Monday, December 31, 2012

Final brew of 2012 - Smoked Porter

Yesterday we capped off a 1 bbl weekend by brewing up 16 gallons of smoked porter. This is the second time we have brewed this beer. The first 15 gallons we made were probably one of my favorite beers of the year.

A few details were changed for this batch. I split up the chocolate malt % using two different chocolate malts. Half came from Crisp Chocolate malt with a 600-700° Lovibond, and the other half with a more standard chocolate malt of 300° Lovibond. Another change up was using US-04 dry English ale yeast rather than US-05 dry American ale yeast. Lastly the bittering hops changed, but the IBUs remained the same.

The recipe uses Briess cherry smoked pale malt as 20% of the grain bill. I really like this percentage on the final product. It is not super powerful, but it is there. It just balances well with the strong dark malts.

The resent issue we have had in the brew house with astringent and tannin flavors seems to be corrected. We brewed an IPA a few weeks back and were extremely cautious about over heating the mash. That beer seems to be fine. We switched back to using our brewtroller system this weekend. We replaced our mid mash thermowell with one that reaches the middle of the mash tun. We used three different temp probe placements (at one time) and found the best to be the one in the mash, followed by one on the mash return. The lest trust worthy was the one on the ball valve. That one has already been removed.

Here is the brew day in pictures.

44# of grains to mill

Filling the tub with grain

Clean water going into the hot liquor tank

Heating and recirculating the HLT water

Mash tun with a temporary temperature probe on the sparge arm return line

Boil kettle

Brewtroller screen. Nice equalized temperature in the return and middle of the mash and only 3 minutes into the sacch rest!

New sparge arm in action. (I love this thing!)
Popped the arm up and out of the wort to show the spray action. Nice and clear wort!

Sacch rest = break time

Up-cycled case for the brewtroller

Boil under way

Mash tun clean out

Smoked Porter "DEC 30"
Robust Porter
Type: All Grain Date: 07/28/2012
Batch Size (fermenter): 16.00 gal Brewer:
Boil Size: 19.68 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Stainless Pots (26 gallons) - All Grain
End of Boil Volume 17.68 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 15.25 gal Est Mash Efficiency 74.4 %
Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
16.00 gal Salt Lake City, UT Water 1 -
20 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 2 44.4 %
12 lbs Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 3 26.7 %
9 lbs Smoked Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 4 20.0 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (600.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.3 %
1 lbs 8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 6 3.3 %
1 lbs Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 7 2.2 %
2.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [15.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 8 30.4 IBUs
4.00 oz Willamette [5.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 9 8.1 IBUs
3.0 pkg SafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04) [23.66 ml] Yeast 10 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.070 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.068 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.020 SG Measured Final Gravity: ?
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.6 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: ?
Bitterness: 38.5 IBUs
Est Color: 41.5 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 45 lbs
Sparge Water: 11.02 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 15.56 gal of water at 167.1 F 156.0 F 45 min
Sparge Step: Batch sparge with 2 steps (0.43gal, 10.59gal) of 168.0 F water

Sunday, December 16, 2012

MacGyvered IPA brewday

We had no business brewing today. We had it all planned, but we over thought the whole brew day and it should have cost us.

In a all hands on deck approach to recent issues in the brew house we pulled all the hardware off the pots for deep cleaning. We also popped open our pump for an inspection and cleaning. Putting it back together I made a clean cut through the o-ring. No bueno.

Attempts to place the broken o-ring in the pump to seal it back up failed. A Sunday search of hardware stores failed. The last option to salvage our brew day would have made MacGyver proud. We took a tiny section of heat shrinking tubing and used it to reconnect the o-oring. It worked immediately and never leaked once.

The reason for pulling everything apart is that our recent brews have all suffered from similar off flavors. This flavor is tannin and gives a wine like character to the beers. The problem also happens to coincide with the setup of our brewtroller system.

We settled on temperature as the most likely cause. For whatever reason the temp was reading lower than what it really was, and the result was overheated water pulling tannins from the grain.

For today's brew session we kept a couple of calibrated digital thermometers around the mash. We also went back to using our old temperature control system. We also skipped mash out. I am pretty confident we did not overheat today.

In addition to all that, we also used our newest entirely unnecessary but totally cool and overbuilt brew toy. The "Ultimate" sparge arm from Morebeer. This thing was super easy to use compared to our previous sparge apparatus. That one require a balancing act and sometimes resulted in falls from the mash tun. The arm adjusts up, down, left, right, and the output can be placed just below the liquid level, but above the grain bed. The results were really nice too. We always recirculate our mash and get nice clear wort, but this time it seemed even cleaner and clearer.

