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Showing posts from February, 2016

Strong's Classic Blonde Ale Recipe

Some time ago, I received the book Modern Homebrew Recipes by Gordon Strong as a gift.  As I browsed through it, I found Strong's recipe for a Classic Blonde Ale.  Strong says this is one of his go-to summer beers and that he doesn't like to make it overly aggressive or strong.  His recipe meets the BJCP guidelines for the style and sounded good.  I decided to make it.

A local homebrew shop provided all the necessary ingredients, but did substitute one as noted below.

Strong's Classic Blonde Ale Recipe

3.5 pounds of 2-row Brewer's Malt (US)
2 pounds, 10 ounces of German Pilsen Malt
2 pounds of Munich Malt I
8 ounces of CaraRed Malt (which was substituted for Carahell in Strong's recipe)
1 ounce Centennial hops pellets (instead of an ounce of whole hops in Strong's recipe)
0.15 ounces of Citra pellets (instead of whole Citra hops in Strong's recipe)
0.35 ounces of Citra pellets (instead of whole Citra hops in Strong's recipe)
1 Whirlfloc tablet
1 Tbsp. PH…

Brew Dog Releases Back Catalog of Beer Recipes

James Watt and Martin Dickie are the owners of Brew Dog Brewing Company.  They began as home brewers years ago, and today are a craft beer powerhouse.  To give back to the home brewing community, they've released a book of over 200 of their beer recipes.  The book includes the following beer recipes, among others:

Punk IPARiptideOriginal DogmaChaos TheoryCoffee Imperial StoutTokyoNanny StateTactical Nuclear PenguinNuns with Guns It also includes many (if not all) of their annual special release "AB" series of beers.
Each recipe is given with a description of the beer, the basic information like gravity and alcohol content, ingredients and amounts, food pairings, and brewing tips.
For more information, see:  https://www.brewdog.com/lowdown/blog/diy-dog

iMake's Graincoat Jacket for The Grainfather

As I've mentioned several times on the blog, I acquired iMake's The Grainfather RIMS brewing system in August 2015 through their Kickstarter campaign that began in March of that year.  The system and its excellent counter flow wort chiller is pictured at the left.

When I first got The Grainfather, I was frustrated with it.  In part, this was because I had based my expectations on reviews of the non-US version of the device, which has a lot more wattage and voltage flowing through its heating element.  It could heat mash water a lot faster than mine and get the wort to a much more rolling boil a lot more quickly.

In experience to date, the US version of The Grainfather takes about a minute to heat a five-gallon load of water or wort 1 to 2 degrees Fahrenheit.  So heating mash water from my current (January 2016) tap water temperature of 57F to a typical mash temperature of 151F (a 94F change) takes anywhere from 45 minutes to 90 minutes.  If you compare that to the 240V 2000-w…

Brewing with The Grainfather, Part 3 - Cleaning and Overall Thoughts

In Part 1 of this series, I introduced The Grainfather and discussed how to use it for mashing and sparging.  In Part 2, we talked about boiling and chilling the wort with The Grainfather and its included counterflow chiller.  In this final segment, we'll discuss cleanup and overall thoughts about the device and its usage.

Cleanup

Once you've pumped the wort from The Grainfather into your fermenter and pitched your yeast, you're well on your way to a delicious batch of homebrew.  Unfortunately, you've still got some cleanup work to do.

The cleanup process in my experience will take 20-30 minutes.  It involves the following tasks:

Removing and discarding the grain from The Grainfather's grain basketCleaning the grain basket, kettle, recirculation tube, and wort chillerCleaning all the other implements used in brewing (scale, scoops, mash paddle, etc.) At the end of the brewing process, there will be hops bags (if you used them), grain and other residue, and usually so…

Brewing with The Grainfather, Part 2 - The Boil

In Part 1 of this series, I explained a little about iMake's The Grainfather RIMS brewing system, walked through the mashing and sparging steps, and shared some recommendations.  In this post, we're going to talk about the boiling and chilling steps.

Boiling Wort with The Grainfather

Being a 120V 1600-watt electric device with a standard US 3-prong electrical plug, you can use The Grainfather indoors provided you aren't in such an enclosed environment that the escaping steam will cause you problems.  I'm able to brew in my basement without any need for fans or other ventilation.  In a small apartment kitchen, I can imagine that the steam might condense on the walls or ceiling and cause an issue - but that's only speculation on my part.

When you've finished the mashing and sparging effort, starting the boil is a simple activity.  You remove the grain basket from the kettle, then switch the heating element mode switch from Mash to Normal (if it's not already s…