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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 base for a low ABV hoppy wheat ale (Session White IPA or Hoppy American Wheat) though I would likely try to dry it out even further with the more citrus hops. If I was matching expectations for a wheat beer, even if it is a cream ale yeast, I would slide toward using more flaked wheat in the bill in order to bring out a more wheat mouthfeel and flavor without impacting the dryness as...
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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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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...
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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...
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Tags for this post: hops, IPA, pound, heavily hopped, dry hop, aroma

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

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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

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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
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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

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

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