I sure hope this beer turns out great and we can put this past bullshit behind us. The batch we brewed is a clone of Cigar City's Jai Alai IPA. I can honestly say it is one of the greatest beers I have ever had. It is impossible for me to get in my area, so I hope this is a close match!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Wee heavy production complete!

We had another big 1 BBL brew day today. Another 30 gallons of Scottish Wee Heavy was brewed to fill the bourbon barrel.

The 1 BBL brew day in full swing!
The weather was much better today than the last brew session so that was a huge help. We shaved about 2 hours off our first 1 BBL brew session. I think we were finished up in 7 hours this time around. We really got the system down, and cleaning the fermenters the previous day was a huge help.

I really like how today's brews turned out. I think we really got the hang of boiling down the first runnings to a thick syrup this time around as well. It seems like a great trick to mimic extra long boils without all that extra time and really adds some nice color.

We will move on to the final phase of this project in about 2 weeks. The newly fermented beer along with the previously brewed beer will all be transferred to our barrel for some long term aging.

Monday, November 12, 2012

1 Barrel down! - Brew day number 1

Yesterday we began the monumental task of filling our Bourbon barrel with 53 gallons of Scottish wee heavy.

We brewed two 15 gallon batches in a row. Not only was it a long day, we had to deal with a fresh snow, and small flurries through out the day. So not the ideal conditions to be hanging around outside for 9 hours.

I am pretty sure this will be the first and last time I fill a full size barrel on my own. Any future barrel brews will be community style where every one brews a share and it all goes into the barrel. 60 gallons on your own is pushing it!

Once this beer is done fermenting we will move it into 5 gallon corney kegs for storage. Then we will brew the final 30 gallons, ferment, and move it all into the barrel for long term storage.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Bourbon Barrel brew process - The Fill

The project is about to begin. Grain is here and now I am working on the yeast. I thought for a while about how to pull off the 60 gallons I will need for this project. I am lucky in the fact that I can brew fairly large batches from the homebrew scale. Basically the process is a starter batch to grow yeast, and corny kegs for storage until there is 60 gallons brewed.

Here is the process visualized because I am a geek like that:


So the total time from start to aging will be about 30 days.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Experimental hop 'HBC 342' Pale Ale

Last Sunday we brewed 15 gallons of an American Pale Ale. This beer included a number of firsts for this brewer.

Let's start with the hops. We flavored this beer with a hop that I have never brewed with, or even tasted as far as I know. The hop comes from Hopunions Hop Breeding Company. It is only known by the number 342 at this time. Hop breeding cycles tend to take around 10 years from birth to any substantial acreage. My guess is that this hop is near the end of that cycle as there seems to be enough of this stuff around that there are some commercial examples out there.

I have heard some call this the watermelon jolly rancher of hops. Well, I highly doubt that, but I do hope to get some melon flavors from it. Here is the offical description:

HBC 342 is a high alpha aroma variety selected for its pleasant aroma. It's aroma can be described as mild, pleasant, citrusy, and tropical, with some melon notes as well. Most are using this hop in Pale Ales and IPAs, but it would go well in stouts and browns also.

The other firsts for this brew day is that we did both a hop addition in the mash and a first wort hop addition.

We went with all 342 in the mash and boil. From what I have read, the hop seems to be a little weak in the aroma dept, so I decided to dry hop with Ahtanum since it has got an amazing aroma. Even though I will not be using 342 as a dry hop, I still feel like I will get a good idea on what this hop is all about.

Revival HBC 342 Pale Ale
Brewer: Tim & Michael
Batch Size: 16.00 galStyle: American Pale Ale (10A)
Boil Size: 17.14 galStyle Guide: BJCP 2008
Color: 5.7 SRMEquipment: 26 gallon brewtroller
Bitterness: 37.7 IBUsBoil Time: 60 min
Est OG: 1.058 (14.1° P)Mash Profile: Temperature Mash, 153
Est FG: 1.012 SG (3.1° P)
ABV est: 6.0%
26 lbsPale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)Grain1
6 lbsVienna Malt (3.5 SRM)Grain2
2 lbsCaramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM)Grain3
1.0 ozHBC 342 [11.4%] - Mash HopHops4
1.0 ozHBC 342 [11.4%] - First WortHops5
2.0 ozHBC 342 [11.4%] - Boil 15 minHops6
3.0 ozHBC 342 [11.4%] - Boil 5 minHops7
3.0 ozHBC 342 [11.4%] - Boil 0 minHops8
3 pkgsSafale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)Yeast9
3.0 ozAhtanum [6.0%] - Dry Hop 0 daysHops10

Friday, October 12, 2012

Bourbon Barrel Wee Heavy Project

Things are coming together for our Bourbon barrel project.

