JAB – Just Another Bitter

I bought ingredients to brew a Bitter a few months ago. Just now getting around to it. I did buy some fresh yeast though and decided to try something different. I went with Wyeast 1469 – West Yorkshire Ale. As luck would have it, this would be my first solo brew day. I had a few issues that were more about just doing stupid things but all in all it went fairly smooth. Also, this will probably end up a more bitter beer than any of my previous Bitters.

Sunday August 13, 2017

Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale) – 11 Gallon

Brewers – Charles

Grain Bill

  • 18 lbs. Maris Otter
  • 1 lb. Aromatic
  • 1 lb. Biscuit
  • 1 lb. Crystal 60
  • 1 lb. Special

Hop Bill

  • 2 oz. Bramling Cross 6.5%
  • 1 oz. East Kent Golding 6.1 %
  • 1 oz. Fuggle 5%
  • 1 oz. Willamette 4.8%


  • Wyeast 1469 – West Yorkshire Ale

This strain produces ales with a full chewy malt flavor and character, but finishes dry, producing famously balanced beers. Expect moderate nutty and stone-fruit esters. Best used for the production of cask-conditioned bitters, ESB and mild ales. Reliably flocculent, producing bright beer without filtration.

Temperature range 64˚-72˚


  • Prepped 16 gallons tap water treated with Camden night before.

Calculated Stats


  • OG: 1.059
  • FG: 1.02
  • IBU: 45.9
  • SRM: 11.2
  • ABV: 5.1%



Mash Schedule

9:15 am

Mash In: 7.5 gal. at 168˚ – Step temp. 156˚ hold for 55 mins.

Mash Out: 2.8 gal. at 202˚ – Step temp. 168˚ hold for 10 mins.

Vorlauf: 10 mins.


Sparge with 7 gallons at 180˚

Collect 12.5 gallons.

Boil – 11:15 am

Hop Schedule

Using 1 hop spider

2 oz. Bramling Cross 6.5% – 60 mins.

1 oz. East Kent Golding 6.1% – 60 mins.

1 oz. Fuggle 5% – 60 mins.

1 oz. Willamette 4.8% – 60 mins.

Irish Moss


Chill start – 12:16 pm

Long chill and whirlpool while cleaning up.

Will not get lower than 80.

Chiller out. Continue whirlpool.

Move kettle to kitchen. Continue whirlpool.

Transfer through hole in floor.

Original Gravity – 1.056

Oxygenate and pitch yeast – 2:00 pm

Cleanup done at 2:30 pm

Another miss on OG? WTH? I have been thinking I hosed up BeerSmith settings or something. Maybe switch back to BrewToad.

Maybe stop futzing with recipes and just brew a bitter that worked good before.







Path of Totality

We’re gonna brew a magical elixir on the eclipse.

Based on the maps and calculations from the NASA website-

  • The eclipse starts (for us) at 11:49.
  • Totality begins at 1:16:48.
  • Totality ends at 1:18:33, lasting 105 seconds.
  • The partial eclipse will end at 2:43.

We are brewing a beer the morning of the eclipse, a Dry Stout. We will mash-in around 8AM. All are welcome.

We can send runners for bagels, donuts and kolaches… whatever, for breakfast as needed.

Our plan for lunch at the moment is pulled pork. It’s something we can make ahead of time and people can help themselves which is convenient on a working brew day. We’ll have potato salad, mac’ & cheese and other sides. As well as finger foods. Feel free to contribute your favorite picnic addition, but no worries, you’re company is all we want!

Brewing will take place for most of the morning and finish up in the early afternoon. By the time we get to totality, we’ll be nearly done.

It is helpful, but not req’d to bring the following to a brew day-

  • Beer mug
  • Lawn chair (for those doing extensive traveling, don’t worry about it, we’ve got extra)

We will have several beers on tap-

  • Northern English Brown
  • German Amber Ale (aka Bauhaus)
  • Peated Stout
  • Pepper IPA
  • Possibly others

The plan is to set up the bar, but that requires a bartender, something we usually don’t do on brew days since we’re busy brewing.

