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Odd Beers #2: Mountain Dew Pale Ale

Posted by zVulture on 3/03/2016 at 11:41:19 PM


So this is a continuation of the Odd Beer series I am doing, the first was the Orange Creamsicle Ale. While that one was a creation of my own, this is the first of the set that was suggested by users. The recipe was spawned off this recipe from /u/somethin_brewin but modified to my crazy ideas...

Mountain Dew Pale Ale

Type: BIAB & Dew
Style: Experimental Pale Ale
Alcohol: ~6%
Efficiency: 70%
IBU: ~20
Batch Vol: 5.50 gal
Bottle/Keg Vol: 5.00 gal

Amount Name Type Addition %Bill/IBU
4 lb Golden Promise Grain Mash 44%
1 lbs Crystal 40L Grain Mash 11%
4 Gallons Mountain Dew Adjunct Start of Boil 44%
0.50 oz Citra [12%] Hop Boil 30 min ~16 IBU
1.00 oz Amarillo [9%] Hop Boil 30 min ~24 IBU
0.50 oz Sorachi Ace [13%] Hop Boil 5 min ~5 IBU
2L Starter Yeast Bay Vermont Ale Yeast Yeast Pitch Temp -

The adjunct change I made to the recommended recipe was to go with Golden Promise as I was only adding in five pounds of grain in an entire five gallon batch. I wanted the beer to have some indication of actual beer flavor. Treating it like a Session, the base malt was swapped out to try and get more out of each ingredient. The second change was the hop addition and schedule. I had planned to use Sorachi Ace in other beers so I wanted to try it out. The idea of the lemon in it would be a nice addition to the more citrus flavors too. My experience with the hop was little and I quickly was educated by my homebrew shop that I would get far too much Dill

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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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This is crazy. And awesome!

posted by homebrewdad on 3/03/2016 at 11:45:04 PM

Tags for this post: Mountain Dew, Pale Ale, Odd Beer, Soda

QUAFF Maple Bourbon Barrel Project Part 3

Posted by zVulture on 2/25/2016 at 10:52:19 PM


While I have covered the first of the barrel aged beers, the Old Ale, the keg finally arrived for the Breakfast Stout! For those that are reading this series for the first time, a bunch of local homebrewers got together on a group buy of Bourbon Barrels that were used to age maple syrup. These were then used of course to age beer which we brewed at Arcana Brewing on their 3bbl system. Compared to the first recipe, this was quite a bit more involved as it we wanted to clone Founder's Breakfast Stout. Thankfully the recipe was given by the brewery and printed in Zymergy Magazine (seen below). Unlike my usual recipe postings, I will just include this snippet as we only made minor adjustments (also listed below).

The minor changes to the recipe were regarding the roasted malts and coffee additions. While the value was the same, the de-bittered and chocolate malts were more what the brewery had available as we didn't want to buy a 55lb bag of each. Also the coffee used was from a local roaster so that will change the flavor depending on your preference.

Tasting the Breakfast Stout

First, I admit I am not a bit stout fan. Though it is something my roommate loves to no end so there is always too much of it at home. His words being "It needs to be so dark and dense you can't see through it with...
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Tags for this post: Breakfast Stout, Stout, Barrel, Barrel Aged, QUAFF

Odd Beer #1 - Orange Creamsicle Ale

Posted by zVulture on 2/18/2016 at 10:05:43 PM


For all my dreams of working up to going pro, homebrewing really is just a hobby right now. Repeating the same recipe with minor tweaks each time to perfect it, while a great learning experience, is just boring most times. That brings about a lack of motivation to move forward, a watering down on the passion which drives me to do more, be more. To get back to my roots I focused on the few things that brought me to the hobby in the first place. The first was being able to make beer I couldn't get anywhere else. The second was to enjoy sharing something that I had made, for better or worse the responses. And lastly, to always be learning as there is so much that is left to experience and even explore new paths not yet taken. So I decided to dedicate myself to making twelve odd beers in 2016 on top of whatever other beers I end up doing. Armed with the suggestions from Reddit I have started on the first, though just a warm up:

Orange Creamsicle Ale

This beer was an example one I provided to Reddit though I include it in one of the twelve. It experiments the use of Lactose being used on beers other than Milk Stouts. Primarily in beers that mimic flavors of dairy products. Of course I wouldn't try only one new thing at a time, I also wanted to see how to

[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: Odd Beer, Orange, Creamsicle, Orange Creamsicle, cursed

Keg Cleaning Day

Posted by toklas on 2/15/2016 at 10:02:20 PM


Occasionally I will completely take apart my kegs and clean them out, replace the O-rings, etc. Whenever I do this, it is ALWAYS a complete disaster. So I thought I’d share my disaster with you guys.


