Wild Blonde Ale

About 5 weeks ago we brewed a Blonde Ale / here I wanted to experiment more with the wild yeast culture that I have collected from raspberries in summer of 2018. This is my second attempt, the first was brewing a low ABV beer, but even here I think letting it ferment for more than the original 1 week would have been better. I finished fermenting in the bottles, so I am glad I didn’t use too much priming sugar.

below pic of the Krausen, some of it was saved…

It seems very important to monitor the activity and make sure it is done, especially if you are going to use priming sugar in your bottles so that they don’t over pressurize and become little time bombs.

The culture works, but incrementally over time, for this test I didn’t do any temperature tests, just keeping the Beeruino set at minimum 68F, since the basement can get cold sometimes – but right now I don’t know if it performs better at higher temps like 75F or 80 ~ 90F or some other range.

I took a weekly sample using a hydrometer and its flask.

The OG (original gravity) was 1.059 on this Blonde Ale.

1 week later1.04
2 weeks later1.03
3 weeks later1.022
4 weeks later1.014
5 weeks later1.010
6 weeks later1.008

Looks like at about 1.010 the fermentation stabilized and ABV is about 6.7% / probably in the end closer to 7%

I would monitor the flask as it basically is a mini-fermentor, but would still take a weekly sample from the fermentor, it was pretty much spot on – so one should be able to just take one sample with a hydrometer and monitor the flask (save beer), cover it with tinfoil or something like that seems to work awesome for me.

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Wild Farmhouse Ale

some warning – this was my first time collecting wild yeast and fermenting using it, there is a lot more to wild yeasts than meets the eye and more than I wrote in this blog, I am aware of it – but this is more of a story than anything. If you decide to go down the adventure road of wild yeast, just be careful and use common sense – research everything, this is by no means some indefinite write-up, also – stay away from assholes, they are everywhere, enjoy the hobby and don’t let them bog you down!

by the way: if you are interested in purchasing the Wild Yeast that was used to make this beer – Contact me.

When the Norwegian Farmhouse Ale was brewed – I did a second water running on the grain (lower ABV 3%) to test out a wild yeast that was collected in Summer of 2018 off Raspberries.

Now to those that don’t know a wild yeast is not a pure strain of yeast, it is in fact a culture – which is a mix of yeast, maybe even more than one yeast and other bacteria. When I first captured the yeast after the initial fermentation there was Brettanomyces in the krausen- this gives you the sour beer, in the top of the krausen you can see a spider web like infection – this is a tell tale sign.

I didn’t want a sour beer, so I had to clean it up, I collected the yeast below the krausen and did another yeast starter – you can google about this process to learn more…

see video below of what I did:

After another fermentation and confirmation of a clean yeast, I stored in the fridge until I had an opportunity to use it later, which was on this brew. Wild yeast in my opinion are a lot tougher, they have to survive winter in some harsh conditions, nature maintains it without any human involvement or lab process, in piles under leaves, under snow, sometimes freezing for months. I think it gives to the complexity and variability of the beer and probably why there is a resurgence in the Wild Ales.

So anyways, this yeast was added to the wort from the second runnings, pics below, as you can see the Brettanomyces is gone!!!

Yes, I collected all of that krausen into a sterilized jar and into the fridge it went for another brew. As you can see it was very clean and I didn’t see any weird colors or blocks of anything odd.

So now I have my very own unique wild culture of yeast collected from my land ūüôā Hooray!

another warning when bottling – let the ABV settle for a while to make sure it is stable and use less than the idea amount of priming sugar your first time as with a non-wild yeast, so you don’t end up with exploding bottles, as example I used 3 ounces of sugar for this 5 gallons batch, and everything ended up fine for me and nice…

I will brew some other beers in the future and blog more later…

I will update once the beer is ready to drink with more pics and a more detailed taste report!

links:

If you are into Sour beers:

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Kviek Norwegian Farmhouse Ale

10 gallon batch.

