Homebrewing blogs

19th Century Guinness Extra Stout

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 06/27/2017 - 3:26pm
One hundred years before I was born, around the time my great-grandmother was leaving Ireland, some guy in Dublin was brewing Guinness Extra Stout. I brewed my own batch based on the recipe in Ron Pattinson's Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer. My only tweaks were a slight boost to the Black Patent, and swapping the English ale yeast for Irish. I have no certainty of how close WY1084 is to the yeast Guinness uses today, let alone 135 years ago!

Times have changed, Guinness is opening a brewery in Maryland where they'll be brewing a wide range of mediocre beer and screwing up laws for local craft brewers... like me! They won't be brewing stout though, I guess it is too unthinkable for them to not have "Imported" on the Guinness Draught labels in the US, even if it is only imported from Canada.

My batch of  circa 1883 Extra Stout is still young at six-weeks from brewing and the weather is a too warm to be drinking 7% stout, but I wanted to write up tasting notes for the full-strength version while the diluted "Draught" half of this batch is still on tap to compare. I'll post an updated tasting this winter.

1883 Guinness Extra Stout

Smell – Clean roasty notes of coffee plus brown bread. Relatively straightforward maltiness without dark fruit or caramel. There is an earthy hoppiness, although not as strong as in the diluted half. Thankfully the hint of diacetyl that was there a couple weeks ago is gone.

Appearance – Perfect stout appearance. Dense tan head with staying power. Near black body with a few amber highlights. Surprisingly clear when it isn't opaque.

Taste – Rolling bitterness, coating without being harsh. Bitter, but not as much as the IBUs would suggest. Clean coffee and toast malt. Without the added sticky-oomph of crystal malts, or dark sugar, and with the firm balancing bitterness it doesn’t linger. Clean fermentation, no alcohol heat or other off-flavors. If you told me this was 5.5% ABV I’d probably believe you. Hoping it gets more interesting with age.

Mouthfeel – Relatively thin for a big stout, especially at this OG/FG, but I'd call it medium overall. Medium-low carbonation, which breaks my streak of somewhat over-carbonated dark beers.

Drinkability & Notes – In a way it reminds me of a schwarzbier: clean, bright, and fresh maltiness. Easy to drink for a stout with both high alcohol and bitterness, a testament to simple recipe design.

Changes for Next Time – Far too early to be making proclamations about what to change. I’m looking forward to tasting this beer after six-months in the cellar, once the weather cools off.

Recipe

Batch Size: 5.00 gal
SRM: 39.7
IBU: 73.3
OG: 1.075
FG: 1.022
ABV: 7.0%
Final pH: 4.58
Brewhouse Efficiency: 67%
Boil Time: 120 mins

Grain
--------
82.8% - 12.5 lbs Crisp Gleneagles/No. 19 Maris Otter
10.3% - 1.60 lbs Muntons Amber
6.9% - 1.00 lbs Simpsons Black Malt

Mash
-------
Sacch I - 40 min @ 152F
Sacch II - 20 min @ 160F

Hops
-------
2.50 oz Fuggle (Pellets, 3.57 % AA) @ 90 min
2.50 oz Fuggle (Pellets, 3.57 % AA) @ 60 min
2.50 oz East Kent Golding (Pellets, 4.80% AA) @ 30 min

Other
-------
2.3 g Chalk @ mash
0.5 Whirlfloc @ 5 min

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 70 32 54 15 10 130
Yeast
-------
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale

Notes
-------
Recipe scaled to be brewed as a 5 gallon batch. 

5/6/17 4 L 1.034 starter with 6 week out yeast.

Dissolved 17 g of chalk in 30 oz of filtered water. Chilled and carbonated to get it to dissolve.

pH measured 5.19. Added .6 cup of the resulting saturated liquid to the mash. pH measured 5.25 at mash temperature, 5.39 pH when chilled. Both with Halo.

Chilled to 66F.

Left at 67 F to get started. Got up to 70F overnight, moved to fridge, slowly brought back to ~67F actual temperature to ferment.

1.075 post-boil. 5 gallons pitched with 2.5 L of starter.

Left at 67 F to get started. Got up to 70F overnight, moved to fridge, slowly brought back to ~67F actual temperature to ferment.

5/26/17 Bottled 5 gallons of the full-strength half with 95 g of table sugar. Aiming for 2.2 volumes of CO2.

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Building an Electric Brewery with John Blichmann – BeerSmith Podcast #151

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 06/26/2017 - 11:40am

John Blichmann, founder of Blichmann Engineering joins me this week to discuss setting up an indoor electric brewery at home.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (53:52)
  • Today my guest is John Blichmann, the President of Blichmann Engineering. John is a long time brewer and founder at Blichmann Engineering which provides a wide range of brewing equipment including brewing systems, kettles, pumps, control systems and fermentation equipment.
  • Much of the show used English units, but here are some articles that include metric units for those of you outside the US: Electrical Considerations for an Electric Brewery, Ventilation Considerations for an Electric Brewery.
  • John shares his thoughts on some of the advantages of having an indoor electric brewery, including the ability to brew year round.
  • We talk about the sizing of electric breweries and how the size of a system will ultimately drive requirements for things like electricity, ventilation and water.
  • We discuss the limitations of 12oV and 240V electrical power in a typical home and why it is important to get an electrician involved in the planning process to assure wiring and breakers are sufficient.
  • John explains why a Ground Fault Interrupt Circuit is a REQUIRED piece of equipment for brewing systems as we are ultimately mixing water and electricity.
  • We talk about the need for proper ventilation, even for an electric system, to avoid dumping gallons of water and steam into the air in a confined space.
  • John shares his rules of thumb on how to determine the proper size for a ventilation system.
  • We discuss the need for a proper water supply and draining water – which is critical for cleaning, brewing and also chilling the wort after brewing.
  • John spends a few minutes discussing some of the new home brew products Blichmann Engineering recently launched including a new brew pump, BrewVision thermometer, and others.
Sponsors

Thanks to John Blichmann for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Sensory Evaluation of Grains for Brewing – The New ASBC Method

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Fri, 06/23/2017 - 2:25pm

This week I take a look at the new ASBC method for doing sensory and flavor evaluation of malts for brewing beer. This new “hot steep” technique published last fall by the American Society of Brewing Chemists provides a standardized method to do a sensory (taste) analysis of malts and is a great way to get familiar with the individual flavors that come from various malts.

The basic technique involves making a “hot tea” with finely crushed malt and then filtering it with filter paper (or a coffee filter) to extract a hot tea you can sample for flavor. Since the process does take some time, it is best done for a few malts at a time and would also be a great group project for a homebrew club to brew and sample many malts.

The ASBC Hot Steep Malt Sensory Method

The technique below is adapted from the Breiss web site description here.

  1. Weigh a sample of 50 grams (1.75 oz) of base malt. If evaluating specialty malts, instead use 25 g (0.88 oz) of specialty malt blended with another 25 g (0.88 oz) of base (pale) malt. For dark roasted malts, use 7.5 g (0.25 oz) of roast malt with 42.5 g (1.5 oz) of base (pale) malt. Obviously you can double or triple the amount of malt and water if you need a larger sample for a group to evaluate.
  2. Mill the grains in a clean electric grinder for about 10 seconds. A coffee grinder works well for this as you want a coarse flour consistency – which is finer than you would typically use for brewing.
  3. Next heat 450 ml (1.9 cups or 0.95 pints) of water to 65 C (149 F) and combine it in with the crushed grain sample in an insulated thermos or growler and shake it for 20 seconds to mix the grain and water. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes.
  4. While the mixture is steeping, place some filter paper (Alstrom 515) at the top of a clean beaker or glass. A coffee filter is a suitable substitute if you don’t have access to lab paper filters. Wet the paper with some deionized water.
  5. Swirl the thermos/growler to bring the particles back into solution and pour the mixture into the filter. Draw the first 100 ml (just under 1/2 cup) off the collected wort and pour it back into the thermos to collect any remaining grainsm then pour that also into the filter. Allow the filter to drain completely leaving your liquid sample.
  6. Let the sample cool, and do your sensory evaluation when it has reached room temperature, within four hours of filtering.

