Saturday, April 23, 2011

S-04 Fermentis fermentation temperature

Contrary to popular belief, S-04 Fermentis dry ale yeast ferments just fine in the upper 50's, temperature-wise. First, start with a warm pitch (warm pitch to me is 68F), then let the beer settle to 57-58F within 24 hours. Fermentation does kick off quite rapidly [6 hours]. It will fully attenuate after 3 weeks. Taste is fine, no diacetyl rest needed. Sometimes this is necessary even with cool fermented ale yeasts. But, no funny flavors are there because of the cold temperatures.

This is with no starter, and direct pitch. Never have used water first on dry yeasts. I have not found a reason to.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Amarillo Pale Ale

Below is a 10gallon batch of Amarillo Pale Ale. I would have rather done Simcoe, but I still have a 1# bag of Amarillo pellet hops in the freezer. Next time the opportunity comes around to buy 1# of Simcoe, I will probably take it. If you are going to use this recipe, cut everything in half to make it 5 gallons.

Amarillo PA

BeerTools Pro Color Graphic

Size: 39.46 L Efficiency: 64.0% Attenuation: 76.9%

Original Gravity: 1.052 (1.045 - 1.060) ===============#================

Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (1.010 - 1.015) ==============#=================

Color: 9.84 (5.0 - 14.0) ================#===============

Alcohol: 5.22% (4.5% - 6.2%) ==============#=================

Bitterness: 45.5 (30.0 - 45.0) ========================#=======


22 lb 2-Row Brewers Malt

1.0 lb Caramel Pils

1.0 lb Crystal 60

1.55 oz Magnum-PLMG (13.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min

0.75 oz Amarillo (8.5%) - added during boil, boiled 15.0 min

1.25 oz Amarillo (8.5%) - added during boil, boiled 5.0 min

2.5 oz Amarillo (8.5%) - dry hop

2 ea Fermentis S-04 Safale S-04


Ambient Air: 58 °F Source Water: 40 °F Elevation: 0.0 m

00:31:56 Mash In - Liquor: 33.0 L; Strike: 164.63 °F; Target: 152 °F 00:41:56 Rest - Rest: 35 min; Final: 151.5 °F 01:11:56 Sparge - FirstRunnings: 0.0 L sparge @ 168 °F, 20.0 L collected, 15 min; Second: 31.0 L sparge @ 200 °F, 31.0 L collected, 15 min; Total Runoff: 52.43 L

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.10

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Summit Brewing Co. IRA


Today I had the opportunity to drink the India Style Rye Ale from Summit Brewing Co's Unchained Series. Lets say I was more than impressed. It was a medium color spicy pale ale that was not overwhelming. The rye came through tremendously, but not too much to make it undrinkable. The cup of beer (served at Sea Salt Eatery) went very nicely with the fried fish sandwich, and was gone before I knew it. Not an especially bitter beer, which made it easy to pass the time with and not get shocked upon every sip. The Citra hops are very nice, and I may try them someday in my homebrew (if I can find them).

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Brewtroller Ordered

Yes, the Brewtroller has been ordered. I have big expectations for it.. but, in the beginning I will just use it for monitoring and simple boil and heating stages. I have some ASCO valves in-house, but I will not use until much later.

I am curious to see if I can get my pressure transducer to work with the Brewtroller. I am sure I can, it is just a question of what will I NEED to do to get it to work reliably. Seems like most people are concerned with air leakage in the system. I will try to alleviate that by glueing everything up tight.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Thing to note about last "Perfect" batch of weissbier

The last 10gallon (40L) batch of weissbier turned out perfect. When I say perfect, I mean very little banana, and all clove.

Things to note.
1. Fermentation in the lows 60's (62F or less)
2. Half vial of WLP380 per 5 gallon fermenter, with no starter.
3. Fermentation took >24 hours to kick off (there must have been yeast stress involved)
4. The carboy that had more cold break in it started off a little faster and ended earlier than the carboy with less break inside. One carboy had more cold break than the other because the 10 gallon runoff took place after the wort had a chance to settle from the whirlpool. Normally, I run the wort from the kettle to the carboy immediately after the pump turns off.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Interesting Brewing Observations

So, 10 gallon batches are now being brewed. I chilled my weissbier wort to 64 degrees in the whirlpool chiller within the kettle. Something I dont normally do is turn the whirlpool pump off long before I transfer the wort to the carboys. This time I let the cold water run for about 10 minutes after I stopped the recirculation . This allowed the break matter to settle towards the bottom.

I transferred the wort to the first carboy, then the second. The first carboy had a particularly large amount of break in it, while the second didnt seem to have so much.

I put equal amounts of liquid yeast into both fermenters, and shook both for over a minute (standard routine).

In general, things were cold (the wort, the room, everything) so fermentation got off to a slow start. But, the interesting factoid is that the carboy with the break material started faster than the other carboy. Also, it ended sooner.

Not only that, the final gravity was lower on the beer with the precipitate in it. As for flavor, they both taste about the same (preliminary findings). The final gravity point difference was about .004.

Next time I will let the recirculation pump run right up until I transfer the wort out, to allow for a more homogenous wort solution.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pressure Sensor

I received my free samples from Freescale. The pressure sensor is
MPXV5010DP, and I will be testing it soon enough. I am not sure how I am going to attach it to the top of my sight glass yet, we will see.

