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The 7 Hour Boil, Single Malt Barleywine

Posted by wildscientist on 4/14/2015 at 10:20:49 AM

My normal brew day goes something like this: 8am pick up RO water, mashing by 9am, draining first runnings by 10:15am, do one batch sparge, have a nice rolling boil a little after 11am, and start cooling down my wort by 12:30pm - 1pm at the latest. Fill up carboys with cooled wort, place them into the fermentation chamber and pitch yeast. Everything is cleaned up and back in its place, ready to go for next time by 2pm; a nice and tidy 5-hour brew day from water to wort to future beer.

My basic brewing setup.

So what drove me to have a boil longer than my normal brew day? Well, it started with an article called "Meeting 'Mr. Maillard' After a Nine Hour Boil". The article describes a very simple process to make a very complex thing. It talks of food science and history and making something that's unique to what brewing has become today. The article focuses on Gigantic Brewing's barleywine Massive. Massive is a simple beer that belies the tasting notes you'll find online, and that's what intrigued me to make a similar beer. Based on Gigantic's own recipe, Massive uses 100% Thomas Fawcett Halcyon malt with Magnum hops for bittering, Cascade and Willamette for aroma and flavor, and then it's dry-hopped with Mosaic. Even before I looked up the recipe (and before I finished the article) I knew I was adding this to my brewing queue.

Now that I had a new far out there beer to brew, I had to come up with a recipe to call my own. Sure I could just make a Massive clone, but what's the fun in that? I like taking multiple iterations of tried and true to-style recipes and tweaking them here and there to make them my own, but with only one recipe... that's kind of hard to do. The obvious base malt choice was plain old super simple American 2-row. Living in San Diego, I can't walk down the street without being hit with fruity/tropical/juicy hops flavors, but I didn't want that here. I wanted herbal earthiness with spice and pine and just a touch of citrus. I decided to make this a truly American barleywine with Warrior hops for bittering, Liberty and Glacier hops added late to the boil (very, very, very late), and a flameout addition of Simcoe hops.

Crazy brewing idea: hatched. Recipe: generated. Now I had to bring it all together and brew. I had a robust porter already in mind that I wanted to age on tart cherries, so I figured I'd use the porter as a starter since it was going be a smallish beer with not a lot of hop character. Brew day came and I picked up 15 gallons of RO water. After grain absorption I'd be left with around 12 gallons to boil down to 5.5, which sounded about right to me. So I heated up 7.5 gallons of water, added 1.5 tsps of calcium chloride and 3 tsps of gypsum and mashed in. I mashed at 148F for an hour and drained the first runnings into my boil kettle (saving a sample of the wort to monitor color change). I added the remaining 7.5 gallons of 180F sparge water (untreated) for my batch sparge, drained that into the kettle, and started the boil. After the hot break subsided, I adjusted my flame to have a nice low rolling boil, and waited... and waited... and waited... and, you guessed it, waited.

Keep boiling, boiling, boiling, boiling!

After about 2.5 hours in, I realized I was boiling off faster than anticipated, so I had to run and get some more water. I came back, added 2 gallons of water, cranked the flame up and got it back to boiling in no time. I then took another sample of the wort for comparison purposes, and was quite pleased to see a pretty dramatic color change already. Coincidentally the gravity readings between first runnings and the second sample were almost identical, so the color change was definitely from the boil and not just concentrating sugars. At the 6 hour mark, I checked the liquid level again and realized I was already at 5.5 gallons in my kettle, so I added another gallon of water, brought it back to a boil, and added the Warrior hops. 45 minutes later I added my first round of Liberty and Glacier hops. 10 minutes after that I added my second round of Liberty and Glacier. I turned the flame off after 7 hours, tossed in the Simcoe and let that stand for 15 minutes before cooling down. I got the wort down to around 70F before draining it onto the porter’s WLP090 San Diego Super Yeast cake. I placed it in my fermentation chamber, slapped the temperature probe on the carboy and set it to 64F. Visible fermentation started in a few hours and after 12 hours with an already very vigorous fermentation, I decided to drop the temp to 62.5F to try and keep fermentation as clean as possible during the first few days.

