October 8, 2010

Home Brew Recipe – All Extract Black IPA

Original Gravity
(1.062 to 1.072)
Final Gravity
(1.016 to 1.019)
69° SRM / 136° EBC

6.8% ABV / 5% ABW
228 per 12 oz.

malt & fermentables
81% 9 8 Light/Pale Malt Extract Syrup 36 5
9% 1 0 Sugar, Table (Sucrose) 46 1
6% 0 12 Munich Liquid Malt Extract 36 8
4% 0 8 Weyermann Sinamar Extract 1 3120

boil 60 mins 3.0 Columbus pellet 15.4
boil 10 mins 2.0 Centennial pellet 10.0
boil 10 mins 1.0 Simcoe pellet 13.0
boil 1 min 2.0 Centennial pellet 10.0
boil 1 min 1.0 Simcoe pellet 13.0
dry hop 2.0 Simcoe pellet 13.0
dry hop 2.0 Centennial pellet 10.0

Wyeast British Ale (1098) info
ale yeast in liquid form with medium to high flocculation.

Be sure to checkout our blog for more beer brewing recipes and beer brewing supplies information


Beer Brewing Kits

September 11, 2010
Beer Brewing kits
discussing why kit instructions are often so horrible, and many off site links were mentioned. I figured it would be good to have that kind of information here, maybe stickied or on the wiki, so I figured w/ my horrible newb experience, I could write it as simple as possible, and then place it here for some heavy editing/fixing, and then when done, we could use it to point people to a fairly simple but complete list of steps involved in extract kit brewing. This is now the EDITED version after comments, suggestions, fixes, etc. Later in this thread is a repost of how to do hopped extract brews as well, although this data exists elsewhere as well. Please let me know if you see any further inconsistencies. I'm going to hope for a sticky on this one, so we can get some help for new extract brewers that need a quick list w/ short details to keep their memory fresh.

The simple steps to extract brewing.

1. Sanitize everything you'll be using and keep some kind of bucket/sink/container w/ a gallon or two of sanitizing water so you can re-sanitize anything you're questioning.

2. Prep water. If you are using tap water, it is best to boil it for 15 minutes ahead of time to remove chlorine. Letting it cool will also let the harder minerals drop out. But you may want these in your flavoring.

3. For Specialty Grain kits, specialty grains will come w/ a bag and grains. You'll need to crush the grains w/ a rolling pin prior to putting them in a bag and steeping for 30 minutes at 155 degrees F. This creates a "tea" for added flavors to the final beer.

4. Bring the water to a boil. Remove the boiling water from the stove, to avoid a boilover. Mix the malt extract into boiling water slowly and mix well (if you don't mix well you can get scorching of the extracts). Put back on heat and boil for the designated time (usually 60 minutes), watch closely to avoid a boilover so as to avoid a sticky mess. Also at this time add the bittering hops at the start of the boil w/ the malt(s).

5. The last 5-15 minutes of the hour boil will require addition of finishing hops (if any).

6. Cool the wort to yeast pitching temperature, and transfer to your fermenter. Take a sample out for testing the Original Specific Gravity with a hydrometer. (this is the only way you can be positive fermentation has completed) You can then pitch your yeast. To pitch the yeast, read the yeast packets instructions, and this will always work. Dry yeasts usually require mixing w/ warm water for 15 mins, gently stir, then you can pitch the yeast. (Pitching is the "mixing" of yeast w/ the cooled wort)

7. After fermentation is complete (from checking that the Specific Gravity has not changed at all for several days, but can vary anywhere from 10 days to several weeks) after a week or so, you can transfer to a secondary fermenter if you feel the need (this is all brewer preference), or leave in the primary until you're 100% sure the fermentation is done… again the ONLY way to know its done is that the SG readings remain consistent for several days in a row. If you're unsure it will never hurt to leave it in the fermenter for a few more days to a week.

