Batch 104: Milkshake IPA!

With some lactose on hand, let’s get shaky!

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: WLP0066
Yeast Starter: 1.5L, stepped up from two old liquid cultures
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Starting Gravity: 1.036
Original Gravity: 1.053
Final Gravity: 1.0
IBU: 25 (ala BeerSmith3)
Boiling Time (Minutes): 75
Color: 6 SRM (ala BeerSmith3)
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

10.5# Maris Otter
0.5# Honey Malt
12oz Flaked Oats
5 hefty scoops of rice hulls

1# Lactose (5 minutes)

2oz Citra – Flameout
2.0oz Motueka – Flameout

Strike water 175°, mashed in at 150° which kept the entire mash of 75 minutes. Lauter for 15min.

The starting gravity seems to be hanging around 1.036. I am wondering whether this is some factor of inefficient sparging (e.g. too fast), channeling (sparge water forcefully being fed to one corner of the mash), low sparge temps (water was just north of 140° before the controller died), crush (hasn’t changed, but could have slowly drifted to be too coarse?)

As I was heating the strike water, I smelled burning rubber. I turned everything off and located the problem: the black lead from the high-voltage contact feeding the heating element had overheated (only the black lead, not the red). I am wondering if this is a symptom of the heating element dying or otherwise shorting. I need to figure this out, but in the meantime I moved outside to the banjo burner. All’s well that ends well?

We can now recite the litany of unexpected situations. The splitter on the outside faucet was both broken in half and corroded in place, so I couldn’t remove it. Instead, we hooked up the stainless immersion chiller, Sarah stirred, and I did my best to hold the splitter together so that it would feed the chiller. We worked in spurts and cycles, and finally got the wort down below 120°, at which point I just let it sit until 100°, then transferred to the carboy, put the carboy in the water bath, and waited until it was sub-80° before pitching. Fingers crossed for a good outcome!

Batch 103: Partigyle! Export Milk Stout, Session Smölbier

The milk stout was planned as something tasty with lactose to get us through next winter. It didn’t come out nearly as high gravity as I had hoped, so I might just put this on tap and save Obama’s Last Stand (coming in above 10% ABV) for next winter. There was plenty left in the grist to get a small bier out of this, so I went ahead and did that.

I think I may need to work on my sparge to get the first runnings more efficient – or I should have tried 1/3 for the big beer, 2/3 for the small beer.

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04
Yeast Starter: Yeast cake from Batch 101, swirled and split: 2/3 in the big beer, 1/3 in the small beer
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5 (7.5 into kettle for big beer), 4.5 (~7 into kettle) for small beer ?
Starting Gravity: 1.050 / 1.027 (5.5 gal?)
Original Gravity: 1.064 / 1.034 (~4.5 gal?)
Final Gravity: 1.0 /
IBU: ??
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: ?? SRM (DARK for big, NOT SO DARK for small)
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

7# 2-row
7# Maris Otter
1.5# Roasted Barley
12oz Flaked Oats
8oz C120
8oz Chocolate Wheat
9 hefty scoops of rice hulls

Mashed in hot, near 160°, added cold water that seemed to get it down to 152°, but at the end of the mash it looks like it crept back up. Lauter for 15min.


3.0oz Northern Brewer (estimated 6.11% AA, given hop age and BeerSmith) – FWH
1.0oz Northern Brewer (est. 6.11% AA) – 20 min
1# Lactose (10 minutes)
whirlfloc – 10 min

Boiled for 60 minutes, chilled, captured a full carboy (5 gallons), woot!

— Smölbier —

1.0oz Northern Brewer (est. 6.11% AA) – FWH
whirlfloc – 10 min

Boiled for 60 minutes, chilled, captured a fullish carboy (just under 5 gallons?), woot!


