Friday, November 30, 2007

Hardest Step in Brewing..

What the hell do I brew next?
Now that my German Style Alt is in the secondary fermenter, I started researching which styles I'm going to attack next.

The home brews stores around me are either too expensive or don't carry quality products. So I started doing searches online and was pretty impressed with They have a very large selection of cheap pre-made ingredient kits, as well as an extensive catalog of extracts and any other flavor you can possibly put in your beer. (sorry Jeff not that flavor) Im pretty sure I'm going with the Chinook IPA next, but after that its any body guess... Any suggestions?

Probably going to start following my own recipes soon. So if you want to impress me with a your favorite, please indulge.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007


This is my first batch of beer. I choose a simple kit to get familiar with the process. Just a simple wheat beer. I'm not too mechanically inclined so when I first opened my kit I was pretty overwhelmed by all the fancy equipment, Hydrometers, bags of grains, buckets. I've used buckets while drinking but never this early in the process...

So I mixed the wort, sanitized, boiled, poured... and just 30 hours later...bubbles. My beer is actually fermenting. I feel like a proud father. I was pretty sure my beer would be screwed up, that I somehow contaminated it but it seems to be OK... so far. Will be bottling next week and drinking shortly after.

If all goes right I will have my own beer for the holidays and what could be better when surrounded by family, then a secret stash of beer in the basement.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Secondary Fermentation of My DunkelWeizen

I moved my homebrewed DunkelWeizen into the secondary fermentor today. Though I know this step isn’t 100% necessary on wheat beers, I decided to do it. My concern was the size of my primary fermentor. Being 9.5 gallons large and my beer level at 5 gallons, there was a lot of air space that could end up contaminating the beer. The only downside to this move for me is my secondary fermentor is a 6 gallon carboy left over from my wine making kit. But after some thought, I decided that 1 gallon of extra space versus 4.5 gallons was a good move.

Moving beer or wine into a secondary fermentor help with the clearing process. Since DunkelWeizen is a naturally cloudy brew, a lot of people skip this step. Besides clearing up the brew, the secondary fermentation removes the brew from the dead yeast (lees). This may help increase the flavor of the brew and make it less yeasty tasting. Some styles of beers taste better a little yeasty. This is the fun of brewing, finding that perfect combination.

I also tested the specific gravity. I am around a 1.022. I started at a 1.054 and need to get down around a 1.010 before I bottle. This should be by next weekend. I am hoping for next Friday night.

Here are some photos of the move to secondary fermentation.

Moving the Brew from Primary to Secondary FermentorThe Secondary Fermentor Filling UpThe Hydrometer Reading. Around a 1.022The Secondary Fermentor with Brew Belt To Keep It Warm

Monday, November 19, 2007

DunkelWeizen Basement Brewing Recipe


  • 6.6lbs of Muntons Wheat Liquid Malt Extract
  • 8oz Malted White Wheat
  • 8oz Crystal 80°L
  • 4oz Black Patent Malt 470-560°L
  • 4oz Chocolate Malt 340-450°L
  • 1oz Hallertauer hops (60min)(Bittering)
  • .5oz Tettnag hops (15min)(Flavor)
  • 1 capsule of “Sevomyces” yeast nutrient
  • White Labs “Hefeweizen” yeast WLP300

  1. Combine and crack the grains and place in a muslin grain bag. This keeps the grains all together.
  2. Bring 2 Gallons of water up to 160°-165°. Then place the grain bags in the water and steep for 30 minutes.
  3. Lift the grain bags out of the water and let them drain. Do not squeeze the bags, just let them drain until the dripping slows.
  4. Bring the water to a boil
  5. Remove the kettle from the heat and add the malt extract. Stir it in until it is dissolved. It may be easier if you soak the malt in hot water while the grains are steeping.
  6. Place the kettle back on the burner and bring back to a boil.
  7. Add the 1oz Hallertauer hops to the boiling wort and let cook for 45 minutes. Be careful that the wort doesn’t boil over the kettle.
  8. After 45 minutes add the .5oz Tettnag hops. Let boil for 5 minutes.
  9. After 5 minutes add the Sevomyces yeast nutrient. Let boil for 10 minutes more.
  10. After the last 10 minutes are up, strain the hops out.
  11. After the hops are out, immediately place the whole kettle in a tub of ice. The temperature of the wort needs to drop down to 85° - 90°. Keep a cover on the kettle to avoid anything from entering the kettle.
  12. Once wort cools, pour it into the fermentation bucket. Place a fine grain steel strainer over the bucket to strain while you pour. All left over debris need to be removed before fermentation.
  13. Bring the wort level up until it reached 5 gallons. Make sure the temperature of the wort is around 70°.
  14. At this time, take a reading with your Hydrometer. The Specific Gravity should be around 1.052 - 1.054.
  15. Take a sanitized spoon and stir and splash the wort around to help get oxygen into the wort. This will help the yeast grow.
  16. Crack and pour the yeast into the wort and stir it in.
  17. Cover the fermentor and add the air lock.
  18. Fermentation should start in 18 - 24hours and should last 10 - 12 days.

Photo's of the Process
The Secret RecipeAll The IngredientsThe Grains In Their Soaking BagsBoiling Up The WortSoaking The Malt In Hot Water To Loosen It UpSome Of The HopsAdding The 2nd Whole Leaf HopsThe Strained Out HopsCooling Down The WortWhite Labs HefeWeizen Live YeastMy 9 Gallon Primary Fermentor With Brew Belt24 Hours Later - Fermentation Has Begun.

I will post again once the fermentation stops and I bottle with bottling instructions.

I Got My Ingredients For A DunkelWeizen

On Sunday, I went to the local Feasterville Home Brew Store and I got the ingredients to make a fabulous DunkelWeizen. DunkelWeiz is a dark (dunkel) wheat (weizen) beer with deliciously complex malts and a low balancing bitterness. I brewed it last night. I will add the recipe and the photo I took during the process later on.

Overall the process went smooth. This was my first brew and I enjoyed the process. I have about 10 – 12 days before I can bottle and can’t wait.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

This is only the beginning

I'm new to home brewing. In fact, I have never even done it yet. I have fermented 2 batches of wine this year and feel beer would be more fulfilling. I love wine, but the batches I have made won't be in their prime until a year or so from now. I have patients, but while I wait I feel it is time to try something new.

I've been reading a lot on the subject and I think I have a firm understanding of the process. As with everything, the best way to learn is to do. Right now i am deciding what type of beer I would like to brew. I personally like IPA's, Stouts, and some other strong varieties, so I think an IPA will be the first on my list. Does anyone else have a suggestion?

When I pick up the kit, I will post the details. May not be for a week or so.

Until then.