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Blog update.

I’ve decided I’m going to do a few thing differently with this blog.  Instead of writing about each of my brews (which I’m not real good about doing), I’m going to just post the recipe on it’s own page.  I’ve added the “My Brews” page already, although as of yet none of the recipe pages have been put together yet.

Also, I want to start compiling a Recipe Database of sorts.  With subscriptions to BYO and Zymurgy as well as listening to Jamil’s podcasts, I’ve read and heard so many recipes I can’t keep track of them all.  So whenever I come across a new recipe, I’ll add a page for it.  I think I’ll try to keep them all sorted according to style.  I won’t go so far as sub-catagories, just the base styles; Stout, Porter, Brown Ale, IPA, ect.  With some beers fitting into more than one category, I’ll just put a link to the recipe in each style.  I also want to put all the clones together.

If anybody has any recipes they want added, feel free to send them my way and I’ll get them up.  This may take some time to get all together, but it at least gives me a direction for this so called ‘blog’.

Cheers!

ND

An Irishman, And Englishman and a Scot are in a bar when a fly lands in each of their beers. The Englishman, disgusted, pushes the beer away and demands a new one. The Scot, picks the fly out and keeps drinking. The Irishman grabs the fly, sqeezes it, and shouts, “Spit it out you little bastard!

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Update: Not cloned (see comments), but super Delicious!

One of the podcasts I listen to is The Jamil Show – Can You Brew It, over on The Brewing Network.  A couple of episodes ago they cloned Deschutes Black Butte Porter.  I’ve only had this beer once, but really enjoyed the one bottle I had.  Needless to say, I was pretty excited to hear they were going to be brewing it.

I’m planning on trying to brew Tasty’s Black Butte clone, but instead of all-grain, am going to do an extract version.

I think I’ve pretty much got the recipe formulated. The hardest part was getting the wheat malt percentage. In the original recipe from Tasty, 10% of the grist was wheat. When it comes from extract only around half is wheat. Muntons wheat DME is 55% wheat, so at 16.2% of the grist, about 9% would be wheat. I think that’s pretty darn close. The only concern I have would be fermentability with the extract, so I dropped the Carapils down to 4 oz instead of keeping it the same as the chocolate malts.

I’m actually happy with how simple I got all the ingredient quantities.  Here’s the recipe according to ProMash. Tell me what you think.

5.5 Gal. Batch
SG 1.058
IBU’s 34.9 Rager, SRM 24.1
90 minute boil.

Grain Bill
6 lbs Briess Golden LME 64.8%
1.5 lbs Muntons Wheat (55/45) DME 16.2%
12 oz crystal 80 8.1%
6 oz chocolate malt 350L 4.1%
6 oz pale chocolate malt 200L 4.1%
4 oz Carapils 2.7%

Hops
.50 oz Galena 90 minutes
.25 oz Cascade 30 minutes
.25 oz Mount Hood 5 minutes

Yeast
WLP002 English Ale

Cheers!

Update: Not cloned.  It’s too light and not enough hop character.  I think the chocolate malt needs to be adjusted.  Maybe 450 and 350 Lovibond instead of the 200.  I don’t really know what to do about the hops.  Perhaps the change to malt will help excentuate the hop character.

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At the beginning of the year I brewed a porter.  I went to a LHBS with no idea of what I was wanting to brew and just kinda winged it.  I grabbed this and that, but tried to keep it simple.  When the beer was young, I really liked it.  All the flavors were really subtle and it wasn’t too dark.  But as it matured a couple more months, it became a completely different beast.  Much more robust.  Roastier.  Completely black.  And the hops really started showing themselves.  And I fell in love.  But it’s a love/hate relationship.  This beer is fantastic, but only on days when I’m in the mood for it’s fury.  When I’m not, it is just too much.

