Soul Feeder - Mai Bock - Double Decoction

I'm on a quest right now to brew a bock for every season, so I'm starting out with a MaiBock/Helles bock to be drank in the spring.  It'll probably be it's best on May day which is traditionally when Mai Bock's are ready for consumption.  I hope this lasts that long, but I have a feeling I'm going to be wanting to sample this one a lot.

I acquired a 10 cu. ft. chest freezer and have it hooked up to a Johnson Temp controller so that it's right at 48 degrees.   I'll ferment it there for two weeks or until it's almost done with primary fermentation.  After that, I'll either bring it upstairs for a couple days to get rid of diecytel, or I'll put it straight into secondary and lager for 3 months at least at 34 degrees!

Brewing a Bock Style beer typically required some advanced brewing skills, and extra time.   With Tsnownami 2010 in full effect, I've got nothing but time.   I just hope that I have the advanced brewing skills to make this Decoction mash happen.   The key of the decoction mash as I can tell is that you want to boil a portion of your mash on the side.  This will create Melanoidins...and that means an abundance of malty flavor ...that I so desire!

Double decoction mash
Strike water of 6 gallons at 150 degrees brought me to my first step at 133 degrees  - Protein Rest and some Saccrification occured for 25 minutes.
*Pulled 18 quarts of thick mash after 5 minutes and slowly brought to a boil.
**Poured the boiling decoction back into the main mash in order to increase the temperature from 133 up to 154. Hit it right on!
**Pulled a decoction of 12 quarts and boiled for mash out.  Mashed out and collected 24 quarts or 4 gallons
***Batch sparged at 167 and collected 24 quarts

7 lbs Pilsner
6 lbs Vienna
3 lbs Munich light
FWH 1 oz Saaz
FWH 1 oz Celeia
30 minutes 1 oz Saaz.

12o minute boil.
Boiled down to just under 6 gallons.

 40 IBU's
OG: 1.064
FG: 1.012
6.8% ABV

 ***Please feel free to comment on whether you think I did a decent job with this decoction mash as it was my first.  From my readings, I found that having the Protein rest at around 133 degrees is the best way to do it with today's highly modified malts.   I didn't think the Acid 95 degrees?, and Protein rest at 122 was necessary.    I'm not even sure a decoction mash does much at all with today's malts.   Let me know if you have some advice!


The Wintry Mix - Cascade IPA brewed with Hippity Hops Farms Cascade hops

Brewed up another small batch of Single Hops IPA last night.  I ended up cooking it up right after work and got it all done just before Tsnownami 2010 arrived.  Brew day went smooth, I had about a dozen assistant brewers which was a really fun time.   There's a  lot of times where it'd be nice to have a helping hand while brewing, so thanks everyone for all of the help.  Especially for Kaveh for helping with the grind and general brewing knowledge.   JJ for helping with mashing in, and with straining the hops, Haley for stirring the pot, and Katie K. for naming and designing the label for the beer....The Wintry Mix.  This is an experimental beer that we brewed for the Nordeast Home Brew Club Single Hop experiment.   We used Hippity Hops farms Cascade hops through and through in this beer, and I'm stoked to sample this beer side by side with other hop varieties.    We used 2 oz of Hippity Hops Cascade hops at 60 minutes, 20 minutes, and 1 minute and I'll dry hop it with 2 oz. as well.   Brew day and temp #'s match closely to my recent Citra Hop brew day.   The only difference from brewday was that I sparged it right a 167 compared to the Citra brew day where my sparge was a little lower in the lower to mid 160's.   I also ended up with about 5 gallons of Cascade as compared to the 5.5+ gallons of the Citra.  Unfortunaltely I was busy partying while ending up the  brew day and I didn't take any gravity readings.   Pretty stupid, as I'd really like to have those numbers.    What eva.   It's fermenting and we'll taste it in a month or so!

Thanks everyone that helped!

12.21.10 - Dry Hopped with 3 oz. Hippity Hops Cascade Hops

1.26.10 - Tasting notes.   This beer turned out really interesting.  The Dry hop aroma is great and exactly what you'd think it would be from Cascade hops.   Citrusy and a little grapefruity.   The bittering of this isn't quiet where it should be which is a little weird, but being that these hops are from young rizomes (1-2 year old bines) this may increase as they mature!   I would say, instead of 70 IBU's it's probably around 40 IBU's.  It is a little grassy on the finish which also could be expected from young hop bines.  The finish almost has a herbal taste reminiscent of green tea.   It's definitely a really nice beer with the Hippity Hops locally grown Cascade hops.  It think for now I'd suggested mainly using them for Dry Hops, and combining these with a nice High Alpha hop for bittering and you'll be real happy with your resulting beverage.   Can't wait to see how these locally grown hops mature and change over the next few years!




10 ft. Ganja Plant


Single Hop Citra IPA

So i brewed a 5 gallon batch tonight for the Single Hop IPA experiment.   I used Citra hops, and they smelled fantastic.   I also used my brand new Barley Crusher and got a real nice fine crush.  I thought my efficiency might jump a bit, but it turned out to be right on par with my last brew which was 70% efficiency.   I did double crush last time at Midwest brew supply so I'm not surprised.  It'll be nice having a consistent crush though!  One less variable to worry about.   70% isn't too bad, but I feel like it should be a bit higher, maybe 75-80%.   Maybe I'll have to start fly-sparging and graduate from the ol' trusty, quick, dirty, and easy batch sparge.   It's just so quick, easy, dirty, and trusty though.   Plus I have so little time now with my "Little Lion Man". 