First rinsing
The barrel is currently sitting with a holding solution in it. The process was to rinse it out a few times, and then fill it with a solution of citric acid and potassium metabisulfite. This is not a freshly dumped Bourbon barrel. It was used to age 4 batches of Smoked and Oaked belgian ale from Epic Brewing. I have no idea how long it sat, but it was not dried out so I am hoping it wasn't too long. Hence my desire to rinse and fill with the holding solution.

The beer we are going to brew to fill it has been selected. We are brewing a very simple recipe of 99% Scottish Golden Promise and 1% roasted barley. It is based on Traquair House Ale (but this one will be higher ABV). In my mind and others, this is probably the preeminent Scottish ale. The story of the Traquair brewery also happens to be amazing, and totally in synch with why I enjoy beer brewing so much. The house in which the brewery resides is said to be the oldest continually inhabited house in Scotland. It dates all the way back to 1107. If that's not cool enough, the brewery is truly old school. The brewery was re-founded in 1965 after the old brewery equipment was discovered on the property after sitting idle for at least 150 years! The beers are not only aged in oak, they are fermented in the original oak fermenters. And get this, it would be impossible to recreate these fermenters because the oak species they are made from are extinct!

What is also amazing is that even though they brew only about 700 barrels a year, you can actual buy it here in Utah. And let me tell you, this beer is outstanding!

This week I picked up 220 pounds of golden promise. A big thanks go out to Cody and Salt City Brew Supply for giving me a nice deal on it. So the next steps will be setting up the logistics on how to ferment all 60 gallons that will be brewed. I only have 35 gallons of space in stainless, so some of it is going to be fermented someplace else.

Ros Ceithir (Barrel Aged Wee Heavy)
Strong Scotch Ale
Type: All Grain Date: 9/11/2012
Batch Size (fermenter): 60.00 gal Brewer:
Boil Size: 65.44 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: 26 Gallon (Brewtroller) - All Grain
End of Boil Volume 63.44 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 59.25 gal Est Mash Efficiency 76.3 %
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Taste Rating(out of 50): 30.0
Taste Notes:
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
200 lbs Golder Promise (1.7 SRM) Grain 1 99.0 %
2 lbs Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 2 1.0 %
8.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 45.0 min Hop 3 14.7 IBUs
10.00 oz Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 35.0 min Hop 4 16.5 IBUs
Massive slurry Scottish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1728) [124.21 ml] Yeast 5 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.087 SG Measured Original Gravity: ?
Est Final Gravity: 1.017 SG Measured Final Gravity: ?
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 9.3 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 9.7 %
Bitterness: 31.2 IBUs Calories: 282.2 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 9.7 SRM

Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Bottle Volumes of CO2: 2.3
Pressure/Weight: 46.54 oz Carbonation Used: Bottle with 46.54 oz Corn Sugar
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 70.0 F Age for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Storage Temperature: 65.0 F
Color will be much darker due to the in kettle caralization we will do.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Isn't it a little late for a pumpkin beer?

Yeah, it probably is a little late to be brewing this beer, but what the hell. The new brew club is having a porter meeting in 5 weeks, so I figure two birds with one stone.

Will it be ready in 5 weeks? It will be close that's for sure.

So I am not much of a conformist... well I can conform, but it makes me a little crazy. So when coming up with a pumpkin beer, I wanted to stay away from any typical pumpkin beer styles. Mainly I wanted to not do an amber style beer with a lot of pumpkin spice.

Last year I did an awesome Yam-ber ale, so what to do different this year?

1) First start with a porter instead of an amber ale.

2) Add some spiciness by using rye malt

3) You have to actually put pumpkin in it. So I smoked 10 pounds of pie pumpkins over pecan wood for 4 hours.

4) Be ready to add some smoke if the pumpkin does not carry over. A tiny bit of peated malt was on standby.

Behold the Smoked Pumpkin Rye Porter! I am hoping I have a detectable level of smoke in the finished beer. If not, behold the Rye Pumpkin Porter!

