Angel Over My Shoulder IPA

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I had a brewing buddy stop by today. It had been a while . He stops in every once in a while when I need his strength. Today, he helped me brew up an IPA. Thanks brother, I've missed you. 17 years tonight was when our world turned upside down. You've been gone for as long as we had time with you.

This is the first time I am trying to adjust my water before I brew. I've brewed malty beers and they taste fine but the bitter beers have a flat taste to them. I found out that my bare water needed a little bit of help. So using a spreadsheet, I found what I needed to add. Chalk (2 gm), Gypsum (1gm), Calcium Chloride (2gm), and Epsom Salts (3 gm) will do the trick.

As you can see, we have a lot of snow still.

It wasn't all that cold.

But it did get dark quick.

Hey there little brother.

Addition by Subtraction

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Priorities are the next name of the game for my brewing. Brewing-the topic is vast; there is much to learn. Every brew session can be something new and years in you will still find yourself learning. I've come to the conclusion that in the interests of not exploding my head, that it is time to prioritize my hobby. We're not talking about cutting back on brewing. We're talking about cutting back on the learning topics. Here are the things I am interested in expanding my experience in:
  • Temperature control-I have a free freezer, now I just need a controller.
  • Water Chemistry-I have the salts and a plan. I hope to see a difference in the next IPA I brew since my bare water is more suited for malty beers.
  • Lagers-I'd like to try my hand at a lager with the ultimate goal of producing a doppelbock-my favorite beer so far.
  • Session beer-I want to find my "go to" beer, a light, enjoyable beer that others will enjoy too.
  • Dry Stout-I'd like to get a good dry stout recipe in my stable-ala Guinness.
  • Yeast washing-the majority of my beers can be brewed with dry yeast. But for those special beers requiring liquid yeasts, I'd like to perfect yeast washing to help economize things.
  • My own recipe-I want to come up with a completely from scratch recipe called a "Wareham Common" I've got a number of ideas/directions to go, I need to whittle it down and pick one.
  • A beer for Sarah-I'd like to brew something up that I can enjoy with Sarah or she can enjoy while I enjoy my own. I've been leaning towards a pale ale with rose water.
  • Mead-I'd like to try making one.
  • Pyment-I'd like to try making one.
As you can see, my interests are wide so I have to limit the excess noise and focus on these above all other topics.
Do you ever find yourself going in too many directions at once in your hobbies? (And I haven't even started on gardening...that's for a later post.)

Fame, I'm gonna live forever

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Fifteen minutes of fame? Maybe. My homebrew club was on Basic Brewing Radio for our collaborative mash effort in November. Here is the link: Basic Brewing Radio
It is the "Partigyles Gone Wild" podcast.


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Carrots have always been my Eleanor. I finally got carrots to grow this year. I live in an area with all sand so my soil has to be built for carrots. I experimented with a sawdust, loam, and sand mix. Not a great crop, but progress finally. Any have advice? I really love carrots and want to grow them in quantity.

Yogurt-DIY style

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Yogurt is so good for you. There is so much healthy bacteria in yogurt, but not all yogurt is created equal. Sure that fruit not on the top tastes good, but have you read the label? Sugar. Lots of it. Do you know how easy it is to make your own yogurt? Easy peasey lemon squeezy. Here we go.

You need a thermos, 1 tablespoon of yogurt and as much milk as you can fit in the thermos or lesser if you want less yogurt. Fill the thermos up with milk and dump that into a pan.

Bring the milk to a boil. You can use a double boiler or the pan on the burner but as this is milk, watch for boilover. Just get it to a boil then take it off the burner.

Pour the milk into the thermos and wait until it is lukewarm ~112F. Plop in a tablespoon of yogurt and close the lid. It should be ready in 12 hours or so. Just open the top and shake it a little to see if it has solidified.

This has no sugar so you probably want to sweeten it yourself. Mix some grapenuts or granola and honey in or use it in a smoothie. I keep ice cubes made from frozen fruits from the summer in the freezer. A couple of these and some yogurt in a blender make a great morning drink.