Today 1/6/2019 we brewed a Norwegian Farmhouse Ale – but not using any traditional means, just a farmhouse grain stack with yeast – Imperial Yeast A43 Loki.

I will brew this again in the future using the Juniper branches in the more traditional way, but for now – we will go with a more modern recipe.

Speaking with the brew store employee, he just brewed something like that with the Loki yeast and recommended fermenting at 90F – so we used the Beeruino to control temperature at 90F and Log the fermentation (plot posted later).

We employed a step mash starting at 141 F for 90 minutes and slowly moving to target temp of 153F using a recirculating pump and a PID electric heater setup. This is a linear process but one way up, you never want to start at a too high of a temperature, as it would denature the enzymes and poop your beer.

grains:

  • 21 lb Belgian Pilsner
  • 1 lb Skagit Vienna (locally sourced grain)
  • 1 lb Munich
  • 1 lb Caramunich 60 Love
  • 1 lb flaked Oakts – fyi: we put it into the mash from the start, but if you don’t have a good strong pump that can pull, you might get a stuck mash starting at a lower temp like we did at 141 F – you can add it towards the end of the mash once your temperatures are higher…

R Code below… with Plot.

temp = c(141,147,151,153,153,153,153)

time = c(0,15,30,45,60,75,90)

?plot

plot(time,temp, type =”o”)

hops:

  • 2 ounces of UK Golding Hops – start of boil
  • 1 ounce Styrian – 5 minutes to end of boil

yeast:

Imperial Yeast Loki A43

More Update later – including looking into the more traditional brew.

Links to some YouTube traditional brews: https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=norwegian+farmhouse+ale

OG was 1.046, FG ended up at 1.010 – 4.7%

but wait there is more… ūüôā

We added back 6 gallons of water into the spent grant and kept going for a 2nd running, this is something new that I decided to do, the beer will be lower ABV, but I was ok with that.

For this one I have the freedom to use different hops, used 2 ounces of whole hops of 50/50 mix (Chinook, Cascade #homegrown) at start of boil and 70 grams of Saaz at 5 minutes to end of boil, shooting for a 5 gallon batch on this – so more hops here…

And for the yeast I used a Wild yeast that I have collected in the summer time off of raspberries, so this will not be a Norwegian Farmhouse, but more like a Wild Raspberries Farmhouse – just a creation that I’ve decided last minute and geek out on this brew day!

I named the wild yeast culture RAYRAS 01 – collected in August 2018. It looked good and smelled really good of fruit esters when a test was done, so we will see if this is any good or maybe I will get a surprise and get some nice wild sour, bottom line I expect an efficient yeast even with a 2nd running, it might end up close to the first because of the efficiencies of the yeast. TBD…

This yeast is not pure yet, it is a culture – meaning a mix of yeast and other things…

The Wild Farmhouse Ale – came out great so far, ABV was low 3% because I ran the water on the 2nd runnings – you could mix in some DME to bump that up, I didn’t on this test, as I wasn’t sure if the yeast would work out and it did!

Pictures tell a thousand words:

This is the yeast that was added in, collected from Raspberries, that’s why the color in the sample.

The wild yeast culture overall looked good at the end, no infections, no funky smells, taste tested good and within acceptable normal. I’ve collecting it to keep for the next batch.

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American Brown Ale 10 gallon batch


20160319_120209

attempt #1 pic below – Brew date: 3/26/1016

american_brown_ale-attempt1

attempt #2 pic below – Brew date: 7/10/2016

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10 gallons.

This beer was modeled after the Diamond Knot Brown Ale per the grains/hops posted on their web site, and simulated for ABV/SRM and IBU using app “Wort Pro”.

http://www.diamondknot.com/the-beer/always-on/brown-ale/

Videos of the brew are below:

adding flaked oats to mash: –¬†add sweetness and body – read…

start of boil (using hop balls for whole hops so they don’t plug up the pipes):

transfer to fermentor:

adding yeast:

next day fermenting:

Attempt #1 – OG 1.068 // FG 1.010 – final ABV 7.6% – yes a little higher then the 6.0% Diamond Knot..