Here is the recipe brewed
Batch Size: 10.75 galStyle: Robust Porter (12B)
Boil Size: 14.22 galStyle Guide: BJCP 2008
Color: 26.4 SRMEquipment: 26 Gallon (Brewtroller) - All Grain
Bitterness: 24.8 IBUsBoil Time: 60 min
Est OG: 1.061 (14.9° P)Mash Profile: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge (151)
Est FG: 1.014 SG (3.6° P)Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage
ABV: 6.2%
14 lbsPale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)Grain1
4 lbsMunich Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM)Grain2
4 lbsRye Malt (4.7 SRM)Grain3
2 lbsCaramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)Grain4
1 lbsCarafa III (525.0 SRM)Grain5
.25 lbsPeat Smoked Malt (added 20 mins into mash) (2.8 SRM)Grain6
10.00 lbsSmoked Pumpkin (Mash 60 min)Misc7
1.0 ozCentennial [10.0%] - Boil 60 minHops8
2.0 ozWillamette [5.5%] - Boil 15 minHops9
1.5 tspPumpkin pie spice (Boil 5 min)Misc10
2 pkgsSafAle English Ale (DCL/Fermentis #S-04)Yeast11

Friday, October 5, 2012

RedRock Brewing Nut Brown Release party

Last night I was lucky enough to be invited to a RedRock brewing release party. This Nut brown is based on their award winning session Nut brown, but has been upped to 6%. With it there was a fairly substantial edition of cascade hops added to the finish. It's quite noticable, and not really expected based on the style. If you are a fan of a malty Nut brown, this may not be the beer you want.

My wife actually ordered the standard Nut brown after drinking a little of the new stuff. It happens to be one of her favorite beers, so no suprise there. I actually like the hops, but then that is no suprise either.

The nose is a little nutty with notes of coffee, chocolate, and some piney hops. It has a nice roasted flavor with some toffee that finishes with suprising cascade piney hop notes. The finish is dry. 

I was also lucky enough to sit at the same table with the only RedRock brewer that showed up. That made the night much more enjoyable as we got along great with him and his wife.

I got invited to go to another release party next week for their beer Secale, a Rye Whiskey Barrel aged Dopelbock Lager. One of my favorite beers!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Brewtroller conquered?

This past weekend we brewed up a Belgian style Dubbel using the Brewtroller for a second time.

Massive cold break!
The good news is that we had no real issues with the setup. We were able to get it to successfully control both the HLT and the MLT. We were still a little nervous about leaving things unattended for too long, but the remote viewing of the process does ease some concerns.

We do have a couple of outputs on the Brewtroller board that are shorted out. This is what caused some of the issues we have had the past week or so. Once we hooked up a voltage meter we were able to diagnose these problems and move outputs around.

So far the guys at Open Source Control Systems have been great to work with. They said we can send back the board and they will fix the shorted outputs.

Next up we will be attempting to add volume sensors to the HLT and Kettle.

As for the beer we brewed, we followed the water volumes that the Brewtroller provided, but I think we had a little more sparge water than we were supposed to. We ended up with an OG that was just a little under the expected value. Hopefully we can easily measure out things like 15.75 gallons easily after the volume sensors are in place.

Belgian Dubbel

Batch Size: 17.00 galStyle: Belgian Dubbel (18B)
Boil Size: 18.18 galStyle Guide: BJCP 2008
Color: 17.5 SRMEquipment: 15 My Equipment
Bitterness: 22.4 IBUsBoil Time: 60 min
Est OG: 1.066 (16.0° P)Mash Profile: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Est FG: 1.007 SG (1.7° P)Fermentation: Ale, Single Stage
ABV: 7.8%Taste Rating: 30.0
30 lbsPale Malt (2 Row) Bel (3.0 SRM)Grain1
1 lbs 6.0 ozCaramunich Malt (56.0 SRM)Grain2
6.0 ozSpecial B Malt (180.0 SRM)Grain3
2 lbsCorn Sugar (Dextrose) (0.0 SRM)Grain4
2 lbsTurbinado (10.0 SRM)Grain5
2.0 ozNorthern Brewer [8.5%] - Boil 60 minHops6
2.0 ozStyrian Goldings [5.4%] - Boil 15 minHops7
2 lbsCandi Syrup, Dark [Boil for 15 min] (180.0 SRM)Grain8
5 pkgsBelgian Ardennes (Wyeast Labs #3522)Yeast9

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Birthday brew session and 1st Brewtroller attempt

Yesterday I brewed up a British Mild. This is the lowest gravity version of the English Brown ale style. I wanted a relativity small and easy beer to brew as I was trying out the new Brewtroller setup.

