January 2008

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Best political ad EVER!!!

Without going into a lot of detail, I have seen a lot of political ads. While most of the good ones qualify as "good" only do so because "in the land of the blind, the man with one eye is king", this ad is the exception.

This is hands down the best political ad ever and may be one of the best ads ever.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

MNB - Name your kid after brew? Sure!

In yet another exclusive piece of undercover reporting from, I have blown the cover on Monday Night Brewery's publicity stunt. No more will they be able to destroy the lives of children by the ridicule for having a wacky name. with it's list of Georgia names allowed me to search and discover yet another shocking revelation about Monday Night Brewery. They have named a girl Monday in an attempt to build free publicity and drive their southern countrymen to drink their beer.

As crazy as this sounds, please think about the evidence and ask yourself, could this be a coincidence? I think not.

To make matters worse, in an attempt to head off the controversial attention this move would create for MNB other breweries have jumped on board as well:

Miller - 98 boys and 24 girls
Bud - 7 boys
Natural - 1boy and 2 girls
Genesy - 1 girl (poor masking of Genesee brand beer)

Brewing is a hobby of humility, patience and pleasure. The guys of MNB have taken that to a whole new low with their shameless marketing and exploitation of children. When will it stop guys? When will it ever be enough?

Some other highlights from the Georgia name bot are:

TIN - Boy 8
TACO - Boy 1
ESPN - Boy 1
SEXLY - Girl 1

There are countless other wonderful uses of that database. Please feel free to post your favorites.


Sunday, January 27, 2008

Reiterated Mash - Planning in Action

Today was our reiterated mashing day for our "Sissy" Kaffir Lime Imperial Lager. For all of the details on the story behind the reiterated mashing technique, please check out my previous post, I don't feel like going over it again.

This morning I started heating 10 gallons of water up at 6:30am. As planned, we split the grain bill up into two batches. The first was 15.2 lbs and the second was 16.8 lbs. There was 5lbs of brown rice that was cooked the night before and added to each of the mashes.

We struck the first mash and the temp was at 145, lower than the 150 we had targeted for this mash. We ran off two gallons into the second mash and added 2 gallons of water at 162 to get us up to the desired 150f. We held that mash at that temp for 20 min.

After the 20 min, we ran our first mash off into the second mash. For this we used a cooler that was the same size as the mash tun. After running off, we were well below the desired 145, so we pulled off about 1/3 of the mash and heated it to a boil on a separate burner (this is a decoction of sorts). After adding this back to the second mash, we had a temp that was little higher than we wanted, 151, but we were good with that as it was going to loose some temp over the hour hold. In the end, the first runnings were 13 brix or about 1.056 for the first mash.

Now in a slight deviation from the original reiterated mashing technique, we decided that we were going to try to utilize as much of the sugars on the grain as possible. The plan was to sparge the first mashing and keep that runoff for sparging the second mash. This second running on the first mash was 5 gallons at 168 and yielded 7.25 brix (1.028G).

While we waited for the first mash to finish it's 60min hold, we cleaned the grains out of the mash tun in preparation for the second mash.

Once the hold was done on the second mash, we moved the grains from the cooler into the mash tun where we were added boiling water to acheve 168f for mashout. Once at mashout, we setup for a fly sparge using the sparge runoff from the first mash. The first running from the second mash yeilded 18.25 brix (1.074G).

We wound up with a bit more volume than we had planned on so we seporated the wort into two brew pots for increased evaporation. After about an hour of boiling, we added them to the same brew pot and started a normal brew adding our bittering hops of 2 oz UK Goldings for 45min. The aroma hops were UK Goldings as well of 1 oz for 25min.

Once the wort was cool, we decided to use Beano pills as a way of getting rid of some of residual sugars by turning them into fermetable sugars The decision to do this was in light of a BA post that I did and a BYO article here. According to what we had seen, adding 4 pills per 5 gal would turn the residual sugars into fermentables, giving you a beer that has a lower carbohydrate level and, in our case, a crisp dry finish like you get in a Japanese Lager.

We crushed up 8 Beano pills and added them to the 10 gal cooled wort.

In preparation for a big beer, we did aerated the beer thoroughly and made a mini yeast culture for future introduction into the beer. We will use this if the fermentation slows down as a way to kick start the process.

