Tuesday, August 30, 2011

My Braggot - AKA Honey Ale

This is a picture of my Braggot

Braggot is the technical term for a half beer half mead.  The brew date was 06/25/11 and it was kegged on 07/29/11.  It was first tapped a couple of weeks ago.  The ingredients are as follows:

  • 5lbs - Domestic 2-row
  • 3lbs - Honey
  • 8oz - CaraPils/Dextrine 
  • 1oz - Glacier hops (60 min)
  • 1oz - Vanguard hops (flameout)
  • Wyeast 1056 - American Ale Yeast
I mashed in at 152F and batch sparged.  OG was 1.046 and FG was 1.000 giving me a 6.0% ABV beer.  Primary fermentation was at 62F for  three weeks.

This is a very light, easy to drink beer.  If I try this again, I think I will throw in some honey malt because there is almost no honey flavor to this.

My next two beers are already in the pipeline.  I have an American Pale Ale that is currently being dry hopped and will be kegged this weekend.  I also have a Scottish 70/- that is in the primary fermenter.  I'll probably move it to the secondary this weekend.  I've brewed the Scottish Ale before as an extract beer, but this one is all grain.  I'm adding a little twist this time though as I'm going to soak some oak chips in Scotch and will throw the whole mixture in the secondary.

Monday, August 29, 2011

My Farmehouse de Saison and Bulk Grain Purchase

This is a picture of my Saison.

The brew date was 03/05/11 and it was kegged on 03/27/11.  It was first tapped in early May.  The ingredients are as follows:

  • 6lbs - Domestic 2-row
  • 5lbs - White Wheat Malt
  • 1lb - Belgium Candi Sugar
  • 8oz - Caravienne
  • 8oz - Torrified Wheat
  • 1oz - Bitter Orange Peel
  • 0.5oz - Coriander Seed
  • 0.5oz - Seeds of Paradise
  • 1oz - Saaz hops
  • Wyeast 3942 - Belgian Wheat Yeast
I mashed in at 148F and double-batch sparged.  OG was 1.065 and FG was 1.010 giving me a 7.2% ABV beer.  Primary fermentation was at 62F for  three weeks.

At 7.2%, this is a fairly big beer but deceptively so.  The spices and the fruity esters from the Belgian yeast really hide the alcohol.

I also ordered what should be a years supplies of grains for brewing.  Here is the list:
  • 50lbs - Rahr 2-row (Domestic malt)
  • 55lbs - Muntons Maris Otter (British malt)
  • 55lbs - Weyermann Pilsner (German lager/pilsner malt)
  • 5lbs - Crystal 20L
  • 5lbs - Crystal 60L
  • 5lbs - Special B 120L
  • 5lbs - Aromatic
  • 5lbs - Roasted Barley
  • 5lbs - Carafa III
  • 5lbs - Pale Chocolate
  • 10lbs - Munich II
  • 5lbs - White Wheat malt
For those not familiar with brewing terminology, the 20L refers to the color in degrees Lovibond.  The lower the number, the lighter the color.  Lovibond has largely been replaced by SRM in the U.S. and EBC in Europe.

I still need to do a bulk hops purchase and I will buy yeast as needed.  Tomorrow I'll do another update with my third beer on tap and go over what I have in the pipeline.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Bohemian Pilsner

This is a picture of my Bohemian Pilsner (name suggestions are encouraged).

This was my first lager I've tried brewing.  The brew date was 04/02/11 and it was kegged (for lagering) on 05/09/11.  It was first tapped earlier this month.

The ingredients are as follows:
  • 9lbs - Domestic 2-row
  • 8oz - CaraPils/Dextrine 
  • 8oz - Crystal 10L
  • 2oz - Saaz hops(1oz at 60min, 1oz at flameout)
  • Saflager S-23 dry lager yeast
I mashed in at 150F and double-batch sparged.  OG was 1.046 and FG was 1.012 giving me a 4.5% ABV beer.  My efficiency was only 64% but I've since tightened the crush of my grains to give me better efficiency.  Primary fermentation was at 60F and I lagered at 38F.

I've seen many complaints on online message boards regarding S-23 yeast.  Since this is my first lager I have nothing to compare it to, but I'm very happy with the taste of this and absolutely love the hops flavor of the Saaz hops.

Tomorrow I'll post a pic of another one of my beers that are on tap and will also discuss my first bulk grain purchase.

More about my current setup

Here are some pictures of my current setup.  This is my kegerator which is a chest freezer with a wood collar.  The top one is of the disorganized inside.  I'm planning on replacing my 4-way manifold for a 6-way and pinning it to the wall of the collar to make it a little more clean.  I can fit six kegs inside with the 10" collar. 

This picture is the outside of the kegerator with three stainless steel Perlick faucets.  Once I buy the new six-way gas manifold, I will add a fourth tap.

Here is a picture of my fermentation chamber.  It is just an insulated box with a computer fan that blows air past ice and circulates it around the fermenter.  I can drop the internal temperature about 15-20 degrees below the ambient temperature.  This is sitting in my basement which is usually in the upper 60's during the summer and lower 60's during the winter.
This is a picture of my mash/lauter tun.  It is a modified 70qt Coleman Extreme cooler.

Friday, August 26, 2011


Since this is my first post for my new blog, I thought I would begin by giving a background on my brewing experience.  I started brewing a few years ago.  My equipment began with a kit similar to this: Basic Beer Equipment Kit

All my beer at that time was bottled and I bought extract kits with specialty grains.
I did this for two or three years then late last year I got a turkey fryer and a cooler so that I could begin all-grain brewing.

Early this year I bought a chest freezer, added a collar to it and bought the equipment for kegging my beer.  My current setup is four kegs and three taps.