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Topics - unclebrazzie

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Beer Recipes / Festive Wee Heavy
« on: May 09, 2016, 01:59:22 PM »

I'll be brewing a wee heavy which is to be ready by September 18th.

The occasion is a ceilidh, celebrating the Scottish roots of Da Missus' side of the family. Ages 4 till 94. Last year I brewed an 8% scotch which went down well, but was not festive enough to my taste. I'll dig up the recipe as soon as I can.

I want it to be malty, bordering on chewy. Stately, but drinkable. Best case scenario, we'll have thirsty octogenarians sitting in the sun all afternoon. Worst case they'll be sitting inside b****ing about the weather.
Either way, I want to keep them occupied with beer to keep them from continuously pinching the greatgrandchildren's cheeks all afternoon.

Couple of choices I need to make, and for which I'd like your advice.

Firstly: a wee heavy or a wee heavy?
Former case would be something like an Old Chub style brew, OG around 1.100 and about 10% ABV. That should cover both "festive" and "stately", as well as shut'm all up after a few rounds.

Latter case would a in the ballpark of Traquair House ale, OG around 1.080 and 7-8% ABV. Still far from sessionable, this would be more congruent with what most Belgians consider a normal festive beer. Plus, given the size restrictions of my rig, it'll also mean more beer. 25 liters would make me very happy.

Grist would be (off the cuff)
80% Maris Otter
10% Munich
5% CaraMunich2
3% roasted barley
2% melanoidin

About a liter of the first runnings of this would be boiled separately to a thick syrup, to bring our the caramel, and then boiled together with the rest of the wort. 90' boil, with about 20-30 IBU's worth of EKG/Fuggles. Mostly early additions.

Ferment with Wyeast 1728 in a big beefy starter.

Advice and comments on the recipe would be much appreciated also :)

I have some oak chips which I've infused with Arran whisky which I'd been meaning to add as a throwback to the clan's geographic origins. That's right you lot: if a plane crashed on the right crowd, I could end up as the next owner of Brodick Castle.
Any other Scottisch ingredients or techniques which may be relevant, I'd be glad to hear about them.

I'm in a bit of a pickle.

Last weekend, I did a parti-gyle (actually a split sparge or whatchamacallit) barley wine / bitter. First runnings became the BW, second (with some cara sprinkled on top) became the bitter.

The bitter was supposed to be (after dilution of the wort) a 1.040 OG brew, about 20 liters with 40 IBU.

However, just prior to pitching, I discovered my refractometer had done a whoopsee: instead of the 1.040 it had shown me earlier, my hydrometer claimed it to be 1.070. A whooping difference, which I was loath to quickly adjust because I was pitching on top of a Windsor cake I'd just laid bare after racking the brew which had been sitting on top of it.

So, instead of diluting with boiled-and-then-cooled water, I decided to pitch anyway, and to hell with style guidelines for bitters.
Only now, I'm beginning to wonder if it would at all be possible to still dilute the beer without it ending up a sorry mess.

As it's a parti-gyle's second runnings, the grist is a bit of a refactored affair.
Mother wort came from 90% Maris Otter and 10% oats. 8kg in total.
I pulled off 15 liters of 1.090 wort from that for the barley wine, and sparged for second runnings with 20 liters of hot water and 500g of caraMunich sprinkled on top. Refracto told me the result was the 1.040 I expected it to be.

Hopping was

East Kent Golding            6,0 %     10 gr          70 Min.                                                                       
Fuggle (GB)                    5,6 %     10 gr          70 Min.                                                                 
East Kent Golding            6,0 %     45 gr          10 Min.                                                                         
Fuggle (GB)                    5,6 %     45 gr          10 Min.                                                                 
East Kent Golding            6,0 %     50 gr          Hopstand                                                               
Nelson Sauvin                13,0 %    20 gr          Hopstand                                                                   
The wort sample I tasted was assertively bitter, but I've no idea how a dilution with water would affect this brew.
Diluting to a hypothetical OG of 1.040 would mean adding 15 liters of water to the fermenting/ed beer.

In a way, what I'm proposing is what high gravity brewing intends to do: brew an overly heavy/strong beer, and then dilute it so you have more (weaker/lighter) beer than you'd normally have.

Anyone here who can advise me in this?

Ingredients / Tobacco
« on: April 19, 2016, 08:12:04 AM »
Anyone used it as an ingredient in beer?

I know of only one Belgian beer which claims to have tobacco in it: a "cigar stout" by Beryllium Erbium. Was a bit meh and decidedly un-cigar-ish, but I get the idea of how tobacco aroma could work in a stout.

