Wednesday, February 27, 2013

“Pout's Revenge" [bottled] and “Wisconsin Winter Pale" [secondary]

Feb. 26, 2013

What does a great evening involve? Why, two beers, of course! 

The stout is bottled and the pale ale transferred. After a few weeks in the secondary, the stout has conditioned very nicely. The flaked barley that was a little too prominent has mellowed and warmed. A moderate dryness rounds out the flavor. Not much hoppiness apparent. As for the coffee version, the bitterness borders on astringent. The coffee is DEFINITELY in the forefront. Hopefully it mellows with age.

Racking the pale ale to secondary, I was surprised with its light golden color and body. I had hoped for more body. Additionally, while the hop bitterness is decent and the beer has a nice citrus aroma, the flavor isn't quite there yet. I plan to dry hop with a combination of Amarillo and Centennial hops.

The wife's cap design for the coffee stout

Pout's Revenge Dry Stout

  • 59 g corn sugar
  • 1.5 c water
FG: 1.018
Desired CO2: 2.2 vol
Aroma: Roasty, grain, barley
Appearance: Nice clarity, deep red-brown color
Taste: Warm, dry, roasty, barley

Coffee Stout

  • 10 g corn sugar
  • 4 oz water
Desired CO2: 2.2 vol
Aroma: Coffee, slighty roastiness comes through
Appearance: Much darker than the plain stout, deep brown
Taste: Bitter coffee, Kraemer-style coffee, fairly astringent at the end

Dry hopping the pale ale

Wisconsin Winter Pale (Ale)

3 gal carboy

  • 0.25 oz Amarillo hops
  • 0.5 oz Cascade hops (added 3/2/13)
1 gal jug

FG: 1.011
Aroma: Citrus, bready
Appearance: Light gold, slightly cloudy
Taste: Light-to-medium body, bready, moderate bitterness

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

“Wisconsin Winter Pale" Ale

Feb. 17, 2013
#15 - 4.5 gal BIAB

I am excited, people! I tried my first "Sexual Chocolate" Porter two days ago, and it is everything I was hoping for. Really great. (Do I sound turned on?) Given that I was fist pumping the air after my first few sips, I decided to keep the good feelings rolling and brew this weekend -- even though I didn't have a recipe planned and am still waiting on my dry stout in secondary.

Scanning recipes, I came across the AHA blog for Amarillo Pale Ale. Perfect. I've been wanting to use Amarillo hops for some time and like the idea of a golden pale ale. My recipe definitely draws inspiration. Looking at the hop bill, I wasn't sure I wanted mine to have quite the same level of IBUs, so I scaled it back a bit while emphasizing a citrus note from first wort hopping with centennial and cascade. The Amarillo comes in during the boil and at knockout.

I also ramped up to sparge again, and mashed using a 2.2 qt/lb ratio. I'm hoping this helps improve and stabilize my extraction rate, which has been all over the map since I haven't really settled on a mash method and schedule yet. Thank God for that refractometer!

The wife dubbed it Wisconsin winter pale ale, since it has about as much color as we do at this time of the year. Sigh, German-Irish-Russian heritage. We may not be known for our tanning abilities, but we can drink!

Brewing tunes: The Beatles "Help" and "Beatles for Sale." I don't know why, but these albums have always evoked feelings of "winter" for me. Given the season and name of this brew, it seems right.

  • 3.75 lb 2-row Brewers Malt
  • 3 lb 6-row Brewers Malt
  • 0.5 lb Vienna Malt
  • 0.5 lb Munich Malt
  • 0.5 lb Maris Otter Malt
  • 0.5 lb Red Wheat Malt
  • 0.5 oz Centennial (9.7% AA) (First wort hop) (leave in boil)
  • 0.25 oz Cascade (6.2% AA) (First wort hop) (leave in boil)
  • 0.5 oz Amarillo (10.7% AA) (60 min)
  • 0.25 oz Amarillo (10.7% AA) (1 min)
  • 1 t Irish Moss (20 min)
  • 1 t Gypsum (½ in mash, ½ in sparge)
Wyeast 1056 American Ale (2nd generation)*

*1000 mL yeast starter made 2/16. Used the 10-to-1 ratio described by Mr. Malty's Proper Yeast Pitching Rate. Add 100 g DME and 1000 mL water to Erlenmeyer flask. Mix well. Gently boil for 10 min. Chill and pitch. Swirl occasionally to oxygenate. Hours before brewing, put flask in fridge to settle out yeast, brought back up to temp hour before pitching. Decanted. This yeast is a second generation from the 1056 I pitched into the Sexual Chocolate Porter.


Add 0.5 t gypsum to mash and 0.5 t to sparge water. Heat 5 gal water to 110 'F. Add grains. Stabilize temp at 104 'F. Rest 20 min. Heat mash to 153 'F. Rest 60 min. 10 before end of mash add first wort hops. Mash out at 168 'F for 10 min. Remove grain bags and add them to separate pot with 2 gal sparge water at 168 'F. Sparge 15 min. Lauter. Bring approx 5.25 gal wort to boil. Add Amarillo hops. Add Irish moss 20 min before end of boil. Add Amarillo hop 1 min before end of boil. Knockout and let sit for 10 min. Chill wort to 66 'F. Add approx 4.5 gal wort to fermentor and pitch yeast. Ferment at 64-66 'F.


