Category Archives: The Underground

Weizenbier

We’ll brew 30g of Weizen as we did last year with some minor modifications to accommodate our current situation.

Charles’ Brew Day Pics are here.

Grain Bill

  • 25# German Pilsner malt (from Dickie)
  • 25# Wheat malt (15# US wheat, 10# German wheat)
  • 2# 60L crystal
  • 2# Carapils
  • 3# rice hulls (never used before but should improve the lauter)

Hop Bill

  • Hallertau Tradition- 6oz for 60’
  • AAU unknown but gotta be around 5%. Charles supplied hops from his secret connections to the Busch family hop farm in Munich

Yeast- WL300 Weizen Ale. Dickie procured the yeast and handled all the propagation

Water- 40g StL County tap, treated w/ 2 crushed Camden tablets and a splash of phosphoric acid. In hindsight, we should have had a few more gallons of water; gravity was on high side and volume on the low side.

Planned Mash Schedule-

  • Strike temp 138F
  • Mash temp 122F-128F 30’
  • Decoct 1- 10g+ 158F 20’
  • Decoct 1- boil 30’
  • Recombine- 145F- 153F 20’
  • Decoct 2- 7g+ boil 15’
  • Recombine 158F-162F 60’
  • Mash out 170F 10’

Calculated OG = 1.050

Brew day, Sunday, June 14-

Brewers- Charles, Dickie, Rob, Alan, with Jimmy G, Dan Y, Andy D, Gary K, and Cody.

A wet, stormy day for brewing the Weizen, much like last year. We decided to mash in the basement to stay out of the rain us much as possible. Everybody and everything was pretty soaked by the end of the day. We were exhausted, but it appears to have been a successful day.

  • Strike temp = 138F
  • 10:30 AM- Mash temp = 127F
  • 11:30- Decoct 1 = 158F
  • Boil Decoct 1
  • 12:30- Recombine = 154F
  • Decoct 2
  • 1:30- Recombine =164F
  • 2:45- Vorlauf
  • 3:00- Runoff
  • 3:50- collect 32.5g (a little short)
  • 4:36- Boil & hop
  • 7:30- End of day

OG = 1.062

Fermentation-

Monday, June 15- No activity in fermenter this morning. A wee bit scary, but 24 hours after pitching yeast, we have a vigorous fermentation.

Thursday, June 25- Racked the Weizen to secondary. Gravity = 1.012; ABV = 6.6%. Another strong beer. Filled two 5 gallon carboys and a 7 gallon carboy with Weizen. Put 12 pounds of thawing tart cherries in the bottom of Charles’ 15 g fermenter and covered them with roughly 12 gallons of Weizen. Earlier this month Grand Pop picked the cherries at the farm. I stoned them and heat pasteurized them at about 170F for 5-10 minutes. Then they went into the freezer.

The sample was not like past Weizens, which surprised me. All our Weizens taste the same. Despite changes in the past (4 different Wyeast strains, red and white wheat, German and US wheat), nothing really changed the character of this beer. I guess the White Labs strain of Weizen yeast is different. That and the hop change were the two biggest differences over last year. The flavor is good, and my initial reaction was we brewed something very special. The smell of the beer was yeasty, like the smell of raw, wet dough after it has risen. There was the typical banana of the German wheat yeast but it was sugary, as if the raw dough were banana bread. The flavor had sweet characteristics, sugary, Christmas cookie flavors that I attributed to the hops. Maybe the spice of the hops lent to the Christmas cookie I was getting. I’m not sure but I think the combination of yeast and hops this year made for a unique Weizen. It was a little strong after finishing the sample, but I think it will mellow into a wonderful beer. I also think that sweet banana bread/sugar cookie flavor will do well on the tart cherries.

July 18, 2015

Kegged 10g of the Weizen. Gravity is the same at 10.012. Sample continues to be good, a little different than last year, sweeter and candy like but definitely Weizen.

I racked the Kirche Weizen to tertiary. It will need it. Floaty bits. At this point the sample is better than last year. Fruity, cherry, sweet.

Amarillo American Wheat – 20G

This past March, Charles and Rob brewed a 5 gallon batch of this beer to serve as a test. The recipe was modified from one found on the internet and it turned out so good, we decided to move it up to the big rig and brew 20 gallons. This new version has a few modifications from the March brew but should turn out equally as good if not better. Hopefully it will be as much of a hit with the AGU and friends as the test batch, as well as at the Pacific Palisades Sierra Club fundraiser coming up in June.

