Saturday, April 28, 2007

My First Wild Brew!

Well, I am finally going to do my first wild brew. I am doing a Flanders Red, a style I fell in love with right away. I don't think I have ever found a beer that I really get cravings for like a sour red. It mine as well be a drug from the 80's the way it gets you hooked. I think the first sour beer I have had and fell in love with was La Roja from Jolly Pumpkin. I remember buying a few cases of Jolly Pumpkin because I wanted to hang on to a few and age them out and all of a sudden I had drank most of my supply and realized that these beers soured to perfection. Then it sank in that I just drank a whole bunch of these before they were prime time. Doh! Then I tried a Duchesse De Bourgogne and I was baffled by the smell. Who in the hell put vinegar in this bottle and tried passing it off as beer. Well.....whoever it was, I love you. The first sip kind of struck me as odd but the second, third, and everyone there after just made me want to get my hands on every beer similar to this. I had got a bottle of Rodenbach Grand Cru in the mail one day and that one was Mega-sour compared to the Duchesse. Now I am hooked on this style and decided I would brew up 10 gallons for myself. I am going to do a recipe that Jamil Zanisheff has done very well with in competitions and see what kind of beer I can translate it into. The only difference in my recipe is that I couldn't get Weyerman Munich malt through my supplier so I am going with American Munich. We'll see what it produces. I've been spending tonight prepping for the morning so I can brew bright and early. I like to brew around 8-9 AM so I still have most of the day to relax with my wife afterwards.I will post more tomorrow when I am brewing this bad boy up. To be continued.


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.

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!

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

Say No To A Higher Beer Tax

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:

Take a Stand! Visit
for more.

Westvleteren abt 12 Clone Recipe

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

Candi Sugar:
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.

Trappist Night....Holy Beers!

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:

La Trappe/Koningshoven

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

Chupacabra Russian Imperial Stout...It'll Tear Your Ass Up

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)

Other ingredients

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

Smoked Robust Porter

Well I just bottled up my Robust Smoked Porter that I brewed up a 10 gallon batch of. I'm pretty stoked to be doing 10 gallon batches now because I am the type of homebrewer that can't keep my hands off of my beers until they are fully matured. I feel the need to check how my carbonation is doing like every day or two at the most.

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.