Author: admin

Brew DayBrew Day

Two Brews and Some Crazy Notions

Recently brewed two clones: Founder’s Breakfast Stout and Stone Cali-Belgique. I’ve put the recipes in below, including the BeerXML files. 

Founder's Breakfast Stout BoyI just moved the two to the secondary last night. I added 2oz of Grand Cru to the Breakfast Stout and .5 oz of Cascade and 1.0 oz of Centennial to the Cali. Tasted both out of the primary and they were delicious. I used both a refractometer and hydrometer to see the gravity progression and to continue to test the comparison between the readings. Each seems to be on target coming in at around 1.018 and 1.016 respectively–and there’s still a bit more time in the secondary where some action will take place. I’ll bottle the Cali-Belgique for a wedding but keep some back for the All-American Homebrew Competition; a part of the Cincy Winter Beerfest.

I’m planning my next brew, which will be a Hopslam clone, and I may try to get it in before the All-American Homebrew Competition deadline, but it will be a very tight squeeze on this one. I went out to JW Dover’s homebrew store in Westlake yesterday to fill some of the holes in my inventory and had one fortuitous encounter and learned one thing I didn’t know–so it was worth the trip. First, I met the owner and proprietor Jerome Welliver and Tom ? one of the brewers who offered to provide me with yeast slurry from one of their brews. All I have to do is bring in a sanitized mason jar and they’ll fill it up. That kicks ass. I was looking for the 1056 in their yeast cooler and then I got to talking with Tom and he offered. For me this means several things: first, the slurry will be a big pitch, meaning energetic and complete attenuation/fermentation; second, it is second generation from a professional brewery; third, I hope it’s a connection that I can maintain. Second, in the grand scheme of things, what I learned is that Jerome is not only the owner and proprietor of JW Dover, but Black Box Brewing Company, which now owns the label for Crooked River and is brewing up their old recipes.

This also sparked in me two notions, one tempting the other possibly stupid. First, to brew one beer a week for the year. Don’t know if I can pull it off. But I’d like to try. I’m behind right now, but have the ingredients to brew the Hopslam and a Flanders Red, which I could so this coming week and it would put me on track for January. Second, I’m considering the Lenten trial of drinking only beer until Easter. I would be hoping to drop some pounds and let’s face it, beer tastes better than the Almased liquid diet. And besides: it’s beer! Three times per day.

We’ll see. I’m looking forward to heading out to Black Box Brewing this week to pick up the slurry and brewing up a Hopslam clone.

Recipes:

Breakfast Stout

BeerSmith Recipe Printout - www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Breakfast Stout
Brewer: Tom Hayes
Asst Brewer: 
Style: American Stout
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0) 

Recipe Specifications
--------------------------
Batch Size: 5.00 gal      
Boil Size: 5.72 gal
Estimated OG: 1.093 SG
Estimated Color: 57.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 64.8 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
13 lbs 3.2 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)            Grain        74.66 %       
1 lbs 6.4 oz  Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)                    Grain        7.92 %        
1 lbs         Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)                Grain        5.66 %        
1 lbs         Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM)                Grain        5.66 %        
8.0 oz        Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM)    Grain        2.83 %        
5.3 oz        Carafa III (525.0 SRM)                    Grain        1.87 %        
4.0 oz        Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)           Grain        1.41 %        
1.10 oz       Nugget [13.00 %]  (60 min)                Hops         37.3 IBU      
2.50 oz       Williamette [5.50 %]  (30 min)            Hops         27.6 IBU      
2.50 oz       Williamette [5.50 %]  (0 min)             Hops          -            
1.50 oz       Chocolate, unsweetened baking nibs (Boil 1Misc                       
2.00 oz       Kona Coffee (Secondary 1.0 weeks)         Misc                       
2.00 oz       Sumatran Coffee (Boil 10.0 min)           Misc                       
2.50 oz       Chocolate, Dark Baker's (Boil 10.0 min)   Misc                       
1 Pkgs        American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056)          Yeast-Ale                  


Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body
Total Grain Weight: 17.68 lb
----------------------------
Single Infusion, Full Body
Step Time     Name               Description                         Step Temp     
60 min        Mash In            Add 22.10 qt of water at 170.5 F    158.0 F       
10 min        Mash Out           Add 8.84 qt of water at 196.6 F     168.0 F       

Cali-Belgique

BeerSmith Recipe Printout – www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Stone Cali-Belique IPA
Brewer: Tom Hayes
Asst Brewer:
Style: American IPA
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0) 