Ah, well I think that's it. In this end this brew weighed in at 1.072 which was less than the 1.073 the recipe should have given us. I need to sleep on this whole "reiterated mashing" before I have a definitive conclusion on it's application. While we did deviate from the path in some ways, we also did something that would hopefully have led to a greater utilization of our grains. I am not sure if we got any more out of our grains than we would of doing anything else, but it was an interesting process and fun to try something new.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Reiterated Mashing

So in December of this past year when my BYO came, I saw an article by Chris Colby about this new technique for brewing high gravity beers. While I was not able to find an online version of the article, you can order it from BYO here or you can hear a really informative interview with James from Basic Brewing Radio here (November 22, 2007) on it.

Reading the article really gave me a lot to think about. Three things come to mind:

1) Is this worth all the work?
2) what's the benefit?
3) If this is some magic way to maximize your grain bill, why not do it all the time?

Well after listening to James' interview and reading a bunch of forum threads on it (here, here and here), I came up with some answers to these questions:

1) Making a big beer is always one of several things, work, time or money.
2) The benefit is being able to make a big beer with a normal mash tun and with out having to boil down 20 gallons of wort
3) No magic, just a way to deal with a 40lb grain bill on a 12 gallon mash tun and a 15gal brew kettle

So after some reading and a meeting with Nick, we decided to take the plunge and we are going to brew a Kaffir Lime Imperial Lager. Here is the recipe:

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 10.50 gal
Boil Size: 11.70 gal
Estimated OG: 1.080 SG
Estimated Color: 3.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 15.7 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.0 %
Boil Time: 45 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU
30.00 lb Pilsner (2 Row) UK (1.0 SRM) Grain 75.0 %
8.00 lb Rice, Flaked (1.0 SRM) Grain 20.0 %
2.00 lb Pale Malt (6 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 5.0 %
3.00 oz Saaz [4.00%] (45 min) Hops 15.7 IBU
Munich Lager #2308 (reused from Samuel Jackson)

Now there are a few things going on here that I need to explain. First off the rice. While flaked rice (rice that is pregelatinized) is the recommended method of using rice as an adjunct, we are going to be using plain white rice because of the lack of availability of flaked rice. So there will be a 1/2 hr rice prep that will either take place the night before or the day of brewing.

With that said, we are going to make our variation on a "reiterated mash":

Reiterated Mashing (our take)

  1. 20lbs added to mash tun
  2. Strike 10 gal of water at 162 for a grain bed temp of 150
  3. Let sit for 20 min
  4. Heat up additional 5 gallons water to sparge first 20lbs of grain
  5. Runoff into brew kettle - Heat wort up (if necessary)
  6. Strike wort from kettle to second 20lbs of grain (in second cooler)with 140-145f grain bed target temp - Rest for 1hr stiring every 10min
  7. (in the meantime) Batch sparge 5 gallons of sparge water that was heated up, runoff into second brew pot - Heat up to 140f and hold
  8. Empty first 20lbs of grain from mash tun
  9. After the hour is up, dump the second 20lbs of grain from second cooler into mash tun along with 2.5 gal of water at 192f for mash out temp - let stand for 10 min.
  10. Runoff into brew kettle
  11. Use the 5 gallons that was sparged from the first 20lbs to fly sparge the second 20lbs in the mash tun
  12. Brew!

From all the reading and listening I did, this process should be about 3hrs on it's own. There are some basic "all grain brewing" aspects of this that are assumed such as recirculation. With that said, there will be minimal to no recirculation before the last runoff because the wort is going into more grain.

After the wort is in the kettle (we are shooting for 11.7gal preboil volume) we will commence with a normal brew day only with a 45min boil to ensure the lightness of the brew.

The kaffir lime is going to be introduced in the secondary. The preparation is for the leaves only. Nick is in charge of this and he is freezing the leaves (20 for a 10.5 gallon batch) and then chopping them up and boiling them. This will make a kaffir lime leaf concentrate and that is what we will introduce to the secondary. It's a pretty interesting idea.

So that's the plan. We are open to feed back as it sounds like there have not been a lot of people out there that have used this approach. I hope that I was able to articulate the technique in a way that makes sense (to those of us above the Mason Dixon line anyway, MNB I am mostly concerned for you as this is pretty confusing).


PS - I am going to take plenty of pictures and try to make a really comprehensive overview of how we are doing this.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Samuel L. Jackson Beer

Sunday was back to brewing for Nick and I in the face of REALLY cold conditions. A few weeks back I did a post about our attempt at making a Samuel Adams Lager clone but due to some unforeseen circumstances, that brew went on hold and I brewed my Tripel Nipple. Well this past Sunday we got back on track.

