Saturday, March 22, 2014

Einfach Wunder - Kölsch style. 10 gal

Keg #1 Kolsch Yeast
Keg #2 Ale Yeast. Identical to Keg #1 except for taste 

The Recipe (10 Gallons)

Kölsch typically uses German pilsner malt. Most Kölsch recipes use Spalt hops, but other German noble hops can be used. The beer uses very soft water and is often lagered for a month after fermentation. Here’s the recipe used.
  • 15 lbs German Pilsner Malt
  • 1.0 lbs German Munich Malt
  • 2.0 oz German Spalt hops 4.3%, 60 minutes
  • 2.0 oz German Spalt hops 4.3%, 30 minutes
  • Keg #1
  • WLP 0029 Kolsch Yeast
  • FG 1.017, ABV 6.5%
  • Aroma of faint rotten eggs
  • Flavour it amazing
  • Keg #2
  • 1028 WYeast London Ale reused from Golden Promise Ale
  • FG 1.013, ABV 7%
  • Little aroma
  • Flavour is young and inferior to keg#1
Mash the grain for 90 minutes at 150°F. This should give you a good fermentable wort. Boil the wort for 90 minutes. At 60 minutes, add the hops.
OG 1.066
Ferment the beer at 60°F (acceptable yeast temperatures range: 56-70F). Once the fermentation is complete, find a cold place to store the beer for a few weeks. Cold Crashing for two day helps brighten this beer. A lagering period will help the beer.
Reinheitsgebot refers to 3 ingredients, not 4.

Keg#1 - May 5 - Lagered with great improvements. Became smoother, finer in taste and clearer. Distinctive Kolsch flavor as expected. This flavor was very pronounced right after kegging. Compared to Faultline Brewery in Sunnyvale (which I tasted today) my beer has slightly more body and more ABV. Very similar beers. 
Keg#1 - May 19, 2014 - Aged to perfection. Big winner! Improvements? Maybe add Carared and mash 1 degree cooler. Do this again. 

Keg #2 -  June 5 - Similar to Keg#1 in all ways except the Kolsch malt is much less pronounced.  This is due to the English Yeast. It created a clean fermentation that fermented faster yet there is significantly less flavor in this beer. You can still detect the "Kolsch" flavor but it's weak.

Keg #2 - June 20 - Over time the Kolsch malty flavours have increased making this a very nice beer. If I lowered the malts to create a 4% beer I would use the Kolsch yeast to deliver more flavour. Keg #2 is very good. Keg #1 is more Kolschy. Next time do Keg#1 with a target of 4%.


Definately use the Kolsch yeast. Mashing could be done a degree or two lower if you would like a more Pils like result. 

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Experiment X: Black Sludge Porter (FG 1.05)

Aromas of black strap molasses, light chocolate with a background of rich malts. Thick heavy viscosity similar to cool molasses.  The body can only be described as heavy silk. Well carbonated yet it requires a high pour to witness any head. The head is dark dark brown bordering on black.  

Despite the exaggerated amount of dark malts used in brewing this beer, this stout is not harsh or hard to drink. The bitterness is well balanced with the malts and alcohol. Magnum hops come through clean. With this heavy malt recipe none of the late hops are detectable in aroma or flavour. Overall, mild sweetness balanced with the bitterness and malts.

Why did I do this recipe? After only doing a couple of stouts which were a success but rather "normal" I decided I would increase the malts from about 20% of the grain bill to about 60% of the grain bill. More is better, right? I would be measuring these dark grains out by the pounds, not ounces.

Tasting started a few weeks after bottling and continued for about 3 months. I considered this experiment a lesson in what not to do. The malts were so harsh that I would cut this beer with soda water, 50 - 50, and it would turn into a nice dark stout.

Originally not liking this beer, I considered throwing it out and then decided to place in a refrigerator and forget it. Maybe age would help.

