Belgian Dubbel

Decided to brew something totally different for me, a Belgian Dubbel.

“A deep reddish, moderately strong, malty, complex Belgian ale. Originated at monasteries in the Middle Ages, and was revived in the mid-1800s after the Napoleonic era. Most commercial examples are in the 6.5 – 7% ABV range. Traditionally bottle-conditioned (“refermented in the bottle”).”

Well, this beer is going to be nothing like that.

Screwed it all up because I left some equipment and home and had to change my mash schedule. But that wasn’t the worse of it. My mill was set too fine and I stuck the mash. And if that wasn’t bad enough, Andy and Mike used my mill and they also had stuck mashes.

All indications are that this will be a much weaker and thinner beer than I was hoping for. But read all this post anyway.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Belgian Dubbel – 12 gallon

Brewers –  Charles, Tom, Rob, Sam – Andy and Mike also brewed beers this day.

Grain Bill

  • 20 lbs. – Pilsner
  • 2 lbs. – Aromatic Malt
  • 2 lbs. – Carapils
  • 2 lbs. – Munich
  • 8 oz. – Crystal 40
  • 1.9 oz. – Chocolate, dark
  • 1 lb. Amber Candi Sugar Syrup (Boil)
  • 1 lb. Light Brown Sugar (Boil)

Hop Bill

  • 2 oz. East Kent Goldings 5% – 60 mins.
  • 2 oz. East Kent Goldings 5 % – 20 mins.


  • Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abby Style Ale

“A widely used and alcohol tolerant Abbey yeast that is suitable for a variety of Belgian style ales. This strain produces a nice ester profile as well as slightly spicy alcohol notes. It can be slow to start; however, it attenuates well.”

Mash Schedule

This is sort of blurry because I mashed in then ran home to get what I forgot. Everything went downhill from there.

Mash in 8.3 gallons at 130˚ – Step temp 122˚ – 30 mins.

Add water to raise to 156˚ – 30 mins.

Add water to raise to 168˚ – 10 mins.

I should know better than to try a 2 step temperature infusion. Never hits temps. Original plan was to do a step mash in the kettle over a burner but I did not want to hassle the other guys with that while I was driving home and back.



Stuck Mash


Collected 14 gallons


Add hops per hop schedule

Add candy sugar syrup and brown sugar

60ish minute boil – more like 70 minute

Chilled fast with whirlpool

Pump into fermenter

Drive fermenter home


Pitch yeast

OG = 1.064 (was expecting closer to 1.070)

December 3, 2017

Racked to stainless fermenter – gravity = 1.008


That’s what it is reading. 1.008!

Right now that makes it 7.35% abv. Higher than BeerSmith predicted.

Taste? Not sure. Right now it just doest have the heavy Belgain beer flavor I expected. Can definitely taste the alcohol. Very odd. Hope it gets better.

Maybe I will dump 5 gallons in the old barrel and let it sit for a year.

Damn. It gave me the burps.






A-B Hop Give-Away

Charles and I went to Anheuser-Busch’s Hop-Give-Away on Saturday, December 2 and we both walked away with a pile of hops. They hops are not well labeled or packaged, so I’m posting this to help us track what we have.

Below is a pic of the list of hops they had available. It looks like most of these hops are some type of Hallertau strain, but they appear to be experimental varieties that A-B can’t utilize. For the most part I think these would be great for our German styles, and I plan to use some of these hops for this year’s Oktoberfest and a Dopplebock that I’m currently planning at the end of this month.

Gag Reflex

Chocolate Oatmeal Imperial Stout


Time to get a little crazy. Gonna attempt an Imperial Stout that hopefully will end up in a barrel for an extended amount of time.

Lots of mistakes as far as the recipe goes but whatever, gotta start somewhere.

And like Tom says, “It will be beer”.

October 22, 2017

Chocolate Oatmeal Imperial Stout – 6.5 gallons

Brewer: Charles. That’s it. Just Charles.

Calculated Stats:

  • Est. OG – 1.11
  • IBU – 71
  • SRM – 44
  • Est. ABV – 10%

Grain Bill

  • 15 lbs. Pale Malt
  • 5 lbs. Maris Otter
  • 5 lbs. Flaked Oats
  • 1.5 lbs. Chocolate Malt
  • 1 lb. Roasted

Hop Bill

  • 1 oz. Warrior pellet 16.2% – 60 mins
  • 1 oz. East Kent Goldings pellet 6.1% – 60 mins
  • 3 oz. Fuggle pellet 5% – 30 mins
  • 2 oz. East Kent Goldings pellet 6.1% – 30 mins
  • 1 oz. Willamette pellet 5.5% – flameout/whirlpool


  • Prepared 13 gallons treated with Camden the night before. Added another 2 gallons during the brew.


  • Wyeast 1728 – Scottish Ale

Our Scottish ale strain is ideally suited for the strong, malty ales of Scotland. This strain is very versatile, and is often used as a “House” strain as it ferments neutral and clean. Higher fermentation temperatures will result in an increased ester profile.