8. Bottle. Bottling requires that you create a corn sugar mixture to add to the fermented beer so that it will carbonate in the bottles. Take the corn sugar, boil, and then add to the bottling pail/carboy. Transfer the beer carefully from the fermenter to the sugar water container making sure to NOT oxygenate the beer at all. Again remember to sanitize everything as mentioned before. Before you put any beer in bottles, make SURE the bottles are sanitized as well!! Use a bottling cane to allow easy bottling, and keep the tube all the way to the bottom and pull out when the bottle fills, this will leave enough headroom for the carbonation to build and yet not cause the bottle to explode. Whenever transferring w/ a racking cane or tube, remember to never use your mouth to create the siphon. It contains bacteria too that are bad for beer. Use an Auto-Siphon, or if you have none, fill up the tube w/ sanitary water, and let that start draining into the sink/some waste bucket until beer comes through, then pinch the tube and move it to the next container for bottling or the bottles themselves.

more on beer brewing equipment

History of Trappist Beer

September 7, 2010

History of Trappist Beer

Trappist ale has its clear origins with Trappist monasteries.  From the early middle ages, monastery brew houses produced beer throughout Europe both to feed the community and later for sale to fund other church works.  The Trappist order, which took its name from La Trappe Abbey in France, was founded as part of the Cistercian order in 1663, though it did not formally separate from the Cistercian order until 1892.  The La Trappe Abbey had its own brewery as early as 1685.

Today there are only seven Trappist monasteries that brew beer and six of them are located in Belgium while one is in the Netherlands.  The six in Belgium are the most well known, which is why Trappist ales are categorized as Belgian ales.  In the late 20′th century, many breweries worldwide started labeling their beer as “Trappist” in response to the popularity of the ales, forcing Trappist abbeys to form the International Trappist Association who’s goal is to prevent non-Trappist commercial companies from using the name.  They created a logo and convention for true Trappist beers, which must be brewed within the walls of a Trappist abbey by monastic brewers, and the gains must go to charitable causes and not financial profit.

Due to the popularity of Trappist ales, many commercial brewers still brew similar style beers which are typically sold under as Belgian Dubbels and Tripels.  (Ref: Wikipedia).

The Trappist Style

Trappist beers may be divided into four sub-styles.  By tradition, most of the true Trappist ales are bottle conditioned.  These include:

  • Patersbier – “Father’s beer” which is brewed for the monks and intended for consumption by the monks within the abbey walls.  Occasionally this may be offered on site to guests.  It is a relatively weak beer in the tradition of Trappist austerity.
  • Enkel – “Single” beer which was traditionally used to describe the brewery’s lightest beer.  This is a very close relation to the Patersbier.  Currently the term is rarely used, and I am not aware of any abbeys that currently produce this style for commercial sale.
  • Dubbel – “Double” beer.  Dubbels are a strong brown ale with low bitterness, a heavy body, and a malty, nutty finish with no diacytl.  These beers have a starting gravity of 1.062-1.075 and 6.5-8% alcohol by  volume.  Color runs the range from dark amber to copper color (10-17 SRM) and bitterness from 15-25 IBUs.  This style is also widely brewed by commercial brewers.
  • Tripel – “Triple” beer.  Tripel’s are the strongest Trappist ales, running from 7.5-9% alcohol by volume with a starting gravity of 1.075-1.085.  They are highly alcoholic, but brewed with high carbonation and high attenuation yeasts to reduce the taste of alcohol.  Color runs lighter than Dubbels in the range of 4.5-7.0 SRM and bitterness from 20-40 IBUs, though most Tripels have 30+ IBUs.

Brewing Trappist Style Ales

I’m going to focus on the Dubbel and Tripel styles as these are the only ones brewed commercially today.  For both Dubbel and Tripel, Belgian pilsner malt makes up the base ingredient.  For Dubbels, sometimes Belgian pale malt may also be used as a base.

For Dubbels, the grain bill can be complex with Munich malts added for maltiness (up to 20%), Special B malt to provide raisin falvor and CaraMunich for a dried fruit flavor.  Also dark candi sugar is used both to boost alcohol and add rum-raisin flavors.  The sugar also allows for a cleaner finish and less alcohol flavor than would be possible with an all-malt beer.  Despite the complex spicy flavor of the finished beer, spices are not used.

Tripels being lighter in color typically use a less complicated malt bill.  Starting with a pilsner malt base, they add up to 20% white candi sugar but typically lack the complex array of malts used for Dubbels.

One of the main ingredients that makes Trappist ales unique is the yeast.  Both Dubbels and Tripels use special Belgian yeast strains that produce fruity esters, spicy phenolics and higher alcohol.  Often the Trappist ales are fermented at higher than normal temperatures for an ale yeast which increases the array of complex flavors from the yeast.