Moving forward 2 years

This stout has transformed into a silky black liquid that has been commented on by pros and friends as something special. Time has taken away the harsh flavours and turned this into silky goodness.
Unfortunately the recipe was destroyed since I thought this was a failure. My best guess at the recipe is:
Photo taken during the boil on Feb 24, 2012
5 Gallons of  Sludge
12 lb 2-Row Barley Malt
2 lb Chocolate Barley Malt
1.5 lbs of Biscuit Barley Malt
1 lbs of Flaked Barley
2.5 lbs of Black Roasted Barley Malt
1 lb 40 L Crystal Barley  Malt 

(This is about the maximum my cooler can mash)

60 Minutes - Magnum

Mash at 154F for 90 minutes

Secondary had French oak chips ( 2 oz) and Vanilla Bean (1) for 3 weeks

Carbonate in Bottle

Age 18 to 24 months below 50F.

OG (est) 1.12
FG  1.050 (yes really)
ABV (est) 9%

Tetley Bitter Clone

Style: 4A Ordinary Bitter
Method: All Grain 5 gallon

8.0 lb     Pale Row Malt
1.5 lb     Flaked Barley
1.0 lb     Brown sugar
2 oz       Chocolate Barley
5 oz       Crystal 80L

Mash @ 151F, 90 mins
Sparge @ 170F to make 7 gallons

Boil intensely for 60 mins

Had to add about 3 cups of water to keep volume up. 

Used white diffuser to aerate wort. 

Pitched yeast at 90F.

Hop Schedule
1 oz 60 min Fuggle
1 oz 20 min Fuggle
1 oz FO Willamette

Safale 04

OG 17 Brix, 1.070
FG 8.5 Brix, 1.011 April 15
FG 8 Brix. 1.08 May 5
ABV  8.1%

Serving at 62F with very low CO2 carbonation.

May 17, 2014 - Strong caramel than expected. Excellent mouth feel. Bitterness is tame and the flavour is good. More ABV than expected happens to balance out with the caramel flavours. All in all an excellent bitter. One of my best. No noticeable hop aroma but hops seems to round this out. If I was to aim for the original style I would decrease base malt to get 3.6% ABV and mash at 150F.

June 20, 2014 - Good in all the right ways however the caramel flavour is still a bit harsh. This is a winner of a beer but my favourite bitters are lighter. I consider this beer a winner as it delivers on the style of a darker best bitter. Slips down the throat with the greatest of ease.

July 13, 2014 - This has not improved with age. The appearance and taste is a bit muddy. The chocolate barley just did not do it for me. Still in search of a great bitter recipe.

Aug 2 - This has turned into a brown ale. People like it a lot however it's not my cup of tea.

Rastpeatin (Honey Oak Barrel)

Raspeatin Feb 1, 2014

(Rasputin with Peat/Smoked Malts)

Tragedy. Dry Barrel delivered leaked 2 gallons of precious stout.

10 gallon recipe with the additions of Rye and Peat malts. Carafa replaced Brown due to availability. Higher quality 2-Row yield a higher ABV. This is going into a fresh Rye barrel to add rye overtones. Brew day was a total of 10 hours due to the two mashes. In the future I can reduce time by purchasing malt extract and eliminate the 2-Row.

Malts (from Brew Brothers inc. Glacier Hops)

1 lb    Briess Malt Chocolate, Organic (US)$1.85
1 lb    Great Western Malting Crystal 40 (C-40), Organic (US)$1.55
0.5 lb Great Western Malting Black, Organic (US)$0.80
1 lb    Great Western Malting Crystal 15 (C-15), Organic (US)$1.55
2 lb    Briess Malt Caramel 120 (C-120), Organic (US)$3.50
1 lb    Weyermann Malts Carafa, Organic (German)$2.34 &&
1 lb    Bairds Malt Peated, Heavy (British)$1.80 (Smelled great!!!) **
1lb     Thomas Fawcett Malting Rye, Crystal Light (British)$1.64 **
36 lbs Great Western Malting 2-Row Pale, Organic (US) ($47.50 for 55 lbs)

Total malt = 44.5 lbs

** Additional ingredients from previous Rasputin clone recipe.
&& Replaced Brown Malt due to availability

Mash / Sparge

Due to the large amount of malt this was done in two batches.

Batch #1

152F @ 60 mins

19 lbs of 2-Row
Most of flavour malts
Sparged at 170 to produced 8 gallons

Batch #2

150F @ 90 mins
17 lbs of 2-Row
Some Flavour malts plus Rye and Peat
Sparged at 180F to produce 7 gallons
(stuck sparge due to batch #1 grain underneath false bottom)


Long boil to reduce 15 gallons to 11 gallons. Started 60 minute boil after about 2 gallon reduction.

