Monday, May 6, 2013


For National Homebrew Day on May 4th, I had planned on whipping up a batch Maple Sap Porter, but the Box Elder (Manitoba Maple) trees that I tapped were not producing enough sap by Saturday, so I went with Plan B: A Black Saison. I made 10 gallons of that and will split the batch and infect 5 gallons with some Brett B.
Anyway, my friend who owns the trees told me on Sunday that the sap has stopped flowing and we netted about 3 gallons of sap. I picked up the sap and brewed a small batch of Maple Porter.

Sweet Box (Maple Sap Porter)
0.700 KG Pale Malt (Maris Otter)
0.600 Malteurop 2 row pale malt
0.150 Briess Munich 10L
0.040 Black Patent Malt
0.040 Chocolate Malt
0.030 Carafa II
boil 60 min 10.0G Goldings ~ pellet
boil 20 min 15.0G Goldings ~ pellet
boil 1 min 15.0G Goldings ~ pellet

I only used the Maple Sap and did not augment with water or any other fluid. I was boiling down a couple of liters to syrup consistency so I could put that at the end of the boil but I ended up burning it so I had to improvise. I collected some sparge runnings and put that on medium heat for about an hour and added that to the boil kettle at flameout. I am hoping it will end up a little sweet. I also used London III Wyeast 1318 which tends to lend a sweetness to the beer. I did not treat the sap in any way nor did I use any Irish Moss

This was all I was able to get from the experiment, but should be very interesting to taste it. I am very much looking forward to this.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Ale "X" Old Ale

On March 2, my wife, Stefanie, gave birth to a baby boy that we named "Alexander". In honour of this occasion, I will be making Ale "X",a 10% ABV OLD ALE that I plan to drink once a year for the next ten years.
A BJCP descriptor for an Old Ale: Flavor: Medium to high malt character with a luscious malt complexity, often with nutty, caramelly and/or molasses-like flavors. Light chocolate or roasted malt flavors are optional, but should never be prominent. Balance is often malty-sweet, but may be well hopped (the impression of bitterness often depends on amount of aging). Moderate to high fruity esters are common, and may take on a driedfruit or vinous character. The finish may vary from dry to somewhat sweet. Extended aging may contribute oxidative flavors similar to a fine old Sherry, Port or Madeira. Alcoholic strength should be evident, though not overwhelming. Diacetyl low to none. Some wood-aged or blended versions may have a lactic or Brettanomyces character; but this is optional and should not be too strong.

ALE "X" Old Ale
5.0 KG Malteurop 2 row pale malt
3.0 Pilsner (2 Row) Ger
1.0 Wheat Malt
0.45 Flaked Barley
0.35 Crystal 75L
0.3 Cane Sugar Syrup
0.2 Honey
0.15 Black (Patent) Malt

60 grams Fuggles @60 min 4.5 AA
43 grams Perle @60 min 7.5 AA
1728 Wyeast with 3 liter starter

There is a very good chance that I will boil some first runnings for a time. I really like the effect that it gives, an almost burnt caramel taste and aroma. That lasts a long time which will add another layer to the taste profile. The sugars that I am using is straight from my cupboard. I am not going to bother going out of my way to get sugars, what I have laying around should suffice.
This should be a tasty beast if you are the type of person who hangs around the sharp cheese spread at high brow parties and forgets to mingle while you are drinking port and eating cheese.
This is a ten year journey. I hope all goes well.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


On may 19th, I wrote a post about making a Flander's Red. I even bought a pack of Roeselare yeast but I was slightly hesitant to use it because it was a year old when I bought it. My LHBS didn't bother getting anymore in because there wasn't much of a demand for it. So, I put my plans on making a sour beer on hold, until today. I had a friend go to Minneapolis a couple weeks ago and I asked him to bring back a pack of Wyeast's Roeselare yeast. He did, and today, I brewed a batch of Flander's.
Here is my recipe:
2.5KG Malteurop 2 row pale malt
1.5KG Vienna Malt
0.38KG Flaked Corn (Maize)
0.37KG Honey Malt
0.15KG Caraaroma
0.05KG Chocolate Malt

I pitched a pack of Wyeast's 1056 American Ale Yeast into the wort and I plan to wait a few days until the gravity drops to about 1.020, then I will rack into a secondary and pitch the Roeselare yeast. At some point, I will add some oak chips to give it a little woody taste. There are so many different ways to make a Flanders and the technique I am following is a faux blended Flanders. Usually, you ferment the wort with the Roeselare for a year and then you blend the beer with a younger batch. My way does not have the art to it that blending does, but this is my first sour so I figured I would play it safe.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Russian Imperial Stout

I just finished hand milling 21 pounds of grain for this beast of a beer that I will endeavour to make tomorrow. That took quite a while but it was worth it and that's pretty much the only exercise that I get.
I am quite excited about this one; I have not yet made a beer of this magnitude. I plan on bottling my Scottish Export 90 tomorrow and then I'll pour the chilled stout onto the yeast cake. This is going to be some nice, healthy yeast which will produce a hopefully awesome stout.
This is a typical bin-end beer in the sense that I am using all the leftover dark grains and bin ends that was sitting in my grain drawer. A compilation of some roasted, chocolate, caraaroma, and black malt with a touch of brown (because that's what I had)to give the beer a smorgasbord of flavour. Of course, it's not going to reach it's peak for about a year which is the sad part.