The actual sensory evaluation is done by sipping the resulting wort. Look for common malt flavors such as bready, malty, grainy, toasty, nutty, grainy, plums, raisins and of course the variety of coffee, roasted, burnt flavors that come from darker malts. As I mentioned you can get together with fellow brewers or your brew club and do a group-sampling of many malts to learn more about the flavors involved. Also some maltsters such as Briess have started publishing “spider charts” for their malts based on sensory analysis that can serve as a good guide of the flavors you might expect from a given grain.

Hopefully you enjoyed this week’s article on malt sensory testing. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Guinness Draught - 1883 Edition

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 4:21pm
A couple months ago I posted a page featuring links to my favorite recipes for all of the 2015 BJCP styles that I’ve brewed. I was surprised by how many I'd brewed, but it also reminded me that even after 12 years of homebrewing there are plenty of classics that I haven’t, like Irish (Dry) Stout. It seemed a shame to own a stout faucet and not use it to serve the style it was invented for!

Rather than brew something akin to modern Guinness Draught I decided to get weird! I brewed a batch of 1883 Guinness Extra Stout based on a recipe from Ron Pattinson’s fascinating Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer, a sort of distillation of his blog Shut up about Barclay Perkins. My goal was to leave most of the batch at the specified gravity, and dilute a few gallons to create an anachronistic imagining of Guinness Draught as it might have existed in 1883.

The recipe, one of the few in the book not based on actual brewing logs, has a few interesting features. It contains pale malt, but not the other two  grains in the standard Irish Stout formulation. It is from just after the Free Mash Tun Act of 1880, well before Guinness took advantage of the end of adjunct prohibition. As a result it calls for black malt instead of unmalted roasted barley (which they changed to around 1930). It also includes amber malt for a richer flavor than flaked barley (added around 1950). Hop additions follow many 19th century recipes, copious amounts of low alpha acid varieties towards the start of the boil. I made two minor tweaks to the recipe as written, increasing the black malt from 5.56% to 6.9% to prevent the diluted version from being too pale and subbing in Wyeast Irish Ale for Whitbread Ale.

I ran off 5.5 gallons of the resulting 1.075 wort into a fermentor (that portion is bottle-conditioning currently). For the draught-strength I ran off 3 gallons of the chilled wort into a separate fermentor, and diluted it to 1.047 with two gallons of distilled water. That is what is now sitting on beer gas. Ron wasn’t a fan of my plan:

No, no, no . . . no nitro. https://t.co/LZxrtsSc8x
— Ron Pattinson (@patto1ro) May 7, 2017This was my first batch using a Halo pH Meter sent by the kind folks at Hanna Instruments. The biggest benefit of this “Beer Analysis” version is that the hardy titanium body can take pH readings directly at mash temperature without cooling a sample! You do need to add .2-.35 to the reading to adjust for the influence of the elevated temperature. That’s about what I found with the Halo reading 5.25 at mash temperature and 5.39 on a chilled sample.

The time-savings of  not chilling samples makes up for the added hassle of  pairing the Halo with my phone. The point of co-dependent smart-devices is to leverage the existing hardware, but the Halo costs more than twice as much as my Milwaukee MW102. The app would be more valuable if there was a need to track pH changes during the mash, but I don't have an easy way to mount the meter and once the pH stabilizes there really isn't a need to track small changes.

I’m interested to see how long the probe/electrode lasts with the exposure to high temperature. It includes an extendable cloth junction that can be pulled out to refresh it. However, Hanna does not sell replacement probes so after the expected 12-18 month lifespan it’ll be another $225 rather than $43 for a replacement probe for my MW102. Might be worth expensing it to Sapwood Cellars, but I imagine not an annual purchase for most homebrewers!

My preference is for a slightly higher mash pH on dark beers, to prevent the roasted malts from tasting acrid. That said, my old friends at Modern Times aim for a slightly lower final pH for batches of Black House destined for nitro to replace the acidity otherwise provided by carbonic acid. When the pH reading came in a bit lower than I wanted I dosed the mash with chalk dissolved in carbonated water (using a carb cap) - the same chemical reactions are behind acid rain eating away at limestone. I first read about this technique on Braukaiser. The issue with adding chalk directly to the mash is that it doesn’t dissolve at typical mash pH like other water salts. While it likely helps buffer the boil and final pH, baking soda or slaked/pickling lime are better choices for direct mash tun additions. However, dissolving chalk is a useful technique if you want to add calcium rather than sodium along with carbonate.

Guinness Draught 1883

Smell – The nitro-pour subdues the aromatics, but what comes through is pretty expected: fresh grainy-roast, some fresh yeasty notes, and a hint of earthy hops.

Appearance – Shows off the classic swirling, cascading bubbles that Guinness features so prominently in their advertising. Settles into a velvety, half-inch off-white head. A pure sheet of lacing trails each sip. Will look even pretty after a few more weeks on tap as nitrogen continues to slowly dissolve and the slight haze hopefully drops out.

Taste – The first sip has really firm bitterness from hops and roast. The bready maltiness picks up, more than in the classic Irish Stouts, but not enough to bring English stouts to mind. As my first glass winds down the bitterness has tamed to a crisp finish. Has a lingering “dirtiness” from the Fuggles I presume.

Mouthfeel – The low carbonation certainly helps to provide some fullness that wouldn’t be there with high carbonation. The texture of the head on each sip helps as well.

Drinkability & Notes – A true summertime stout. Light, smooth roast, and refreshing bitterness like an iced coffee. Easy to pour a second glass.

Changes for Next Time – It’s a rare beer that I don’t have much to change for next time. I might go all EKGs, or at least at the 60 minute addition, to clean and brighten it up a bit.

Recipe

Batch Size: 5.00 gal
SRM: 23.8
IBU: 43.8
OG: 1.047
FG: 1.014
ABV: 4.3%
Final pH: 4.31
Brewhouse Efficiency: 67%
Boil Time: 120 mins

Grain
--------
82.8% - 7.5 lbs Crisp Gleneagles/No. 19 Maris Otter
10.3% - .95 lbs Muntons Amber
6.9% - .625 lbs Simpsons Black Malt

Mash
-------
Sacch I - 40 min @ 152F
Sacch II - 20 min @ 160F

Hops
-------
1.25 oz Fuggle (Pellets, 3.57 % AA) @ 90 min
1.25 oz Fuggle (Pellets, 3.57 % AA) @ 60 min
1.25 oz East Kent Golding (Pellets, 4.80% AA) @ 30 min

Other
-------
1.4 g Chalk @ mash
0.5 Whirlfloc @ 5 min

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate 70 32 54 15 10 130
Yeast
-------
Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale

Notes
-------
Amounts above scaled to be brewed as a 5 gallon undiluted batch. 

5/6/17 4 L 1.034 starter with 6 week out yeast.

Dissolved 17 g of chalk in 30 oz of filtered water. Chilled and carbonated to get it to dissolve.

pH measured 5.19. Added .3 cup of the resulting saturated liquid to the mash. pH measured 5.25 at mash temperature, 5.39 pH when chilled. Both with Halo.

Chilled to 66F.

Diluted 3 gallons with 2 gallons of distilled to 1.047. Pitched with 1.5 L of starter.

Left at 67 F to get started. Got up to 70F overnight, moved to fridge, slowly brought back to ~67F actual temperature to ferment.

5/19/17 Kegged the diluted half.

I get a commission if you buy something after clicking the links to MoreBeer/Amazon/Adventures in Homebrewing!
Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Mead Making with Steve Piatz – BeerSmith Podcast #150

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 11:58am

Steve Piatz, the author of “The Complete Guide to Making Mead” and 2008 mead maker of the year joins me this week to discuss making the perfect mead.