Hop additions (Chinooks Hops from Hops Direct)

60 minutes    Chinook 14% 2 oz (pellets, fresh and smelled great)
20 minutes    Glacier  5.1% 2 oz (older hops, delicate flavour)
10 minutes    Cascade(backyard) 3 oz (last of 2012 yield, smelled great)

Fermentation / Preparation

Cooled with coil to 90F. Poured into large vessel. Added 45 seconds of oxygen with wand/O2 tank. This resulted in a think head on the wort so I had to sprinkle and then slosh the vessel to get the yeast into the liquid.

OG 1.111
FG  1.024, Feb 12

Targets - FG 1.02, ABV 12%

Yeast added was Safale 05 (one pack). Alcohol Tolerance 12%.

1lb   Wyeast Lab Wyeast 1084  will be pitched if needed.

March 1, 2014 - The barrel I've purchased from Woodinville Whiskey Co in WA has been a rocky road. The barrel initially leaks over 2 gallons of beer taking about 24 hours to seal. Five days later I moved this barrel to a barrel stand where I noticed it is still leaking. I'm unable to top this off with beer so I will resort to sanitized marbles soon. Also, the beer was filled with bourbon whiskey and honey. I've noticed that the outside in places are crusted with crystalized honey. I tasted this beer for the first time since it went into the barrel. It has greatly sweetened the beer. This is more like a port wine than a beer. The yeast most likely will not ferment any longer due to its lack of alcohol tolerance (12%) so I will age the beer and look to add a high alcohol tolerant yeast. Unfortunately I would consider the beer a failure due to the barrel. I'm pretty bummed.

March 2, 2014 - Transferred from leaky barrel to the year old barrel from Woodinvile Whiskey. This barrel had my original Irish Red for 4 weeks, A Pale Ale for 4 months and water to keep it moist for about 6 months. The water came out was redish and oaky.

March 5, 2014 - Barrel has mild fermentation happening with air lock. I will top off with Red Bastard Ale.

May 17, 2014 - Poured first 5 gallons into a keg marked Rastpeatin #1. Full  body, lots of flavour, honey tones. Rich red ruby colour in lines. Remaining 3 gallons will get added to Rastpeatin #2 in the Maple Barrel tomorrow.

June 1, 2014 - thick flavorful but will improve with 3 months. No peat detected now. Received very well at party at house.

June 12, 2014 - Smooth with nice tone of peat. Potent.

June 20, 2014 - Serious great stout. wicked ABV 12%+. Peat is in there but not pronounced. The carbonation took a while. PSI at about 17 which seems high but still only give a medium head. 

Foam after adding O2

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Rastpeatin (Extract Method) 1st

Note the maple syrup crystals.

For the last 4 or 5 years I have only done all grain brews. Today I'm doing an extract to save mash and boil times to prepare for a new Rye Oak Barrel expected within 2 weeks.

Time All Grain Method Time Extract Method
15 mins Equipment setup 5 mins Equipment setup
90 mins Mash 60 to produce 7 gallons with half the grain bill 90 mins Mash flavour grains
90 mins Mash 60 to produce 7 gallons with half the grain bill 45 mins Boil with hops in kitchen
60 mins Boil 20 mins Boil with added hops and extract
60 mins Boil with hops 20 mins  Cool
20 mins Cool 30 mins Equipment cleanup
20 mins Equipment cleanup
6 hrs Total 3.5 hrs Total
12 hrs Actual duration 4.5 hrs Actual duration

Back a month ago I did this brew using an all grain method. It took a all day. No messy extracts just pure grains. This beer has attempted to create Old Rasputin with significant short cuts. See the table above for a comparison of times.


Malts are the same as previous but the base malts have been replaced with 18 lbs of  liquid extract and 4 lbs of dextrose. This still did not raise the OG to 1.123. In hind sight I would add 2 more lbs of dextrose.

I feel the grains from Brew Brothers are superior to More Beer based on the efficiency of extracting fermentables. Most of the grains I order from Brew Brothers are organic. MoreBeer does not sell Organic grains.