Sunday, August 20, will be busy as well. We’ll have out-of-town visitors joining us throughout the weekend. You are welcome on Sunday, but we will be busy with set-up, cleaning, cooking, etc…. We may put you to work. At the very least we will not be able to entertain much, so please be flexible and self-sufficient.

Last Call- This is a school night, and our party will come to a close as we pitch yeast. We’ll be returning to our regular schedules quickly…assuming this literally isn’t the end of the world.


  1. Tom V.
  2. Christine V.
  3. Emma V
  4. Dickie S.
  5. Charles U.
  6. Andy D.
  7. Kyle L.
  8. Michelle H.
  9. Astrid L.
  10. Kim V.
  11. Martin P.
  12. Nick V.
  13. Anita V.
  14. Ninetta V.
  15. Nico V.
  16. Mateo V.
  17. Victor A.
  18. Nada A.
  19. Doyle A.
  20. Harrison A.
  21. Silas A.

Brew Notes-

I’ve been wanting to successfully make a homebrewed Black & Tan for a while now. The trouble is brewing a dry enough stout that will float on a pale ale, assuming that final gravity is the key factor in making a layered beer. This will be a big brew of 30 gallons along with a big party to watch the eclipse. May the Sun, Moon and Earth align to bless this beer with magic.

Grain Bill-

  • 30# Maris Otter
  • 5# Munich Malt
  • 5# Flaked Barley
  • 4# Wheat
  • 4# Roasted Barley
  • ½# Peated Malt? (Game day decision- the question is, Do we replicate the award winning Peated Stout, or will the peat unfavorable not work well in a Black & Tan)

Hop Bill-

  • 12 oz 5% EKG 60’


  • Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale


  • 45g St. Louis Co
  • Strike 15g 160F
  • Bump 9g Boil
  • Sparge 21g 175F

Mash Schedule-

  • Strike 15g @ 160F
  • Mash-in light grains @ 148F 90’
  • Bump to 160F w/ boiling water & add dark grains 20’
  • Add remaining bump water 10’
  • Sparge
  • Collect 40g & Boil with 12 ox EKG 60’
  • Irish Moss 15’

Calculated Stats-

  • OG = 1.044 (or lower)
  • FG = 1.012
  • ABV = 4%
  • IBU = 38

Oktoberfest Beer List 2017

Oktoberfest– Malty, lager goodness. Lots of alcohol per Fest beer requirements. Golden amber in color.

  • 6.2% ABV
  • OG = 1.062
  • FG = 1.015
  • IBU = low

Weizen- Liquid bread and a daily staple in Munich. Easy to drink.  Yellow and balanced.

  • 5% ABV
  • OG = 1.046
  • FG = 1.0??
  • IBU = medium

DunkleWeizen- A darker version of the light colored Weizen with toast/roast notes. Dark brown in color.

  • 5% ABV
  • OG = 1.047
  • FG = 1.011
  • IBU = low

KircheWeizen- The tart cherry wheat makes its return. A rose colored beer made from a secondary fermentation on top of tart cherries picked by Grandpop V.

  • 5+% ABV
  • OG = 1.046 (but added sugar from the cherries boosts this number)
  • FG = ?
  • IBU = medium

PfefferWeizen- Rounding out our Wheat beers this year, this pepper beer has been spiced with dried chilis.

  • 5% ABV
  • OG = 1.046
  • FG = 1.0??
  • IBU = medium

Dortmunder Export- This beautiful lager returns. Malty, golden, clean, crisp. Subtle like a Pilsner but a touch more complex.