Ingredients / Chocolate & Chili
« on: April 08, 2016, 12:18:09 PM »
Right, I've been meaning to to brew a mean chocolate chili stout for quite some time now, and I think it's about time I started properly planning this.

Couple of things worry me in this.

One is how to get "proper" chocolate into the beer. I want a dark chocolate flavour, as well as the thick velvet mouthfeel of a proper cup of hot chocolate. I mean the proper, non-Newtonian stuff te Spanish use to dunk their churros in.
Another is the chili. Sure, I want hotness and fire, but not to the exclusion of all else, and also not to the detriment of the chili flavour itself. I want that meaty, fruity flavour which comes with a good quality chili.

I've got about 3 dried Carolina Reapers, which, while ridiculously hot, also have a very nice flavour once your mouth has stopped violently dying in the middle of your face. I also have some ground and whole dried Espelette peppers, and about two dried anchos (I think they're anchos, how can I tell?).
Chocolate-wise, I can easily obtain cocoa in whole nut form, nibs, or powder.

By no means should this become a clown beer. Yes, it's got everything going against it, but should really be something intended for people who are, simply put, crazy about beer, chocolate and chili.

Anyone here who's got meaningful(*) advice regarding the addition/inclusion of either or both of these ingredient?

*) and for argument's sake, let's assume we already have "Just don't do it" already covered.

Beer Recipes / Koyt-gruit hybrid
« on: April 05, 2016, 12:58:18 PM »

will be trying something with a throw-back to pre-19th century European beers: a Kuyt/Koyt/Coyt/Kuit with a gruit twist.

Although recipes are somewhat disputed, the consenus is "mostly oat malt, wheat malt and maybe a bit of pale". Whether it used to be hopped at all, and whether it had a lot of hop aroma if it was is also somewhat contested, so I'm not overly concerned with historical authenticity.

For 20 liters of 1.050 OG kuyt:
4.5 kg malted oats
1.5 kg malted wheat
.5 kg rice hulls

Mash for 2-3 hours @ 67°C.

Batch sparge to collect 20 liters.

Boil for 70 minutes with

20 IBU of continental hops (Saaz, EKG, Hallerthau, etc) @ T-60' (for preservative purposes)
Add gruit mix to the last 5' of the boil. Mix will contain (doses to be decided):
  • gale
  • a bit of hops
  • mugwort or wormwood
  • bay leaves
  • pepper corns
  • rosemay

Ferment with starter from Fantome dregs.
Rack to secondary. Dry-gruit if necessary.
Bottle. Prime to 3-4 volumes; needs to be just south of  spritzy.


All Grain Brewing / Port - beer hybrid
« on: February 26, 2016, 12:26:40 PM »

a friend of mine likes port but not beer and he's set me a challenge: brew him some port beer.

Randy Mosher's Radical Brewing has an example of a port-like beer, which basically comes down to treating your wort as if it were wine must from which you wanted to make port. He also used sherry-flor which makes no sense to me at all, seeing as how the whole aim of his recipe is to oxidise the beer during fermentation, which is pricesely what a proper flor would prevent.

Any port-connoisseurs lurking around?
Anyone with some useful advice on oxidising beer without ending up with liquid cardboard?
Anyone with first-hand experience with Randy's recipe? Or other port-like beers?

I know about cellar-aged beers attaining "port-and-madeira-like" flavours, but that's not what I'm after. I find most "old" beer to taste very similar to one another: like old beer.



Beer Recipes / Semi-historic porter
« on: February 22, 2016, 10:13:57 AM »

HomoEccentricus gave me some brown malt to try in a porter.
I have a copy of Ron Pattinson's Homebrewer's Guide to Vintage Ales, and dragged out a recipe for Barcaly Perkins' 1821 TT porter.

Original recipe is 86% pale, 12% brown and 2% amber for a 1055 OG porter with 77 IBUs (90' and 60' gifts of Goldings).
When I run this through my brewing software, it ends up somewhere on the pale side of 23 SRM (45 EBC) which is way paler than what is now considered to be a porter.

1821 is just around the corner of the invention of black patent malt, which does not feature in the original recipe.
I decided to slightly tweak the recipe, trying to imagine the mindset of a 19th century brewer who's just setting out to begin using this new black malt everyone's talking about.

Recipe for 20 liters of 1055 OG:

83% pale
10% brown
5% black
2% cara amber

Boil 90' with
15g Brewer's Gold         @T-90'
10g Brewer's Gold         @T-60'

Leads to 42IBU which I think is plenty for a non-vatted porter. Black malt brought the colour to around just above 30 SRM.

Ferment with a lively starter of Thames Valley (again courtesy of HE).