The good news: I loaded my recipe and used the strike volume suggested by the Brewtroller, and I hit my OG. So it seems like I have the equipment set up in the system correctly. Things started off pretty good, and my HLT heated up to the desired temp and turned off.

The bad news: I doughed in and started recirculating the mash. I had my Sacch rest set for 156. 156 came and went and my burner stayed on. I had it set up correctly from what I could tell, but it just did not work. I ended up having to switch the temp probes and wiring around to make the system think my MLT was my HLT so it would maintain my setpoint.

So all was not lost, the session turned out fine, but there is still work to do to get the software to work as I desire.

Here is the recipe I brewed up for anyone that's interested.

Birthday Brown (mild ale style)

Style: MildOG: 1.044
Type: All GrainFG: 1.010
Rating: 0.0ABV: 4.3 %
Calories: 134IBU's: 17.49
Efficiency: 75 %Boil Size: 11.04 Gal
Color: 19.3 SRM Batch Size: 10.00 Gal
Preboil OG: 1.039Boil Time: 60 minutes

Grains & Adjuncts
12.50 lbs76.92 %Golden Promise (UK)60 mins1.038
1.50 lbs9.23 %Simpsons Medium (UK)60 mins1.035
0.75 lbs4.62 %Briess Caramel 120L60 mins1.032
0.50 lbs3.08 %Chocolate Malt (UK)60 mins1.034
0.50 lbs3.08 %Brown Malt (UK)60 mins1.032
0.50 lbs3.08 %Naked Oats (UK)60 mins1.046
AmountIBU'sNameTimeAA %
2.00 ozs17.49Goldings, East Kent45 mins5.00
AmountNameLaboratory / ID
2.00 pkgSafale S-04Fermentis S-04
Mash Profile

Full Body Infusion In60 min @ 156.0°F
Add 19.69 qt ( 1.25 qt/lb ) water @ 170.0°F

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Brewer, geek, cellerman...

Well nothing was brewed today, but a lot was created. Some were actual things, some just ideas.

First things first. Geek.

Today the brewtroller platform upgrade was completed. The mounting box is very temporary, but fully functional. A new gas control valve was added as well as cool new gas pilot lights.The brewtroller is now in charge of the HLT and MLT! Tomorrow we will run through a water only brew session using an iPad as a control panel and make sure all is well.

While I was working on the new set up I got a call from Tim. Epic was practically giving away bourbon whiskey barrels that were used in the production of their smoked and oaked porter.

What size? 53 gallons? good lord!

SO I now have a huge barrel sitting in my garage. Tons of ideas flood my head, tons of problems too. It looks like I need to become wise in the ways of the barrel. I hope the reward is epic.

Improv IPA day follow up

So I need to get better at follow ups to some of my brew session posts. Today I figured I would write about the double IPA brewed back in July.

This was a fun beer to brew, and we went into it completely unprepared on hop schedule. We selected the type of hops beforehand, but that was it. We added them as we went along, and just wrote them down so we would not forget. The hops selected were Zythos (10.9%), Sorachi Ace (10.9%), and Calypso (12.9%). The Zythos is a proprietary blend of 7 different hop types in one and was created mainly for IPAs.

15 gallons were brewed and we boiled for 90 minutes. Here are the actual additions:

1 oz Calypso - 75 mins
1 oz Sorachi Ace - 60 min
2 oz Zythos - 60 min
2 oz Zythos - 20 min
2 oz Zythos - 15 min
3 oz Sorachi Ace - 10 min
3 oz Sorachi ace 5 min

Dry hopped
4 oz Sorachi Ace 7 days

So we figured this would be a DIPA, but after drinking this I did not feel it was quite to that level. I think it ended up more or less an IPA. I wish I would have taken a picture of this in the glass, but it is all gone. I will have to remember to start doing that again. I ended up calling this the IPZ due to the zythos hops we used.

For just winging it, this beer was pretty fabulous. It fermented nice and clean on US-05 yeast. It had a really nice lemony citrus on the front end and finished with a nice pleasant bitterness in the back of the mouth. My wife was one of the biggest fans of this beer. I am not sure what to think about that as she is not a hoppy beer person. Maybe she is actually starting to acquire a taste for them?

