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Showing posts from 2020

Joe's Ancient Orange Mead 1.0

For some time now, I've read about Joe's Ancient Orange Mead, but I've never taken the time to actually create a batch of it.  This year, I had the time and the ingredients on hand. Ingredients 3.5 pounds of honey (mostly orange blossom, some clover) 1 large orange 1 cinnamon stick 1 clove A small pinch of freshly grated nutmeg 25 raisins Enough water to make 1 gallon 1 package of Fleischmann's bread yeast Making the must: Wash the orange and remove the zest.  Peel the orange, throw away the pith, then thinly slice the orange across the segments, Collect one gallon of reverse osmosis water Add the honey and about half of the water to a sanitized fermenter Shake to aerate the must and mix in the honey Add the orange, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, and raisins Add water to the one gallon mark Shake the fermenter again to mix in the yeast and aerate further Add an airlock and allow it to ferment until the liquid is clear Strain out the solid ingredients and bottle Post-Brew Note

Blackberry Wine 1.0

Adventures in Homebrewing had 96-ounce cans of Blackberry Wine base on sale for $10, because they were past the sell-by date.  I decided to chance it and buy two of the cans to turn into blackberry wine.  When opened, the cans smelled perfectly fine, so I think the wine is going to turn out well.  We'll see. Ingredients (per 5-gallon batch) 1 can of Vintner's Harvest Blackberry Wine Base 8 pounds of cane sugar 3 tsp. Citric Acid 4 tsp. Yeast Nutrient (DAP + Fermaid O) 2.5 tsp. Pectic Enzyme 1/2 tsp. Wine Tannin 1 packet CR51 Vintner's Harvest wine yeast Enough RO water to reach 5 gallons in the fermenter Original Gravity: 1.086 SG for one batch, 1.077 SG for the other Final Gravity:   0.988 SG estimated Batch Size:   5 gallons per batch ABV:   13.5% estimated Fermenters Used:   Two 7.5 gallon SS Brewtech Brewmaster Buckets Preparing the must was pretty straightforward.  I heated three gallons of the RO water to about 120F and began dissolving the sugar in it.  When the sug

Christmas Ale 2020

 A few months back, I saw one of David Heath's YouTube videos where he brewed a "Fast Christmas Beer" using a couple of methods to reduce brewing and fermentation time.  The recipe sounded interesting, so I decided to brew it for Christmas 2020.  Thanks to COVID-19, I won't have many opportunities to share it with others, but my wife and I will get to check it out. I deviated from the recipe in the video in that I elected to go for a 60-minute boil rather than boil the hops, orange peel, and cinnamon separately on the kitchen stove.  I also deviated slightly in using a mix of base malts that I needed to use up, rather than the straight up pale malt he used.  Otherwise, this is basically David Heath's recipe. I also decided to use Lutra Kveik yeast for half the wort and SafAle S-04 for the other half, just to see how the beer would differ with a different yeast.  Heath recommended Tormodgarden Kveik yeast, but also noted S-04 and US-05 as options if you didn't

Courage Russian Imperial Stout Clone 1.0

I've heard quite a lot about this beer over the last couple of years, so I decided to try brewing a batch with the best recipe I could locate, adjusted for my Grainfather and a three gallon batch.  This will be the first Imperial Stout I think I have ever brewed.  I don't know where I found this recipe, and I tried to locate it again on the web with no success.  My apologies to whoever originally published it, but since I've significantly altered it below (adding DME, swapping out the flavor/aroma hops, and the yeast) that may be just as well if the beer doesn't turn out. Ingredients 5 pounds 5 ounces Maris Otter malt 3.3 pounds (1 large can) Maris Otter LME 8 ounces English Medium Crystal malt 6 ounces English Pale Chocolate malt 2 ounces English Black Patent malt 2 ounces English Roasted Barley 1/8 tsp. Brewtan B (mash) 1.5 tsp. pH 5.2 stabilizer (mash, after grain) 10 ounces cane sugar (start of boil) 4 ounces Lyles Treacle (10 min.) 1 tsp. yeast nutrient (15 min.) 1

Irish Red 7.0

Thanks to the mold infection, I had to toss Irish Red 6.0 before I even got to taste it.  Since it was mostly a mash optimization experiment, it was less painful to toss it out than it might have been.  Today, I decided to brew a sixth version of the beer, as a further test of mash optimization. Ingredients 6 pounds, 6 ounces Maris Otter malt 6 ounces Caramel/Crystal 120L 6 ounces British Medium Crystal 5 ounces Chocolate Rye Malt 0.57 ounces Whitbread Golding Variety hops @ 7.1% AA 1/4 tsp. Brewtan B during boil (20 min.) 1/2 tsp. Yeast Nutrient (15 min.) 1/2 tsp. Irish Moss (15 min.) 3 gallons RO mash water 1.75 gallons RO sparge water 1 gram Calcium Chloride 0.5 grams Canning Salt 1.1 grams Epsom Salt 2.5 grams Gypsum 0.5 grams Magnesium Chloride 1 package Wyeast English Ale III yeast Brewfather estimates the batch will have the following characteristics: BJCP Category: Irish Red Ale Batch Size: 3.0 gallons, 2.7 gallons actual Original Gravity: 1.058 SG estimated, 1.060 SG actual