Nordeast Brew Club Single Hop Experiment

Single Hop Citra IPA

10 lbs Briess Organic 2-Row Barley
1 lb Flaked Oats
0.5 lb Crystal 60L
0.5 lb Carapils

Mash at 153 for 60 minutes
Sparge at 165 for 30 minutes

60 Minute boil.

1 oz Citra (12.3%) at 60 minutes
1 oz Citra (12.3%) at 20 minutes
1 oz Citra (12.3%) at 1 minutes
1-2 oz Citra (12.3%) dry hop for 10 days
68 IBU's

Collected 5.7 gallons of wort at 1.052 OG

Cooled to 70 degrees and pitched a smack pack of Wyeast 1056 and put upstairs at 68 degrees to ferment!\

12.21.10 - Dry Hopped with 2 oz. Citra hops

1.26.11 - Tasting notes.   The aroma of these citra hops are really great.  It's a mix of piney and citrus lemon almost like Pine-Sol.   It also has a definite mango smell too it.  Maybe pineapple.  Really awesome hop.  They did a great job of bittering as well but definitely a little bit on the harsher side of hop bitterness.   The bitterness would be a little more mellow if you First Wort Hopped instead of adding at 60 minutes.   I think this would be a good substitute to Simcoe, although Simcoe is a little more catty, and has a little bit different fruit profile.   The beer is extremely tasty and refreshing, and the Oats gave it a really nice smooth mouthfeel that makes the resiny hops really coat the mouth.   This is a great recipe that let's the hops shine for any Single Hop experiement.  Let me know if you brew it with any hops and how it turns out.

 Single Hop Citra IPA         The Essence IPA


The great Nordeast single-hop experiment!

The great, or good, or okay, or yet to be determined Nordeast single-hop experiment is under way.   This is something that I've been wanting to do for some time now but never had the chops to do it myself.   Luckily, we Nordeasterners have started a Homebrew club and our first big thing as a club is the start of "The Great Nordeast Single-Hop experiment!"

As brewers it makes sense to understand the qualities of an individual ingredient.  This is extremely difficult to do because of how many ingredients and variables are involved in brewing a batch o beer.   You're typically blending 3-10 kinds of barley and 2-5 kinds of hops.   Not to mention the water source you get your water from.   How you treat your water; carbon filter, RO, Spring water, adding salts or other things to adjust flavor or mash ph, all contribute different flavors to your finished beer.  Also you have the mash temperatures, the sparge temperature, the technique you use to mash and sparge.   Then you have the pitching temperature, your yeast pitching rate, and fermentation temperatures.   You also have to consider how long and at what temperature you dry hop your beer.  Okay, I gaurantee I missed a few of the variables, like probably half of them, but wow, when you really look at it, it's pretty tough to replicate a single beer.   I think another good rant on the variables in brewing is by Peter at Simply Beer,  which I read the other day....he's talking about homebrewers sharing recipe's and the difficulty of replicating a recipe. 

Anywho...with all of the variables, it's a bit hard at the end of a month to look back at your recipe take your first sip of a carefully crafted ale, and try to distinguish exactly where all of the different flavor components come from in said beer.  Especially for me, because I've realized that I don't have the most discerning palate.  I guess you could say, not only is my palate undereducated, but it's more interested in having a good time, rather then realizing why it's having a good time.

This is why we as homebrewers like to experiment.   Sometimes we change many variables, but the best way to do any experiment is to change only one variable.   We in Nordeast have decided to do a simple IPA recipe on the high level of IBU range and on the low level of the Alcohol range.   The only variable we will be changing hopefully will be the Hops.  Each brewer will choose a single variety of hops and use that exclusively through and through!   We'll do a tasting side by side, possibly after tasting them blend a few to figure out which hops work best together...etc!

For the experiment, we all use the same water coming straight out of the great Mississippi!  I'll be filtering it through a brita filter.   I highly encourage all brewers in Nordeast to do this before each brew!   I'll be mashing at 153 degrees for 60 minutes, and sparging as close to 170 as possible for 30 minutes, and fermenting at 65-67 degrees.   I'll pitch a healthy starter of Wyeast 1056 and after dry hopping I'll bottle/'keg it up and bring my Citra Single HopAle  to our January meeting! 

Here is our current recipe.

This is for a  5 gallon batch with 70% efficiency
Mash at 153, Sparge at 170

10 lbs American 2-row - (for Extract use 7.5 Lbs of LME or 6.7 Lbs of DME)
1 lb Flaked Oats
0.5 lb Crystal 60L
0.5 lb Carapils

***For Extract version_Steep the specialty grains at 150-155 degrees for 30 mins, then bring to a boil and add your Malt extract and start the hops experiment!

Original Gravity

Hop additions at 60 minutes, 20 minutes, and 1 minute, and dry hopped with 1 -2 oz for 10 days
IBU's - 70 (or near there)

Nathan -               Sorachi Ace
Nick Pederson -   Citra 
Nick Pederson -   Cascade (locally grown by Hippity Hops)
Andrew Nesbitt -  Fuggles
Kevin -                  Simcoe 
Tim Stuemke -      Northern Brewer
Matt -                    Amarillo

***I'm thinking that this will be an ongoing project of our club with people monthly bringing in different varieties of the single hop IPA's!



Just a little snap-shot of what I've been doing when I'm not holding Leo....

Surprise...surprise, I've been drinking!

Thiriez Extra- fantastic Saison from a the brewery that propagated my favorite yeast strain Wyeast 3711!

Unbelievable concoction. Almost tastes like a Flanders Red to me.  Very good!

Wow!  Sweet, sweet, desert beer from New Glarus.  Soooo good!
Another great example of the Amarillo hops! Tasty and malty!
Yes please, I'll have another.  Amarillo hops in an American wheat.  Brilliant!
The most bitter of the local Wet Hops.  Also, they used their own hops!  Kudos Brothers Brau!
Love this one from Dark Horse.  Also like their DIPA!
Very nice local creation using west coast hops.  Are these Citra?

