Monthly Archives: February 2012

Tmave Vycepni 10 Brewday #19

Today was my first brewing of a lager. The thought was to 1) take advantage of my cold basement and also 2) take advantage of Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager’s purported ability to ferment pretty clean at warmer temps. My basement sits at 57F right now and Wyeast lists the ranges at 45-55F and 65F-68F. So I land just above the lager ferment temps, and I’m happy to take this chance. My third thought was to make something a co-worker experienced while in Prague a few years ago – a malty, dark, hoppy easy drinking lager.

The only reference I could really find was from Northern Brewer who released a kit for this a couple of years ago. I was able to find the link up to a few days ago, and now cannot locate it on their website. [edit: here is the website] They did use a private collection, limited release Wyeast product ‘Staro Prague’ 2782-PC. Since I had no way to get my hands on this, I picked the next best thing for myself, the Bohemian lager. Brewing TV (Northern Brewer) had a recent episode on “Lager Workarounds” and this yeast was pointed out as a good way to get a pseudo-lager.

The brew day was the same as any other beer, other than I chilled down to 60F, let it sit to get close to the 57F of the basement and pitched my starter.

Yes, I made a starter a few days ago, getting my pitch amount near the top end for a lager of this batch size (3 gallons). The was the second starter I’ve made, and am quite happy about how easy it is and how decent the fermentation has been.

The color was beautiful, and I am excited to get this into bottles in the next 4 weeks or so (I won’t do a full lager)

Rinsed Yeast

First Yeast Rinsing (Washing)

After much reading, reviewing and contemplation, I decided to give yeast washing (really rinsing) a shot.

Settling Out Yeast from the Bucket

First, what is Yeast Rinsing?  It’s simply adding boiled and cooled water to a yeast cake, mixing it up, and pouring into another container.  Waiting for the trub to settle out, and then trying to pour off just yeast to another container.  At some point, you seal up the containers and put in the frige.

Some people have reportedly been able to re-use yeast by this method up to a year after ‘harvesting’.  The key is to use a starter prior to repitching, at least in my opinion.

What is truly washing yeast?  I’ve never done this myself, and seen very little written about it.  In the Yeast book by Jamil Z and Chris White, it is described as pouring a fairly highly acidic solution into the mixed yeast, which by theory, will kill off the various bacteria that could be present, and also will start to damage the yeast themselves.  It’s pitched fairly quickly after ‘washing’ in acid.

3 Layers in Larger Jar

So, my first attempt was on some dry yeast that I harvested off a cake from my brown ale.  It is S-04, and this is my first use of 04.  As far as the S-04, I can describe more about it later on my initial tasting notes on my newly named ‘Deer Balm’ Brown Ale which I should post in the next week (batch #17).

I poured ~ 1/2 gallon of boiled, cooled water onto my yeast cake from my fermentation bucket.  After about 30 minutes I carefully and slowly poured off part of this yeasty/watery mix into an old pickle jar.  I let the pickle jar settle for about 30 minutes, and after seeing the three layers start to materialize, I slowly and carefully poured the middle yeasty layer into three 8 ounce jelly jars that I had boiled and cooled.

You can see the picture of the jars after 24 hours in the fridge, there is a nice layer of yeast on the bottom and a fairly clear light brown layer of water on top.   I hope to use one of these containers in the next 2-3 months, and then harvest THAT yeast cake (generation 2) for future use.

Yeast in Jelly Jars

Rinsed Yeast

Bottling Trick

I can’t claim any originality in this idea, I picked it up here.  This is a real back saver, and I thought I would pass it on.

I had been reading a bit on about improving the whole bottling experience and I can report that one little change I made has made a huge difference in how painful (or less painful) bottling day can be.

I bought a bottling valve (plastic valve) at the homebrew store for less than $4, drilled a hole in my bottling bucket and then cut off a 1 inch piece of racking tubing and connected that to my bottling bucket valve, and then on the other side of that tubing I connected my bottling wand.

To use this, I simple rack my beer to the bottling bucket as normal, move the bottling bucked to a high position, open the valve and presto!   As soon as I push up a bottle to the bottling wand, I start filling a bottle.