May 17, 2015

Photo gallery … http://uding.smugmug.com/Beer/AGU-Brew-Day-Am-Am-Wheat-20g/

Screen shot 2015-05-19 at 12.48.21 PM

The Players… in order of appearance

  • Charles
  • Rob
  • Dickie
  • Tom
  • Alan

With special guest appearances by

  • Michelle
  • Garth
  • Duke

Grain Bill-

  • 5 pounds Rice Hulls (rinsed – what a pain in the ass, must be a better way)
  • 20 pounds Pilsner 2-Row
  • 18 pounds White Wheat
  • 2 pounds Red Wheat
  • 2 pounds Flaked Wheat
  • 1.5 pounds Crystal 60

AGU Brew Day AmAmWheat20 - 02

Hop Bill-

  • 1 ounce Amarillo 10.9% – 60 minutes
  • 1 ounce Magnum 13% – 60 minutes
  • 1 ounce Amarillo 10.9% – 20 minutes
  • 1 ounce Amarillo 10.9% – 10 minutes

AGU Brew Day AmAmWheat20 - 25  

Flavor Additions

  • 4 ounces Dried Sweet Orange Peel – 5 minutes
  • fresh zest from 3 medium size oranges – 5 minutes

Yeast-

  • Wyeast #1010 – American Wheat Ale
  • Started Tuesday, split Thursday, split Saturday morning, pitch Sunday 3:30 ish
  • A strong fermenting, true top cropping yeast that produces a dry, slightly tart, crisp beer. Ideal for beers where low ester profile is desirable. Flocculation: Low Attenuation: 74-78% Temperature Range: 58-74° F (14-23° C) Alcohol Tolerance: approximately 10% ABV

Water prep the night before. 35 gallons STL County tap. Half tablet crushed Campden per gallon (directions say 1 full tablet per gallon). Need to research this.

Mash Schedule-

  • Heat 15 gal. water – Strike Temp 129˚
  • Mash In – Hold 122˚ for 30 minutes – Protein Rest – 10 am
  • 15 min. rise to 152˚
  • Hold 152˚ for 45 minutes – Saccharification
  • Begin heating 20 gallons water for sparge
  • 10 min. rise to 168˚
  • Hold 168˚ for 10 minutes – Mash Out

Transfer 2 gallons heated sparge water to mash tun for foundation

Transfer Mash to mash tun -12:00 pm Begin vorlauf.

Wort cleared fast – 10 mins. (even without the shroud) Looks good! Begin runoff to big ass brew pot. Good wort flow. Love those rice hulls.

AGU Brew Day AmAmWheat20 - 08

Begin sparge via 15 gallon pot when grain bed visible. Add already heated sparge water as level lowers. Flame on at approx. 12 gallons. (A bit too soon. Achieved boil before runoff was done.)

Boil

Followed hop schedule and orange additions per above. With 10 minutes left, added 2 tablets Irish Moss (only 2 as I want this beer to be a bit cloudy) and Robs Big Ass Chiller. Chilled with immersion chiller to approx. 120˚.

Transfered to fermenter via Therminator. Final temp mid to upper 70˚s. Had to slow wort flow as temp was too warm. With summer temperatures coming on, we may need to cool more with the immersion chiller before running through therminator.

Pitch yeast and seal fermenter.

Original Gravity – 1.056  — Predicted 1.053

AGU Brew Day AmAmWheat20 - 27

Ended up with 20 gallons in Fermenter. We are having issues with leaf hops absorbing wort plus the height of the spigot with collar for bazooka screen is making it difficult to get all wort out of kettle. I thought I compensated by calculating recipe and water quantities for 22 gallons but we still ended short.

10:30 pm – no bubbles

Monday morning. Strong steady bubble.

Monday evening. Very noticeable fermentation odor when walking into house. Smells really good. Have never noticed this strong of a smell at this stage before. First time using this yeast. Temperature in beer lab is holding around 69˚.

Wednesday night, May 20 Fermentation seems to have hit the brakes. Temperature in beer lab seems perfect. What happened? Could this beer have completely fermented in 3 days? Beer Smith says rack to secondary after 4 days. While I think we have left beers in primary too long sometimes, 3 days just seems awfully fast.

Was planning on racking Friday but had too many beers at Schlafly Bottleworks Friday night so racked Saturday morning. Gravity – 1.013 with the estimated gravity of 1.012. Sample tasted good. As expected, this is a little different than the test batch. Is VERY cloudy. Looks like a wheat beer. After racking, yeast woke up for a little bit. Will leave in secondary until after the crawfish boil when there will be some kegs available. untitled event - 0

June 3, 2015 – Transferred approx. 14.5 gallons to 3 kegs. Beer in carboy will be bottled in a day or two or three.