Brewed this yesterday, bubbling away as I type this.

Ingredients / Raisins & rum
« on: January 25, 2016, 11:05:05 AM »

Anyone have any experience with adding rum-soaked raisins to a heavy/strong brown ale? Or a big bock, even?



Ingredients / Fesh lemon peel/zest in bottled beer
« on: January 12, 2016, 09:48:08 AM »

i have a beer in secondary in which I want to incorporate the actualy flavour and aroma of fresh lemon peel.
You know, what you get when you add the proverbial "twist" to a beverage.

The easiest (and probably most satisfying) option is to simply serve the beer with a fresh twist of lemon. Duh.
But I was wondering if anyone knows of other ways to have that fresh, sunny lemon zest aroma end up in a bottle of beer?

Thanks in advance!

Beer Recipes / Pekko Farmhouse Ale
« on: January 11, 2016, 08:19:21 AM »
Brewed this yesterday, with the intention of finally doing something with those 2oz of Pekko I recently acquired.

For 25liters of 1.047 beer:

2kg Pale
2kg rye malt
1kg Munich I

Mash 90' at 66°C and batch sparge.

Boil for 70' with
10g Citra             @T-70'
15g Citra             @T-5'
15g Sorachi Ace    @T-5'
30g Pekko            @hopstand
2oz-30g               @dryhop

Added 10g of crushed grains of paradise and fresh lemon peel (of half a lemon) at T-5'.

Ferment with 3711 French Saison at ambient.

So far, this smells effing awesome.

Beer Recipes / Cascadian Dark / BIPA: your thoughts on this?
« on: January 07, 2016, 11:05:41 AM »
Hi peepz,

I'm going to brew a double batch of CD/BIPA with a friend at the end of January. The recipe's based on my own approach to brewing something akin to Brew Dog's Libertine Black. I've brewed two of those and they were very much what I wanted them to be, so my reckoning is the basis of the recipe is sound.
However, I kinda want to step up my hoppy beer skils, and impress the friend, so any advice here would be much appreciated.

For 20 liters of 1.079 OG:
4.5 kg Pale (60%)
1.7 kg Munich II (22.7%)
0.7 kg Cara-aroma 2 (9.8%)
0.6 de-husked black (8%)

Mash everything in the mid-range, around 67°C until complete. Mash hopping with about 25% of the aroma hops.
Batch sparge with 90°C water.

Boil for 70' with
25g Amarillo     @ mash
25g Simcoe      @ mash
30g Columbus   @ FWH
25g Amarillo     @T-5'
25g Simcoe       @T-5'
25g Amarillo     @hopstand
25g Simcoe      @hopstand
25g Amarillo     @dryhop - 10 days
25g Simcoe      @dryhop  - 10 days (together with Ama)

Ferment with US-05 or Denny's Favourite, depending which is easier to get/prepare by then.

Brew two successive batches and ferment together in one vessel. Ambient temp until primary complete, then ambient in cool/cold garage for an additional two weeks. Lacking a 40 liter secondary vessel, return to warmer ambient temp for dryhopping.

Bottle with priming sugar (plain pale sucrose) measured to 2.2 volumes.

My recipe on which I based this was a singe hop Simcoe, which took about 4-5 weeks to smoothe out the rough edges of the dank Simcoe. This recipe replaced half the Simcoe with Amarillo, and subbed Columbus for bittering hops (couldn't find Warrior).

Main concerns.
I intend to use locally sourced soft water. If I can get it, I'll post a report, but I'm fairly sure that won't be the case and I'll have to wing it. Advice on water treatement for a CD/BIPA of this ilk would be much appreciated.
Hops schedule: makes sense? I've some 2oz bags of Galaxy, Pekko, Jarrylo, Azzaca and Comet which I intended to use, and some leftover Sorachi Ace too. 8oz of Citra too if memory serves.
Dehusked black: I've used Carafa Special III in the previous incarnations which was good but not dark enough to my liking (the beer was called Liquid Black so it couldn't just be merely dark so I added Sinamar to darken it further). In this case, the colour's less demanding, and in fact a more murky almost-black will do just fine. Just concerned that Dingemans Mroost1400 may taste drastically different from Weyermanns Carafa Spec.III.

Mash hopping and FHW: I am aware of the debate. Suffice to say I'm still trying to make up my mind and that previous experience does not make me disinclined to continue along that path.

Thanks in advance, y'all!

Beer Recipes / Farmhouse Ale with Quince
« on: October 10, 2015, 03:25:31 PM »
I brewed a bretted quince saison last year which, while very quincey, failed to deliver what I wanted from it.

