Monthly Archives: May 2017

Batch 37: Gramarye

Brew Date: June 10, 2017     Bottled:  June 30, 2017

ABV: 4.5%   IBU: 22

Gramarye is a table-strength saison style ale. In order to provide character and body in the low-ABV package, it is made with Vienna as the base malt and both malted and flaked rye. Kazbek hops were chosen for their combination of noble character as well as bright citrus flavour. Imperial’s B56 yeast strain is quickly becoming my go-to base for farmhouse ales as I really enjoy its ester/phenol character.

I’m fermenting 5 of the 7.5 gallons as a clean version using B56, while the 3-gallon glass carboy recently emptied (failed bière de nöel batch) will be fermented with a mixed culture propogated from two Holy Mountain saisons (The Seer & Grey Tower Blend 3). I’ve propped up the Saccharomyces content of this mixed culture with a vial of B56 I have in the fridge, saved from my Feburary brew of Dorée.

Batch size:    7.50 gallons (split per below)
OG:    1.038
FG:   1.003 (1.000 for Reserve)

Grist Details:

40% Vienna malt (4.00 lbs)
23% Rye malt (2.30 lbs)
23% Pilsner malt (2.30 lbs)
8% Flaked rye  (0.80 lbs)
4% Dark Munich  (0.40 lbs)
2% Acid malt (0.20 lbs)


2.25 grams CO2 extract at 90 min (15 AAU)
0.50 oz Kazbek at 40 min (6 AAU)
1.00 oz Kazbek at 10 min (3 AAU)
0.50 oz Kazbek – dry hop


7.5 g  Calcium chloride added to mash water
5 g Gypsum added to mash water


5-gal “Clean” version:  Imperial B56 Rustic (200B cell can, no starter), pitch at 65F, let free rise in 72F ambient room.
Liquid temperature 75F at 24h, strong CO2 activity.

2.5 gal “Reserve 2017” version:  Mixed culture of saved Imperial B56 plus propped dreg cultures from Holy Mountain bottles.
Liquid temperature 73F at 24h, high krausen (fall started by 30-32h).

Brew Day Notes:

Made a 250mL starter for the Holy Mtn dregs with 0.5 oz of DME on Monday.  By Wednesday there was some activity, though pretty low intensity. No krausen formed.

Brewed on patio with Grainfather. Started heating 4.25 gal of mash water at 10:00am. Added 3/4 tsp of Gypsum and 1/4 tsp CaCl to mash water. Added further 1/4 tsp each Gypsum and CaCl to 5.00 gals sparge water. Definitely noticed the lack of flow through the grain bed for the first 15-20 minutes of mash recirculation, despite the rice hulls. Sparge drained well, though.

Boiled for 105 minutes before recirculating through the counterflow chiller to sterilize. Collected 2.5 gallons of 1.039 wort into the glass carboy and 4.0 gallons into the Ss bucket. Hit each with 10-15 seconds of O2. Pitch temp was 68F and kept at ambient temps (about 72F).

Taste test at 2.5 wks (Tuesday evening) in primary tasted pretty good although those volatile aroma compounds I’m starting to associate with this yeast were there at first. Dry hopped with 0.5 oz Kazbek on Wednesday morning. Gravity down to 1.003.

Tasting Notes:

[July 14, 2017] First bottle, good carbonation. I carb’d this higher than most (3.5 volumes CO2) since it finished quite dry. Fruity yeast esters and a noble hop character lead the way, though are balanced. Despite the Vienna base and fair amount of rye, the malt character is subdued. However, they do help mask the low gravity of this beer – it drinks like it is 6%.

Batch 36: PACMAN2 Collaborative Ale

Brewed:  May 7, 2017
Bottled:  May 29, 2017
OG: 1.062
IBU:  63
FG:  1.008
ABV:  7%

One of my earliest homebrews was a hoppy pale ale brewed with an old colleague. We called it PACMAN not because it used the Pacman yeast, but rather it was an acronym:  Pale Ale malt, Citra Mosaic and Amarillo hops, and Northwest ale yeast.  It was pretty darn tasty.

Two years later, we’ve re-brewed but meddled with the acronym. We didn’t used the Northwest ale yeast, which has left the N without meaning. However, we did use Imperial’s “Joystick” yeast which is, as I understand it, the Pacman strain. We also substituted Azacca in place of Amarillo. The grist isn’t all pale malt either… but we didn’t stick to that the first time either.

Two new things for me this brew: a cereal mash for the oats, and use of hop extract for bittering.  Otherwise, standard brew on the Grainfather system.

Grist (5.5 gals):  

75%  Maris Otter  (9 lbs)
20%  Vienna malt  (2.40 lbs)
5%   Flaked oat  (0.60 lbs)


30 AAU of 61.1% AA extract at 60 minutes
0.75 oz of Azacca at 30 minutes
0.5 oz of Citra + 0.5 oz of Mosaic at 10 minutes
Whirlpool 20m at 180-190F: 1.5 oz Citra, 2 oz Mosaic, 1 oz Azacca

Fermentation:  Imperial Joystick.  60F pitch temp, 65F @ 12h, 68F @ 24h – 96h


Brew Day Notes: 

Brewed on the Grainfather with Sean, on the patio. Started at 10am. Mashed in at 150F and boiled the oats on the stove-top during the first 15 minutes. Had warmed 4.8 gal in the GF, then pulled about 3 qts for the oats. After simmering the oats into a thick porridge (about 6-8 mins boiling), added back to the mash and started the recirculation. After 45 mins, upped temp to 156F.  After another 15m, mashed out at 170F.  Sparged with 3 gals of water at 170F, with 3/4 tsp of CaCl added. Pretty slow sparge. Pre-boil gravity of 1.054. Boil was pretty good despite cooler temps outside, recirculated for a bit before knocking temp down to 190F and adding whirlpool hops. Collected almost 5.5 gallons of 1.062 wort at 59F and pitched the can of yeast after 30 seconds of pure O2.

Tasting Notes:

May 29, 2017 – Gravity sample on bottling day. Great citrus aroma and flavour with balanced but assertive bitterness.  Grapefruit, melon, pineapple. Light malt body.

June 19, 2017 – This beer turned out well. Good haze as desired, though the colour has turned murky with time (expectedly due to O2 pickup from bottle conditioning). Strong bitterness and quite dry – not too much so, but getting close. Hop aroma and flavour are great, perhaps a little oxidized but they power through quite well.