Fantastically dank smelling DIPA!


Soul Khan - Kids Today

Reminder: Artenbru is this FRIDAY! Come say hi, and have a good time!

Come on out this Friday.  10 Brewers, and 10 Designers!  There will be a ton of BEER and ART at the event.  Hopefully you like what I have pouring.  I'll be pouring my Harvest Series which consists of three very unique beers!   One really hoppy, one smooth and roasty, and another that's just straight up funky fresh!

***I believe it's $7 at the door CASH ONLY.




The Essence - IPA - an obscenely hopped ale

This recipe was loosely based on the Pliny the Elder clone recipe many have brewed. I didn't want a syrupy DIPA, but still wanted the beauty of the hop profile of Pliny. I went with the following recipe and I think it'll have a bit of a dry finish, very bitter, and a crazy hop flavor and aroma of straight up dank nuggets. The essence of hop nectar!

10 - Gallons

malt & fermentables
%     LB OZ  Malt
82% 18  0    Organic Two-row Pale
9%   2    0    Honey
5%   1    0    Organic Crystal 60L
5%   1    0    Dextrin (Cara-Pils)
        22  0
Original Gravity
Final Gravity

6° SRM / 12° EBC (Yellow to Gold)

use        time        oz   variety

FWH     60 mins   3.0 Columbus
boil       45 mins   1.0 Columbus
boil       20 mins   2.0 Simcoe
boil       1   min    4.0 Simcoe
boil       1   min    2.0 Centennial
dry hop 7 days    2.0 Simcoe
dry hop 7 days    2.0 Centennial
dry hop 7 days    2.0 Columbus
total hops            18

150 IBU

I brewed this last night with the single tier set up. I had some issues using the pump for the sparge so I ended up using gravity for that portion of the process. Otherwise the single tier set up was frickin awesome. Still need to dial it in though! Guess I have to brew another beer.

I did a ton of PH readings and came to the conclusion that my PH strips are bad. They literally give me the same reading every time. Minneapolis water report states that the water profile is a PH of 8.6. Strip reads 4.4. I used 5.2 PH buffer in the mash. PH strip still reads mid 4's. So my only conclusion is that the strips don't work.

I double crushed the grains and used 5.2 PH buffer to help my effeciency and I ended up with 67-70% effeciency which I feel is pretty good. I didn't quite max out my equipment on this 10 gallon batch.  I had a little bit of room in the Mash, but was pretty dang close to the top for my sparge. 

Hear are some notes from the Brew night.

Kevin stopped by to help a bit at the start because I was nervous using the pump.
We mashed in and the pump pushed 8 gallons into the Mash tun from my HLT in about 1.5 minutes. That was pretty awesome. I mashed at 154 for 60 minutes. Used gravity to drain and collected 6 gallons of first runnings. First Wort Hopped. I sparged at exactly 170 degrees for 30 minutes. Tried to transfer the sparge water with the pump, but couldn't get a good prime. Drained using gravity and then had to lift 14 gallons which proves that I'm a big strong man. Boiled for 60 minutes. Used a hop bag for the last two hop additions. Cooled to 68 degrees in about 20 minutes and pitched my yeast.

12.12.10 - Sampled as I transferred to secondary.  Great bitterness.

12.27.10 - Fully carbed and in kegs. Pours crystal clear with a slight yellow-orangish hue. Nice head, with an amazing aroma of pine, and citrus. The CTZ hops come through nicely. Bitterness hits you right away and let's you know you're in for a ride. It has a smooth medium mouthfeel that just bursts with hops. Slight caramel honey flavors hit you amongst the waves of piney and citrus hops. Finish's with a bitterness that lingers and makes you go back for another sip. It's bitter, but it's not cloying sweet. Fantastic IPA on the extreme end of the hops spectrum. This truly is the essence of hop nectar!

4.16.11- Next time I'll probably hop burst this. Also I'll mash at 158 and add the honey in at the start of the boil, or at least half of it.   


Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale revelations...revised Malt, same hops

I thought that I'd put up a quick post about a revelation that I just had while sampling my first ever Green Flash Hop Head Red. It's a west coast Red IPA that I can't get my hands on in MPLS, but received one bottle special delivery from my boy in Cali who has a nice blog Slaughterhouse 7. I've brewed the clone of it twice now blind without tasting it, and found the clone online somewhere and then adjusted it to my liking on the second try.

Here are my thoughts on the actual Hop Head Red. It's a nicely bittered Red Ale, using Amarillo Hops for flavor and aroma. The IBU's upon taste seem to be higher then the mid 40's to me but I'm not a great taster. It has an overwhelming raisin / prune / dark fruit flavor that I didn't know about. A bit like a Belgian Dubbel which I believe use the Belgian Special B malt. It's a very dark ruby red, almost a light brownish color.

Here is what I think I need to change to make my clone more like the original.

I think that the lower Crystals 40 and 80 bring in way too much sweetness. I'm starting to question Crystal malts. Instead I'd add in some Special B which will give that prune flavor, also up the mouth-feel, which will allow you to mash at a bit of a lower temp, say 152 degrees and still get a thicker mouth-feel.

Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale Clone - revised grist(5 gallon)

malt & fermentables
% LB OZ Malt or Fermentable ppg °L
63% 8 0 American Two-row Pale 37 1
24% 3 0 Munich Malt 37 9
8% 1 0 Flaked Oats 33 2
4% 0 8 Belgian Special B 30 220
1% 0 2 American Chocolate 34 127
1% 0 2 American Crystal 120L 34 120
12 12
Original Gravity
17° SRM / 34° EBC
(Light Brown to Medium Brown)

60 mins 1.0 Chinook
10 mins 0.5 Amarillo
5 mins  0.5 Amarillo
1 min 1.0 Amarillo
dry hop 3.0 Amarillo

63.7 IBU  


Single-tier build!