Recipe Specifications
————————–
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Boil Size: 5.72 gal
Estimated OG: 1.076 SG
Estimated Color: 6.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 64.9 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
————
Amount Item Type % or IBU
13 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 92.86 %
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt – 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 7.14 %
0.64 oz Pearle [8.00 %] (90 min) Hops 16.3 IBU
0.43 oz Magnum [14.00 %] (90 min) Hops 19.1 IBU
1.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (Dry Hop 3 days) Hops –
0.50 oz Chinook [13.00 %] (Dry Hop 3 days) Hops –
2.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (15 min) Hops 29.5 IBU
1.00 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Belgian Golden Ale (White Labs #WLP570) Yeast-Ale 

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 14.00 lb
—————————-
Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 17.50 qt of water at 162.5 F 151.0 F

Old Christmas BastardOld Christmas Bastard

That’s what I named my Christmas beer. It’s a pretty good beer. The main detractor from the Christmas beer was that when I Christmassed it, I over bittered. The beer is an Arrogant Bastard clone, and so is sufficiently bitter already. Then I added the orange peel and curacao (along with everything else), which sealed the deal. Consequently, I had to sweeten it with 4oz of milk sugar (lactose). It worked very nicely, the beer has a sweet front end and a very balanced bitter finish. Bitterness does pass with time, so it was important not to over-compensate on the sweet side.

Old Christmas Bastard was well-received by friends and family and all that remains is three twenty-two ounce bullets. In addition, I entered the beer in the Wizard of Saaz competition which concluded recently, and, unfortunately, by some cosmic mistake, the beer was not judged in the competition. The message from Mike Yingling read, partially, as there was a “screw up in the cellar. The beer was on the pull sheet but the stewards & cellar master must have made a mistake. I’m very sorry your beer was not judged.” However, I am far more interested the evaluation of the beer, and Mike emailed to tell me that it would be reviewed and the results sent.

So, there goes the first competition; but that was the first for me. There will be many more, now. I’m very interested in getting the feedback on my beers as, when you brew for a long time, as I have, you get into certain habits of approach to the brewing process. I try as much as I can to read and adjust and experiment, but at the end of the day my brew session is to get the beer brewed so I can drink it! Competitions will help point out areas that are weak and push me in the direction of exploring more intensely the questions of the process.

Blichmann TherminatorBlichmann Therminator

Plate Chiller Heaven

The next piece of equipment that I’d like to type about is my Blichmann Therminator plate chiller and accompanying pieces of equipment.

I have to say, first, from a purely emotive perspective: I love the Therminator.  I used a more traditional wort chiller for several years: the old copper coil submerged in the brew kettle.  I didn’t like the coil because: 1) it took forever to cool the wort (and wasted water); 2) if I didn’t tighten it properly, water leaked into the wort; 3) you had to submerge it in boiling wort to sanitize it; 4) it was a pain in the ass to deal with the thing sticking out of the brew kettle and it interfered with the whirlpooling of sediment.

I also tried other approaches to cooling the wort.  Often you’ll read suggestions for an ice water bath, etc., which to my mind takes too damn long if you’re truly attempting to get a cold break. As I said, I have tried other approaches, which culminates in my telling yet another embarrassing story of my brew past.  There was this one time… Seriously, it was in the middle of winter, a foot of snow, near zero temperatures outside.  I thought: why not?  Took the old brew kettle, full as it was, outside and plunked it down in a snow bank.  I went inside, cleaned up, and plopped down with a frosty pint and started watching a movie with my wife.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash
Tore open the blinds and threw up the sash.

I’ll spare you the bit about the moon, for all was blackness to my eyes at that point: five gallons of future joy stained the snow like blood after a winter battle.  Yes, I learned that night that snow melts unevenly–or that heat dissipates unevenly–or that something does something unevenly.  Outside I picked-up the now empty brew kettle from off its side, along with the lid, and trudged back into the house utterly forlorn. For a month I had to watch my very young daughter point at the black ice and listen to her say, “there’s daddy’s beer.”

So, plate chillers are good.

Features

The other that I’ve seen (on Morebeer) is the Shirron plate chiller, which is about half the price of the Therminator.  I’ve not tested or used them all, so I can’t speak to the best features or disappointments of the class of products–Blichmann does have test results on their site, but of course: It’s their site.  I picked it up the Therminator from the grapeandgranary in January, 2009, for $199.95.  At the same time I also picked up the Blichmann Thrumometer.

