March 23 Brew- Caribou Slobber- NB Kit

I was interested in seeing how I have progressed in skill over the past year, so I wanted to make what is often people’s first brew- Caribou Slobber by Northern Brewer.

Recipe as folows:

9lb Rahr 2-row pale

.75 lbs Briess Caramel 60L

.5 lbs Briess Caramel 80L

.25 lbs Fawcett Pale Chocolate

.125 lbs English Black Malt


1 oz US Goldings- 6omin

1 oz Liberty 3o min

1 oz williamette 15 min


Danstar Windsor Ale Yeast


I haven’t been hitting my hitting my gravity very well, so I did a 90 minute mashout, which didn’t seem to help much as I missed the target by .02, with an OG of 1.050. Everything else went normally,  I did get to use my immersion chiller for the first time, and it worked wonderfully- the beer cooled down to pitching temps in about 8 minutes.

Bottled this on April 20, I had a few issues with potential oxidation during transferring as my siphon clip slipped. A bunch of trub also made it into the bottling bucket. Hopefully it won’t have too much impact in the end. I measured my final gravity AFTER adding the bottling sugar, and it was 1.010. So this is somewhere around 5.2-5.5% abv.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Immersion or Counterflow Wort Chiller, with stats.

I was looking for hard stats on how long it will take me to cool my wort, and came across a great article in the Zymurgy archives (How long will it take to chill your wort, Bible; sep/oct 2004) that gives precise formulas using the length of copper, boil size, tap temps, and other parameters to determine exactly how long it will take to cool your wort with a counter flow chiller. Unfortunately I could not find a comparable article for an immersion chiller, though really you will only need to adjust the system performance coefficient to do so.

Anyway, I made an excel sheet out of it, and will leave it here.CounterFlowChillerStats

Link to zymurgy issue:

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Citra Smash Brew day! + Bottling SNPA clone

Today was a longish brew day, but I have gotten a lot better at bottling+ brewing at the same time.

I bottled my SNPA today. I am a bit concerned, because the temperature in the fermentor was at 61 degrees, despite the thermostat in the room being set to 66. So I took it out of the closet, and left it in our main room, and thankfully the temps in the fermentor rose to between 66 and 70. And things started bubbling away, which is good. However, they wouldn’t stop bubbling, and I waited an extra two days to bottle. Thank goodness for the long weekend. It seemed to have stopped actively bubbling this morning, but I still feel like fermentation wasn’t entirely complete. I went a little light on the bottling sugar to hopefully compensate.

The next brew was my first entirely homemade creation- a Maris Otter/Citra Smash.

Recipe is as follows:

10.25 lbs Maris Otter (ordered 10, but the bag looked small, but I put it on a scale and they actually threw in an extra 1/4 lb.

3 oz citra hops. 60/15/0 additions of 1 oz each.

Safale US-05 California Ale yeast.

This brew went pretty steady. I mashed in at 154, temps fell to around 146, a little high. I kept the burner on the lowest setting, and it held temps really well the whole time. I ended up mashing for 90 minutes, with a 10 minute mashout at 170. One interesting thing that happened today was that I got a real roiling boil- its usually quite weak. I guess that’s a good thing.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale Clone- Midwest kit AG

Today I brewed a Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone from midwest.


9lb American 2-row

8 0z Caramel 10L

8 oz Carapils

1 oz perle hops (60 min)

1 oz perle hops (30 min)

2 oz cascade hops (2 mins)

Yeast: White Labs WLP001 California Ale yeast

The brew was pretty typical, My initial mash temp was 162 which hit my 152 mash temp right on the nose after putting the grain in. Temps stayed pretty controlled- I just have to keep my burner on the lowest setting and the temps stay constant. I did a 75 minute mash, then a 10 minute 160 degree mash out. I then brought to a boil as usual. My tap water is running at 47 degrees this time of year, so I didn’t bother throwing ice in the sink to cool the wort down, I just drained the sink and refilled it 4 times after the water had warmed up a bit. I also didn’t obsessively stir the cooling water or wort- it was better this way, less stress, less work, and not much time difference.