2 smack packs started Thursday night. Malt added Friday night. Cold crashed Saturday night.


  • 7 oz. Trader Joe’s 72% Cacao Dark Chocolate – chopped finely


Mash Schedule

Mash in:

9:50 – Only Pale and Maris Otter malt and 2 lbs. of oats.

Strike temp. 170˚ – 8.5 gal. – Mash temp. 150˚

Bumped with 2 gallons 180˚-  Mash temp. 156˚

Add remaining 3 lbs. oats.

11:05 – add Chocolate and Roasted – mixed thoroughly.

Mash Out:

11:20 – 3 gal. – 210˚ – Mash temp. 165˚

11:30 – Vorlauf – cleared REALLY fast

11:40 – Runoff

12:15 – Stop runoff – collected 10 gal.

Refractometer reading 1.093


12:35 – Boil

12:45 – Hops in baskets

1:13 – Hops in baskets

1:40 – Irish Moss – Chiller

1:50 – Flame out – Hops in wort – pull hop baskets

Add chocolate – Chiller on

Refractometer reading dead on 1.11

Chilled to 76˚ – pull chiller

Whirlpool and settle for about 30 mins.

Transfer 7gal. to 13 gal. stainless fermenter.

Sample – WOW what a kick in the NUTS. VERY sweet (duh). Hard to get down. This yeast has its work cut out for it.

Hydrometer reading 1.092 ?????

3:00 – Pitch yeast (poured of much of the liquid)


Should have worked the recipe more.

Yes, I know this was not the kind of chocolate to use but whatever, bite me.

Should have bumped yeast another time. Not sure what I pitched will work.

Too much oats.

Too much chocolate malt.

Good call to add dark grains at end of mash.

Probably too much chocolate.

Gotta find a barrel. Maybe rum? That sounds kind of good.

Oct. 26, 2017

Panic time. Fermentation stopped dead on Tuesday (24th). No way the yeast has eaten all the sugars yet.

Been thinking about the grommet on this fermenter. Did not seem like it was in the best condition when racking on brew day but I decided to leave it.

Gravity reading .026 – Why so low if no gas getting through airlock.

Getting through the grommet instead? After thinking about it more YES.

However, decided to go ahead and pitch 1 more smack pack. No starter. Did not want to dilute the beer.

Also replaced the grommet.

Friday morning Airlock was filed with gas but no active bubbling. An improvement.

Oct. 29, 2017

While racking Redcoat v2 to kegs and prepping to bottle, I pulled another sample of  this beer. Gravity reading .024 bringing the ABV in at 8.8%. Not what was predicted yet but I figure this fermentation is going to need a few weeks more than normal. Will let it ride in primary for now. I do not expect this to get much past 9%.

How about the taste? I am stunned. Can not believe how good it is. Sweet with lots of chocolate. Starting to think I don’t want to ruin this by putting it in a barrel.















redcoat logov2


The last Bitter was a failure. Of sorts. With dry hopping, turned into a pretty good English IPA though. But it wasn’t what I intended. With the November event coming up, I really wanted to nail a true English Bitter. Something that might impress the Civil Life crowd that will be at the Southside Speakeasy. We also want a beer we can float Tom’s stout on top of for a true Black and Tan. I decided to go back to the beer that won a trophy. Redcoat ESB. This was the first English Bitter I brewed that I was truly proud of. Every one since has been a version of this beer but none stand out like this one. We also need beer for us all to drink since Oktoberfest drained our reserves.

This is identical to the original Redcoat with the exception of pumping up the malt a little to end with a final gravity high enough to float the dry stout on top. Would be really cool if this works out. We have been talking about this for a few years.

October 14, 2017

Redcoat ESB v2 (Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale) – 12 gallon

Brewers: Charles. Tom & Sam (morning crew). Rob (afternoon crew).

Redcoat_v2_ 2017-10-14




Grain Bill

  • 20 lbs. Maris Otter
  • 1 lb. 9 oz. Crystal 80
  • 1 lb. 8 oz. Special Roast
  • 1 lb. 3oz. Aromatic

Hop Bill

  • 4 oz East Kent Goldings 6.1% – 60 mins.
  • 1 oz East Kent Goldings 6.1% – 30 mins.


  • Wyeast 1968 London ESB

Mash Schedule

  • 8:50 – Mash In: 8 gallons @ 168˚ – mash 154˚ – Bump with 1 gallon -holding 155˚
  • 10:00 – Mash Out: 3 gallons @ 200˚ – holding 166˚
  • 10:10 – Vorlauf – cleared really fast.
  • 10:20 – Runoff
  • 11:00 – Runoff end. Collected 15 gallon


  • 11:20 – Boil – add 4 ounces EKG split between 2 hop screens
  • 11:50 – add 1 ounce EKG split between 2 hop screens
  • 12:20 – chiller – FORGOT THE IRISH MOSS
  • 12:30 – heat off – start chilling and whirlpool
  • Chilled to 78˚. Best we could do.