  • IBU 25.8
  • SRM 13

Attempt #2 – OG 1.066 // FG 1.014 – final ABV 6.83%

  • IBU 28.3
  • SRM 13

Total water used 15.5 gallons for final 10 gallons of beer…

attempt #1 grains:

  • 18 lb Pale Malt 2-row
  • 4.5 lb Munich Malt 10 love
  • 3.0 lb Crystal Malt 10 love – see below for attempt #2 changes
  • 0.20 lb Chocolate Malt
  • 0.20 lb Black Barley
  • 1.0 lb flaked Barley
  • 1/2 lb of brown sugar

attempt #2 grains:

  • 18 lb Pale Malt 2-row
  • 4.5 lb Munich Malt 10 love
  • 1.5 lb Crystal Malt 15 love
  • 1.5 lb Crystal Malt 60 love – we did this to give the beer more caramel flavor and beer body
  • 0.40 lb Chocolate Malt – we double the dark grains to darken the color a bit
  • 0.40 lb Black Barley
  • 1.0 lb flaked Barley
  • 1/2 lb of brown sugar – we didn’t use it this time, the sugar…

hops attempt #1:

  • 2.0 oz Galena with some whole hops from last year’s harvest (Yakima & Cascade) at start of boil, added to the hop boil ball, see video.
  • 2.0 oz Willamette last 15 minute of boil.

hops attempt #2:

  • 2.0 oz of home grown Cascade Hops, 2015 harvest (beginning of boil)
  • 1.0 oz of Cascade pallet + 1.0 oz Willamette pallet (last 15 minutes)

attempt #1 – Wyeast #1056 yeast was used, took 2 weeks to ferment out, this yeast consistently bubbled over the 2 week period…

attempt #2 – British Ale Wyeast #1098 // 2 liter starter // 1.040 gravity – majority of the active fermentation will be over in about 4 days, but let it go out full 2 weeks – because it’s still happening, just slower, also we like to allow extra time for all the floaters in the fermentor to settle.¬† On that note, per one of our brew nerds – once fermentation is over, trapped dissolved co2 gas slowly escapes the beer, so it will give you a false sense of a fermenation – only way is to measure.

attempt #3 – 11/11/18 – all same as attempt #2, expect for yeast – we used WLP002 English Ale… OG 1.052 / started the mash schedule at 138F and slowly ramped to 152F in 1 hour, then held at 152F for an additional 30 minutes for 90 minute total mash / this mash schedule produced much a better efficiency compared to OG of 1.040 in attempt #2

Beer tastes awesome РFermentation was 2 weeks, which included 1 week rest time Рthis helps the yeast to reabsorb any unwanted off-flavors, in keg for only a few days!  Boom, a winner!

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How-To process the raw Beeruino data using R

One of the first things after getting the Beeruino working, is to leave it running in your brewing environment where fermentation will take place.

Let it capture a few weeks worth of data, maybe even during different seasons, then learn how to process the data and finally display it in a more informative plot.  Plots allow the human eye to makes sense of all the data and what happened during the fermenation much easier than looking at some bunch of summary statistics.

R code is below with comments, enough to get you started…



		


This plot clearly displays that the internal and external temperature sensors are not calibrated and off by about 2F degrees, but even so you can see that they follow each other almost exactly.  This is why it is a good idea to have a second temp sensor as a baseline to compare against.  If you were doing a real fermentation, the exothermic process would show the internal sensor behaving different.

So now that you know how to plot, you can learn more about aesthetics and scale.

Thanks!

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Hazy Stone Fruit Ale / Single Malt, Dual Hop – SMaSH, SMaDH

It is said that in order to become really good, or semi-pro or Pro beer Crafter, at the very least you need to be able to consistently create good beer from just one grain and either one hop or some mix.  This means that you need to dial in the entire process well and put to work your understanding of everything.