Last night my boy Rob aka Rob the Renovator came on by my pad to help me finish my brew house set up.  I really couldn't have imagined that my set up would be almost complete, but Rob was extremely motivated and helpful.  When I told him I needed a single tier brew stand, he was like...cool...I know a place where I can get cheap steel.  I'll pick it up on Monday on my day off.   Okay!   The kid picked up the steel, some casters, and everything I needed and totally hooked this shit up!   He is the MAN!   The guy knows what he wants and he goes after it.  I'm just lucky to be on the receiving end of his generosity and ambition.   
What I still need to do:
1. Buy another burner for my boil kettle (suggestions?)
2. Either build a tool box for my pump, or mount it. (done, mounted)
3. Buy ball valves for the march pump for easier priming, and to regulate flow. (done)
4. Hook up some kind of ventilation system to my garage window
5. Put a 1/2" bulk head on my Mash tun so that all of my bulkheads are the same (done)


Biere De Noel - on Keggle system with march pump and quick disconnects

Here is the current set up!  I definitely need to make a single or double tier stand for it, but for right now it's definitely functional cause I just created a beautiful Biere de Noel based on the the recipe in the book Farmhouse Ales by Phil Markowski. 

This was my first attempt using my full set up with the two keggles, igloo cooler, and the march pump.  I gotta say, it worked great for the mash, but I had some issues priming the pump for my sparge.   I need some guidance on the best practice for the march pump set up.  I've heard on forums that everybody has issues using the march pump, but now I know first hand that it can be a little annoying.   In this case it took so long to move the water from the hot liquor tank to lauter tun for the sparge that I didn't hit my sparge temp.   It was just under 156 degrees so I took a portion of grain and wort out and boiled it and still barely got above 163 degrees. It was almost like a decoction step and doing that really put all my fear of the decoction to rest.     Anyways,  after the suedo-decoction step.... I was like... whatever man, collected my sparge water, and boiled for 2 hours!   The long boil was two fold, it's traditional for the style to do a long boil and to increase the malty flavor in the beer, but also when using Pilsner malt it helps to drive off the diacetyl.   With the cool Autumn air and water the wort chilled to 70 degrees in about 15 minutes! 

Here it is...

Thunder Lizard - Biere de Noel

67% German two-row Pils
21% Munich Malt - 10
5% Caramunich II
5% Muscovado Sugar
1% Black Malt

FWH 120 min - 0.5 oz Magnum (homegrown)
20 min - 2 oz. French Strisselspalt hops

Denny's Fav 50 yeast 1450

OG: 1075
FG:  1011
ABV: 8.4%
IBU: 30
SRM: 16

***Can't wait to get my Johnson temp control set-up so that I can do my first Bock.  Back in the day New Glarus Uff Da Bock was one of my favorite beers on the planet.

4.2.11 - Sampled this nearly 6 months after brewing it.  It's mellowed quite a bit.  Appearance is a brilliant brownish red.   The aroma is of earthy hops, sweet candied rum, and a bit of grainyness (possibly derived from the sudo-decoction) Not sure if this grainy-ness in the aroma is a flaw or not.  I do like the overall complexity in the aroma.    Taste is a of sweet malt and a bit of rum derived from the muscovado sugar.   The finish is a balance bitter sweet but more towards the sweet end.   The rum flavor hits you at the very end and may be a bit overpowering.  ***If I was to do this recipe again, I'd lower the amount of muscovado sugar to 2-3% as it's extremely flavorful.   Meduim bodied and extremely flavorful...just took 6 months for it all to come together.  I'm really starting to love these French Strisselspalt Hops.  Earthy, fragrant, and I think they'd go really well with Saaz.


ArtenBru event on November 19th - The freshest beer and art in the area!

Artenbru is going to be an awesome event.   I'm gonna be pouring some of my beers at this really cool event on November 19th at the Black Dog Coffee and Wine Bar.  There will be 10 local homebrewers and 10 local designers collaborating for a one of a kind event.  The brewers will have beers for sampling, and the designers will be developing a brand for that beer/brewery and selling event posters.  This event is open to the public, and you all can come check it out and sample beers and buy art!   I can't wait to see what my designer comes up with for the event Poster!  The beers that will be poured at this event are going to be the absolute top quality and freshest beer you've ever drank!   Just wait and see what shows up!   I can't wait to meet all of the other homebrewers at the event and taste what they are brewin!   Not sure what beer/ beers I'll be bringing to the event yet, but I'm very confident that people will enjoy them!   If you like beer, and you like art then this is absolutely the event to come check out.  Come on out, meet some people, check out some art,  drink some beer, and have a great time!  

Here is the list of brewer and designer teams..

Brewer Juno Choi + Designer Dan Kearney
Brewer Garth Blomberg + Designer Karl Engebretson
Brewer Stephen Perrier +  Designer Bryan Peiper
Brewers Tony Kutzke & Mike Walsh + Designer Nick Brue
Brewer Tim Sullivan + Designer Lucas Gluesenkamp
Brewer Nick Pederson + Designer Adam Hoganson
Brewer Steve Fletty + Designer Clint Lugert
Brewer Sean Kampshoff + Designer Andy Manthei
Brewer Kristen England + Designer Peet Fetsch
Brewer Curt Stock +Designer Bud Snead

Hope you all can make it!


Welcoming a new Assistant Brewer to the Dank Brew Haus!