For hops, noble hop varieties or Styrian Goldings hops are commonly used.  Occasionally low alpha English hops may also be added.  Despite the hop rate of Tripel needed to balance the malt, hops is not a major flavor in either finished beer style.  Large amounts of finishing and dry hops are not typically used for this beer for the same reason.

Water used for brewing is typically soft – without a large quantity of hard minerals present.  Both styles are traditionally bottle conditioned with medium to high carbonation which adds to the beer’s presentation.

Mashing is typically done with a medium to full bodied mash profile, as Trappist beers are full bodied. Home Beer Brewing

How to build a home filter

August 30, 2010
Home Beer Brewing Equipment How to build a hop filter:-

A hop filter is a tool that can be used to filter hops and hop sediment from wort, hot or cold, thereby ensuring a clear, sediment free beer with a regulated hop content. Most home brewers have been doing this the old fashioned way, with a stainless steel mesh cooking strainer, but brewers are experimenting with straining out hop sediment using stainless steel mesh in a variety of configurations. Some designs are affixed to the sucking end of the racking cane, some to the pouring end, and some in the middle, as an in-line filter. Most designs tend to be stymied by the clogging action effected by the hop sediment. We will look at a more modern design for the inline hop filter.

For whole hops and hop pellets, really there is no better way to filter than to use the household stainless steel mesh strainer. You can experiment with affixing various formations of stainless steel mesh to the end of your racking cane or suction tube for the big stuff, but using the old fashioned technique of pouring through the strainer will probably be the most efficient use of your time. After this step, a 5 micron filter can be used to get out all sediment, hop or otherwise, from the beer. We will describe a technique for making an inline filter to remove hop sediment during the racking process.

Inline hop filters tend to work the best, and also have the worst problem with clogging. Most designs will clog well before 5 gallons have been pumped out of a keg. Inline filters are very good at filtering, helping to make beer much clearer with each racking procedure, but you should be prepared to switch filters half way through the process – unless you make or buy a really heavy duty one.

If you want to get your beer very clear (down to 5 microns or less) you are going to have to use a pressurized system in order to filter it. To build one, you will require the following parts:

1. A high-grade filter with the proper housing,
2. Plumbing fittings necessary to interface with your beer lines (Nylon reducers and fittings to get from 3/4" NPT to 1/4" hose barb. You may have to use a 3/4" NPT to 1/2" NPT and then step down with a 1/2" NPT to 1/4" hose barb fitting.
3. For cleaning and back flushing – these will be the brass 3/4" NPT male to garden hose male adaptor, and brass 3/4" NPT male to garden hose female adaptor.
4. Some extra beer line surgical tubing (about 6-10 feet)
5. Hose clamps to fit your beer lines (4 at least – always good to have more)
6. A CO2 tank and regulator,
7. Two clean and sanitized kegs with gas hook-ups.

The filter is the part that stymies most folks. It is recommended to use a low-end water filter designed for filtering tap water for the whole house. These are available at most hardware stores in the plumbing section. The Omni Company makes your basic whole-house filter which sells for around $36, depending on which fittings come with it. This unit filters down to 5 microns. While you are in the plumbing section, hunt around for the right series of fittings that will allow the filter unit to interface with your beer lines, whichever size you use – and don’t forget to pick up some appropriate hose clamps.

Now take some of your surgical tubing and create the in and out lines with fittings at either end – a beer keg out fitting at one end, and a beer out fitting at the other end. By using a beer out fitting at both ends, you will be able to go from keg, through the filter, and into the final keg without risk of contamination. You will need to hook up the garden hose to back-flush the filter after use. Then, you can sanitize it and store it in the fridge. Depending on the model of filter you use, you may be able to filter up to 100 gallons of beer with a single filter.

Home Beer Brewing

Sanitation in the Home Beer Brewing

August 30, 2010

In Home Beer Brewing the most frustrating aspect is when a batch goes bad. The only way to improve your chances of avoiding this depressing situation is to maintain the highest degree of sanitation in your home brewery as is possible. There are also some other pitfalls of the modern age that require a closer look, and some basic tools that will give you the best chances of fighting bacterial infestations, vinegar cultures, and rogue yeasts in your home brew.

