Everyone has at least one redeeming quality

Tuesday October 14, 2014

Every now and then, every one does at least one thing right. Jimmy did his on 14 Oct 1978 and we have all reaped the benefits since then… maybe Billy had something to do with it?

Les

Beer, Beer Ramblings

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Extract Revisited, 20 Years Later

Thursday January 6, 2011

I got to thinking, after an old friend told me that he was going to get into brewing, as quick as I go through my English Bitter on the Beer Engine, perhaps I ought to try brewing this one from extract. I really like my all grain Real Ale, but for something that lasts about three weeks on tap, perhaps I can try to shave some time and money off the recipe. Tonight I brewed my Real Ale using 8 pounds of extract from Williams Brewing. No other grains, as I am trying to trim this recipe down into something a little more efficient. Steeping grains would add time and effort to the process. Basically, the recipe is the same water treatment I always do for British styles, the extract, a 40 minute hop addition and a 20 minute hop addition. Irish moss and yeast nutrient (Damn! Forgot the Irish moss and nutrient again – starting to become a trend) at the same time I placed the wort chiller. In retrospect, I would use the same yeast I always use, which is White Labs 002 (same as Wyeast 1968). For some reason that escapes me now, when I ordered my yeast, I ordered Wyeast 1098 (on purpose, I just forget the reason). If the ale is still a high quality brew, I wont worry about it. If it is way different, I’ll try one more time with White Labs 002.

Les

Beer, Brewing Notes

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30 Years In, Finally -- A Barleywine

Monday January 3, 2011

Tonight, I brewed my first Barleywine. Wow, what an experience!!

First off, the yeast came in the mail today, frozen solid. Yeast is a remarkable entity, that’s for sure. Aside from boiling it for a few minutes, it will pretty much survive anything. The yeast was a Wyeast 1028, London Ale; a smack pack. As soon as it was thawed enough to “smack” it, I did. That was at lunch time and by the time I got home four hours later, it was completely swollen.

20 pounds of Crisp Maris Otter and 2.5 pounds of 120 0 crystal malt, some water (my usual treatment to bring it up to Burton standards), and a sparge from hell equals damn near boiling some malt syrup. Before I pitched the yeast it was 1.105. No starter, and I know that may be a mistake, but we will see what happens.

Stay tuned for details. However, be advised, if you are waiting for tasting notes, you have some waiting to do. I do not plan on tapping this one for at least 9 months.

Les

Beer, Brewing Notes

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To Filter or Not to Filter.... That is the Question!

Tuesday December 21, 2010

For years and years, I have always relied on time and gravity to clear my beers. I have always been of the belief that the yeast in the beer is a good thing, helping to keep the beer “fresh” and flavorful. About 6 months ago, I went ahead and bought a 10 inch plate filter from MoreBeer and I have not looked back yet.

One of my favorite beers is an English Bitter on my beer engine (or hand pump, whichever way you wish to refer to it is fine with me). I used to brew this one on a Saturday, keg it on the following Friday, then wait a week or two before I could enjoy it, while waiting for it to clear to an acceptable level — I believe that appearance is a quality right up there with taste and smell, sometimes on a level footing with those two senses. Now that I have started filtering my beer, I can brew my favourite (Queen’s English used on purpose) on a Saturday and have a pint no later than the following Friday. Remember, this one is a Real Ale, so it doesn’t need to gas up like a typical beer. For me, ferment it, filter it, keg it, drink it – the last three all within 60 minutes time of each other.

Since I have purchased this filter, I have run a Pilsenser, two Brown Ales (a Newcastle Clone), three of my Real Ales, and a Cider through it. I’ve not been disappointed yet, nor have I noticed any degradation of my final product. There are three of my usual beers that I will not run through the filter – the Bavarian Wheat, the Stout (Guinness Clone), and for right now, the Belgian Strong Ale. All three of those would not benefit from filtering. You want the yeast and cloudiness in a wheat, the stout would show no appreciable improvement. As for the Belgian, I think the yeast is important to leave in the keg for this style as it sits in the keg for such a long period, normally.

Should you filter? That’s up to you. If you want my opinion, go for it. No damage done and now that I have tried it, I really believe with the publications that state that is speeds up the aging process.

Les

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Beer Recipes

Wednesday December 8, 2010

Just in case you are looking for, and cannot find, the beer recipes can be found on this page. That page can also be accessed directly from the “Beer Recipes” link just over on the right.