IMG_7334

Final Gravity – 1.012 — Predicted 1.012  —  ABV = 5.8%

IMG_7333

Sample tasted very good. This is going to be fantastic. Color is spot on. Wanted this to be more cloudy than the test batch (which was very clear), and that is what we have. Can not wait to get a keg carbonated and cold.

Thinking about serving one keg at next weekends 9th Annual St. Louis Brewers Guild Heritage Festival. Hate to burn a full keg but the opportunity to serve our beer at the biggest beer fest in St. Louis is just so tempting.

Earthbound Brewing – Belma Brown Hack

Earthbound Brewing on Cherokee Street in St. Louis is having an “Open Source Brewathon Contest”. They are releasing their recipe for Belma Brownas Open Source and inviting anyone to brew their own version. Kyle and Charles attended the kick off meeting to discuss Open Source, the recipe, tour the brewery, and naturally, drink a few Earthbound brews. We decided that we would try to get as close to the original recipe but use different hops (can not get Belma hops anyway). Kyle wanted to use Hallertau hops, Charles wanted something a bit odd for a Brown so he picked Chinook.The plan was to brew a 10 gallon beer, split the wort in half, and boil, hop and ferment the two beers independently of eachother.That would give us two unique beers and two chances to impress. We also tossed in a little German Smoked Malt for fun. Also some miscellaneous twigs, leaf bits and dirt. But that is a story for another day.

Photos album is here… http://uding.smugmug.com/Beer/Earthbound-Brown-Hack/

May 3, 2015 – Brew Day

Grain Bill – 10 Gallons (for 2, 5 gallon beers)

  • 16 pounds – Pale 2 Row
  • 3 pounds 12 ounces – Biscuit
  • 2 pounds 8 ounces – Crystal 120
  • 8 ounces – Roasted
  • 6 ounces- Smoked German

AGU Brew Day Brown Hack - 08

Hop Bill – Hallertau (4.5%)

  • 2 ounce – 60 mins.
  • .5 ounce – 15 mins.
  • .5 ounce – 5 mins.

AGU Brew Day Brown Hack - 12

Hop Bill – Chinook (13%)

  • .5 ounce – 60 mins.
  • .5 ounce – 15 mins.
  • .5 ounce – 5 mins.

AGU Brew Day Brown Hack - 13

Yeast

  • Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale

Brewers – Kyle, Charles, Rob, Astrid

10:15 Mash In  –  11:15 Mash out

Vorlauf approx. 10 minutes. Begin runoff.

Collected 14.5 gallons wort.

Pre Boil Gravity – 1.048 – Dead on.

Stirred and split into two boil pots. Lit burners. Poured a Amarillo American Wheat.  OK. We had a few before we got to this point. Might explain a few screw ups. Might have to reinstate the “NO DRINKING BEFORE THE BOIL” rule.

Followed hop schedule above. Kyle used hop sacks as his brew pot spigot does not have the bazooka screen and did not want the hassle of using a siphon.

First time using Chinook hops. Very different from anything we have used. Might have been a bad call.

After the boil, we ended up short on quantities. Will not end up with 2, 5 gallonbeers.These two beers are going to be more bitter than we wanted.

Original gravities are off. Hallertau is at 1.058  –  Chinook is at 1.062  –  Both should have been 1.054

This brings up a question. The Hallertau sample was nice and clear. No gunk. The Chinook had the usual hop gunk floating in it. Is that gunk throwing off the gravities when we take the OG?

AGU Brew Day Brown Hack - 21

This will be a fast turnaround. Will rack to secondary the 7th or 8th. Probably keg the 16th or 17th. Contest is on the 27th. We plan on rolling in there with our beers in 2 brand spanking new kegs. We have to get some shirts made!

New 10 gallon mash tun seems to be working very well. Still need to figure out a good sparging method.

May 21 – Both transferred to keg. Samples taste very good. As expected, the Hallertau is more what you would think a Brown should taste like. The Chinook is odd. Earthy? Both will do good at the competition. Two very different tasting Browns.

Final Gravities

  • Hallertau – .019 — 5.1% abv
  • Chinook – .022 — 5.3% abv

Patersbier

 

Gary, at StL Wine and Beer, introduced me to his Patersbier, or “Fathers Beer,” a Belgium style brewed by monks and generally only available at the monasteries. The concept is a session beer that the monks keep on hand for their own use, essentially the monastery’s lawnmower beer. Each monastery has its own recipe; however, this style can be roughly defined by those unique Belgium flavors in a low ABV beer, an Enkel (Dutch for single), rather than a Dubbel or Tripel. Gary’s recipe uses only Belgium Pilsner malt, noble hops, and Wyeast’s private collection yeast strain, 3864- Canadian/Belgian Ale. This beer has turned out to be a real winner for Gary. I thought his easy-drinking and delicious.