I took one final wort sample for color comparison's sake before the first addition of Liberty and Glacier hops. The gravity on that was a healthy 1.120. Now I should have diluted this down to around 1.070 like the other samples for a true color comparison, but I was too excited that this crazy idea seemed to have worked to think of that at the time. As you can see, the color change is quite dramatic. But what you can’t see is the taste difference. The first runnings taste like the most boring sweet simple grainy sugar solution ever. The 3.5 hour sample has a complexity to it that I was surprised by even though I was expecting it. It was fruity and with a sort of sourness in the background (not acidic sour though; it’s hard to explain) with no caramelized sugar taste at all. The final sample was just like the 3.5-hour sample only kicked up many degrees. The OG ended up at 1.122 and it smells like heaven. Time will tell how it turns out, but as of right now, I think I've got a winner of a beer here.

The effects of boil time on color.

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Batch Size (gallons)5.5
Recipe typeAll Grain
Style19C. American Barleywine
Original Gravity1.122
Final Gravity1.025
ABV12.73% (basic)   /   12.99% (advanced)       [what's this?]
Color25 SRM
Boil Time420 min

YeastWhite Labs WLP090 (San Diego Super Yeast)

Pale Malt (2 Row) US22 lbs100%2

Warrior (Boil)1 oz6017.3%39.6
Glacier (Boil)2 oz155.4%12.3
Liberty (Boil)2 oz154.9%11.1
Glacier (Boil)2 oz55.4%4.9
Liberty (Boil)2 oz54.9%4.5
Simcoe (Steep/whirlpool)4 oz1512.1%22

for complete recipe (with details like mash and fermentation temps), click here

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Wow, sounds great. When's the tasting party?

posted by jetskeez on 4/15/2015 at 01:55:04 AM

Tags for this post: 7 hour, boil, maillard, barleywine, color

5 Minute All-Grain IPA!

Posted by skunkfunk on 3/25/2015 at 06:20:18 PM

Partly because of our favorite exBEERimentalist I've found my brew days  getting shorter and shorter. I'm done with the mash as soon as I hit gravity, I don't worry about trub, and I've even quit chilling below 120F before throwing the beer in the fermentation chamber.
Well, this one needs to be even faster! My firstborn arrived 2 months ago and I was told that I didn't have time to brew. My wife also complained about the humidity of a stove top boil which rules out a small BIAB batch, too. Or does it?
This is a little experiment of mine. Keep in mind this isn't answering questions about what difference a boil makes, or whether your beer will be better with or without it. There is no control batch, only the final beer. My intent with this brew is to find out whether I can make a good beer with less boil time! Surely this will have intolerable DMS, you say? Let's find out. To reduce this possibility I'll avoid using any pilsner malt  and make it an ale, as DMS may or may not be somewhat  more volatile at ale fermentation temps than at lager temps. I'll likely rarely (if ever) use this technique going forward but why not see whether I can learn anything from it?
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Tags for this post: IPA, boil, homebrew, f minute

How to Toast Flaked Oats - a Video Tutorial

Posted by homebrewdad on 3/20/2015 at 12:49:17 AM

This coming weekend, I am taking another stab at brewing an oatmeal toffee stout. Of course, like any oatmeal stout, it will contain flaked oats.

Flaked oats, like other flaked grains (flaked barley and flaked wheat) add body, head formation, and head retention to a beer. However, flaked oats are special - they add a fantastic, silky creaminess to a beer that is tough to duplicate with any other method or ingredient. I personally get my flaked oats from the LHBS as they are inexpensive and I can do some "one stop shopping". Others prefer to pick up instant oatmeal from the grocery store, due to the fact that it's the same thing. I haven't priced the two side by side, and am not sure that it's worth an extra trip to the grocery store to potentially save a few cents on oats... but YMMV.

They don't add a ton of flavor by themselves, but if you toast your flaked oats, you can absolutely add another layer of flavor to your beer. I've heard the flavor referred to as biscuity, toasty, or nutty; for my money, it's a slighlty nutty, somewhat "oatmeal cookie" flavor that plays really well in a stout - though I could see it going well in a brown ale, as well.

