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White Labs Tasting - (Indian) Pale Ales

Posted by zVulture on 6/09/2016 at 08:58:09 PM


With these beers being heavy on the hop and non-yeast derived flavor side, I will be doing a lot more comparisons against each of the beers. Unfortunately they were out of WLP001 so I didn't have as much a baseline. Random note, I avoid reading the description of the yeasts before I write the review down so there can be repeated recommendations (ex: WLP041).

Indian Pale Ale

WLP008 East Coast Ale Yeast

White Labs Description - Our "Brewer Patriot" strain can be used to reproduce many of the American versions of classic beer styles. Similar neutral character of WLP001, but less attenuation, less accentuation of hop bitterness, slightly less flocculation, and a little tartness. Very clean and low esters. Great yeast for golden, blonde, honey, pales and German alt style ales.
Aroma: Clean crisp aroma of the hops bringing out that acidic citrus scent really well
Taste: On the dryer side but not enough to really bite though that might be from any crystal malts or higher mash temps to keep it less fermentable. Definitely fits the 'Juicy' ideal that east coast beers have while west coast is a lot dryer and more dank. The bitterness sticks out though because of it as it stands out from the smoother mouthfeel and very light sweetness.
Personal Ideas: I would use this in a 30 minute IPA that doesn't add any bittering hops. Just keep it all to really fruity and flavorful ones with 30-20-10 additions. This beer would almost go really well in a barrel or served cask style. Dry hopping would need to be done really fresh, even Randle'd to really make this shine.

WLP041 Pacific Ale Yeast

White Labs Description - A popular ale yeast from the Pacific Northwest. The yeast will clear from the beer well, and leave a malty profile. More fruity than WLP002, English Ale Yeast. Good yeast for English style ales including...
[ read more... ]

Steven, otherwise known as zVulture on reddit or in games, is a homebrewer with two years and counting under the belt. Ambitious enough to think he can work his way up to opening his own brewery but knows he has a lot to learn. Beyond having fun doing experimental homebrewing to such an end, he enjoys learning and using old techniques, useful or not, to make beer. "[We] are only concerned with giving homebrewers accurate information based on our own experience in the hope that they will find the information useful and employ it to make their own homebrewing hobby more fun and rewarding. Because that’s what it’s all about– fun. If you’re stressing over homebrewing, you’re doing something wrong." - Denny Conn

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Tags for this post: IPA, Indian Pale Ale, Pale Ale, White Labs, Yeast

An Appeal for Awesomeness From the Community

Posted by homebrewdad on 6/09/2016 at 10:52:33 AM

Today, I'm going to shift gears a bit from my normal beer-related musings, and turn for a bit to a more serious topic.

I admit it. I tend to get caught up in the day to day struggles of life, find myself mired down in my latest set of problems big and small, and sometimes lose sight of the forest for the trees. Yes, my workload is heavy. Yes, my life can be stressful. Yes, life can sometimes be harder than I would like for it to be.

But all in all, I have a good life. I have a wonderful, big family. I get to brew beer (and ramble on in internet posts about doing so), coach little league baseball, play various online games. By and large, I have my health, as does everyone in my family. All too often, I take that for granted.

My wife has a friend who has just been rudely informed that not everyone is that lucky. This lady has an eight year old son named Andrew that just had his entire life turned upside down. One day, he was a normal kid - a kid of the exact same age as one of my sons - and the next, he was in the hospital, facing an unimaginably scary diagnosis.

Andrew had a fairly large, aggressive tumor in his brain. At first, doctors felt it was benign - though still in need of immediate attention, because brain tumor - but the long term...
[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: Andrew, Fambrough, cancer, well wishes, brain, tumor

Brewing an IPA with Twenty-Five Strains of Yeast

Posted by homebrewdad on 6/01/2016 at 11:05:51 AM

A few weeks ago, a gentleman from Southern Hills Homebrew Supply in Roanoke, Virginia made an interesting post on /r/homebrewing about how he had taken a large number of expired yeast vials (twenty-five strains, to be exact) and had made combined them into a gigantic five gallon "starter". All told, he had combined fifty-nine vials of yeast (most of them English or American in origin, with a couple from Germany), and was planning to simply give away the resulting blend to anyone who wanted to drop by his shop and pick up a sample.

This immediately piqued my interest, but Virginia isn't exactly a quick drive from me here in Alabama, so I shot him a message to ask if he would consider sending any via mail. He was up for it, and before long, I was the proud owner of a recycled White Labs vial now filled with this blend he had naturally dubbed "Frankenyeast".