Leo DeAngelo Pederson born on September 30th, 2010 will be joining the Dank Family as Assistant Brewer Dude! He is hard working and is currently working on making it on his own in this crazy world with the help of a health Mom and Dad! His main function at the brewhouse will be to make sure he is eating, pooping, and sleeping for the next few months. He is a wee lad and he won't be doing any heavy lifting for a few years, but he will be a great asset to the growth of this operation!




Win "Rocky" Win

I could wax poetic, but the essence of this clip says it all!


Brew Day Notes using Hippity Hops Farms 2010 Cascade Hops!

Just wanted to write up an update on how the brew day went for my personal notes and obviously to share.

I have some great pics of all the fresh hops floating in the brew kettle that I'll update later on! I'm starting to think that using whole hops is a lot easier then using the pellets. Yeah, you have to use more water to compensate for the water absorption, but man it's nice to see the real deal boiling away!

Mashed in at 155
Took a PH reading of the mash after stirring and it read 4.8
Took another PH reading after 60 minutes and it read 5.0
Sparged at 170
Took a PH reading and it was at 4.6
According to Desirable pH’s

Brewing liquor – pH 6.2-6.6
Pre- boiled wort - ~pH 5.5
Post-boil wort – ~pH 5.2
Finished product – pH 3.9-4.2

Looks like I need to test my brewing liquor, and then the pre-biol wort on my next brew, and then hopefully it will all fall in line from there. I definitely need to figure this out because I should be getting better efficiency!

I mashed high to have a nice big mouthfeel for this beer. I sparged right on 170 degrees and was hoping this would help my efficiency, but it was still extremely low. Somewhere in the 60-65% sugar extraction range. I'm assuming some of that has to do with my high mash temp, but would love advice from anyone about how to increase my efficiency.

I ended up collecting almost 6 gallons but that will come down to around 5.5 gallons of finished beer when I subtracted wort loss due to my dry hop absorbtion, yeast cake, and trub.

Currently fermenting at 66 degrees ambient temp in my basement.  Chuggin away nicely!

Can't wait to see how these Hippity Hops taste!

first wort hop

Surly Fest with Surly Fest Beer Brats for Oktoberfest!


Organic Harvest Brown Ale

I purchased all of the ingredients to brew up my Native Brown Bitter Ale again for this reaping season.  This is the same base recipe I did last year with locally grown Cascades.  This year I didn't get free Cascade hops from the guy in New Hope, but I did get a pound of organic cascade hops from Hippity Hop Farms!  While technically they aren't "certified" organic, this is only because you have to be farming organically for 3 years for certification.  From my talks with Hippity Hops very own Paul P., they should be getting certified after next years harvest!   I'll have a better idea of what I'm doing this time around as Hippity Hops tested the IBU's of their 2010 crop to a result of 6.4% AA!  Cheers to Hippity Hop for doing it right in the Twin Cities!   Not to many changes to the recipe this year, but I'm thinking I'll make it a little more bitter and dank...not too dank though.   I did buy mostly Organic grains to go with my hops.  Breiss has organic 2-row, and also Organic Chocolate at Midwest Brew Supply!   With all of the ingredients I bought for the recipe, it looks like this one will by 89% organic!  I don't think that's enough to be certified organic, but it is in my book!

Organic Native Brown Bitter Ale

malt & fermentables

Malt or Fermentable
Breiss Organic Two-row Pale
American Crystal 10L
Breiss Organic Chocolate
Special Roast
American Crystal 120
Roasted Barley


Batch size: 5.5
Original Gravity / Final Gravity
1.045 / 1.005
18° SRM / 36° EBC
(Light Brown to Medium Brown)


60+ mins
Organic Cascade from Hippity Hop Farms
10 mins
Organic Cascade from Hippity Hop Farms
1 min
Organic Cascade from Hippity Hop Farms
7 days
Organic Cascade from Hippity Hop Farms
52.4 IBU


Wyeast British Ale II - 1335

5.7% ABV

Original Gravity: 1.048
Final Gravity: 1.005
Initial Gravity (Plato): 11.91° P
Final Gravity (Plato): 1.28° P
Real Extract: 3.21° P
Apparent Attenuation: 89.2%
Real Attenuation: 73.1%
Alcohol By Volume (ABV): 5.7%
Alcohol By Weight (ABW): 4.5%
Calories (12 ounces): 155



Northeast Homebrew Clubs first meeting TOMORROW!

Hey All,

We are starting up a Homebrew club in Northeast Minneapolis!   I know a bunch of us are pumped to meet up and see what's brewin in Nordeast and we encourage everyone to come meet up, and see if you wanna be a part of the crew.  Share some stories of brewing and drinking and stuff.   Hope you all can make it!   Hopefully I'll have a few tasty Dank brews to share with everyone.   I do have some bottles of my DIPA "The Chronic" that I'll be sharing, and some Belgians if Grumpy's in NE is OK with that.  They have a nice local tap list as well... so fun will be had by all! 

Grumpy's NE
Saturday September 18th
4pm -6pm

Come with an open mind, an outgoing personality, and ready to meet new people and hopefully develop lasting friendships and brewing relationships!   I think we have some great brewers in NE and if we don't we'll work to get mo betta! 

Potential topics-
  • Growing Hops in NE
  • Adjusting the local brew water for the best beer possible in NE, or anywhere for that matter.
  • How to get started brewing
  • A possible Name for the homebrew club (official, or nickname)
  • Critiquing homebrewers beers, wines, meads, etc (samplings galor)
My dog likes beer in Nordeast, you should too!

Nordeast Brewers blog




Bob Marley - Dub Feeling (Feel Alright Dub Version)

  I love how raw and simple this bad boy is.  I only wish it was a longer version, or an extra verse in there.


