January 2007

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tasting the IPA

Well I wish I could say that the beer lived up to the name, but alas, nothing ever does.

The IPA is all hops and no malt flavor. It's kind of sad, even my wife commented on how light it was.

The good news is that I know what went wrong. Remember, this predates my understanding of adjusting recipes to my system (and brewing experience) efficiency. I have since received a wealth of information from some of the bloggers on this site and others (Groves Beer Log and Bad Ben) and from the forums on Beer Advocate. This has helped me to understand where I was going wrong and help me to figure out how to get "Back on Track!"

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Kegged Joe Cool

I moved my Joe Cool IPA from the fermenter into the keg. It's a little earlier than I wanted too, but I was drinking Molsons Canadian for the last week and I JUST COULDN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!

Anyway, this beer was surprisingly light in color and pretty smooth to drink. So far (and yes as always I am drinking my gravity test sample) it's not a knockout by any means, but it's good with a lot of hops flavor.

Something a little weird with this is that the reading I got on the hydrometer was 1.000, but since mine only reads in increments of .005 I figured that was a sign that is was under .005. It made me thing though, is it possible to get a reading of 1.000 from anything other than water? Could you have an aggressive enough yeast session to get down that low? My first thought is no. I would say that in a hypothetical case like that, you would not have any flavor in the beer because there would be no sugar left.

Either way, beer is beer and I am pleased with this one thus far.


Friday, January 26, 2007

I got it!

you can now access my brew blog from either or just Hope all is well and it is killing me waiting on my brews!

Cheers to not having to screw around on annoying tech crap anymore.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Quick Tech Note

For anyone that is using blogger and has seen that you can create a personalized URL for your .blogspot site, I have to put out a little warning. Now I have been using GoDaddy for my domain registration for a while now and have not been pleased. However, the war that I have had to go through with this new blogger business is out of control!

Here is the point of this; if you are interested in using the custom domain feature in Blogger, do not use GoDaddy! It is the worst.

Thanks, I promise that's the last of the tech biz I will put out on my blog, back to the beer!

Monday, January 22, 2007

Grain Bill Adjustments

I am always looking for a way to get things done that makes sense and saves money. I have to say that as of late I have been a little obsessed with this whole concept of efficiency and it led me to create a little adjustment sheet so that I could make changes to my grain bill.

If you are interested, I found a website that allows users to post documents called ThinkFree and I posted a spreadsheet I made here. This program allows you to download the document when you have an account so here is a quick run through on getting this thing down loaded:

1) go to the drop down menu in the upper right corner

2) choose Copy to My Folder from the menu

3) from here is will ask you to sign in, assuming you don't have an account, you sign up for the free account and the program will send you an email to verify your account.

4) from there the document should be in your should be in your My Office tab and if you choose from the file menu, you can download the doc to your hard drive.

The reason that I recommend downloading it to your computer is that the web adjustments don't work fast enough for my liking. I know what you are thinking, no this is not a less than clever plan to plot worms on people's computers, this is an excel doc!

Now the way that this is set up is there are a bunch of equations built into the doc (stick to sheet 3, it's the best one) and they will allow you to adjust a verity of items on your recipe to get the grain bill that fits.

Here goes:

1)The column to start with is the LBS per Batch, this is where you will enter in the amounts of the grains indicated in column A that the recipe you are planning calls for.

2)As you can see here, I have put in 1 lb of Chocolate Malt, 4.25 lbs of Belgium 2 row pale malt, and 4lbs of Belgium wheat malt. There is a recommendation about the amount of each of these mats you should use and on the far right column it lets you know how much you have in your recipe.

3)Now in the column labeled Adjust LBS there is a new number that is the result of the equations set in the spreadsheet. When you download the sheet, it is set at 54% efficiency so all of the adjustments are based on that.

4) To adjust the efficiency to reflect your homebrewery, all you need to do is change the 0.54 number that is in the highlighted box to what ever your efficiency is, for example if you are at 75% efficiency, change the number to 0.75. The number on the spreadsheet will reflect the difference from that number and 1, so for 0.75 it will read 25%. I wish I could have made it do everything, but alas.

5) Finally when you have inputted your efficiency and the recipe you are planning on using, you should have an adjusted recipe to reflect your homebrewery's efficiency.

If this doesn't work let me know. I am good with excel, but bad with math.


Sunday, January 21, 2007


So I am now 3 batches into my new all brew system and I figured I would try to come up with my efficiency. I found this explanation of efficiency on the HBD Efficiency web page. These are listed in opposite the order that they were brewed, so the Yeti was the first all brew I tried. The Ed at the local brew store said that this was an aggressive first brew so it should not be surprising that I only had 37% efficiency on that one.

8lb. Durst Pilsner (3628 g) 56 pts
2lb. Briess 2-row (907 g) 14.8 pts
1lb. Durst Wheat (453 g) 7.8 pts
0.5lb. corn sugar to boil (226 g) 4

Potential 1.082
Actual 1.045
Eff 54.8%

4.0 lbs (1,800g) 2 row pale malt 29.6 pts
2lbs 10oz (1,200 g) 6 row pale malt 18.2 pts
2lbs (907g) flaked maze ?

Potential 1.048
Actual 1.030
Eff 62.5%

15.25 lbs American 2 row malt 112.85 pts
1 lb- Crystal Malt 6.8 pts
12oz- Chocolate Malt 4.5 pts
12oz- Black Patent Malt 4.35 pts
10oz- Roasted Barley 3.48 pts
8oz- Wheat Malt 3.9 pts
8oz- Flaked Rye ?

Potential 1.135
Actual 1.050
Eff 37%

Avg Eff 51%

Overall I would say that I need to work on efficiency for the future, but it looks as though I am in the ball park of many brewers that are new to all grain so I am not going to complain. After all, if I started out perfect, where would I have to go?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Joe Cool IPA

This is an IPA that I made some changes too for my recipe. I am waiting on my Schlitz to lager for a month so I decided I would brew up an IPA for the Super Bowl. This should be a fine one:

5 Gallons

8lb. Durst Pilsner (3628 g)
2lb. Briess 2-row (907 g)
1lb. Durst Wheat (453 g)
0.5lb. corn sugar to boil (226 g)

1oz Spalt 60 Full boil (28 g)
1oz Hersbrucker 30 min left (28 g)
2oz Spalt 5 min left (56 g)

1 Orange (Tangelo) peel 10 mins left
1 TBS Cilantro 10 mins left (15ml)

OG- .045 (it was supposed to be up in the .058 range so I am a little disappointed, but what can you do? It's still beer)
FG- ~.003 (I need a better hydrometer, mine only works in increments of .005 so I am never sure about exacts. In this case it was actually closest to 1.000)

5.5% ABV

Wyeast Rogue Yeast- This was a recommendation from my brewer and he has yet to steer me wrong so I decided to go with it. I guess this is a limited release yeast so you are on your own for an alternative.

My version of this brew is named after the ultimate Super Bowl QB, Joe Montana!

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Schlitz

I saw this recipe in and since I had never tried a lager, I decided this was a good place to start. This is my version of the recipe The Schizlitz from BYO:

90 min at 150F (65C)
4.0 lbs (1,800g) 2 row pale malt
2lbs 10oz (1,200 g) 6 row pale malt
2lbs (907g) flaked maze

.55oz (15g) Czech Saaz 3.8% alpha (60min)
1.1oz (31g) Fuggles (60min)

Wyeast 2035 (American Lager)

OG- 1.030
FG- 1.005

I used about 7 gallons of water, 2 gallons for the wart and another 5 for the sparge. After the boil down, I had the right amount. This was my first time using a starter and I think it helped out, though I am not sure about the smell I am getting from the fermenter. There is a sulfur smell coming out that I get a little bit of, so if there is anyone out there that know anything about that, please feel free to add some input. I am a little afraid that I may have my first infected batch (knock on wood), but I am going to wait and see if it's not something with the lager yeast that I may not know about.

Otherwise the whole process went well.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Next Brew

As an FYI for anyone interested; I am going to be brewing this weekend. I have an American Pilsner recipe I found in BYO called the Shizlitz and I made a couple of changes to it for a slight variation on the 70's style American Pilsner.

I am going to get some photos and do a detailed entry about how I brew to follow up the recipe.