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Quick Sour Berliner Weisse Tasting

As a follow up to my GoodBelly Sour Wort experiment, I have the tasting notes from the ‘clean’ half of the wort, the Berliner Weisse.  Following the 26 hours of souring which dropped the pH to a tested 3.1 (I believe this reading was a bit lower than actual) I brought half of the wort up to a boil, dropped a few hop pelets in and boiled for 15 minutes to try to drive off any DMS that may have been there.  I chilled as a normal beer and pitched an active 1.3L starter of WLP-090, San Diego Super Yeast, my go to now for clean american ales.


Low malt aroma, alomost nothing noted, it is a hint of wet bread dough.  No hop aroma.  Medium to high fruit scent reminiscent of tart apple.


Very pale straw color just the slightest bit of haze.  1.5″ white head that has very little retention.  Leaves a slight bubble ring around the top of the beer after several minutes.


Very low malt similar to the aroma noted.  High sourness, very clean lactic appropriate to style.  No hop flavor noted.  Lemony and tart apple front and center, finish has the slightest bready flavor.


Light body that is appropriate.  Carbonation is very high, no alcoholic warmth, no creaminess and very crisp and sharp.

Overall Impression:

A very pale refreshing crisp tart clean sour beer that is appropriate to style, finishes with a sense of fruity sweetness and just a touch of doughy bread.

Potato pic thanks to my cracked lens cover on my phone.

Potato pic thanks to my cracked lens cover on my phone.

Some Brown Ale Action

With some scrap ingredients that I needed to use up, I changed up my Moose Drool ‘clone’ recipe a bit to get a more English bent on it.  I was able to use a random smack pack of London Ale III yeast I bought on a whim a week before, as well as use up some chocolate malt, Marris Otter and a few open packages of hops.  I’ve brewed with London Ale III once before when I had picked up a mason jar full of it from H.U.B (Hopworks Urban Brewery) in Portland, OR.  When I brewed with it before I did not notice the wet, thick mat the yeast produced.

I’ve had it around the minimum of 65F for the first four days and now moved it inside for a toasty 73F finish.  Cheers!

deer drool krausen

London Ale III Krausen













Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
3 gal 60 min
Actuals 0 0

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Northern English Brown Ale 11 C 1.04 - 1.052 1.008 - 1.014 20 - 30 12 - 22 0 - 0 0 - 0 %


Name Amount %
Caramel / Crystal 60L 9.6 oz 10.26
Chocolate 3 oz 3.21
Black Barley 1 oz 1.07
Maris Otter Pale - UK 5 lbs 85.47


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Liberty 0.5 oz 15 min Boil 4.5
Willamette 0.75 oz 60 min Boil 5.4


Name Amount Time Use Type
Gypsum 105.82 oz 0 min mash other


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Wyeast London Ale III 1318 73% 32°F - 32°F


This recipe was exported from


Mexican Lager Yeast

For my first foray into lagers after all of these years I’ve decided to go with a Vienna Lager ala Negra Modelo so what better yeast than WLP 940 Mexican Lager Yeast.   I have about 1.5l starter going now for my 3 gallon batch which should give me just enough extra yeast to pour off into a tube to refrigerate for later use.  I’ll post my proposed recipe after my brew day this Sunday as well as some pics of finally installing a stainless valve and 2″ thermometer in my cheapo aluminum pot.


Spices for Pumpkin Saison

Pumpkin Saison


My fall season beer this year will be different than most brewers offer.  I’m sticking with the Saison theme and taking it up a notch.


Test Recipe below:

Pumpkin Spice Saison

Saison by ibrewaletx (13)

  • TypeAll Grain
  • Efficiency75.0%
  • Batch size3.0 gal
  • Boil time60 min


American 2-Row 4.5 lb69 % Mash 38
Pumpkin 10.0 oz9 % Mash 5
Biscuit® MD™calc 5.0 oz4 % Mash 34
Wheat Malt 5.0 oz4 % Mash 38
2-Row Caramel Malt 80L 5.0 oz4 % Mash 34
Piloncillo 6.0 oz5 % 36


Styrian Golding Slovenia 0.6 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 5.2%
Saaz United States 0.3 oz 20 min Boil Pellet 3.8%


Belle Saison  Danstar 82.5% 70°F – 90°F


Cinnamon Sticks 2.0 each 10.0 min Boil
Nutmeg (Ground) 1.8 tsp 10.0 min Boil
Whole Cloves 3.0 each 10.0 min Boil

Mash steps

Saccharification Rest Direct Heat 148 degF 60 min
Mash-Out Direct Heat 170 degF 10 min
Check out the new Mash Water Calculator

Predicted Stats

1.057 OG
1.010 FG
22 IBU
6.1% ABV Saison BeerXML File

‘Cottage’ Saison

Another recipe I’ve lifted from Homebrewtalk, this one because it is 72F at the lowest in my basement and I don’t want to wait 1-2 months for the cooler weather to come along to brew.

I brewed on 8/4/13 and on 8/8/13 it was already down to 1.003.  I started the fermentation at 72F for 24 hours & then moved it upstairs for a 74F avg temp.