The process is honestly quite simple; the video below will walk you through the entire proceedure. Recently, my pal Derek of Five Blades Brewing did an excellent post on toasting oats - it's worth the...
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Tags for this post: toasting, toast, flaked, oats, brewing

Brewing a Small Batch With the Big Boys - My Brewday at Harpoon

Posted by tracebusta on 3/17/2015 at 09:13:35 AM

I work for a restaurant group that has a small handful of restaurants, a cocktail bar, and a non-profit organization that educates elementary/high school kids on food. Every year we do a fundraiser in order to buy all the school supplies needed. This year Harpoon decided to make a beer specifically for us; and luckily for me, a sous chef and I got to help with the brewing.

The beer is a German lager. We didn't use their house yeast, instead they had been propagating up some German Helles yeast. We were aiming for a session beer, right around 4%. We wanted a very full body, and hit a mash temp of 160F. This was also a small batch, we ended up at 305 gallons; just a hair under the 10 barrel mark.

The mash/lauter tun

The boil kettle
The strike water had been heated to 182F starting the night before. By the time it got through all the piping...
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Tags for this post: homebrewing, homebrew, Harpoon, brewery, 10 barrels

Culturing Yeast from the Bottle/Can

Posted by Matt on 2/27/2015 at 08:23:53 AM

About six months after I started brewing, when I first realized how important yeast selection was in the final product, I went a bit nuts with yeast and I haven't really recovered. Most everything I do is a split-batch between yeasts, and I honestly find trying new yeasts exciting. Real world example, I recently ordered two new kinds of yeast and made a three-way-split-batch on a whim because someone brought it up. Evidence here. I'm a big believer that finding the right yeast is one of the keys to a great beer, and so when I encounter a great beer one of my first questions is "What yeast did you use?". 
Unfortunately, when I ask this question about a commercial beer, the answer isn't always out there, especially since most breweries filter out the yeast from their beer. Some breweries are incredibly private about the strain of yeast they use, many which may not have an available equivalent anyways. So when I come across an unfiltered bottle of great beer, I can't help but get excited and prepare to add a new kind of yeast to my collection. 
So, how do we go about culturing yeast from a bottle/can? 
Step One: Find an unfiltered beerObviously, you need to find a beer to culture the yeast from. There are quite a few breweries out there that don't filter their beer. Find one that you like and go with it!...
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Tags for this post: yeast, bottle, beer, can, culture, grow, cells

DIY Universal Heating Element

Posted by brianj on 2/25/2015 at 01:48:13 PM

Editor's note: You should always consult an electrician before building, installing, and using DIY electrical projects.

I brew electric but my setup is quite simple. I have 2 of these elements installed in my boil kettle (also doubles as my HLT). This is a good project if you want to start converting over to electric but do not want to get into elaborate panels. The only caveat is if you are using more than 1 of these, make sure you plug them into separate circuits. Otherwise, the current draw will be too great and you will pop a breaker. For my setup, I installed 2 dedicated 120v / 20A GFCI switched outlets in my brew area. You will find many electric setups use much stronger heating elements and have some type of system in place to dial back the current once you achieve a boil. The reason for this design is for a few reasons. There is a greater liklihood that you have 120v outlets available as opposed to 240v. You can regulate the current simply by turning elements on or off (as mentioned above, mine connect to individual switched outlets). If an element fails in the middle of your brew day, you can still struggle along with one less. It's not preferable, but it beats having to dump.
You can take this project and install it into pretty much anything you can drill a hole in (kettle, mash tun, whatever). One point that I will stress is...
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Tags for this post: DIY, heating, element, ULWD, electric, 120v, 1500w, kettle

The New Domain Name for our Community has been Chosen!

Posted by homebrewdad on 2/24/2015 at 12:37:45 AM

Last summer, when I first approached the charter member group with the idea of taking my personal blog and transforming it into a full community, an issue came up - namely, the domain name of "". The argument was that it was a fine name for one guy's blog, but that it probably wasn't the best choice for an inclusive community. Well, I was reluctant to make a change in this area; after all, I had built up my "brand", as well as some decent search engine indexing, over the previous two and a half years. The community, I reasoned, would benefit from the built in exposure that would come from this existing presence, and so, I pushed to leave things be.

Just over a month ago, we celebrated the transformation of from one guy's beer blog (plus a few odds and ends) into a full online community for homebrewers. While the response was pretty positive (we have grown to nearly four hundred members in this short time), the issue came up again. Once again, though, I was really reluctant to make a change.