Malt-

Since each monastery has its own unique recipe, I feel compelled to tweak Gary’s a bit to make it my own, though I don’t want to get too far away from the simplicity of what Gary has done so successfully. 10% Belgian Aromatic malt should add a little color, some biscuit flavor and malty aroma. The total malt bill will be adjusted to accommodate a final ABV around 5%.

Wyeast 3864-PC Canadian/Belgian Ale- I procured a pack of the yeast when it was available during the first quarter of 2015. Notes from Wyeast-

Beer Styles: Belgian Dubbel and Tripel, Belgian Specialty Ale, Belgian Golden Strong, Biere de Garde, Witbier

Profile: This alcohol tolerant strain produces complex and well-balanced Belgian Abbey style ales. Banana and fruit esters are complemented nicely with mild levels of phenolics and hints of acidity. Ester levels may be elevated by increasing gravity and fermentation temperatures.

  • Tolerance          12% ABV
  • Flocculation             medium
  • Attenuation               75-79%
  • Range             65-80°F (18-27°C)

Because I’m not a huge fan of the banana esters, I will try to keep the fermentation temps in the lower range.

Hops-

Gary bitters the beer with Hallertau Tradition and finishes with ½ oz of Saaz per 5g during the last 10 minutes of the boil. No reason to change that noble bill.

Patersbier- 20g

  • 32# Belgium Pilsner malt
  • 3# Belgian Aromatic malt
  • 6 ounces Hallertau 60’ (4.5% for calculations; actual was 4.9%)
  • 2 ounces Saaz 10’ (3.2% for calculations; actual was 2.4%)

Mash-in 152F 90’, single infusion

Prep 30g of water- 12g for mash water, 6g for heat bump, and 12g for sparge.

Collect minimum 25g in boil kettle.

Calculated stats-

  • OG = 1.049
  • IBU = 24
  • FG = 1.009
  • ABV = 5.2%

Brew Day- April 18, 2015

Brewers- Dry Hop Rob, Charles, Tom

Smooth working brew day with good weather. Mashed in the basement because it was supposed to rain, but didn’t. Hit all our times and temps. Started the day around 9 AM and finished about 4:30.

  • 9:00 AM Prep for brew- measure & mill grain; measure & heat water
  • 10:38 AM Mash-in, used new thermometer only, temps were perfect at 152-154F
    • Added 6 g of bump water for mash out but only raised to 160-ish.
  • 12:38 Lauter-
    • Sparge with 13 g, 180F
  • 1:14 Lauter finish (collect 25+ g in boil kettle)
  • 2:00 Begin boil
  • 2:13 First hop, Hallertau
  • 3:05 Saaz addition
  • 3:15 Flame out
    • Coldbreak went well; happy with Thermonator. After flame out we did a whirlpool and cooled the sides of the kettle down with the hose for an initial break. Temp coming out of Thermonator was a perfect 67F.
  • 4:20 Pitch yeast
  • Original Gravity = 1.049 (hit this number perfectly)

Fermentation-

Strong bubble in the airlock the following morning. About 22 gallons total in fermenter. Temps in basement are right under 70 F.

April 30- Racked to secondary in the big fermenter. Gravity = 1.016. Would like to see it a bit lower. Flavor profile was pretty good, smooth, malty, with that unique Belgian flavor particularly from the yeast. It’s yeasty, tart, citric almost, which I’m not crazy about, but I’m hopeful that it mellows.

May 13- Racked 15 gallons into carboys and 5 into a keg. I would have bottled and kegged all of it but didn’t have the kegs or bottles to do it. Gravity was way down at 1.008. Sample was very good, with a very Belgian flavor from the yeast. Good golden color. Looks like a good beer at this point.

May 22- Bottled 5 gallons. Gravity = 1.006. Bottled 5 gallons, kegged 5 gallons, and left 5 g in the carboy. Sample is very good. Likely the driest beer I’ve ever made. This yeast is crazy. And it tastes very Belgian. I like it and am anxious to see what it’s like carbonated. This lawn mower beer is 5.6% ABV.

English IPA

 

After thoroughly enjoying Mutiny on the Beagle, the traditional IPA that Doug sent from Scotland, I’ve decided it’s time to brew an IPA. Here’s what I’m gathering from my reading on brewing a traditional IPA.

A simple malt bill is used so as not to overpower the hop and yeast flavor characters. Pale malt or simply 2 Row would be fine, but I’ll stick with Maris Otter. I’ll consider some carapils for head retention and body, but I think for this first one I’ll just use the single malt.

