Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The 2021 lagers!

 November 11th, 2020

The universal German lager!

  • 5lbs Pilsen DME & 1/2 lb. Caravienne
  • 2oz German Hallertau for 30 min. 
  • Irish moss
  • 3 gal. boil for 30 min.
  • slow cooled outside for an hour. 
  • Imperial Yeast L13 Global Optimum (saved from a previous batch)
  • fermented at 64f, at ambient basement temps This was rocking at day 3 slowing down on day 4)
  • Cold crashed at 40f
  • kegged on December 2nd, 2 days at 28 psi

The Dunkel
  • 3 lbs. Pilsen LME, 3 lbs. Munich LME
  • 1/2 lb. melinoidian malt, 1/4 lb Caraffa III
  • 1 oz German Hallertau for 30 min.
  • 4 gal. 30 min. boil.
  • "cooled" outside for an hour or so.
  • Imperial Yeast L13 Global Optimum (saved from a previous batch)
  • fermented at 50f in the ferm. chamber
  • Temp raised to 62f then cold crashed at 40f
  • kegged on December 6th, 2 days at 28 psi

Fresh from the fermenter.

- BrewNorth

Friday, July 10, 2020

Adventures in lagering

from the old Google Sites site...


Always use a yeast starter. always.


day 1 start at 60ish and chill to 48 - 54


hold at 50 ish

After primary has completed, raise to 60 - 65 for 24 to 48 hours.

For additional clean up you can Krausen the beer at this point. The point of krausening is to add actively fermenting wort to the finished beer to clean up any fermentation byproducts. Make a mini-brew (hopless?), get the yeast going and add it to the bigger batch.  1/2 gal would work.


Store at 36 - 42f for 3 plus weeks. Extended lagering can lead to oxidation of the finished beer.

Oxidation is the enemy here. You need to get the oxygen out of the carboy. This could be done by adding some fermentable sugar to the beer. (or by Krausening the beer after racking to secondary) Or by bottling before cold storage? J Palmer says that conditioning is best done in secondary because more yeast are available for cleanup. He also mentions oxidation as being a problem.

A split approach could work here. 4-6 weeks in secondary at 38f, then bottle, raise temp to 50 for conditioning and back down to 38f for storage.


Prime with DME. Pitching more yeast will speed things up and ensure healthy yeast.

Make a fermentation schedule and stick to it, you'll be glad you did. 

Pics or it didn't happen!

- BrewNorth

Sunday, June 28, 2020

BIAB - guesstimates

What's the OG?

Base malt |   OG    |   FG    | mash temps | ABV
     8            1.036    1.009     155 - 145      3.5%
     9.5         1.042    1.004     152 - 140      5.0%

I'm losing 8 - 10f over a 60 min. mash, that's not good.
this is during summer brewing. ( temps 75- 80 f. )
9lbs Rahr pale ale malt.
7 lbs Rahr Pale Ale, 1 lb brown malt
West Yorkshire Ale @ 78f ( a bit hot, 64/72 )

Heat loss to grain 

about 0.5 f / lb

(5 gal. batch size, full volume mash, 60 min biol)

Running the numbers in BIAB calculator, you start to get an idea of how grain affects the heat loss of the strike water. Assuming that your grain is room temp (70f) and you loose 0.3 gallons to the trube when transferring the wort to the fermenter.

Baseline wort:

5 gal. | 150 f mash | 60 min. boil

lbs. of grain | strike water volume | strike water temp

lbs. | SWV | SWT | loss
 7      6.8       154      4
 8      6.9       155      5
 9      7.0       155      5
10     7.0       156      6
11     7.1       156      6
12     7.1       157      7
13     7.2       157      7
14     7.2       158      8
15     7.2       158      8
16     7.3       159      9

And my measured results:

0.4f / lb of grain

Grain temp may have been 80f
Air temp was 75 - 80 f (summer, outside)
So, about a degree less than the above chart when brewing in the summer in a thick walled, 10 gal. Mega Pot.

lbs. | SWV | SWT | MT | loss
 8       7.0      158    155     3
9.5     7.0      156    152     4

Buy the ticket. Take the ride.

- BrewNorth

BIAB - brew day!

How it all went down!

