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Nut Brown! Tis The Season San Diego Style

16 Dec

I wanna start by saying I can’t take credit for the formulation of this recipe, I just brewed it! I’ve brewed a few recipes randomly found on and this is by far the best and most worth giving an honorable mention to so hats off to fellow home brewer  Lil’ Sparky off the homebrewtalk forum.  I didn’t change the recipe to my brewhouse efficiency, I just ran with it. I brewed this one with my neighbor Jesse for a family wine and foodie get together. They loved it!

This beer pours dark hazel nut with a nice creamy tan head! The aroma is slightly malty and nutty. The taste is very creamy due to the considerable amount of oats used. The maltiness is more pronounced in the nose than taste. The maltiness is well balanced by bitterness with a generous amount of hops for style.

OG: 1.058 & FG: 1.012

I definitely recommend this beer for anyone who wants to brew something brown and tasty. I look forward to brewing it again!

Stay thirsty my friends…..

Lil' Sparky Nut Brown

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Smoked Cherrywood Wheat With and Without Fruit

18 Oct

Credit to Alex Flores for this odd brew…Totally Goat style! Brewed 10.5 gallons of this and split into two carboys, this beer fermented out as normal as any other beer in just a few days with a moderate krausen. The original idea was to find a smoked applewood malt, but after not finding the malt and not having the time to personally smoke our own we went with the smoked cherrywood and added some caramelized apples to it to give it that apple touch. Instead of adding the apples themselves we  actually simmered 1.5 pounds of sliced apples in a saucepan with a couple cups of water, little bit of brown sugar, and a pinch or two cinnamon. Once the apples turned opaque and the sauce tasted of tasty goodness we discarded the apples and pitched the sauce.

Note: My brewing software (beer alchemy), didn’t have the smoked cherrywood listed under available malts, so we put it down as US 2-row. The SRM will be slightly darker than shown above, but at 4 L not so significant. As for the apples, we pitched the sauce three days into fermentation right as the krausen was falling and within 5 hours a new krausen developed for the night. The other half of the wort was left as is, to either bottle that way or further experiment with…not really sure yet?  Tasting notes to come on this one!

Few new beers in the mix

17 Oct

Been meaning to post about these beers for some time now, but I’ve been on the lurk. Here’s a pic of the newer experiments I’ve been working on down here in San Diego.

On the left side of the bunch is a wheat beer mashed with smoked cherry wood malt and fermented out with nottingham. The front left version was infused with caramelized apple sauce with a touch of cinnamon and the version in the back left was left alone. The dark red/purple beer in the back right corner is a twist on the kentucky uncommon I posted about a few months back at The intensely red beer is a new sour mash I’m working on with peaches and raspberries, the peaches seem to be a little subdued by the strong raspberries at this point and the yeast for that beer is forbidden fruit by Wyeast, wish I would have stuck with US-05 or nottingham, seems to be lacking something.  I will be posting these recipes individually in the next day, as well as a new kegging method I use to eliminate O2 exposure. Stay tuned and stay thirsty…

Washing Yeast Made Easy…

11 Aug

Washing yeast allows you to store it for reuse without having to purchase new yeast. I generally don’t do this mainly because I brew with all sorts of yeast and I never know when I will reuse or go back to that yeast for a new brew and I do not like to use yeast that has been sitting around for a long time. The way I look at it is, if you’re going to put all the effort into home brewing you might as well use fresh ingredients. But it is very nice to do this for platinum strains, bottle dregs, or in this case I’m doing it for some Brett “B” because the vials of brett that are sold in brew stores generally  have very low cell counts. By saving a good amount of this yeast I will be able to make a much more efficient starter from the get go! This is one of several different ways to wash your yeast:

When you are ready to use this yeast for a new brew, take it out a day or two before and make a starter out of it to increase the cell count and ensure viability. Hope this helps!

Stay thirsty my friends…

Lurking Goat Wins Gold!

29 Jul

Well, technically there were no medals but we won a $100 gift certificate to the San Francisco Brewcraft home brew shop. It was a fun day of hanging out in the sun and talking beer to everyone who came by to sample at the peoples choice Picnic for Politics in San Rafael. We brought the Extra Pale Ale that I have been working on lately, which was a big hit with the tasters. We also brought the Lurking Goat sour, which we dubbed Old Billy at the event, as a strictly off the ballot taster.  Both beers were very well received by all of the event guests and we may have even opened a few eyes to the world of sour beers. All in all it was a good day! A special thanks to all of our fellow competitors and event personnel, we had a great time and met some awesome people.

Here are a few pictures of the event.

Saison Recipe

24 Jul

After reading Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition by Phil Markowski several times over and personally being a huge fan of these beers I thought it was time to put together another recipe. This would be the pilot batch for the new system I recently built, and the beer of choice…saison. I brewed a 10 gallon batch and separated it into two 5 gallon batches. In one carboy I pitched WLP 566 Saison II and the other carboy I made a two stage starter of WLP 644 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois and pitched it.


The reason for the huge starter was the difference in cell counts. When purchasing standard yeast vials from white labs you can generally count on having around 100 billion cells to work with versus their Brett vials which only come with about 3 billion cells. I’m sure this will change soon as Brett beers are gaining in popularity but as for now you have to make the starter necessary for the beer. So I made a 7 day 2 liter starter than cold crashed and decanted most the liquid and added a fresh 1.5 liters of 1.037 wort for the a couple more days as the second stage.


The recipe shown below is what I wanted to end up with but instead when I originally put it together I was aiming for 75% efficiency, not knowing what I would get on the new system. Turns out I get just shy of 85% and I overshot my starting gravity. I ended up with 1.067 compared to the anticipated 1.056. I didn’t top off to compensate and that will be noted in the tasting notes. Can’t wait till it’s ready. I will be bottling the brett beer and kegging the saison!


Stay thirsty my friends…

New Fermentation Chamber

22 Jul

Ive been wanting a new fermentation chamber since I had to give up our 15.5Cf chest freezer in San Diego. My basement stays a steady 64 degrees which is nice but I feel helpless without temperature control for my various brews. I found this 8.8Cf freezer on craigslist and it seemed fairly priced so I jumped on it. Its got some scratches and a dent in the corner but I am pretty happy with it overall. The people who I bought it from even threw in a “Food Saver” vacuum bag sealer which will be useful for hops.

Here is what It looks like filled with a 6.5 gal and a 5gal carboy. More than enough room!

I am currently doing a dark farmhouse ale with Whitelabs American Farmhouse blend, which is a combination Belgian farmhouse yeast and Brettanomyces. I am ramping up the temperature slightly since this yeast ferments best at 68˚-72˚F and I want this beer to be well attenuated with that classic Belgian dryness. I will just give you a quick description of the heating system I have hooked in case anyone is making the jump to temperature control. Its pretty simple overall and the Johnson controller is awesome, no complaints from me. I have the Johnson plugged in and mounted behind the freezer with the temperature probe mounted in the fridge in WL vial filled with water.  The water helps stabilize the probe readings so the temperatures don’t swing rapidly and will closer reflect the contents of the chamber. The Johson is connected to a hairdryer which I have mounted in the freezer aimed to move air around the chamber. The hairdryer works quite well and is only on for minutes at a time. When I want it to cool I have to switch it on the Johnson and plug the freezer into it but I don’t see myself having to do that too much unless I start brewing more lagers(which would be fun). The chamber is just about the right size for what I will be using it for these days. It looks like it will fit 2 six and a half gallon carboys which should be perfect because I will mainly use this for primary fermentation and then I can dryhop and do other secondary conditioning in the 64˚ basement.