter made 1.5 days prior


Misc:         1.5 cups white cane sugar (calls for .75 lbs dextrose)


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          07/27/10                     08/04/10                                   08/22/10

Gravity:                      1.076                          1.013                                        1.011

% Alcohol:                 10                               1.6                                            1.3

% Sugar:                    19                               3                                               2.5

Temp of reading:        70                              70                                             70



- 18 qts 164 > 153 > ice > 150.

- after 60 min, was 149 deg. 

- add 10 qts boiling > 174 > ice > 166.

- first runnings 4.6 gallons of 18 brix

- add 3.5 gallons of 172 > 167.

- second runnings = 8.5 brix.

- in brew pot #1 I had 6.4 gallons of 17 brix

- in brew pot #2 I had 1.9 gallons of 10 brix (boiled this down to about 1 gallon on stove and added into brewpot)

- 4.7 gallons in fermenter.  Filtered out hop trub as best I could. Did whirlpool and siphoned in through hop bags.  Did lose some volume. 

- topped off to 5 gallons with the yeast starter.

- have been keeping it fermenting 66-68 for most of the time.

- wort sample after brewing was a really nice color, and tasted both very sweet and very bitter. 

08/04/10  OK color, but murky.  Citrus aroma is nice already and 3 more oz to go in dry hop.  Very bitter!  Whew.  Not totally unbalanced though.  Doesn't need to go any lower.  8.4% alc, higher than RR Pliny.  Get hint of alc.  Leave in secondary a bit before adding dry hops?

~ 08/08/10  Added dry hops.

08/22/10  Fermented more!?  Put bag over racking cane and that worked for a while but then the siphon stopped working well.  Pain in the butt!  Put both hop bags over the end of the tubing (that was in the keg) to catch any hop particles going through.  Quite a bit of trub in the secondary, more than usual.  Definitely more work and cost to make a beer like this.

Night light orange color.  Clear?  We'll see.  Strong hop aroma with little alc (8.7% now)  Fairly assertive bitterness.  Columbus hops pack a punch.  Some malt balance.  Get a little too low though?  Sort of a catch 22.  Time would mellow the beer out, but then I would lose the the hop brightness.  Hop burst is good now, but kind of a little harsh.  This is a strong beer to drink so young.  Hopefully carbonation and cooling will make it decent and maybe a couple weeks will mellow it out a bit.  At least it does not suck at this point.

09/09/10  Did the side by side.  See the video for our live report. Here are some general thoughts.  Mine was darker.  I did not pull the grains myself, so if I actually got what I put down above, I suppose you could back off on the Med Crystal to make it slightly lighter. The real beer is actually pretty light in color.   Mine has more mouthfeel and is overall thicker/slicker than the real thing (and that is considering mine got down to 1.010!)  I actually prefer mine when doing a side by side, so I would not change anything to make it thinner in body unless I really wanted to clone it as exact as possible.   Mine has a great hop aroma and the real one does too.  The real one comes off as even more bitter than mine, but mine is firkin bitter as it is!  I think the real one's lesser body makes the bitterness come through more.  Plus, they use hop extract to do the majority of bittering and I used real hop pellets. 

All in all, a very very enjoyable DIPA.  It was quite a PITA to make but I could see making one every year or so.   Here is one email comment I got that I liked:  "by the way, everyone is going gaga over the Pliny clone. Everyone smells it and smiles. Then tastes it and really smiles.  Several said it's one of the best Dipa's they've had. They agree that it has a nice wetness to it instead of being all brittle on the palate."

09/28/10   Took above pic at right.   Well, the honeymoon is over.  While this beer is still very good, already that bright hop burst is fading.  It did not take too long, huh?  It's been in the keg about 5 weeks.  I'd say you get 2-3 weeks of maximum brightness, if you were ever going to brew for a contest.

11/27/10  Keg is gone!  Was good until the end but hop aroma definitely faded.  I have some in bottles and will try those in coming months. 




Beer Name:       Foreign Extra Milk Stout (Jamil's FES recipe + a touch of lactose)


Click on pic for larger version.


