Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Brew Day: 100% Centennial IPA

I had a Bell's Two Hearted Ale early on in my beer journey.  It was at 3 a.m., at a diner. I wasn't a fan.  It must have been the timing.  Recently though, I enjoyed an afternoon at the local watering hole quaffing multiple pints of the delicious ale. The bite of lime zest flavor in the finish (from 100% centennial hops) is very refreshing on steamy February afternoons in Florida.

The local home brew shop is having a single hop IPA competition. I was tempted to go all simcoe, but that seemed to trendy.  Maybe amarillo? Nah, too much amarillo gets plastic-y. Cascade? Old news. Centennial was my choice.

Brewed this one with the Old Man.  He loves IPA's, and seems to want to buy some fancy equipment. My frankenstien system should be enough to push him over the edge. We all win. Here's the recipe.

6 gallons

OG 1.063
IBU:     50
SRM:    6.2

5 gallons of RO water for mash
3 gallons of RO water for sparge

Mashed at 152 F

 8    pounds Great Western 2-Row
 4    pounds Munton's Marris Otter
.5   pound Briess C-40
.75 pound Cane Sugar
1 tsp Gypsum in mash
1 tsp CaCl in mash

.5 oz Centennial @ 60 minutes
1 oz Centennial @ 20 minutes
2.5 oz Centennial @ 10 minutes
1 oz Centennial dry hop
1 tsp Gypsum in boil

1 Pack of Wyeast 1056 @ 88% viability + 9 grams re-hydrated Safale US-05 @ 71 % viability for a total of 218 Billion Viable Cells as suggested by Mr. Malty.

Filled Headspace with O2 and shook for 30 seconds twice.

Pitched at 63 F

Fermented at 65 F

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Brew Day: Blacksod


When I started brewing I was really into Murphy's and Beamish nitro stouts.  I brewed a few of my own attempts at the Dry Irish Stout with less than stellar results.  The first batch was overcarbonated and very acrid. The second batch was much better, but not quite perfect. I've always wanted to brew a stout for St. Patrick's Day, and this year I'm finally going to get it done.

The starting point for this recipe was the traditional 70% pale malt, 20% flaked barley, 10% roasted barley recipe. However, to boost the body, I'm going to swap half of the flaked barley for malted rye.  I've never used rye in a beer, but I've heard so many brewers talk about the oily fullness rye imparts. That should be perfect for a low gravity dry stout. Also I've added some chocolate malt and boosted the gravity a bit.


6 gallons
45 IBU

   8 lbs Marris Otter
   1 lb   Flaked Barley
   1 lb   Rye Malt
.625 lb   Roasted Barley
.375 lb   Chocolate Malt

1 oz Target @ 60 mins
.5 oz Goldings @ 20 mins

Wyeast 1469

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Brew Night: Three Strikes

Faux Beer Barrels in Gaston's Tavern
It's 1:15 and I've just hit a boil 10 minutes ago.  Its going to be a late one. With a grist of 12 lbs of Weyemann Pils I'll be boiling for 90 minutes. There are a lot of hurdles for this beer to overcome. But nothing is impossible. First, plan on force carbonating and serving this at a super bowl party 2 weeks from tomorrow. No wait today. Tripels are usually conditioned for at least a couple weeks. Secondly, my homebrew shop only had one 3 month old White Labs WLP 530 Abbey Ale. I only have a 2 L flask so that's as big a starter as I could make. I was just reading a great article by Stan Hieronymus about Belgian fermentations from a 2006 BYO article. Westmalle pitches at about .25 Million cells per mL per degree Plato. Huh, good news for me. Too bad they are using top cropped well acclimated yeast. We'll see how this sucker turns out. Last tripel I made ended up a bit sweet. So this time I cut the gravity down, hoping for higher attenuation but arriving near the same ABV. Recipe anyone?


6 gallons
OG 1.068
FG  1.008 (hopefully)
35 IBU

12 lbs Pilsener Malt
  2 lbs Cane Sugar (added to boil)

1 oz Mt. Hood @ 90 minutes 5.2 % Alpha Acids.
1 oz Tettnanger @ 45 minutes 3.9 % Alpha Acids.
1 oz Tettnanger @ 15 minutes 3.9% Alpha Acids.

WLP 530 - Abbey Ale 2 L starter

RO water with 1 tsp Gypsum (4g), 1 tsp Calcium Chloride (3.4g), and 5 mL Lactic Acid

Leftover Wort Fermented with Red Star Montrachet.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Black Butte

There are some great beers available here in South Florida. But recently, every porter I've had has been too full bodied, too acrid, or too boozy. One of my favorite porters is Black Butte from Deschutes. Its infinitely drinkable. There are great hints of roast and coffee but not overly burnt and overwhelming. The light hop flavor is also a great counter point.

Sadly, the only way I've ever gotten to drink this beer is when my brother brought some home from a trip to South Dakota. Fear not, I can make my own. Like most of the brewing Ideas I get, this recipe is from The Brewing Network's - Can You Brew It. Only modifications I made are Briess light roasted barley in place of American chocolate malt, and Wyeast 1469 instead of the Fuller's strain (Wyeast 1968/ WLP 002). The Fuller's strain is notoriously flocculant, and I don't want to have to worry about it dropping out too early. Also, I'm a big fan of the 1469.  It finishes dry but leaves a great fat malt character behind, even in lower gravity beers.