Keg, crescent wrench, new O-rings, keg lube, incredible patience.


Step 1. Have a discussion with the keg. “Keg, don’t be a jerk. We’re going to work together to get you all fixed up. Please do not give me problems”.

Step 2. Have problems.


Ok, so I’m holding the keg, husband is trying to loosen the gas-in post with the wrench. It won’t budge. Swear and struggle. Swear more. It still won’t budge, not even a bit. Get thoroughly annoyed and give up.

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Tags for this post: keg cleaning, humour, homebrewing

QUAFF Maple Bourbon Barrel Project Part 2

Posted by zVulture on 2/12/2016 at 01:17:12 AM


First I want to apologize for going quiet on the blog posts. I have been busy doing home improvement projects in my new place which has taken up most of my time. For my first post back I wanted to follow up on the QUAFF Maple Bourbon Barrel Project. This was the one where a group of ten of us got a hold of 55 gallon bourbon barrels that were used to age maple syrup.

Base Old Ale

The first of the beers we created was an Old Ale. It was picked to be a simple malty beer with molasses in it's making to help accentuate the maple syrup which would be fermented out. At 7% it should be well malty and hold up against any oxygenation that would occur when aging. For reference I am including the scaled down recipe that is also in the last post (note, this is high efficiency, adjust as needed).

Type: Fly Sparge All Grain
Style: 19a. Old Ale
Alcohol: ~7.3%
Target Original Gravity: 1.072
Efficiency: 82%
IBU: ~40
Batch Vol: 5.50 gal
Bottling Vol: 5.00 gal

Amount Name Type Addition %Bill/IBU
8.25 lb Golden Promise Grain Mash 61%
2.75 lbs Munuch Malt (10L) Grain Mash 20%
0.5 lb (8 oz) Crystal 160L Grain Mash 4%
0.5 lb (8 oz) Honey Malt Grain Mash 4%
1.5 lb Molasses Adjunct Boil 10-0 min
[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: Barrel Aging, Barrel, Old Ale, QUAFF, Maple Syrup

How to Clean your Fermentor Without Scrubbing

Posted by homebrewdad on 1/28/2016 at 12:35:27 AM

No matter what you brew, no matter how often you brew, one constant remains - you have to clean your fermentor between batches. This can sometimes be easier said than done, as dried on krausen and fermentation byproducts can be difficult to remove - especially in vessels such as carboys, which have narrow openings that prevent easy scrubbing. And, of course, matters can be further complicated if you are using plastic fermentors that may not be compatible with scrubbing due to concerns about scratches.

Dirty Carboy

Luckily, there are ways around the problem that don't force you to rely on using a glass carboy and a carboy brush... nor do you have to resort to some high-tech microfiber cloth attachment for a power drill (though the tool nut in me does admit that these look pretty cool).

Method One: the Soak

To me, the best alternative to scrubbing is to simply not scrub at all. Fill your fermentor with a solution of hot tap water and PBW (OxiClean Free is a pretty good stand in, and costs a bit less). The manufacturer recommended strength for this application is one tablespoon of PBW per gallon of water; I have found that PBW is still quite effective at lower concentrations than this.

Allow the fermentor to soak for an hour or two; an occasional swirl seems to be helpful. I have let glass carboys sit...
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Tags for this post: clean, carboy, fermentor, soaking

A Mini Mash Experiment to Explore Home-Roasted Grains

Posted by Corbinaack on 1/22/2016 at 06:10:04 PM


The Idea

When signing up for the BrewUnited Challenge, in a brief moment of ambition I decided to rise to the challenge and attempt a brown porter from light grains, because... why not? Of course, I was soon kicking myself for picking a category requiring home-roasting malts, in which I had exactly zero experience. I'd surely be at a disadvantage up against more experienced roasters. I had plenty of time to put together my recipe though, so I planned for a little trial and error.

