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Category Archives: Brewing

We are brewing a clone of Modern Times’ super delicious City of the Sun IPA.

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Recipe below (supplied by the brewery via Beer Smith):

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Ingredients include hop extract an we are fired up to use some of our hop jizz that has been sitting in the fridge for the past many months.

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We are also stoked about a few new improvements to the brewery, including fresh transfer hoses, new valves and quick disconnects.  The valves and disconnects are Blichmann’s finest.

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We did not use the FermCapS that we usually use and had a boil-over on hop addition.  Never again.  Better living through chemistry.

Split batch, as usual, with one WLP001 and one WLP090. New White Labs packaging works well.

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Hit the number for original gravity (1.060) on the nose.
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All buttoned up and ready for fermentation. We were able to pitch yeast and Clarity Ferm straight out of the Therminator. Love that cold tap water.
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We plan to brew something in two weeks and will rack the new wort on top of these two yeast cakes. Just got to figure out what our next recipe will be…

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Today we are brewing a pale ale and a clone of Ballast Point’s Sculpin IPA.

The pale ale went swimmingly, with absolutely no problems other than a pump issue.

The trouble from our pump #1 was a slow flow..  We took it apart and reassembled it as all looked good. It was sucking in air and we thought it was time to use the Oetiker clamps on our brew rig houses.

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We mashed in a couple of degrees above our 148 target for the IPA but were able to get it down with some stirring and leaving the lid off.

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We mashed in at the same time we did flame out on the pale ale.

We racked the pale on to our Kölsch yeast cakes (after racking the Kölsch into secondary fermenters) at 60 to 62 degrees.

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Racking finished just as we needed the pump to begin our recirculation. We had to wait 10 minutes to clean the boil kettle and fly sparge. Nice 70 minute mash.

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The 4 ounces of 60 minute hops are pictured above. Crystal, Magnum, Northern Brewer, Warrior and Columbus. that’s on top of an ounce of first wort hop.

While putting in the hops we checked gravity and found it short by 17 points! No idea how that happened, especially with a long mash, except that in this batch we did not add any 5.2. Weird.

Soon after, we had a boil over and lost a bunch of hop matter. Amateur move…

30 minute hops went fine, except we did not have enough crystal. We substituted a third of the weight with Northern Brewer.

We added some LME and DME at the 15 minute mark to bring the gravity up to target.

Flame out hops and into the fermenters it went. Long day.
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We brewed a Kölsch again. Original recipe was used.  We missed our mash temp by 4 degrees and struggled to bring it up.  Otherwise our brew day was busy but non eventful.

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We cleaned a bunch of kegs and the white freezer. One of our kegs had a leak on the liquid side and left an inch of beer in the freezer.

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We bought an Oetiker crimp and are going to replace when clamps on our hoses.
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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.

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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.

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

We brewed A Kolsch and a blonde on father’s day. The experience could not be more different between the two brews.

We actually measured our grains twice when putting together the mash. We missed our mash temp by a few degrees and had to infuse and decoct to bring it up to target.

The end result was an “Imperial Kolsch” with an original gravity of 15 brix (1.060 vs a hoped for 1.042)

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The blond was a bit too hot into the mash tun but a little extra cold water fixed it immediately. It sat in the mash tun for longer than our 60 minute recipe as it waited for the Kolsch to finish it’s 90 minute boil.

The blond hit our OG target perfectly. Odd that we would have 88% efficiency in our first beer and a normal 73% on the second.

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We also added another wrinkle to our operation: automated hot side aerator recirculation manifold. This addition is hoped to help in extraction of sugars and setting a good grain bed.

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We also used FermCap-S in the boil kettle and in the plastic fermenters. We had two vigorous boils and no foam over. This stuff works. We are hoping it will reduce cleaning effort with the better bottle product as well.

Our 20 gallon output was split 4 ways into the fermenters with one each getting some brewer’s Clarex enzyme. This is supposed to reduce chill haze and is known to reduce gluten too.   We are hoping to have some gluten intolerant friends test this for us. We will send samples to White Labs to measure the gluten levels first.

Double batch days are about 50% longer than a single day, which seems like a very good payback. We were a little tired after the 11 hour day, but not as tired as our propane tank. It got a bit frosty before we depleted it.

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We brewed a batch of Berliner Weisse. It was a fairly straightforward affair with the only glitch being an OG miss of for points. 1.031 vs.  target of 1.035.

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We also took delivery of a 5 gallon whisky barrel. Some of our barleywine will find a home here.

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Theme for the brew day: short.

We brewed an imperial IPA based loosely on Russian River’s Pliny the Younger and Three Floyd’s Zombie Dust. Lots of malt, lots of wheat and lots of hops.

We used 32 lbs of grain and just short of 2 lbs of candy sugar.  Home brew shop missed 2lbs by an ounce or so.

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We used a lot of hops.  Cascade and Citra from an unused 5 gallon kit we won in the NHC contest last summer plus a mystery hop from Golden Road Brewing’s contest of the same name.   We expected to get a pound of the hop but we received only 10 ounces. Being short 6 ounces was the reason for the poaching of our hop inventory.
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We did our best to Burtonize our water but the additions required to bring LA water to Burton on Trent hardness was silly.  We added salts to meet in the middle (coming up a bit short of goal).

Our mash temperature was right on. We had only a 67% efficiency, however, coming 12 points short of our OG goal. Clearly our mash tun is not letting us hit reasonable efficiency on high gravity beers.   Maybe we need a bigger tun?

The 4lbs of wheat added a lot of protein to the wort.
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We did, as we always do, use two yeasts. image

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As we did for our Creme Brulee, we took some second runnings for a small beer but had to add some DME and were short of 5 gallons. We used the last of our home grown hops.
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While short was the theme,  the day progessed rather smoothly and our hope is that the beer should be pretty good. We plan on entering it into the NHC in addition to the intended Golden Road Brewing’s contest.

We brewed a Kolsch again. This time we did an all barley recipe. Half a pound of honey malt was used for color.

We did a two step infusion mash and hit our temperatures exactly. All was not perfect as we added all the hops at sixty minutes, including our 15 minute aroma addition. Whoops. We added another .75 ounces of cascade whole hops that were grown and frozen by us last year. The IBUs will be a touch out of style but will hopefully taste good.

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We also washed the Mexican lager yeast from last brew. We hope to store it for a while in order to use it again.

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Brad brewed up a batch of “craft” root beer too.

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Did you know that sarsaparilla is considered a carcinogen by the FDA?

We have wanted to brew a Mexican lager for a while. We came up with a traditional Vienna Lager with some corn adjunct and pitched a Mexican lager yeast on 5 gallons and an American lager yeast on the other 5 gallons.

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This mash had three rest temperatures so two decoctions were done. We used Beer Smith to calculate the volumes instead of doing it by hand and we overshot our targets both times. We added some cool sparge water and were able to quickly get to target. We will need to dial in the mash tun calculations in the Beer Smith program.

We also did a fly sparge and used our nifty manifold.

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We got a few more points of gravity than we planned for, so we will need to dial in the Beer Smith program some more.

Today we brewed a pale ale.  A little acidulated and wheat, plus crystal 120 on 17 lbs of two row make the body of this beer.  Hops include Colombus, Cascade, Centennial, Citra and Simcoe. 

Pretty straightforward, but we will ferment it on the 001 & 002 yeast cakes from the “right to work Jack” we brewed last week.  We had Brad as an assistant brewer and a number of guests keeping us company.  This led to a very mellow brew day.

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