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The first RevLabs 1BBL brew day

1 BBL was our goal for this weekend’s brew session. It could be the last brewing we do for a little while so we wanted to make sure there is plenty of beer around. Today the brewing rig will be torn apart so we can rebuild it to run on the brewtroller platform. Phase one will be automating the HLT and MLT and setting it all up to be run from an iPad.

As for the beer, we tried our first parti-gyle style brew session. The first beer we brewed was 20 gallons of what I hope will be a nice Pale ale. The grain bill is pretty standard for a Pale. The hops were all a compromise because the ones we really wanted to use were not available. So as we were mashing we came up with the hops schedule

RevLabs Pale Ale
Est Original Gravity: 1.060 SGMeasured Original Gravity: 1.061 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.013 SG
Measured Final Gravity: 1.012 FG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 6.1 %
Actual Alcohol by Vol: 6.5%
Bitterness: 37.5 IBUs
Est Color: 6.2 SRM

35 lbs
Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
76.1 %
8 lbsVienna Malt (3.5 SRM)
217.4 %
3 lbsCaramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM)
36.5 %
5.00 ozCascade [5.50 %] - Boil 60.0 minHop424.6 IBUs
3.00 ozPerle [4.00 %] - Boil 15.0 minHop55.3 IBUs
2.00 ozCascade [5.50 %] - Boil 15.0 minHop64.9 IBUs
2.00 ozCascade [5.50 %] - Boil 5.0 minHop72.0 IBUs
1.00 ozWillamette [4.00 %] - Boil 5.0 min
0.7 IBUs
2.0 pkgAmerican Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) [124.21 ml]Yeast9
4l starter

This beer went about as perfectly as planned. We nailed our targets just as planned, and all equipment worked out flawlessly.

Once the wort for the pale ale was in the kettle, we started on the little bastard. The plan for this beer was to make 10 gallons of a sessionable harvest ale, or wet hop ale and use the 46 pounds of grain still in the mash tun.

The first step was to add 5 gallons of water to the tun, check gravity and then add up to 5 more. The strengh was ok so the other 5 was added. At that point we did not feel the gravity was high enough so we added fresh pale malt and a small amount of crystal 60. I felt we were now ready to brew that lower gravity ale.

For bittering hops we used Hopshots obtained from Northern Brewer. 5 ml went in at 60 minutes. That should have been about 25IBUs. Another 5ml went in at 30 mins (12.5IBUs?).  At this point I gathered the family and and we all went to work on harvesting the cascade hops I have growing in the yard. We gathered up a pound and they went in at 15 minutes. Another half pound went in at flame out.

At that point we had hops clog up our recirc so we had to take emergency action. We quickly put our tri clover strainer into place and because of the small amount in the kettle I was able to tip the kettle and put our kettle screen into place. From there it was a breeze to chill down to 70 degrees.

The only problem is that with a pretty rigorous boil, and all those whole hops, we increased the gravity, and lost wort to the hops. We ended up with 6 gallons of 1.054 wort. Kind of a bummer, but still had a great time brewing it.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Utah beer fest review

This year I served as a volunteer. I was assigned as a token cashier for the Uinta brewing organic line up. I basically made sure that tokens were collected for each beer poured. Easy stuff.

Here is my assessment.

My booth clearly wins the award for best decorations!
Things started off slowly. About 45 minutes into the festival things were picking up quite a bit. My line moved pretty well with someone dedicated to pouring each of the four beers available in my line.

After my shift was over I got to wander around the festival for a few hours. There was a pretty good size and diverse crowd. The first thing I noticed after making it around the whole venue was that these people wanted real beer! Any tent that was serving beer over 4% had huge lines. And remember this is a pay per pour event, and those bigger beers cost more. Over at Uinta we had three tents. One for organics, one for the standard line up, and the last was for the full strength Crooked line. My line for organic beer had about 4x the people come through it as compared to the standard line up. However the line for Crooked beer did 10 times the pours as the other two combined (or so it seemed). The story was the same everywhere else. People want those beer styles you just cannot make at 4.0% or less.
It's clear there are still things to improve, but it was much better than previous attempts. Some of these issues have to do with the lines. Some of the lines were taking up to 15 minutes. Yes, that is clearly better than in the past, but they are still the longest lines I have seen at any beer festival I have been to. 15 minutes is kind of a long wait for a sample.