Subscribe on iTunes to Audio version or Video version or on Google Play

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (51:44)
  • Today my guest is Steve Piatz. Steve is the author of The Complete Guide to Mead Making (Amazon affiliate link), 2008 Mead Maker of the Year, as well as a long time mead maker and judge.
  • We briefly discuss how Steve got into making mead.
  • Steve explains how almost all mead makers have moved to a “no boil” or cold method for making meads.
  • We discuss the importance of yeast hydration and the use of Goferm when preparing yeast.
  • Steve talks about aeration of the must and also daily degassing of the must during active fermentation.
  • He shares his thoughts on aeration with pure oxygen and also using a second dose at 12 hours.
  • We discuss staggered nutrient addition options and which one he prefers.
  • Steve shares his thoughts on which fruits work best in a melomel or other fruit mead.
  • He talks about the challenges in working with whole fruit, fruit juices and purees and how he manages fruit in the must to minimize waste and maximize flavor.
  • Steve explains the intricacies of choosing a final gravity for various fruits so it will properly balance the sweetness of residual honey against the acidity and tannins in fruit.
  • We talk about why refractometers are not a good choice for high gravity meads and even some hydrometers have a hard time handling very high gravity melomels.
  • We spend some time discussing backsweetening mead, though Steve prefers to balance his meads by careful selection of original and final gravities.
  • He shares his thoughts on finishing meads and also his closing thoughts.
Sponsors

Thanks to Steve Piatz for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

You can listen to all of my podcast episodes streaming live around the clock on our BeerSmith Radio online radio station! You can also subscribe to the audio or video using the iTunes links below, or the feed address

And finally, don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and my newsletter (or use the links in the sidebar) – to get free weekly articles on home brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

2.3% ABV Session NEIPA

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 3:29pm
I received an email a couple month ago from a homebrewer looking for advice on a 1% ABV New England IPA. It got me thinking about how light I could push a beer that still scratched my hop-itch. All else equal, I prefer beers with less alcohol so I can drink more, especially when it is hot out. I’ve brewed a few low-alcohol hoppy beers over the years (Wheat-based at 2.1% and Vienna-based at 3.6%), but it seemed worth revisiting. Rather than make a 1% near-beer, I decided 2% ABV was a more plausible goal!

While dextrins aren’t a major mouthfeel driver (study, Brulosophy, Karnowski), lower attenuation allows more malt to be added for the same volume of wort. Below 3% ABV is where the simple lack of malt begins to really show, especially in a style like this that isn’t buttressed by specialty malts. Think of it as the opposite of a big DIPA where you might substitute sugar for base malt to prevent the beer from becoming too malty. To make an absurdly-unfermentable wort I opted for equal parts Maris Otter (for more malt flavor pound-for-pound than my usual Rahr Brewer’s 2-row) and dextrin malt (Weyermann Carafoam).

Dextrin malts vary substantially depending on the maltster. The two most common are from Briess and Weyermann:

Briess Carapils is a true glassy caramel/crystal malt, albeit one that isn’t roasted enough to develop the color or flavor associated with darker caramel malts. The problem is that the dextrins created during the stewing process are converted to fermentable sugars if mashed with enzymatic base malt (light crystal/caramel malts don’t substantially affect attenuation, further discussion). Although if they were steeped alone, that would be another story.

Weyermann Carafoam (Carapils outside the US) is akin to chit malt, high in protein and under-modified. It is mealy/starchy so it too is converted into fermentable sugars when mashed, but would be unsuitable for steeping. Weyermann suggests it can be used as up to 40% of the grist. I hoped the protein contribution would make up for the well-modified English base malt while preventing the beer from tasting too biscuity.

I performed a brew-in-a-bag mash given the small quantity of grain. I mashed in at 165F to quickly denature the beta amylase responsible for creating most of the highly-fermentable maltose. Efficiency was a bit better than expected and it reached 1.030 instead of 1.028.

One of the takeaways from my recently submitted September BYO Advanced Brewing article (subscribe) comparing the mineral content of water to the beer brewed with it was that many of the flavor ions increase substantially. Much of that is from the grain, and using less grain suggests increasing the mineral additions. As a result, I increased my chloride target to boost mouthfeel.

I had some El Dorado in the freezer, and decided this was a good first batch to brew with them. I decided to pair with an equal amount of Simcoe to cut through the fruitier notes that El Dorado brings – often described as watermelon or strawberry. I used the new 400 micron hop filter I bought on a whim to hold the single flame-out addition, recirculating the wort through them.

For yeast I decided to try out Omega British V, which they compare to Wyeast 1318. I was hoping the grain and hot mash would result in ~50% apparent attenuation rather than the standard 71-75%. Despite all of my efforts the yeast still achieved a surprising 60% attenuation!

Session-Strength Session NEIPA

Smell – It smells like beer and not wort or hop tea! The hops provide an interesting mix of fruit (the power of suggestion says watermelon) and resin. Not much citrus or juice. Hop aroma would have been boosted by a keg hop. Not much else going on, but it doesn’t raise any flags given the style is all about hops.

Appearance – Passes the eye test as well. Not too pale thanks to the Maris Otter. Appropriate haze. Head looks about right too, solid, white, with good-but-not-great retention.

Taste – The malt flavor is almost there, and then it isn’t, falling flat and fading too quickly. Doesn’t come off as excessively bready English-malty though. The bitterness was harsh when I tapped the keg, mostly because I was drinking it nine days after brewing! A week later, now that the hop matter has dropped out of suspension, it has mellowed to just a little sharp. No hint of alcohol...

Mouthfeel – Despite the chloride, Carafoam, and low attenuation the body isn’t fooling anyone. The mid-palate is more Bud Light than Julius, seltzery rather than pillowy. I remember the wheat-based batch having better body despite the same 1.030 original gravity.

Drinkability & Notes – Crisp, crushable, hoppy barley water. I like it, but it’ll need some tweaks to dupe anyone into thinking it is above 4%, let alone 6%!

Changes for Next Time – A small addition of honey malt would help the malt flavor and add sweetness to balance the hops. I’d probably swap half of the Carafoam for oats as well to bring the body up. Might chill to 200F before adding the hop-stand addition to reduce the bitterness.

Recipe

Batch Size: 6.00 gal
SRM: 3.2
IBU: 48.6
OG: 1.030
FG: 1.012
ABV: 2.3%
Final pH: 4.89
Brewhouse Efficiency: 68%
Boil Time: 30 Mins

Malt
------
50.0% - 3.5 lbs Weyermann Carafoam
50.0% - 3.5 lbs Crisp Floor-Malted Gleneagles/No. 19 Maris Otter

Mash
-------
Sacch Rest - 45 min @ 165F

Hops
-------
2.00 oz El Dorado (Pellets, 14.00 % AA) @ Flame-out (30 min Hop Stand)
2.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.00 % AA) @ Flame-out (30 min Hop Stand)
2.00 oz El Dorado (Pellets, 14.00 % AA) @ Brew Day Dry Hop
2.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.00 % AA) @ Brew Day Dry Hop
2.00 oz El Dorado (Pellets, 14.00 % AA) @ Dry Hop Day 3
2.00 oz Simcoe (Pellets, 13.00 % AA) @ Dry Hop Day 3

Other
-------
9.00 g Calcium Chloride @ mash
4.50 g Gypsum @ mash
1.00 tsp 10% Phosphoric Acid @ mash
0.50 Whirlfloc @ 5 min
0.50 tsp Wyeast Nutrient @ 5 min

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate* 135 160 100 10 5 45 *Do not increase if your water is lower in carbonate.

Yeast
-------
Omega OYL-011 British Ale V

Notes
-------
Brewed 5/19/17

BIAB with all of the salts and the acid, 3 gal each distilled, and DC tap. 5 gallons of 1.035 after removing the bag. Diluted with 1 gal each distilled and DC tap. That knocked the temperature down to 140F, but the enzymes should have been mostly denatured.

Brought to a boil for 30 minutes. Turned off the heat and added the hops for a 30 min stand with the wort recirculating through the hop filter.

Chilled to 70F, added first dose of dry hops to fermentor during run-off, pitched the yeast directly from the package, left at 64F to ferment.

5/22/17 Added second dose of dry hops.

5/29/17 Kegged, no keg hops at this point.

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Beer Brewing Pumps Part 2 – The Blichmann RipTide Pump

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 3:39pm

RipTide Pump

This week in Part 2 of my series on beer pumps, I review the new Blichmann RipTide Pump. Last week in Part 1 I covered general brewing pump features as well as the popular March and Chugger pumps.

The Blichmann RipTide Pump Review

While the March and Chugger pumps covered in Part 1 have been the workhorses of homebrewers for many years now, Blichmann Engineering recently launched a new beer pump called the Riptide specifically designed to address home brewer’s needs. It has some unique features I really like. I was lucky enough to get a hold of a new RipTide and brew with it recently, so here’s my review of it.

