Friday, November 30, 2012


I recently taught a beer tasting continuing education course at the University of Wisconsin - Parkside. It was a lot of fun! I brought in ten different commercial beers and we tried them all, discussing characteristics and history of the styles as we went. One of the beers I brought was St. Bernardus Pater 6, a dubbel. I've had their Abt 12 (quad) many times, but hadn't had Pater 6 before. It was one of the better commercial dubbels I can remember trying. Most of them are too sweet, too phenolic, to harsh in general, for my taste. Pater 6 was nice and cleanly malty while still exhibiting classic abbey character. I resolved, that night, to brew one soon and that's just what I did a couple days ago!

In trying to get as close to the Pater 6 character as I could I went with the Wyeast Trappist High Gravity strain, WY3787. It supposedly originated from Westmalle abbey brewery, which is where St. Bernardus (and Westvletern) got their yeast from as well. I opted for a simple grain bill with some aromstic malt for nice malty complexity. I'm fermenting it at 65F, on the low side for an abbey ale, to keep some of the harsher characteristics in check.


brewed on: 11/28/12
OG: 1.063
IBUs: 19
SRM:  16
mash temp: 150F

6 gallon batch
90 minute boil
75% efficiency assumed

11 lbs Pils
8 oz Aromatic
8 oz Special B
4 oz Caramunich I

26g Styrian Goldings @ 5.2% (60 minutes)
15g Styrian Goldings @ 3.8% (60 minutes)
WY3787 Trappist High Gravity - 1800mL starter

fermented at 65F
secondary cold conditioning at 30F
kegged 1/23/13

sample while kegging - Banana and fresh figs. Caramel-like maltiness behind it. Not too sweet though. Looking forward to trying this once carbed!

Monday, July 23, 2012

American IPA

It's been a long time since I've brewed a hoppy beer. I haven't brewed an IPA since my extract days several years ago. After looking through my freezer and realizing I had a lb of Amarillo, a lb of Zythos blend, a lb of Centennial, and several ounces each of Simcoe and Chinook I decided I would brew an IPA today.

I had originally hoped to brew a 100% Vienna "German Barleywine" but without proper yeast and missing my friend's giant mash tun I put that off for now.

American IPA

brewed on: 7/23/12
OG: 1.070
IBUs: 66
SRM:  8
mash temp: 150F

6 gallon batch
60 minute boil
75% efficiency assumed

15 lbs Canadian 2-row
8 oz Fawcett Crystal 65L
4 oz Victory

48 gm Zythos blend @ 10.9% - 60 minutes
12 gm Zythos blend @ 10.9% - 50 minutes
28.3 gm Centennial @ 8.7% - 10 minutes
28.3 gm Simcoe @ 12.2% - 5 minutes
28.3 gm Chinook whole leaf (from John) @ ? - 5 minutes
28.3 gm Simcoe - flameout
28.3 gm Centennial - flameout
28.3 gm Centennial - 5 minutes after flameout

28.3 gm Simcoe - dry hop (7 days)
28.3 gm Amarillo - dry hop (7 days)

I let the hops sit in the kettle for 20 minutes prior to chilling.

2 packs - US05

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Barbera Pyment

Barbera Pyment

brewed on: 7/4/12
OG: 1.128

5 gallon batch

2 48 oz cans - Alexanders Barbera grape concentrate
1 gallon (12 lbs) - California Orange Blossom honey (Northern Brewer)

2 packages - EC1118 yeast

5g yeast nutrient per day, first 4 days
2.5g DAP per day, first 4 days 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Quick Berliner Weiss

The method for this brew is a little different than normal. I started by tossing a handful of MO and wheat malt into 1L of starter wort. After a few days the pH had dropped to 3.5 which is low enough to kill off most of the funkier bacteria, like enterobacter, that lead to vomit aroma in the beer.

Once the starter was ready I did a normal mash with the grain, followed by a 15 minute boil to kill off anything alive in it. The sour starter is then pitched and the wort is allowed to sour over a few days at a warm temperature. My garage should be alright this summery time of year. Then, another 15 minute boil with the hops for just a few IBUs. This kills off the souring bugs. After chilling, WY German Ale yeast is pitched and the beer ferments and is dealt with normally from then on.

Quick Soured Berliner Weiss

brewed on: 4/20/12
OG: 1.036
IBUs: 5.7 IBUs
SRM:  3.1
mash temp: 153F

6 gallon batch
75% efficiency assumed

4 lbs Pils
4 lbs Wheat malt

25 gm Hallertau @ 3.9 - 15 minutes

step 1 - sour starter
step 2 - WY 1007 German Ale



brewed on: 4/18/12
OG: 1.029
IBUs: 34 IBUs
SRM:  2.4
mash temp: 153F

6 gallon batch
60 minute boil
75% efficiency assumed

6 lbs Weyerman Oak Smoked Wheat

28.3 gm Pearle @ 7.8% - first wort
15 gm Hallertau  @ 3.9% - 15 minutes

White Labs Cream Ale Blend
primary: 68F

Monday, June 11, 2012

Muscat Pyment

Muscat Pyment

brewed on: 4/12/12
OG: 1.120

12 lbs California Orange Blossom Honey
2 48oz cans of Muscat grape juice concentrate (68 Brix)

15g Lalvin EC-1118

Nutrient schedule:
Days 1-4
5g Wine yeast Nutrient
2.5g DAP

Fermented at basement temp (~68F)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Munich Dunkel II

I decided to brew a Baltic Porter and needed a yeast cake. I was happy enough with my Dunkel last time that I re-brewed the same recipe, but went with some water adjustments this time. I'm trying to be better about water adjustments in general since our water is a bit low in calcium.