This makes it so much better than fighting a long piece of tubing on top of worrying about the bottom of my auto siphon, and it frees up my hands to work the bottles.



First Tasting Of “St Teresas” Irish Red Ale

And a new name, a final name for the Irish Red ale.  My wife gave the name, she is always in charge of the creative work.  Teresa is a good friend of hers that should be here in about a week, visiting from D.C.

Only six days in the bottle and it is pretty wonderful!  This is a beer I’ll brew again that is for sure.  I’m pretty happy with this.  It was before I bought my digital scale and the hops are a shot in the dark, but turned out well.  I have my BIAB Brew in a bag pretty much dial ed in, I should have a good result actually following my recipe.


Now I finally have a mill of my own.  It’s an old school corona mill, which should be pretty good for BIAB.  It should work well for getting a good fine grind.

I’ll do a formal review of the beer in a week or so after I get more carbonation.


S.O.B Black Heart Imp Stout

Sometimes it’s nice to sit down and enjoy a strong refreshing dark malty beer.  Sometimes it is OK not to only drink a session beer, and instead imbibe in something a tad stronger.  Tonight I’m enjoying Southern Oregon Brewing seasonal, Black Heart Imperial Stout.

This 8.5% behemoth on the bottom end of the Russian Imperial Stout strength ranking (8-12%) still packs a full range of flavors and taste.

Aroma – (8/12) Rich with a sweet scent of estery fruit, dark fruits (plumbs and raisins) come to mind of course.  A slight scent of the darker malt is there, not very burnt like one would get typically in this style.  A definite alcohol, with port like character rounds out the nice aroma.

Appearance – (3/3) Jet black pretty much opaque.  A slim off tan head sat for a few minutes and slowly dissipated as one expects with this level of alcohol.  A slight appearance of ‘legs’ or the beginnings anyways.  Nice to see.

Flavor – (16/20)Slight maltiness with a near overpowering fruity ester backed by a decent alcohol. The grains, burnt or otherwise are subdued, and this beer is more about fruit and alcohol.  There is almost no hint of coffee like one typically finds in this style and very little chocolate.  The balance leans towards the sweetness provided by the fruitlike esters and alcohol and has little hop bitterness on the other side.

Mouthfeel – (4/5) Low carbonation lets the sweetness come through, not very chewy in that same way.  A slight warmth exists and borders on syrupy, but not too close.

Overall Impression – (8/10) A large dark ale accentuated by the fruits and alcohol that leaves the roast grains behind.  I enjoy the easy drinking nature in that same way, and doesn’t overpower the palate with roast, burnt, or hop bitterness.  A great job highlighting a sweeter side of this style.

Review: 39/50 on my first attempt at a BJCP style judging.  That seems to land about right looking at an overall score and where I perceive this on the first sip.  A steal at $3.79 for a 22oz bomber at Fred Meyer locally (Portland).  I generally have enjoyed S.O.B’s offerings and another bottle of this one will end up in my basement for a year or two, and we can review how it ages.


Bottle Woes

Another bottling day today, and it’s just a reminder of how much I dislike bottling. Maybe someday I’ll get set back up for kegging. In the meantime, I will just tough it out and bottle.
I packaged up my brew #16, Keeney’s Irish Red ale. This brew is the 1.066 that came out fairly high on the SG due to poor water management on my part. I’ve since done a better job of noting and accounting for my water (My Moose Drool clone – #17 is a shining example).
So, the taste uncarbonated and unsettled wasn’t that wonderful. A dull bitterness and a slight sweetness, almost cider like, maybe it is the green apple thing. Hoping for no traces of that after carbing in the bottles. So, according to Yeast by Chris White and Jamil Z, the green apple flavor comes via Acetaldehyde and the only reason that fits my situation is overpitching. I did rack this beer onto a yeast cake (US-05) from my Scottish Ale, and this could be the reason.
I’ll give another look at it in a couple of weeks when I open my first bottle.


An update on my Deer Slobber, for lack of a better name of the Moose Drool clone. It hit FG in 4 days, and I was very happy about that. This was my first go-round with Safale S-04. It had a wonderful nutty flavor and I was pleased with my small sip after the 4th day. I may bottle this on Saturday, I don’t want to leave it on the yeast too long.

More updates later on.