Friday, November 11, 2011

Nightmare Before Pumpkin Ale

So with the change of the seasons and the holidays approaching quickly, I thought it was only fitting to try my hands at a fall classic, pumpkin beer.
After some researching, I found a great recipe off HBT that I ended up manipulating a bit. (see recipe page for my recipe)
So I thought this brew was gonna be pretty simple, besides adding the oven baked pumpkin to the mash, but I still was worried.  ...Well I should've been!
This ended up being the most frustrating brew ever for me! Everything went wrong. Missed my mash temp by a few degrees, stuck sparge (even with almost 2 lbs of rice hulls) and then to top it all off the immersion chiller's fittings came loose and squirted water everywhere (including my already boiled beer.)

Anyways, I made the best of it, still was able to get 10 gallons and hit a 1.052 original gravity.

Below are a few pics of the brew sesh.

Update: Beer has been in primary for 2 weeks now and has cleaned up nicely. The gravity is a constant 1.014. I will be transferring to secondary this weekend and racking to keg and adding the spices after about 5 days of secondary. Really hoping to get this one carbed up for Thankgiving!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

San Diego Super Yeast WLP090 vs. Safale US-05

So in my last post I mentioned I split my 10 gallon batch into 2 carboys and pitched WLP090 in one and Safale US-05 in the other. I was really curious on how the two would differ in fermentation time, clarity, and in taste.

Both yeast were pitched without making a starter. I was also able to keep my ferment temperature at 68 degrees the entire fermentation, which was in range for both yeasts.

First thing I noticed was the US-05 started about 4 hours before the WLP090. I also noticed, once fermentation started, the WLP090 took off and fermented way more vigorous than the US-05.

Active fermentation continued on both carboys for about 3-4 days and settled down after about a week.
I have to be honest, I didn't take any gravity readings to find out exactly when each one finished, but I'm pretty sure somewhere around a week.

I left both beers in primary for 17 days then transferred to kegs where they are now cold crashing.

I took this picture to show the 2 beers between transferring.
US-05 (left)
WLP090 (right)

My findings:
  • I first noticed US-05 started faster.
  • WLP090 fermented more vigorously.
  • Both seemed to finished pretty much the same time (not proven)
  • US-05 had some yeast floaters sitting on top of the beer after 17 days.
  • WLP090 finished much clearer then US-05.
  • Hops presence in the WLP090 beer was much more pronounced then the one with US-05.

Both beers are in the 3rd day of being cold crashed at 34 degrees and I'll be putting them on gas tonight!
Looking forward to seeing and tasting the finished product!

Friday, August 5, 2011

First Brew (Encinitas Brewery)

The first brew in the new garage is in the books! 
After almost 2 months of not brewing because of moving and whatnot, I was finally able to brew my first batch! It's about time because I just ran out of my previously bottled homebrews!

So I decided on doing a 10 gallon batch of an easy drinking "BMC" type beer, I'm calling it my Encinitas Blonde.
Set up was pretty easy! 
Forgot to pull out the folding table, so I had to improvise!
Hit my mash temperature dead on! 
This was a 90 minute mash @ 152*
The boil was also 90 minutes.
 There was only 1 hop addition to this recipe, 1oz of Crystal and 1oz of Williamette @ 60 minutes.
The 10 gallons were split into 2 carboys... I pitched one with Safale 05 and one with the new 
WLP090 San Diego Super Yeast!
This new yeast is basically WLP001Cali Yeast on steroids! Its suppose to ferment super fast and clean up beautifully! (as of today, I'm 4 days into fermentation and both are still bubbling away!)
Really looking forward to see  the out came of this yeast compared to the Safale 05!
With the move, the Keezer has been dry but has now found it's permanent home! The only bright side of having no beer is that I get to ferment in my keezer! So the 2 carboys are sitting in there fermenting at a controlled 68 degrees!!!

Planning on a 17 day primary, 3 day secondary (with Gelatin), then racked to kegs and cold crashed for 3 days!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Move

Welp, we did it!! We moved from the baking heat of El Cajon to the cool ocean breezes of Encinitas! 

It's been about 10 days now and the house is almost completely unpacked and organized. My buddy Damon and I worked on organizing the garage all day sunday, which is where the new Big P Brewing set up will be making it's home! With the cooler air temperatures, it hasn't been over 75 since we've been there, it will make it a lot easier to ferment!
Hoping to light the burners this weekend, July 23rd or 24th, for the first brew sesh at the new pad! I guess I'm gonna have to call it Village Park Ale! :)

Friday, July 1, 2011

BBQ Sauce from scratch!

So I got a burr up my ass to try something new! I thought it would be rad to try my hands at making some homemade bbq sauce. After looking into it and a bunch a different recipes, I found one I thought sounded good and based my creation from it. At the end, I had added and deleted some ingredients from the original recipe, to make it more of what I thought I'd want it to taste like.

My recipe in the end was this:


3 c ketchup
1 c bottled french salad dressing

1/4 c Big P's Evening Glare IPA (any beer will work)
1/2 c Franks Hot sauce
1/2 c lemon juice
1/2 c Worcestershire

2 tbsp liq. smoke
2 tbsp garlic pwdr
2 tbsp pepper
2 tbsp chili pwdr
2 tbsp onion pwdr
2 x 1/2 c cider vinegar
1/2 c black coffee
1/2 c prepared yellow mustard
1/2 c molasses
2 tbsp cajun spice ( Zatarains preferred )
4 tbsp paprika
4 tbsp crushed dry chili
3 lg cloves garlic - minced

Combine the whole thing in a heavy pot 
except for 1/2 c cider vinegar.
Reduce on low for 2hrs, stirring every 15 min.
At the very end, add reserved 1/4 c cider vinegar.