Gravity came in at 1.45 or so, right within the 1.42-1.46 range- I didn’t miss on the gravity this time! Final gravity  target is 1.014-1.018.  I did a yeast started, but only the night before.


SNPA is one of my favorite beers, so I am looking forward to cracking open a bottle of this!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

next brew- Irish red ale from a recipe (not a kit!)

I just purchased the ingredients for my next planned beer- an Irish Red Ale! I have made one of these before, and really enjoyed it, so I want to see how I can do when I completely take the training wheels off and brew straight from a recipe.

Recipe sourced from:

Summarized here:


Amount Item Type % or IBU
9.00 lb Maris Otter (Crisp) (4.0 SRM) Grain 86.79 %
0.75 lb Barley, Flaked (Briess) (1.7 SRM) Grain 7.23 %
0.50 lb Crystal Dark – 77L (Crisp) (75.0 SRM) Grain 4.82 %
0.12 lb Chocolate (Crisp) (630.0 SRM) Grain 1.16 %
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min) Hops 15.4 IBU
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (5 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops
0.91 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
1 Pkgs Irish Ale (White Labs #WLP004) Yeast-Ale


An interesting note here is that purchasing ingredients was considerably more expensive than buying a kit ($33 vs $25). A lot of this was due to the recipe- The minimum qty I could buy of even specialty grains was a pound, when in some cases only half or .12 lbs were called for! There is also a ton more grain used here- about 12lbs total vs 7.5 on the NB kit.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spiced Winter Ale AG- Kit from Northern Brewer

This week, I am brewing a Spiced Winter Ale from Northern Brewer. My first time spicing a beer, we will see how this works out. This went a bit longer than usual, as I forgot to set the alarm on my thermostat, and the kettle reached 175 degrees when I checked on it. It took awhile to cool down to 160, which is when I inserted the grain.


9 lb British Golden Promise

1 lb English Medium Crystal Malt.

.5 oz “Mulling spices” unfortunately no detail given.

Hops; .75 oz US Goldings – 60 min

Yeast- Safale US-04 (64-75)

I used about 2/3 of the mulling spices, and pitched down around 70 degrees. I did a full boil of around 6.5 gallons. I also did a “sparge” in a large tupper wear container, rinsing the spent hot grains until the juices ran mostly clear. OG was 1.044, a bit off the target of 1.047

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Doggie Treats from Spent Grain #2

I made spent grains from dog treats again. Recipe modified a bit from Homebrew talk:

6 cups spent grain

3 cups flour

3 eggs

1 cup of peanut butter.

I dumped everything into a kitchen aid mixer bowl, let it stir for about a minute, then pressed the mix down onto a baking sheet. I put some plastic wrap on top to prevent my hands from getting filthy and let me work the mix into a flat sheet. I scored into small squares before putting in the oven at 350 for a half hour. After a half hour, I took the biscuits apart and separated them, then put them back in the oven for 2 hours at 225 to dry them out. They came out better this time, and were much easier to pull off the baking sheet. Riley of course loves them!


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saint Paul Porter- Northern Brewer All grain Kit

I brewed a Northern Brewer kit today- a Saint Paul Porter. Ingredients

8.5 lbs of Rahr Pale 2-row

1 lb English Medium Crystal

.5 lb English Chocolate Malt

1.5 oz of Cluster hops (60 min)

1 oz Cascade (1 min)

Safale US-05 ale yeast.

