Posted on Leave a comment

Brewday is Friday

I’m brewing a batch of my “Nu Skool IPA” Clone. I developed this clone recipe on my own and this is my 2nd batch using it. The last one was fantastic. If you know me, you should already know that I’m and IPA lover and I don’t even know why I waiting so long to brew this again. I guess even an IPA lover needs variety.

If you haven’t tried this beer before, it’s comes from Southern Tier Brewing Co. in Chautauqua N.Y. I grew up in Chautauqua County, but I left way before STB Co. came around. If you have never been there, you should check them out and make a weekend of it. I definately recommend spending some time hanging out at Chatauqua Lake and you could even take in a comedy show at the Lucille Ball Desi Arnaz Museum & Center for Comedy.

Happy Brewing!

Here is the Recipe:

Nu Skool IPA Clone

Method:
Style:
Boil Time:
Batch Size:
Boil Size:
Efficiency:
All Grain
American IPA
60 minutes
5.5 gallons (fermentor volume)
6.5 gallons
75%

Original Gravity:
Final Gravity:
ABV:
IBU:
SRM:
Yield:
1.058
1.012
6.0%
54.2
6.1
5 gallons

Fermentables

AmountFermentableUseLovibond% of Grain Bill
9 lbAmerican – Pale Ale 2-RowMash1.886%
1.0 lbAmerican – Caramel / Crystal 10LMash109%
0.5 lbAmerican – Caramel / Crystal 40LMash405%

Hops & Adjuncts

AmountVarietyTypeUseTimeIBU
0.25 ozSimcoePelletBoil60 min12.7
0.25 ozMosaicPelletBoil60 min12.4
0.25 ozEkuanotPelletBoil60 min12.7
0.4 ozSimcoePelletBoil10 min7.4
0.4 ozMosaicPelletBoil10 min7.2
0.4 ozEkuanotPelletBoil10 min7.4
0.35 ozSimcoePelletDry Hop7 days0.0
0.35 ozMosaicPelletDry Hop7 days0.0
0.35 ozEkuanotPelletDry Hop7 days0.0

Mash Guidelines

AmountDescriptionType
TempTime
3 Gallons
Infusion
152 F60 mins
2 Gallons
Infusion
170 F10 mins
3 Gallons
Sparge
170 F

Yeast

Danstar Nottingham Ale
Posted on Leave a comment

How to Package your Beer from a Keg

Last Straw On Box

Many people think that once you have a keg, that you will never use bottles again. But, if you have a keg, you probably already know that you will want or need to bottle from your keg at times. There a a number of different reasons to bottle from your keg, here are just a couple.

Reason #1 is to bottle your beer for competition. If you want to enter your beer into a competition at your local home brew club, you need to submit your beer in bottles.

Reason #2 to bottle is when you need to free up a keg for your next batch of beer. When you keg a new batch of beer, you will usually have to wait at least 3 days or more for the beer to carbonate. So, you may want to bottle the last of the current keg. After all, what will you drink while waiting for your keg to carbonate. You don’t want to do the unthinkable and run to the store for a 6-pack of Bud.

Reason #3 to bottle is to share. Sure, you can fill a growler to take to your friends house, but a growler is only good for a couple of days if you don’t open it. What if you want to have 2 or 3 different types of beer in your house when friends show up or when you go to a friends house? You can buy a couple more kegs, or you can fill a couple of bottles and stock your fridge.

Simple and Cheap

The easiest method for bottling is to use a picnic tap with a 10″ to 12″ growler filling hose slid over the end of the picnic tap. If you have a keg, you probably already have a picnic tap and or beer faucet. While this is very easy, inexpensive and it gets the job done, it can introduce some oxygen to your beer. If you don’t plan to have to bottles around long, then a little oxygen won’t hurt.