Grains:       11 lbs two row pale

10 oz Crystal 40L

10 oz Crystal 80L

.5 lbs Chocolate malt

.75 lbs Roasted barley malt 


Hops:        2 oz East Kent Goldings 7.2% AA 60 min


Yeast:       Wyeast 1098 British Ale yeast - starter on stir plate two days prior, settled in fridge overnight


Misc:         had 7 oz of lactose leftover so I put that into the boil.


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                           09/11/10                     09/15/10                                  10/05/10

Gravity:                       1.065                          1.020                                       1.019

% Alcohol:                  8.6                              2.9                                           2.5

% Sugar:                    16.5                             5.5                                           5.5

Temp of reading:        68                                66                                            68



It's not really a "milk stout" - it just has a touch of lactose.  I would need to add more lactose and probably modify other things if I wanted to really try to merge the styles.

- 17 qts water 167 > dough in > 155 > ice > 152.   after 75 min was 151.

- add 2 gallons boiling > 164.

- first runnings 4.5 gallons of 16.5 brix.

- added 2.5 gallons of 168 > 164.  2nd runnings = 7.5 brix.

- pre boil 6.9 gallons of 14 brix. (about 1.056).

- heated it at night to like 180+ and it was 160ish in the am.

- just over 5 gallons in the fermenter.  decanted yeast starter.  fermented 68 deg and seems to be just about done 48 hours later.  Kept temp under 70 the entire fermentation.

09/15/10   Some roast in aroma.  Taste is somewhat bitter from highly kilned malts with coffee notes, some hop bitterness, but also sweet from the lactose (?) and higher FG.  Actually don't mind the FG of 1.020 right now.  It gives it a thick mouthfeel with some residual sweetness.  Should be perfect for Fall/Winter.  [And still bubbling a little in secondary so maybe will drop another point or so].

10/05/10  Roasty and sweet aroma.  Same for taste.  I like it.  Should be nice.

11/22/10  Took above pic.  Little bit of lactose in aroma, along with chocolate and roasted barley. Those characteristics carry into the taste too. It is first somewhat sweet, but finishes with the bitterness of those highly kilned malts and perhaps with a little bit of hop bitterness too. Hops are not super assertive though -they are East Kent Goldings. The British ale yeast is the dark horse here. There is always a flavor I can't pin down until I remember I used that yeast. Seems sort of butterscotchy, but then again maybe that is a result of 20 oz of Crystal malt. The yeast is supposed to finish dry, tart, and fruity. Those flavors support the grain bill.  At any rate, it's a nice stout, just about what I had hoped for. It's a good combination of the two styles and that is what I was aiming for. I'd say it worked.





Beer Name:       Steamin' Wife Lager  (Jamil's grain bill for CA Common;  my own hop schedule)


Click on pic for larger version.



Grains:        9.13 lbs Rahr two row pale  1.7L

1.25 lbs Durst Munich 8.3L

1 lb Simpson Crystal 50-60L

1/2 lb Briess  Victory 25L

.13 lb Fawcett Pale Chocolate 180-250L


Hops:        1/2 oz Simcoe 12.2 % AA  60 min 

                  1/2 oz Simcoe 12.2 % AA  30 min

1 oz homegrown Centennial  30 min

1 oz homegrown Cascade  15 min

1 oz homegrown Centennial  2 min

1 oz homegrown Cascade  2 min


Yeast:         Wyeast 2112 California Lager - 1 liter starter on stir plate



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          10/14/10                      10/31/10                                  11/17/10

Gravity:                      1.061                           1.013                                       1.013

% Alcohol:                 8.1                               1.9                                           1.9

% Sugar:                    15.5                             3.5                                           3.5

Temp of reading:        65                                68                                            65



10/14/10   16 qts 163 > 150.  after 70 min, down to 149. 

- add 2 qts boiling > 164.   collected 4.1 gallons of 15 brix.

- add 2.5 gallons of 172 > 166.

- second runnings = 7.5 brix.  7 gallons of 12 brix pre boil.

- held over night and it was 136 deg in the morning, so still quite warm.