This brew was pretty uneventful. I heated 5 gals of water t0 154 degrees. Temps dropped to 151, just a degree off my target of 151. I was able to keep temps quite stable throughout the hour long mash. I did a 10 minute mashout. at 170 degrees.I let the grain drain out as long as I could hold the bag up, but then I tried something new- doing a dunk sparge of sorts in the bottling bucket. I just dumped the grain in there, and let the faucet run over the top. This yielded a lot more wort. I think I should have added more water initially, as I missed my target OG by .008- it came in at 1.044 instead of 1.052. I then brought to a boil and continued with the hop schedule.

This week I just cooled in the sink, as my freezer was too full to fit a zip lock bag of water in to freeze. Faucet temps are running around 70 degrees now, down 10 degrees from summer’s peak of 80, so it wasn’t quite as necessary.  I pitched the yeast directly on top of the wort and aerated as usual.

Final OG came out to 1.010 for a final ABV of 4.46%


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Honey Brown Ale- All grain, using washed yeast for the first time


Today’s brewday was Northern Brewer’s Honey Brown Ale All grain kit.


8 lbs Rahr 2-Row Pale

.25 lbs English Chocolate Malt

.25 lbs Briess Caramel 120

.25 lbs Belgian Biscuit

.25 lbs Briess Special Roast.


.75 oz Cluster, 60 minutes

1lb honey, added after cool down.


Wyeast 1945B NeoBritannia. (66-74 degrees farenheit). Washed and mixed with a started from a previous batch.

What made this brewday a little different was that I skimmed off the yeast off of my previous batch of brown ale, and saved it. I made a 1 qt starter with all of the yeast I recovered, adding in 1/4 cup of pale DME, I bought seperately for the purpose. I wasn’t too confident that I could pull this off, so I also bought a packet of Safale US-05 to back me up. The starter was vigorously fermenting though, so it wasn’t necessary.

Back to the process:

I did my initial soak at a target of 154. I dropped the grain bag in when temps hit 156, and they dropped to 152. I kept the flame on low, and the temps seem to continue to slowly drop, hovering around 150. After about 25 minutes of this, I put on the power burner, and let it rip until I saw the temps hit 160. Unfortunately, the temps picked up by the thermometer were lagging, and the temp continued to climb to around 160.  I completely shut the burner off, but my cast iron grates must have retained a lot of heat, because the temp did not fall below 160 until the very end. Kind of unusual.

I also completely wrapped the grain bag around the edge of the pot and stirred the grains up in there, where previously I would just treat it like a giant tea bag and dip it up and down. This was a vastly improved method, and I hit my gravity of 1.050 right on the nose. 1.050 was actually before the honey addition.

Anyway, I did a mash out at 170 that went perfectly, then continued to boil from there, adding the cluster hops at the beginning of the 60 minute boil.

I cooled down by filling the sink with cold water, but I changed things up a bit by freezing  a half gallon of water in a freezer bag the night before, and dropped it in the wort when it hit about 90 degrees. This worked really well, getting my pitching temps down to about 66- I generally pitch at about 80 because I can’t get it any cooler.  Looking forward to this one.

Update 10/14/2012: I let this sit in the fermenter for 4 weeks, and the final gravity came out at 1.007. bottling was uneventful. ABV 5.64%, not including additional honey (this is going to be quite strong).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Spent Grain doggie treats!


I hate spent grain. Not that I find it nasty or anything, I just dislike the waste of it. It seems so potentially useful, yet most recipes call for just a cup of it, meaning that my 8 lbs of grain would last well past my next brew day where I would have even more of it. I give some to my dog as a supplement to her kibble, and she loves it. So I decided to go one step further and use the following recipe to make her spent grain treats.

4 cups of spent grain

2 cups flour

2 eggs

1 cup peanut butter

Mix this all together well (eventually it will become a sticky globular mess), then press into a dense layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 30 minutes, then let sit in the oven at 200 for about two hours.

I mixed this up by doubling the batch, and halving the peanut butter. Peanut butter is one of those things where a little goes a long way, and its kind of pricey to just be dumping entire jars into a batch of dog treats. It seems to have come out fine.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment