Thursday, November 15, 2007
Basically the main thing that makes up a HERMS system is a hot liquor tank with what would appear to be an immersion wort chiller in it. Now a wort chiller is basically a "Heat Exchanger". Typically you run cold H2O through an immersion wort chiller and place in in your hot wort to cool it down. Well you can also use one to heat up your mash. When you place the coil into your hot liquor tank and raise the temp of that water you can recirculate your wort through the "Heat Exchanger" to heat up the wort and return it right back into your mash tun thus allowing you to bring up your temp without placing your mash on a burner or adding a bunch of boiling H20) do the tun diluting it. Brilliant! I am also going to build myself a manifold to place in the bottom of a cooler so I can do my mashes in a large picnic style cooler instead of my 14 gallon pot with a false bottom. My efficiencey has sucked ever since I started using my pot to mash/lauter in. I went from about 75-80% efficiency using plastic buckets to about 55-60% in my big 'ol pot. I have trouble shot and trouble shot and I can't figure it out so it is time to make a change. I will post some pics of the new setup once I get put together. I'll try to keep updating more frequently now the the chaos is coming to an end.
Wednesday, August 8, 2007
Hey there all, sorry for the delay in updating my blog, I've been extremely busy being it is summer and there are always weddings and trips and beer festivals and what not. Well, I went to the Michigan Brewers Guild Summer Beer Festival in Ypsilanti July 27th and 28th. Holy shit, was that a fun time. I drank more sour beer than I ever thought possible, and many other styles, many worthy of swapping your first born for a barrel. I will be making the trip annually from now on. I got to meet a lot of you beer lovers that I usually only communicate with through e-mail and that was probably the best part for me. It's amazing how you can meet someone face to face and feel like you have known them forever--as was the case with many of you I met at the festival. I haven't been brewing for the past few months because I have been mega-busy with weddings and such but rest assured friends, I have a mental list of recipes that I want to brew that would make Ol' Gambrinus want to do the knuckle shuffle. I think I will be doing another Belgian Strong Golden with a few spices, a Roggenbier, West Coast Red Ale (back by popular demand), Brown Ale with a Chai addition based on one of Randy Mosier's recipe from "Radical Brewing", and another Brettanomyces Claussenni brew because the first one rocked my socks off. Hope everyone who reads this is finding success in their efforts. Brew on!
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
May all your brewing experiences be merry.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
I was trying to think of something to brew for this weekend all week and I kept throwing around the idea of doing a Bell's Two Hearted clone recipe that I've been sitting on for some time now but while looking through BYO's 150 Classic Clone Recipes issue I saw the recipe for "La Folie" from the New Belgium Brewery in Fort Collins, CO. Since I'm on a sour beer kick I was immediately stoked. Plus I have every thing I need to brew this including some french oak chips and the Wyeast Lambic Blend. In a year from now I am going to have about 20 gallons of sour beer to drink between this brew, the Flanders Sour Red that I brewed last week, and the All-Brett Beer that I am going to do using the B. Claussenni strain. Sweet!
Sunday, May 20 2007
It's going nuts in the primary and I will transfer this to a secondary after 10 days leaving behind as much of the trub as possible. Then I am going to pitch the WYEAST Lambic Blend and let it do its thing. It was so cold the last few days I actually had to throw the brew belt on my carboy to warm it up to 70+ degrees to get my fermentation going. I saw that my two carboys of Flanders red got down to 64F. I had to move everything so I wasn't have all my yeast poop out on me. I think I caught it in time.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Kentucky Breakfast Stout in hand, I thought I would try to brew something up for the Hereford & Hops homebrew competition coming up. Based on what grains I have on hand aside from the ones I have set aside for a batch of wedding brews for my friend Jason, I decided to brew a hybrid American Wheat Beer. Hell, it's summer. The recipe is based on the one by the same name as my title in "Radical Brewing" by Randy Mosher. Great Book. I tweaked the recipe a bit. I am adding Coriander Seed at the end of the boil and I upped the grain bill just a few pounds to compensate for my efficiency. I also don't have rice hulls to aid in filtration so I through in a pound of pale malt (unground) to help prevent a stuck sparge which can happen easily when using a lot of Wheat Malt.
