Friday, December 17, 2010

Bridges Brewery 2010


This year's site is up. This project, like the beer, keeps getting better every year. Thanks to the Bridges crew for the opportunity to be apart of this for the third year now. Check out the site for a awesome video of the beers from start to finish.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Milk Stout - Left Hand Milk Stout Clone

Lately I have been doing clone recipes of some of my favorite beers. It helps gain a deeper appreciation of what makes that particular beer unique and it's always fun to see how close you can get to the commercial example. I have never nailed it perfectly but it almost always adds something to my process or overall understanding. It's well into September and I have ZERO seasonal ale in the fermentor. Time to brew some Stout's, Porter's and Scotch Ales.

Milk Stout or Sweet Stout if you speak BJCP (13b), is a medium to full bodied stout which uses lactose sugar to increase mouthfeel and sweetness. Often perceived as a creamy espresso due to high percentages of roasted barley and chocolate malt. Hop bitterness is moderate and should be balanced.

Left Hand Milk Stout Clone
5.5 gal Final Volume
1.059 OG
1.013 FG
6% ABV
25 IBU
80% Efficiency
60 min Boil
White Labs 001, Wyeast 1056 or US 05 Dry
Ferment at 65F

7.5 lb Marris Otter
1 lb Caramel 60
1 lb Dark Munich
1 lb Roasted Barley
12 oz Chocolate Malt
8 oz Flaked Barley
8 oz Flaked Oats
18 oz Lactose Sugar (15 Min.)

15 g Magnum (60 min.)
28 g US Goldings (10 min.)

Mash at 152F for 60 min, raise to 165F for 15 min. Flaked Barley and Oats will aid with head retention and give a silky mouthfeel.

To learn more about Left Hand Brewing check out the Left Hand Blog

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Spicy Saison w/ Saaz - Low ABV continued.

Saison is one of my favorite styles to drink, simply because very few are alike. Not that this is a catch all style but it does lend to interpretation. American Breweries have really took this style up a notch in the past few years. Lately I have been really enjoying New Holland's "Golden Cap Saison". It has a great tart finish that makes it extra quaffable. As much as I love that Saison, I decided to take this batch in an all together different direction.

I am going for a spicy, hoppy ale with a dry finish and low ABV. Saaz additions throughout, with a TOUCH of Grains Of Paradise at knock out. The Grains Of Paradise combined with the French Saison yeast should give it a great peppery aroma and flavor. Belgian Pils malt with White Wheat, Dark Wheat and Dark Munich for the grist. I am spiking the mash with 2 oz of black malt for color during sparge. There will be a dry hopping during the last day of fermentation into the short conditioning phase.

PG: 1.042
OG: 1.049
FG: 1.010 (going for 1.005)
ABV: 5%
IBU: 30
SRM: 9.6
EFF: 85%
BOIL: 70 min

Belgian Pils 5lb
White Wheat 2lb
Dark Wheat 1lb
Dark Munich 1lb
Black Malt 2 oz (on grain bed during sparge)

Rest at 125F for 15 min, Rest at 149F for 30 min, Rest at 156F for 15 min

All Saaz

28g First Wort Hops
7g 30 min
7g 10 min
14g Knockout
28 G Dry Hop after high krausen

3g Grains of Paradise Knockout

Ferment at ambient temperature. I am not temp controlling this.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Cream Ale - Low ABV Styles Part 1

It's finally Summer in Chicago, which means everyone is OUT DOORS! Festivals every weekend, the beach, al fresco drinking or just hanging out on the porch. The object is to get as much outdoor activity in before out famous Winter comes through again. Unfortunately my Home Brew situation is all imperial styles at the moment, not exactly easy drinkers in the heat. So I am taking these month's to brew up some low ABV styles which I can get from carboy to keg quickly. This week we are starting with a Cream Ale.

Cream Ale, despite the name, has little to do with Cream. Although in the UK this style is often served with a co2/nitrogen blend, which will give a creamy mouth feel. This style is a hybrid ale akin to American Light Lager except fermented with a top fermenting yeast or a blend of both Lager and Ale Yeasts. The grist is often 6 Row or 2 Row Barley with Rice or Corn Adjuncts to lighten up the body. This ale with have a pale straw to amber color. Hop Profile is balanced with noble hops appropriate. You can find more hop assertive versions but not in the sense of a American IPA. Many Lager at below 40 degrees for a few weeks post fermentation. This is not necessary but will clean up the flavor and increase clarity. Cream Ale is served a higher carbonation level then your standard ale.

