Kolsch Update

•July 31, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The Kolsch turned out great.  Very clear, light, and refreshing, it will be a good summer beer.

Having tried the all-pilsner route, I think my next batch will include some vienna malt.  It is a bit too clean for my tastes, and I would like a bit more malt flavor.

The hopping is spot-on.  I like the subtle flavor of the later addition.


Gluten Free Update

•July 22, 2009 • 8 Comments

I should have posted this a few weeks ago, but forgot.  Unfortunately, the GF batch got infected at some point in the fermentation process.  I opened it to keg it and was greeted with some pretty sour beer and a nasty film on the top.  This is the first batch I’ve brewed that was infected on the whole…I’ve had infected bottles before but that’s about it.

We’re going to try again, but this time I want to do a belgian.  This recipe was decent, and the hops did come through well…hard to say if what I tasted when I took the FG was representative or if the infection was already affecting the flavor though.

Hops 7/19/09

•July 21, 2009 • 4 Comments

Some new hop pics.  The first hop cones are very large, and there are many more coming in.  Looks like I should have a good harvest this year.

Kolsch Brewday and Recipe

•June 28, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Brewed a Kolsch on Saturday, once again picking the hottest day of the year to brew.  It was pretty miserable, but I’m optimistic about the beer.

After reading a bunch of literature on the style, I decided to to a 100% German Pils malt grain bill.  I have seen that a lot of folks use vienna, and some even some wheat, but I wanted to see how it would taste the way that most of the German brewhouses brew it.

I also decided on a small late hop addition, for just a hint of Hallertau Mittlefreu flavor.

The gravity came out 3 points low,  with 75% efficiency…not real sure what happened here, I was expecting 80% or more.

For yeast, I was lucky enough to get a fresh bit of slurry from O’Fallon Brewery.

Here’s the recipe and some pics.  I’ll post a follow-up with impressions when it is done. As always, Tinseth IBU formula, 80% efficiency.  I am fermenting at 60 degrees F.  The batch was 10 gallons.

Kolsch 2

Type: All Grain

Date: 6/27/2009

Batch Size: 10.00 gal

Brewer: Dave Blue
Boil Size: 13.31 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 90 min Equipment: 20 gallon brewpot and Igloo Cooler (12 gal)
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00
Taste Notes:


Amount Item Type % or IBU
15.75 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 100.00 %
3.10 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] (60 min) Hops 24.0 IBU
0.60 oz Hallertauer Mittelfrueh [4.00 %] (20 min) Hops 2.8 IBU
0.50 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs German Ale/Kolsch (White Labs #WLP029) Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.047 SG

Measured Original Gravity: 1.044 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.011 SG Measured Final Gravity:
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.64 % Actual Alcohol by Vol:
Bitterness: 26.8 IBU Calories:
Est Color: 3.3 SRM Color:


Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out Total Grain Weight: 15.75 lb
Sparge Water: 10.28 gal Grain Temperature: 78.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
90 min Mash In Add 19.69 qt of water at 159.3 F 149.0 F

Hops and Brewday Pics

•June 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I have taken hop pics a few times over the last few weeks and have not gotten around to posting…so I’m consolidating some time lapse hop pics and Sunday’s brewday pics into one post.

The hops have really gone crazy.  I have been training them along the gazebo frame, and they’re getting so thick on there that they’re putting off 3 foot offshoots.  Pretty cool, and exactly what I was hoping for.

The hops on the other side are starting to take off, but nothing like the big ones.

Sunday’s brewday started early, and not without a few hiccups.  My thermometer bit the dust (the handheld one I use for mash temp),  and Jim had a few water temp mishaps.  But in the end, we both hit our numbers and are very optimistic about the brews.  I brewed an Oktoberfest and Jim made a Czech Pilsner.

Enjoy the pics.

APA recipe from Big Brew Day

•June 16, 2009 • Leave a Comment

The recipe I brewed on Big Brew Day is finally in my Kegerator, and it turned out to be very tasty.  This is an iteration on an older recipe I did, and traditionally I throw whatever american hops I have at it.  This time I had a lot of Willamette, some Cascade and Some Amarillo.

This was also the first non dry-hopped hoppy beer I’ve made since I completed my whirlpool chiller.  All I can say is, wow…never had this much hop aroma and flavor from a non dry-hopped beer.  +1 to this design, Mr. Zainasheff.

Flavor has a nice hop complexity, with the Willamette and Amarillo really shining through, and the cascade doing some good support.  The munich malt gives a good malty/toasty balance to the hops and there is just enough sweetness.

Also, this is the first APA I’ve done with the 1272 yeast.  Very impressed, I will be using it from now on instead of 1056 or S-05.  It flocculates much better (clearer beer quicker), and it leaves behind some grainy character that I like and is a little more fruity.

Once again, I use the Tinseth formula for bitterness, and this is for and 11 gallon batch with an 80% brewhouse efficiency.  Adjust accordinly.