For the grain we used a local barley, just makes sense to support your local Eco system and local farmers, so unless you can duplicate this, your results will be different, but the idea is to select a grain that has good characteristics and which will produce good beer, your local brew shop should have a few choices to select from, talk to them.

Whillamette Value Barley –¬†https://www.mainstemmalt.com/2017-vintage/willamette-valley/

We opted for just a good ALE, nothing even fancy as an IPA and of course I did something fun when using the yeast.

I used a re-pitched from a previous brew, an Imperial Barbarian that was sitting in a jar in the fridge for the last 11 months, yikes, right! ?¬† The average person would be like, what!!! and you did “no” starter, whuuuut! Exactly!

Yeast was pitched a few hours after removing from fridge to let it warm up, no starter, no nothing.  This yeast is typically slow to start, even if fresh, it took a solid 2 days, but then the activity started, it was a very steady fermentation, very consistent and lasted 3 weeks!

It went from OG of 1.047 to 1.006 FG, resulting in an approximate ABV of 5.25%

The Barbarian yeast will produce nice stone fruit esters that work great when paired with citrus hops. Barbarian is recommended for exceptionally balanced IPAs.  Our attenuation rate was crazy high at 86%, compared to the range of Attenuation: 73-74% expected.

For the Hops we used whole hops that we grew on our property (about 50/50) Cascades and Yakima, both also developed in this region.

A picture of the beer after 1 week in the fridge keg, after removal from fermentor Рno secondary stage was employed.  It was a little cloudy, it looks almost like a NEIPA, or some hazy Ale.  At 2 weeks it cleared up, but still had a nice haze.  This could be because of the grain or maybe my experimental yeast more likely given the 3 week fermentation, but good news no off flavors and the haziness was a welcomed surprise!

The beer tasted good and is very drinkable only after 1 week, with nice hints of Stone Fruit, Peach and maybe even some Apricots.

Bottom line, good beer, low cost (we paid no money for yeast or hops), efficient yeast and quick availability.

More taste details with aging will be posted later along with a more exact recipe.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

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English style “Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout” – Clone All Grain 8 gallon Recipe

This beer was brewed on June 24th РOG 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).

grains:

  • 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

hops:

  • 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

yeast:

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. ”

 

 

 

 

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Strawberry Grape Wine 4 gallons

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 :- )

ingredients:

  • 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 Рrecommended blend time is 12 to 24 hours Рthen 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!!

 

 

 

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Red Hobbit Wine

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 Рthere 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 Рbut 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
  • 2 gallons of water – we used artesian water
  • backfill now with sugar to achieve your desired alcohol level, we did 12% ( sorry, I didn’t save the weight used ) but use a lookup table so see how much you need, and yes, use inexpensive white granular table sugar –¬†http://www.honeyflowfarm.com/Winemaking-Information/sugar-addition-chart.html
  • 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 Рthis 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.

Cheers!

 

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London ESB Coffee Porter – 10 gallon batch

11/10/2017 – today we brewed a 10 gallon London ESB Coffee Porter

grains:

  • 18 lb – 2-row premium grain
  • 1.5 – caramel 60 Love
  • 1 lb – coffee malt 150 Love
  • 1.5 lb – roasted barley 300 Love

hops:

  • 2.4 oz Cascade at start of boil
  • 1.6 oz Northern Brewer at start of boil
  • 1.5 oz Fuggle at 30 minutes into boil

yeast:

1968 Wyeast

coffee:

4 oz of coarse ground (to open up the bean) coffee added into the fermentor in a mash bag that was sanitized.

We started the Mash at 140 F and over an 90 minutes slowly run a program controlled by our electric PID to reach 154F – we mashed out at 170F.

Boil was for 90 minutes.

Cooled to 74F

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Steuben Wine

made on 10/8/2017 – updates later…

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
  • 12% wine will have a specific gravity of 1.090 – so you will have to add sugar to the mixture – you can use a lookup chart – http://www.homebrewit.com/hydrometer-basics-for-home-brewing-and-wine-making
  • 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!

 

 

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