VORLAUF UNTIL IT RUNS CLEAR
I USE A VEGGIE STEAMER TO RETURN MY CLOUDY WORT BACK TO THE MASH TUN TO AVOID STIRRING UP THE GRAIN BED
I COLLECT MY CLEAR WORT IN A PITCHER FIRST SO I DON'T SPLASH IT IN THE BOTTOM OF MY BREW POT. HOT SIDE AERATION ISN'T GOOD FOR YOUR BEER ALTHOUGH IN AN EXPERIMENT ON HOTSIDE AERATION, X-BREWER COMPLETELY ABUSED THE WORT WITH AERATION AND IT WAS HARDLY NOTICABLE FROM THE CONTROL BATCH. GOOD IDEA TO TAKE PRECAUTION ANYWAY.
ONCE THE PITCHER STARTS TO GET FULL,GENTLY POUR IT INTO THE BOTTOM UNTIL ALL THE WORT IS DRAINED. IF YOU ARE BATCH SPARGING, FILL UP YOUR LAUTER TUN AND DO IT ALL OVER AGAIN UNTIL YOU HAVE YOUR DESIRED AMOUNT OF WORT.
I got a yeast starter going of California Ale Yeast WLP 001 in the big 2000ml flask for the Wheat Beer. That was the deciding factor in what beer I decided to brew today, was the yeast. I didn't have any Weiss Yeast and this recipe didn't call for it so it was perfect. I am curious to see how this turns out with a highly attenuative American Ale strain. Most wheat beers that I really enjoy have that spiciness to them from the yeast that was used. My guess is that this will be a cleaner flavor which might let the Coriander Seed shine through a little more.
I had checked my mash pH about a half hour in and it was at 5.8. I checked the pH of the wort after the sparge and it was exactly 5.2 so I am good to go. I highly recommend picking up some pH strips. There don't break and they are very cheap. Cut them in half and you have twice as many. I've been using this same little tube of them since I started brewing about 5 years ago.
CAN YOU SAY BOIL OVER?
Being a dad and brewing beer don't always jive. I stepped away for a second from, what I thought, was a nice steady rolling boil that didn't look like it was gonna rise. Nope. The hot wort actually removed some of the other stuff that I had been trying to get off my stove for some time now. My stove is cleaner now that before I started brewing. That last beer that I had a boil over with turned out really good so maybe this one will too.
Wednesday, May 9, 2007
I was just flipping through the new issue of Zymurgy (May/June '07) and there it was on page 14, a picture of my son Brice standing up next to one of my carboys. A great picture, I died laughing. I forgot that I had even sent the picture to Zymurgy. If you have the magazine, notice in the picture how I had to improvize because I ran out of thick blow off tubing.
Me and my friend Jason were sitting around having some beers last night and we had a bottle of Jolly Pumpkin La Roja sitting on the table unopened. Jason said, "well, this is the last JP beer from the stash". I immediately went to my beer closet and pulled out some DME. I figured I should probably get a starter going. We don't get Jolly Pumpkin in the U.P. anymore so it is always a treat.
Friday, May 4, 2007
I am starting to compile a list of people who are in the Marquette area and are into homebrewing or who would like to learn about homebrewing. I think that in a town like Marquette there should be plenty enough people to start a homebrew club. So if you are one of those people that were curious about homebrew clubs in Marquette and came across this site in a search to learn more about beer. Please leave me a comment letting me know so I can add you to my list of people who appreciate better beer. You can e-mail me at email@example.com and just let me know that your interested. If you want you can even leave your phone number and I will keep you informed on the progress of a club. As of right now there are only a few people and it would be great to have at least 10 or so. We'll see if we can make it happen.
Well I just brewed up my first funky beer, a 10 gallon batch of Flanders Red, now it's time to get a starter going for funk monster #2. I am getting a starter going tonight using the Brettanomyces Claussenii strain from White Labs. Before I can use this to ferment a whole 5-6 gallon batch of beer I need to grow up the amount of yeast I have. The vial that you can order from White Labs isn't intended to take care of your entire primary fermentation. It is meant to be used in conjunction with another yeast, more than likely of the Saccromyces variety. I am going to get a pint starter going tonight and in about 10 days I will pour off most of the wort trying to leave as much of the yeast behind as I can and then I will pitch another fresh pint of wort. I will repeat this a few times until I have a large enough amount of cells to take care of a 5-6 gallon batch of beer.
DO NOT SWIRL AN ERLINMYER FLASK FULL OF BOILING HOT WORT!Son of a bitch! I knew that too and I still did it. I've burnt my hands so many times that I think I am starting to get immune to it.
48 HOURS LATER
It has been two days since I made my starter and I haven't seen any real activity going yet. I was hoping to see an obvious sign that everything was going smooth because I am going out of town for the weekend and I don't want to have to worry about it. I added a little bit of servomyces earlier today to help it on its way. I was glad to see that someone on the BBB website was posting about their experience with their WLP645 starter at the same time as I was doing mine because I can learn from all his posts. Everything seems to be sitting on the bottom right now.
