Thursday, March 24, 2016

Brew Day: Suwannee!!! Pale Ale

Back to basics. I love pale ales. Its hard to find an IPA with any perceivable malt character. Those "Session IPA" things are to thin and watery to withstand all the bitterness. I love a nice toasty, crackery malt profile with some resinous, citrus, and fruitiness layered on top. Pale ale fits the bill.

Suwannee!!! Pale Ale

Batch Size: 6 Gallons (post boil in the kettle)
Pre-Boil:  11 Brix or 1.043 (7.25 gallons)
Post Boil: 13 Brix or 1.052
Final Grav: 1.009
App. Atten: 83%
Alc. By Vol: 5.6%
IBU's (rager): 40
SRM: 5.4 L

10 lbs Great Western 2-Row
  1 lbs Wheat Malt
  1 lbs Briess Bonlander Munich
 .5 lbs Breiss Victory Malt

2 tsp gyspsum
2 tsp CaCl

Mashed-in with 5 gal of 162 F RO water. Mixed well and rested at 148.5 for 1 hour. Added 2 gal of 212F water to reach 155F.  Sparged with 3 gallons.

Collected 7.25 gallons of 1.044 wort.  Added 1 tsp gypsum. Good hot-break and foaming.

14 g of Cascade for 60 mins
14 g of Cascade for 30 mins
28 g of Amarillo for 10 mins
56 g of Centennial for 10 mins
56 g of Chinook in the whirlpool
Whirlfloc at 10 Mins

Chilled using ice water through the immersion chiller down to 69F. Whirlpooled and settled for 20 mins. When racking to carboy, the cone collapsed and ended up with more trub and hop matter in the fermenter than usual.

Placed in chest freezer and cooled to 64F.

Measured 13 brix on the refractometer and confirmed 1.052 with the hydrometer.

White Labs WLP001 pure pitch in a 1.6 L starter to reach 182B cells (.75M / mL / deg. P). Chilled after 24 hours. Removed from refrigerator at pitching time. Decanted spent wort and pitched into 64 F wort.

Filled headspace with O2 and shook for 20 seconds. Two times.

Probe taped under paper towel and bubble wrap.

Temp dropped to 59 F overnight thanks to a cold front. Heated with a blow dryer to 63.

Chilled on day 9 (airlock still had some activity) slowly down to 32 over the course of 2 days.

Kegged, sent to NHC, and drank.

Troubleshooting: Yarmouth SDB

Whenever I venture away from brewing my typical favorites, I always seem to run into an unexpected issue. The most recent special dark bitter I brewed had a rather sluggish fermentation. I have never had a beer take so long to ferment out. My only guess as to why, is a poorly transported yeast pack. The yeast and ice pack were both warm to the touch upon arrival.  I didn't have time for a starter to reinvigorate the smack pack, so I boosted the cell count with some dry fermentis US-05. Even though I supplemented the WY1469 with US05, neither strain seemed to be very happy. Maybe these two don't play nice together. The result, a diacetyl and acetaldehyde laden, fusely mess of a beer. Honestly, its not undrinkable, but I've grown sensitive to diacetyl and can't stand even the suggestion of it. Lesson learned: vitality of yeast is more important than cell count.

Another factor to investigate; the ball valve on my boil kettle. I have had the kettle for around 6 years now and never attempted to remove the valve.  I remember accidentally stripping the threads in trying to prevent any leakage when I first got the kettle, so I've never taken it off.  I finally mustered enough courage, and wasn't pleased with what I found. Maybe the crud in between the washers and the ball were harboring some pedio or other bacteria which were contributing to the diacetyl and fusels. I soaked all the nuts and bolts in PBW for a few days, and was excited to brew knowing I had sparkling clean valve. Next up Suwannee!!! Pale Ale.


Monday, January 18, 2016

Brew Day: Yarmouth Special Dark Bitter

After a visit to The Blue Anchor in Delray Beach, FL, and a few pints of London Pride, I decided I must have an English pale ale/bitter style beer at home.  This recipe is essentially the Pride formula with the addition of a touch of Thomas Fawcett pale chocolate malt (200L), and a simpler hop bill (excluded Challenger, bumped up EKG's). After much success with Wyeast 1469 - West Yorkshire Ale yeast it is always at the top of my list. The result is a browner, stronger (unintentionally, the wind boosted the evaporation rate),beer that hopefully captures the same spirit as a pint of Pride.

Yarmouth Special Dark Bitter
6 gallons 
70% efficiency (planned)
SG: Pre-boil 1.048 - 7 gallons (1.044 planned)
SG: Post-boil 1.062 (1.054 planned)
IBU: 33 Rager Formula
SRM: 11

12 lbs Marris Otter Pale Malt
0.5 lbs Simpson's Dark Crystal 70L
  3 oz  Fawcett Pale Chocolate  200L

Mashed with 4.5 gallons of 165F strike water @ 155F. Stepped up to 162F with 1.5 gallons of boiling water.

1.5 tsp of Gypsum to mash
1.5 tsp of CaCl to mash
0.5 tsp of Gypsum to boil

Sparged with 3 gallons of water at 175F.