For simplicity's sake, I opted to roast Pilsner malt for most of my dark grains. After reading up a little to get the general idea, I ended up roasting five different types: pan-roasted to two different intensities, and oven roasted three different ways - about a half pound of each. In addition to the roasted pilsners, I also took a little bit of c60, briefly moistened, and oven toasted until it slightly darkened in appearance. I let them sit in paper bags for a couple weeks to waft away unwanted aromas, and tasted each of the grains to try to get an idea of flavors. This wasn't nearly as enlightening as I'd hoped. I happened to have an evening to kill, so

[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: mini-mash, home roasted grains, RIMS, mashing experiment

Introducing the 2015 BrewUnited Challenge Homebrew Heroes!

Posted by homebrewdad on 1/21/2016 at 01:54:09 PM

Back in the summer of 2015, the BrewUnited Challenge was nothing more than a pipe dream. My experience to that point with competitions consisted of me entering one local comp; to call me a neophyte would be putting it kindly.

I did at least recognize that I didn't know what I didn't know, and I recruited a core of really good guys (Matthew Chrispen, Matt Del Fiacco, and Aaron Collier) to serve not only as the head judges for each of their respective sites, but also to help plan, to make rules, to give creative feedback, to tell me when I was being a moron. I didn't always agree, but more often than not, I listened to what they had to say; we cast votes on pretty much everything of importance (and, truth be told, more than a few items that probably were not of importance). The only time my vote ever could have counted for extra was in the event of a tied vote... and I don't believe that I ever actually exercised this power.

We kicked a lot of ideas around, but Matt C. came up with a really unique concept - the Homebrew Hero. The idea was of a special award to celebrate those brewers who showed excellence across multiple entries.

We all thought this was a good idea, and eventually settled on a few tenets for the award.

  • To qualify, a brewer's entries all had to be medal worthy - i.e., they must score at
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Tags for this post: homebrew, hero, BrewUnited, challenge, brewer

Liquid Yeast Storage Medium - Beer vs. Water

Posted by vinpaysdoc on 1/11/2016 at 12:02:20 PM


Shortly after I began brewing I ran across Brulosopher's yeast harvesting article and started my own liquid yeast bank. Initially, it was recommended that once the yeast settled you should decant the beer and replace it with sterile water. This was my practice until many of those re-using yeast started to leave the beer over the yeast cake, reasoning that the alcohol would provide some measure of protection from bacterial contamination. That sounded reasonable to me and I began to leave the beer over the yeast cake to store it. It has probably been over a year that I have been storing yeast that way and I have had this nagging feeling that it takes my starters longer to get going since I changed. I've started thinking about alcohol being toxic to cells and wondering if this is really the best practice, so, I decided to perform a little pseudo-science to see for myself if one was better than the other.

The Question

Is there a noticeable difference in starters where yeast was stored under sterile water versus yeast stored under beer?

The Method

The Yeast: WLP001 harvested from a starter 9/30/15 and WLP002 harvested 10/3/15 were used. They both were stored in the vials two months before these starters were done. One vial was stored under the beer and the other had the beer decanted off and replaced with boiled/chilled water. There were roughly 50 billion cells
[ read more... ]

Tags for this post: Yeast Harvesting, Yeast Storage Medium

On Judging and Organizing: Working on National Internet Competitions

Posted by Matt on 12/08/2015 at 12:12:54 AM


This past year, I've had quite a few beer-related honors. I was made a moderator of the /r/homebrewing community, a community I love and where I learned most of what I know about homebrewing. I've been named the technical czar of my local club, which essentially means I handle presentations and fill in if needed. I've been able to continue to bond with an awesome group of guys and learn from them. I was invited to work on a local barrel project, entirely by chance, and learned a lot from this group as well (plus, got some awesome bourbon barrel aged sour stout). 

There are other things, accomplishments I'm proud of, but none so much as the work I've been able to do with the homebrewing community, both in-person and online. The community, you, is what keeps me coming back. Without the community, I'd probably quit brewing tomorrow, which means nothing to you but quite a bit to me. Which is why I'm thrilled to have been involved in two fantastic competitions this year, the Reddit Homebrewing Competition (as the organizer) and the BrewUnited Challenge (as a site organizer/judge/steward). 

Both were huge learning experiences for me. I'd never done judging (I've been a steward), I'd never organized a competition, I'd never organized other judges. But, looking back, there are a few points that stand out that I feel the need to share about the experience. 

1. Judging is tough

When Olan
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Tags for this post: beer, homebrew, homebrewing, competitions, online competitions, BrewUnited, BrewUnited Challenge, Reddit, Reddit Homebrewing Competition

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