According to Blichmann, the Therminator is:

  • Identical to those used by commercial breweries
  • Can chill 10 gallons in 5 minutes
  • Is Ultra compact
  • Easy to clean and sanitize
  • Uses garden hose thread connections
  • Saves water
  • Comes with a heavy duty mounting bracket

Use

There are other features listed on the site.  The Therminator is pretty straightforward: you have a connector labeled WORT IN and WATER OUT. The connector sizes are different for each channel–so, the WORT only connects to WORT, and WATER to WATER. There is a mounting plate that is attached by bolts on the back. I don’t think I’ve ever chilled 5 gallons of beer in 5 minutes, but certainly less than 10 minutes.  However, I’ve not tested the throughput of the flow of water that I’m using.  Blichmann’s site states that it uses 5 gallons per minute.  It has to be pretty close to that, though, as I’ve filled up two 7-gallon fermenting bucket 2 times (4 times/28 gallons) with the water that goes through the Therminator.  I dump the water in the washing machine; in the summer sometimes I dump the water in the garden.  In terms of compactness, it does not take up much space and it is easily placed in a fermenting bucket filled with sanitizer or, as the Blichmann site says, in a pot to boil.  The thread connectors are quite important as, once you have the appropriate connectors for your hoses, everything fits together easily.  I had to go to a hardware store and pick up an adapter for the kitchen faucet and I created my own WORT IN and WORT OUT hoses by picking up the appropriate threaded connector accessory kit.  The ease of this made me feel pretty stupid after I had already ordered the Backflush hose, which is simply another piece of hose with the garden thread connector on one side and the quick connector on the other.

In use, I connect the barb valve in the Brew Kettle to and ID hose with the quick connect on the opposite end.  This connects to the WORT IN connector on the Therminator.  I connect the other ID line with the quick connect on it to the WORT OUT side.  This hose has the Thrumometer in the middle to gauge the flow temperature of the wort as it comes out of the Therminator.  The ID line flows directly into the fermenting bucket.  I connect garden hose connector one to the faucet and the opposite end to the WATER IN on the Therminator; likewise, garden hose connector number two to the WATER OUT and the opposite end is just an open ID line into a 7 gallon bucket for collecting the water.  Often there is some adjusting of the temperature of the water coming out of the faucet because, believe it or not, I’ve actually had instances where the wort coming out of the Therminator is too cold for an ale yeast starter.

Thrumometer

The Thrumometer is an instrumental tool, I think, for monitoring the temperature of the water coming out of the process. I always have a digital thermometer in the wort to ensure that the reading is on target and it generally is; though sometimes there will be variance in how hot the temperature of the wort is when it initially comes out and once the plate chilller has been active for a bit.  The Thrumometer is an inline measure and it’s pretty passive, but it works.  The tool itself measures temperatures between 88 degrees and 58 degrees.  It is made of aluminum and has a black temperature gauge that changes color as a temperature is reached: the color moves between black, to dark blue to bright green when the constant temperature of the wort settles.

Backflush Hose

The Backflush hose is important.  After I’ve aerated the wort and pitched the yeast and the beer is safely and happily snugged away, I take off the WATER OUT hose from the previous process and connect the garden hose connector of the Backflush to it.  I take off the line from the barb valve to the WORT IN as well, and then connect the quick connector of the Backflush hose to the WORT IN of the Therminator.  In essence, the Backflush hose is connecting the WATER side of the Therminator to the WORT side.  I heat up the water from the faucet and let it flush out the Therminator, which is generally pretty full of hop sludge and other break material.  I then move the WORT connector to the WORT OUT and repeat the process, flushing in reverse.  I’ll do this a couple of times to clear the Therminator and then I’ll dunk it in a sanitizing bucket while I clean up.

Conclusion

All-in-all I’m pretty pleased with the Therminator plate chiller, and while I can’t speak comparatively to other plate chillers in how they compare, the Therminator is a big step up from the traditional coil wort chillers and definitely beats ice bathes and snow banks.

Recent brew sessionRecent brew session

Thought I’d throw up a few of the shots from my most recent brew session–the Arrogant Bastard clone.

Photo descriptions

The first is the 10-gallon water cooler that I use as my mash/lauter tun. It’s upside down in the picture drying out after I washed it. There’s a couple of shots of the brew in the kettle as it simmers: anticipating the rolling boil to come. I’ve got a shot of the counter top with the Chinook pellet hops in their respective hop socks: the first, on the left is the 90 minute, then 30, then flame out. There’s also a bag of Whirlfloc tablets and Irish Moss. I only used the Whirlfloc. You can also see my digital scale and a small white bottle of Fermcap (anti-foam)–oh, and cookies! I’ve got a shot of my Therminator plate chiller which I’ll talk about soon in another article, as well as a shot of the Thrumometer which allows me to keep tabs on the temperature of the wort after it exits the plate chiller on its way to the fermentation bucket. Good stuff.

Conclusion

The OG of the Arrogant Bastard was 1.084 which is good, but given the recipe I used demonstrates my continued problem of low efficiency in my process. The one sure area of my brewing process on which I want to improve.

Homebrewing surge!Homebrewing surge!