Saturday, April 28, 2007
Alright, I got up at 7:00 PM this morning, ground my grains and I was doughed in by 8:20 AM. Half asleep I almost forgot to add a little bit of acid malt to my mash to get my pH to were I want it. I added a little bit to my last beer and my efficiency jumped up quite a bit. The recipe I am doing is very odd for a Flanders Red. Jamil Zanishef says that this, if done right, tastes very very close to a classic Rodenbach. Here is the grain bill:
This is a 10 Gallon Batch
10 lb. Pilsnen malt
10 lb. Vienna malt
7 lb. Munich
1 lb. Special B
1 lb. Caramunich
1 lb. Aromatic
1 lb. White Wheat Malt
.5 lb Acid Malt
1.4 oz. E.K. Goldings (60 min)
I also used 2 oz. of med+ toast French Oak Cubes (1 oz. per carboy)
Wyeast Roselare Blend from the VSS (Very Special Strain) Series
Come on, Give me a break, like you look any better at 8:00 AM after about 3 hrs of sleep. I've just gotten doughed in here and I'm making sure my temp is right at 154 F, as it was. Mash at 90 minutes at that temp and then bring it up to 168 F for 10 minutes. Sparge at 170. I am going to batch sparge again because I had good luck with it when I did my smoked porter. And it cuts a ton of time of my brew day.
--Newsflash-- SMOOTHEST BREWING SESSION OF THE YEAR TAKES A DRASTIC TURN FOR THE WORSE!
Just as I was starting to sparge my phone rang, I ignored it, it rang again and I pick it up and it's my boss saying I need to go into work because (sidenote: I work at a TV station) our system that we play our commercials off of went down and we were losing thousands of dollars by not playing these commercials. I had to obviously finish sparging and then siran wrap both of my brew pots so they wouldn't get infected and head out to work. Luckily I was home within an hour and a half and my wort was still hot. I got back into the swing of things and kept brewing like nothing happened except a major delay. I should have been done by 2:00 PM, now we'll see.
Everything worked out O.K. It took me a lot longer than expected. Now I only have to wait 1 year. Great!
EARLY THE NEXT MORNING...
I think this is the fastest starting fermentation I've seen out of all the batches I've made. It basically took about 12 hours and the yeast was rockin' out.
Monday, April 23, 2007
As pointed out in the latest issue of the Michigan Beer Guide, Liquor May Become More Expensive in Michigan
"The solution offered of course includes taxing beer. “The Lansing Community College Board of Trustees urged Granholm and the Legislature to go beyond the income tax pause and look at raising taxes on cigarettes and beer, and making changes in the estate tax and sales tax to raise additional money.”
Now I am not predicting anything, but it sure looks to me like raising the price for spirits is a step toward raising the price on beer as well. Good for the government, good for the retailer, but not good for the consumer and especially not good for the beer manufacturer. MBG"
Read the full article here: http://www.michiganbeerguide.com/news.asp?articleid=84
Take a Stand! Visit http://www.michiganbrewersguild.org/tax.asp
Here is a recipe for probably the best beer I have brewed to date. It is a Westveleteren abt 12 clone recipe that turned out awesome. To bad I don't have any more left. I think I am going to brew this one annually. A few months back I had the pleasure to do an on-line beer swap with a bunch of really great guys from the Burgundian Babble Belt website. We all sent each other one of our big belgian beers that we had brewed and we tasted them in 2 seperate sessions and critiqued each others brew. One of the guys that I got some feedback on my beer was none other than Stan Hieronymus, Author of "Brew Like A Monk".
I thought it was great to be able to hear what Stan thought of my beer when his book is what inspired it to be brewed in the first place. This beer went over really well with everyone. I recieved some of the best homebrews I've ever tasted from some of these guys. One of them that I recieved was a Gold Medal winner at some big competition in Colorado I believe. If you are looking for a good recipe for Westy 12 clone, try this one and let me know what you think.
17.5 lb Dingemans Belgian Pilsner
1 lb Caramunich (belg)
.44 lb Biscuit
.31 lb Aromatic
.25 lb Special B
.19 lb Chocolate
1 bottle of the Dark Candi Syrup(this is key, use the syrup)
.25 Amber Rock Candi
1.25 oz. Styrian Golding (60 min)
.25 oz. Styrian Goldings (15 min)
.25 oz. Haullertauer (15 min)
.25 oz. Styrian Goldings (1 min)
.25 oz. Haullertauer (1 min)
Yeast: WLP 530
Single infusion mash at 149 for 90 min. Mash out at 170 for 10-15 min. Sparge at 170. Boil for 60 minutes.