Willamette Bastard 2.0
American Pale Ale

Type: All Grain

Date: 5/9/2009

Batch Size: 11.00 gal

Brewer: Dave Blue
Boil Size: 13.59 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: 20 gallon brewpot and Igloo Cooler (12 gal)
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00
Taste Notes:


Amount Item Type % or IBU
13.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 65.06 %
4.75 lb Munich Malt (9.0 SRM) Grain 22.89 %
1.50 lb Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 7.23 %
1.00 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (45.0 SRM) Grain 4.82 %
1.00 oz Williamette [4.80 %] (60 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 8.5 IBU
1.00 oz Cascade [4.60 %] (60 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 8.2 IBU
1.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (60 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops
15.1 IBU
1.30 oz Williamette [4.80 %] (10 min) Hops 3.6 IBU
1.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (10 min) Hops 5.0 IBU
1.30 oz Cascade [4.60 %] (10 min) Hops 3.5 IBU
2.00 oz Amarillo Gold [8.50 %] (0 min) Hops
2.00 oz Williamette [4.80 %] (0 min) Hops
1 Pkgs GF All American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1272) Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.055 SG

Measured Original Gravity: 1.055 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.014 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.39 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 5.87 %
Bitterness: 43.9 IBU Calories: 243 cal/pint
Est Color: 7.6 SRM Color:


Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Medium Body, No Mash Out Total Grain Weight: 20.75 lb
Sparge Water: 10.37 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: FALSE Mash PH: 5.4 PH
Single Infusion, Medium Body, No Mash Out
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 22.83 qt of water at 167.6 F 154.0 F

Gluten-free beer update

•June 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Well, finally got around to taking the gravity on the GF Spooner, and it is surprisingly…drinkable.  Visually, it bears a striking resemblance to orange juice, I will probably try to clear it up with some gelatin finings.  The hops come through pretty well, and it has an overall nice balance. I’ll post another update when it is carbed up, but for now it seems like a success.

One strange thing on this batch…it had almost no airlock activity and there is zero sign of any krausen in the fermenter.   I had it in a bucket so I didn’t keep an eye on it while it was fermenting…weird.

Gluten Free Homebrew

•May 28, 2009 • 8 Comments

So, a while back I bought some ingredients to make a Gluten Free beer for my friend who has celiac disease.  He cannot tolerate any amount of gluten, so his beer choices are limited to the Gluten Free variety.  There are some pretty decent ones that  have hit the market in recent years, but none of them are particularly exciting.

So we decided to make what is basically a Gluten Free APA.

I bought a 6 lb container of White Sorghum Syrup from Northern Brewer, and 2 1lb containers of Lytle’s Golden Syrup (invert sugar).  These would make up the bulk of the fermentables.

Golden Syrup

Golden Syrup

The Lytle’s syrup had a very nice caramelly flavor to it, and imparted a nice color to the water while mixing it in.  I’m hoping some of this flavor stick around, but I’m thinking it will ferment out.

Next, I added the Sorghum syrup.  This stuff had a very strange smell, like strong raisins.  In fact, the raisin smell was pretty prominent throughout the boil.  This was a bit discouraging…I’m hoping this character is not overly prominent in the final product, but who knows, it could turn out to be a good thing.

The boil was tricky…the hot break lasted forever, and I had a hard time for a while keeping the boil under control.  This was probably due in part to the fact that my new burner is a bit too powerful for a 5 gallon batch.  Boiled off a bit more than expected, and it was very vigorous the whole time.  Came out 4 gravity points  higher than expected, and with a bit less volume.  Will adjust the brewing software for the new burner and 5 gallon batches.

NB's White Sorghum

NB's White Sorghum

We hopped it pretty aggressively for a few reasons:
1.  Almost all GF beers are pretty bland in the hop arena.
2.  Wanted something to cover up some of the sorghummy flavor…it’s usually not very beer-like.

I added 1.5 oz Willamette at 60 mins, 2 oz at 15 minutes, and 2 oz at flame out.  Also used some Irish Moss and Malto Dextrine for body.

Used my large B3 chiller, and chilled the 5 gallon batch pretty quickly, so hopefully we’ll get some big hop flavor here.

Below is the recipe.  I will re-visit when the beer is done, and give impressions.  I know that there is not a boatload of info on GF recipes, so I’ll share everything I can here.

GF Spooner
American Pale Ale

Type: Extract

Date: 7/3/2008

Batch Size: 5.50 gal

Brewer: Dave Blue
Boil Size: 6.62 gal Asst Brewer: Scott Summers
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Brew Pot (9 gal)


Amount Item Type % or IBU
6.00 lb Sorghum Syrup (4.0 SRM) Extract 75.00 %
2.00 lb Lyle’s Golden Syrup (0.0 SRM) Extract 25.00 %
1.50 oz Williamette [4.60 %] (60 min) Hops 22.5 IBU
2.00 oz Williamette [4.60 %] (15 min) Hops 14.9 IBU
2.00 oz Williamette [4.60 %] (0 min) Hops
0.28 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
0.50 lb Malto-Dextrine (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Safale American Ale (DCL Yeast #S-05) Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.053 SG

Measured Original Gravity: 1.057 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.008 SG Measured Final Gravity: 0.000 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 5.97 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 0.00 %
Bitterness: 37.5 IBU Calories: 0 cal/pint
Est Color: 4.1 SRM Color:


Hops 5/21/09 – 5/22/09

•May 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

Ok, these things are just going crazy now.  The biggest vine is growing a good 6-8 inches a day.  I have been trying to train it horizontally along the gazebo support, and it has bee resisting…I’ll move it and it will be back upright within an hour.  I swear I could actually see it moving yesterday.

I took a pic yesterday morning of the  top and where it was at, and then a few this morning to show just how fast it’s growing.

The others are moving along as well, but at a much slower rate.  I dated them to show the growth of the big vine from yesterday to today:

Hops 5/15/2009

•May 15, 2009 • Leave a Comment

They have really come a long way in a little over a week, especially the biggest one.