Draft Bottle Filler

A better, but more expensive option is to buy a draft bottle filler. These usually run around $90, but they also have a lot of benefits. First, they have 2 beer lines and 2 buttons, one line connects to the keg and the other line connects to your CO2 tank. This allows you to purge the bottle with CO2 with 1 button and then to fill the bottle with the second bottle.

Chill Your Bottles

Regardless of the method you choose, make sure to follow your normal cleaning procedures and chill your bottles. This is important. Your bottles should be at the same temperature as your beer. If you are bottling with room temperature bottles, you will have foaming problems and your experience will be misserable and you will likely end up with flat beer. You don’t have to put your bottles in the fridge, as they will likely take up a lot of space. But instead you can use cold water when sanatizing your bottles. Let the bottles chill in the sanitizer and enjoy.

Posted on Leave a comment

Improve Mash Efficiency

If your an all-grain brewer, you may want to read this. I always wondered how to determine the efficiency of my mash. While this article won’t help to calculate your efficiency, it will give you some basic steps to help make your process more efficient.

Milling your Grains

How well your grain is crushed will affect your mash and sparge. You can have your grain crushed at the brewing supply store or you can purchase your own grain mill for more control as you may want to make adjustments for different grain sizes. For example, wheat has a smaller kernel size than barley. You should aim for a well crushed grist with a mix of large and small particles and unshredded husks. The husks are an important part of the mashing process. The husks allow water to flow through the grain bed, extracting the sugar and preventing a stuck mash.

Mash out and Sparging

Raising the mash temperature to 168o F (mash out) and then rinsing the grain (sparging) with hot water (168o F) helps to flush out as much sugar from the sticky mash as possible. Sparge water temperature should not be above 170o F as husk tannins become more soluable above that. At the same time, the temperature should not be much lower either as the flow won’t be as good.

Sparge Slowly

Start to drain the mash from the mash tun at just a trickle. Start adding the sparge water slowly to the exposed grain bed. It should take 30 minutes or more to drain 6 gallons of wort from your mash tun. Continuous sparging will usually result in the highest yield. Continuous sparging is the process of adding small amounts of sparge water to the mash tun slowly. Homebrewers typically will add a fairly large amount of water periodically, which is a little less efficient.

Minimize Deadspace

Deadspace is the amount of liquid in your mash tun that is under the false bottom. The problem here is that this liquid is good wort and you want this extracted to your boil kettle. This can be accomplished with a dip tub under the false bottom, whish can help you drain the mash tun almost completely. However, the larger the deadspace, the more wort that is left behind. Also, the amount of deadspace will affect your mash thickness calculations, which is a completely separate topic.

Choose the Right Mash Tun

Your mash tun and false bottom can greatly affect your mash efficiency. A tall brew kettle shaped mash tun reduces the deadspace. The false bottom should cover the entire bottom of the vessel and have minimal deadspace under it. This will provide an even flow across the entire grain bed giving you getter efficiency.

Posted on 1 Comment

All Grain Beer Brewing Steps

Here are the steps I use when brewing all grain beer. Anyone do the same or see any areas for improvement?

1) Pre-Heat the mash tun for 20-30 minutes. This is important because if it’s cool, your mash temp will drop too much. Fill it with 3 gallons of 130ish water (that is the temp of my tap water).

2) Start the mash. Target temp for the first 50 minutes is 152-155 degrees (after adding the grain). It may drop a few degrees during the first 50 minutes. Drain the mash tun (of pre-heat water) and fill with 3 gallons of 172ish water. There is a formula that you can use to determine how much the water temp will drop when you add your grain. But, add the water first (about 15-20 degrees above your target temp).

3) Stir in all of your grains. Then start the 60 minute count down.

4) Boil 2 gallons of water. Adding 2 gallons of boilng water to 3 gallons of 152 degree mash will raise the temp to 172ish. You don’t want the temperature above 180 degrees because the starch conversion won’t work at 180 or above.

5) When there are 10 minutes left in the 60 minute mash, add the boiling water and stir. Leave it alone for 10 more minutes.