  • 5% ABV
  • OG = 1.048
  • FG = ?
  • IBU = low


  • 5% ABV
  • OG = 1.048
  • FG = 1.010
  • IBU = medium

Munich Helles-

  • 5.3% ABV
  • OG = 1.054
  • FG = 1.013
  • IBU = low

Berliner Weisse-

  • ABV = 3.2%
  • OG = 1.034
  • FG = 1.010
  • IBU = low


  • 5% ABV
  • OG = 1.048
  • FG = 1.010
  • IBU = low


Weizen 2017

July 30 brewed this year’s Weizen. 30 gallons. Good brew day. No worries. Continue to use same basic recipe as always. Double decoction.

Grain Bill-

  • 25# Pilsner malt DE
  • 25# Wheat malt DE
  • 2# 60L Crystal malt
  • 2# Carapils

Hop Bill-

  • 8 oz Traditions pellets. These are the same old pellets we used in the Oktoberfest and estimating 3.5% alpha. 60′
  • 2 oz Traditions 30′


  • Weihenstephaner. We used the yeast cake Charles had built from the Dunkleweizen.

Brew Day-

  • Strike 20g liquor at 140F +
  • Mash in at 127F 30′
  • Decoct 7g raise to 158F 15′
  • Boil decoction 30′
  • Recombine @ 152F 30′
  • Decoct 6g raise to boil 15′
  • Recombine at 157F 60′
  • Mashout w 10g hot liquor 10′
  • Recirculation 10′
  • Lauter 60′?
  • Collected and filled 40g kettle
  • Long cold break on hot sunny day. Used cooling coil and Thermonator.
  • Collected two 15g batches in 30g fermenters
  • OG= 1.046


This strong yeast has broken out of the fermenter even with 100% headroom. We made beer.

August 9, 2017- Racked beer to secondary. Gravity is low at 1.008. Sample is good, green, strong. Should be a fine beer.

Racked 5g on to 10# of tart cherries that Grand Pop had picked and I had pitted. I pasteurized the cherries for 10 minutes at 160F and then froze them. I put the frozen cherries in the fermenter and the beer kicked into another fermentation.

Dunkelweizen 2017

With lagering space at a premium, Charles decided to brew a Dunkelweizen instead of a Munich Dunkel so we can have a dark beer for this years Oktoberfest. And since two brews are better than one, Andy brewed a bastardized version of Charles’s Amarillo Wheat. But fancy boy will add his honey to secondary so it will surely be better. It was predicted to be in the mid 90’s so Charles had everything in the garage and ready to go Saturday night. Flame on in the morning for the Dunkelweizen would be 6:10 am in the hope of beating the heat. Both beers were finished, cleaned up and Andy’s beer was in his basement by 2 pm. Early starts are awesome. We dined on rib meat tacos.

July 16, 2017

Dunkelweizen 10g

Charles, Andy, Baily, Rob, and special guest appearance by Kyle and Astrid.

Calculated Stats

  • OG – 1.049 – actual 1.046
  • IBU – 10*
  • SRM – 18
  • FG – 1.011
  • ABV – 5%

Grain Bill-

  • 10 lbs. Munich
  • 10 lbs. White Wheat
  • 14 oz. Roasted
  • 4.5 oz. Dehusked Carafa

Hop Bill-

  • 2 oz. German Hallertau 3.8% – 60 mins.
  • *A slight miscalculation. When creating recipe in BeerSmith, I left the default alpha for Hallertau (4.8%) in the recipe. Should have been 3.8%. Drops the IBU down to 10 but it is still in style. Might dry hop to bump it back up. (NOT).

Yeast- Wyeast 3068 Weihenstephan

The classic and most popular German wheat beer strain used worldwide. This yeast strain produces a beautiful and delicate balance of banana esters and clove phenolics. The balance can be manipulated towards ester production through increasing the fermentation temperature, increasing the wort density, and decreasing the pitch rate. Over pitching can result in a near complete loss of banana character. Decreasing the ester level will allow a higher clove character to be perceived. Sulfur is commonly produced, but will dissipate with conditioning. This strain is very powdery and will remain in suspension for an extended amount of time following attenuation. This is true top cropping yeast and requires fermenter headspace of 33%.