One factor often overlooked when cleaning and sanitizing home brew set-ups is that of the water used. Tap water in modern cities is sometimes good, sometimes terrible. It is wise to do some research and find out how your city water rates when analyzed for bacteria, harmful chemicals, and heavy metals. The quality of water used in making beer has a very strong connection with the quality of the finished product.

Beer Brewing Equipment

August 23, 2010

When it comes to Home Brewing Equipment as we all commonly know it, there are three major ingredients required to complete the process. Hops are used as a flavoring aspect, yeast is added to convert the fermentable sugars into alcohol, but barley is the key ingredient from which the sugars are obtained. As the fourth largest produced cereal grain crop in the world, barley predominantly serves its purpose as a major animal feed, but it is often used in foods of a healthy nutritional value, and is also the root ingredient in the manufacture of beer. There are two common types available of the grain suitable for brewing, which are known as two-row and six-row barley.

The six-row barley is a natural mutation of the two row version, and is higher in protein content which is found more suitable for animal feed. It is commonly used in some North American lager beers, but mostly when there are other adjuncts added to provide additional sugars, such as corn and rice. Two-row barley however has lower protein content with more fermentable sugars present, therefore it is this which is better adapted to beer brewing, and is traditionally used in many European beers. Its lower protein content lessens the chances of a beer becoming cloudy, and also requires less time steeping in water for partial germination to occur, which is essential for malting. Malted barley also serves as the key ingredient to whiskey production by distillation of unfermented green beer, and although it may be the most predominant and popular source of sugars required for beer brewing, it is not a compulsory element.

If the word 'malt' is in the title of any consumable product, it commonly refers to the process to which the cereal grain used as an ingredient has been subjected to. To achieve malting, whole grains are soaked in water and allowed to germinate for a short period, then the sprouting process is abruptly halted by kiln-drying the grains with the use of hot air. This procedure develops the enzymes in the grain required to modify its starches into sugars such as glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, etc, and also further enzymes known as proteases used to break down proteins. Barley however contains a high enzyme content which makes it to be the most commonly malted grain available, with wheat being the second. With the sugars required for fermentation to produce alcohol, and formatted proteins suitable for the yeast conversion, malted barley is therefore the most popular choice for brewing beer.

There are two categories used by brewers in reference to malt, which are base malts and specialty malts. Base malts refer to malted barley which contains enough enzymes to convert their own starch into sugars, as well as some starch from other unmalted grains which may be added during the conversion process known as mashing. Specialty malts however have very little diastatic power and low enzyme content, so these are particularly used to provide color, flavor, and body to the final brew. These malted grains were most commonly subjected to additional heat treatment by means of roasting, which converts their starches into sugars non-enzymatically by a simple applied cooking process. Once the barley has undergone all the preparation necessary through malting, it is then sent for mashing which activates the enzymatic process by stewing the grains in hot water for a short period. This eventually results in a sweet liquid known as wort, and it is then transferred to the next important stage of flavoring and sterilization.

Beer making supplies

August 17, 2010

Beer making supplies



There are many pre-made beer-making kits available in the marketplace today. These are great for first time brewers as they provide all the materials you will need to brew your first batch of beer. If you are thinking about brewing more than a couple of batches, however, it may be best to put together your own kit. There are a lot of components needed for home brewing so a kit may be the best place to start. As you progress you may want to trade up for some better components.

When choosing your beer making kits and equipment make sure that you have first decided upon the best place for making and storing your beer and beer making supplies. They can take up considerable amount of room and for this reason if you are planning on making a lot of batches of beer you may want to set up a special room or area just for beer making.

Most beer making kits come with enough equipment and ingredients to make about 5 gallons of beer (about two cases of 12-ounce beer bottles). Here is a general list of supplies you will need to get started.

 5 gallon to 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket with lid

 5 gallon to 6.5 gallon bottling bucket with spigot

 Sanitizer ( A standard household bleach will work fine)

 Siphon unit

 Thermometer

 Triple scale hydrometer

 Bucket clip

 Bottle capper

 2 cases of beer bottles

 Bottle caps

 Bottle brush

 Large pot (4 to 5 gallon capacity)

 A comprehensive beer brewing manual or e-book

Stainless steel, porcelain enamel or copper work best as they do not impart a flavor into the mixture as it cooks. Avoid aluminum. Kits will often save you money be providing all the components you need in one basic kit. The kit is often offered by many leading beer ingredient supply companies and they have put the kit together based on years of beer-making experience. These companies also offer advice and information on beer brewing supplies as well as forums where those with similar hobbies can communicate.