I thought since I am a huge fan of Belgian Beers it would only be appropriate to have a Trappist Beer Night to enjoy the fruits of those blessed Monk's labors. For anyone who doesn't know, A Trappist beer is a beer brewed by or under control of Trappist monks. Of the world's 171 Trappist monasteries (as of April 2005), seven produce beer (six in Belgium and one in The Netherlands). These seven breweries are authorized to label their beers with the Authentic Trappist Product logo that indicates a compliance to various rules edicted by the International Trappist Association. Here are a list of the Trappist Breweries:
Me and a few friends had tracked down beers from all of these breweries and had them sent to my house from a few different places across the country. All breweries were well represented. The beers in the picture above are the ones that I supplied. There were quite a few more that were consumed. Being that these beers range in alcohol anywere from about 6-11% ABV. We got pretty drunk. We were lucky enough to get our hands on beers from Westvleteren who makes the Westvleteren abt 12 which is known to most of the beer world as "The Best Beer in the World". Also one of the hardest beers to get your hands on because you can only buy it straight from the Abbey in which it was brewed.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
I decided that I was going to try and brew myself up a a massive Russian Imperial Stout because I have been craving a beer like the "Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout" from Three Floyds Brewing Co. It is simply one of the best beers ever known to man. I sat down in front of my computer and opened Promash and started hammering out a recipe that would give me an incredibly big beer that would satisfy my craving for RIS and this is the recipe I came up with.
15 lb Maris Otter Pale 2-row
10 lb American Pale 2-row
2 lb Germain Munich
1 lb Caramunich (belg)
1 lb Chocolate (amer)
1 lb Crystal 40L
1 lb Crystal 60L
1 lb Flaked Wheat
1 lb Roasted Barley
.5 lb Black Patent
.5 lb Wheat Malt
.5 lb Special B
.5 oz Chinook Pellet Hops (19.4 ibu's @ 60 min)
1.5 oz Centennial Pellet Hops (12.9 ibu's @ 15 min)
.5 oz Chinook Pellet Hops (3.3 ibu's @ 5 min)
3 lbs U.P. Honey from Brampton, MI
1/2 stick of brewers licorice
1 Big Old Starter of WLP001, Trusty California Ale Yeast.
This beer ends up being about 37.5 lbs of grain. I have a 14 gallon mash tun and it was full to the brim. If you get good efficiency with your system you can get away with using quite a bit less of base malt. This is a new system that I am trying to work the kinks out of so my efficiency is around 55-60% at least for this beer it was. Take that into mind if you use this recipe. my ABV came out to be around 10.5 % so if you use this exact recipe and get a better efficiency you will have a killer beer. This one is tasting phenominal right now. I recommend pitching a little fresh yeast before bottling because your yeast will be pooped out after working on all the sugars in this beer. My carbonation is a little bit less than what I wanted because I didn't pitch any fresh stuff before bottling. That is the only thing I would do differently if I were to brew this again.
Saturday, April 21, 2007
I am pretty happy that I got my efficiency back up a little bit. I had just bought a 14 gallon pot so I could do bigger beers (gravity and volume) but my efficiency took a nose dive. I'm still trying to correct the issue. When I made this porter, instead of just changing one variable at a time, I changed 2 things so I am not sure what is the reason for my increased efficiencey. Maybe it is both things. One thing I did was I did a batch sparge instead of fly sparged. I would think that that would make a big difference for a beer with an O.G. of 1.065. The other thing I did was I added a half pound of Acidulated Malt which dropped my pH down a little which makes for a better environment for converting starches to sugar. I think that had a lot to do with the increase. I'll have to tweak one of these variables at a time to really get it pin-pointed. Here is the recipe I used for this porter.
17 lb. Pale Malt (2-row)
6 lb. Smoked Malt (Weyermann German Malt)
2 lb Crystal 40L
2 lb Crystal 60L
1.5 lb Chocolate Malt
1 lb Munich
1 lb Black Patent
1 lb Vienna Malt
.5 lb Acidulated Malt (taste a little bit of this, Wow!)
1.58 oz. East Kent Golding (60 min/Pellet Hops)
1 oz. East Kent Golding (15 min/Whole Hops)
1.1 oz. Willamette (15 min/Whole Hops)
Yeast: California Ale Yeast from White Labs
Single infusion mash for 90 min at 151 F
Mash out at 170 F for 10-15 min.