Riptide Brewing Pump Features

The RipTide is really the first beer pump specifically designed for home brewers. As a result it has some very nice features that address shortcomings of other pump designs:

Easy to Disassemble Pump

  • Enclosed Motor – Other designs have an open motor design, meaning that the motor is exposed and can be quite loud. The RipTide has a fully enclosed motor which makes it extremely quiet – in fact almost silent when operating. Also the enclosed motor means you don’t need to worry as much about spilling water or wort on it accidentally while brewing.
  • Easy to Disassemble and Clean – The RipTide not only has an easy to clean magnetic-drive stainless steel head as a standard feature, but the entire head is held together with a single large Tri-Clamp. It takes literally seconds to remove the triclamp and disassemble the head after brewing for cleaning. Most other pumps require removing several screws to take the head off. The precision valve is also easy to remove and clean.
  • Blichmann Linear Flow Valve Built In- For other pumps you need to add a separate ball valve to the output to control the flow of wort, and unfortunately the ball valve rarely offers the precision flow control needed when pumping through a plate chiller. The RipTide has an integrated linear flow valve that takes about three turns to fully open/close so you can very precisely adjust the flow rate when pumping your wort through a chiller.
  • Integrated Bleed Valve – Other pumps typically need a separate bleed valve on the input to allow the pump to be primed properly as they won’t operate without liquid in the line and pump. The Blichmann pump has a “keg style” air release valve built into the head, so all you need to do to prime the pump is pull the ring on the bleed valve.
  • Built In Switch – Its a little thing, but most other pumps don’t have a switch built in so you need to either install an external switch or pull the plug to turn other pumps on and off. The RipTide has a built in switch and 10 foot (roughly 3 m) cord.
  • NPT Fittings you can Rotate with the Head – The pump comes with standard 1/2″ NPT fittings aligned 180 degrees from each other and you can rotate the head to support different orientations.
Brewing with the Riptide

Since the RipTide has the same fittings as my standard March pump it was pretty easy to install on my existing BrewEasy system. Priming the pump was very easy using the bleed valve. Also the peak flow rate is the same as my existing pump.

The first thing I noticed when operating the pump is just how quiet it is – the Riptide is listed at -50 db and it really is pretty close to silent when you operate it. Since I have an electric system, brewing with the Riptide is almost a silent experience except for a bit of noise from the wort itself recirculating into the top of the mash tun.

The precision valve came in handy when recirculating the mash. Where my old ball valve was generally either open or closed, with the Riptide I could dial the flow rate in so it would recirculate at a steady rate without running the mash tun dry.

Precision flow control was even more important when chilling wort through my plate chiller. I really struggled on my old pump to get the ball valve in just the right place to hit my target fermentation temperature. With the Riptide I could make very small adjustments and really dial in the temperature coming out of my plate chiller precisely.

After brewing cleanup was a snap as it only takes seconds to open up the pump head and remove the valve and the parts are stainless steel. I just disassembled the head, cleaned it with my other brewing tools and reassembled after drying.

Overall Impression of the Riptide

With a list price of $200 (as of this writing), I think Blichmann has a winner here. The RipTide is only slightly more expensive than a comparable stainless steel head March pump, and when you factor in the built-in features including the fully enclosed motor, built in precision valve, quick disassembly, and built in bleed valve it is a great deal. Also the enclosed motor makes it much quieter than any other pump on the market at this time.

I hope you enjoyed my two part review of beer brewing pumps. If you missed it you can find part 1 on March and Chugger pumps here. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

[Full Disclosure: Blichmann Engineering is a sponsor of the BeerSmith podcast and web sites]

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Designing a New Stout Recipe

Brew Dudes - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 5:49pm

This week we taste Mike’s latest beer, which is a stout. We cover the taste and discuss what Mike perceives to be a missing sub-style in the stout category. When in comes to Stout I tend to brew to many I think. For some reason, I keep drawing myself back into the complexities of roast, […]

Read the original article Designing a New Stout Recipe and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Honey Oat Tart Saison

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 3:02pm
I've already heard from homebrewers who have fermented batches with Bootleg Biology Mad Fermentationist Saison Blend. A few have reported more acidity than I'm accustomed to achieving with my house culture. It was surprising then when my most recent batch of saison became rather tart despite the calculated 70 IBUs of flame-out hops. I suspect on a homebrew scale the formula used by Beersmith overestimates the bittering contribution of whirlpool additions, but I'm surprised that the Lactobacillus was able to fight though even if it is just 35 IBUs. Adapting perhaps as I keep pitching it into well-hopped beers? Last year for Homebrew Con I brewed a somewhat similar hoppy saison that only dropped to a pH of 3.87 compared to 3.75 for this batch.

Honey is usually a rather delicate flavor. I went above 30% by extract for a split batch of sour beer with five varietal honeys, and none of them were boisterous. I was surprised how much character I got form only 7% Spanish rosemary honey. Audrey and I were in Savannah in the fall and stopped by Savannah Bee Company. In addition to a dozen honeys for tasting they also had a mead bar and a variety of honey-infused cosmetics. The rosemary honey had a bright-herbal flavor and in typical homebrewer fashion I thought "I can ferment that." I added it after primary fermentation peaked to avoid any undue CO2 scrubbing.

I didn't realize this beer ended up over 8% ABV until doing the calculations with the honey added, and how much drier it ended up than its sister Queensland NE-Australian-IPA. S-04 only made it to 1.018, the house combo took it down .010 lower.

Honey Bunches of Saison

Smell – Honey (herbal, floral, not much beeswax) comes through well despite the comparatively small amount; quality over quantity. Alcohol as it warms, not surprising given the 8.1% ABV. Mild citrus, I assume from the yeast and its interaction with the Australian hops. Grain is subtle.

Appearance – Mild haze on the clover honey colored body. The dense, white head lasts a few minutes, remaining as a patchy covering.

Taste – The most acidic beer from my house culture so far, but still more tart than sour. Low bitterness despite the calculated IBUs. Honey is there again, bright and pleasant adding herbal notes that cut though the citrus of the hops. Mild cereal finish with lingering fruity sweetness. The yeast ends up a little buried, not much funk or spice apparent, only a mild earthiness.

Mouthfeel – Light body without being watery. Moderate carbonation, would have been nice bottle conditioned and a bit spritzier.

Drinkability & Notes – If anything too drinkable for the amount of alcohol. It doesn’t have the depth I look for in a big saison but it also doesn’t have the heat. Falls in the Boulevard Tank 7 genre of, "oh I didn’t realize it was that strong."

Changes for Next Time – This one could have stood up to a small dry hop charge given the characterful honey. Barring that, I might actually pull back the honey to 8 oz to let the base beer breathe. A lower OG as well, or bottle conditioned to give the Brett more time to make it interesting.

Honey Bunches of Saison

Batch Size: 6.00 gal
SRM: 3.6
IBU: 69.2
OG: 1.064 (1.069 w/honey)
FG: 1.008
ABV: 8.1%
Final pH: 3.75
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74%
Boil Time: 60 Mins

Grain
-------
71.4% - 10 lbs Rahr Brewer's 2-Row
14.3% - 2 lbs Dingemans Pilsen
14.3% - 2 lbs Bob's Red Mill Quick Steel Cut Oats

Mash
-------
Sacch Rest: 45 min @ 156F

Hops
-------
2.00 oz Galaxy (Pellets, 14.8% AA) @ Flame-out (30 min Hop Stand)
2.00 oz Vic Secret (Pellets, 17.8% AA) @ Flame-out (30 min Hop Stand)

Mineral Profile
-------------------
8 g Calcium Chloride @ Mash
5.5 g Gypsum @ Mash

Calcium Chloride Sulfate Sodium Magnesium Carbonate* 125 130 115 8 5 45*Do not increase if your water is lower in carbonate.

Other
-------
1 tsp 10% Phosphoric Acid @ Mash
.5 Whirlfloc @ 5 min
.5 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient @ 5 min
.685 lbs Rosemary Honey @ Fermentation day 4

Yeast
-------
House Saison Blend

Notes
-------
Recipe scaled to be brewed as is.

Brewed 3/11/17

Mashed with 3 gallons distilled, 4.5 gallons DC filtered, 8 g CaCl 5.5 g gypsum, 1 tsp of phosphoric acid. pH 5.44. Sparged with 1.5 gallons distilled. Hops are 2016 harvest.