Kanser pushin the positivity

This dude seems cool man!


Maxing out a 54 quart cooler using batch sparge!

With all of the hop talk going on right now I couldn't resist brewing up a nice Hoppy ale. I was considering an Ordinary Bitter as it's a style that I've never done. It seemed like everything was in line for that brew. The project OG was 1.032 with projected ABV at 3.2%. It was going to represent the fact that my wife and I have made it to a huge benchmark in the pregnancy of our first child. We've made it to 32 weeks. 32 weeks is huge because "little P" should now have fully developed lungs. Huge sigh of relief! Unfortunately 3.2% abv isn't huge, and didn't really seem like a good representation of the "little lion man's" achievement of cooking for 32 whole weeks. I decided instead to do something worthy of this little man...so I went for a beer that I thought would max out my system as he is currently trying to max our Melissa's belly.    Know, if I was doing a 5 gallon batch, that would be a big as beer. But I've been contemplating lately on how big a beer can I do, on my equipment, with my process of batch sparging, in a 10 gallon batch. I've tried to speculate, looked online for calculators, asked Denny Conn himself on a forum, all to no avail. I really didn't know how far I could push this system.  I decided the only way to find out is to just go for it.   I know I can do a small beer like the Patersbier I did, but that only had 18 lbs of grains. I like my beers to have around 20-25+ lbs of grain typically. I'm talking in the 5-6% range depending on mash temp, and efficiency, and yeast attenuation. So, here is my system.

  • 54 quart Igloo cooler (Mash Tun)
  • Keggle for boil (Boil Kettle)
The most important part of this list is the 54 quart cooler.   I decided to brew up a 10 gallon batch of the GF Hop Head Red clone that I brewed up this spring.  That thing was damn tasty and I wouldn't mind 10 gallons hanging around.  I mashed it a bit higher hoping for a thicker mouthfeel and that was about the only change I'm going to make.   This beer has almost 26 lbs of grain and should be around a 6% beer.   I decided that I'd just max out the mash tun and fill it to the brim in the mash and the sparge.  I ended up collecting about 10.5 gallons for my boil.  So....close, right?.   I ended up adding 2 more gallons and double sparging.   Oops...guess this beer was too big for my system.  I'm thinking that my systems is probably maxed out at about 21-22 lbs of grain.   Sure, I could graduate to fly sparging, then I could probably do a 1080+ beer on this system, but I still like the - "set it and forget it" - of batch sparging.    Can anyone out there convince me to make the leap to fly sparging? Or, should I just buy a bigger cooler?  120 quart maybe?

Reaping Night- Red Ale (GF Hop Head Red Clone)

Green Flash Hop Head Red Ale Clone (10 gallon)
% LB OZ Malt or Fermentable
62% 16 0 American Two-row Pale
23% 6 0 Munich Malt
8% 2 0 Flaked Oats
2% 0 8 American Crystal 120L
2% 0 8 American Crystal 40L
2% 0 8 American Crystal 80L
0% 0 2 Chocolate Malt
     25lb 10oz
Original Gravity
1.052 (actual ?)  I dropped my hydrometer
Final Gravity
14° SRM / 27° EBC
(Copper to Red/Lt. Brown)

60 mins 2.0 Chinook
10 mins 1.0 Amarillo
5 mins 1.0 Amarillo
1 min 2.0 Amarillo
dry hop 6.0 Amarillo

63.7 IBU 

***Stay tuned for many new upgrades to my brew house, tap room, and also for my hop harvest!
***If you've read The Dark Tower series then you may recognize the name of this beer.   If you haven't read The Dark Tower series by Steven King....I'd highly recommend it.   The Reaping Night is basically a reference to the party of the Harvest!


NE Minneapolis Hops update 8.31.10

I'm having a ton of fun this year watching my hops grow to harvest.   The Nugget and the Magnums are about ready to be picked with bright yellow lupulin glands and browning leaves.  I'm hoping to get at least an ounce or two combined as these are typically high alpha bittering hops.   Not really expecting much out of my Mt. Hood hops as that bine only has a few cones.  Last year it didn't flower at all.

***Because I don't get full sun in my back yard, I'm thinking I need to do all I can for these hops next year to get a nice healthy harvest. I'm gonna have to read up on my preparation for proper wintering, make sure I prepare the soil with the appropriate nutrients to help these ladies flower to their fullest. My original plan was to let them grow wild with little to no effort (set it and forget it). I'm thinking that a little love will go a long way in year 3!


St Anthony Shifty Eyed Clucker- Farmhouse Ale

With the chill of Fall in the air I decided to brew one more Farmhouse ale to finish off the summer brew season right.  It's fun relying on the ambient temperature on different levels of my house for my fermentation, which right now means I can use all kinds of crazy Belgian farmhouse yeasts that love the high temps in my upstairs!   I decided to try something a little whacked out, a little out of the box, yet very simple.   This beer is supposed to be representative of something a small Farmhouse may have brewed back in the day.  You know the type of French country house that has barley, wheat, and spelt for feed.   Yeah, spelt for feed.  Well, on some of these farmhouse breweries inevitably they'd use a portion of this spelt in their grain bill.  Not sure if they added 20% like I did though.  Man o man.  It should act a bit like adding wheat to a beer which adds some body, mouthfeel, and head retention.   I learned about this type of traditional rustic Saison while reading Farmhouse Ales recently and then ended up doing a google search for spelt trying to find some for this brew.   I came across this recipe from Ryan's Brew and decided to use that as a base, and then mess with the hop bill and yeast to my own liking.   I ended up going with a mix of American, German, and French hops.   I picked up the flaked spelt from Whole Foods and it cost a pretty penny.   I'm excited to see how this turns out as it's probably the most traditional Saison I've brewed to date.

