This beer was brewed on June 24th – OG was at 1.082. We did a vigorous boil for 90 minutes to get down to target. About 7.5 ~ 8 gallons was brewed, we expect this to end up at 9% +/-
Out of the many dark beers we have brewed over the years, we never tried this one, substitute grain as close as possible per your local availability.
If you want a smaller or bigger batch, simply divide everything by 8 and multiple by your brew size. Since this is a big beer you might be better off leaving some extra head room in your fermentor(s). The grain bill of this is not cheap, approx $53, however this is a 9% beer, plus cost of hops and yeast / we like to make dog biscuits after brew to maximize the use of all that grain (just don’t put any hops with it)…
Beer came out exceptionally good only after a few weeks – it gets better with age :- )
We will split this batch in half and apply Oak Cubes to one half (American, Medium Toast).
22.4 lb Maris Otter
1.6 lb Crystal 30
1.6 lb Crystal 120
0.8 lb Chocolate 350 love
0.8 lb Brown Malt 60-70 Love
0.4 lb Roasted Barley 300 Love
3.5 ounce Cluster – add at start of boil
1.6 ounce Northern – add at 5 minute end of boil
1.6 ounce Centennial – add at 5 minutes end of boil
English WLP-002 – ” A classic ESB strain from one of England’s largest independent breweries. This yeast is best suited for English style ales including milds, bitters, porters, and English style stouts. This yeast will leave a beer very clear, and will leave some residual sweetness. ”
On 6/4/2016 this year, we have brewed a 10 gallon version from last year, we scaled the grains and hops up by a factor of 2. Total water used was 15.5 gallons, and to be honest I think we ended up with 11 gallons total beer. However, this time we use canned Apricots, 5 cans total, they were already soft and super easy to create a puree (see video below) // also cost was much cheaper, 1 can costs $1, so $5 total. At the brew store, canned Apricots extracts were much more expensive $20 – so that’s something to consider…
Yeast, since we maintain our own yeasts, we use that, saves a lot of money and we have great results, Wyeast 1056 was used.
OG 1.056 // on day 3 we added 5 cans of apricots, this for sure raised the sugar levels, but we haven’t figured out exactly how to measure that, fruit calculators do exist, but I am not sure how accurate that really is.. Fermentation was for 2 weeks, below is a 2 week fermentation plot derived from the logger and their respective fit lines. You can see a nice spike when the fruit was added to the fermentor (blue lines are internal temps, orange external [outside the fermentor]).
without factoring in the fruit added on day 3, final ABV 6.3% // which probably is closer to 8% 😉 when you do factor in the fruit.
2015 Brew – 5 Gallon All Grain Recipe – Apricot Ale
This recipe is fairly easy and the finished beer is delicious! The ABV % will range between 4 % ~ 6 % depending on how much fruit you use and what kind and the efficiency of your brew setup and the attenuation of your yeast.
FG – 1.012 // Kegging and Botteling Date: 6/21/2014
We only used 2 LB of Apricots and later 4 ounces of a natural Apricot flavoring – which will most likely push the ABV up a little bit too once it is finished aging. Normally recipe calls for 1 to 1.5 lbs of apricot fruit per each gallon of beer.
9 lb American 2 row
2 lb Crystal 20L
Set your timer and once a nice steady rolling boil has been achieved, then:
add 1 oz Cascade (at start of-boil )
add 1/2 Cascade or (1 OZ if you want more Hops) at last 15 minutes of Boil
– The resultant aroma is of medium strength and very distinct. It has a pleasant, flowery and spicy, citrus-like quality with a slight grapefruit characteristic. The hop is good for both flavor and aroma uses. It can also be used for bittering effectively, and can be used to make any ales.
2~3 lb of Canned Fruit Puree – add this to the Primary fermentation at day 3 of the fermentation. You can also add some apricot flavorings (you can buy those at the brew store), but add this at the kegging or bottling time.