I made two beers on two different days in hopes of learning more about strike water temps and heat loss to grain and during mashing, and ,most of all, to get a good handle on the steps and times for planing future brew days.

My e.t. for BIAB was about 4 hours both times, but for different reasons. The first brew had a longer mash because I got busy with dinner while the second brew had longer heat times because I had the burner turned down (i think).

The breakdown:

Gather 7 gal. of strike water and heat to 156F (losing about 0.5f / lb of grain, but it's not linear)
33 - 38 min.

Mash for 60 min.

Drain the bag and misc. I drained and re-dunked the bag 4 or 5 times to simulate a "lauder" step. Then placed it in a smaller pot to drain while the mash got up to a boil.
10 min.

Fire on! to boiling 6 gal. of wort. 
This is where I loss time on the second batch. The second batch had less grain and wound up being more than 6 gallons ( started with too much water ). 
31 and 40 min. 

Boil. 60 min.

Chill to 100f ish via summer temp hose water and the immersion chiller. 
30 min.

And clean up. Having the hose outside makes clean up easy, just spray everything down. (and minimal clean up is needed with the doby pad and maybe PBW. 

So, for timing a batch...

Start about 40 min before dinner time and get the mash going.

Eat, hang, and do dishes. 

Then pull the bag and get too it. That gets things wrapped up before 10:00. Maybe 9:30 ish. 

That's a very doable brew day!

Mega Pot! (10 gal.) 
This could totally be done in an 8 gal. pot.

Mashing (Dough-in)



- Brew North

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

BIAB! my first all-grain batch ever

My goal for BIAB is to dial in a process for moderate gravity beers. (1040 - 1050ish OG) I don't care so much about brewhouse efficiency, just consistency. I'm not starting a brewery so an easy brew day is really my only goal.

For BIAB #1 I'm going for a full volume mash and boil. (no sparge). Another technique is to shoot for a high OG wort and adjust it down in the fermenter, like extract brewing. this would mean less heating and boiling water.

Guidance for this step into the unknown received from biabcalcualtor.com

Fuller's London Pride from "Brewing Real Ale"

Brewed June 12th, 2020

9 lbs Rahr Pale Ale malt
0.5 lbs crystal 40
60 min: 0.4 oz Target, 0.2 oz Challenger & Northdown
10 min: 0.2 oz Goldings
some Irish Moss 10 min
West Yorkshire Ale

Strike water volume: 7 gal.
Grain weight: 9.5 lbs. 
Strike water temp: 156 f
Mash time: 60 min (77 min by the time dinner was picked up)
Mash temp, start: 152 f (goal of 149 - 151)
Mash temp, end: 140 f @ 60 min (mashed for an additional 17 min, temp at that time was 137)
Pre boil volume: 6 (goal 6ish gal.)
Post boil volume: 5.5, 5 gal into fermenter (goal 5.5 gal.)

Yeast pitched at +78f
Fermented at 78f (the fresh beer had alcohol off flavors that dissipated with carbonation)
Post chill gravity: 1.042 (goal 1045 but whatever is fine be me)
Final gravity: 1.004 June 19th
ABV: 5%

9 lbs Rahr Pale Ale malt
0.5 lbs crystal 40

The Fuller's hop schedule according to "British Real Ale"
60 min: 0.4 oz Target, 0.2 oz Challenger & Northdown
10 min: 0.2 oz Goldings (just a dusting, must be a nod to tradition)

7/9 Day 2 in the keg at 22 psi
Under carbed/ cask-like bitter

Dark mild  (a spin-off of the Fuller's recipe) 

Brewed 06/19/2020

7 lbs Rahr Pale Ale malt
1 lbs Brown Malt
 3 oz. Carafa III 
60 min: 0.2 oz Target, Challenger & Northdown
10 min: 0.2 oz Goldings
some Irish Moss 10 min
West Yorkshire Ale (trube from the first batch, yeast ripped through in 24 - 48 hours)

Strike water volume: 7 gal.
Grain weight: 8 lbs. 
Strike water temp: 158 f
Mash time: 60 min 
Mash temp, start: 155 f (goal of 149 - 151)
Mash temp, end: 146 f @ 60 min 
Pre boil volume: 6+ (goal 6ish gal.)
Post boil volume: 5.75, 5.5 gal into fermenter (goal 5.5 gal.)