- was a 80 min boil because I needed to reduce the volume slightly as I had a full 7 gallons).

- filtered out whole flower hops and also squeezed them to get as much wort as possible. I have not had problems doing this in the past but aren't sure if other people do it or not.

- had 5 gallons even in the fermenter so I decanted most of the yeast starter.  Color is darker than other Steamin Wife beers.

10/25/10  Took reading.  1.017.  Darker than past recipes.  Wow.  Simcoe comes through, pretty bitter but malty and sweet with remaining sugar (high gravity still).

10/31/10  Interesting aroma.  Kind of catty, pungent, little sour.  It's ok.  Maybe not super nuts about it, but it is early and some of these Steam beers get better with time.  Glad it dropped a few more points. 

11/17/10  *Used gelatin.  Put in keg and fridge for a day before adding it.  Fairly clear before doing that.  Nice deep copper color.  Not much aroma.  Whoah, taste is much better.  This is a different beer than the last time I tasted it.  Crisp, bitter, some complex malt flavors, nutty, dry, some sweetness.  Very good.  Look forward to another month of "laagering" in the fridge.




Beer Name:      India Black Lager  

(recipe formed from both Zymugry and BYO articles on Black IPA/Cascadian Dark Ale.  yeast substitution my idea).


Click on pic for larger version.



Grains:        11.5 lbs Rahr two row pale 1.7L

                    1.5 lbs Weyermann dehusked Carafa II  425L

                    1.5 lbs Munich malt Durst  8.3L

                    .5 lbs Simpson Crystal/Cara 30-37L

                    1 lbs Rahr White Wheat malt  3L



Hops:        .5 oz Columbus% 14.4 AA  first wort hop

                  .5 oz Magnum 14.4% AA  first wort hop

                  .5 oz Magnum 1.4% AA  60 min

                  .5 oz Amarillo 8.2% AA  30 min

                  .7 oz Cascade homegrown hops  2 min

                  .5 oz Amarillo 8.2% AA  dry hop

                  .5 oz Columbus% 14.4 AA  dry hop



Yeast:       yeast came from above Steamin Wife (Wyest 2112 California Lager)



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          11/01/10                      11/10/10                                  11/28/10

Gravity:                      1.077                           1.020                                       1.019

% Alcohol:                 10.1                             2.6                                            2.5

% Sugar:                    19                                5.1                                            5

Temp of reading:       60                                68                                             60



- 20 qts 165 > dough in > 152 > stirring > 150.  After 75 min was 149.

- no mash out water added

- collected 3 gallons of 23 brix

- add 3.25 gallons of 200 deg > 180 > ice > 169.

- 2nd runnings = 10 brix.

- 6.6 gallons of 15.5 brix in brew kettle

- 2nd sparge of 2 gallons of 170> 168.  3rd runnings (2 gallons) = 7 brix.

- boiled 2nd sparge (2 gallons) in two diff pots on kitchen stove to reduce volume.

- boiled 6.6 gallons in brew kettle for 40 min BEFORE adding first hop addition to reduce volume.

- got about 5.25 gallons in fermenter.  So pretty happy with the gravity.  More work to do it that way but it can be done.

11/10/10   Did not add dry hops today.  Will let it ferment a little more and when about 2 weeks from kegging, will add.  Hard to describe aroma.  Little alc and some roasted grain.  Taste is warming, somewhat bitter from high AA hops, chalky bitterness in back of throat, but lots of viscous black sweetness.  Aroma hops will be a nice addition.  Will it ferment much lower?  Might be nice if so.  Off to a pretty good start.

11/17/10   Added 1 oz dry hops (Amarillo and Columbus,  .5 oz each)

11/28/10   * First time bottling in Belgian style bottle with cork and cage.  Bottled 1 of those with 6 carb tabs, and 4x 12 oz bottles as normal.  Not much hop aroma when drinking sample.  Got little more zip in hop flavor from dry hops, it seems.  Nicely hoppy, bitter, and a fair balance.  Somewhat roasty finish.  Maybe good that it is not much lower in gravity.  Seems like it should be all right but I am not 100% on it right now.