Apricot Extract/Flavoring or making your own Apricot puree (lower cost)…
Do a test before bottling or kegging if you go with the extract: Take a dropper or pipette with mL measurements and blend a measured amount of the extract into a measured sample of beer, this will help you to find the mix ratio you like, and then simply scale up to figure out how much to add for the volume of beer that you have – most people add 4 ounces per 5 Gallon…
This is out 3rd time making wine (first 1 gallon, 2nd 2.5 gallon) and now we feel confident to scale higher to 4 gallons. One benefit of making wine from kits or raw ingredients, is that it helps you to sharpen your wine making abilities. Grape harvest comes only once a year, but we want to make wine more than once a year :- )
4 lb of White grapes ( Rio King ) Costco $10
2 lb of strawberries, Costco $4
(3) White Grape Langers frozen fruit concentrates $2 each
we cleaned well and blended all the grapes and berries and added to the fermentation bucket along with the frozen juice, top it off with water to 4 gallons and added 9 cups of sugar. We added 4 campden tablets ( 1 for each gallon of wine ) and left it sit overnight – recommended blend time is 12 to 24 hours – then add the yeast.
The campden will kill off any wild yeasts, molds, bad things… the next day we dehydrated the packet of yeast and added to the fermentor. To help prevent any spills because of active fermentation, we put the fermentation bucket inside another tub.
We will check on the fermentation a week into it and add any clarifiers in primary and later in secondary. In end, we check the pH and stabilize the wine and bottle.
More updates and pics later…
4 gallons of delicious wine for $20 / think about that :- ) – Cheers!!
So this is not in any way official with any movie or anything like that, this is a pretty darn good red base wine, but I wanted to call it a Hobbit Red Wine, because in my imagination, I envision, that hobbits would be drinking something like this. The cost of the ingredients is also inexpensive ($10 ~ $12) and in the end it produced about 2.0 gallons of wine after all the racking stages / if this is your first time making wine, keep your batch size small – there are all kinds of learning curves, as making wine is different from brewing beer, so before you scale up, learn and observe.
Of course you want your fermentor and anything touching your ingredients to be clean and sanitized.
Take your grapes, disconnect from the vines and clean them well, put into a blender and blend that all up into a slurry – you can skip blending if you want, by just squeezing the juice out, but we think this makes a more complex wine and there really isn’t enough grapes used to cause any issues with tannings from the skins / which normally would be if you were using a lot of grapes, that’s why you gently squeeze them out. You will add this slurry to your fermentor.
Again, have a clean container, bucket or final fermentor and add that in there, along with your water and frozen concentrate juice.
After you mix the (water, grapes juice, frozen concentrate), take a brix reading with a refractometer and then use a lookup chart to see how much more sugar to backfill for your desired end product. There is not enough residual sugar coming from the grapes + frozen concentrate to make a 14% or 16% wine. You can change this ratio by buying more grapes or more frozen concentrate – but the costs go up.
1 bag of grapes from your local grocery store, in our case it was the “Red Seedless Raising Rouge Sans” grapes – you can get more than 1 bag, but the costs go up
3 frozen concentrates ( 100% juice ) from red grapes, brand: Langers – each is 11.5 fl oz – you simply add these contents with the grapes
yeast – dry yeast Lalvin K1-V1116 – rehydrate in luke warm water and add to the final fermentor
tip: because we used blended skins, we don’t put an air lock, we simply put some tinfoil over the fermentor output and that is good enough, we never had any contamination, the positive pressure of the fermentation will let co2 gas out and nothing in… Once the bulk of the active fermentation is over, when you rack to the secondary – you can put an air lock on it, some people use baloons. If you don’t follow this tip, the skins can clog up the air lock, block it up and then give you nice art work on your ceiling, if you want grape art work – go for it.
For fining agents we use Bentomine, a natural clay in the secondary, but you can use it in both primary and secondary. Once all the fermentation is over and done, we add a crushed tablet of campden – this will kill off any remaining yeast and help to condition the wine. You want all the fermentation to be done before bottling wine, because if not, the bottles would carbonate and maybe explode.
primary fermentation 3 weeks
secondary 3 weeks
if you want the wine to by crystal clear, you can do another stage and consider other fining agents as well
That’s all we do, you can do more complicated steps and add more things into it, check your pH, etc… but we keep it hobbit style like and simple.
Wine is ready to drink after a few months of aging, you can cellar your wine as well.
After brewing beer for almost 10 years, it was time to do something different. 4 year ago I planted my first grape plant – I choose the variety of Steuben – which is a hybrid grape a mix of French and American grapevines, making for good flavor, adds spice, sweetness, hints of honey.