This made 1.5 big mason jars full. (about 1.5 quarts)

You won't be disappointed with making this, fully worth the time and effort! Especially if you plan on cooking a bunch of ribs and want to personalize them a bit! Enjoy!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Spent Grain Doggy Biscuits

After years of just trashing or composting my "spent" grains after I brewed, I decided I would try making some doggy treats out of it. After doing some research, I found an easy recipe that I could mix up during my boil!

The recipe was as followed;
4 cups of spent grains (straight from the mash tun) *any grains from any beer will work!
2 cups of flour
2 eggs
1 cup peanut butter

I put all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl, mixed it up until the concoction was good and evenly mixed. 

I then spread the mixture onto an ungreased cookie sheet (next time I'll spray with cooking spray).

Once it was spread out evenly over the entire sheet, I scored into a bunch of little squares.

Preheated the oven at 350 and baked for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes, took them out, took a turner and unstuck them from the pan. At that point I turned the oven down to 200 and proceeded to bake for 2 more hours to dry them out more. *you may have to bake longer depending on moister. Try to get them as dry as possible to prevent mold growth when stored.

The dogs love 'em!!!!! I'll be making a batch of these every time I brew! Super easy and, heck, saves some money on buying doggy treats!!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hops Grow (1st year)

Over the winter I was reading up on people growing their own hops, so I thought what the heck, I should give it go. So I pre-ordered 2 cascade and 2 Centennial hop rhizomes from I lucked out and received them nice and early (March 10th) and planted them the following week!

I decided to plant them in a cut in half plastic barrel I had at work. I filled each barrel with a mixture of planting soil and sand from around my work.

After about 2 weeks of the rhizomes being planted, I began to noticed little sprouts popping up.

        Cascade                                        Centennial

A few weeks later, the vines began to shoot up towards the sky!

5/3/11- Hops update

Cascade growing a bit faster then the Centennial, but so far happy with the growth!!!



Friday, April 29, 2011

1st Annual "Brown Off"

Do you hear it?  The rolling thunder of a perfect boil, the faint
   sounds of excitement from all over San Diego as homebrewer's hit
   that magical O.G.  As we all cross our fingers hoping this brew will
   be the best a challenge is born.

   The 1st annual "Brown Off" is going to take place at Big P Brewery, May 21st. 

   The best from local homebrewers will be on draft
   for a competition of homebrewing skills, recipe formulation and
   plain old fashion luck.


When: Saturday May 21st, 2011

Beer check in- 11:00 am till....

Food: Hots Dogs and Burgers will be thrown on the bbq at some point during the day! Water and Lemonade will also be provided!

Pool Party: Bring your swim suits! The pool will be nice and warm and in full swing for your enjoyment!

Beers/Kegs will be given a number and kept secret from brewers and drinkers!

Drinker/Judges- Everyone attending and drinking will be allowed to judge the beers.

Judging- Each tap will have a the number assign to it with its correlating keg connected to it. Judges/Drinkers will be given a score sheet for every beer number. Judges/Drinkers will put their name on the card and can fill out the sheet as they drink the beers.

Scoring- The score card from the brewer who's name coincides with his brew, will be thrown out. Scores will be totaled and averaged. The beer with the highest average will be deemed "Best of Browns" 


Please RSVP and let me know who's all participating and who's coming! Feel free to bring a side of some sort to share with everyone!
Btw... Kids are welcome!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Double Brew Day (Evening Glare IPA/Lava Rock Pale Ale)

Saturday 4/23/11 (Day before Easter)

Evening Glare IPA

Got a later start (10:00am) on today's brew sesh then I really wanted to, but wasn't to worried about it since I had all day!
Decided I was going to try my hands at an IPA today! Came across a recipe on  that look really interesting and thought I'd put my own twist on it. Loved that included Amirillo, Cascade and Centennial hops, along with a high AA% bittering hop (Nugget) and totally off the wall dry hop addition of Glacier (which I ended up using Williamette).

The brew went pretty good! Hit 73% Efficiency and ended up with an OG of 1.070. Cooled down to 72 degrees in 25 minutes and pitch WLP001 yeast!
Really Looking forward to trying this beer! 

So now that Cracker has converted her kegerator from a sanke keg set up to a corny keg set up, she's been really interested in making her own beer!

So after my Evening Glare IPA was cooling, Cracker came over with the ingredients for a batch of my Lava Rock (Kona Fire Rock Clone). I was really stoked she was able to head to Home Brew Mart,  measure out the grains and grab the yeast all on her own! ( Being her first time and all! I know how hectic that place could be on a saturday!)

We started the mash around 1:30pm and was converted and boiling by 3:30! By this time, my IPA was pitched and nice in safe with a towel around it! :)

I had Cracker do most of the switching of the hoses, turning of the valves and also the whole hop schedule addition! I must say, she's catching on fast!!!

We hit an OG of 1.057

The Lava Rock Pale Ale was cooled in record time, 20 minutes, and the yeast was pitched at 75 degrees! 

Everything done and cleaned by 6:00pm!

Long, but great day of brewing! Looking forward to both these beers out by the pool this summer!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Brew Stand Build

So I came up on some uni-strut that I can use to build my brew stand. I drew up some quick sketches of what I wanted and made my cuts today!
Basically, it's a 6'x2'x2' cart with 2 burners (one on each side) and a place for my Mash Tun Cooler in the middle. I still have to purchase all the hardware for the keggles and mash tun so I can attach hoses to them, that in return, will be attached to a pump with cam-locks.
Looking forward to getting this project started!
Follow the progress here:
Brew-Rig Build