Collected 7 gallons of 1.060 wort.

Chilled to 68F.

Pitched 1 L of House Saison culture. It was 3 months since harvesting, so I made a small starter with wort from this batch at the start of the boil. Left the saison at ~67F ambient to ferment.

3/15/17 Added 11 oz of rosemary honey from Savannah Bee Company.

4/8/17 Kegged with remaining 1 oz of honey and 2 oz of table sugar.

4/29/17 Chilled and connected to CO2.

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Barrel Aging Beers and Sours with Michael Tonsmeire – BeerSmith Podcast #149

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 7:05am

Michael Tonsmeire joins me this week to discuss aging beer in barrels as well as how to barrel age sour beers.

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Topics in This Week’s Episode (50:47)
  • Today my guest is Michael Tonsmeire. Michael is the author of the book American Sour Beer (Amazon affiliate link) and he also writes for his long running blog The Mad Fermentationist. Michael joins me to talk about Sour Beers.
  • We discuss how Michael got into barrel aging.
  • He shares with us the purpose of barrel aging beers including sour beers.
  • We talk about the size of barrels that work best for homebrewers as well as where to find barrels.
  • Michael tells us which woods work best with beers, including those from winerys and distilleries.
  • We talk about how to inspect a barrel and how to check for leaks as well as how to sanitize it before use.
  • He explains the importance of keeping a barrel full for longer beer aging as well as why you really don’t want the barrel empty between batches of beer.
  • We discuss how long to age a typical beer as well as how to use a barrel with sour beers.
  • Michael talks about other wood alternatives including using oak cubes, oak spirals, chips and powders.
  • He shares his new brewery project which is still in the early planning stages.
Sponsors

Thanks to Michael Tonsmeire for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

iTunes Announcements: I launched a new video channel for the BeerSmith podcast on iTunes, so subscribe now! At the moment it will only feature the new widescreen episodes (#75 and up). Older episodes are available on my revamped Youtube channel. Also all of my audio episodes are on iTunes now – so grab the older episodes if you missed any.

Thoughts on the Podcast?

Leave me a comment below or visit our discussion forum to leave a comment in the podcast section there.

Subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or BeerSmith Radio

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Beer Brewing Pumps – Part 1 – March and Chugger Pumps

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 11:16am

March Pump

This week I take a look at the most popular models of home brewing pumps: the March Pump and the Chugger Pump. Next week in part 2 I will cover the new Blichmann RipTide pump which has some significant advantages over the traditional brewing pump.

Home Brewing Pumps

In the last 10 years, larger stainless beer brewing systems have become popular and affordable for serious home brewers. As brewers transition from 5 gal (19 liter) batches to 10 gal (38 l) or larger batch sizes, it becomes impractical and somewhat dangerous to be lifting and pouring pots of hot wort weighing 100 pounds (42 kg) or more. For this reason, brewing pumps have become an integral feature of most high end home brewing systems, with many three-tier systems featuring two pumps to manage recirculation, chilling and transfers.

Two companies dominate the current home brewing pump market: March and Chugger pumps, and Blichmann Engineering has just launched a new entry with some innovative features called the RipTide pump which I will cover in detail in part 2. The March and Chugger pumps have similar size and features and in fact they are largely parts-compatible in that parts can be exchanged between similar models. The Blichmann pump is a completely new design, but has some very nice features that make it quiet, easy to clean and easy to prime.

I’ll also briefly cover diaphragm pumps which are for low temperature transfers, and unfortunately not well suited to general brewing applications.

March Pumps

The standard brewing pump for many years now has been the March series of pumps. The original standard was the 809 pump but the current (most popular) model is the March 815 model. Its a high temperature pump to handle boiling water that moves approximately 7 gallons/minute. It has a magnetic drive head which allows it to handle lower flow rates, and most often a ball valve is fastened to the output so you can vary the flow of wort.

The pump comes in both plastic and stainless steel head versions, and you can in fact remove the head by removing four screws to either clean it or replace it. Some brewers prefer the stainless steel head which can be easier to clean and sanitize. The standard model has 1/2″ MPT connectors on the inlet and outlet. The pump currently retails for around $180 and a bit more for the stainless version.

The pump is not self-priming, which means you need to have some way to fill the pump with wort or water before use. Most brewers do this by adding a small bleed valve on the inlet side so enough wort/water is in the tube to prime the pump on startup. It can be very difficult to prime the pump without the extra bleed valve.

March pumps are typically very reliable and reasonably affordable. Their main limitations are in needing to disassemble the pump to fully clean it and also the fact that they are not self-priming.

Chugger Pump

The Chugger Pump

Chugger pumps entered the market several years back featuring a less expensive “near-clone” of the March pump. Their mainline “chugger pump” model has almost identical specs as the March 815, including a 7 gal/min pump rate, same power, 1/2″ MPT inlet and outlet connectors and two models featuring both the plastic and stainless steel magnetic drive head.

The heads on the March and Chugger pumps are interchangeable, and in fact you can order a separate stainless steel head from Chugger if you want to convert a plastic head March or Chugger pump into a stainless head model.

As I mentioned the chugger pump is functionally identical to the March pump, so it is not a self-priming pump. Most brewers add a ball valve to the output to control flow and also a bleed valve on the input to assist in priming the pump.

Chugger pumps have the same advantages/disadvantages as the March pump. They also have a good reputation with brewers, and a lower price point, currently selling around $120 for the plastic head version and $150-160 for the stainless steel head version.

Self-Priming Diaphragm Pumps

In addition to the high temperature magnetic drive pumps, you can also find various models of self-priming diaphragm pumps. These have the advantage of being self priming so you don’t need to add a bleed valve or pre-fill the tubes and pump with wort before use.

Unfortunately most are limited to roughly 130 F (54 C) in operating temperature which means you can’t use them to transfer boiling hot wort or even circulating mash water when brewing. This limits them effectively to transferring already cooled wort or beer when moving between fermenters for instance. As a result I don’t recommend these pumps for general purpose brewing use.

RipTide Pump

The Blichmann RipTide

Blichmann just released a new home brewing pump called the RipTide. I was fortunate enough to brew with one recently and will share with you next week in part 2 why this pump has some advantages over the traditional March/Chugger pump design.

Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

 

 

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Sapwood Cellars: Maryland Brewery in Planning!

The Mad Fermentationist - Tue, 05/23/2017 - 3:59pm
I’m founding Sapwood Cellars, a brewery in Maryland, with my friend and fellow homebrewer Scott Janish! We'll produce a spectrum of barrel-aged bottle-conditioned mixed-fermentation beers along with fresh hoppy ales for onsite consumption. I’ll post occasional updates to The Mad Fermentationist along with the usually scheduled homebrewing content. However, if you don't want to miss a single development, sign-up for the email list at Sapwood Cellars or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Expect a wide range of beers, especially releases that evolve from batch-to-batch with a focus on experimentation, local ingredients, and education. We’ll be almost as open about the Sapwood Cellars beers as we are about our homebrews. You’ll get to read about both our thought and brewing processes as always, with the added fun of tasting the results!

I never had a long-term plan for brewing because it was a hobby. I liked drinking beer, so I took a homebrewing class my senior year at Carnegie Mellon. I enjoyed brewing, so I started a blog. I had fun blogging, so I wrote a book. I’ve had a couple offers to brew professionally over the years, but none of them were tempting enough for me quit my day job. Founding a brewery comes with extra headaches and risks beyond brewing, but ownership will allow me to brew with fewer compromises. At first we’ll be more like professional homebrewers, rather than the next large regional craft brewery, but we’ll follow the brewery where it takes us!

Partnering with Scott makes the numerous tasks and significant risks manageable. When we first met I was impressed by his IPAs, and we bonded over hop oil calculators. His deep-dives into mouthfeel, hop chemistry, and a variety of other topics on his eponymous blog continue to impress. I got lucky and he'd been quietly considering opening a brewery on his own right before I floated the idea of teaming up last summer.

In February, while I was recording The Sour Hour, I mentioned the brewery because I assumed we’d have a logo and polished website by the time the episodes aired in late-April... our placeholder splash page is up, a logo is in the works, and it’s only late-May. Given the uncertainty of our timeline, I’m not going to guess at when we’ll be brewing or serving beer but we're charging ahead on all fronts!