I can honestly say that my house in NE Minneapolis used to be exactly where my neighbors Chicken coop used to be around 65 years ago.   Back in the day my neighbor Bill used to live on his parents farm in the city, on the outskirts of Minneapolis near St. Anthony.  These chickens must have had a shifty eye towards the progress and expansion of this city when house's were being build up around their farm 60 years ago.   Not sure what else went down on Bill's farm, but I do know that I'm brewin beer where those cluckers used to roost. 

St Anthony Shifty Eyed Clucker- Farmhouse Ale

60% Belgian Pale
20% Belgian Biscuit
20% Flaked Spelt

10 SRM
39 IBU’s
OG: 1.051
Mashed at 149 for 75 min
Sparged at 166 for 30 min
FG: 1.003 on 8/31/10
Abv: 6.3%

1 oz (fwh) Kent Goldings
0.5 oz Strisselspalt and 0.5 oz Sterling at 15 min.
0.5 oz Strisselspalt and 0.5 oz Sterling at 5 min.
1 oz Amarillo at 1 min.

¼ tsp Irish Moss
¼ tsp yeast nutrient

Wyeast  French Saison 3711

Tasting notes: 3.11.11-  Only have a couple of bottles of this left.   This is a very unique saison that seems to be more approchable to the typical non-saison drinker.   Sampled this out to people at the NE Homebrew club February meeting and many people comment on liking it.  Bree specifically said, I don't usually like Saison but I like this.  (I wish I would have axed for more details.)  The French Striss.  hops are still coming through nicely although the Amarillo dry hops have certainly faded a bit by now although there is a hint of orange in the nose as well anise and some bready malts, even saltine crackers (presumably from the biscuit malt).  I'm also getting a little earthy, funky stuff in the nose that either comes from the Goldings (FWH) or the F. Striss. hops.   Although this should be a rather dry beer because the yeast ferments out so low it still has a medium mouthfeel from the yeast and the spelt.   The flavor is a bit spicy  (maybe anise),  from the French Striss. hops as well as from the yeast.   Finish's spicy with a little bitterness and then your mouth waters for another sip.  After a minute the mouth does dry out.  Wyeast French Saison - 3711 seems to start out fruity and accentuates fruity hops, but then over time becomes more spicy.  

Conclusion: Next time I brew this I'll probably decrease the Biscuit malt to 10% and sub that other 10% with Vienna.  I think that would balance this beer out nicely.


Patersbier (4-ways) - Bottle, Keg, on Tart Cherries, and dry hopped!

I brewed up my first 10 gallon batch about a month ago and now I'm getting ready to start experimenting with this one base beer. I did a pretty crazy traditional Saison step mash to maximize fermentable sugars in order to make sure that I could ferment this out completely, which is what was of utmost importance to the Belgian brewers of old. Now that I have my 9.5 gallons completely fermented out I'm splitting this batch in FOUR different ways in order to do a little experimenting.

I'm doing this in 2.5 gallon increments and the first very simple experiment will be kegging 2.5 gallons, and bottling another 2.25 gallons to see the difference between bottle conditioning and force carbonation and how this changes the finished product that a beer will become. I also am going to prime the beer with Honey that I have from Midwest Brew Supply.   I'm assuming that the kegged beer will be nice and clean and the bottled beer will retain more of the funky Belgian yeast and maybe a little sweetness and honey flavor. For the other 5 gallons, I'm also splitting that up, half on 3 lbs of North Star tart cherries (grown in Golden Valley, MN), pits and all, which I pasteurized at 170 for 30 minutes in about a half gallon of water. I then put the cherries into my secondary FV and racked 2.5 gallons on top of them! It looks beautiful! I left the pits in because I read that the pits can lend an almondy flavor and I think that it will add a nice complexity to this very simple, yet flavorful ale. The last 2.25 gallons I'm going to dry hop with 1 1/4 oz of Celeia hops. I really want to see what these hops are like in the Aroma department. I have a bunch of these Celeia hops in my freezer that I received almost a year ago while on a brewery tour at Pearl Street Brewery in Lacrosse, WI.  Awesome tap room, and always a fun time by the way!  This is a very low Alpha hop, they are rather old at this point, maybe a year and a half to two years. It's not completely unlike something that a Belgian farmer may have had back in the day.

Patersbier Brew Night 7.26.10 

 lft to rt. - Sour Monk(Patersbier + 1 wk on tart cherries), Me, Nacho's Straight up (Patersbier)


Tenor Saw - Ring the Alarm!

Trinity Brewing just posted this on Facebook and I couldn't resist putting it up on the Dank page. Hope you all enjoy this!



This one goes out to all who drop hook...

To all the fishermen out there searching for that elusive one which you seek!  To everyone up in the Boundary Waters and the north woods of Minnesota, to all of those on the lakes in Minnesota and Wisconsin or whatever lake you fish on, to the fishermen on the Great Lakes, to all those in the great Northwest in Seattle/ Tacoma slaying the Salmon in the Puget sound, to all in Alaska doing it right and keeping the miners out, to all those in the East and West coasts and across the world who spend their time on dock or boat, to my boy in the Caribbean, and to all who live the island life, may you all be blessed!


Quote of the day!

Native Black Bitter Ale Review - Drink Local!

With all of the local Minnesota Hop talk going around lately I thought I'd step back to my first experience and experiment with locally grown hops from 2009.   I got a bunch of Cascade and Goldings hops from a guy in New Hope.  I used all 4 ounces of Cascade hops in my Bitter Black/ Cascadian Dark / IBA.  I used the Goldings in small additions to many of my beers with great, yet subtle results.  