Monday, 3/14, very nice krausen on the big beer, no evident yeast activity in the small beer. The last throes of winter have dropped the temps below freezing outside, and the carboys in their waterbath are both sitting at 59°F. If I don’t see any activity in the small beer by tomorrow afternoon, I may pitch some more yeast

Posted March 12, 2022 by fbarrett in Uncategorized

Batch 102: Easy drinking lager

The two lagers I’ve made so far have been killer. Since it’s brewing season here in February, and since I have a yeast starter worked up, and maybe to celebrate the pre-eminent sporting event of the year, the superlative basin

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: WLP840
Yeast Starter: Stepped up to 2L, chilled in 8.2021, stepped up with an additional 1L 1wk before brewday
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5 (8 into kettle, boiled for 90 minutes)
Starting Gravity: 1.026
Original Gravity: 1.038
Final Gravity: 1.0
IBU: 11?
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 2.6 SRM
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

3.5# German Pilsner
3# flaked corn
2# flaked rice
1.5 tsp gypsum added to the mash
12 hefty scoops of rice hulls

1.0oz Hallertau Mittelfrüh (3.7% AA) – FWH
1.0oz Hallertau Mittelfrüh – 10 min
whirlfloc – 10 min

Mashed in at almost exactly 150°, for 90 minutes, lauter for the last 15.

Boiled for 60 minutes, still wasn’t high enough gravity and too much liquid (6.5 gal), so I boiled for another 30 minutes, took us to 1.038, 5.5 gallons but I was able to recover almost all of this. I drew too much wort into the 5 gallon carboy, and the starter wouldn’t fit, so I transferred all to a 6.5gal carboy and everything fit. And the setup just barely fit within the lagering tank. But it worked!!!! Horraaaaay Beer!

Posted February 14, 2022 by fbarrett in Uncategorized

Batch 101: Angus the younger

Batch 73 turned out to be epic. 73 and 74 were the same wort (a Pliny clone base) fermented two ways, one in a traditional west-coast IPA style, and the other fermented like an NEIPA. The NEIPA (74) wasn’t bad, but the straight Pliny clone was killer. The next Pliny-like batch departed in grain bill and hops, so I’m returning now to the basic process and recipe for 73. Let’s give this a go, shall we?

I’m also (for the first time) using my second large 15gal kettle as a mash tun. I can’t do full HERMS today b/c my PID controller needs to be replaced, but suffice it to say, I’m gonna give this the old college try.

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04
Yeast Starter: 24g dried
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.0ish (began with 7 in the kettle)
Starting Gravity: 1.051 (into the kettle)
Original Gravity: 1.072 (before sucrose)
Final Gravity: 1.012 (9.33% ABV)
IBU: 100+
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 64° in the water bath
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

12.5# 2-row
1# M-O (should be 13.5# 2-row)
12oz Carapils
12oz C40

1# Sucrose (added after the krausen fell)

3oz Nugget (12.4%) – FWH
1oz Nugget (12.4%) – 45 min
1oz Simcoe (13.9%) – 30 min
whirlfloc – 15 min
2.5oz Simcoe (13.9%) – 0 min, whirpooled between 160°-180°
2.5oz Cascade – 0 min, whirlpooled between 160-180°

(1.5) tsp Gypsum added to mash

Mashed in 7.5g of strike water (4 gal above the false bottom) a little hot, added 1/2gal cold tap water, brought it to right about 150°, mashed for 90 minutes

boiled for 60 minutes, chilled and whirlpooled between 160°-180° for about 15 minutes, then chilled in the counterflow and collected ~5 gallons, with some schmutz


2/4/22 – added 1# of table sugar

2/7/22 – gravity: 1.015, cloudy in the carboy, tasted markedly “sweet”

2/10/22 – gravity: 1.012, starting to fall clear, tastes more balanced – gonna transfer to 2ndary tomorrow and begin the dry hop

2/12/2022 – gravity: 1.012 racked to 2ndary and dry hopped with 1oz Simcoe, 1oz Nugget, 1.5oz Cascade

Posted February 1, 2022 by fbarrett in Uncategorized

Batch 100: Obama’s Last Stand

Oldie but goodie 🙂 was going to brew a 10% wheat wine with Centennial Hops for my 100th batch, but maybe I can just save that for another day.