A low mash temp (150F) and long rest (90’) will help convert those complex sugars to simple ones the yeast will utilize and result in higher attenuation of the final beer, making it appropriately dry.

Some gypsum to the mash water to better replicate the Burton on Trent profile seems appropriate, and will give the hop a little better bite.

A highly attenuating yeast is necessary, so I’ve picked up Wyeast seasonal English IPA blend. Adding Brett would be interesting and appropriate I think, especially after drinking Mutiny On The Beagle last night, which contained Brett. It was delicious, but I’m not ready to store this IPA over the summer just yet. I would also consider aging it on some oak chips, but maybe for the next IPA.

The hops will be either EKG or Fuggles. The question remains do I bitter with these low alpha varieties or bitter with a high alpha and just flavor and aroma with the English? I guess it makes sense to use a high alpha on a 15-20 gallon batch, otherwise it will cost me a fortune to bitter this beer, but it wouldn’t be traditional, would it?

20 gallons

Grain Bill- 44 pounds Maris Otter

Hop Bill-

  • 8 ounces of EKG 6.3% 60’
  • 2 ounce EKG 6.3% 20’
  • 2 ounce EKG 6.3% 10′
  • 2 ounce EKG 6.3% 5’
  • 2 ounce EKG 5% dry hop 4 days

Yeast- Wyeast 1203-PC Burton IPA Blend for Traditional and Historical English IPA, English Pale Ale, English Bitter styles, Robust Porter, Foreign Stouts. Profile: The revival of interest in historic and classic English IPA styles calls for a specialized yeast – this blend highlights hop bitterness and aroma while still allowing full expression of authentic water profiles and pale malts. Low to moderate ester level can be manipulated through fermentation temperature and pitching rate. Palate finish is typically neutral to mildly fruity with some maltiness. Good flocculation characteristics make this an excellent candidate for cask conditioning.

Alc. Tolerance- 10% ABV

Flocculationmed-high
Attenuation- 71-74%
Temp. Range- 64-74°F

Calculated Stats

  • OG = 1.063
  • IBU = 48
  • FG = 1.018
  • ABV = 5.9%

Brew day- March 28, 2015

Charles’ Brew Day Pics are here.

Brewers- Tom V, Alan, Charles, Kyle, Dickie, Dan Y

Water prep

  • 30 gallons St. Louis County tap
  • 1.5 tablets crushed Campden
  • 5 teaspoon phosphoric acid
  • 10 teaspoon gypsum

Mash schedule

  • Strike water  = 169 F (on new thermometer)
  • 2 PM mash in 14g
    • 158 F on new thermometer
    • 148 F on old thermometer
    • Plan was for 150F
    • Drifted down some over the next 2 hours
    • Added portions of hot water to bump temp but didn’t do much
  • 4 PM add more hot water (6g with bump water)
  • Sparge with 10g at 190F
  • 5 PM Collected 25+ gallons in kettle
  • Thermonator dropped temp to 63F
  • 8 PM Charles O2 the wort and pitch yeast

Starting Gravity = 1.064, 22 gallons

Hit all our numbers, temp (I guess), times, gravity, volume. Sample was good, sweet, not crazy hoppy but certainly bitter. Should be a good beer.

Fermentation

No bubble in the airlock Sunday morning, but a bubble started by Sunday night. Temp in the basement is 63F, 1 degree below the lower limit of the yeast tolerance range, so I’m trying to raise it, though I like it being in the lower range.

April 6- Racked to secondary in the other big fermenter. No dry hop yet. Gravity = 1.018, exactly where it was calculated to be. ABV will be around 6%. Sample is still a bit sweet for an IPA, but is appropriately hoppy. I think it will mellow into a fine beer, but it’s not there yet. It’s still green, strong on hops and sweet. Hopefully time will blend and mellow the flavors. I’ll add the dry hops soon.

April 9- Add 2+ ounces of EKG in muslin sock weighted with marbles (more marbles next time). Dry hopping is a pain in the ass.

April 16- Pulled the dry hop 1 week later.

Packaging

April 18- 4 weeks after brew day I kegged 15 gallons of the IPA. I still have 5 gallons to bottle. Sample was pretty good. We drank a warm, flat jug of English IPA when we brewed the Patersbier. The beer is still too sweet, but I’m still hoping for improvement as it ages a bit.

April 29- Bottled the last 5 gallons. Still needs to mature.

Drinking

May 15- Opened the first bottle and it was really good. Pretty, golden and clear. Nice aroma. Flavor was appropriately bitter but balanced and left a mild hop dryness in the mouth. Very good. I’m very pleased.