It should come as no shock that a potential Frankenyeast brew shot to the top of my "to brew" list... though I needed to figure out what, exactly, I planned to brew. At first, I had thought I would focus on something malt forward, something maybe lower in gravity, something to let the yeast shine. My thoughts turned to pale ales, maybe my first shot at a British Golden Ale... but before long, the brewing muse grabbed me with the idea of a super fruity IPA to play well with what I...
[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: yeast, strain, variety, frankenyeast, ipa, beer, hops, homebrew, el dorado, au summer, Australian, summer

White Labs Tasting - Maibock, Barleywine and Belgian Strong

Posted by zVulture on 5/05/2016 at 11:05:15 PM


Making up a bit for last week and making sure to hit these more limited released beers, I am covering some of the heavier hitters as these are all high ABV. Tack on the drinking at the company social before forgive any more creative wording as I go on in this review.


WLP833 German Bock Lager Yeast

White Labs Description - From the Alps of southern Bavaria, this yeast produces a beer that is well balanced between malt and hop character. The excellent malt profile makes it well suited for Bocks, Doppelbocks, and Oktoberfest style beers. Very versatile lager yeast, it is so well balanced that it has gained tremendous popularity for use in Classic American style Pilsners. Also good for Helles style lager beer.
Aroma: A little bit of sweet maltiness tied with some pear-like ester.
Taste: The aroma seems to follow along with the taste, I get the expected maltiness, sweet and thicker finish to this beer. There is that bit of esters that slips right into a little bitter harshness that adds almost a little too much bite to the beer, at least for me.
Personal Ideas: I could see this being smoothed out a little more with aging, using some oak (no bourbon/etc, just plain), or some more malt complexity to really showcase the yeast at this high ABV.

WLP920 Old Bavarian Lager Yeast

White Labs Description - From Southern Germany,...
[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: White Labs, Yeast, Belgian Strong, Barleywine, Maibock

Odd Beer #3: Dunkelweizenbock

Posted by zVulture on 4/14/2016 at 09:38:23 PM


This is partly a continuation of the Odd Beer series and an experiment on putting my yeast blend to the test. There isn't really a style anymore for this beer as there are elements from the different yeasts and far more roast in it than normal for even the blasphemy version of this style I make and so I could only call it a Dunkelweizenbock. Mostly because a Heavy Dark Belgian Wheat just didn't sound sophisticated enough for all that was going into the beer.


Type: All Grain, No-Sparge
Style: 15b Dunkelweizen (haha who am I kidding)
Alcohol: ~8.5%
IBU: ~17
Batch Vol: 5.50 gal
Final Vol: 5.00 gal

Amount Name Type Addition %Bill/IBU
7 lb White Wheat Malt Grain Mash 38%
4 lbs Dark Munuch Malt Grain Mash 22%
4 lbs Pilsner (German) Grain Mash 22%
2 lb Flaked Wheat Grain Mash 11%
1 lb Caramunich III Malt Grain Mash 5%
0.25 lb (4 oz) Carafa Special III Grain Mash 1%
0.5 lb (8 oz) Rice Hulls Grain Mash N/A
1 oz Hallertau [4%] Hop Boil 60.0 min 12
1 oz Hallertau [4%] Hop Boil 10.0 min 5
0.5 Packet (75m-100m cells) Hefeweizen Ale Yeast (White Labs WLP300) Yeast Pitch Temp -
0.5 Packet (75m-100m cells) Bastogne
[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: Odd Beer, Dunkelweizen, Weizenbock, Dark Wheat

In Pursuit of History: Brewing a Kentucky Common

Posted by homebrewdad on 4/14/2016 at 01:03:36 AM

Just after Valentine's Day, one of the awesome guys on my brewing email list sent out an link to's "Trending American Retro Beers" article, and mentioned how he thought that the Kentucky Common would be my sort of beer. Now, I had heard of the style before, but after reading about the beer (they describe the commercial example as "caramel-forward, with low hop bitterness and a lightly mineral finish to keep it refreshing"), it woke the beer recipe muse in my head.

We discussed various ideas, argued on whether or not sour mashing was an appropriate measure to take, and kicked around the idea of various extra steps (such as boiling down first runnings). I found myself looking at a fair number of recipes online, reading through the BJCP guidelines for the style, and seeking out what historical notes I could find for this beer (Wikipedia's entry was a great starting place for research)... and soon enough, I was sold on trying to brew a Kentucky Common.

First off, I decided to *not* incorporate a sour mash. From what I could tell, all ideas about sour mashing came from the notion that, hey, bourbon from the area obviously incorporated sour mashing, so beer brewing had to do the same, right? However, I could not find a single historical source that suggested a sour mash was ever employed. Instead, it appeared that this beer was produced and packaged quickly, with an emphasis on making an...
[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: Kentucky, common, historical, beer, homebrew

On Crushing Grains - a Beginner's Guide

Posted by toklas on 4/02/2016 at 11:53:35 AM


This may seem like a really silly post to some of you seasoned vets out there, but this is for the folks who are just a bit afraid of starting all grain. There were two major things that really held me back for a while from switching to all-grain:

  1. The myth that everything is really heavy, especially the BIAB grain bag.

Ok, everybody: this is not true for normal 5 gallon batches. The grain bag is not any heavier than a few shopping bags full of groceries. The filled carboy/bucket is heavier than the wet grain bag, and if you’re already making kit beer you’re already lifting the filled carboy. Ergo, you are strong enough to lift the wet grain bag. End myth.