6) Heat 3 additional gallons of water to 170 degrees. This will be your sparge water. 

7) When the mash is complete (60 minutes is over). Slowly fill a small sauce pan with mash liquid and pour it back into the mash tun. Do this 3 times. This will clarify your mash and set your grain bed.

8) Start to slowly drain the mash tun into your boil kettle. Do this slowly over 20-30 minutes so that you don’t get channels in the grain bed.

9) When the mash liquid drains low enough that you can see the grain bed, start to slowly add sparge water to keep the grain bed covered. 

10) When your out of sparge water, wait for the brew kettle level to reach your target level (about 6.5 gallons). 6.25 or 6.75 is ok also. 

11) Start your 60 minute boil and add the hops add the designated times.

12) When the boil is complete start your chilling process. The rest is the same as you would do with extract kits.

Posted on Leave a comment

Here are a few reasons why you should give homebrewing a try

It’s Cheap

After the initial cost of equipment, the ingredients for a 5 gallon batch of beer start at just $35. That’s only about 70 cents per beer. Drive to the super market and craft beer is $10 a six pack or $12 for a 4 pack. When you home brew, you make exactly the beer you want to drink. With a little practice, you’ll even be able to create amazing beer right in your kitchen that rivals many craft breweries and you will do it with your own touch of love.

It’s Easy

The brewing process is surprisingly simple. If you can boil water, you can make beer. By far, the most difficult part of making beer is waiting for the fermentation and carbonation to finish. Probably the worst 4-6 weeks of your life. After that first batch, you will get a rythm and you will never run out of beer again.

It’s Fun

Making beer can be a great way to spend time with friends or just relaxing in the garage with a cold one keeping an eye on your boil kettle.

It’s Educational

When you see a brew go from raw ingredients to finished beer, your better able to appreciate all that goes into making beer and how each ingredient impacts the final outcome. This will help you understand what beers are your favorites and why.

It’s Legal

Homebrewing is officially legal in all 50 US states. Check the law in your state to see what restrictions may be in effect regarding quantity and transportation of your homebrew.

Posted on Leave a comment

Brew Kettles and Pots

Boil Big or Go Home! Big brew kettles are better. The more wort you boil, the better hops are utilized, and the clearer and paler the beer will turn out. Brew kettles are a lifetime investment, and if you’re an extract brewer, you can still use them when and if you switch to all-grain brewing. My Brew Supply carries brew pots in all sizes and configurations. We offer the best beer brewing kettles with sizes, prices, and styles for every budget and home brewery. Give your beer the space it needs!  
MegaPot 8 Gal

8 Gallon Brew Kettle

This kettle is perfect for a 5 Gallon batch. When making 5 gallons you often start out boiling 6.5 gallons with a target of putting 5.5 gallons into your fermenter.

Posted on Leave a comment

How Important is Fermentation Temperature in Homebrewing?

Yeast is very sensitive to temperature. Different strains of yeast have different ideal working temperatures for fermenting beer. You want to follow instructions for your yeast to make conditions optimal to produce a great beer.

Fermenting ale’s generally require a temperature between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit. On the other hand, lager requires a temperature between 45 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Not maintaining the proper temperature for your wort during fermentation can result in off flavors. Many of the off flavors will be produced in the first 3 days of fermentation as that is when the yeast is most active. Not to mention that the process of fermentation will produce heat and will raise the temperate of your wort above the room temperature.

For me, I’m considering making a fermentation chamber. The keezer build went very well and it maintains a chilly 36°F. Way too low for fermentation, but great for serving. The best thing is that I didn’t have to wire anything to make it work. I just bought a chest freezer, made a wood collar to make it taller for kegs, provide a medium for installing the taps, and added a temperature controller that turns the freezer on and off to maintain the temp just 3 degrees above freezing.

