Thursday, March 27, 2014

Double Experiment

Queensland State Archives 1638 Industrial High School Brisbane Science Class April 1951
By Agriculture And Stock Department,
Publicity Branch [Public domain],
  via Wikimedia Commons
I've got something planned. Actually two things.

But I will do them simultaneously. And, weather permitting, I'll try them tomorrow.

The first is Smash beer. Smash (or SMaSH) stands for Single Malt and Single Hop. What that means is just what it says, my recipe contains only one malted grain, and one hop variety. While there are relatively few beers that you can make successfully using SMaSH brewing, it is a unique way to truly understand what characteristics a particular hop or malt adds to the equation. With only one malt and one hop variant, you can understand the exact flavors that come from those varieties.

The other experiment that I am going to do is to split the batch and use two yeast strains. So basically, I will end up with two different beers, but with some very similar characteristics.

I've been interested in parti-gyle brewing (an experiment for a later day) wherein the first runnings are used to make one big beer and the remainder is used to make a second beer (perhaps even with a second mash), but that requires two boils and I am not sure that I have the time for that tomorrow.

So instead, I'm doing a single mash (with one grain) and then doing a single boil (with one hop variant) and then splitting the wort. Since I make 10 gallon batches, it should nicely give me 5 or so gallons of each.

What am I making? A Kolsch (at the high end of its OG range) and a Belgian Pale (just below the low end of its OG range).

The grain bill? 22.5 lbs of Pilsner malt
The hops? 2 additions of Czech Saaz
The yeast? Wyeast Kolsch and Wyeast Belgian Ardennes

That's it.

My guess is I will end up with two pretty bad beers from an overall perspective (but hopefully still drinkable) but a solid knowledge of what each ingredient brings to the table.

And, highly likely, I will be live tweeting the brewday over at The Twittersss

Monday, January 21, 2013

Brew day!

Well, this could very well be the last brew day that I have in this house.  We are going to try to sell our house and move this year, and that means storing the brewing equipment in storage, so I most likely won't be brewing around here again.  By the time this batch is ready to drink, it will be mid-March or so, and I'd love it if we could sell our house as soon as April.  Either way, this is a fitting beer to be the last brew in the house where I started brewing, since I do so love Wee Heavy beers.  I've tweaked this recipe again this time around, so we will see how it goes.

TEST - 5G - Wye Heavye Beastye

Brew Type: All Grain Date: 1/21/2013
Style: Strong Scotch Ale Brewer: Cameron Mathews
Batch Size: 5.50 gal Assistant Brewer:
Boil Volume: 10.83 gal Boil Time: 75 min
Brewhouse Efficiency: 50.00 % Equipment: Cameron Mathews Brewery: Brew Pot (15 gal) and Igloo Cooler (10 Gal)
Actual Efficiency: 44.77 %
Taste Rating (50 possible points): 40.0

Amount Item Type % or IBU
20.00 lb Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 77.92 %
3.60 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 14.03 %
0.75 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 90L (90.0 SRM) Grain 2.92 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 1.95 %
0.30 lb Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 1.17 %
0.30 lb Special B Malt (180.0 SRM) Grain 1.17 %
0.16 lb Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM) Grain 0.61 %
0.06 lb Peat Smoked Malt (2.8 SRM) Grain 0.23 %
0.50 oz Williamette [4.60 %] (75 min) Hops 7.6 IBU
0.50 oz Nugget [12.00 %] (75 min) Hops 19.9 IBU
0.50 oz Williamette [4.60 %] (20 min) Hops 4.4 IBU
1.00 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 20.0 min) Misc
1.23 gm Calcium Chloride (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
1.23 gm Salt (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
7.89 gm Epsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
13.31 gm Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
16.77 gm Chalk (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
23.42 gm Baking Soda (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
57.20 items Bottle Caps - Gold (Bottling 1.0 min) Misc
13.56 gal Edinburg, Scotland Water
3 Pkgs Scottish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1728) Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.087 SG (1.070-1.130 SG) Measured Original Gravity: 1.078 SG
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.024 SG (1.018-1.030 SG) Measured Final Gravity: 1.020 SG
Estimated Color: 24.6 SRM (14.0-25.0 SRM) Color [Color]
Bitterness: 32.0 IBU (17.0-35.0 IBU) Alpha Acid Units: 10.6 AAU
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 8.30 % (6.50-10.00 %) Actual Alcohol by Volume: 7.59 %
Actual Calories: 358 cal/pint

Mash Profile
Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, No Mash Out, Thick Mash Mash Tun Weight: 9.00 lb
Mash Grain Weight: 25.67 lb Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Grain Temperature: 72.0 F Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F
Sparge Water: 7.10 gal Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE

Name Description Step Temp Step Time
Mash In Add 28.23 qt of water at 171.3 F 154.0 F 60 min

Mash Notes
Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Corn Sugar Carbonation Volumes: 2.4 (1.6-2.4 vols)
Estimated Priming Weight: 4.2 oz Temperature at Bottling: 60.0 F
Primer Used: - Age for: 3.0 Weeks
Storage Temperature: 72.0 F

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Punk! Pumpkin Ale test batch

I love pumpkin ales.  I LUV LUV LUV them, and so this year I decided to make one.  Just a couple weeks ago, on a nice windy morning, I sat out back and brewed this right up.