There was a clear focus on line management, and you could tell things were much better in that regard. The biggest issue causing these lines is somewhat out of the hands of the organizers. It's the stupid laws and the fact that we can't really get out of state brewers in here. More choice would bring all the lines down.

The Brew Crew!
The last thing I would love to see is more of the breweries bringing in special edition beers. I heard that one the few out of state breweries, Full Sail, did that this year. Come on Utah brewers! Lets see some new beers introduced or brewed just for the festival next year!

Free 1 liter flip top bottles. Another volunteer perk thanks to the bottle recycling program run by Salt City Brew Supply. Those guys are awesome!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beer Fest today!

The Utah Beer Fest is happening later today. I will be volunteering at one of the brewers tents, but I don't know which yet.

It should be fun. let's hope it is better organized than past years!

I will post an after Fest review later!


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Brew day 8/25 - Tripel Double Belgian IPA

Fall is in the air, so what do we brew? How about a Belgian Tripel that's hopped like an IPA? A marriage of my two favorite styles? Yes please!

This is not the first fall beer that comes to mind, but this is how we operate! This is another odd style, but there are some commercial examples out there. I tried Le Freak from Green Flash last week and thought it was pretty good. We also have a version brewed here in SLC by Epic called Brainless Corruption. It is pretty close to what we plan on brewing up today. Although I hope it's more like Le Freak.

This recipe comes straight from the Houblonmonstres (Ardennes Forest Beer Gnomes). They came up with the recipe shortly after one of the gnomes returned from a trip to America and developed a taste for aggressive American hops. In order to stay true to their Belgian roots, a combination of classic Continental hops and big American hops was developed. The malt bill on this is all Belgian with only pale malt and a bunch of sugar. The IBU's might seem a little high, but based on my experience, the Belgian yeast is going to knock the perceived IBU's down quite a bit.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

2012 Beehive Brew off results

Another Beehive brew off is in the books. I was hoping to help judge and or steward this year, but I ended up being out of town so I could not even attend the awards ceremony.

I was super stoked to hear that we placed with 3 of the beers entered. Again, I was not able to attend so I have not even seen the score sheets yet. Tim, my brother in law and co-brewer attended and picked them up.

1st Place - Imperial Stout (Sesquac, Russian Imperial Stout)
This beer has always been amazing even at a young age. It was brewed last September so it was about a year old at the time of judging. We called this thing a bunch of different names, but I settled on Sesquac, a version of the word Sasquatch. You can see a full post on this beer along with the recipe in a previous blog post. It uses the traditional RIS ingredients, and out of style yeast. The yeast we used was French Saison. Yes, kind of out there, but it works sooo well. Everyone that has ever tried this beer has enjoyed it. There is something about that yeast that just takes the dark and strong RIS character and tames it.

I was worried this beer might do terrible. This beer went on a crazy journey. It was kegged, then bottled into 22's with a beer gun. I really wanted to enter it, but 22's are not accepted. So Tim and I poured a couple of bottles back into a keg and rebottled it into 12oz bottles. SO it went Keg>bottle>keg>bottle>DRINK

3rd place - Belgian Specialty (Oaked Belgian Stout)
This beer received the highest score of any of our beers, but with the high number of entries in this category it wasn't enough to place higher. This is another sort of out of the box beer. I mean when was the last time you had a Belgian stout? I like coming up with names for my beers, but with this one I felt the name should just equal the beer style as to not confuse anyone on what it is supposed to be.

3rd place - Meads (Behemothic Braggot)
The last beer I had place was this project I started over two years ago. This was a brew that turned into 3 different beers. The version I entered used the Old Ale yeast blend. Into the kettle I added meadow sweet and chamomile. 6 months into secondary another pound of honey was added for the brett, and it sat on oak for quite a while as well. I bottled it up about a year ago. This stuff is very strong, my guess is about 15%. I struggle to drink this, but have found that it is pretty nice when cut with a lighter beer. I also have a blog post on this brew.

Judge comments to come...

Time to start thinking about next year!

Friday, July 27, 2012

New Opentroller Dx1 ordered - what have I done!

Well I have been thinking a lot about upgrading the brewery to run on new Opentroller (Brewtroller) platform. I am a geek at heart so it should be a cool project for me. 

This morning they had a few in stock so I pulled the trigger.

The first step will be to add my HLT and MLT. In the future I plan to add volume measurement and maybe some other automation.

Let the journey begin!