Head over to Scott’s blog to read his side of the story!


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sapwood Cellars

Our Story
Sapwood Cellars is a Maryland brewery-in-planning dually focused on barrel-aged mixed-fermented beers and fresh hoppy ales. Founded by two passionate homebrewing ultra-nerds, we share a love of brewing science, local ingredients, and the craft of beer production. You may have read our blogs, magazine articles, or book on American sour beers, but likely haven’t tasted our beer. Follow along as we continue to brew peculiar beers, with the added enjoyment of drinking the results!

Expect beers that are balanced, drinkable, and highly aromatic without tongue-scraping bitterness from hops or piercing sourness from mixed-fermentation. Beer should be a pleasure to savor, not a challenge to conquer.

Sign-up for email updates to keep tabs on our progress, learn about opportunities to help, and be the first to know when beer is available!

Our Name
All wood first starts as Sapwood, which is the delicate new growth just under the bark. It plays an integral part of a tree’s maturation by carrying water between the leaves and roots, carefully distributing built-up reserves to the roots and leaves as the seasons demand. Eventually, Sapwood hardens into the heartwood of which barrels are made. Sapwood ties together the two sides of our production: Sap for the fresh IPAs and Wood for the acidic barrel-aged beers. Cellar is the brewer’s term for the fermentation space but also evokes the cool quiet resting place of barrels.

Who We Are
Mike Tonsmeire - mike@sapwoodcellars.com

A homebrewer since 2005, Michael writes The Mad Fermentationist blog and the Advanced Brewing columnist for Brew Your Own Magazine. His book, American Sour Beers (Brewer’s Publications, 2014) is a resource for homebrewers and craft brewers alike. He worked as a consultant for Modern Times and a dozen other craft breweries.

Scott Janish - scott@sapwoodcellars.com

A homebrewer since 2012, Scott writes for his own hop-focused blog, ScottJanish.com, with a focus on academic research and applying the latest science to brewing.
Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Planning an Indoor Electric Brewery – Part 2 – Ventilation and Airflow

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Sat, 05/20/2017 - 11:37am

In part 1 of this series I covered some of the general considerations in planning an electric brewery including size of the system, availability of water and in particular the electrical needs of the system and electrical safety considerations. This week I take a look at the other major physical constraint which is ventilation.

Why Proper Venting is Needed for Brewing Beer

While the ventilation requirements for an electric brewing system are far below what is needed for a gas/propane heated system, proper venting is still important. All we need to do is take a look at the amount of water boiled off during an average brewing session to see that the steam needs somewhere to go. A typical 10 gal (38 l) system will boil 2 gal (8 l) or more of water off from the kettle. A 5 gal (19 l) system puts out about half that. Even in a fairly sizable enclosed room that 2 gal (8 l) of water is enough to raise the relative humidity in the room by 50% or more – all within the space of about 90 minutes!

So what does that mean? In a closed space you will get heavy condensation on the ceiling, walls, windows, floors and even between walls. Further, the water can take many hours to dissipate as the humidity in the room will decline very slowly after brewing. This can lead to mold, permanent damage to the drywall, and other nasty issues.

Obviously the effect is highly dependent on the size of the system, size of the room, availability of outside airflow, and boil off rate. For example a 5 gal (19 l) electric system in a well ventilated kitchen which already has a stove vent and good airflow from nearby windows may be no problem at all. However a 10+ gal (38+) liter system in an enclosed room down in a humid basement may be a real problem.

Venting Requirements for Electric Systems

The requirements for venting steam from your boil pot vary widely depending on the size and efficiency of your hood and size of your system. At the low end is a completely enclosed boiler – of the type you would see in a craft brewery. In these systems the entire boil pot is enclosed in a seamless hood and chimney pipe, which captures 100% of the steam. In this case you only need to enough ventilation for the steam expansion factor – which is about 1600 times the volume of water. So for example a 2 gal/hour (4 l/hour) boil off would produce 1600 times that volume in steam or 3,400 gallons (13,600 liters) of steam. Since that water is boiled off over an hour it works out to a very modest 7.57 cubic feet/minute (206 l/min) flow rate which can be handled easily by even a small blower or fan in the vent. I will note that some commercial systems lack the blower, which can create condensation in the vent pipe that can drop back into the boil creating DMS.

Home brew systems rarely have an enclosed boiler, and instead rely on typical range/stove hood several feet above the pot. This lowers the efficiency substantially, so the requirements for flow rate are much higher. In addition you need to consider venting some of the heat coming from the pot to avoid raising the temperature excessively in the room, again creating a condensation risk. How much higher? Well according to a recent BYO article by John Blichmann the rule of thumb is to have a minumum of 34 cubic feet/min per kilowatt (952 l/min per kw) of heater required. For example a typical 5,500 watt heating coil for a 10 gal (38 l) system would require 5.5 * 34 = 187 cubic feet/min (5295 l/min) of airflow.

However the venting of the heat and steam is not the whole story, as you also need to consider the size and efficiency of your hood. The hood needs to be large enough to capture the steam and also you need sufficient airflow to move the steam collected out of the hood before it spills out of the hood. Most ventilation hoods are set at about 6.5 ft (2 m) above the floor, or roughly 1 yard (1 m) above the kettle. Blichmann recommends you have a minimum hood area that is 6″ (15.25 cm) wider on each side than your kettle, but also that it have 50 cubic ft/min (1450 liters/min) per square foot of hood space. So a small size 2 ft x 2 ft hood would need at least 200 cubic ft/min throughput, and a larger 4 ft x 2 ft hood would need double that or 400 cubic ft/min. So the requirement for proper airflow through the hood is actually larger than the airflow dictated by the heating coil alone.

Other Electric Brewery Considerations

That covers the basics of ventilation. As I mentioned in part 1 you may also want to look at your water requirements, particularly for chilling your wort, as that can be a third driver of where and how to size your electric brewery. In most cases a sink and faucet with a good cold water source is sufficient to drive an immersion chiller or plate chiller, but there are cases where the throughput of water or water temperature may not be low enough to drive your chiller.

I hope you enjoyed this brief two part series on setting up an electric brewery. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Black Lager Schwarzbier – Brewing and Tasting Notes

Brew Dudes - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 3:52am

This week we sample John’s Black Lager. Its wonderful Schwarzbier with subtle notes of coffee and chocolate in the nose and on the palate. The beer has a soft and malty aroma profile. The beer has noticeable notes of milk chocolate and coffee. I am not a big coffee drinker but I found the combination […]

Read the original article Black Lager Schwarzbier – Brewing and Tasting Notes and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Oerbier Special Reserva-Inspired... Originally

The Mad Fermentationist - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 4:16pm

De Dolle Oerbier Special Reserva is a personal favorite. Strong, malty, funky, vinous, and each vintage is a bit different. I'm not usually a fan of vertical tastings, especially for precisely-controlled beers (I don't get much out of comparing ten vintages of Bigfoot!), but splitting bottles from all eight releases of Oerbier Special Reserva was a fun way to spend an evening a with friends!

I wanted to have my own lower-alcohol inspired-by stockpile of something similar. Without much to go on I sent a "Brewed In 2010" bottle to Nick at The Yeast Bay so he could revive De Dolle's house-Brett. Normally I'd just pitch dregs, but I didn't have much hope given the alcohol and age. I then built-up Wyeast’s supposed isolate of De Dolle’s brewer's yeast (3942-PC), soaked oak cubes in Port, and ordered ingredients for a rich-malty base beer (my recipe) - that recipe was a draft for what eventually became Modern Times Empty Hats.

That's about when things started going wrong:

The 5 L flask filled with Saccharomyces fell off the stir-plate and shattered.
    Luckily I had T-58 on hand (a cache of dry yeast is invaluable).

The two isolates Nick pulled from the old/strong beer didn’t seem to do anything over a year.
    Empty Hats dregs to the rescue (which seemed appropriate).

Even with dregs the beer wasn’t developing interesting aromatics.
    Tart cherry juice concentrate thanks to King Orchards.