Here is the 3 gallon recipe:

Link to BeerXML and website


Cottage Saison 3gal

Recipe Specs
Batch Size (G): 3.0
Total Grain (lb): 6.750
Total Hops (oz): 1.20
Original Gravity (OG): 1.064 (°P): 15.7
Final Gravity (FG): 1.008 (°P): 2.1
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 7.37 %
Colour (SRM): 6.6 (EBC): 13.0
Bitterness (IBU): 31.6 (Average)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 72
Boil Time (Minutes): 60

Grain Bill
4.500 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Bel (66.67%)
1.000 lb White Wheat Malt (14.81%)
0.750 lb Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (11.11%)
0.250 lb Caramunich Malt (3.7%)
0.250 lb Oats, Flaked (3.7%)

Hop Bill
0.20 oz Sorachi Ace Leaf (16.7% Alpha) @ 60 Minutes (First Wort) (0.1 oz/Gal)
0.50 oz Hallertauer Pellet (4.8% Alpha) @ 30 Minutes (Boil) (0.2 oz/Gal)
0.50 oz Hallertauer Pellet (4.8% Alpha) @ 0 Minutes (Aroma) (0.2 oz/Gal)

Misc Bill
0.17 oz Black Pepper @ 5 Minutes (Boil)

Single step Infusion at 148°F for 90 Minutes.
Fermented at 67°F with Belle Saison

Flaked Wheat

“Red Louse” Wit Brewday

I have moved away from naming my brews unless it is a recipe I will repeat which has not been very many.  This beer was an exception since hours after ending my brew day my wife, niece and grand niece (who were staying at our house for a while) discovered lice.  What I thought was a long brew day turned into a tortuous delousing night that lasted well past 2:00am.

The good news is the lice are under control and gone for now, I already have short hair and now issues, and the ‘trauma’ has given me a name for this beer.  The ‘Red’ will be 1 oz of hibiscus tea I will add to it at kegging time.

It was again another 3 gallon batch, which I will likely keep doing (with my 2.5 gallon kegs especially) unless it is a repeat sure fire winning recipe I want to hand out and drink again.   This was only my second Belgian Wit attempt, the first last year was wonderful (used Wyeast 3944) and was fairly popular.  But, ever changing, the recipe was different this time, I went with nearly a 50/50 split with 2-row and flaked wheat.  A pinch of Munich added to top it off.  That was it.

Also different in this recipe is my first shot with Wyeast Forbidden Fruit (Wyeat 3463).

  • 2lb 9 oz 2-row
  • 2lb 9 oz Flaked wheat
  • 8 oz Munich (light)
  • 1 oz 4.6% Hallertau for 60 minutes
  • Mashed at 122F for 15 minutes and 154F for 60 minutes
  • Zest of 2 Cara Cara Oranges at 2 minutes
  • 5 grams of crushed Coriander

Pretty simple stuff really.  Except the yeast.

This was my first go with this strain, and only second Wit yeast and I found it was REALLY clumpy during the active part of fermentation.  I also found disturbingly that I have what appear to be chunks of protein from the cold break that have floated to the top, making me originally think I had a serious infection under way once the krausen settled.  But luckily, no.

OG 1.054

IBU: 20

SRM: 4

Four days in I measure 1.011 and it has a nice ‘clean’ grainy flavor.  I’ve lost the orange / coriander taste so at the suggestion of someone on g+ I’ll likely make a new ‘tea’ to add at kegging once I get to that point.



hub sampler full width

Hopworks Urban Brewery (Powell) Visit

I made a order with Brew Brothers Homebrew shop in Beaverton which is a bit out of town, so for $5 they deliver once a week to a nice brewpub in town, H.U.B – Hopworks Urban Brewery.  Since I ordered a 50lb bag of two-row I decided it was more than worth it to meet them at H.U.B., have an excuse to sample the beers, and see if I could pick up some yeast for brewing as well.   I had seen a post on google+, yes people do use that, of a local homebrewer who had picked up a jar of yeast from H.U.B. so I brought along a 32oz mason jar just in case.

I sampled all 10 non-cask beers:

  • Hub Lager
  • Perles of Wisdon IPX
  • Velvet ESB
  • Hopworks IPA
  • Survival ‘7 grain’ Stout
  • D.O.A. Deluxe Organic Ale
  • Rise Up Red
  • Organic Granola Ale
  • Secession CDA
  • Galactic

I also had a nice huge pint (see pic) of their “Cask ESB” which is their Velvet ESB I am pretty sure.  A wonderful beer, I just love LOVE bitters on cask / beer engine.

I would highly recommend this bike friendly brewpub for a nice pint or three.  The staff was friendly, attentive, and beers very nice.  Other than the ESB, my favorite was the Survival ‘7 Grain’ Stout which I believe I had elsewhere in bottle.

I ended my stay with a huge jar filled with London Ale III from a fermentor of their stout.  One of the brewers, Jeremy (I think?) helped me out, took time out of his day to hook me up with the yeast & for that I am helpful.  I will be back to enjoy their beers and maybe see about getting some more yeast.  At this point though, I have two samples rinsed and in the fridge ready to make a starter and brew with.  With careful control I should have plenty of London Ale III for quite some time.


Cask ESB

Cask ESB

Hub Brewery

Hub Brewery

HUB London Ale III

HUB London Ale III

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

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.


Back Again

October 30th brought my latest step out of homebrew retirement.  Now finally moved and settled, in Portland, I fired up the burner and make a ‘brew in  A bag’ American Amber ale.  The was my first time to do a BIAB, and I quite liked it.  It made for a pretty smooth and quick brew day.

I was able to get the wort down to 70F pretty fast with the tap water here in Portland, using only 20′ of 3/8 copper tubing.  I really don’t need more than 20′ of tubing for 5 gallon (or smaller) batches.