Beer Tasting

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A tasting. This is my Alder wood Smoked Porter.

Appearance:Dark brown, one finger head with a nice pillow
Smell:Smokey, sweet
Taste:Light smokey hints, slight sweet
Mouthfeel:thin, watery
Drinkability: a lot less robust than I had hoped. Due to the smokey flavor probably a couple in a night would be good
Overall:I think it is a bit green still at two weeks in the bottle, the carbonation is forming pretty well. I'll give it another two weeks and try it again.

Saison? Funky Belgian Pale? Wareham Common?

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Bonuses are nice. Bonus beers are even nicer. We did our Partigyle yesterday. I've been thinking about doing a Kentucky Common using the sourmash method, full grain bill for 24 hours. So I thought, why not with these mashes where we shot for low efficiency and got better but not great efficiency...there has to be sugars left. So Greg decided to give it a shot. He tossed in two more pounds (minus a few ounces lost to the floor yet again) and some Brett culture. I just tossed mine whole bag with the hop sock into a cooler and heated water up to 160F. I got about 1.5 gallons in. Throughout the day I lost some of that. My cooler cover has a hole in the top where steam collected inside the cover then drained out the drain hole along the side. A bit of a mess. New cooler feature found, lesson learned. Today I opened the cooler and man did it smell funky! Here's what I did with it:

5 gallons of water heated to 170F
Lifted grain bag out of cooler and put in pot. Poured the wort on top of that.
Dumped the 5 gallons of 170F water over the top of the grains.
Let that sit for 15 minutes.
Pulled out the bag and squeezed as hard as I could.
Brought to a boil and added the following:
  • .5 oz East Kent Goldings hops for 60 minutes
  • 1 bottle Working Man's Pale Ale funked beer for 45 minutes
  • Immersion chiller and Irish Moss for 15 minutes
  • .5 oz crushed coriander for 10 minutes
  • 3 oz orange marmalade for 10 minutes
  • .5 oz crushed grains of paradise for 10 minute
  • US-05 rehydrated when wort reached 70F
I ended up with an OG of 1.031 (very sweet and spicy).

Here is the Tripel. It blew up into the airlock. This is 5 gallons in a 6 gallon carboy. I added the blowoff tube and that seems to help some. It is still rapid fire like popcorn. This is a little cooler than I wanted at about 58-60F but the yeast seems happy. I'll let it go for another day or two like this then add in sugar and bring it upstairs to ramp up in temperature as it wishes.

This is my Graff. It also decided to get enthusiastic today. It already had the blowoff on it because I know these are pretty vigourous fermenters. But it still blew the stopper off and spilled some down the side. It has now died down in foam but it is super rapid fire bubbling in the blowoff tube. This one has the aquarium heater keeping it around 62F.


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I love it when things you are told can't be done...are done. Today we did a hybrid partigyle. We got 1.5 beers each out of two mash tuns..and possibly an additional beer out of each tun...more later.

Our goal:
  • Quadrupel OG (preboil) 1.054 Hit OG 1.092
  • Tripel OG (preboil) 1.057 Hit OG 1.073
  • Dubble OG (preboil) 1.043 Hit OG ???? (I think it was 1.024)
Not bad at all. I shot for 60% efficiency and I think we got that and then some. I'll go through the numbers and see if I can figure it out. I started diluting the tripel and concentrating the dubbel by swapping quarts between the two when our quad guy decided he wasn't going to do that for whatever reason so I stopped. I think we could have hit pretty close to our three targets with dilution and concentration. The brew in a bag absorbed a lot less grain so the dubbel sparge water from my dunk was a lot more than the 3.4 gallons we shot for. Because of this less sparge was required of the cooler mash tun system. So we thought...why not get another beer out of that? A 24 hour sour mash is what we went with. So I thought, I've got 24 pounds of grains, why can't I get something decent with that too? In went 1.5 gallons of 162F water, hoping for a sour mash of whatever volume to be made tomorrow. I've got some cascade hops to go in, hopefully it will be small volume so I can hop it adequately.