01/17/11  Took above pic.  This beer came out great!  It could be even slightly more bitter.  Maybe a couple more .5 oz additions at 60 and 45 min or so.  It could also use maybe 1 more oz of dry hops.  But man, the malt bill is perfect and it's very smooth and flavorful and nice (a clean ale yeast would work fine too).

02/02/11  Did not place in the Upper Mississippi Mashout in Category 23 (Specialty), but I did get 2nd of 8 in my flight and made it to the mini BOS.  It scored pretty well.  When I taste the beer at the same time as when the judges were, I admit, it tastes a little different than it did a few weeks ago.  There is a touch more of an astringent character and at first I wondered why they were citing that, but now I see why.  It is a good recipe as it is, but I would make it even more bitter, and with more of a dry hop next time.  Scoresheets:  Sheet1   Sheet2   Sheet3





Cider Name:      Turbinado Cider


Click on pic for larger version.

Apple Juice:     5 gallons of apple juice from club buy  (1.049 before adding sugar)


Misc:                1.5 lbs Natural Turbinado sugar

                          .5 lbs white sugar 

                          3 cans apple juice concentrate for back sweetening


Yeast:               Red Star Premier Cuvee - 2 packets



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          12/05/10                      12/25/10                                  01/29/11

Gravity:                      1.067                           1.003                                      1.000

% Alcohol:                 8.7                               .5                                             0

% Sugar:                    16.5                             .5                                             0

Temp of reading:        60                                60                                           50



- heated about 1 gallon of juice to around 115 degrees to more easily dissolve sugar. 

- proofed yeast in 4 oz water (about 105 degrees) for 15 min.  Then stirred and added to cider.

- fermenting around 55 deg

12/25/10  Christmas day.  Little cloudy.  Bright, acidic, strong, some alc, actually a nice burst of tart and sour flavor like a Sweet Tart.  Not too bad as it is.  Already over 8% alc.  Somewhat hazy, light straw color. 

01/29/11  Added 1.5 tsp sorbate instead of the full 2.5 tsp because it is said to add some (not so great) flavor, and I might have tasted this over the years.  But I wanted to try and inhibit the yeast somewhat as it is alcoholic enough.  We'll see.

02/05/11  Dropped even more.  Clear.  Whew.  Kind of strong.  Might need to mellow.  Hopefully 3 cans of apple juice concentrate is enough to take the edge off.

05/02/11  This is tasting pretty good.  It is stronger and will probably be even better with more time.  But it has more alcohol which I guess was my goal this time around.





Cider Name:      Brown Sugar Cider


Click on pic for larger version.



Apple Juice:     5 gallons of apple juice from club buy  (1.049 before adding sugar)


Misc:                2 lbs Light Brown Sugar


Yeast:               Lalvin EC 1118  - 2 packets


Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                           12/05/10                     12/25/10                                  10/14/11

Gravity:                      1.067                           1.002                                       .998

% Alcohol:                  8.7                              .5                                             -.2

% Sugar:                    16.75                           .5                                             -.5

Temp of reading:        60                                60                                           60



- heated about 1 gallon of juice to around 115 degrees to more easily dissolve sugar. 

- proofed yeast in 4 oz water (about 105 degrees) for 15 min.  Then stirred and added to cider.

- fermenting around 55 deg

12/25/10  Slightly more yellow than #1.  Weird.  Hazy.  More musty than #1.  Not as clean tasting.  In back to back sampling I think the #1 yeast is better (at least at this very early point.  I suspect over time it won't make much difference.  It doesn't seem to normally). 

10/30/11  Took above pic.  Tastes nice.   Reading the note I made above, yeah, it doesn't make any difference now, not after all that time of aging.

10/14/11  Crystal clear.  Been aging for a long time. Fermented more.  Taste is sharp and also mellow.  Kind of like a dry wine.  Crisp, not bad however.  I prefer a bit of sweetness so I will add the 3 cans of apple juice concentrate.  Hope that is enough.

11/07/11  This has turned out as well as most of my ciders.  Kind of tart with a little sweetness.  