75 mins - 1.0 oz East Kent Goldings - 5.1 % alpha acid 
15 mins - 0.5 oz East Kent Goldings - 5.1 % alpha acid
15 mins - 1.0 oz UK Northdown - 6% alpha acid

Added 0.5 oz of East Kent Goldings  to the whirlpool after wort chilled below 100F to simulate using a hop back. 


Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale - 1 smack pack at 50% viability ~50B cells. Pitched at 64
Fermentis US-05 American Ale Yeast - 10 g - or ~150B cells. Pitched at 64 2 hours after liquid yeast.
(rehydrated according to Zainascheff and White's procedures)

Oxygenation - filled headspace with O2 and shook for 1 minute. Two doses.

Notes: Must have ended up with around 5.5 or less gallons post boil. The wind was ripping and increased to evaporation rate. Slightly increased efficiency. Collected 7 gallons of wort at 1.048 pre-boil. 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Manchild 3.0

I last brewed for a birthday party over a year ago. Unbelievable. Time to correct that.  This time, I'm brewing for an independence day fiesta.  We're going all out.  Lechon. Whole Hog. You know what that calls for.  Manchild.  If we're roasting a pig all day, we're going to need an easy drinkin beer. This recipe is not all that similar to the last version of the Manchild II. But, I just call any ~5% pale ale type beer brewed for special occasions the same name. 

I recently had some Monday Night Brewing Big Nose IPA.  They use marris otter as a base malt, and it is fantastic. So I've been craving some MO based beer. The rest of the grist is straight forward, a little wheat, and a little C-60.  I cut the base malt 50/50 with standard 2-row. Why not?

I'm kind of burned out on the tropical fruit thing (amarillo, citra, mosaic, galaxy). So I wanted to go a little old school.  Cascade, Columbus, and Centennial. Grapefruity, piney dankness, with a hint of lime zest.  At least that is the goal. The homebrew shop had some simcoe that I couldn't turn down. I'll save that for dry-hopping.

Yeast: No time for a starter. US-05 to the rescue.

Manchild 3.0

Volume:  6 Gallons
Original Gravity:  1.047
Finishing Gravity: 1.010ish

IBU:  39 using rager formula
SRM: 7.2


5 lbs American 2 Row

5 lbs Marris Otter
  1 lbs Wheat
 .5 lbs Crystal 60 (US)

.25 lbs evaporated cane syrup

R.O. Water
1.5 tsp Calcium Chloride
1.5 tsp Gypsum

Mashed at 155 F. Minimal Worlauf. 


   7g Magnum   - 15.2 % AA  -  60 minutes
28 g Cascade     -  8.1% AA -    10 minutes
28 g Centennial      - 10% AA -    10 minutes
28 g Columbus (CTZ)   - 12% AA -     10 minutes

14 g Centennial - Dry Hop 7 days

14 g CTZ - Dry Hop 7 days
14 g Simcoe - Dry Hop 7 days

60 minute boil.


US-05 rehydrated with 115 grams of water (by weight) at 90 degrees.  Fermentis recommends 80, but I'll take Jamil and Whitey's advice over fermentis. Cooled using an ice bath and stirring until it hit 68. Pitched at 68.

Cooled to 64 for fermentation. Increasing temperature controller by 1 degree every other day. 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Brew Day: Manchild II

"Can you bring a keg on my birthday?"

Fermenting in chest freezer with Johnson Controller.
Its important to use a bud light koozie to insulate your probe.

Damn right I can.  Since its the end of May in Florida, I initially leaned towards a light 4% pale ale.  But I've had many of these recently that are just too damn bitter.  Its really hard to get enough body and residual sugars into a 4% beer with tons of high alpha hops.   I decided to beef up the old Manchild recipe, and switch up the hops.

I really like simple grain bills these days.  This recipe uses the Firestone Walker approach to pale ale malt bills.  American 2-row + Munich + light-medium crystal = good.  Its a little more interesting and less "flabby" than going with 100% Marris Otter or other UK pale malts.  For hops,  whatever you can get that is from the US and starts with C is good.  Throw in some amarillo, simcoe, or mosaic and I'm happy.

Manchild II

Volume:  6 Gallons
Original Gravity:  1.052
Finishing Gravity: 1.012ish
IBU:  37 using rager formula
SRM: 6.4


12 lbs American 2 Row
  1 lbs Light Munich
 .5 lbs Carastan

R.O. Water
1 tsp Calcium Chloride
1 tsp Gypsum

Mashed at 151 F


14 g Willamette   - 5.2 % AA  -  60 minutes
28 g Cascade     -  8.1% AA -    30 minutes
28 g Amarillo      - 8.0% AA -    10 minutes
28 g Centennial   - 10% AA -     10 minutes

28 g Amarillo - Dry Hop 7 days


Wyeast 1056 in a 1.5L starter for 24 hours - Fermented at 64 F for 2 days.  66 F for maturation and dry hopping.

NOTES: I forgot the whirlfloc.  Will use isinglass to try to drop the yeast and haze.

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