This batch took longer to get up to temp and finished with more volume. I think the extra wort was from a less vigorous boil and less grain. Also, there was no wind; the first boil was on a windy day.

Yeast pitched at +78f
Fermented at 78f

OG: 1.036 (squeeze!)

the grist/ mash

Wrapping up at 11:00.

- BrewNorth

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Lipizzaner Stallion!

Danube Driftin' Vienna lager

Brewed 05/16/2020

0.25 lbs Caravienne 
0.06 lbs Carafa II

3.15 lbs Munich LME
3 lbs Pilsen Light DME 

1 oz German Hallertau 60 min
1 oz German Hallertau 10 min
some Irish Moss 15 min

Imperial Yeast L13 Global Optimum 

Yeast pitched on 5/17 @ 48f
No signs of fermentation, raised to 58f (in & out of the fridge) for 24 hours on 5/20
Fermentation is rockin, Lowered back to 48f on 5/21, still rocking on 5/22
Mmmm lager fermentation smells. 

- Brew North

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Notes on bottling

Priming with DME

I've been having great success bottle conditioning using DME. It produces excellent head retention and pleasant carbonation.

4.5 oz of pilsen or light DME / 5 gal produces a "normal" level of carbonation. I'll use less for stouts and milds.

The DME may not mix well, I add it before I prep my bottling supplies and give it a final mix before I start bottling. This should prevent any large chunks of DME from being added to a bottle. A better choice is to dissolve the DME in about a half pint hot water before adding it to the finished.

Experimenting with Fizzy Drops (candy sugar) and Prime Dose (sugar + yeast).

The beer I used for this is Northern Brewer's ESB kit bottled in 12 oz bottles.

Control - no priming sugar added
PD1 - one Prime Dose pill added
PD2 - two Prime Dose pills added
FD - one Fizzy Drop added.

From left to right, control, PD1, PD2, FD. 



The beer w/ no sugar added was surprisingly well carbonated. (Traditional real ale is often not primed but requires a long conditioning, 3-4 months,  in the cask or bottle before it's ready.) Both the control and PD1 were under carbonated (but maybe appropriate for an English Real Ale). PD1 may work well for a beer where a lower level of CO2 is desired. (I'm trying it in a best bitter) PD2 seemed over carbonated but it soon settled down and was spot on. The FD seemed over carbonated to me. (this is what lead me to try out Prime Dose)

Bottles primed with FD and aged become WAY over carbonated.


I did notice some taste differences. The PD pills contain yeast and sugar. I wonder if the new yeast can out produce the existing yeast. That may have been where the flavor difference is coming form. (although it could have been in my head) To test this I'd have to repeat with a more neutral beer.

Head Retention:

This was an unexpected result. The lack of head retention was something that I've noticed with other beers primed w/ FD but I didn't think much of it as soap scum on the glass often kills HR. (this seems to be a common thing with the FD I've seen it in the other beers primed this way) PD2 had the best retention w/ PD1 having slightly less.


I'd like to repeat this with corn sugar, light malt extract, PD2, FD.

Using Growlers

I successfully bottle conditioned my beer in a growler using 6 Fizzy Drops. (dark Mild)  It built up quite a bit of pressure but the poly cap held and the sound it made when it was opened was cool. (This is where the term "growler" comes from :) A lot of sediment was left in the bottom of the growler but it stayed on the bottom and the beer poured decently. (West Yorkshire)  Every time you fill a growler you should be using a new cap. (unless you're using a poly cap?)

Racking Cane vs. Bottling bucket

The bottling bucket is WAY easier. I've always used a racking cane with a bottle filler. Then I picked up a 3 foot length of hose and found out that I've been doing it wrong all along. The bottling bucket can be moved around easily. After tipping it forward to get all the beer out there's about 12 oz remaining and it's full of garbage that you'll want to dump anyway.

I've used the bottling bucket as a primary fermenter, it works just fine. It has the added benefit of moving beer into a keg or bottle without exposing it to too much oxygen. Just hook up the tap to a piece of tube and let it rip. You can even purge your keg with CO2 beforehand.

(Copied from my Google Sites page, written in 2010 ish)

- BrewNorth