Malts were created with a temperature at 150F for 2 hours.

MoreBeer #  Description            Qty     Price$ Total$
ME10G 9 LB Ultralight Malt Extract Bag     2.00    25.65    51.30
GR600 Malt - Chocolate - Per Lb                1.00    1.89      1.89
GR540 Malt - Crystal 40L - Per Lb              1.00    1.69      1.69
GR610 Malt - Black Patent - Per Lb            0.50    2.09      1.05
GR515 Malt - Crystal 15L - Per Lb              1.00    1.69      1.69
GR562 Malt - Crystal 120L - Per Lb            2.00    1.69      3.38
GR691 Malt - Carafa Special II - Per Lb       1.00    2.29      2.29
GR440 Malt - Peated - Per Lb                    1.00    2.59      2.59
GR455 Malt - Rye - Per Lb                         1.00    2.29      2.29
NA                Dextrose                              4 lbs

Sparge created 7 gallons of wort. It seemed thin. We will see. Total wort was 11 gallons.

The Boil

The boil was shortened to 20 minutes however the the hops were boiled separately in the kitchen. 45 minutes with magnum (2 oz)  making the kitchen smell like weed and 5 minutes with  Willamette. This cooled down to make a paste which was added to the boil. No bags used.

Cooled and poured at 90F.

8 hours after yeast was pitched. Shear madness!

The wort was poured directly on top of the yeast left over from the Red Bastard Ale.I had drained this vessel just an hour before  into a keg.  I stirred for about 10 seconds.  This got things off to a huge fermentation start.

OG 1.094
FG  1.025
ABV 9%

Apr 5 - Tastes harsh and bitter. Needs barrel aging. 

May 3 - taste smooth and wonderful.  Aging in primary made a big difference. Placed into a new barrel that had rye and maple syrup. Leaked 2 cup during the first 18 hrs then all seems fine. Expecting secondary fermentation due to maple syrup in barrel.    

May 18, 2014 - Kegged 1st 5 gallon and then transferred last 3 gallons to barrel with other Rastpeatin #1. Then added 3 gallons from other Rastpeatin to this barrel and topped out with about 2 gallons of Villious Stout from the fridge keg. (This freed up a keg for Kilt Lifter)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Red Bastard Ale

March 5, 2014

Thick dark  malt flavours with balanced ABV and hops. Flaked wheat added to create greater head. Lots of dark malts for flavour. Lower base malt for an estimated 5% ABV. 

Wyeast 1024 Irish Ale

Fuggle 2 oz @ 60 mins 
Citra 4 oz @ 20 mins

2 lb  British 50/60
1 lb Flaked  wheat
2 lb 40 Crystal
0.5 lb Black Roast Barley
2 lb British 70/80
15 lb Golden Promise


148F 40 mins
157F 40 mins

Sparged to make 12 gallons
60 minute boil, last 20 mins was at a high-pitched rolling boil.
Cooled with cooper coil 
15 gallons in 12 mins down to 98F (1st 5 gals - 150F, 2ed 5 gals 120F)

Pitched at 90F

OG 1.065
FG (March 9) 1.029

March 13th - I have moved this to the honey keg (leaky) in hope that it will not leak and the added honey will allow this to ferment. I tasted this beer and it seemed thin. Thin for a stout. This is more like a tasty red . It created several extra bottles which I'll use to top off this barrel and Old Rasputin. This vessel had yeast which I used for Rasputin Extract + by just leaving it in the vessel.

March 15th - Barrel continues to leak. Mopped it up and will top of the barrel in hope that this leak will stop.

March 31st - Bung blew off last night a spewed a few ounces of frothy goodness. The honey continues to ferment in the barrel. 

July 5th - still in barrel. Taste like a flavorful ale not heavy.

Oct 3, 2014 - Full of bourbon falvours but not over bearing. Moved into a 5 and 3 gallon kegs.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Kilt Lifter - Scottish Ale

Kilt Lifter
Scottish Ale - March 1, 2014

Recipe taken from Fred Bonjour (1/2/2005). Changes made on availability of ingredients and equipment. I plan to age this in an Single Malt Scotch Barrel.