Temperature range 64˚-75˚

Water- Prepped 37ish gallons (for both beers) night before, treated with camden.

Single Infusion, medium body.

Mash Schedule-

  • Mash In – 6:45 am – 6.5 gallons at 165˚ – Step Temp. 152˚ hold 60 mins. – Actual 147˚
  • At 30 mins., bumped with 1 gallon 190˚ – Mash temp. 152˚
  • Mash Out – 7:50 am – 3 gallons at 210˚ – Mash temp. 169˚ hold 10 mins.
  • Vorlauf approx. 10 mins.
  • Runoff and sparge – collected 14 gallons.

Hop Schedule-

  • 2 oz. German Hallertau 3.8% Alpha – 60 mins.
  • Potential dry hop in secondary.

Chilled and transferred 11 gallons. Starter brought to almost 12 gallons.

Gravity = 1.046 😦  For some reason Rob is very fixated on this.

Feasted on Country Rib Tacos.

Sunday 7:30 pm – moderate bubble, ramping up fast – room temp. 73˚

July 23, 2017

Racked to secondary. Harvested yeast for Tom to use on the upcoming Weizen brew day (July 30). Dumped the yeast cake into a sanitized bucket that Tom will put on his big ass stir plate. He will add sugar throughout the week to increase yeast count for 30+ gallons.

Aug. 2, 2017

Bottled 3 gallons and racked 4 gallons to each of 2 kegs.

Final Gravity = 1.012 – ABV = 4.4% – Not what it should be but will be a good session beer for Oktoberfest. Probably a good thing to have one or two low ABV beers.

Side Note – August 30, 2017

The harvested yeast went crazy in the 5 gallon bucket. Tom had to take it off the stir plate a few times. We had more than enough yeast to pitch in both 30 gallon barrel fermenters each with 16 gallons wort. By Monday, the headspace was completely filled by foam…”Damn you banana yeast, damn you”.



Hänsel und Gretel

July 2, 2017

Charles and Andy are proud to announce the brewing of twins, Hänsel und Gretel.

Hänsel, the boy, is a Dortmunder Export. Gretel, the girl, is a Munich Helles.

Why twins? These were meant to be two different beers. But after yeast troubles, (desired strains not available and starter issues), we realized that our recipes were very close to each other. The only big difference is a little bit of malt. During delivery of Gretel, Andy decided to add some of his fresh honey to the boil which will boost the gravity and alcohol content while lightening the body. Hopefully this will help differentiate these two beers. In a perfect world, Andy would have used Munich Helles yeast and I would have used Danish Lager, what I used last year for the Dort, but I have been told that strain is no longer offered. We both settled for Bavarian Lager (2206).

Serving Hänsel and Gretel at Oktoberfest should be interesting. Hopefully there will be enough of a difference and we can get some specific feedback.

Brew day was fast and mostly uneventful. Andy served biscuits and his honey in the morning and street tacos for lunch. We need to brew at his place more often.


Hänsel – Dortmunder Export 2017

This beer from Dortmund is a pale lager influenced by the golden beer from Pilsen known as Pilsner, though is mainly labelled as Dortmunder Export. Like all other pale lagers the beer is a pale gold colour, with a moderate bitterness from the noble hops, a lean, well attenuated body, and a crisp carbonation. Brewers use less hops to avoid the harsh hop notes, giving the beers a subtle emphasis on the malt flavours.

Malt Bill

  • 13 lbs. Barke Pilsner
  • 3 lbs. Munich
  • 1 lb. White Wheat
  • .5 lb. Crystal 40

Hop Bill

  • 2 oz. Spalt 3.8% – 60 mins.
  • 1 oz. Tradition 6% – 60 mins.
  • 1 oz. Hallertau 3.8% – 30 mins.


  • yWeast 2206 Bavarian Lager

Calculated Stats

  • OG – 1.05
  • IBU – 28
  • SRM – 5.3
  • FG – 1.009
  • ABV – 5.3%

Mash Schedule

Mash in – 5.5 gal. at 160˚ – Step temp. 148˚ hold 75 mins.