Basic set up I will be working on. I will not automate the kettle... at least not for a while.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Improvisational Double IPA brew day

We decided to brew a 15 gallon batch of a DIPA today but didn't really have a plan on hops. So we gathered what we had on hand and added additions based on how we were feeling at the time. No pre checking IBUs from the additions on any software. It was all recorded with pen and paper to help us remember what and when additions were made.

We ended up with 6 oz of Zythos, 7 oz of Sorachi ace, and 1 oz of Calypso over 6 additions, with most coming with less than 20 minutes left. Should be an interesting beer. Another 4 of the sorachi will be used to dry hop. I figure it will have a pretty heavy lemon character.

All in all the brew day went perfect. It's those kind of days that let you mess around and have fun making shit up as you go.

Heating strike water

The Mill

Mash recirc
Mash recirc close up

First runnings
Full boil
Chilling wort

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Kegged up

Nothing was brewed Last weekend, but it was still a busy one in the brewery.

6 kegs were cleaned and filled. 15 gallons of an Imperial American Red Ale and 15 gallons of a Belgian Style golden strong ale.

The Belgian is young, but is already tasting amazingly Belgian. It makes me want to brew more estery beers like this. It tastes like fucking bananas!

I also bottled up the last of the Kilo double IPA and our latest wheat creation for a competition at a later date.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Bottled up!

This weekend I set up the bottling line. The main purpose was to get some of this beer into 12 oz bottles for competitions at a later date. That’s one issue with always kegging... a bunch of really fine beers never makes it to judging.

Five different brews were bottled up.

1)      Belgian Golden Ale – 10% ABV
2)      Oaked Belgian Stout – 9% ABV
3)      Dry Irish Stout (Beamish clone) – 4% ABV
4)      Breakfast Stout – 8% ABV
5)      Jaggery Barley Wine - 10% ABV

I have a bunch of the Belgian stout bottled up, but the rest were bottled for competitions only. The Belgian stout is really interesting. I have nothing to compare it to and I am really looking forward to what others have to say about it.

UPDATE (7/17/2012): The Belgian stout has really turned into a star. Tim, my brother in-law and brewing partner pretty much brewed this one on his own because I got a phone call 1 hour into our brew session from a doctor up at Snowbird telling me my daughter hit her head snowboarding and was being taken by ambulance to the hospital! It took her a few weeks to shake the concussion symptoms, but she was ok. We joking called this one the closed head injury stout.

Anyway, it was an ok beer but thought the oak would mellow it out. Tim didn’t oak his 5 gallons, and he almost dumped it out numerous times. Last week Tim hooked up this keg because he had no other beer. Low and behold he called me raving about it... what? it's the best beer we have ever made?

This weekend he brought some over and we did a side by side with the oaked and straight version. They were really different but both were steller... and strong as hell!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Revival RioT Red Ale

We brewed this hoppy American style Red Ale for the 2012 MLS season. We are all big Real Salt Lake supporters so the red ale was an easy choice. The team plays in Rio Tinto Stadium which has been dubbed the RioT, hence the name.

This beer uses a fairly rich malt bill but it is offset by a generous amount of hops. We did not do any bittering additions and instead went with a hop burst method. I really like the way all the late additions result in amazing hop taste and smell with very smooth bitterness. It turned out to be a really great beer that will be brewed many more times. Note this recipe is for a 20 gallon batch!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Brewhouse upgrades

Well it's the time of year for upgrading the brewhouse. The stage is set for some very big beers and big batches in 2012!

New milling platform
I purchased a 3 roller Monster Mill (MM3) with a 38 pound hopper. I mounted it to a metal cart from Home Depot. Driving it is a 1/2 inch variable speed D handle drill from Harbor Freight. The thing is working great after dialling the gap in.

26 Gallon mash tun and hot liquor tank
Presenting the 3 amigos. With the addition of a new 26 gallon mash and hlt, I plan on brewing quite a few 20 gallon batches!

New March nano brew pump
This thing puts the old 809 pump to shame. It is pretty quite too! This was mounted a small wheeled moving cart. I like being able to easily move it around rather than fixing it to one location.

New Fermentation vessel
And lastly I needed another place to ferment with all these other upgrades. I decided to try out using sankey kegs for fermentation. This keg is from GW kent. It is sold for the wine industry and they call it a topping keg. It has a 4 inch tri clover fitted to the top and a 1.5 inch tc near the bottom.

I then had synergy metalworks build me the 4 inch lid with ball lock posts and pressure release valve. There is a dip tube that ends about an inch above the bottom of the keg.