Quince are back in season now, and I've not yet given up on the idea so here goes:

For 20 l of 1.080 beer:

3 kg pale malt     (44%)
2 kg wheat malt   (28.5%)
1 kg caramunich  (13.5 %)
.5 kg flaked wheat (7%)
.5 kg honey          (7%) (added in secondary together with cooked quince)

Mash at 67°C until conversion complete

20g Jarrylo             @ mash
20g Lemon Drop      @ mash
8g Jarrylo               @ t-70
8g Jarrylo               @ t-10
16g Lemon Drop      @ t-10
20g Jarrylo              @whirlpool
20g Lemon Drop       @whirlpool

Ferment with fresh Wyeast3771 French Saison cake.
In secondary, add 8 quince, boiled with honey.

Bottle when completely fermented.

Hops courtesy of homoeccentricus' borrowed innocent hand.

Kegging and Bottling / Bottling with juice/syrup
« on: September 29, 2015, 11:23:48 AM »

I have about 1 kg of sea buck thorn in the freezer. I brewed a red ale-ish beer the other day, which I just racked onto about 300g of thawed frozen sea buck thorn berries. I'm giving this a few more weeks to see what the berries contribute to the beer. Possibly dry-hop for the final week with something juicy-fruity; Azacca most likely.

I've always been interested in using alternative sources for bottling sugar. In the past, I experimented with molasses (ok but sluggish and definitely not something for every beer) and citrus-zeste-infused sugar. Now, I intend to use sea buck thorn juice, possibly "syrupified" bu adding extra sugar to the boiling juice.

Anyone have any experience in using juice and/or syrup as a bottling/priming agent? The goal here is two-fold:
  • use a flavouring agent for bottling
  • not end up with berry-flavoured bottle bombs

Assuming the sugar is mostly fructose, and that this will ferment "like" sucrose, I need to determine the SG of the juice, and adjust until I reach the desired number of gravity points as indicated by whatever priming calculator I end up using.

So, assuming I'd normally need 84 grams of sucrose to bring 15 liters of 16°C  beer to 2.2 volumes of CO2, I could use a 1.030 SG juice like this:

84 grams of sucrose at 46 ppg (or 384 pkgl) <=> 32.256 points in a 15 liter batch => 2.15 units of difference to the fermented brew.

Getting those extra 2 units from a supply of 1.030 juice instead of from sugar would come down to 66ml (30 units /1000 ml means 2 units per 66ml).

Does that make any sense at all?

Ingredients / Botany in the Brewery: Heather varieties
« on: September 23, 2015, 01:17:59 PM »

I'm looking to brew a Scottish heather ale of some sort or other. No particular recipe decided on yet, but I know I want to have heather in it.

Problem is: like most brewing herbs, heather is a protected plant in Belgium. That is: Erica tetralix is. Not sure about other subspecies of Erica.
A species which is less prone to moorsland SWAT team interventions is Calluna, which is (I think) also the species being sold in many garden stores as "Heather", if not outright as "Erica". Which it isn't, I know, but many peope don't.

Questions then: I know Calluna is/was often used in brewing, known by its less posh and unscientific name "Ling". Does Ling differ much, flavour-wise, from Erica? Are there any other "heathers" out there which are useful for brewing?
Any first-hand experiences in brewing heather beers? What about the fabled "white powder", supposedly causing wild hallucinations and a possible explanation for the Vikings' legendary berserk rage?

Cheerz y'all!


I'm trying to puzzle together how Thornbridge brews their amazing Bracia.
So far, I get mostly sketchy outlines, but what I have is this:

ABV: 10.00%
IBU: Unknown
OG: Unknown
FG: Unknown
Malt Type(s): Marris Otter, Brown, Dark Crystal, Black, Chocolate, Peated and Roasted Barley
Hop Type(s): Target, Pioneer, Hallertau, and Sorachi Ace
Yeast Type: Unknown
Special Additives: Chestnut Honey

Trying to cook up a recipe brings me to an initial rough draft of this:

53% Marris Otter
10% Brown
10% Dark Crystal
2% Black
2% Chocolate
10% Peated
2% Roasted Barley
11% Chestnut honey (added 2 days into primary)

Yields 1.095 witout the honey and 1.109 with.
Ideally step mash:
30' @ 63°C
40' @ 72°C
mashout at 78°C

(hops based on other 10% complex stoutish honey brews, could be waaaay off though)
80 IBU of Target (60')
20 IBU of Pioneer (60')
10 IBU of Hallerthau (15')
10 IBU of Sorachi Ace (15')

90' boil, if not longer.

Neutral but UK yeast, capable of munching away through all that.

Whatcha think?

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