Batch Size: 6 Gallons
Starting SG: 1.055
Ending SG: 1.011
App. Atten: 80%
IBU's : 38
ABV: 5.8%
Color: 25 L


10 lbs 2 Row
1.5 lbs Wheat Malt
.7   lbs Crystal 80 L
.42 lbs Crisp Chocolate Malt
.42 lbs Briess Light Roasted Barley ~300L


.75 oz Galena @ 60 Minutes - 12% AA
.25 oz Cascade  @ 30 Minutes - 6% AA
.25 oz Mount Hood @ 5 minutes - 5% AA


Wyeast 1469 - West Yorkshire Ale

1600 L Starter. Refrigerated after activity stopped. Plan to decant and add fresh starter wort on Brew Day.

Brew Strong.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Brew Me, I'm a Beer Recipe: Pater's Pils

I've been craving a dry, fruity, peppery, floral Belgian pale beer lately. No commercial offerings available in my area fit the bill. This is why I got into brewing in the first place.

My idea, German pils hops, American pale ale hop schedule, and a blend of saison and Trappist yeast. I'll update the White labs and Wyeast numbers later. The Trappist (WY 3787) should finish up any residual sugars after the finicky saison yeast (WY 3724) starts misbehaving.

For the malt, American pale ale malt. Low in protein, and a great backdrop to showcase the yeast and hops. I just brewed a Helles that would be fantastic sans the DMS. I'm staying away from pils malt until I can upgrade my chilling, or the ground water gets cooler. (85 f in FL) I boiled the crap out of that beer for 90 minutes. What a shame.

Not sure when I'll get around to brewing this. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Let's Make Helles

Hydrometer sample of 2.5 gallon starter helles. Poured through paper coffee filter.

After serving the Manchild at a party recently, I realized most of my family are pretty timid beer drinkers. Light beer folks, that think Kalik is a strong beer at 6%. In an effort to slowly convert them, I decided to make them a Helles for the next keg party. It's also getting intolerably hot, and a nice cold Helles sounds ultimately refreshing.

I'm going to do a few new things with this batch. First, yeast starter. I'm going to make a 2.5 gallon starter Helles for drinking on brew day and propagating enough cells. Second, decoction. Nothing crazy, just going to runoff the liquid portion of the mash and boil the thick part for 30 minutes. Then I will combine the two for the alpha amalayse rest at 160 f.

Hopefully the beer will be something both light lager drinkers and brewing geeks can enjoy. Here's the recipe.

13 lbs Best Maltz Pilsen
1 oz liberty 90 mins
.75 oz tetnanger 90 mins

WLP 830 bock lager

Simple right? The beauty of Helles.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Brew Day (upcoming): Norebo

My buddy from Michigan loves Oberon.  It seems like that is the beer of choice for 20 somethings in MI.  I stayed away from wheat beers early on in my beer drinking days.  I didn't like how they were always served with an orange slice. Seemed kind of gimmicky.

I finally tried Oberon last year and was delightfully surprised.  Its pretty much a bohemian pilsner mixed with an american wheat beer. Extremely flavorful and refreshing at the same time.  The signature Saaz flavor really won me over. Its got a great malt character thanks to the yeast. It reminds me a lot of Terrapin's beers, and their house ale strain is the Wyeast 1272 American Ale II. So I'll give that one a spin. The beer is also firmly bittered, but doesn't have any harshness. I'll go with soft water and 35-40 IBU's

I find myself wanting to make more beers for specific people now a days. IPA for dad, porter for my brother, and now Oberon Clone for my buddy.  I sent an email to the good people at Bell's. No response yet, but after reading a few posts from people that got responses and tasting the beer recently, this recipe should get me close.

Norebo - 

6 gallons - 75% Efficiency - 60 Minute Boil - 7 Gallons Pre-Boil

OG: 1.058
FG: 1.014
ABV: 5.8%
IBU: 37
SRM: 5.4


5 lbs American 2-Row
6 lbs Wheat Malt
.5lbs CaraVienne
1 lbs Munich 10L

Mash at 152 F


1 oz Crystal - First Wort Hop
1 oz Saaz - 45 Minutes
1 oz Saaz  - 20 Minutes
1 oz Hersbrucker - 20 Minutes


Wyeast 1272 American Ale II - at around 65 F


It seems Bell's has a stock response.  I read this exact same language that someone else had received. I can't blame them.  Its cool that they respond in the first place. As for the hop schedule. A number of people describe a citrusy aroma and flavor. I swear I've tasted it when this beer is fresh and on draft. But the couple I've tried recently scream Saaz and Hersbrucker. Maybe the slightest hint of a suggestion of an american noble type triploid with some citrus in the background. Crystal and Chinook would fit the bill. I kind of have a hunch that there might be a kiss of Cascade in there. Haven't decided what to do with the recipe yet. I'll keep you posted.

Here is the Bell's Oberon Home Brew Recipe stock response:

There are certain things about our recipes that we keep close to the vest, but I can offer some guidance. The malt bill is relatively straightforward: stick with 2-row base malt and a decent portion of wheat, something in the 40-50% range. Wheat can stick a little, so use as much of that range as you can within the limitations of your lauter tun; adding rice hulls can help improve the flow. A touch of caramel malt will be all the color you need usually. Aim for a target original gravity of around 1.056 and moderate fermentability. The ABV should be just below 6%.

Oberon uses several hops, but the signature varietals are Hersbrucker & Saaz. Target roughly 30 IBUs. Don’t be lured into using coriander or orange peel: Oberon is spice-free.

You can culture yeast out of one of our bottles if you're comfortable with that; it's certainly the preferred option for a solid flavor match. Otherwise, the local homebrew supply shops around here have found that most people looking to clone one of our recipes lean towards ale strains with a straightforward ester profile & good attenuation.

I hope this information helps. Good luck with the brewing!


Josh Smith

Marketing Coordinator
Bell's Brewery, Inc.