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Monthly Archives: July 2013

We finally got around to brewing an Oktoberfest.   Given our modern yeasts and highly modified malts, we should be okay with the timing (but probably should have done this at least a month ago).

We used 23 lbs of malt including a bunch of Vienna as base two other malts that I can’t remember, some caramel 80, a pound of wheat and two pounds of candi sugar (one light and one dark).

The mash was thinner than our usual at 1.7 quarts per pound and we got complicated again with the schedule.  Originally designed to infuse at 143, decoct to 155 and then sparge at 168, we ended up with a double infusion and double decoction,  We ended up with an intermediate rest at 149 (our decoction calculator failed us).

We hit our original gravity (1.055) exactly.  Our ground water was 76 degrees and our Blichmann therminator brought our wort to 78 degrees with a very fast pump.

oktoberfest 2013

Pretty good brew day (except for our mash miss).

One bummer, however.  One of our California Lager fermenters got infected with Chlorophenols.  Bad-aid flavor was painful to taste.   It was the Kolsch yeast fermenter that went bad.  Perhaps we failed somewhere in washing the yeast, cleaning the fermenter or blow-off valve, or some other task.  This is the second beer in the past couple of months, and third all time, that has been infected in this way.   Time to focus on these issues.

Cal Lager Fail


Today we brewed 12 gallons of a California Lager, inspired by Anchor’s version. Ingredients are 23 lbs of two row and 3.5 ounces of Cluster hops. This old school approach is gaining a serious foothold these days. Homebrewers are finding out that simple recipes help you evaluate ingredients and yeasts unlike a more complex recipe. In simple terms, this is a classic SMASH brew, (single malt single hop).  We are using a WLP 810 California Lager for 6 gallons and WLP 029 Kolsch yeast for the other 6. We are hoping that a cooler fermentation will help the style and get us to where we would like to be.

cal lager

It was a simple brew and almost everything went right. However, we were shooting for a 151 degree mash temp and missed low by 2 degrees. Only time will tell whether this will be a bad thing. The beer might be super dry, but who knows, this might be good.

We also kegged our Kolsch and Blond from previous brews. We tasted our aging Berliner weisse (not ready) and our barrel aged barley wine (maybe ready for kegging).

Lastly, we popped open a few bottles from our collection and did a little “quality control.”  This was fun…

Most of the beer tasted great and it was great to taste what the judges had commented on all spring and summer.

We even tried some of our Barleywine.

bottle caps

We also received ribbons for three beers we entered into the California State Fair:
cal state fair 2013