American Brown Ale 10 gallon batch


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


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


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”.

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.

5 Tips to a New Home Brewer!

Tip #1 – It’s all about Kegs Man! (but don’t abandon bottling) to build-up your cellar reserves.  All brewers will quickly realize that it takes quite a bit of time to do a brew session (all day) and later even more planning needed to bottle, (cleaning, sanitizing, actual bottling time), space for all the bottles – so most people quickly switch to kegging their beer.  You can literally keg an entire 5 gallon batch in 5-10 minutes and be done with it.  But you also sooner or later realize that there are benefits to bottling, (you can give to friends, co-workers [check your local laws for giving out beer to people]), you can cellar beers for years like wine (not all beer styles apply) and create your very own private reserve label.

Buy bottles that can be cleaned and re-used, like the Grolsch-style swing-cap bottles, or just re-cap a regular beer of your choice.

Tip #2 – Don’t underestimate your brew batch size!  Most home brewers do 5 gallon batches and that is all fine and dandy, but soon your realize after all that hard work and time endured, that 5 gallons don’t last long especially when some friends come over for a party.

We usually here unless the batch is experimental, do by default 10 gallon batches, we split the 10 gallon into a 5 gallon Keg, 2.5 gallon Keg and the rest we bottle for friends and add to our aging cellar with a label imprinted and a date.

With each good confirmed batch, I bottle and put away a few bottles or maybe even a batch for long term storage.  I usually do this with higher gravity beers, because those keep well better over time like wine.  The higher alcohol percentage protects the beer from bacterial infection and overtime the chemicals interactions change the beer for the better.

Tip #3 – Age most beer styles correctly before giving it out for consumption!

Some Belgian styles need to age for 6 to 12 months! Some beers are good after about 2 months!  I did tests by opening a beer bottle at 1 month, 2 and 3 and trust me the 3 month old bottle was substantially better than the 1 month old bottle.

Even if you use the best, award-winning recipe that was repeatedly brewed for 1,000 years! – If you don’t wait and age it correctly before giving it out, people will think sub-par thoughts about your beer and your brewing skills.  Make sure to say when the beer is under-aged if you must give it out, so that people are aware.

Tip: Some aging time can be cut by filtering the beer, but there are pros and cons.

Yes there are some beers that don’t age well for longer periods of time, usually these are beers that use a lot of hops, like IPAs.  Use brown Bottles and try to cellar where temperatures are stable and there is no to little light.  Light overtime will give beer a skunky smell, so unless you brewed a hemp beer, you probably don’t want any skunk in it.

Tip #4 – Not everyone wants to join a brew club for a variety of reasons, maybe you are not that social of a person or don’t want to deal with the politics at brew clubs, fees, etc… etc.. etc.  There is plenty of good brew forums, blogs and communities for beer discussion (Google+ has many great beer communities and they are all free, just join), and watch your skills get better much faster and sooner than if you brewed alone for the next 20 years, trust me – communities have a lot of experienced brewers of all kinds that will quickly answer your questions, and point you in the right direction – saving you lots of time and money $.

Tip #5 – if you have a friend who brews, don’t be shy and ask them for help, they probably already have developed relationships with other brewers and you could get a hookup and deals on used equipment or new equipment and overall a lot of helpful tips!

Whatever you end up doing, please take extra time to think things through, SAFETY is #1.

Happy Holidays 2014!


Preparing your own pumpkin for beer brew day

pumpkin_1 pumpkin_2 pumpkin_3

Each pumpkin will give you lots and lots of seeds, more than you will ever need.


Pumpkin Ale – is a special type of beer, highly in demand, for the good stuff!

The best fastest way is to buy canned pumpkin and then use that in the beer recipe to brew your beer to learn, but if you want to do it the right way, the proper way is to use fresh pumpkin and then baking it to get the pumpkin meat prepared for the brewing session.

Nothing beats a fresh 100% organic pumpkin grown in your back yard and it is fairly easy to do as well!