Original recipe here:

Batch 63: Inauguration Ale

I swapped half of the MO with 2-row due to only having 6# of MO. Hops are OLD (some of them) so I bought BeerSmith to be able to use the hop age tool, which estimated that my northern brewer hops are less than half their original oomph – technically spoiled by some standards? but they still smell great so I’m gonna use em. SO – loading up on some things in the recipe, but for the original, see above

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04
Yeast Starter: No (24g dry, pitched to the fermenter)
Final Batch Size (Gallons): 3.75
Original Gravity: 1.092
Final Gravity: 1.020 (ABV: 10.3%)
IBU: ~70? (estimated by BeerSmith)
Boiling Time (Minutes): 90
Color: ~38 SRM?
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

6# Maris Otter
6# 2-row
1.5# Special B
.75# Carafa II Special
.5# C60

3oz Old Northern Brewer (~4% AAU) 90min
1oz Nugget, 0.5oz Cascade 10min
1oz Nugget, 0.5oz Cascade @Whirlpool (after cooled below 180*)

Mashed at 150° for 60 minutes, then sparged for 15 minutes, before collecting 7 gallons for the boil. In 90 minutes, it boiled down to just below 5 gallons. I couldn’t run the wort through the counter flow chiller (found out later one of the silicone hoses was clogged with sludge), so I transferred to the 5 gallon igloo cooler and cooled with the copper immersion. Recovered just under 4 gallons of wort, transferred and pitched at about 75°, then put into a water bath.

2/10/22 – gravity reading of 1.020. Tastes dark, smoky, toasty, possibly very heavily influenced by all of that Carafa II – I had my doubles putting all of that in, and now those doubts are coming home to roost. I think this’ll be fine drinkin once it carbs and settles, but it’s a bit too close to tasting burnt right now for my comfort

Posted January 23, 2022 by fbarrett in Uncategorized

Batch 99: Rye Mocha Stout

Inspired by a rye stout I enjoyed many years ago at Berryessa Brewing Co in Yolo County, CA. Focus added on coffee/chocolate flavor from the copious roasted grains.

Recipe Type: All-Grain
Yeast: S-05
Yeast Starter: 24g from a big brick
Batch Size (Gallons): 5 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.075
Final Gravity:
IBU: ~45? (estimated from
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 32?
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

6# 2-row
6# M-O
0.5# Chocolate Rye
0.5# CaraRye
0.5# Brown Coffee Malt
0.5# Roasted Barley
2 oz Carafa III (special)
1# flaked barley
4 scoops of rice hulls

1 oz Northern Brewer (7.8 AAU) FWH
0.5 oz Norther Brewer (7.8 AAU) 15 min

captured about 5 gallons of dark, sweet nectar

Posted October 3, 2021 by fbarrett in Uncategorized

Batch 98: Pumpkin Amber Ale

Tis the season to make tasty firepit beer 🙂

Recipe Type: All-Grain
Yeast: S-05
Yeast Starter: 24g from a big brick
Batch Size (Gallons): 5 gallons
Original Gravity: 1.064
Final Gravity:
IBU: ~25
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

10# 2-row
1# C60
1# Special B
1# brown sugar (@ flameout)

0.5 oz Northern Brewer (7.8 AAU)

90 oz Libby’s canned pumpkin, baked at 350* for 60 minutes to caramelize, all went in the mash

copious rice hulls in the mash, mashed with the copper manifold in the blue cooler, was able to circulate and clarify like a BOSS

Mash temp began at 150°, dropped to about 147° by the 60 minute mark when I began to lauter and sparge

3 tsp pumpkin spice at 15 min

Brewed 9/26, first checked 1 week later (10/3). Gravity: 1.005, weighing in at 8% ABV – tastes delicious, but there’s a little bit of a metal twang at the end. Will let the yeast work on it for another week and then cold-crash it to see what we can get.