Since this was a small batch, I kept things simple, here are the steps employed:
remove the grapes from the vines
wash the grapes
puree them in a blender, mix with some warm water – so the blender works
take a specific gravity reading of the grapes after blending, for us it was 1.035
you can tell if the grape is ready to harvest by doing just that, but we didn’t want to take changes with weather (being this was the first year)
put all the grapes into your fermentation vessel – that you have sanitized and cleaned
of course you want to premix the sugar with warm water to dissolve it before adding it to the fermentation vessel
mix all that into the fermentation vessel, mix it good and take a gravity reading again – using a refractometer
leave some head room for the fermentation of course
dehydrate your yeast packet in a separate container with some luke warm water and add that into your fermentation vessel – mix it all up, add your blow off tube
you are done!
Ferment away from sunlight, and somewhere where you have consistent non-swinging temperatures, read the requirements for the yeast that you have used, but 70 ~ 80 F should work.
Make wine is fairly easy, and it doesn’t take a lot of time or fancy expensive equipment, at least for home wine.
If you are going to make larger batches of wine using more traditional methods which are less sanitary, then its a good idea to use Campden tablets – to kill off any wild yeasts, then 24 hours later you can add your yeast.
Update: After 20 days, we transferred the wine into secondary fermentation, leaving all the grape skins behind, the purpose of this stage is to finish off the fermentation and allow the wine to settle, leaving any debris to settle on the bottom of the fermentor. After about two weeks, we want to decant again, leaving any sediment behind.
At this stage you want to check the pH of the Wine and adjust it (you can check the pH before fermentation as well or after or during ) – wine pH should between 3.2 and 3.6 / this allows the wine to be stored and aged in bottles for a long time without going bad as bacteria doesn’t like acidic environments.
Another test you want to check for is the Percentage of the acidity of your wine, there is a lookup chart that you want your wine to fall into depending on the wine you are making ( white wine, red, fruit wine, etc… ), for a red wine, you want to acidity to be about 60% – and you can buy a testing kit at a brew store or online for that step.
Since we are very new to this – I encourage anyone to read more about it and search for useful Youtube videos on all stages of wine making, we posted one youtube link below, cheers!
Latest update: at 4 weeks this beer should clear up quite nicely and taste considerably better if you have chilled it at serving temperature compared to only 3 weeks, 1 extra week will make quite the difference. It comes with an immediate hint of clover, and just smooth good beer, super easy to swallow and you want more!
This is a great Oktoberfest beer!
The German-style hefeweizen is straw to amber in color and made with at least 50 percent malted wheat, however; since we are doing an experimental beer or SMaSH (single malt and single hop), we will be using a Single grain and barley at that, no wheat! 🙂
The aroma and flavor comes largely from the yeast and is decidedly fruity (banana) and phenolic (clove). “Weizen” means “wheat” and “hefe” means “yeast”, but we are not using any wheat, just to be clear. Also to capture as much hop aroma and flavor we are adding very little hops at start of boil (only about 5 IBU) and the remain goes at the end.
Video of the Brew:
19 lb Vienna – that’s it, nothing else
Mash – started at 135-F and slowly using an electric PID control raised it to 152-F and kept there for an hour.
Start of boil (60 minutes) – 0.4 OZ of Cascades, only 5 IBU at this stage
10 minues to end of boil (50 minutes) – 1.0 ounces of Cascades, we don’t want to go above 17~ 20 IBU on this one, since volumes will vary equipment wise on your end, fyi…
Yeasts and experiments:
So we ended up brewing about 13 gallons of beer:
In the main fermentor 11.5 gallons – we used the “Imperial Stefon” – for the goal of this brew Barleyweizen, as we are using the classic Wheat yeast, but in barley.
In a 1 gallon jug – we used a reclaimed “Imperial Barbarian”, this yeast was about 6 months old and it still worked out well, we did do a starter to help it wake up, it was a bit slow to start – but it did and is still fermenting nicely / anything older than 6 month is a risk. Since we used an IPA yeast, this will come out different – but we wanted to see how this SMaSH comes out using different yeasts.
In a 1/2 gallon grower is put that by the window (open-ferment) to see how that will work out, it was a nice calm summer day, so this will be a natural inoculation by wild yeasts, that took a few days to take off, but there was activity with “krausen” / then the next day a tin foil was put on top of the glower.