Bad beer happens. If you've never brewed an off batch, either you have and can’t taste it or you're the world's best and most boring brewer! One of the keys to brewing sour beer is learning which bad beers are worth trying to save, and which should be dumped. I’ve had a few of both. If a beer is OK the easy solution is to add fruit or hops for intrigue. If the beer just isn’t coming along, aging with additional microbes is my usual route. If you detect off-fermentation character (e.g., nail polish, vinegar) there isn't much hope other than blending.

Three-and-a-half years later a train-wreck has become something weird and interesting! Glad to be a homebrewer with some extra storage space and no deadline. If you want to hear more about the batch, listen to my interview with Drew Beechum on Brew Files episode #3.

Oerbier-Inspired

Smell – Rich savory cherry (think venison roasted with cherries an spices). Salivary-inducing acidic aroma. Hint of praline. Clean coconut-ethanol high-note as it warms. Subtle earthy Brett.

Appearance – Clear brown with ruby-amber highlights. Thin off-white head, decent retention for a sour beer (returns on a swirl after it falls).

Taste – Toastiness of the malt is still there with mushroom-earthiness, and the dried cherries. Spice from the oak. Bare butterscotch diacetyl (or more likely oxidized caramel malt?). No sign of the alcohol, but at "only" 8.5% that isn't too surprising. Port-like with acidity in place of sugary sweetness.

Mouthfeel – Medium-low carbonation, nice for a big/dark/sour beer. Pretty good mouthfeel thanks to rather moderate attenuation (FG 1.011).

Drinkability & Notes – A sipper, but that isn’t surprising giving the intensity and variety of flavors. Big, bold, sharp, weird character from malt, microbes, wood, and fruit that mostly work together.

Changes for Next Time – Impossible to replicate this one, but it turned out well despite all the twists and turns. 16 oz of sour cherry concentrate did well in a complex beer that I didn’t want to dilute.  I finally gave Nick a bottle of this batch as a thanks when I visited him in February.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

How to Brew Fourth Edition with John Palmer – BeerSmith Podcast #148

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 12:33pm

John Palmer joins me to discuss the release of the fourth edition of his best selling homebrew book “How to Brew” as well as recent trends in beer brewing.

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Download the MP3 File – Right Click and Save As to download this mp3 file

Topics in This Week’s Episode (45:48)
  • Today my guest is John Palmer and we discuss his new release of the fourth edition of his book “How to Brew” (Amazon affiliate link). John also offers an early copy of his book on his web site at HowToBrew.com
  • John starts by sharing the story of how he came to write “How to Brew” online on his web site, then self-published it and eventually signed with Brewer’s Publications.
  • We discuss his new edition of the top selling home brew book in the world “How to Brew” which includes some 200 pages of new material as well as major revisions to the existing content.
  • John shares his thoughts on Brew-in-a-bag, which has become a mainstream all grain brewing method.
  • We talk about his new chapter on fermentation and maturation.
  • John shares his thoughts on the chapter on fruit/spiced beers as well as which fruits he thinks work best in beer.
  • We talk about a chapter he added on sour beers including kettle souring and the popularity of sour beers now.
  • John shares some of the things he learned writing the “Water” book with Colin Kamisky as well as what he’s added to the new edition regarding mash pH, adjusting water and the sulfite/chloride ratio.
  • We discuss the large number of tables and calculations that were updated and simplified.
  • John talks about the significant leaps made in brewing equipment the last few years including conicals, stainless brewing equipment, electric systems and more.
  • He shares his thoughts on the expanded appendix as well as his closing thoughts after finishing the fourth edition of How to Brew.
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Thanks to John Palmer for appearing on the show and also to you for listening!

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Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Planning an Indoor Electric Brewery – Part 1 – Electrical Considerations

Homebrewing from Beersmith - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 9:27am

This week I’ll take a look at some of the considerations that come into play with planning and building out an electric brewery. There are huge advantages to brewing indoors in that you can brew in any weather year round, but properly installing and operating an indoor electric brewery does require some planning – especially with regards to electricity. In almost every case you will need the assistance of an electrician to properly power your brewery.

A few months back I switched to a new Blichmann BrewEasy 10 gal (38 l) electric brewing system. I’ve really enjoyed the system so far, and love the flexibility of being able to brew inside when it is too cold or even too hot to enjoy brewing outside. I did have to get a new circuit breaker and wiring installed to support the brewery in a safe manner, and I’ll share some of that with you below.

Indoor Electrical Brewery Considerations

Planning your indoor brewery comes down to three fundamental considerations: a water source, electricity and ventilation. The electricity and ventilation available may limit the size of indoor brewery you can install, and even water could be a limiting factor if you are running an immersion or plate wort chiller that require a continuous cold water source to operate.

Today I’m going to focus on the electrical considerations and I’ll cover the ventilation and water considerations in a separate article (part 2). I will emphasize up front that you should hire a qualified electrician to take a look at your existing circuits and brewery requirements as running a large heating coil on an improperly prepared circuit can lead to fire, electrical shock or even death.

Electric Boil Coil

Electrical Considerations

Most home breweries are heated using an electrical immersion coil in the kettle, mash tun or both. Using a typical brewing gas or propane burner inside safely simply requires more ventilation than the typical home can provide, so I don’t recommend using a propane burner indoors. Electricity can also be a major limitation as it is hard to boil batches over 5 gallons (19l) with a standard 120 volt US electrical outlet.

Here in the US, we typically use two types of electrical outlet. The most familiar is the 120 volt wall outlet, which is used to power all of your average household items like the TV, computer, lamps and accessories. Most homes also have a small number of higher powered 240 volt outlets which are typically used only for large appliances like electric stoves, clothes dryers, water heaters and home heating/cooling units.

The largest 120 volt heating coil for brewing run at about 2,250 watts of power – enough to slowly boil the 7 gal of water needed for a 5 gal (19 l) batch of beer. However this is not large enough power to boil a 10 gal (38 liter) batch. For a 10 gal (38 l) or larger batch size you need a 240 volt circuit. A typical 30 amp, 240 V circuit (the size that might power your clothes dryer) can deliver 5,750 watts of power, which is enough to boil 20+ gal (76 l) of wort. Beyond that you need to install an industrial 240V circuit – typically used in one barrel or larger breweries. In my case, I wanted to run a 10 gal (38 l) BrewEasy which meant installing a 240 V, 30 amp circuit to power my 5,000 watt boil coil.

The Critical Importance of Ground Fault Circuits

Now you may want to just use your existing clothes dryer (240 V) circuit or perhaps a simple wall plug if you are running a smaller brewery. However you really can’t do that because you need what is called a “Ground Fault Interrupt” circuit (GFCI) on the plug to ensure safety. You may be familiar with GFCI outlets which have been required in kitchens and bathrooms here in the US the last 25 years or so. These outlets have a separate “test” and “reset” button on them. What the GFCI circuit does is automatically shut down the circuit if electricity starts flowing along an unintended path such as through water or a person. Since you are mixing electricity and water in your brewery, the GFCI is really a REQUIRED piece of safety equipment – not optional!  It could, quite literally, save your life.

For 120 volt outlets, you do have the option of having a GFCI outlet installed for your brewery (or use an existing kitchen one). These outlets are fairly cheap and can be easily installed by an electrician, but make sure your GFCI and home wiring is rated for the full 20 amps needed (see below). Another alternative is a GFCI circuit breaker which can only be installed in the home’s electrical distribution box, and should only be done by a qualified electrician.

While there are also GFCI outlets for 240 volt, they are expensive and rarely used. The more common solution is to install a 240V ground fault circuit breaker in the electrical distribution box (which again should only be done by an electrician). Because GFCI’s are not required for typical US appliances that run 240 volts such as your existing electric stove, dryer or water heater, it is highly unlikely that you have one in your home. They are typically installed only for powering hot tubs. So unfortunately this means to build a 240V brewery you will need to install a new GFCI circuit breaker. Often it requires installing separate wiring and a new outlet as well, as a GFCI may or may not play well some older dryers and appliances. Again, running 240 V and installing a GFCI means you need to get an electrician involved.