There are many web sites that will give you a good idea of how to prepare the pumpkin and then how to bake it in the oven, here are the steps:

  1. clean the pumpkin well with warm water
  2. cut the pumpkin in half and remove all the seeds in the middle with a sharp good knife
  3. save the seeds for next year, each pumpkin will give you many of seeds
  4. add some water into a bake dish 1/4 ” and place pumpkin there, cut face down
  5. bake in oven at 350 F for about 40 – 45 minutes until soft, like a potato (poke check)
  6. remove and let cool down
  7. peel the outer skin, cut into chunks, place into plastic bags (suck out oxygen) and freeze

some more pictures (after baking is over):



Let the bag cool before putting into freezer!



Beer Hops growing from start to finish, with pictures…

This short post shows with lots of pictures the progression of growing a hop plant, harvesting hops and drying them out.

Remember!!! – Hops are deadly to Dogs, so keep them away from your pets at all times, through all phases of dealing with them once you pick them off the plants, and even while on plants, isolate them with some fencing, just to be on the safe side.

Also, you probably won’t get much if any hops the first year after planting from root, the first year is all about the plant establishing it self (this is normal).  If you plant a hop plant from a plant (not a root) early enough in the season, you might get some hops the first year.

Hops peaking out from a fresh root.


Hops growing up and climbing the trellis (made from cow fencing) on it’s side.


Hop plants climbing the top of the trellis and transitioning to a grow rope.


Hops are starting to flower, buds are visible.


Buds are almost mature and ready for Harvest.


Dried hops after harvest.


Bottom of the dry box, loose yellow lupulin clearly visible.


For more information on Hops see:

Also, this is a really good resource with lots of details and identifying pictures to help you id which hops you might have, if you don’t know:

Thanks for reading and Cheers!



Part II – How To Grow Hops Tip

One way to grow hops in your back yard, non-commercial setup for private use.




Hops are bines and they like to climb.  We use a cow field panel flipped on its side and we used a grinding cutter to shorten it a little bit to size.  Once it climbs the top, from there it transfers naturally to the ropes.

I like to guide them when they are just getting over the top.

We used a recycled wooden pallet to make a hook hanger and attached it to the side of the house.  Of couse the side of the house is facing South (where majority of the sun will be).

Always take into consideration light source and quality when planting anything.

That’s it!


Hop roots – Rhizomes ( grow your own hops )



roots into plant, babies:


prior years planting (hops come back every year):



Hop rhizomes are basically the roots of a hop plant.  Brew stores sell these in the Spring.

My local brew stores had about a dozen to select from, (in picture above) are Chinook Hops.

A descent brew store will have some growing tip fliers printed out, so that you can read all about what you need to do.  Basically plant them on their side about 6 inches deep.  Eventually you will need a trellis as hops like to climb.  Hops are bines, not vines like grapes.  Regardless they link to climb.

Once the plant reaches the top of the trellis, guess what, it wants to climb even more, so most people then train them on a slightly sloped rope (that’s what we do).

Hops come back every year, like grapes and even stronger year over year and yield more and more…  hops.  It’s important to pick a permanent spot for the hop plant, it’s not something that you should ever be transplanting in relation to your property and optimum sun exposure times should be picked.

Expect to pay about $5 per root.

It’s important to learn all aspects of how-to-grow hops, especially how to correctly harvest (when) and dry hops before packaging them for long term storage.  If you incorrectly dry the hops, they can turn moldy on you and your entire years effort just was flushed down the toilet!

Hop On and Grow some Hops!


How to cut out the top of a Beer Keg, turn it into a Keggle

Here is an affordable way to cut out the top from a industry standard 1/2 barrel (15.5 gallon keg).  I used a 4″ inch cutting wheel (rated for stainless steel) mounted inside of a 4″ grinder.  Later once hole cut out, I switch to a grinding wheel (not cutting wheel) to clean up the edges, link below to the youtube video.

You want to employ the safety shield that is installed in the grinder tool, don’t remove it.

Glide it along-side the inside rim of the keg (watch video), no template is needed.  First go around to create a mark line in the metal, if you make a mistake you can correct it, go around and do that first, don’t cut all the way in.  Once you are satisfied, then you can use the mark to easily glide along the metal and finish cutting it.

Youtube link to video is below:

Cut out Top from Keg Beer