Monthly Archives: November 2015

Batch 13: Founders Breakfast Stout clone

This brew is based on the Zymurgy recipe, which a number of local homebrewer friends are also brewing for a comparitive tasting in the new year. Changes I made were to use Willamette exclusively (1.25 oz at 60 min and 1.00 oz at 30 min for a 3.4 gal batch for 60 IBU), cacao nibs rather than cocoa as stated, and I used WYeast’s 1450 – Denny’s blend. I also [bone-headedly] forgot to adjust the chocolate, cacao and coffee amounts down for the smaller batch size so they’ll be prominent.

The OG came out dead-on at 1.092. Depending on where it finishes at, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s well over the original’s ABV. With the extra coffee also, it might do well with some age provided it turns out. Overall a pretty smooth brew day except the lack of hop spider or otherwise to help filter the hops and chocolate was a mistake – the ‘bazooka tube’ on the valve clogged entirely due to the chocolate / hop sediment mixture and we had to revert to pouring into the funnel with screen. And the screen had to be constantly un-clogged. So it took about an hour to transfer, but during this time it was WELL aerated.

The plan is to primary for a couple weeks then fill a 3-gallon secondary to the brim (with some cold brew and bourbon oak cubes) and let that rest for 6 or 8 weeks.

The ingredients (minus the yeast)


Without any particular water chemistry knowledge, I added 1/2 tsp of baking soda to help reduce the acidity from all those roasted grains. Much roasted grains.


Getting the boil underway. It was a 90 minute boil, and thanks to the lower volume it was a bit more vigorous than usual. It was brewed on a gas range stove-top. The hot break was pretty lively, hard to tell as the fluid level is so low.


Here is the cooled wort, this was at the point where the screen had clogged and nothing was passing through the valve anymore. The nibs were floating along with the coffee grounds, and chocolate smeared on the wall of the kettle.


And ready for the basement. As we were transferring I was convinced we came in well under target volume (which was 3.4 gallons) but this looks about right. Hopefully we’ll be able to get nearly 3 gallons into secondary in a couple weeks.



Tasting Notes

Jan 10, 2016 – 2.5 weeks in bottle only. Very mild carb, tons of rich coffee flavour. Some chocolate filling the back end of the palate. Pretty nice.

Jan 22, 2016 – Creamy coffee, some chocolate, not overly complex or flavourful beyond the coffee but nice enough.

Feb 4, 2016 – Coffee is coming across with a celery salt / green pepper quality in this bottle, which is too bad.

Apr 26, 2016 – Green pepper is almost gone, bottle has finally carbed, and lots of chocolate coming through. Body is full and lovely.

May 27, 2016 – Well, there it goes again. Heavy carbonation clearly due to some infection, likely brett. Body has diminished and the beer has picked up some bad flavours. Well, it was good for a short bit there.



Batch 07: Citra IPA (SMaSH)

My coworker / brew partner wanted to do a SMaSH IPA (single hop, single malt) as a straightforward brew that we could then substitute with in the future to gain experience with different hop and malt varieties. I was on board because science. Citra was an easy choice for both of us, and Maris Otter was the malt choice. I wasn’t sure that a full MO grain bill would work out, but this beer tasted excellent. No regrets.

The Details (5 gal batch):

6.50 kg    Maris Otter

Citra additions:

1.0 oz @ 20 min

1.0 oz @ 5 min

4.0 oz @ whirlpool (15 min, 200F)

4.0 oz dry hop for 4 days

Fermented with WYeast 1056 – American Ale @ 67F.

OG: 1.068    FG: 1.014    IBU: 70

Brewed: July 11, 2015

Bottled: July 29, 2015

Tasting Notes:

[Aug 6, 2015]  Juicy and lovely huge melon-forward citrus both on the nose and palate. Bit sweet. Not much bitterness.

[Aug 13, 2015]  Bitterness picking up, balance is good. Straightforward, bit of a one note beer but very enjoyable.

[Sep 5, 2015]  Starting to pick up a bit of grassiness and losing some steam, still enjoyable though


Batch 06: Esmeralda

Brewed: July 1, 2015

OG: 1.089    FG: 1.018    IBU: 54    ABV: 9.4%

Esmeralda is named after our sheltie who passed in 2013. Part of the inspiration was to make a beer with both Scottish and Canadian influence. Brewed with Scottish ale yeast and maple syrup, this beer also uses a heavy dose of rye malt and plenty of earthy hops as well.

The Details (2.5 gallon batch):

1.75 kg   Maris Otter

0.50 kg   Rye malt

0.25 kg   Caramunich

0.10 kg   Chocolate malt

0.5 oz Fuggles @ 60 min

0.5 oz Cascade @ 40 min

0.25 oz Cascade @ 20 min

0.25 oz Cascade @ flameout

Mashed at 152F for 75 min, boil 90 min

Fermented with WYeast 1728 at 60F

0.68 kg maple syrup added at 12 hrs in


OG: 1.089   FG: 1.018   IBU: 54

Brewed:  July 1st, 2015

Bottled: July 25th, 2015

Tasting Notes:

[July 9, 2015]  First pull from primary. Smells of raisins and figs with booziness. A bit of the maple on the palate.

[Aug 8, 2015]  Very young after bottling. Slight maple on nose with booze soaked dark fruits. A bit of chocolate and caramel on the palate with bitterness and a bit of woodiness.

[Sep 2, 2015]  Taste is coming together better, but un-apologetically boozy at this point. Needs more time.

[Sept 24, 2015]  This bottle is less boozy. Turned out pretty well, a bit drier than I’d like actually. Higher mash temp in order.