Beer Name:      German Pils  (Jamil's recipe in Brewing Classic Styles)


Click on pic for larger version.   Homebrew (left) and Bitburger Pils (right).



Grains:        10.5 lbs Rahr Pils  (first use of my first 50 lb sack of grain)


Hops:           1 oz German Tradition 6.9% AA   75 min  (recipe calls for Perle  8.25% AA at 60 min)

.5 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker 2.4% AA   15 min

.5 oz Hallertau Hersbrucker 2.4% AA   1 min


Yeast:         Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager - stir plate starter made 1.5 days prior.



Brew Date:                Rack to Secondary:               Keg Date:


Date:                          12/28/10                       01/12/11                                 02/15/11

Gravity:                      1.055                           1.012                                       1.011

% Alcohol:                 7.2                                1.7                                          1.5

% Sugar:                    14                                 3.5                                          3

Temp of reading:        60                                62                                            60



- got first grain mill and sack of grain.   Pic

- used 13 qts water 163 > dough in >150 > ice > 148.  147 deg after 75 min

- add 9.5 qts boil > 166 deg.

- collected 3.5 gallons of 15 brix.

- add 2.75 gallons of 170 > 168.

- total 6.75 gallons (should have been 6.25) of 12.5 brix (seems high since OG was only a little over this).

- boiled 75 min to reduce volume a little.

- cooled to under 70 in 12 min with lots of snow and ice and very cold ice water siphon.

- fermenting around 50 deg.

01/12/11  Took a while to ferment.  Had plenty of yeast and it did finish.  I have not used this strain before. Maybe it is typical.  The Smoked Helles will have a whole yeast cake, so it might go faster.  Brought this beer up to about 62 deg for 4 days or so at end.  Krausen just finally fell two weeks after brewing and racked it the next day.  Still cloudy.  Hopefully it will clear.  I will probably use gelatin too.  Aroma?  Not much.  Taste is all right, about what I expect but less hoppy/bitter than the Czech Pilsners I have made.  Is that part of the style difference?  Lemme look.... Well, German style does have less IBUs (down to 25 as compared to 35 at low end of Bohemian) but the German Pils is also supposed to be even more crisp, more attenuated, whereas the Bohemian Pils will have more malt presence to go with its additional bitterness.  Makes me think that if mine does not drop much more I should add a couple of drops of Beano perhaps.  But then it would have to be warmer.   Specs say the low end is 1.008-1.013, so maybe I should just add a couple drops now, move to about a 60 deg room, and leave for a couple weeks.  But otherwise the beer tastes just fine.  It might not be as crisp as it should be at 1.012 though.

02/01/11   Been at 50 for a week or so, then 60 deg for ~10 days.  1.011.  Not really dropping.  Should just put in cold room.  It is clear.  Taste is good.  Better than first taste.  Nicely bitter.  Clean.  I will move it to cold room now and then keg it when Foreign Extra Milk Stout is gone.

02/15/11   Added 1 tsp of gelatin to cup of water and did the normal process.  Sample is clear.  Fairly light copper or straw color but not super light.  Since it was only Pils malt for the grains, this is as light as it can get unless I used adjuncts.  Aroma is not too pronounced.  Taste is good.  Should be yummy in a week or even more so when spring finally gets here.

03/14/11  Took above pic.  This was the first time I had done the side by side.  Mine was 100% Pils malt, so I could not make it lighter in color unless I used adjuncts. The color is dead on, so I'd guess that Bitburger does not use adjuncts either (not sure). Both are sparkling clear (I used gelatin).
As for the taste, they are actually pretty similar. I would be interested in the FG of the Bitburger. Mine was 1.011 but I would not be surprised if that one is even slightly lower. It's slightly more crisp, which might come from an ever-so-slightly thinner mouthfeel. But really, they are pretty darn similar, even though I was not trying to clone Bitburger but just make an authentic German Pils. Thanks to Jamil (Brewing Classic Styles) for the recipe. Oh, one other note. I used Domestic Pils malt (Rahr). Maybe if I used Durst Pils (German) it would be even closer.




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