I tasted this beer at Long Yard a few months ago and loved the tasty malty full bodied ale. Comparable to Rasputin in ABV and body this beer is packed with flavour.

Golden Promise was added due to a shortage of Pale Malt 2-Row. This grain is grey when compared to 2-Row. I would think Golden Promise adds more flavour than 2-Row so this may add a better outcome to the ale.

I used small amount of Citra hops based on their high AA%. I'm not concerned that this hop has an abundance of fruit punch flavour since there is so many malts adding flavours. 

Amount    Item                                           Type

14.00 lb    Pale Malt, 2-Row, Organic             Grain
2.00 lb     Golden Promise Organic, base malt Grain
6.00 lb     Munich I  (7.1 SRM)                       Grain
1.00 lb     Caramel/Crystal Malt - 15L             Grain
1.00 lb     Caramel/Crystal Malt - 75L             Grain
1.00 lb     Caramunich I  (51.0 SRM)               Grain
1.00 lb     Caravienne Malt (22.0 SRM)            Grain
4.00 oz    Smoked Malt (2.0 SRM)                  Grain
1.00 oz    Citra (55 min)                               Pellets  15% AA  
1.00 oz    Citra (20 min)                               Pellets  15% AA
1 Pkgs     Scottish Ale (Wyeast Labs #1728)   Liquid

Mash / Decoct

Two stage mash is aiming to do two things. Maximize the fermentables 
with 145F and then bring out lots of the malty flavours at 156F. 
  • 40 mins 145F
  • 40 mins 156F

Sparging to Pitching of Yeast

  • Boiled down to 6 gallons in about 3 hours.
  • 170F H2O Produced 9 gallons. Slow sparge run off. 
  • Run off ended with SG being 1.025.
  • Added O2 vigorously via red tank for 20 seconds. 
  • Cooled to 100F with yeast. Fermenting at about 65F.

OG 1.125
FG 1.025 Estimate
ABV 13% Estimate
FG 1.035 going into barrel on Macrh 15th, 2014 (11.8% ABV)

March 6, 2014 - yeast is very consistently
Bubbling away as pictured. Much more than Saf 5 or Saf 4
March 11, 2014 - yeast still consistent (a bubble every 6 second)

March 15, 2014 - Fermentation has slowed and I've kegged this. 
The batch almost filled the 5 gallon Single Malt Scotch Barrel. Taste
was sweet gentle malty yummy and a noticeable alcohol taste, not bad. I feel the fermentable either ran out of O2 or died due to alcohol production. I expect some fermentation to continue in the barrel.

May 18, 2014 - Kegged. Filled this barrel with water (and original Woodinville keg too). Taste is super rich  with tones of toffee and smooth malts. Still has lots of sugars.

June 1, 2014 - still sweat and malty with
toffy. Needs to carbonate and age for two months.

June 18, 2014 - Super sweet and super tasty. Serve is a sherry glass, this is a wonderful dessert beer. Not what I intended but this will be a joy to drink. 

Barrel details - Balcones Oak 5 gallon Barrel that has stored Single Malt Whiskey. 

Thanks Adam for the logistics

Hi All,

I am thinking about arranging another barrel order and wanted to gauge interest. These are 5 gallon barrels that were previously used for whiskey and in a couple cases distilled honey. The barrels available have generally held Blue Corn whiskey, but some may have held Balcones Single Malt, Balcones Oak Smoked whiskey, or Rumble their distilled honey spirit. All barrels I have previously received form them have seen two uses with the second always being the Blue Corn whiskey. Also, previously the vast majority of the barrels received have held Blue Corn whiskey and nothing else. You can read more about their products here:

In the past the barrels were $45 + shipping and came to about $65, but they informed me that they raised the price to $55 and are considering raising the price further in the near future (hence the desire to order soon). I believe the price will fall in the $70 - $80 range after shipping. I will arrange to have the barrels delivered to a club meeting or they will be available to be picked up at my house in Oakland or work in Mountain View. 

Barrels come in pallets of 27, so I will reach out to interested parties in a first come, first serve manner. If there is enough interest in more than 1 pallet I can order more. I am using a Google Form, so please fill out if interested. Also, this is not limited to the people on these distribution lists so feel free to pass onto other interested parties.

Adam Holter