This dude is going to probably reach an OG of 1.093 and FG of 1.024 resulting in a 9% ABV beer. Well, here's the recipe:


5.346 Kg Domestic 2-Row
2.255 Kg Maris Otter
.500 Kg Munich 10L
.674 Kg Flaked Barley
.331 Kg Roasted Barley
.250 Kg Chocolate Malt
.160 Kg Black Patent
.150 Kg Caraaroma
.100 Kg Brown Malt

38 grams Magnum @60 min
29 grams Golding @20 min

I will let it sit on the yeast cake for about 3 weeks and then bottle with about 4 oz dextrose (maybe less) and let it stew for several months.

UPDATE: I made this beast of a beer today and due to a little panic on my part and determination to not have poor efficiency, I ended up with an OG of 1.099. Pre-boil, it was sitting at 1.064 and from my experience, the post boil gravity is only about.010 above the pre-boil gravity. I took about 3 liters of wort from the boil kettle and boiled that on the stove top for 15 minutes. I also added 200 Grams of sucrose and 100 Grams of lactose for safety. I opted to boil for about 1 hour 40 minutes. I ended up with less wort than usual due to my antics so I am adding some water raise the level. That ended up dropping my OG to about 1.088. I think I should have left the quantity alone but I wanted more beer, but that's the way it goes.
Here's a picture of my mashtun brimming with 21 pounds of grain and 30 liters of water.

Saturday, June 30, 2012


We have a tasting party in October, so I need to replenish my beer stock because it is severely diminished due to an unexpected rash of infected beers from an outside contaminate. I have a American Blond in the bottle and I need at least 6 or 7 more. My bright idea was to take a 'beer trip' with representation from the US, UK, France, Belgian, Germany and maybe one more.
I decided on making a Dusseldorf Altbier first then proceed to a Kolsch because that beer needs healthy, once used yeast to make it better. Also, these German ales are hybrids and they need a low fermentation temperature down to about 62F. The problem with this scenario is that it is the end of June and it is pretty freaking hot out there and me without a dedicated fermentation chamber. Well, I have a laundry sink and ice, so I will have to make the best out of this difficult situation.

Dusseldorf Altbier
3.9kg Pilsner
.500kg Munich 10L
.500kg Vienna
.110 Black Patent (last 30 mins of mash)

16G Magnum @60 min
19G Hallertau @20 min
20G Hallertau @1 min

1/2 tsp Calcium Chloride in Mash
2 ml of Lactic Acid in sparge water

Presently, the primary is sitting in my laundry sink full of water at about 57f. I need to maintain that temp for about 5 days then I can slowly warm it up. I have not yet decided whether to rack to secondary then commandeer the family fridge to lager it or just bottle then lager (after it has carbonated)
UPDATE: I bottled the beer last night and unfortunately, there was a distinct banana aroma. Sure, it may subside over time, but it is an indicator that the fermentation temperature was too high. I really need a freezer chest with temp control but no money for such extravagance. Sigh.

Thursday, May 31, 2012


I received a gold medal for my California Common at the Aurora Brewing Challenge in Edmonton, Canada. That made me a qualifier for the 2013 MCAB (Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing. That beer only received 33 points out of a possible 50. So, that means I have to come up with a better recipe/technique to net me a gold in that category. I will be brewing a lot of my "Cali B" over the next 8 months or so to come up with my best entry.
That's all I have to say about that for now, but I will be posting my updates as I make the beer. Should be an interesting Steam Beer year but I will be brewing other beers for more competitions. I have only been brewing for a year but I think I'm going to shoot for the Canadian Brewer of the Year for 2013. This year, I'm in 19th place so far.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

It's Time for a Flanders Red (in about 2 years)

I am conflicted. I was all set to make a Flander's Red and went out and bought the ingredients. The only pack of Roselare available was a year old so I bought it at a half off discount. I went home and Tweeted that I did that and Wyeast replied back to me stating that it won't be very good and I should buy the freshest stuff for the best results. So,I don't know what to do: Use the yeast as is or wait until the LHBS has it in stock.

Here's my recipe so far:
The Forgotten Flander's Red
3.00KG 2 Row Pale
1.400KG Vienna Malet
.588KG Flaked Corn
.500KG Honey Malt
.250KG Caraaroma

16 grams Fuggles

Roselare Yeast

I would just pitch the package in the cooled wort and let it sit for 12 to 16 months then blend with newer Flander's red. There are a lot of discussions on line on what type of carboy to use. Apparently, a plastic bucket will allow in too much oxygen and the glass carboy will prevent the requisite oxygen from getting in. A better bottle is supposed to let in a nice amount of oxygen. The Flander's is the only beer that requires the acetic acid (vinegar) flavour profile. There is also the technique of adding an oak stick in the carboy to let in oxygen and wood up the beer. I am going to pass on that. My better bottle is a little scratchy so I think I'll just use the glass carboy. A little vinegar flavour is all right by me.

Wyeast has gotten back to me stating that they would not know what bugs are still alive and that I can pitch another pack down the road (sooner than later).
So, that's what I'm going to do. Pitch the old roselare now and wait until a new pack arrives.