  1. Crushing grain is scary, and using a grain mill is scary.

This part actually really scared me. I was afraid of using it wrong, I am not comfortable using a drill, there are so many pieces and bits and it’s just really intimidating if you never use

[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: homebrewing, grains, crush

White Labs Wheat Ale Yeast Tasting

Posted by zVulture on 4/01/2016 at 12:09:42 AM


This is a continuation of the White Labs yeast tasting series. While the name needed to be kept short it isn't literally tasting yeast. They have a tasting room at their local facility which serves flights of the same base beer fermented with different yeasts. It gives a great perspective into how these yeasts are different though there might be better ways to draw the flavor from each. This time, I am going to cover the Wheat Beer flight! Though note I am running these by request and have bias on these yeasts due to my research on making my own Dunkelweizen. Still, I will keep mostly impartial to their strengths as best I can.

Todays subject: Wheat Ale Yeasts - Hefeweizen Base

From left to right, WLP080 - WLP300 - WLP320 - WLP351

WLP080 Cream Ale Yeast Blend

White Labs Description - This is a blend of ale and lager yeast strains. The strains work together to create a clean, crisp, light American lager style ale. A pleasing estery aroma may be perceived from the ale yeast contribution. Hop flavors and bitterness are slightly subdued. Slight sulfur will be produced during fermentation, from the lager yeast.
Aroma: Very light ester with a light acidity with an almost nail polish finish though not unpleasant.
Taste: Lightly dry, clean almost lager like profile closer to the pilsners. Very light body makes it a refreshing beer.
Personal Ideas: This would be a nice...
[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: White Labs, Yeast, Beer Tasting, Hefewiezen, Wheat

White Labs Lager Yeast Tasting

Posted by zVulture on 3/17/2016 at 11:13:58 PM


Living in San Diego where White Labs is located has been a great boon to my beer making. These guys offer four or five flights of four beers each with a different yeast. Each flight is made using the same base beer which makes it amazing to compare notes to each variety being used. That being said, the same elements used could impact the potential output of these flavors but it is a far greater insight into the elements that a yeast add to beer. Upon suggestion by an /r/homebrewing member when discussing yeasts, I am now 'sacrificing' myself to drink and review the yeasts. This is very subjective, I am not BJCP certified and not trained in judging beers so the words I use to describe them are my own. Feel free to correct or add input to the information I have here if you have experience with these yeasts.

Todays subject: Lager Yeasts - Pilsner Base

WLP802 Czeck Budejovice Lager

White Labs Description - Pilsner lager yeast from Southern Czech Republic. Produces dry and crisp lagers, with low diacetyl production.
Aroma: Light almost peach or apricot, very light plastic that I attribute to belgian types
Taste: Clean, light esters but no noticeable type which helps counter the very dry finish.
Personal Ideas: Dry summer lager with a lemon slice, could see soft or very light fruit additions or even just tiny bit of smoked malt. I wouldn't want to do much as the...
[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: White Labs, Yeast, Tasting Notes

Brewing an IPA with a Full Pound of Hops

Posted by homebrewdad on 3/08/2016 at 10:44:31 AM

This past Christmas, Santa Claus (with the help of my awesome wife) hooked me up with a fantastic start to a kegging system - three ball lock kegs, a regulator, new CO2 bottle, four way manifold, one Perlick faucet, and lots of assorted hoses, o-rings, and fittings. For four years, I've been a pretty staunch bottling guy; despite a couple of run ins with bottle infections, I had always found it to be a good fit for me. I don't drink a lot of beer (and give a lot away), so bottling was great for that. I also enjoy coming up with some pretty cool labels for my beers, and have an awesome artist friend who draws them for me.

The few months leading up to Christmas found me really pondering the benefits of kegging for the first time since I started brewing. In a development that likely comes as no surprise to most brewers, my growing love for IPAs was directly responsible for this. Believe it or not, it took me a good two and a half years of homebrewing before I even began to tolerate hoppy beers; for the longest time, I found that even fairly tame APAs were just too bitter for my tastes. However, I kept trying various hoppy beers, and lo and behold - my tastes changed. Yes, Virginia, there *is* a lupulin shift fairy!

In what seems to be a pretty common theme among homebrewers, I found myself chasing that elusive, big punch of...
[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: hops, IPA, pound, heavily hopped, dry hop, aroma

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