Circuit Current Capacity Considerations

In addition to installing a GFCI as mentioned above, you need to also look closely at the capacity (amperage) or your existing wiring. A typical 5 gal (19 l) brewery runs at about 2,250 watts. So at 120 volts that circuit peaks out at 2250 watts/120 volts = 18.75 amps of current, and requires a 20 amp breaker as well as wiring thick enough to handle 20 amps. However many typical household circuits are only rated at 15 amps. So if you plug your 2,250 watt boil coil into a typical 15 amp circuit you may indeed trip the circuit just when you’re trying to get the boil going or even worse burn up your 15 am wiring which could cause a fire! Fortunately most modern houses do have some 20 amp circuits so it may just be a matter of picking the right circuit to plug into (and installing a GFCI per above!).

Its important to note that you can’t just swap out an existing circuit breaker for a larger one – as the wire itself may not be rated for the higher current. So if I had an existing 15 amp breaker swapped for a 20 amp breaker I could be creating a significant fire hazard if the wiring between the breaker box and outlet was only rated for 15 amps. I recommend having an electrician check out the existing breaker and wiring to make sure it is properly rated before operating your brewery.

The same is true for a 240 V brewery. While at 240 volts, you can run up to a 4,500 watt heating coil with a 20 amp circuit, the most common heating coil sizes are typically 5,000-6,000 watts which requires a 30 amp GFCI circuit breaker and supporting wiring. Many 240 V household circuits like those used for a clothes dryer are rated at 30 amps, but not all of them are. Again you need to check both the circuit breaker and wiring before operating your 240V brewery. In any case you are going to need to install a GFCI circuit breaker or outlet for 240 volts, so you will need an electrician involved. Just explain exactly what you are doing and how large your heating element is and they should be able to provide you with options. Some dryers and large appliances don’t play well with GFCIs so don’t be surprised if the electrician recommends an entirely separate circuit and wiring for your brewery.

Postscript – My BrewEasy Install

I spent quite a bit of time planning my indoor brewery, and eventually selected the 10 gal (38 l) Electric BrewEasy system which had a 240 volt, 5000 watt boil coil powering a 20 gal boil kettle. I looked at using my existing 240 volt dryer circuit with a new GFCI breaker but eventually decided to have an entirely separate 240 V GFCI breaker and proper wiring installed dedicated to the brewery in my basement. The GFCI and dedicated circuit gave me confidence that the system would be safe. I also purchased a high-amperage 240V extension cord so I could roll the system outside if needed, and still operate it from the same dedicated fault-protected circuit.

I hope the notes above help you when planning your electric brewery, and again I encourage you to get an electrician involved early in the planning process so you don’t end up with a big bill, or even worse a fire or safety hazard when operating your new brewery. Thanks for joining me on the BeerSmith Home Brewing Blog. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter or my podcast (also on itunes…and youtube…and streaming radio station) for more great tips on homebrewing. Also check out the How to Brew Video series I shot with John Palmer if you want to learn more about all grain brewing.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

A Celebration and Good Things to Come.

Brew Dudes - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 6:09pm

This week marks a small but not insignificant milestone for These Brew Dudes. We give a run down of what we’ve accomplished and what’s coming next. This week we published our 250th video to YouTube!!!! Cheers to us!!! We’ve published a video every week since January 2013! It doesn’t seem possible but that’s where we’re […]

Read the original article A Celebration and Good Things to Come. and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

Craft Brewers Conference 2017: Recap

The Mad Fermentationist - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 3:01pm
With the Craft Brewers Conference (CBC) back in DC for 2017 I was asked to sign copies of American Sour Beers as I have at Great American Beer Festivals and Homebrew Cons before. All of these events are under the umbrella of the Brewers Association which also houses my publisher, Brewers Publications. That was only good enough for a day pass to the expo, so I applied for and received my first media pass for the full experience!

CBC is a bigger, more expensive version of NHC. Rather than homebrewers from around the country, there are thousands of professional brewers. With those larger brewery budgets come more vendors, sponsors, and events.

Welcome Reception at Smithsonian Institution

The last time I was drinking beer in a museum it was seven years ago at the Lambic Summit at Penn Museum. Drinking (mostly) solid local beer is the crowded Smithsonian Natural History Museum didn’t quite measure up. Although I had fun chatting with Brewmaster Alexis Briol from St. Feuillien (a technician as he described himself) and a many other people I ran into! We should have headed over earlier to the Smithsonian American History Museum which was much mellower, and had a better selection of beers.

Seminars

In a move that would be nice for NHC, seminars started a bit later in the day. While there were a few technical topics that piqued my interest (e.g., A Practical Perspective on Foraged and Agriculturally Based Beers, and How Dry Hopping Affects IBUs and Bitterness) most were on the less glamorous areas of safety, regulations, and business (e.g., Contract Details for Purchasing Equipment in the Brewing Industry, China Market Overview: Export Opportunities & Trademark Issues, Arming Reps for Success in Today’s Beer Market). The National Homebrewers Conference tends to be far more about brewing itself, CBC more about topics specific to craft brewing (surprise!). I can always download and listen to the seminars later if something becomes more relevant. The State of the Industry is available on the Brewer's Association website.

Signing Books

Always nice to sit next to John Palmer while signing books! Excited for the new edition of How to Brew as well! I answered a few questions for John about sour beers over the last year, humbling to have input on the fourth edition when I learned to brew from the third! Also fun to talk to Brian Burke who is opening Burke Brewery in Massachusetts (a family name and location, not sure if any relation - but hopefully enough for a free pint once they're open anyway).

BrewExpo America

The Expo was out of control. Two gigantic halls, hundreds of vendors, many with bottling lines, brew houses, and other equipment set up. However, photos were not allowed so nothing I can show here.

I did stop by the Sahm booth when I saw a copy of American Sour Beers up next to the Sensorik, the same style as on the cover. I signed their copy and took a business card... a few weeks later a box of glasses showed up that you'll be seeing photos of in tasting posts.

The most fun part of the whole thing was bumping into people I knew at the Expo and around town. Jeff from Bootleg Biology, Jeramy and Greg from Commonwealth, Blane from Sinistral, Matt from Modern Times, Adrian from Ocelot, and Garrett from Old Trade.

CBC-Week Events

So many brewers were in town every beer bar in DC had about nine events that week. I moderated a talk between Walt Dickinson from ABInBevWickedWeed and Nathan Zeender at the Right Proper brewpub. The bar was mobbed and acoustics weren’t great, but getting to ask those two about their views on house cultures, fruit, and growth was fun even if I was the only one who could hear their answers. Not surprising that Wicked Weed sold out given the massive scale they are expanding sour production, including contracting fruit like most breweries contract hops.

After that event I walked next door to Howard Theater for the Here We Grow featuring a band and beers brewed by 3 Floyds, Creature Comforts, Beechwood and other with the new Yakima Chief Cryo Hops lupulin powder (LupuLN2) and debittered leaf... promising stuff! I took home some samples of Citra and Mosaic to brew my next IPA with.  I also had the fun of introducing two of the biggest hop-nerds I know, Stan Hieronymus and Scott Janish.

The next day I was planning to stop by the Right Proper Brookland production location to chat with Fonta Flora, Scratch, and Jester King on my way to the conference. I left six hours later after trying a range of wonderful foraged beers with commentary from some of the best brewers in the country… never made it to the convention center.

I went back to work Thursday but that night I walked down the street to 3 Stars Brewing for an event that featured beers from Other Half, J Wakefield, Aslin, and a few others. Enjoyed getting to try a bunch of South African hops in Other Half’s Other Southern especially. The only beer I’d had with them before had actual passion fruit in addition to Southern Passion hops, not exactly a showcase for the hops. Was nice to try a few J. Wakefield beers and actual meet John after emailing back and forth a few times over the years.

Is CBC Worth ~$1200 for a Homebrewer?

No, but then that’s like asking if buying a 30 bbl brewhouse is a sensible idea for your hobby. I got much more out of it than I would have a few years ago, but that was because I kept bumping into industry folks! Not sure I'll make it to Nashville for 2018, but you never know!

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

The Odin Yeast Engineering Kit

Brew Dudes - Wed, 05/03/2017 - 6:54pm

This week we explore the magical world of yeast transformation and bioengineering!!! Thanks to the good folks at The-Odin who sent us one of their very cool kits, we will soon be enjoying green fluorescent yeast!!! So these kits are made for the purpose of demonstrating how easy it is to engineer new genetic variants […]

Read the original article The Odin Yeast Engineering Kit and other Brew Dudes posts.

Categories: Homebrewing blogs

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