Munich Dunkel (2)

brewed on: 4/11/12
OG: 1.048
IBUs: 22 IBUs
SRM:  17.5
mash temp: 150F

6 gallon batch
60 minute boil
75% efficiency assumed

5 lbs Munich malt
5 lbs Vienna malt
6 oz Carafa II

51 gm Hallertauer @ 3.9% - 60 minutes
7 gm Hallertauer @ 3.9% - 20 minutes

0.2g gypsum
0.4g baking soda
0.7g calcium chloride

0.3g gypsum
1.2g calcium chloride
WY 2206 Bavarian Lager
primary: ~53F.
4/25 - Raised to 64F for diacetyl rest.
4/27 - Racked to secondary and into lagering chamber at ~30F.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Baltic Porter

This was my first attempt at brewing a Baltic Porter. So far, so good, although I got worse efficiency than expected and bumped up the gravity with a bit of DME. I've had the same efficiency problem on a few big beers lately where I've never had issues in several years with it before, regardless of gravity. My mill needs fixing though, and I wonder if part of it has something to do with the crush I'm getting on my grain.

This is the first lager where I had the yeast trying to crawl out of the bucket (within 2 hours, pitched at 50F!) It's also the first time I brewed a strong abv lager as well. I've pretty much stuck to Helles, Dunkel, and Kolsch prior to this.

Baltic Porter

brewed on: 4/30/12
OG: 1.086
IBUs: 42 IBUs
SRM:  31
mash temp: 142F

6 gallon batch
90 minute boil
75% efficiency assumed (got 65% in the end and bumped up with DME)

12 lbs Munich
7 lbs Pilsner
8 oz Crystal 65L (Fawcett)
8 oz Caramunich
8 oz Crystal, Extra Dark (Simpsons)
6 oz Carafa II
4 oz Chocolate (Simpsons)
1.5 lbs Extra Light DME (last 10 minutes of boil)

85 gm Saaz @ 5.5% - 60 minutes
28.3 gm Saaz @ 5.5% - 15 minutes

WY2206 Bavarian Lager cake from Munich Dunkel
primary - 52F

lagering - 5/18/12

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Brandy Barrel Archaic Beer

I brewed a collaboration recipe from Sean Paxton (Homebrew Chef) and Urbain of De Struise. It was their 'Archaic Beer' meant to pay homage to beers like De Dolle's Oerbier. My original batch turned out great 2 years ago and my friend Jesse & I decided to do a 12 gallon batch to fill up my 10+ gallon brandy barrel. The main difference from last time was that we went with the Wyeast Belgian Stout strain rather than a starter made from Pannepot dregs like last time. I also opted for Dark Candi sugar (syrup) rather than the piloncillo sugar I used last time. Here's the recipe:

Archaic Beer #2

brewed on: 3/11/12
OG: 1.092
IBUs: 24 IBUs
SRM:  34
mash temp: 150F (would have preferred higher, but we undershot a bit)

12 gallon batch
60 minute boil
70% efficiency assumed

27.2 lbs Belgian pale
3.6 lbs flaked oats
2.25 lbs Caramunich
1.7 lbs flaked wheat
1.5 lbs flaked barley
1.4 lbs Dark crystal (Simpsons)
1.4 lbs Extra dark crystal (Simpsons)
1.13 lbs Crystal 20L
0.57 lbs Black malt (Simpsons)

1 lb D90 candi sugar
1 lb D180 candi sugar

118.6 g Styrian Goldings 
Wyeast Belgian Stout (limited release)

 fermented 3 weeks in primary, then racked to 10+ gallon brandy barrel

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Day Barleywine 2012

We started a tradition a year ago of brewing barleywine at my friend's house on New Years Day. It makes for a REALLY FRIGGIN' COLD brew day in Wisconsin, but that's alright. It's a lot of fun and good company as well!

I decided to do my best to emulate J.W. Lee's Harvest Ale, which is one of my favorite beers and probably my favorite barley wine along with Thomas Hardy's Ale. I took a recipe Gordon Strong published in Zumurgy in 2010 and bumped up the gravity to push it into the ridiculously strong/sweet range!

It tasted good enough out of the secondary that I ended up bottling it still. So far it is on track to age into something great. I just have to be patient enough not to drink it all now!

New Years Day Barleywine 2012

brewed on: 11/1/12
OG: 1.137
IBUs: 45.5 IBUs
SRM:  23.5
mash temp: 152F

6 gallon batch
90 minute boil
57% efficiency assumed

12 lbs Pale
12 lbs Vienna
1.5 lbs Amber malt
1.5 lbs Carapils
1.5 lbs Victory
1.5 lbs Wheat malt (German)
1.25 lbs Dark Crystal (Simpsons)
6 oz Extra Dark Crystal (Simpsons)
1 lb Turbinado sugar
3 lbs Extra Light DME - 10 minutes

50 g Nugget @ 13% - 60 minutes
16 g Willamette @ 4.8% - 45 minutes
14.1 g Fuggles @ 5.1% - 30 minutes
30 g Willamette @ 4.8% - 5 minutes

East Coast Yeast Scottish Heavy starter (repitched into starter from 2 previous batches)