Last Fall I brewed a nice hoppy Brown Ale using 4 oz. of locally grown cascade hops.  I guess it would be considerd a Cascadian Dark, or a Black Bitter, or a MN Black Bitter.    I figured that the hops were probably on the low end of the Alpha spectrum compared to most cascade hops grown in the US which are grown primarily in the great northwest. Is my assumption wrong...who knows...without a scientific test.  I also figured into my recipe that over hopping would be better then under hopping because we might as well see what these local hops can do right? It ended up turning into an India Brown ale, or possibly an American Brown Ale, or Black Bitter...that's another debate all together and one that I've concluded to call  Black Bitter.  Not sure how it should be classified but it was damn good.  I couldn't have been happier with the result of this bad boy! My friends were freakin over this shit!

This was my 2009 harvest ale, and here is a little review from back then....

Native Cascade Black Bitter Ale- Harvest Ale
Pours a nice dark brown to black, almost like a light stout in appearance. Initially you are hit by the aroma of roasted malts, a little bit of coffee, some caramel but not too much, and some nice fresh hops! Mainly just roastiness in the nose. You can slightly pick up the hop aroma, almost sweet in the smell. When you take a sip you get a beautiful mix of malt and hops. For the yeast, I think it is a bit subdued and it's hard to tell how that is effecting the beer, especially since I went all weird and used two different strains (American ale, and English ale yeast). Mainly when you take a sip at first you get the nice roasted barley and then on the back end you get slammed,not with bitterness, but with the taste of sweet Cascade hop nectar, fruity and sweet with citrus and grapefruit. I say slammed, but it's more like a controlled fall from malt to hops. I'll surely be seeking out some more MN Grown Cascade hops this season from Hippityhops Farms outside of Forest Lake, MN.  Long live the harvest. This year we will have a REAPING party with Native Black Bitter Ale for sure! 

Let me know if you'd like the recipe and I'll dig it up for you.

Brewing/Tasting notes from 1.17.10


Twin Cities Community Brewery - Meet Ups!

We're currently gathering info for our next major info meeting and will let you know once we're set. In the meantime, be on the lookout for meet-ups where all of you interested parties can start talking and kicking around ideas! Start growing the Community part of TCCB!  To join the community follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and go to the blog and vote on what beer you'd like to see hit this market in the future!  Make your vote count...that's the whole idea behind a Community sustained brewery like the Twin Cities Community Brewery!


Bluegrass, Old School Gangsta Rap, Jazz, Jam Bands....and Funk! It's what I do!

For some reason I can't stop listening to this song!  I know it's being played on 89.3 The Current all the time, but there's just something about Boot Stompin music! @ 3:43 the boot stompin is the bomb!


Check yo self before you wreck yo self

***cause big d's in yo mouth,  is bad fo yo health.


Northeast Minneapolis homebrew club...

This is a call out to all Northeast Minneapolis homebrewers.  Me and a few other dude's are looking to start a homebrew club for all that ferment in NE Minneapolis.   I want to gather up everyone that ferments in NE and start dominating our hood.   I have a feeling that we'd be able to find a nice home amongst all of the awesome bars in NE.   We could do monthly meetings, mustachio bashio's, keg drinking, hop sharing, big brew days, mud wrestling.....  The whole damn deal.   Let me know if you are interested at all.

***Of course, anyone that doesn't live in NE or have ties to NE will be considered.  You'll just have to be subjected to our hazing rituals, and brandings.

Blog - Stay Updated!
Nordeast Brewers Unite!
Facebook - Become a fan.
Nordeast Brewers on Facebook

 Have a beer!



Twin Cities Community Brewery - a co-op style production brewery!

 The idea of a Cooperative brewery is something that I've been thinking about for a while now and have been having trouble wrapping my mind around.   About 6 months ago I did a google search and came up with one Brew Pub in Texas that was having the same type of idea, but actually making it happen.   Black Star Co-op Brew Pub is making this very idea come to fruition!   It now looks like there is another one in start up phase in Seattle called the Flying Bike Coop.  This looks to be another Brew Pub.

Now here's the story, last month I attended the The St. Paul Summer Beer Fest which was an awesome beer fest, and upon my beer and merch samplings that day I came across a flier talking about an initial meeting for the St. Paul Co-op Brewery.   I grabbed a flier and put the meeting on my calendar.

That meeting took place this past Saturday at the Happy Gnome in St. Paul with a select few.  It just so happens that the organizers of the St. Paul Brew Fest are the same organizers that are looking to put together this St. Paul Co-op Brewery...now dubbed...Twin Cities Community Brewery   Check the TCCB blog for updates in the future...but for the time being you're better off served becoming a fan on Facebook and joining in on the discussions!  The Facebook page is www.facebook.com/TCCBrewery , and the Twitter handle is twitter.com/TCCBrewery 

Here are some things to think on:
  • Do I want to get involved with the Twin Cities Community Brewery? - ANSWER = YES
  • How can I get involved with the TCCB? - ANSWER - Join in on the discussions on Facebook.  Attend the next meeting.  Talk to your friends, family, and co-workers about it.
  • How are they going to do __________(insert question)? ANSWER = We don't know.   We need your help figuring it out!
  • Do I want to be involved in something really cool, and the first of it's kind?  ANSWER= YES


Minnesota Grown Hops update...

It's been quite a while since I gave an update on my hops.   They've done much better this year compared to year one.   They really jumped up in June, stalled out in July a little bit, and now are beginning to flower at the very beginning of August.  The Magnum and the Nugget are beginning to flower and the Mt. Hood is lagging behind a bit.   The Magnum looks a little thin, but the buds look amazing.   Can't wait to harvest in a month or so!

Here are a few pictures.

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