Les

Beer, Beer Ramblings

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Heaven Must Smell like...

Sunday December 5, 2010

Fresh hops being added to the kettle

You know what Heaven must smell like? Just like fresh hops right after they are thrown into boiling wort. Nothing like it at all….

Photo courtesy of Pipeworks Brewing

Les

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Real Ale

Monday November 29, 2010

Just a straight forward recipe. Single infusion, 60 minutes, simple hopping, ferment, filter (because you can drink it quicker), enjoy.

This one is always served on my Beer Engine (a hand pump, if you will).

Real Ale Recipe

Les

Beer, Brewing Notes

Do you have an opinion on this?

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The Barrel Source

Saturday November 27, 2010

Oak Barrels

I think I need some of these…

Les

Beer, informational

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Holy Cow - That's a Long Time (WLP820 Lag)

Sunday November 21, 2010

I am no stranger to lagers. I fully understand the differences with technique. I just wanted to share an experience I just had with my latest Pilsener — the starter took forever to get going.

WLP820, got the starter going on Thursday of the week in question, on the stir plate (off and on) until brew day on Sunday. The mash and boil went without incident, nothing strange there, pitched the yeast early Sunday afternoon and waited.

And waited…

And Waited some more….

After just a little bit more waiting, finally there was some activity in the fermenter. Thursday at lunchtime. So what’s that, roughly 4 full days for the yeast to kick in. Fermenting just fine right now at 54 degrees. Yeast was approx 60 degrees when pitched into the starter at 60 degrees. The starter was at 65 degrees when pitched into the fermenter at 65 degrees. The fermenter was put into my cold place and allowed to cool down to fermenting temp of 54.

A few things in retrospect that I could have done different – I never checked the starter to see if it actually “started”. I normally never do, pitch from the vial into the flask, put it on the stir plate for a day or two, then pitch into the fermenter after force cooling the wort. Lesson #1 – make sure the yeast is working.

Larger starter. I pitched two vials into the flask. I should have made sure they started, then transferred the slurry off to another flask and grew even more yeast. I figure I underpitched – I just never had this issue before with my pilsenser. Lesson #2 – make sure there is enough yeast.

Finally, don’t know what you’d call this one, but I believe I started the ferment too cold. In the past, I usually let the fermenter sit at 65 – 70 until the ferment starts, then move to my cool place for the remainder. Lesson #3 – make sure lesson #1 and #2 were followed and this one won’t make a huge difference.

Les

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Pilsener

Sunday November 14, 2010

So, I was counting on making a good strong Belgian Ale, but plans change. I happened to notice the date on my yeasts, and I decided to use up the Pilsenser (WLP830 – German Lager) as the “best by” date was getting close. Here is what I did today;

Recipe: Pilsener
Brewer: Les Nadon
Style: Bohemian Pilsner
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
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Batch Size: 5.85 gal
Boil Size: 6.75 gal
Estimated OG: 1.051 SG
Estimated Color: 7.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 43.3 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73.00 %
Boil Time: 65 Minutes

Ingredients:
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Amount Item Type % or IBU
9 lbs Pilsner (Weyermann) (1.7 SRM) Grain 81.82 %
1 lbs Carahell (Weyermann) (13.0 SRM) Grain 9.09 %
8.0 oz Carafoam (2.0 SRM) Grain 4.55 %
8.0 oz Caramunich II (Weyermann) (63.0 SRM) Grain 4.55 %
1.00 oz Pearle [9.60 %] (45 min) Hops 27.3 IBU
2.50 oz Saaz [3.40 %] (20 min) Hops 16.0 IBU
2 Pkgs German Lager (White Labs #WLP830)

Mash Schedule: Decoction Mash, Double
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Step Time Name Description Step Temp
5 min Dough-In Add 8.25 qt of water at 106.8 F 100.0 F
20 min Protein Rest Add 16.00 qt of water at 136.1 F 122.0 F
20 min Saccharification Decoct 7.69 qt of mash and boil it 147.0 F
20 min Saccharification Decoct 4.69 qt of mash and boil it 158.0 F
10 min Mash Out Heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F
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Mash schedule above only a guide to what happened. Actually used the schedule on page 33 of “The Brewmasters Bible” – double decotion.

Les

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