Saturday, January 26, 2013

Mt. Baldy Bitter Bottled

After a week, the s.g. for the Mt. Baldy Bitter was 1.007 at 60° (corrected from 1.006 at 70°), down from 1.035. This works out to 3.7% abv, right about at my estimated target of 3.6% (and well within expected measurement error, I presume).

I added 3/4 cup of priming sugar boiled in 2 cups of water, and then bottled. It worked out to 41 12-oz. bottles and 4 22-oz. bottles. Now they're carbonating and bottle conditioning; I expect to try the first next weekend. The overall flavor in the uncarbonated beer is light and slightly bitter, but so far I don't get the sense of a lot of "body" in this one. That well may change after some conditioning; if it doesn't, I'll probably add some carapils or a similar grain in the next iteration.

45 bottles of Mt. Baldy Bitter

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mt. Baldy Bitter

In an effort to try out some new styles, particularly those on the simple end, I elected to try an English-style bitter. The grain and malt bill is simple, hops are straight-forward, and it should all be ready to bottle in a week. This recipe is called "Mt. Baldy Bitter," in honor of one of the 10,000+ ft snow-capped peaks visible from my neighborhood.

Mt. Baldy Bitter
  • 8 oz. biscuit malt
  • 8 oz. 10° crystal malt
  • 3 lbs. light dry malt extract
  • 1 lb. amber dry malt extract
  • 2 oz. Fuggles hops (4.20%)
  • 1 pkg. Danstar Nottingham yeast
  • 1/2 tsp. Irish moss
  • Heat 3 gallons of water to 158°, steep biscuit and crystal malt at this temperature for 60 minutes. Sparge with 2/3 gallon of water at roughly the same temperature.
  • Heat mixture to boil, turn off heat. Add dry malt. Return to boil, add hops.
  • Boil for 60 minutes total. Add Irish moss for the final 15 minutes of boil.
  • Cool using coiling coil, decant into fermentation bucket. Top up with water to reach just a shade under 5 gallons. Add yeast.
  • Starting gravity was 1.035 at 60° (calibrated from 1.034 at 70°).

The calculations in BeerSmith 2 estimated a starting gravity of 1.036, bitterness of 27.9 IBU, color of 7.1 SRM, and 3.6% a.b.v. The starting gravity is just a touch short, but not by much. Another BeerSmith success!

I plan to let this ferment for one week, and then bottle with 2/3 cup corn sugar. As a good English-style ale, I'm going to let it bottle condition. Conveniently, both of my carboys are in use, so it's a good time to bottle directly!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Rainy Day IPA 1.2 - Update

On Sunday, January 13, I transferred the latest batch of Rainy Day IPA over to the secondary fermenter. Gravity is now 1.012 at 70° F, down from 1.060, leaving an estimated a.b.v. of 6.4%. I also added the 1.1 oz. of Centennial and the 1 oz. of Cascade hops pellets for dry hopping. Now, I plan to leave it for 2 - 3 weeks prior to bottling.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Sam's Mead

With the arrival of a new human in our family, I thought I would brew up a batch of mead in his honor. The general idea is to have an "heirloom batch" that can be kept on-hand for special occasions - first birthday, 21st birthday, etc. Hopefully it will last long enough for that! With five gallons, this will allow the occasional sampling down the years.

The recipe is slightly modified from the Antipodal Mead in Charlie Papazian's Complete Joy of Home Brewing. The main adjustment is the addition of lemon juice (instead of acid blend) and apple cider (to add some nutrients, because I didn't have yeast extract on hand - I may get some and add it to the secondary fermenter later).

The lemons were from a local lemon tree (picked ourselves), and the U of Minnesota honey was from Sam's aunt (currently a graduate student at U of M).

Sam's Mead
  • 5 pounds University of Minnesota Department of Entomology honey 2012 (slightly dark)
  • 5 pounds University of Minnesota Department of Entomology honey 2011 (slightly dark)
  • 5 pounds wildflower honey (originating in Argentina, Mexico, Uruguay) (relatively dark)
  • 1 tbs. gypsum
  • 1/3 cup fresh-squeezed lemon juice (6 small lemons)
  • 1 quart (4 cups) apple cider
  • 1/4 tsp. Irish moss
  • 5 packets champagne yeast (0.88 oz; 25 g); Lalvin EC-1118, Saccharomyces cerivisiae (ex-bayanus)

  • Heated 1 gallon of water to boiling; turned off heat, added honey, gypsum, cider, and lemon juice. Rinsed honey jugs using 3 cups of water total, which were added to brew pot.
  • Heated water to boil; boiled for 15 minutes. Add Irish moss after 10 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, chill mead. Add to fermenter, top up to five gallons with cold tap water.
  • Proof yeast in 1 cup water (boiled and then cooled to ~100 degrees).
  • Add yeast to fermenter. Seal fermenter, add airlock.
The recipe was brewed on December 28, 2012, and initial gravity was 1.118 at 72° F. This converts to 1.119 at 60° F, resulting in an estimated a.b.v. of around 12% (assuming it ferments down to ~1.03 or so).

Because I needed the primary fermenter for my IPA, I transferred over to a glass carboy on January 1, 2013. At this point, the gravity was 1.090. My plan is to let it ferment/settle/condition for about six months before bottling.

Rainy Day IPA 1.2

One of my very favorite recipes so far has been the "Rainy Day IPA" - brewed back in 2010 and 2011.  I modified things a little based on what my local brew shop had (Centennial instead of Cascade, and White Labs rather than Wyeast), but otherwise it's basically the same as before.

Ingredients for Rainy Day IPA 1.2

  • 10 oz. 20° crystal malt
  • 1 lb. 60° crystal malt
  • 3 lbs. golden light dry malt extract
  • 3 lbs. sparkling amber dry malt extract
  • 2 oz. Centennial hops pellets (11.4% alpha acid; 4.1% beta acid) for bittering
  • 1 oz. Centennial hops pellets (11.4% alpha acid; 4.1% beta acid) for aroma
  • 1.1 oz. Cascade hops pellets for dry hopping
  • 1 oz. Centennial hops pellets for dry hopping
  • 1 tsp. Irish moss
  • White Labs California Ale Yeast WLP001


  • Steep crystal malt in 3 gallons of water at 158° for 60 minutes. Sparge with 0.625 gallons at roughly the same temperature, for a total pre-boil volume of 3.625 gallons.
  • Heat mixture to boiling, turn off heat. Add dry malt extract. Heat to boiling, add bittering hops.
  • Boil for 45 minutes, add Irish moss.
  • Boil for an additional 12 minutes, add aroma hops.
  • Boil for an additional 3 minutes, for a total of 60 minutes.
  • Cool using cooling coil. Top up to ~4.75 gallons using cold tap water, and pitch yeast at 70° F.
  • Starting gravity was 1.060 at 70° F.

Based on calculations in BeerSmith, the starting gravity was spot-on. The recipe has an estimated bitterness of 63 IBUs, color of 8.5 SRM, and estimated final abv of 5.3%.

As in previous versions of this beer, I plan to dry-hop after transferring to the secondary fermenter in one week. More updates will be posted as appropriate.