This brew came out really well and due to an increased efficiency (and the resulting increase in potency of this brew) we decided to change the name to Samuel L. Jackson Beer because this stuff will get ya drunk! I also made some adjustments to the recipe, this is what we ended up brewing:

Samuel L. Jackson Beer

Amount Item Type % or IBU
21.50 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 82.5 %
2.32 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 8.9 %
2.25 lb Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 8.6 %
3.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80%] (60 min) Hops 24.3 IBU
1.25 oz Tettnang [4.50%] (30 min) Hops 7.3 IBU
1.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80%] (Dry Hop 4 days) Hops -
0.53 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Munich Lager (Wyeast Labs #2308) Yeast-Lager

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 26.07 lb
Name Description Step Temp Step Time
Mash In Add 8.08 gal of water at 162.6 F151.0 F 75 min
Mash Out Add 5.21 gal of water at 198.2 F168.0 F 10 min

Brew Notes

Despite some snow up Nick's way, we were still able to get started with a striking at 7:30am. We struck with about 155f as the temp. I was going for 151f to give this a little lighter body, but not a bog deal. Because this was a big recipe and we were working at the capacity of the mash tun, we ran off three gallons of the wort into a pot so that we could add it to the sparge water (this was Nick's idea and may have contributed to the name of the brew).

We hit our mash out temp of 168f on the nose and let it sit for 10 min. After this we added the sparge water and let the sparge happen for about 30 to 45 min. In the end our pre-boil gravity was 14.75brix or 1.058 gravity, a little more than a point above the projected 1.047.

Our yield was about 1/2 gallon lower than it should have been when things were all said and done and our gravity was 1.060, four above where we were aiming giving us the new name - Samuel Jackson Lager - due to the increase in potency.

In the end our efficiency was about 70% and we need to figure out if it was the recirculation of the wort or hitting the mash out temp that caused the spike.

In other news

I had a little stall in the fermentation of my Tripel Nipple that was solved by taking the bucket upstairs into the bathroom where it could sit at 72f. I have since racked it over and have the 5 gallon carboy on my bench where it's a consistent 68f. Contrary to rumors on the Internets, I don't think that a Tripel is equal portions Bud Lite, Miller Lite and Coors.

On that note, Southern Culture on the Skidz has decided to take some pot shots at my over carbonated (and very over oaked) stout. I didn't get a chance to respond because I was watching the NEW YORK Giants make it to the Super Bowl and I was basking in the light of an all north eastern Super Bowl. While I do sometimes have hiccups in my brewing operation, at least what I do to my beer is legal in all 50 states, unlike the boys at MNB:

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


So last night on my way home I figured I would make a few stops, one by the redemption center to get some Chimay bottles for my Tripel Nipple and second by Harbor Freight for a wire brush to clean my burner.

I couldn't find the redemption center, so still on a mission, I stopped by my old faithful. Now for the sake of the place, in case their distributors give them a hard time about this, they will remain nameless. Anyway, I go to my super secret location and ask about Chimay bottles, but they have none. However, they do have a "ton of Grolsch flip top bottles" so I ask to have a look. It turns out they also have a ton of Schwelmer flip top bottles as well (amber glass and 11.5oz each as opposed to the larger green Grolsch bottles), 35 to be exact.

I of course volunteered to take all those bottles as well as a Budweiser Brewmaster's Select flip top bottle (you will suffer no more my poor innocent awesome bottle) for the awesome price of $7.50! (To make things better, I get them home and they are CLEAN!!! Nothing inside any of them. All I did was de-label them and they were ready!)

In a good mood, I continued onward to Harbor Freight to get my wire brushes for cleaning my burner. While there, I stumbled on an awesome pack of "pipe cleaning" brushed for $4. I can now lean every crack and crevasse of my beer stuff with a whole variety of tools (yes, it was not an accident to link the word tools to it's definition).

Now as if things could get any better, I got home to find that my brand new refractometer had arrived!!! WOOO-FREAKING-HOOO!!!(my wife thinks I am crazy about being fired up about this, but I don't care, it's bad ass)

So I spent last night de-labeling my clean bottles, playing with my refractometer (contrary to belief, playing with your refractometer too much will not cause hairy palms or blindness, however it will cause awesomeness) and cleaning my burner. For all the stuff I did, it was a pretty easy night.

In other news...

As noted in the picture below, I have some over pressurization on my stout bottles. I don't think that bottle conditioning in growlers is going to work. It's just not been a very good experience to date. I will see how the others turnout, but I think it's a failed plan.

This weekend we are going to be back on schedule and brewing our Sam Adams Boston Lager clone. If anyone knows of a recipe for this one, we are all ears. While there are a lot of clones out there, none of them are alike. Any input would be greatly appreciated.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Change of plans

Well doe to an unfortunate situation, Nick was not available this weekend to brew. With that said, I still need to get 'my brew on' so I am going to do a solo batch for my brain.

For this brew I am going to do a Belgium Tripel I am calling Tripel Nipple. When I went to get my supplies for the brew day at my LHBS, a kid Ed has working there mistakenly started to ground 2-row pale malt for me instead of pilsener. Ed offered to give me to two row for free and start it all over again, but I told him it was all good and made this with 9.8lbs european 2 row and 5.2lbs pilsener. No need to waste. I am not sure if that takes in out of the "Tripel" category or not though. Oh well, not like I care...

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 6.50 gal
Boil Size: 8.98 gal
Estimated OG: 1.070 SG
Estimated Color: 7.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 28.2 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 61.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU
9.80 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM) Grain 48.40 %
5.20 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (2.0 SRM) Grain 25.68 %
2.00 lb Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM) Grain 9.88 %
2.00 lb Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 9.88 %
0.25 lb Caravienne Malt (22.0 SRM) Grain 1.23 %
1.00 oz Cluster [8.50 %] (60 min) Hops 20.9 IBU
1.00 oz Mt. Hood [6.00 %] (15 min) Hops 7.3 IBU
1.00 lb Candi Sugar, Clear (0.5 SRM) Sugar 4.94 %
5.50 gal Syracuse, New York Water
1 Pkgs Trappist High Gravity (Wyeast Labs #3787) Yeast-Wheat

Mash Schedule: Double Infusion, Full Body
Total Grain Weight: 19.25 lb
Double Infusion, Full Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
30 min Protein Rest Add 4.33 gal of water at 134.5 F 122.0 F
30 min Saccrification Add 3.85 gal of water at 206.7 F 158.0 F
10 min Mash Out Add 2.89 gal of water at 199.4 F 168.0 F

I got started this morning at about 6:30am (thanks Meatball for making sure I was up early on a Saturday) and finished at 11:30am. Pretty smooth brew day for the most part. I hit all of my temps and made some pH adjustments to the mash to get a 5.5pH. Everything went VERY smoothly up until the end.

I discovered that Beer Smith was giving me about 4 gallons more than I needed for the volume I was looking for. I am not exactally sure how it happened, but I can only assume that the quart of water to pound of grain volume is set too high. I am trying to figure out how to fix this for the future.

All was not lost though. I wound up with an extra gallon of brew and it still came in at a hefty 1.070 OG. I can live with that. I was dead on balls accurate with everything else so I am pleased with the day as a whole. Plus at a sunny 40f it was like brewing in Georgia only without being married to my cousin.

In other news...

First off, Ted from Ted's Homebrew Journal and I exchanged some brews over the holidays. Last night I tasted his Simcoe 100 and here are my notes:

Aroma - It's like opening a bag of hops and taking a whiff. There is a little malt tucked away in the background, but the hops are really the star of the show and you can get a complete hops aroma on this.

Appearance - Dark copper with a light brown finish. Depending on what light you hold it in, it can be very dark. The head was a cream color reminiscent of French vanilla. The head build up quickly and stuck around for a long time.

Flavor - Leads in with a hint of bitterness before you are hit with a strong grapefruit flavor. Its not an overly tart grapefruit, but just the citrus tang. Just like the nose, the hops is all over this one. It's a very complete hops flavor and the grapefruit plays very nicely with it.

Overall - My comments verbatim; "Wow - I love this beer!" It's a hell of a brew. My only regret is that I had but one to drink...

Second I racked over my Hairy Porter, very smooth and very sweet. It's actually a lot less harsh than I anticipated. I let it sit in secondary in the fridge for three weeks so its nicely mellowed. It was time well spent. The Anise has an interesting blend in this brew. More to come on this.

Finally it seems as though my "bottling for champs" el cheepo method might not be working. I need to do one of two things; break down and get a beer gun or prime every keg and bottle off of that. We will see...

Friday, January 11, 2008

CNYBrew Undercover - MNB Exposed!

Bloggers by weekday - Southern pride by weekend!

After some investigation, I discovered the dark secret behind Monday Night Brewery and why they brew on Mondays when the rest of the free world brews on the weekend.

It all started while I was researching the phenomenon known as "Civil War Reenactment" that is a regular fixture in the south. While much of the north does participate in local civil war reenactment, the enigma of the south, reenacting a war that they lost has always been fascinating to me and I have been on a mission to understand why.

During my research I came across the picture above. At first I thought nothing of it, but upon closer inspection, I discovered that the guys of MNB and all of their MNB buddies (I can only assume) took the day off from brewing and "cornholing" to reenact the civil war!

Suddenly it all because very clear; this was why they could not brew on the weekend, they were busy replaying a war that was lost by the south! It all came full circle, the nonsense about Syracuse and upstate New York, they were trying to win the war!
Well my tooth deprived brew buddies from the south, let the brew war begin!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I need some help!

In the last issue of BYO there was an article about an in-line dry hops filter and I want to figure out how to make it. The guys from Aussie Home Brewer were the feature and the in-line hop filter consisted of some kind of in-line boat gas filter and some garden hose.

The gist of the article was that this was a $10 solution to dry hopping. What I was not able to figure out was how it worked. The article made it sound like it was something like this hop-back I found, but according to these guys, the in-line hop filter could just be dropped in a keg or in a fermentor.

If you saw this or have any information, I would appreciate some feedback and I will gladly post how I do with making one of these.


Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Back to the brewing

It's not been an easy past week. I am ready to do some brewing to take my mind off of everything.

This weekend we will be brewing a Hopped Bohemian Lager in the spirit of Boston Brewing Company's Samuel Adams Lager. If you don't know about this brew, I tell ya what. If you don't know about Sam Adams, just raise your hand and I'll have Tommy Boy here come back there and hit you in the head with a tack hammer because you're a RETARD.

I am calling this "Bogan's Bohemian Lager" after my professional mentor and close friend Ed Bogan. Ed's wisdom is the reason I am where I am today and I cannot thank him enough. I am going to miss you Ed.

The brew is going to be lagered at 48-50f (depending on how the weather cooperates) and should finish at about 4.5% ABV. Some of the recipes I saw used a decoction so we are going to be decocting this one. I think that it brings a lot of nice flavors and smells out of the malt so I am going to be pushing for us to do that.

Bogan's Bohemian Lager
Brewer: Travis & Nick
Asst Brewer: Meatball
Style: Hopped Bohemian Lager
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0)

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 10.50 gal
Boil Size: 13.12 gal
Estimated OG: 1.046 SG
Estimated Color: 13.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 34.5 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

16.75 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 74.2 %
5.32 lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 23.6 %
0.50 lb Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 2.2 %
3.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80%] (60 min) Hops 26.6 IBU
1.25 oz Tettnang [4.50%] (30 min) Hops 8.0 IBU
1.00 oz Hallertauer [4.80%] (Dry Hop 4 days) Hops -
1 Pkgs Munich Lager (Wyeast Labs #2308) Yeast-Lager

Mash Schedule: Decoction Mash, Single
Total Grain Weight: 22.57 lb
Name Description Step Temp Step Time
Protein Rest Add 11.29 gal of water at 126.6 122.0 F 35 min
Saccharification Decoct 4.78 gal of mash and boil155.0 F 45 min
Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F 10 min

Initially the plan was to take advantage of the cold weather for lagerning, but since it's been a heat wave here in Syracuse, I am not sure that's going to workout for us. Hopefully things cool down this weekend and we can shut that damn Al Gore up.

Happenings on the Internets

Freak Brothers were nice enough to include me in on a beer exchange that they are proposing through out the beer blogs. The bros have one of the best homebrew setups I have ever seen.

Last weekend Alan from A Good Beer Blog published my post about Ubu Ale on his blog. I am going to be contributing to that blog in the future, up next will be an interview with Tim from Empire Brewing Company and hopefully Kiernan from Landmark Brewing Company.

Finally, congratulations to the fellas from Monday Night Brewery, they have found the bond that connects them is more than beer, it's a game called "Cornhole". God only knows what those guys are up to with their "cornholes".

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Schedule for early '08

No brewing for the last two weekends and I am again not going to be brewing this coming weekend as I will be in New Hampshire campaigning for...well a presidential candidate (If you know me, you know who it is, otherwise I want to follow the rules of "no talking religion or politics on your brew blog"...well except when it's complaining about piss poor legislation as they had to do on MNB, that's always fair game).

That being the case, Nick, Meatball and I will be brewing the two weekends after. We are going to do some lagers so that we can take advantage of the weather. I was thinking about either a German Pils or a Maibock for 10 gallon batches on one weekend. We might do another IPA by request on that weekend as well, we will see. The weekend after we are going to plan a long brew day so that we can try the recirculation that was reading about in last month's BYO. The long and short of the technique is that you mash in two stages for 20 min each running all the water off. Now this should provide a very strong lager and we might be able to user the second runnings for another 10 gallon batch. This one is going to take some planning though.

That's what's on the agenda for now. Cheers!