Sunday, September 28, 2014

Paint It Black Ales [bottled]

Date: Sept. 27, 2014

Transferred both to secondary on 9/13. No change in gravity by bottling date.

Scottish Black

FG: 1.008-1.010

  • 55 g corn sugar
  • 1.5 c water
Desired CO2: 2.1 vol (3 gal @ 64F)

Belgian Black

FG: 1.018-1.020

  • 55 g corn sugar
  • 1.5 c water
Desired CO2: 2.1 vol (3 gal @ 64F)

English and Wild English Cider

A lot of potential wild yeast in there
Date: Sept. 20, 2014

Headed to Door Creek Orchard to pick apples and pick up some great unpasturized cider. Since last fall, I've been wanting to take another crack at doing a hard cider, and especially a batch that included wild yeast.

I found the Mad Fermentationist blog to be really helpful (See Sour Cider and Cider 2008), as well as web pages from Vermont Home Brew, Lost Meadow Vermont, and some interesting looking recipes from Two Fingers In Cider.
(Over)heating this batch by mistake.

English Cider
1 gal

Sanitize a one-gallon jug. Add brown sugar and potassium metabisulphite to cider and let sit 24 hrs to suppress wild yeast and bacteria. Add pectic enzyme one hour before pitching yeast. Add nutrients, pitch yeast, and aerate.


  • 1 gal Unpasturized apple cider
  • 1/16 t Potassium metabisulphite (24 hrs before yeast pitch)
  • 0.5 t Pectic enzyme (1 hr before yeast pitch)
  • 6 oz Dark brown sugar
  • 0.5 t Yeast nutrient
  • 0.5 vial White Labs WLP775 English Cider yeast
  • Ferment at 66F ambient air.

Wild English Cider
1 gal

Sanitize a one-gallon jug. Warm cider to 70+F, aerate, and let sit 24 hrs to promote wild yeast. Add pectic enzyme one hour before pitching yeast. Add nutrients, pitch yeast, and aerate.


  • 1 gal Unpasturized apple cider
  • 0.5 t Pectic enzyme (1 hr before yeast pitch)
  • 0.5 t Yeast nutrient
  • 0.5 vial White Laps WLP775 English Cider yeast
  • Intended to warm cider to 72-75F 24 hrs prior to pitching cider yeast, but forgot about my heater and left it on too long. Jug was warm to touch. Heated 3-4 hrs.
  • Immediately put jug in ice water bath to quickly chill. Brought temp down to slightly cool to touch. Chilled 30 min.
  • Left at 66F room temp overnight, ~12 hrs.
  • Leave to ferment at 66F ambient air for remainder.

Beer Zeus Dunkleweizen [bottled]

Date: Sept. 12, 2014

  • 68 g corn sugar
  • 2 c extra dunkleweizen beer
Desired CO2: 2.4 vol (3 gal @ 64F)

Paint It Black Ale (Scottish Black, Belgian Black)

Brewing date: Aug. 31, 2014
#31 and #32 - 6.5 gal

Brew day with the boys. Wes, Eric, and Kevin joined me to do a big, black ale. Tons of fun, but the gents probably got more than they bargained for as I explained the process. Based on Dark Horse Brewing's Reserve Special Black Ale, we split the batch and fermented 3 gallons respectively between two yeasts. I'm not sure how much of the yeast character will shine through on a beer this dark, but I fermented the Belgian yeast a bit warmer during the first 48 hrs. to try and push the fruity notes.

The guys brought over an assortment of great Octoberfests and we grilled out later that afternoon. An all around great afternoon.

