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Category Archives: Build

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…

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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We decided to invest a little time and attention to our serving system.

We created a serving “wedge” instead of a “collar” for our larger freezer.  The collar is a common way to raise the lid of a freezer to allow kegs to fit inside, and mount faucets to the collar, converting it to a “keezer”.  Our freezer is plenty deep enough for kegs so converting it would only add the serving function to what we already have.

We have been serving our beer at a benefit for Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.  We developed a “wedge” to allow us to have the serving function of a collar without permanent modification of the freezer.   A simple U shaped wooden structure with a flat face and wedge shaped sides did the trick.  A post here describes the old unit.

We simply re-drilled the six holes (to one inch) and installed 3 1/8 inch shanks, faucets that we had laying around, and thirty feet of hose (5 feet each).  We finished each hose with a  1/4 MFL fitting, as is our custom.  This allows us to attach ball, pin or sanke taps.

Still need to get one more faucet handle.

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One trick to get the MFL fittings on the hose is to mount the fitting on a tap and use it to get the grip and leverage required to insert the barbed end into the hose.

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Our new barrel begins what we hope to be a many year journey. We filled it today with some barley wine that was aged on oak cubes and some without oak.

We plan to remove some beer every year and top off with some freshly made new product. It should be fun.

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We bought a second stirplate on ebay. Our homemade one did not perform as well as we had hoped. A bit of tuning and adjustments would make it work but the effort was too great and the loss of yeast would be too much if it threw the bar in the middle of the night.

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We sanded the pretty ragged body a bunch and then hit it with a good shot of Rustolium. The paint is the double coat version. This, allegedly, puts two coats on each time. It just sagged. While not super pretty, the new coat of paint will keep it from getting more corroded and keep the brewery clean. Plus it is orange. Orange rocks.

Stirplate Sereal Number

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stirplate orange 2

I can’t believe we have not posted since September.  Shameful.

Lots of fun beer things have happened.  Our Oktoberfest event went off without a problem. 

We did, however, make way too much beer.  We brought almost 70 gallons of beer and served only half that much.

Popular styles included the Kolsch, strong Belgian, and Heffeweisen.  The Oktoberfest was a hit as well.

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We built the above contraption to serve from our chest freezer.  Instead of a collar  we made a wedge that we could close the lid on but leave the freezer unadultered.  It worked perfectly.  Six taps at one time. Looked pretty professional too.

Our good buddy John approached us again to brew a beer for yet another birthday (sucks that they keep coming so fast, but the alternative sucks worse).

He had an idea for a lemon rosemary saison. He brought lemons and rosemary sprigs from the same garden in which he hosts the party.

All went like clockwork. We were going to add a pound of candy sugar but used approximately 3/4 of a pound of bottling sugar and a half a pound of brown sugar. The wort tasted great!

This beer was pitched with a Wyeast French Saison yeast and an Abbey 2 Saison yeast that we built up with starters for two days. Just a few hours after pitching, both carboys were going strong.

The carboys are better bottles.  We picked up four when an online homebrew store had a 20% off sale.  They are light!  The opening is the same size as our larger glass carboys but the inner is big thanks to the thin walls of the bottle.  They take a huge #10 stopper.  Our first impressions are favorable but we shall see how they clean up in a few weeks.  Long term durability is still a question as well.

We will ferment in the garage in the fabulous Los Angeles heat.  We are looking for some good Belgian esters and a dry finish.

After brewing we tore apart all the stainless and brass fittings for a thorough cleaning.  We will probably replace some gaskets and all the teflon  tape before reassembly.

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We are brewing a Kolsch. We have wanted to do one for a long time. We had a great unfiltered example at Gordon Biersch in San Diego and it felt like the right time to finally get it going.

Lots of new stuff being used for the first time:
1) Temperature controlled yeast starter.
2) Grain mill (Monster Mill 3 roller)
3) Oxygen stone.
4) 5.2 pH stabilizer

Add the above to our first decoction (this one is a double decoction but we missed temp on the second so call it a 2.5 decoction) and we really have our hands full.

We also purchased six new kegs. Four are 5 gallon and two are 3 gallon size. The guy at the shop told us that they belonged to Emilio Estavez but he had too many and sold these back to the store. We just want to party with his brother.

In six weeks, or so, we shall know if we took on too many changes to get this beer right.

Inspired by Sierra Nevada Brewing’s Beer Camp #8 California Common, we decided to brew a similar beer.

There was no recipe to be found so we worked off what we could find. We started with an Anchor clone recipe (from an ancient BYO magazine). We knew the ABV of the camp beer was 6.5% so we upped the grain bill by 4.5 pounds and the hops by a half ounce (30 min) to balance.

Should be a fun beer to drink.