  • Transfer via WortPort in kitchen floor
  • Very little sludge in kettle. The least I have EVER seen.
  • 13 gallons in fermenter
  • Wort temp. 74˚
  • Oxygenate and pitch yeast.

Original Gravity – 1.058 – Dead on!


A very smooth brew day (except for forgetting the Irish Moss). The extra hands were much appreciated.

The hop screens were a huge success. It is nice to not fight all the crap in the bottom of the kettle and to transfer almost all the wort.

Helps to mount the end of the transfer hose above the fermenter so that the wort splashes. Aids in cooling and oxygenating.


Oct. 21, 2017

Racked to secondary. Sample tastes really good.

Not at all happy with how cloudy this is (yes, I forgot the irish moss). Bought some Gelatin Finings, prepared it and added after rack to secondary.

Gravity = .016

Oct. 29, 2017

Racked to 2 kegs, about 4 gallons each and remains 4 gallons to bottling bucket.

Impressed with clarity. However, lots of stuff in the last bit of beer. That say to use gelatin on very cold beer. That would have helped but was not able to do that and I wanted to try to clear it up before putting in kegs.

Gravity = .016 – 5.5%





“Heroes” AIPA

American IPA- 12 gallons

I am brewing this to enter into the Urban Chestnut Homebrew contest. It is a slightly different version of my DIPA. I am using a different yeast a little more White Wheat and dropping the grapefruit and tangerine peel.

Thursday September 7th, 2017

Brewer- Rob

Grain Bill-31lbs total

  • 15 lb. Simpson Golden Promise
  • 10 lb. 2-Row
  • 3 lb. White Wheat
  • 1 lb. Caramel Crystal 60L
  • 1 lb. Flaked Oats
  • 1 lb. Flaked Rice

Hop Bill

  • 2 oz. Simcoe- 60 min.
  • 2 oz. Citra- 15 min.
  • 4 oz. Mosaic- 5 min.
  • 2 oz. Citra- 5 min.
  • 2 oz. Amarillo- 0 min.
  • 2 oz. Mosaic – 0 min.
  • 2 oz. Simcoe- Dry hop 5 days in secondary
  • 2 oz. Citra- Dry hop 5 days in secondary


Omega DIPA OYL-052

In the past I have used Wyeast 1056 but wanted to try this yeast as I have had good success with other Omega yeasts. This one is known as the “Conan” as it is a strong fermenter and thought to originate from Heady Topper IPA in Vermont.

Calculated Stats:

  • OG: 1.072
  • FG: 1.018
  • IBU’s: 63
  • SRM: 7
  • ABV: 7.1

Mash schedule (Batch Sparge)

Treated 20.5 gallons of tap water with campden tablets the day before. Strike grain with 11 gallons @175 degrees. Held mash for 60 minutes at 156 degrees. Mash out with 1.5 gallons of boiling water. Mash reached 160 degrees. Vorlauf for 15 minutes collected 8 gallons. Added 8 gallons of 172 degree water and ran off 7 more gallons for a total of 15 in kettle. Discarded 1+ gallon of wort at end of runoff. Boil started at 12:05

Hop Schedule 

Used both hop spiders.

2 oz. Simcoe- 60 min.
2 oz. Citra- 15 min.
4 oz. Mosaic- 5 min.
2 oz. Citra- 5 min.
2 oz. Amarillo- 0 min.
2 oz. Mosaic – 0 min.
2 oz. Simcoe- Dry hop 5 days in secondary
2 oz. Citra- Dry hop 5 days in secondary

I started a whirlpool at 15 minutes and added Irish Moss. At ten minutes I added 3 tsp of Yeast nutrient. Because of using both spiders and the size of the chiller I decided to sanitize the chiller with star san and remove the hop spiders at the end of the boil and then add the chiller. Also the last 2 hop additions I added directly to the wort as I had removed the spiders.

Started cold break at 1:10pm could not get wort below 80 degrees. Pulled out chiller and kept whirlpool going while cleaning up. Ended up with 12+ gallons in the kettle lost some in hop spiders but boiled off 2+ gallons as it was furious boil. Pumped wort into fermenter but did not pitch yeast until about 9pm. It is currently bubbling away very steadily in the basement. Will wait until it slows and then transfer and dry hop it for 5 days. I should have brewed this 2 or 3 weeks ago as it may not be at its peak for the contest but it still should be a good beer. Measured the OG at 1.071 and sample tasted good and balanced. Will update this later. Cheers!

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
  • Vienna Lager
  • 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. Linda V.
  13. Tom V.
  14. Nick V.
  15. Anita V.
  16. Ninetta V.
  17. Zach Z.
  18. Nico V.
  19. Mateo V.
  20. Victor A.
  21. Nada A.
  22. Doyle A.
  23. Harrison A.
  24. Silas A.
  25. Julia G.
  26. Barb D.
  27. Emma W.
  28. Emily F.
  29. Kelsey G.
  30. Amanda
  31. Dennis W.
  32. Ray

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-

  • 8 oz 5% Fuggle 60′
  • 4 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


Racked all beer into one fermenter 1 week after brewing. Gravity = 1.008 on my hydrometer.