  • 12 lb 2-row malt (Briess)
  • 1.5 lb Caramel 40L
  • 1.5 lb Caramel 80L
  • 1.5 lb Chocolate malt
  • 10.5 oz Roasted barley
  • 5.5 oz Black malt
  • 0.5 oz Columbus (15.2%, pellet) (60)
  • 0.5 oz Nugget (13.3%, pellet) (30)
  • 0.5 oz Simcoe (14.1%, leaf) (15)
  • 1.5 t Irish moss (15)
  • 0.25 oz Chinook (11.6%, pellet) (5)
  • 0.25 oz Columbus (15.2%, pellet) (5)
  • Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale 1L yeast starter
  • Wyeast 3522 Belgian Ardennes yeast
Target OG: 1.068
Target FG: 1.019
Target ABV: 6.47%
Target IBU: 49

  • Mash in 6 gal @ 164F
  • Sac rest @ 152F (60)
  • Mash out @ 168 (10)
  • Batch sparge 4.5 gal
  • Boil (60)
  • Chill to 66F and pitch
First running: 4 gal @ 1.075
Second running: 3.75 gal @ 1.030
Pre-boil: 7.75 gal @ 1.055
OG: 1.069

Scottish Ale - Ferment at 66F, ambient air temperature
Belgian Ale - Warm and rest at 72F for 48 hrs,
ambient air temp 66F

Monday, September 8, 2014

Beer Zeus Dunkleweizen

Brew date: Aug. 23, 2014
#30 - 4.25 gal

A beer for the baby to be. Beer Zeus: the name of that baby (at least according to our friends... and me). A ridiculous unique name for the beer, but a pretty straight forward recipe.

My first weizen too. I don't tend to care for them, but my wife is a big fan. Especially dunkleweizens. And since she's been brewing a baby for the last 8+ months, she gets whatever she wants when that kid drops.

A team effort all around. And, by "team," I mean that I did nearly all the work. (We're talking about the beer now.) She helped with the mash in, hop additions, and yeast pitch. In between, she made delicious bread and soup. It was a good arrangement.

Turning to the overall brew session, it went smoothly enough. However, my efficiency was lower than expected, maybe 75%. I may have to increase the length of the first saccrification rest next time. I lengthened the boil by another 20 minutes to get closer to my target OG.

This was also the first batch that I successfully whirlpooled and chilled simultaneously. The heat resistant water proof silicone gloves I recently purchased were a big help. Don't leave home without them. The fittings, tubing, and pump are finally doing the work I intended.

After about a week, I racked the beer to a 3-gal carboy to secondary. A few quick observations on the still fermenting and conditioning product. I think the beer could use more residual sweetness and toasty malt. I probably could up the chocolate, caramel wheat, and Special B malts by a few more ounces. Probably throw in a little caramel 40L malt too.

Also, I could definitely detect a distinct sulfur smell early on. I hope that this is just a characteristic of the yeast (as the description says), and that it will dissipate with conditioning. It does seem to be slowly fading. Otherwise, the beer is pretty light, and has that wheat-y flavor. As the wife says, "it tastes like a dunkle." I hope so.

  • 5.25 lb Pale wheat malt (Briess)
  • 1.75 lb 2-row malt (Briess)
  • 6 oz Munich malt 20L (Briess)
  • 3 oz Caramel wheat malt (Thomas Fawcett)
  • 3 oz Chocolate malt (Briess)
  • 3 oz Special B (Dingemans)
  • 3 oz Roast wheat malt (Thomas Fawcett)
  • 0.5 lb Rice hulls
  • 25 g Tettnanger (3.9%, pellet) (60)
  • Add remainder of Tettnanger (30)
  • 1 t Irish moss (15)
  • Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen yeast 1L starter
Target OG: 1.052
Target FG: 1.013
Target ABV: 5.11%
Target IBU: 15
Target Efficieny: 80%

  • Mash in 4.5 gal @ 128F
  • Protein rest @ 122F (20)
  • Sac rest @ 149F (30)
  • Sac rest @ 158F (30)
  • Mash out @ 168F (10)
  • Batch sparge 3 gal
  • Boil (60)
  • Chill to 70F and pitch
First runnings: 3.5 gal @ 1.048
Pre-boil: 6 gal @ 1.040
Evaporation: 1 gal gone at 42 min
OG: 1.047-1.049

  • Put carboy in cold water with 2 frozen one-gallon jugs overnight. Chill to 66F.
  • Remove ice jugs and allow tempt to free rise all day to 70F
  • Chill for 4 hrs and free rise overnight
  • Allow to ferment at 68-70