TEST - (For Seasonal prelim) - PUNK Pumpkin

Brew Type: Extract Date: 10/22/2012
Style: Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer Brewer:
Batch Size: 5.50 gal Assistant Brewer:
Boil Volume: 8.84 gal Boil Time: 60 min
Equipment: Cameron Mathews Brewery: Brew Pot (15 gal) and Igloo Cooler (10 Gal)
Taste Rating (50 possible points): 35.0

Amount Item Type % or IBU
6.00 lb Amber Liquid Extract (12.5 SRM) Extract 60.00 %
1.00 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 10.00 %
0.50 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 5.00 %
0.50 lb Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 5.00 %
1.00 oz Mt. Hood [6.00 %] (60 min) Hops 20.9 IBU
0.50 oz Hallertauer [4.80 %] (5 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
0.25 tsp Allspice (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
0.25 tsp Cloves, ground (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
0.25 tsp Ginger, powdered (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
0.25 tsp Nutmeg (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
0.50 tsp Vanilla Extract (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
1.50 tsp Cinnamon, powdered (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
4.00 lb Pumpkin (Roasted Pieces) (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
52.80 items Bottle Caps - Orange (Bottling 1.0 min) Misc
1.00 lb Brown Sugar, Light (8.0 SRM) Sugar 10.00 %
1.00 lb Molasses (80.0 SRM) Sugar 10.00 %
8.84 gal Dallas, TX Water
1 Pkgs American Ale II (Wyeast Labs #1272) Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile
Estimated Original Gravity: 1.056 SG (1.030-1.110 SG) Measured Original Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Final Gravity: 1.014 SG (1.005-1.025 SG) Measured Final Gravity: 1.005 SG
Estimated Color: 16.8 SRM (5.0-50.0 SRM) Color [Color]
Bitterness: 20.9 IBU (0.0-70.0 IBU) Alpha Acid Units: 6.0 AAU
Estimated Alcohol by Volume: 5.48 % (2.50-12.00 %) Actual Alcohol by Volume: 0.65 %
Actual Calories: 43 cal/pint

Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Corn Sugar Carbonation Volumes: 2.4 (2.0-3.0 vols)
Estimated Priming Weight: 4.2 oz Temperature at Bottling: 60.0 F
Primer Used: - Age for: 3.0 Weeks
Storage Temperature: 72.0 F


Used one and a half 4-5 lb pie pumpkins, cut into 8ths and peeled and roasted 1 hour at 325 degrees in the oven. Then added to the water with steeping grains and removed when water reached boiling temp to add extracts, molasses, etc.

Notes from first thing to say is do not use canned pumpkin! Real pumpkin is the only way to go here, otherwise you’ll be dealing with a huge mess. You’ve been warned.

You’ll first need to roast the pumpkin in the oven, similar to cooking squash. This softens the pumpkin and begins breaking it down. Cut the pumpkin into manageable pieces (should be cleaned, of course—old jack-o’lanterns work great), place in a shallow baking pan and add a bit of water to the pan. Roast in a 325°-ish oven for about an hour, or until soft. Or check a cookbook .

There’s two ways you can incorporate the finished pumpkin: a partial mash-style method or simply a soak with the grains as the water heats. For the soak method, simply add the pumpkin and the grains to your pot of water, put it on the heat to boil. When it boils, remove the pumpkin and grains.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Chew with Incysers (it's a Cyser, get it?)

So I've made mead... but cyser is a specific kind of mead that uses apple juice as a base instead of water.

Think of it as mead & cider's offspring, if you will.

I decided to make a half batch (recipe was 6 gallons) and it looks like I might have exceeded even that.  Here's the ingredients and the process I used...