NDBrew Porter:

  • 6 lbs Dark LME
  • 1 lbs Dark DME
  • .5 lbs Chocolate Malt
  • .5 lbs Crystal 120
  • .5 oz Columbus pellets (60 min)
  • 1 oz Cascade pellets (5 min)

I made a 2L starter with half of the DME and pitched the whole thing.  The yeast was the problem with this brew.  I picked up a vial of White Labs WLP 001 and pitched it in the starter.  After 18 hours I had no activity (after looking at the vial, it was past the exp date by about 2 months).  After briefly panicking I remember I had a brown ale downstairs with some Wyeast 1028 in a secondary.  So I racked the brown off the cake and added some of the 1028 to my starter with the 001 still in it.  I went about the brew day trying not to worry about it.  When it was time to pitch, the starter was going crazy.  So I can’t really tell you what yeast to use.  I’m sure there was a contribution by some of the 001 but the majority of the ferment was done by the 1028.  Either way, this is a great beer, and I’m sure that picking either one of the yeast will still yield a very drinkable brew.

Cheers!

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Cream Ale Brew

I’m gonna brew up the cream ale today. I’ve decided on adding an ounce of Cascade (5.4%) at 35 minutes. This should give about 15.1 IBU’s. A 40 minute addition would result in around 19. So maybe I’ll end up boiling for 38 minutes or so.

I also don’t have a starter going this time. I pulled the smack pack out of the fridge this morning and it is happily swelling. With a starting gravity of only 1.044 it should be alright. I’ll leave it on the yeast for 14 days as usual then put it in the keg.

I’ll let you all know how it turns out in about 3 or 4 weeks.

Cheers!

UPDATE:  The brew went really well.  Start to finish, just over an hour and a half.  I boiled for 35 minutes figuring I would get a few IBU’s after flame out, before the wort got too cool.  I forgot to take a gravity reading, but it shouldn’t be more than a couple points off from where it should be.

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Next up, Cream Ale.  I figured it was about time I tried brewing something below 15 SRM.  Who knows, my “yellow beer” drinking parents may even enjoy this one.  Looking through the BJCP guidelines, a cream ale is essentially an American style lager made with ale yeast.  It should be a clean beer with neither the malt or the hops being too dominate.

This got me to thinking about the recipe.  It’s just an extract kit ordered from MidwestLiberty Cream Ale.

  • 6 lbs. Breiss Golden LME
  • 8 oz. Cara-Pils malt
  • 2 oz. Cascade (5.4% AA)
  • Wyeast 1056 Activator

The directions call for an ounce of hops at 60 minutes and the second ounce at 2 minutes.  It’s a typical Midwest recipe.  They love the 2 minute addition.  I think though that this 2 minute addition will put too much hop aroma/flavor into the beer and the 60 minute addition will bitter it up too much.  So this is where I plan on deviating from my usual brewing procedure and would like some input as to what you think.

From what I’ve read/heard from various places online, extract only needs to be boiled long enough to sterilize it since all the hot/cold break material was taken care of during the making of it. 10 to 15 minutes is sufficient for this.  The only reason I can see for boiling extract for a full hour is to achieve your bitterness but that is hop related not extract.  I understand that the gravity of the boil impacts the utilization of your hops but if a guy only has to boil the hops in a given gravity for 20 minutes to achieve the desired level of bitterness, there wouldn’t be any reason to boil for 40 minutes prior to adding the hops unless you were looking for those melanoidin reactions, which a cream ale doesn’t need.

Plugging the numbers into ProMash, a 1 oz. addition at 60 minutes would give me 26.6 IBU’s, far too many, I feel, for the style.  The 2 minute addition would add another 4.4 bringing the total up to 31.  I think the 2 minute addition would also add too much aroma/flavor.  Tweaking around with the numbers, I discovered that a 2 oz. addition at 20 minutes would give me 17.9 IBU’s.  I’m thinking that I would also get just a touch of flavor/aroma out of the 20 minute addition but not so much that it would be terribly noticeable.

Here’s the plan.