Interesting ideas

August 17, 2010
Interesting Home beer brewing supplies
A little background: I've done 3 Mr. Beer kits at room temperature and 2 better bottles with water/ice buckets temperature control. I've been very disappointed with the off flavors that I'v narrowed down to being a result of poor fermentation temperatures.

My dad, being a computer programmer, found a Linux Journal article dealing with this exact situation and it had a cheap alternative to the Ranco temperature device. Here's what I needed:

TEMPer USB thermometer
x10 controlled outlet/controllers
Heating pad
Laptop running Linux

I was able to get the refrigerator and laptop for free and the other items are relatively cheap.

This is how it generally how it works. The outlet is wired into the wall with the top being controlled and the bottom plug always being "hot". I plug the fridge into the top plug and into the bottom I plug a receiver with the heating pad plugged into the receiver.

The code is simple (I can understand the logic, but don't understand Linux). Let's say you want it to maintain about 60F. In the code there is a tempmax and tempmin. These are set about 2 degrees apart so that the refrigerator isn't turning on and off with a lot of frequency and stressing the compressor. Essentially if the fridge gets below tempmin, the fridge turns off and the heating pad turns on. If it gets too warm, the fridge turns on. The program is always running and spits out a temperature reading on the screen.

I'm hoping this will help the quality of my home beer brewing and I thought it was a neat alternative to a Ranco or similar device

Recipe Ideas

August 17, 2010
It's that time again! I brewed the recipe below with decent results. I have been on brewing hiatus for almost a year now (got married, lost job, had baby, got new job) and I NEED to brew!! Anyone have any suggestions to tweak the recipe? I think spicing is pretty close but the sweetness was a little off and it definitely needs more vanilla. Do vanilla beans work better than REAL vanilla (not the cheap stuff). My wife loves this stuff and our anniversary is on Halloween so I need to brew this weekend or next. quite an interesting home beer brewing recipe
Type: All Grain
Date: 8/23/2009
Batch Size: 5.00 gal
Brewer: EuBrew
Boil Size: 6.41 gal Asst Brewer: Erica
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Brew Pot (7.5 gal) and Cooler (48 qt)
Taste Rating(out of 50): 35.0 Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00
Taste Notes:


Amount Item Type % or IBU
4 lbs Fruit – Pumpkin Caned (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 17.02 %
2 lbs Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 8.51 %
15 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 63.83 %
1 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt – 20L (20.0 SRM) Grain 4.26 %
8.0 oz Victory Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 2.13 %
0.54 oz Magnum [14.00 %] (60 min) Hops 18.5 IBU
1.07 oz Sterling [7.50 %] (10 min) Hops 7.2 IBU
0.26 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
1.00 tsp Allspice (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.00 tsp Clove (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1.00 tsp Vanilla Extract (Bottling 5.0 min) Misc
1.50 tsp Nutmeg Ground (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
2.50 tsp Ground Cinnamon (Boil 5.0 min) Misc
1 lbs Brown Sugar, Dark (50.0 SRM) Sugar 4.26 %
2 Pkgs English Ale (White Labs #WLP002) Yeast-Ale

Beer Profile

Est Original Gravity: 1.101 SG
Measured Original Gravity: 1.074 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.032 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.017 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 9.14 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 7.45 %
Bitterness: 25.7 IBU Calories: 337 cal/pint
Est Color: 12.6 SRM Color: Color

Mash Profile

Mash Name: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge Total Grain Weight: 22.50 lb
Sparge Water: 2.33 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F TunTemperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.4 PH

Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge Step Time Name Description Step Temp
60 min Mash In Add 28.13 qt of water at 167.0 F 152.0 F

there you have it folks there are some quite interesting home beer brewing ingredients in this one

Home Beer Brewing the simple way Pt4

August 16, 2010
Just found this its a bit radical but much quicker than the usual route of Home Beer Brewing

Part Four