2.5 gallons apple cider (no preservatives - I used generic Albertson's apple cider)
6 lbs honey (I used 4 lb Albertson's Clover and 2 lb local unfiltered)
1/2 gallon water
3 lb brown sugar (I used 2 lb light and 1 lb golden brown)
1.5 lb golden raisins (I used Sun-Maid)
3 tsp Yeast Nutrient
1.5 tsp Yeast Energizer
1 cinnamon stick
1/4 tsp pectic enzyme
2 pkgs - Pasteur Champagne Yeast (Red Star)

OK, so first I dumped a gallon of apple cider in the carboy.  Meanwhile I boiled the half gallon of water on the stove.

Then I proceeded to pour in the honey, jar after jar, and shake the carboy around to mix the honey with the cider.

Then, using some of the cider, I poured it in the honey jars, sealed them, and shook them vigorously to get all the honey out, pouring that in.

Dissolve brown sugar in the boiling water - use some ice or apple cider to cool it, then funnel it into the carboy.

Chop the raisins in the food processor - they become this big globby ball, so you have to work a bit to force them through the funnel in small chunks into the fermenter.

Drop in the cinnamon stick.  Add the remaining apple cider.  Shake again.

Add Yeast Nutrient and Yeast Energizer.  Shake again.

*Note:  This is where I am right now.  Following steps to be completed tomorrow.

Wait at least 12 hours and add Pectic Enzyme.

Wait at least 12 more hours and pitch yeast (I will do this dry) into the fermenter.

Let it ferment for 3 or more weeks, swirling every day or two to keep the raisins in mixture.

Rack to secondary.

Let sit for up to 3 months before bottling.  (I plan to bottle in November)

Bottle and let age in bottles - try one new, wait 3 months on most, and save some for a year.

We will see if I have the patience for that.

Psycho triple brew day - again! again! again!

So I'm at it again - trying to make three different "fermentable beverages" in a single day.  This is how to wisely spend a vacation day, I tell you!

Today is running a little different than last time, though, partially because I had to stay outside the whole time, so I couldn't use the stove for a mash water heater which delayed my ability to get the extract brew on.

For those of you playing along at home, I've found that I can get three brews in pretty easily so long as they follow a certain pattern: one all-grain 10 gallon batch, one extract 5 gallon batch, and one no-boil (mead or cider or perry or something) batch.  I also can build my water for the all grain batch, but I tend to use tap water for the extract batch.  Today I added an RV carbon filter to that line to remove some excess chlorine or other bad flavors - the water tasted great coming out the other end of the (drinking water) hose.  Total cost for that was under $20.  Today, I'm throwing a half-batch of cyser in there today (only 2.5 gallons) so I will be targeting 17.5 gallons total, but still using all my carboy capacity.  The cyser may rest a while longer, though, so that limits me to probably single 10 gallon brews or maybe a 2-batch day for the rest of the year or so...

So - what's in the lineup for today?

1- Kolsch - I won about 10 lbs of pilsner malt in a raffle so what do I do with that?  Make a nice easy-drinking kolsch for Oktoberfest time!  It is a 10 gallon all-grain batch with a simple grain bill.
2- Porter (plus something extra) - have been wondering for a while if there is a way to incorporate bacon into beer.  Found a recipe and a commercial example, so I am guessing the answer is yes.  So, here goes - Porker Porter - five gallon extract batch (grains steeping above in picture), bacon (cooked and dried of as much grease as possible) added to the secondary.
3 - Cyser - I was pleasantly surprised with my cider creation last time - so decided to spice it up a bit.  Making a cyser with honey, white raisins, apple cider, and cinnamon.  Sounds like a fall or winter treat.  I will probably try to bottle it in November, I think - maybe earlier - and enjoy some young this fall, to see how it goes.  I'll save some for next year, perhaps.

Now, here's the tricky part (to be figured out next week some time).  I only have 4 carboys.  I am using all 4.  I want all three with beer in them (porter and two with kolsch) to be secondary fermented.  Where I sit right now is either racking one to a sanitized bottling bucket, then holding while I clean and rack the other 2 carboys then return the bottle batch to a clean and sanitized carboy, OR saying forget it, bottling one of the batches of Kolsch, and daisy-chaining from there.  I do think the Kolsch would benefit clarity-wise from a secondary rest, though.  We will see (and by that I mean we will see how lazy I am).  I also need to get some bottles cleared out to hold all this beer!

Will post recipes shortly.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Empty Carboys

Bottled up the cider Sunday, half sweetened/half dry, which leaves me with only one empty case of bottles, but another problem - four empty carboys.

I am not sure I'm going to pull off another 20 gallon brew day again, but I could very well pull off 15.  We will see how it goes.

For now, though, I just have to figure out WHAT to brew.  Probably something that can sit in a carboy a while as I clear out more bottles (time to get to work on that, eh?), so maybe something that has to age, alongside some drinkable beer that I can bottle up when it is ready.  I'll go back to my planning board, while you all wait with bated breath.