OG: 1.054
Target gravity: 1.051
Pre-boil gravity (first runnings): 1.056
Pre-boil gravity (second runnings): 1.020

Appears very pale yellow. General bitterness, but not overly so. Do detect some of that citrus note on the nose.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

“Pout's Revenge" Dry Irish Stout [secondary]

Feb. 10, 2013

Racked my stout to secondary in my 3 gallon carboy. Roughly half a gallon left over. Will experiment with coffee on this remainder.

Surprised by the dry flavor from the flaked barley. Wishing I could put this beer on tap. Will probably give it two or three weeks to condition before bottling.


Gravity: 1.019
Color: Deep brown red, like sherry
Smell: Flaked barley, rye, alcohol, red wine, toastiness
Taste: Dry barley, roasty, medium bodied, medium bitterness, bitter coffee, sour or tartness

Feb. 11, 2013

Steep coffee overnight and refrigerate. Strain using coffee filter and add to half gallon of beer.

  • 1 oz Caribou ground coffee
  • 1.5 c water

Monday, February 18, 2013

“Pout's Revenge" Dry Irish Stout

Brew date: February 3, 2013
#14 - 4 gal BIAB

My go at a dry Irish stout, ready in time for St. Patrick's Day. It will also mark my first beer entered into a tasting competition. The Wine and Hop Shop is hosting a stout contest at the Italian Workmen's Club with the grand prize an opportunity to brew your beer at the One Barrel Brewing Company. Not that I expect to come close to winning, but that is a kick ass prize. The competition is a great opportunity to get honest feedback and connect with the local homebrewing community. I hope to walk away with some solid notes and maybe even the names of an associate or two.

This recipe takes inspiration from the Deck Head Stout on the AHA's website and Brewing TV's episode, "All About Stout." If you've never seen an episode of Brewing TV, check it out. They are fun, informative, and passionate about brewing.

  • 4.5 lbs Maris Otter Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Caramel Malt 60L
  • 0.75 lbs Roasted Barley
  • 0.25 lbs Black Malt
  • 1.25 lbs Flaked Barley
  • 0.25 lbs Rye Flakes
  • 0.75 oz Cluster (6.8%) (60 min)
  • 0.25 oz E. Kent Goldings (6.6%)(leaf) (60 min)
  • 0.25 oz E. Kent Goldings (6.6%)(leaf) (knockout)
  • 0.75 t Irish Moss (20 min)
  • Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale*
*1000 mL yeast starter made 1/31. Used the 10-to-1 ratio described by Mr. Malty's Proper Yeast Pitching Rate. Add 100 g DME and 1000 mL water to Erlenmeyer flask. Mix well. Gently boil for 10 min. Chill and pitch. Swirl occasionally to oxygenate. Night before brewing, put flask in fridge to settle out yeast. Brew day, remove from fridge and return to room temp.


Heat 5 gal water to 120 'F. Add grain. Temp will stabilize to 104-110 'F. Rest for 25 min. Direct heat to 154 'F. Maintain temp and rest 60 min. Heat to 168 'F and rest 10 min. Strain using grain bag. Suspend over brew kettle using strainer. Slowly sparge grains with 1 gal water heated to 168 'F. Grist absorption from 7.5 lbs of grain will be approx. 1.25 gal. Should be left with roughly 4.75 gal. Boil wort for 90 min. Add cluster and goldings at 60 min. Add Irish moss at 20 min. Add goldings at knockout. Let sit for 10 min. Chill wort to 64 'F. Add to fermentor and pitch decanted yeast. Ferment at 64-68 'F.


OG: 1.057
Target Gravity: 1.050
Pre-boil gravity: 1.043
Expected ABV: 5.6%
Efficiency: 88%?

First attempt to sparge my grist after mash out. The ghetto setup is visible above. I suspended the strainer and grain bag over my brew kettle while slowly pouring the water over the grist. This probably added 30 min or so to my brew day. Next time I will heat the water in my 3 gallon kettle and sparge while bringing my megapot up to a boil. That way I  should save some time.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

“Jenny's Ginger" Beer [bottled]

Feb. 2, 2013

The wife had better be ready for some ginger beer. We got 9 bottles worth out of that 1 gal jug.

  • 23 g corn sugar
  • 10 oz water

Boil priming sugar 10 min. Cool. Add to bottling bucket. Siphon and slowly mix in ginger beer. Let sit for 15 min. Bottle.


Desired CO2: 2.4 vol
Color: Pale, opaque yellow, nearly clear
Smell: Strong lemon, citrus, ginger

Most of the yeast and citrus particulate appear to finally have settled out.

The ginger beer has a very pronounced dry, lemon flavor. Next time we should use a yeast that leaves a bit more residual sugar, or cold crash it. We could also try to use molasses or a dark brown sugar. We should also use more ginger. Not nearly enough bite.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

“Sexual Chocolate" Porter [bottled]

Bottling date: January 27, 2013

3 gal Porter on cacao nibs
  • 58 g corn sugar
  • 16 oz water
Desired CO2: 2.2 vol
Temperature: 64 'F

0.5 gal Porter
  • 10 g corn sugar
  • 8 oz water

TG: 1.020
ABV: 7%

Porter (cacao)
Color: Brown-black with reddish hue at edges
Smell: Burned chocolate
Taste: Rich, thick, dark chocolate flavor. Can definitely detect the cacao. Some bitterness, but not hop apparent

Only real difference is no bitter chocolate flavor from the cacao. Also less warmth on the end. Probably from the lack of whiskey.

Attempting to wash and save yeast.