Posted September 26, 2021 by fbarrett in Uncategorized

Batch 97: Wet Hopped IPA

The hops were poppin! and some were beginning to dry out and brown, so I thought it might be a good time to brew a wet hopped IPA. I collected 12oz wet hops, some Cascade and some Fuggles (in an unknown proportion), with a tiny bit of some norther brewer likely mixed in. Cascade and Fuggles grew really well, NB grew just a bit (and bore just a few hop cones), but Nugget didn’t seem to thrive AT ALL – need to look into this. Anywho, here’s the beer:

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05
Yeast Starter: nope
Batch Size (Gallons): 6
Original Gravity: 1.043
Final Gravity: 
IBU: ~32
Boiling Time (Minutes): 75
Color: amber?
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

8.5# 2-row
8oz Carapils
8oz C40
8oz Honey malt

1oz NB pellets – FWH
12oz wet hop medley, ala back yard bines (see above), added at whirlpool, 185°

(1) whirlfloc added at 10 min left
(1) tsp Gypsum added with 10 min left

Mashed for 75 minutes, began at 151°, ended at 149°, then I got a stuck sparge, so I danced between sloppy buckets and re-filled mash tuns until we captured nearly 10 gal of wort.

I figured out that the newest false bottom of mine for the red 5gal cooler/mashtun was being defeated, as the bottom of the mash tun becomes concave when it heats up, and curves at roughly the same degree as the false bottom. Need to find a different solution here.

Whirlpool for 30 minutes with the wet hops, added at 185°, yielded 6

Posted August 8, 2021 by fbarrett in Uncategorized

Batch 96: IPA

I was going for a dank west-coast-style DIPA, but ran into a stuck sparge, tried to re-filter the first 3 gallons of fresh wort after fixing things, and ended up drawing way more wort than I had originally intended (~9 gal), and the beer ended up far lower gravity than I had planned. Welp. Hopefully will make beer. Based roughly on Batch 73.

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: half S-04, half S-05 (two different carboys)
Yeast Starter: nope
Batch Size (Gallons): 9 (4 and 4)
Original Gravity: 1.048
Final Gravity: 
IBU: all of them?
Boiling Time (Minutes): 90
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

12# 2-row
10oz Carapils
10oz C40
5oz Honey malt

3oz FF – FWH
0.5oz FF – 45, 40, 30, 25, 20, 15, 10, 5
1oz FF – flameout, 180°
0.5oz Centennial – 5, flameout
0.5oz Cascade – 5, flameout

(1) package Burton Salts (for 5gal batch) added to mash
(1) tsp Gypsum added to mash

Mashed for 30 minutes at ~125°, for ~30 minutes ~140°, for ~30 minutes at ~150° (mash in was waaaay too cold, and I spent the next 60 minutes trying to make up for it with boiling water additions and double-checking my thermometers).

Chilled close to 60°, split between two carboys and pitched yeast. Woohoo!

Posted December 19, 2020 by fbarrett in Uncategorized

Batch 95: Cocoa Sombrero

Some new equipment, including a new false bottom for my round 5 gallon mash tun, and a true stainless counterflow chiller, need a good inaugural beer. This is the Soul Harvester recipe, but mashed really hot to keep it thick, lower ABV, and then spiced

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05
Yeast Starter: Two packets
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.065
Final Gravity: 1.022 (~6% ABV)
IBU: ~55?
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: ~40?
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

10# 2-row
.75# Roasted Barley
.75# Chocolate Rye
.5# Special B
4oz C120
4oz DH Carafa III

2oz Northern Brewer – 60 min
1oz Northern Brewer – 15 min
whirlfloc @ 15 min

excellent mash at 158º, very clear lauter for 10 minutes (woohoo, awesome combo of the new false bottom and the old pumps!!!!). Chilled to ~80° in the counterflow chiller (ROCK ON!! Thank you, Northern Brewer, and Mom for the birthday present!!), captured 5 gallons.

12/16/20 – kegged it, and ran a tea with a quart of beer boiled for 20 minutes with 2 cinnamon sticks (1 regular, 1 small), 1 vanilla bean (half a bean? soaked in EToH), 3 tbsp Trader Joe’s cocoa powder, 1/2 tsp McCormick’s ancho chile powder, cooled and pitched