In the meantime, what are you brewing?


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Secondary Racking

Racking the cider to secondary today.  Then going to bottle brown ale tonight.  From the looks of the cider, I might even go with a tertiary rest on it, just to help a little with clarity, but I do think it looks pretty good overall - I may skip it.  The brown ale looks just great, and I decided to go ahead and bottle it and free up the carboys instead of doing any sort of secondary business with it.  I should get a good 70+ bottles of brown ale out of it, so that is a plus.  Then I've got 10 lbs of Pilsner malt sitting around that I need to figure out what to do with.  What to brew what to brew!?!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

So starts the chain reaction

Decided to bottle the CDA/Dark IPA so I could use that carboy as a secondary for the browns and cider - and just clean and rack and clean and rack those over to it.  It did not attenuate out as much as I would have liked but I also think my OG reading must have been low, otherwise I have an "IPA" with about 4% alcohol.  I think based on the other number that I had floating around (and the fact that it does not taste like sweet malt), it's more like 6.4%.

Anyway, chose to do this one because it didn't need as much clarifying, though it is definitely lighter than I would have hoped.  Will have to see how it looks in a glass, but probably need more black patent next time around.

Once I've racked this and cleaned out the carboy, time to rack over the browns and cider one-by-one to secondary fermentation and clearing for a few weeks...


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bottles, the Good, the Bad, the Ugly

Over the last several years of beer brewing, I have seen lots of bottles come and go.

I have purchased homebrew clean bottles directly from a homebrew store, and while those pristine glass containers are perfect for competition and zero effort, I have also found myself taking a much cheaper route of cleaning bottles from my last six pack and reusing those freebies.

Along the way I have noticed that some bottles are perfect and ideally suited for "conversion" into "competition-ready" bottles with little or no effort, and some bottles are just never going to make it.  So I decided to keep this post as an ongoing post to track which commercially available bottles I have tried to clean for reuse and which ones generally aren't worth my effort.  This is a personal list, you may have found different results.

So first, the criteria for my verdict:  My process for cleaning the bottles has to be the result of a rinse and soak in hot water, followed by potentially peeling off of labels (if they didn't float off) and a light scrubbing of glue with a scrubber sponge.  A subsequent soak in sanitizing solution will result in a usable bottle.

The result will be one of the following:

  • Competition Grade: A clean 12 oz. brown bottle free of labels, with a crimp cap top with a wide enough collar to accommodate my two handed capper as well as the stand capper.  Bottle should have no raised glass lettering, no glue, and no printing remaining that would render it unusable in competition.
  • Personal Use: A bottle that is easily devoid of paper labels or glue and has sufficient collar for crimp top cap.  Some feature of the bottle (size, raised lettering, silk screen printing) would prevent use in competitions, but these are excellent for personal consumption.
  • Trash: Requires too much effort to clean or has bottle characteristics making it undesirable for even my personal use.
I'll start with what I know and update this the more beers I try.  And yes, I know this is scarce right now, but just a starting point for tracking this stuff.

BreweryBeer(s)Cleaning EffortResultNotes
Ballast PointBig Eye IPA
Calico Amber
MinimalCompetition Grade
Dogfish HeadFestina Peche
60 Minute IPA
90 Minute IPA
MinimalCompetition Grade
Magic HatBlind Faith IPA
ModerateCompetition GradeSome heavy glue to remove
Samuel AdamsPersonal UseRaised Lettering
Stone Brewing Co.Arrogant Bastard
Oaked Arrogant Bastard
N/APersonal UsePrinted Logos
22 oz. Size
Widmer BrothersPersonal UseRaised Lettering
Rogue AlesSanta's Private Reserve
Dead Guy Ale
Morimoto Soba Ale
Chocolate Stout
Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout
N/APersonal UsePrinted Logos
22 oz. Size
New BelgiumFat TirePersonal UseRaised Lettering
Odd Size
AbitaPurple Haze
TrashSquat Size Profile

More to come.


Friday, June 29, 2012

The Cardinal Puff Puff Puff will (or will not) post his third and final recipe of the day

Oops.  I realized that I didn't actually circle back and post the third recipe from the giant brewday last week.

No worries - it was a 10 Gallon Southbound and Brown Ale batch.  I've made it a ton.  So, you can get the recipe links here.

At this point, the beer is a week old and all the furious bubble bubble pop has settled down.  I'm going to let everything settle another week and then I'll bottle SOMETHING and rack the other three to secondaries in succession (yeah, I'll probably bottle half of the brown ale, since I've got 10 gallons).

Anyway, consider this your circleback

Happy brewing!