Tripel on the right, dubble on the left.

The milled grains..Greg has a block with milling grains...we're not sure what is up.

Doughing in. Lots more dough balls than I am used to.

The Brew in a Bag mash.

The sparge mash.

I really wish I was able to lift the 23 pounds of wet grain. Brew in a Bag just doesn't seem to work.

I squeezed the bag into a rubbermaid bin and sparged our water over the grains for the dubbel. Worked pretty well.

Greg's brewstand.

The down time is so much more fun in a group.

Too bad squeezing the bag is something you shouldn't do.

Greg explaining how the sparge works.

Me with the complex sparge of squeezing the bag.

The Tripel.

The Dubbel.

The Quad.

Measuring out the hops.

What Mark Coogan missed, beer, Patriots, food.

The Tripel. Brew in a Bag worts always look a little funky to begin with.

Final results:
  • Quad OG 1.067
  • Tripel OG 1.069
  • Dubbel OG 1.051
  • Greg's beer OG 1.052 (5 gallons)
  • Scott's beer OG 1.031 (4.5 gallons)


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G raff is a yummy hard cider-ish drink. The name comes from Stephen King's Dark Tower novel series. They talk about a drink that is appley but beery too. I found the recipe on, tried it once, and here I am making it again. It has more body and flavor than apfelwein though the two are similar. Here are the ingredients:
  • 0.5# Crystal Malt (60L)
  • 1.0 oz Torrified Wheat
  • 4 Gallons of apple juice, ascorbic acid is ok as a preservative
  • 1 Gallon water
  • 1# amber dme
  • 1# light dme
  • 0.5 oz ~6% alpha hops
Steep the grains in 0.75 gallons of water @ 155F for 30 minutes. Sparge with 0.25 gallons of water @170F.

Stir in the dme and bring to a boil. Boil for 30 minutes with the hops in.

After you cool it all down in the sink with ice water, put it in the fermenter. I pour half of a apple juice jug in then shake the remaining juice up as much as I can to aerate it. OG for this batch was 1.064

After pitching rehydrated S-05 yeast in, it goes into a water bath in the basement. That's an aquarium heater in there and a blowoff because graff is pretty vigorous.

Braggot saved?

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I retasted the Earl Grey Cinnamon Braggot with some members of my homebrewing club and we came to some conclusions. It was agreed that this should age for a while. The alcohol content is pretty high and it could mellow out and change the flavor of the braggot if given time. So these are tucked into a dark basement corner until remembered again in the future.

Alder Wood Smoked Porter

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Alder Wood Smoked Porter is hopefully going to be a beer close to Alaskan Smoked Porter. I bottled this beer up today and it was a really good looking beer. Nice light smokey smell to it. It tasted awesome too. Three long weeks and I'll know how good it really is. The FG came in a bit higher than I expected, but with steeping grains and smoked malt, there is probably more unfermentable sugars in there. I thought it might taste cloying but the sweet is balanced by the far. It is a shame the store that sells this brew kit is a mess. Their recipes contradict themselves so I have no idea if my OG and FG are in their "style" or not. Who cares if it tastes good!

OG 1.072 10/5/09
FG 1.026 11/6/09


Another happy clear bottle.
Depressing how dark it is at 4 PM now isn't it?

Neener neener

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B rew in a bag makes cloudy beer "they" said. When it comes to brewing, I don't listen to what "they" say too much anymore.

This is my Willam's Notty Blonde Ambition...and yes it tastes as good as it looks. Too bad brew in a bag doesn't work.

Kombucha soon

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The Kombucha tea is ready. It sat for 11 days and I didn't want to push it any longer. I sanitized four glass iced tea bottle with boiling water. I then put 1/4 cup cranberry grape juice in each glass. Then I funneled in the Kombucha. These will sit for 4 days or so to get some carbonation. Meanwhile, I brewed up some more tea that will become more Kombucha.

Nice looking tea!

And a nice healthy looking mama SCOBY
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