OG (Original Gravity) was 1.045 / more updates later
Results of the open fermentation experiment:
As mentioned we put half a gallon from this brew by window to open ferment. It did ferment well all the way down to 1.007 / but the type of yeast it picked up wasn’t what we wanted. It smelled very strongly of fusel alcohol/paint thinner or nail polish, so it went down the drain.
Kumbocha is not beer, it is a probiotic drink or basically a fermented tea.
There are many health benefits to Kumbocha and it is an ancient drink originating somewhere from the Asian region around Japan, hard to say exactly from where.
Kumbocha is also a detoxer, it will clean your system out of the many toxins that have stored in your body over time andy keep it clean.
If you have never drunk Kumbocha, go to a store and get some and see if you are going to like it, because there are small amounts of people who don’t do well with it or like it.
Again, it will detox your body, which means that you *might* get the runs, (bathroom visit), become bloated, not feel well, in the beginning – but this is all temporary for most people and not everyone reacts to it, you might not.
As far as the instructions, it is much easier to just record a few videos on YouTube, than write a bunch of rules, so that’s what I have done, please watch them below.
The recipe, we will not post ours, not because it is a secret, but because we want you to explore and do some research on your own and through that exercise, you will find your own recipe and learn much about Kumbocha.
Also, watch more videos on the benefits as well.
Part 1 – How to brew Kumbocha
Part 2 – How to transfer a new brew to your existing mother
How finished Kumbocha after secondary fermentation should look like when you pour, quick video:
On Saturday 2/18/2017 a Grapefruit IPA was brewed. We used peels from 2 grapefruit in a 10 gallon batch, we didn’t want it to be too overwhelming but also a little bit more than a hint. Full recipe will be posted later. It is best to peel the skins when they are fresh using a filleting like knife. Since we are now brewing using an electric setup, we also follow a very precise Mashing temperature control schedule. Say goodbye to temperature oscillations!
Mash-in temp at 170F, after grain mixed drops to 150F
A Re-circulation process is started between two vessels (a march pump is used) and we use the PID controller to maintain a perfect 152 F temp. for 1 hour, so there is no temperature swings like with gas. One vessel is the mash tun and the other the electric kettle.
After an hour, we move up to 162 F (again using precise PID control) and stay there for 30 minutes
We move up again to 174 F to mash out.
The Mash takes a solid 2 hours when you factor in the time it takes to move from 152 to 162 and again to 174. Since the entire mash is done while recirculating, the beer is crystal clear by the time it is mashed out.
A video on the setup is below, as you can see you don’t need to have fancy setups to make good beer, most home-brew operations are analogous with custom hacks. We spent very little money to make this stuff together and make it work compared to buying better looking solutions that costs many thousands of dollars.
For this brew we have decided to use a new yeast from a new company (Portland, Oregon) – yeast used was an Imperial Barbarian. This also seems to be an organic yeast. We did not do a starter like normally we would, to save on time. These cans have enough yeast to support 10 gallons for 5-7% beers.
On 11/20/2016, we brewed a Citra American IPA. More recently we started to preview/simulate brews using an App on my cell phone (android), called: Wort. This is in a way a simulation, we strongly recommend you do this and then brew. The developer hangs out in the Brew Nerds community on G+, you can talk to him directly and is very approachable.
This is a sample after all done brewing, but before fermentation. It looks darker than it is because its mixed with trub. But final color should be light to medium orange, again, it will depend on your exact grains.
pic below, after fermentation is over, which is quick, 5/6 days.
pic below is 1 week after bottling, so 2 weeks after brewing, already very drinkable, dominant grapefruit flavor, nice smell and retention head, carbonation came out great, 3 ounces of priming sugar to 5 gallons of beer was used.
The pic below is beer aged at 2 months, nice and clear.. the dominant grapefruit is pretty much gone, still good beer. These are designed to be enjoyed fresh, as opposed to say Belgians that need a lot more aging time.
Our OG was 1.054, we also used our electric setup here for the first time with this beer.
OG 1.054 // IBU 56 // SRM 6 // Final ABV tbd…
The color of the beer should be light orange, but might vary on the grains that you end up using or substitute for because of availability.