This time, I can’t spend $180 of a chest freezer, but would love to convert my old mini fridge into fermentation chamber. Still need to get a temperature controller, but the price on those has come down significantly since I purchased the one for my keezer.

Posted on Leave a comment

Ohio State Fair Homebrew Competition

Are you ready? The deadline is almost here.

Entry Fee: $6
Entry Deadline: 05/15/2018
Competition Date: 06/02/2018
ohiostatefairhomebrew.com

I might be a little late for this one. But I will enter a competition this year. Dang, I need to be on top of these things. I wonder what other deadlines I’m missing.

Actually, after reading a little more on their website, I need to register by May 15th. I have until May 29th to get my beer to them. Hmmmm, this might be possible. Too bad I just finished off a keg of my best beer “Dead Ringer”. It was very clear and tasted great. I have an English Pale Ale on tap now, but it’s cloudy and probably wouldn’t score well. I have 2 batches Fermenting right now:

  1. Rocky Racoon Honey Lager. I never made this before, I brewed it on April 14th.
  2. Rogue Chocolate Stout which is also a new recipe for me and was brewed on April 19th. The chocolate nibs need to be removed on May 11th and I should be able to keg it then.

I usually like to condition the beer. While I don’t have a hard and fast rule, I think they taste best 6-8 weeks after brewing. I guess, if it’s in the bottle by May 15th and the Event isn’t until June 2nd, that would fall right into the sweet spot.

Wow, with 10 days left to register, 279 entries have already been received.

Posted on Leave a comment

Is it true? Does beer reduce inflammation?

Well, I got it from a couple of sources now that beer (wheat beer in particular) reduces muscle inflammation. The articles I’ve read so far, mention specifically studies done on marathon runners. The phenols in the beer are being given the credit and the runners were drinking non-alcholic beer because the alcohol could cause dehydration. My question is, if I’m not an athlete, will beer reduce my back pain which is caused by inflammation?

Posted on Leave a comment

Chest Freezer to Kegerator (Keezer Build)

I purchased a 7.2 Cu Ft chest freezer using points I earned at christmas. Then I added a wood collar around the top using some left over Mahogany I had from another wood working project.

Keezer full front

The key with making the collar is making the height of the collar equal to the distance between the 2 sets of screws on the hinge. This allows you to just move the hinge up by 1 set of screws and you don’t need to put any new holes into the chest freezer. After installing the collar, I used silicone chaulk to glue it to the chest. I also drilled a hole in the back of the collar for the temperature probe. Make sure you get the probe all the way to the bottom as it’s colder down there. I originally had the probe hanging about 1/2 way down and ice started to form in the bottom. I set the temperature on the thermostat to 36 degrees, so only 4 degrees above freezing. 

For me, not damaging the freezer was important as this freezer only holds 3 kegs. If I want to upgrade later, I can just remove the collar and sell it for money towards a larger freezer or (more likely) re-purpose the freeze for temperature controlled fermenting. I’m sure I can fit at least 2 SS BrewTech Brew Buckets into this freezer with or without the collar.

Hinge with and without cover

When I finished, I was able to fit 3 kegs very nicely into the keezer. I even have space to store chilled glasses and even some moonshine. 

Keezer inside

My wife was nice enough to make these chaulkboard cards with magnets on the back for labeling what is on each tap. I can store extra/unused cards along the back of the lid.

Labels for Tap

To finish it off, I got a wall mounted drip tray. Again, I didn’t want to put screw holes in the freezer, so I created a little “L” shaped stand out of left over hard wood flooring. I mounted the drip tray to the stand and slid the base of the stand under the freezer. I left the screws a little bit loose, so I can remove the drip tray for draining/cleaning.

drip tray stand
Keezer front

In addition to the freezer and wood, here is a list of items I had to purchase:

  1. Drip tray
  2. Temperature Controller
  3. Kegs with CO2 tank, regulators and lines
  4. Faucets with knob and shank