Mash out – 3.5 gal. at 203˚ – Step temp. 148˚ hold 10 mins.

Fly Sparge with 6 gal. at 168˚

Collected 13 gallons wort. Temperatures and times were spot on. Achieved boil by 9:55 am.

Boil got away from me. WAY TOO HOT. This burner rocks. Boiled off more than I wanted.

Hop Schedule

  • 2 oz. Spalt 3.8% – 60 mins.
  • 1 oz. Tradition 6% – 60 mins.
  • 1 oz. Hallertau 3.8% – 30 mins.

Irish Moss

Yeast Nutrient

Chiller on at 10:55 am.

Chilled to 84˚.

Removed chiller. Long whirlpool and a long settle.

Transfered to fermenter at 1:10 pm.

Final quantity in fermenter 10 gallons.

After finishing Andy’s beer, sat around drinking and talking.

Cleaned up and transported Hänsel to my house. Placed in refrigerator and let cool all night. Took sample and pitched yeast Monday morning.

OG – 1.048 – a bit low but I am fine with that.

Slow start on fermentation. Not much activity Monday night. Tuesday morning things looking better. Fridge temp 48˚. Trying to warm it up to low to mid 50˚s.

Aug. 1 2017

Dortmunder (Hansel) has come along nicely. After lagering in refrigerator at approx. 35˚, racked 5 gallons to keg. OG = 1.009 – ABV = 5.12%.

To the other 5 gallons, I added 5 lbs. of peeled, chopped, heated, frozen peaches. Broke up the frozen mass as much as I could. Will sit at room temp in the hopes the additional sugars will kick of another fermentation. Will give it a few days before going back in the refrigerator to sit until closer to Oktoberfest.

Aug. 12 2017

Racked the Peach Dort to keg. What a bloody mess. Fearing I was going to have a problem with peach stuff getting into the keg, I would rack to bottling bucket first. Hopefully the peach stuff that does make it into the bucket will settle before transferring into the keg. Spigot on fermenter blocked up right away. Switched to auto-siphon. Did good until the liquid got low which just concentrated the peach bits and mush. Now what? I scooped out as much stuff as I could with a sanitized stainless steel strainer. Helped a little but the remaining beer is just full of peach stuff. Only thing left to do was to sanitize a mesh hop bag and stretch it across the top of the bucket and secure it with two bungee cords. I slowly poured the remaining contents into the bag which strained out most of the crud.

The beer itself tastes very good. Very peachy. When this is carbonated and served nice and cold, it should be a big hit. Especially with the chicks.

Will have to rethink this process for next time.


Gretel – Munich Helles 

When the golden and clean lagers of Plzen (Bohemia) became all the rage in the mid-1800’s, München brewers feared that Germans would start drinking the Czech beer vs. their own. Munich Helles Lager was their answer to meet the demand. A bit more malty, they often share the same spicy hop characters of Czech Pils, but are a bit more subdued and in balance with malts. “Helles” is German for “bright.”

Malt Bill

  • 18 lbs. Pilsner
  • 2.25 lbs. Vienna
  • 1.25 lb. Carapils
  • .75 lb. Munich
  • 1 lb. Honey

Hop Bill

  • 3 oz. Hallertauer Mittelfruh ?% – 60 mins.
  • 1 oz. Perle ?% – 15 mins.


  • yWeast 2206 Bavarian Lager

Calculated Stats

  • OG – 1.054
  • IBU – 22
  • SRM – 5
  • FG – 1.013
  • ABV – 5.3%

Mash Schedule

Not all that different than than the Dortmunder. Andy will have to provide details.

Honey added in last half of the boil.

As expected, a slow start on fermentation. Tuesday morning seeing more activity. Fridge temp. 53˚.

Measured OG unavailable but probably darn close to calculated (1.054).