Sight Glass Installation

Ok, so I finally installed a sight glass onto my stainless steel megapot. Here I will show what things looked like in the process. Below is the cold water running over the location where I drilled the 7/8" hole. I used a step bit, with cold running water only, no oil. This worked out perfectly, with no problems.
The step bit I used is below. It goes to 7/8". I picked up two of them on ebay for about $14. Worked like a champ.
Below is a picture of the weldless T sightglass fitting I received from Inserted into it is a 1/2" MNPT Machined Through Compression Fitting that I received from along with a 6" temperature probe end to go inside it. The temperature sensor being used is a ds1820, which fits perfectly into the probe end.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Surly Imperial Brown Update

Got full attenuation on my wort, 78% using US-05 dry yeast. Started with an OG of 1.088 and finished at 1.020. This leaves it at a hair over 9% alcohol level. Initial small sampling indicates that all is well, no alcohol flavor, at all!!!!!!!!!!!!

Excellent initial flavor, I will let it carbonate up a little bit before I have a pint and can fully qualify it.

It has been 5 weeks since the beer was brewed, time can only make it better I suppose, but we'll see.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Surly AHA Rally

On Oct 10, the AHA (American Homebrewers Association) hosted a rally at the Surly Brewing Company. At first, it was supposed to be a brewery tour, and tasting event. Then, to the surprise of us all, Surly offered to brew a batch of beer, so we could all fill our fermenters with 5 gallons of Surly wort. The trick was that there would be only enough for 160 people or so, due to batch size.

The reservation for this wort fill up expired a few hours after the email announcement. Surly then graciously offered to brew a second batch, so everyone can fill their carboys if they liked. In the picture below, you can see just a fraction of the buckets carboys and kegs.

Ok, so Surly gave away an Imperial Brown Ale wort... the (5 gal approximation, taken from actual percentages in the given real recipe) recipe is below. I tasted the wort, and it is phenominal! I can't wait until it completes.

Surly Imperial Brown


BeerTools Pro Color Graphic

Size: 21.12 L

Efficiency: 80%

Attenuation: 80.5%

Calories: 296.89 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.089 (1.045 - 1.060)


Terminal Gravity: 1.017 (1.010 - 1.016)


Color: 24.1 (18.0 - 35.0)


Alcohol: 9.5% (4.3% - 6.2%)


Bitterness: 65.4 (20.0 - 40.0)



14.5 lb Pale Ale Malt

1.9 lb Brown Malt

.6336 lb Candi Sugar Dark

.3168 lb Crystal 85

.3168 lb Crystal 120

1.3 oz Columbus (15.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60.0 min

0.5 oz Willamette (5.0%) - added during boil, boiled 0.0 min

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.2

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Northern English Brown Ale

I have decided to try and brew a new type of beer, Northern English Brown... I guess the commercial version of this is Newcastle Nut Brown. I am using some hops that I already have... they are not British, but this is really not a hop-centric beer, so it doesnt matter. Ok, we will see how this turns out. Here is the recipe ->

I will brew within a couple of days.

Northern English Brown


BeerTools Pro Color Graphic

Size: 44.16 L
Efficiency: 73%
Attenuation: 75%
Calories: 177.61 kcal per 12.0 fl oz
Original Gravity: 1.053 (1.040 - 1.052)
Terminal Gravity: 1.013 (1.008 - 1.013)
Color: 17.83 (12.0 - 22.0)
Alcohol: 5.25% (4.2% - 5.4%)
Bitterness: 22.4 (20.0 - 30.0)


19.5 lb Pale Ale
1.5 lb Special Roast Malt
1 lb Victory® Malt
1 lb Light Crystal
1 lb Pale Chocolate
.85 oz Magnum-PLMG (13.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60.0 min
.4 oz Magnum-PLMG (13.0%) - added during boil, boiled 20 min
2 ea Danstar 3767 Nottingham

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.2

Sunday, March 22, 2009

First Basement Brew

First basement brew took place this week. It was not only the first brew in the basement, it was also the first time I did a 10 gallon boil (actually 13.5). This was all thanks to the 5500W water heating element used in the kettle. The element is not physically mounted to the kettle, but attached to a heatstick so it can be easily removed/cleaned, etc. Here are some things I learned from this whole experience...

1. 5500 watts is more than adequate to boil 13.5 gallons of wort.

2. The absorption ratio of grain is a bit more than I had thought... need to calculate this again.

3. My batch sparging method used on a ten gallon batch is stretching the limits of my 48qt mash tun. Actually, the mash tun is too small if I want to single batch sparge. I was able to finish it with a 2 batch sparge. The liquid did go up to the top a couple of times, but it worked out fine in the end.

4. It is easier to hit mash temps with greater volumes of grain and liquid... definitely a big bonus.

5. Moving the tubing around for the march pump is not entertaining. Will need to put the valves into effect to end this nonsense.

6. The SSR was needed for the water heating element. I would have had boilovers if I had not throttled down the element to 70-80% duty cycle sometimes. The frequency I was running the SSR at was 1Hz. This seems ok. The SSR is mounted to an old pentium/CPU heatsink and fan setup. There are no problems dissipating the heat the SSR puts out.

7. A fan running 240CFM will exhaust a 5500W element's boil with a 18" diameter brew kettle. A 240CFM fan is barely adequate though. I would prefer something over 280CFM.