[Nov 7, 2015]  Nose is a pretty alluring mix of maple, plum, and toffee. Certainly still booze-forward but has more to offer. Not sure I agree with previous comment about being too dry anymore – it’s about right in that regard. I do think it’s maybe a little too heavy on the rye and I’d like to see the maple flavour come through more.

[February 3, 2016] When cold, this is pretty nice. Solid caramel and dark fruit presence, more esters than it should have but they’re pleasant enough. Body is a tad thin but acceptable. As it warms though, there’s a harshness that I think must be fusels which aren’t going anywhere. Odd, as I thought I fermented reasonably cool (low 60’s if I recall correctly), but something was amiss.



Batch 05: Euka I

When I first decided to try homebrewing, there were two things I knew I wanted to get to as soon as I had a handle on things: an English barleywine and a funky saison. Five batches in and I was making the second happen.

Without the knowledge nor experience to cultivate a good ‘wild’ culture, I co-pitched WYeast’s powerful 3711 saison yeast along with a vial of White Lab’s 648, Brett Brux Trois Vrai. Check out that FG.

The Details:

3.00 kg   Pilsner malt

1.25 kg   Wheat malt

0.75 kg   Vienna malt

0.20 kg   Acid malt

0.5 oz Willamette + 0.5 oz Saaz @ 60 min

0.5 oz Willamette + 0.5 oz Saax @ 15 min

Mashed at 153F for 90 min, boiled 90 min  (Long mash due to bottling other beer)

Pitched both WY3711 and WLP648 together

OG: 1.045     FG: 1.000     IBU: 26

Brewed: June 21, 2015

Bottled: August 23, 2015

Tasting Notes:

[Sep 5, 2015]  Big fruitiness, apricot and white peaches. Subtle funk, bit of fruit skin character. Not yet fully carbonated.

[Sep 24, 2015]  Has developed more of a cider-like character, a lot of apple/pear skin. Not yet a lot of funk.

[Oct 8, 2015]  This is better than the last bottle. Orange stone fruit on the nose, gently spicy. Still plenty of apple/pear but more going on.

Batch 04: PACMAN pale ale

Most people would guess that the name PACMAN comes from using WYeast’s pacman blend, but it doesn’t. I actually didn’t know about that yeast at the time. It stands for Pale Ale [with] Citra / Mosaic / Amarillo [hops], Northwest [ale yeast].  An APA at 50 IBU and around 5.5% with a hop blend based on my favourites.

The details:

75%    Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise

20%    Vienna malt

5%     Carapils

1.0 oz mosaic @ 30 min

1.0 oz mosaic, 1.0 oz citra, 0.5 oz amarillo @ 5 min

2.0 oz mosaic @ flameout

Mashed at 153F for 60 min, boil 60 min

WYeast 1332 – Northwest Ale at 67F

Dry-hopped 9 days with 2 oz mosaic, 1 oz citra, 0.5 oz amarillo

OG: 1.050    FG: 1.012   IBU: 50


Brewed: May 24, 2015

Bottled: June 21, 2015

Tasting Notes:

This was drinking very nicely from 2 – 5 weeks in bottle, then started to develop a grassy character. Could have used more late-addition hops or a longer whirlpool. Bitterness picked up over the first few weeks. Attributing much of the quick downfall to poor filtration methods resulting in too much hop sediment making it into bottles. This grassiness tended to disappear at the 6 week mark, but the hop character overall was also starting to fade at this point. Last bottle was drank around 9 weeks in-bottle. Did not last long, I blame summer!

Batch 11: Tesserae



This beer is a made-up recipe that’s not based on anything in particular. Original inspiration was Driftwood’s Naughty Hildegaard, a Mosaic-hopped “ESB” that drinks more like a slightly malty IPA, though this beer has morphed into something a little darker to suit the late fall weather. I’m not really sure what to expect.

The details:

64.0%   Thomas Fawcett Maris Otter

21.3%   Thomas Fawcett Amber malt

7.1%    Thomas Fawcett Dark Crystal (83-90L)

5.2%    Flaked oats

2.4%    Thomas Fawcett Pale Chocolate

0.5 oz Centennial @ 60 min

1.0 oz Centennial, 1.0 oz Mosaic, 1.0 oz Amarillo @ 5 min

1.0 oz Mosaic, 1.0 oz Amarillo steeped for 10 mins after boil

WLP005 – English Ale yeast

Dry hop (6 days): 4 oz Mosaic, 0.5 oz Centennial

OG: 1.050    FG:  1.015    IBU: 50    ABV: 4.6%


Brewed: October 8th, 2015

Bottled: November 3rd, 2015




Tasting Notes: 
[Nov 3, 2015]  Bottling day. A little backstory: this was brewed in a friend’s parent’s place. So it wasn’t overly accessible, especially by me. So I got lazy and didn’t worry about attenuation because it was a pretty straightforward beer. Poured a cylinder sample during transfer to the bottling bucket and didn’t bother sticking the hydrometer in until the end of bottling because I thought it was a formality. Well, lesson learned!! This stalled / kicked out at 1.024, easily ten points higher than I’d have expected. Now I fear that the yeast will wake up, knock a few more points off, and over-carbonate the bottles. Needless to say I will be opening one regularly, and in all likelihood drainpouring at least a portion of the bottle. We’ll see.

As for tasting notes: the aroma is great. But it was dry-hopped with 4 ounces of mosaic alone. As you would expect it’s overly sweet on the malt side. The darker malts are pretty weird, I feel like they might work if the beer was a LOT drier though. Hard to say.