This being my first foray in Cream Ale I am relying heavily on Jamil Zainasheff's recipe. Making some small modifications for my system and preferences.

This recipe yields 5.5 Gal and 75% Mash Efficiency. Mashing at 149 F for 90 minutes to insure rice conversion. I might do a step mash, undecided. Fermenting with Wyeast 1056 for a neutrality and attenuation. I am on the fence as far as lagering. This might go right to keg.

Pre Boil Gravity: 1.035
Original Gravity: 1.051
Final Gravity: 1.009
ABV: 5.5%
IBU: 19
SRM: 2.6
Boil: 90 Min
Ferment: 64 F

4 lbs 2 Row
4 lbs Pilsner
1 lbs Flaked Rice
12 oz Dextrous Sugar

1 oz Liberty 90 Min
1 oz Liberty 1 Min

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Home Brew Tapping with SmallBar Division St. for Community Park

and Stephen Freshnock present
a HomeBrew Tapping

Thursday, June 3 at 7pm

featuring homebrewed
Coffee Bean Brown Ale made with Star Lounge beans
West Coast Double IPA in the spirit of a certain “elder”

A $5 donation is suggested per pint
Proceeds to Benefit Commercial Park for more info and behind the scenes with the brewer!

SmallBar Division St
2049 West Division


Here is a great opportunity to quaff some home brewed ales and support a great local cause. Look forward to seeing you all there!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Iron Brewer Competition

Looks like I have the opportunity to participate in another unique Home Brew competition. Many of my Home Brewing peers are involved and its always interesting to see what recipes they concoct.


After a hugely successful Simply Beer Brew-off, I’ve decided to spin the brewoff into its own event, IRON BREWER! Similar concept, but like the Iron Man Triathlon which features 3 unique events combined into 1 competition. The concept is simple, there will be 3 unique ingredients and you’ll need to combine them into a a one of a kind, unique, and most importantly delicious homebrew.

Does this interest you? If your a homebrewer, it should. It is a heck of a lot of fun, just ask the folks who did the Simply Beer Brewoff.

Leave a comment below if you want to participate!

The Rules!

The rules are simple but must be followed.

3 required ingredients, All the ingredients must be used in some manor in the brewing process and completed in 8 weeks from the announced start date
6 competitors per round and you must send at least 2 12oz beers to each of the other competitors and to Iron Brewer Organizer (Peter Kennedy of Simply Beer).
Agree to have your recipe published on Iron Iron Brewer is not taking the rights to your recipe, but sharing it with other homebrewers. All recipes will be published.
Participate in a wrap up Skype podcast with all the other competitors.
The honor system is in place here. This competition is meant to spur creativity, collaboration, and community with other homebrewers.
The Winner!

If there are rules and a competition, there must be a winner. The winner will be determined by the participants in the round and Peter Kennedy. The winner will be the one who made the best use of ingredients to create the best tasting beer. As of now there is only bragging rights for the winner, but I’m working on a small prize package for the winner.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Pliny The Elder Part Two

By special request I am attempting the Pliny Clone once more. I have retooled the recipe to reflect my current mash efficiency and the knowledge I have around hop utilization. This one should be drier and have a touch more bitterness than my first attempt.

You can see the first recipe here.. PLINY!!

The following recipe is set at 85% efficiency, my set up is a beast at small amounts of grain. There is also 1lb 10oz of dextrous in this ale. Which is going to dry out the ale and drive up the ABV to 8%. 115 grams of Columbus at 14.2% Alpha Acid bring the bitterness, 30g + 71g of Simcoe bring the flavor & aroma. I allow for a gallon of hop debris and trub to be sure to collect 5.5 gallon of clean ale.

OG 1.070

PG 1.049

FG 1.011

EFF: 85%

ABV: 7.9%

SRM: 5.3

Mash at 151F for 60 Minutes. Boil for 90 Minutes. A healthy starter of Wyeast 1056 or US 55 dry yeast.

11 lb 4 oz 2 Row

8 oz Caramel 40

8 oz Carapils

1lb 10 oz Dextrous (corn sugar)

115 g Columbus 90 min

23 g Columbus 45 min

28 g Simcoe 30 min

71 g Simcoe Flame Out

28 g Centennial Flame Out

Dry Hop 1

28 G each of Columbus, Simcoe and Centennial

Dry Hop 2

7g each of Columbus, Simcoe and Centennial

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Watch this space..

Thank god winter is over.. lots of brewing has already begun and will be posting pics and recipes shortly..