Heady Topper DIPA Clone 1.0

I've heard a lot of people rave about The Alchemist Brewing's Heady Topper DIPA, but I've never had the opportunity to actually try the beer.  In cases like this, I tend to default to locating the actual recipe or a generally-recognized good clone recipe and brewing that.  I've had to adjust this recipe because I didn't have as much Amarillo hops as I thought I did - and went for Mandarina Bavaria as a substitute.  Otherwise this is the recipe I found. Ingredients 7.25 pounds 2-row Brewer's Malt 12 ounces cane sugar (added during boil, 60 min.) 9 ounces Briess White Wheat Malt 6 ounces Baird's Carastan Malt 4-6 ounces of Rice Hulls (3-4 large handfuls) 3 gallons RO mash water, treated with 7.6 grams Gypsum, 2.2g Epsom Salt, 0.9g Calcium Chloride, 0.8g Magnesium Chloride, 0.2g Baking Soda, 0.2g  Canning Salt 1.9 gallons RO sparge water, untreated 0.6 ounces Magnum hops @ 12% AA (60 min.) 1 ounce Amarillo hops (5 min.) 1 ounce Apollo hops (5 min.) i ounce Cent

Mash Optimization and 2020 Irish Red Ale #6

I've had a number of frustrations in my homebrewing activities since around 2018.  One of these has been that since switching back to the brewing setup I used then, my brewhouse efficiency is considerably lower than it was before then.  After attending HomeBrewCon 2020 (virtually, of course), I learned quite a bit about mashing that I didn't know before.  I'm hoping that learning will pay off with some efficiency improvements in upcoming batches. For this recipe, I'm testing two variables - grain crush and sparge-to-mash water ratio.  I've switched out my three-roller mill (which is hard to gap) for a two-roller mill and gapped it to match the recommended "thin as a credit card" gap. For this batch, I'm attempting to reach as close to a 1:1 mash-to-sparge water ratio (and going back to heating the sparge water as well).  If the brewhouse efficiency gets closer to my goal for this batch, I'll know I'm on the right track.  If not, back to my note

Funky Honey Ale 1.0

A few months ago, I purchased a a beer from Strange Roots Experimental Ales that was made with 78% barley and 22% local honey, fermented with a wild local yeast.  Although it was somewhere between a mead and a beer, I found it really tasty.  I tried making my own version, which wasn't bad, but was nothing like theirs.  Today I decided to try my own twist on their beer. Like the Strange Roots brewery, I'm going to use a 78% Pale Ale malt base with 22% clover honey added late in the boil.  I'll be using Southern Passion hops late in the boil (5 minutes) to give it some interesting tropical fruit notes and flavors.  I'll use The Yeast Bay's Wallonian Farmhouse Ale yeast to ferment it.  That yeast is said to impart a slight funk, slight tartness, and some spicy/smoky notes.  It's also a diastatic yeast, so it should have no problem chewing through all the malt I'll be using.   Ingredients 8 pounds and 10 ounces of Viking Pale Ale malt 2 pounds and 7 ounces of

Austin Homebrew Supply Gulden Draak Homebrew Kit (recipe and notes)

Gulden Draak is one of my favorite Belgian beers.  Any day I find it on draft somewhere at a bar or restaurant is a good one, as far as I'm concerned.  I've wanted to brew a good clone of it for a long time. The clone kits from Austin Homebrew are said to be good ones, so a couple of months back I decided to order their Gulden Draak Clone Kit . When it arrived, and despite my years of homebrew experience, I was a bit intimidated.  The kit contains over 20 pounds of grain, well outside the limits of The Grainfather's kettle. I was intimidated enough by the sheer bulk of it that I put off brewing it until now.  Today, I forced myself to take it on. I decided the best way to get a good result from it was to break the mash down into three iterations of seven pounds each.  This amount of grist is where The Grainfather tends to be pretty efficient at conversion.  But this meant three separate grain loads and sparges.  That's quite a lot of work, and shows just how much I love

Kveik Barleywine 1.0

The more I've learned about Kveik yeast, the more tempted I am to try pushing it to do new things. It's my understanding that Kveik is very tolerant of high gravity worts, low pitch rates, and of course high temperatures.  My goal with this brew is to see if I can push it to produce a beer that is at or above 16% ABV.  Although I did start with an award-winning barleywine recipe from the AHA web site, I've altered it so much here that it's no longer recognizable.  (Update 7/11/2020:  I based this goal on the limits of the Voss strain in its non-isolated form. Later, I learned that the Lallemand isolate version is limited to 12%, which I had no problem hitting.) Some of the changes I made included raising the gravity significantly, adding demerara sugar in place of some of the malt to dry it out a little, using German Northern Brewer hops to bitter, and adding a flavor addition of Mandarina Bavaria and Bramling Cross late in the boil.  I also used Pilsner malt extract to

Kveik Double IPA 1.0

Not being that big a fan of hop-forward beers, I have never brewed a Double IPA before.  As with the Pale Ale I made yesterday, I wanted to take another shot at using the hopping knowledge imparted at HomeBrewCon along with some of the leftover Kveik yeast from the Pale Ale to produce a Double IPA. The recipe below is based on a combination of a gold-medal winning recipe from the AHA web site, the items I had on hand, and the Lallemand Voss Kveik yeast left over from the batch yesterday. Ingredients 9 pounds Weyerman Pilsner Malt 2.25 pounds Viking Pale Ale Malt 1.5 pounds Flaked Oats 4 ounces Honey Malt 1 16-ounce can of Lyle's Golden Syrup 8 ounces Vienna Malt 0.75 ounces Summit hops pellets @ 17.5% AA (60 min.) 1 ounce El Dorado hops pellets @ 12.8% AA (10 min.) 1 ounce Southern Passion hops pellets @ 12.0% AA (10 min.) 1 ounce Citra hops pellets @ 12.6% AA (whirlpool 20 min.) 1 ounce Mandarina Bavaria hops pellets @ 10.1% AA (whirlpool 20 min.) 1 ounce Citra hops pellets @ 12.8