Then, last week, I made my post about how homebrewing should be more friendly to women. This time, the subject came back with a vengeance. How could I claim to want to have a community for all brewers when I insisted on keeping a name that was hardly inclusive to women? The charter members laid it on pretty thick, arguing for a...
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Tags for this post: domain, name, community, voting, results

Homebrewing Needs a Woman's Touch

Posted by homebrewdad on 2/19/2015 at 11:11:18 AM


It goes without saying that I love brewing.  I find it to be such a versatile hobby - maybe you get your satisfaction from the creative aspect of recipe design.  Maybe you are more interested in the scientific angles, what with the various chemical and metabolic concerns related to fermentation.  Maybe you're a gearhead, and you get a sense of accomplishment from putting together the best/fanciest equipment for your brewery.  Perhaps you are a dyed in the wool DIY enthusiast, and your enjoyment comes from designing and assembling your gear.  Maybe you just happen to like beer.

I think that it's fair to say that, yes, a lot of factors enter into the motivations for brewing.  That diversity is really enjoyable to me, as it seems that it helps to foster a healthy hobby for everyone; people coming at the same problems from so many angles seems to create a lot of valid approaches to (and solutions for) problems that we all encounter.

However, there is one major area that I find homebrewing to be sadly lacking in diversity - and that is in gender. 

It's not like the historical precedent for female brewers isn't there.  In ancient times, brewing was almost exclusively the domain of women.  The same goes for medieval times; women handled the majority of brewing, as it was more of a household chore.  Even in colonial America, women were typically responsible for domestic task of brewing for a home.  In fact, the major impetus for the morphing of...
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Tags for this post: homebrewing, women, misogyny, hobby, brewing

How I Harvest Yeast for Future Brews

Posted by homebrewdad on 2/13/2015 at 10:26:11 AM

It seems that, at some point or another, a large number of home brewers end up with an interest in reusing their yeast. It makes sense; yeast can be one of the more expensive ingredients in any given recipe (liquid yeasts often run around $8 per vial/smack pack, give or take); ignoring this reusability will cost you money. And, let's not overlook the obvious advantages in flexibility that you get by having yeast already on hand.

One of the biggest hurdles to me getting involved in this aspect of homebrewing was the popular method of yeast harvesting that had been pushed for years - that method being yeast rinsing (commonly referred to online as "washing", though these are apparently not one and the same). I had googled various tutorials, and while the approaches had subtle differences, they all came back to the same basic steps - remove some portion of trub from the carboy, rinse that to hopefully yield more or less pure slurry, let it settle, make a complete WAG as to how much actual yeast that you had. It seemed like a lot of trouble, and I had a hard time buying into just how pure the yeast really was.

A little over a year ago, a free thinker from California started discussing an alternate, ridiculously simple method of yeast harvesting on the homebrewtalk forums. It caught some traction; he opened a blog of his own and posted his method there. He focused his blog on a...
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Tags for this post: yeast harvesting, yeast, harvest, starter, brew, brewing, homebrewing

Home Brewed Water: A review of the RO Buddie Filter System

Posted by nickosuave311 on 2/12/2015 at 09:57:52 AM


I’ve been relatively inactive on since its inception, posting only a few recipes of mine and glossing over the dozens of email threads that blow up my phone every day. I can clearly see that this site’s popularity is booming, and since I’m not interesting enough to have my own home brewing blog, I’m going to share my endeavors here.

This past spring, my fiancée and I moved from the city of Minneapolis to a nearby suburb, leaving behind some of the best brewing water in the upper Midwest. Although I now have enough space to store all of my equipment and sate this hobby’s appetite, I am left with something barely passing as “drinking water”. An antiquated water report reveals a hardness north of 300 ppm which is essentially unusable to brew with, and despite my numerous failed attempts to contact the city for an updated report, I was forced to buy my water from the grocery store.

I should point out that making the transition to “blank slate” Reverse Osmosis water has been a change for the positive. Measuring my mash and sparge volumes has never been easier. It took a couple brew days to get my water adjustments dialed in, but because there is essentially no alkalinity to worry about pH adjustment is very simple. The downside is that I was forced to haul 20 one-gallon jugs with me to the grocery store, spend all that time filling them, then hauling them back....
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Tags for this post: RO, water, pH, adjustment, filter, profile

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