My wife forwarded a good article from Ohio.com about the rising tide of homebrewers, with a nice shot of John Pastor, owner of the Grape and Granary.

Beer in the secondary as photographed by Ohio.com

The photo of Michael Danks in the article shows a pretty similar set up to my own, with the boil kettle and the 10 gallon water cooler. Looks like he’s stirring the mash while a 7 gallon fermenter bucket sits in the back waiting to be filled with liquid joy.

I also just discovered from my wife that one of our good friends works for LD Carlson in Kent, OH. Have to see what goodness that can bring!

Brews a’Bubblin’Brews a’Bubblin’

An assortment of things…

Rodenbach

Follow-up on the Brew day

Had some people ask about the Arrogant Bastard clone so I thought I just throw an update out. The brew day went off so surpassingly smoothly that I sort of floated through it.

I modified the recipe some, as I didn’t have all the grain that I thought I did, so the final recipe looks a bit more like this: 

  • 15.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)
  • 1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0
    SRM)
  • 1.00 lb Munich Malt – 10L (10.0 SRM)
  • 0.50 lb Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM)
  • 0.50 lb Caramunich Malt (56.0 SRM)
  • 0.25 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)
  • 0.25 lb Carafa II (412.0 SRM)

I also went with the 5.72 gallon boil volume recommended which was a mistake given a 90-minute boil time. In retrospect I should have boosted the volume to around 6.5 gallons. Regardless, I had prepared the yeast starter a week or so back and the airlock was bubbling within 12 hours or so.

Next Brews

On another note, I just went to the grape and granary site and picked up ingredients for a Founder’s Breakfast Stout clone and a Flanders Red, which I’m real intrigued about. My wife enjoys Rodenbach so I thought I’d take a stab at it. Little did I know that it involves nearly 2 years and a pitch pack named, enticingly, “The Roeselare Blend” which apparently contains “Belgian style ale strain, a sherry strain, two Brettanomyces strains, a Lactobacillus culture, and a Pediococcus culture” which results in a 1.5″ cake of pellicle on the fermenting beer.

Mr. Beer Kit

As well, I won a Mr. Beer kit on eBay ($25) which I’m going to play with just for kicks and see what I can make out of it. If nothing else there was a post on homebrew talk that mentioned the fake barrel being useful for real ales. Regardless, I can load up that barrel and the party pig and avoid the problems I had with the Keg Charger at the Oktoberfest.

Brew Day!Brew Day!

Took my floating holiday from work today and am brewing an Arrogant Bastard clone; the wonder work of Stone Brewing Co. (I’ll add some holiday spices in the secondary to give it a proper Christmas kick.)

Using the following recipe, which I picked up at Homebrew Talk:

  • 11.5 pounds pale two-row malt
  • 1.0 pounds crystal 120
  • 0.5 lb Special-B
  • 0.75 lb Biscuit
  • 0.5 lb Aromatic
  • 0.5 lb CaraMunich
  • 1.25 oz chinook pellets (12.5 aa%) (15.6 AAUs) @ 90 min
  • 1.0 oz chinook pellets (12.5 AAUs) @ 30 min
  • 0.5 oz chinook pellets (6.25 AAUs) @ flame out
  • 1 tsp Irish moss
  • White Labs WLP007 or WLP001 (English Ale Yeast)

Preparation:
Mash at 155 degrees for 60 minutes. Boil for 90 minutes, adding the hops according to schedule. Add Irish Moss last 5 minutes of the boil. Cool wort and pitch yeast. Primary ferment at about 68 F for 7 to 10 days. Secondary fermentation optional. 

Specifics:
Style Strong Ale
Recipe Type All Grain
Batch Size 5 gallons
Original Gravity 1.074
Final Gravity 1.018
Boiling Time 90 minutes
Primary Fermentation Glass, ~ 68 F, 7-10 days
Secondary Fermentation optional
Other Specifics 75 IBUs, about 7% abv.

Get your beer on!Get your beer on!

Cleveland Beer Week is upon us, with dozens of great breweries descending upon Cleveland in a host of locations throughout the city. Jammin’ brews will be available from East to West in our fair City of Cle, from XYZ Tavern to the Cedar Lee–and from North to South.

Love Stone Brewing Co? Great Lakes? Hoppin Frog? Fat Heads? They’re here. 21st Amendment? Dogfish Head? Smuttynose? Sierra Nevada? They’re here. Beer will be flowing and locations will be hoppin–literally in a whole slush of senses.

If you love beer, this coming week is a GREAT week to be in Cleveland. I’m definitely going to find a way to get away from the children, out of the house, and hit a few locations for some frosty pints!

For more information including events, breweries, and locations check out http://www.clevelandbeerweek.org/