Total water used was 15 gallons for the 10 gallon batch.
Initially this was a 7.5% beer, but we have brewed so many higher gravity beers in the last 2 years and wanted something lighter and more refreshing this time, so about 5 lb of grain was scaled down proportionally for each malt.
20 lb Pale Malt – local to our State of Washington
1.5 lb Crystal 15 Love
1.5 lb Munich Malt
hops (60 minute boil):
1 ounce Nugget at start of boil – bittering
2 ounce Citra – 10 minutes into boil
2 ounce Mosaic – 10 minutes into boil
1 ounce Citra – 1 minute to end of boil
1 ounce Mosaic – 1 minute to end of boil
You can also do additional dry hop (we didn’t):
1 ounce Mosaic – dry hop
1 ounce Citra – dry hop
Wyeast American 1056 ( 1000ml starter 36 hours before )
Up to now – we have been brewing with natural gas or propane, while this works really well, and there are many advantages, like nice strong boils, etc…, there are also some draw backs – as with everything.
Here are some of the benefits of using electric over gas:
no carbon-monoxide gas is created, as you are not burning gas, so safer
it is much (again) safer to control electricity with un-attended automation over gas
no need to waste time buying and hauling propane no more
since you are saving time, you could fit 2 batches in the same day; just fill the water, set your temp goal on the PID and go to do something else…
Electric is much more efficient, 100% of the energy transfers into the wort, where as with gas only about 25% (the other 75% is byproduct of heat), which you have to ventilate for.
Voltage Choice ?
You will have with two choices, which you need to think about and consider for your needs and goals. You can build your system around 120 volts or 240 volts. Obviously it is easier to use 120 volts, since all electrical outlets by default have that everywhere in the US and only Driers and Oven ranges would have the cabling setup for 240 volts, unless you live in Europe :- ) then you have 220 volts.
A good way to wet your feet is to start with 120 volts and automate the heating for the mashing phase of the brewing. Since mash out temps. are about 170F Max and everything between at lower ranges, you won’t really have the need to heat beyond that, so you can use lower wattage heating elements.
Drills or Punches ?
You have a choice of either making the holes using drills or hole punches. There are many videos on youtube on that, so search away for your pot type and size. We drill a hole and then thread it for smaller holes and for bigger holes, we drill a hole (threading has little value) because the thickness of the material is not sufficient enough to have the proper threads – so you will have to use rubber seals and lock nuts. If you know how to weld, you don’t need instructions from us :- )
For this project we used a 1,650 watt stainless steel heating element, using 120 volts. 1650 watts / 120 volts = 13.75 Amps. So when you buy a Relay, make sure it is rated above that, always good to have a nice buffer when it comes to electricity. Most SSR Relays start in about the 25 Amp range, so you are good to go.
We *do really* recommend that you buy the more expensive American made Auber controller, their quality is much better and they are rated for 10Amps without the need for a Relay, if you are going to stay under 1200watts. Our experience with the cheaper Chinese made PIDs like the MYPIN, etc.. were poor, a lot of wasted time, it breaks easily, just cheap overall construction and I doubt their QA process // but you might have other luck – be warned, you do actually get what you pay for, that’s why people say this :- )
We don’t recommend the MyPIN or any other Brands out of China – seriously, their quality is not that good, on the other hand, there are good ones coming out of Japan, but do your research first.
The FOTEK solid state relays seem to perform well – time will tell if they still work after 5 years. Make sure the model of your PID will work with a solid state Relay and will support your temperature probe. Not all PIDs work with solid state, check the specs and ask before ordering.
We Recommend the Auber PID – see the manufacturers web site for different kinds:
Here is what we used (1,650 watts stainless steel), but again – there are many different wattages and even shapes, so do your research – we recommend stainless!!!
This is the heating probe that we used – RTD Pt100 Temperature Sensor Probe Cable 3 Wires 1/2″ NPT 750°F for Temp Control – don’t get a cheap one and think about its placement relative to your needs and batch volume size.
Hooking it up ?
Most people will install the PID inside some kind of a Control Panel casing // here you can be as creative as you want, since this is for #homebrew, just try everything safely and properly, take your time and research, if you are not sure.
Many great videos exist on youtube – we recommend, you do some research again // Video will be posted later of final control panel.