  • Begin with 5.5 – 5.75 gallons in the kettle.  Lower than usual to account for the shortened boil time.
  • Add the Cara-Pils to the water and bring up to 170º F.
  • Remove the grain and add the LME.  I think I’ll also put in the chiller at this point.
  • Bring up to a boil and add the hops.
  • Boil for 20 minutes for my bittering.
  • Flame out, chill, rack, aerate, pitch.

I would like to know what you think.  Am I off my rocker for considering such a drastic change?  Are my numbers working out?  Do you anticipate any problems I might encounter?

Cheers!

A man walks into a bar and orders a beer then looks into his pocket. He does this over and over again. Finally the bartender asks why he orders a beer and after drinking it he looks into his pocket. The man responded, “I have a picture of my wife in there and when she starts to look good then I’ll go home.”

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Wednesday, I finally took the leap and brewed an all grain batch.

Overall impressions:  That was super easy with just a little more to clean up and it didn’t take too much longer than an extract batch.

I brewed a kit from Midwest.  The Big River Brown.  I chose this kit because the extract version I made was probably one of the best beers I have made.  The recipe included:

  • 11 lbs. Domestic 2-Row barley
  • 12 oz. Caramel 80°L
  • 4 oz. Special B
  • 4 oz. Chocolate Malt
  • 1 oz. Cascade 5.4% (60 min)
  • 1 oz. Fuggle 4.3% (5 min)
  • Wyeast #1028 London Ale (Made a 2L starter)

I was a little leary of using the Fuggles because Goose Island uses them in their Nut Brown and I wasn’t impressed with that beer, but what the heck, I gave it a try.

My mash was a bit on the high side, probably close to 155ºF, but I didn’t discover this until the end when I checked on the temp and saw it was at 153ºF.  My thermometer is really slow to give a reading (it’s getting replaced here quick).  My lauter when really smoothly.  Homemade CPVC manifold in the bottom of my cooler.  I did end up with too much wort, but that is something that is easily remedied.

The rest of the brew went pretty normally.  I was surprised when I chilled the wort.  Watching the cold break happen and seeing all those proteins floating around was impressive.

All and all I think it went really well.  It’s happily fermenting away in the closet, a little on the cold side but that is just how it has to be in the winter.

This batch is also going to be the first batch I keg. Yay!  I bought a 7.4 cubic foot chest freezer from Menards that is getting the faucet treatment.  I’m looking forward to pulling my first pint.

Things I learned:

  • All-Grain is super easy.
  • Boil overs can happen in the blink of an eye, even with only 3 gallons in an 34 quart pot.
  • I need to back off on the amount of sparge water.
  • The cold break is cool.
  • Maybe some Irish moss should be purchased.
  • My stir-plate works great!

Cheers!

A grasshopper walks into a bar, pulls up a stool, and orders a beer. The bartender pours him a tall, frothy mug and says “You know… we have a drink named after you.” To which the grasshopper replies, “You have a drink named Bob?”

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Well, I brewed and bottled my first original recipe.  Now it time to taste.  I can’t say that this was the first bottle opened, in fact, it is probably over half gone, but this particular glass made me really appreciate the beer that I crafted.

The recipe started as a brown ale but I wanted to cut back on some of the roast and introduce a bit of nuttiness.  That was accomplished.  Too well.  This beer has NO roast character.  I don’t even think it can be classified as a brown ale anymore.  It is closer to an Amber or Scottish Ale.  That doesn’t however deter from the deliciousness of this brew.

Up front it hits you with some bitterness.  The presence of the bitter does subside however.  If I were to change anything, it would be this.  A few points lower with the IBU’s just to give it a better start.  As the beer warms, the hop aroma comes through ever so slightly in the background and you get hit with some wonderful caramel/toffee flavors.  That is my favorite part of this beer.  The dark caramel taste you get as you finish off the glass leaves you wanting another.

And then there is the lacing.  It looks so beautiful.  As you get down to the end, you notice the head is still there and has been leaving traces upon your glass marking every wonderful drink.  It made me realize that I crafted this beer very well.  Probably more luck than anything else, but the final product of a great brewing day, has turned out better than I could have expected.

I’m hooked.

Cheers!

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