Monthly Archives: January 2019

Batch 54: Alesund

Brewed: March 3rd, 2019

There’s been an impulse-bought package of Hordinal kveik in my fridge for several months, and I’ve become increasingly stressed out about its advancing age and lacked inspiration with what to do with it. I had an ah-ha moment when considering its high alcohol tolerance: I should brew a big barleywine with it. The high level of fruity esters that make it great as a replacement for English strains in IPA could potentially translate to English-style barleywine as well.

To compliment the yeast, I wanted to keep the grist simple/rustic and the hopping at a minimum. A little additional character was included via blackstrap molasses as well. I wanted this to be a big beer to take advantage of (or abuse the heck out of) the yeast. Therefore the specs are as follows:

OG: 1.115
Est FG: 1.035
IBU: 36
ABV: ~12%

To get better efficiency as well as the colour and character of a long boil, I sparged to provide a larger pre-boil volume and get all that sugar out of the grain. Batch size is tailored such that I can transfer to my 3.5 gallon brew bucket for secondary with minimal headspace, primary fermenting for approximately one week in the 7 gallon brew bucket with temp control.

Mash Schedule:
131F dough in, hold 15 minutes (26L)
150F for 45 minutes
154F for 75 minutes
161F for 30 minutes
170F mash out, sparge (4L)

Boil:  180 minutes

7.50 kg Thomas Fawcett Maris Otter (95.5%)
0.35 kg Blackstrap Molasses (4.5%) – added @ 15m

25g Nugget @ 60 min (36 AAU)

1/2 tablet Whirfloc @ 15 min
3g CaCl, 1.5g gypsum in mash water

Escarpment Labs ‘Hordinal kveik’ 180B pack, dated BB March 22
+ ~50mL vial of Hordinal from local brewery added @ 24 hrs
No starter; shaken only since out of pure O2. (really pushing my luck…)

Add 1/2 tsp Yeast Superfood & Energizer @ 24h

Fermented at 83F to start, increase of 1F per day over 6 days (88F maximum).

Batch 57: Pandora

Brew Date: May 7, 2019

Bottling Date: June 1, 2019

This is my first iteration of a Dubbel, dubbed Pandora after my local park and alluding to, hopefully, the depth of flavour in the resulting beer. I had Imperial’s B53 Precious strain in the fridge from my BPA, and while it’s a bit more restrained on the Belgian esters and phenolics that the Dubbel typically calls for, I was happy with the character in the BPA and am hoping it’ll do well enough here. I will ferment towards the top end of the temperature range to try to push those yeast characters, hopefully without creating fusels.

I also chose to go pretty straightforward on the recipe, but I’m not ready to rely on the candi sugar to provide all the complexity so I’ve added some Special B, as well as some Munich II for additional malt character. I chose to go with D-90 instead of D-45, which will cause the beer to be a bit darker than the typical range, but I would like to push the dark fruit character rather than caramel flavours. This could end up being a lower-ABV Belgian Dark Strong in flavour rather than a Dubbel.

Brew Date: May 7, 2019
Bottled: June 1, 2019
Batch size: 19L post-boil (Actual: 20.5L)
Equipment: Grainfather

OG: 1.064 (Actual: 1.061)
FG: 1.009 (Actual: 1.010)
IBU: 20
ABV: 6.8%

Water / Misc:
4g Gypsum, 4g CaCl – 80% in mash, 20% in sparge
1/2 tablet whirfloc @ 15 min

Mash / Boil:
131F for 15 mins
148F for 75 mins
161F for 20 mins
170F for 10 mins
Boil for 90 minutes

78% Bohemian Pilsner malt [3.90 kg]
10% Munich II malt [0.50 kg]
3% Special B malt [0.15 kg]
9% D-90 candi syrup [0.45 kg]

19g German Tradition @ 60 mins
4g Nugget @ 60 mins (ran out of G.T.)

Imperial B53 Precious – gen 2 pitch
Approx 250B cells (1.5L starter)
Initial ferm temp set to 69.5F
Due to lack of ice, it unfortunately rose to 74F from 12-18h
Brought back down to 71.5F for remainder of primary fermentation

Tasting Notes:

[June 27 2019] – The malt complexity is starting to emerge, with notes of cherry, plum, toast, and caramel coming through. Neither particularly dry nor sweet. Restrained Belgian esters and phenols. So far, so good!

Batch 53: Saison Dorée 2019

Yet another iteration of my house golden saison, this time using Escarpment Labs’ “Spooky Saison” blend which I can only assume is the Fantome strain (same as WY3725PC?). If this is true, it is a very well attenuating strain with pretty reserved ester and phenolic profiles. I will be accentuating this with a good dose of hops and bottle conditioning half the batch with brettanomyces. I have used this strain once before in ‘Old Lanes’ which was 100% Pilsner malt. I look forward to exploring it with both this and the malty house saison recipe, as I feel like it may be a good fit for my ‘house blend’ if I can get different things out of it at different temperatures.

Keeping the grist the same as the last batch due to its success, but tweaking the bitterness to be higher than previous ‘standard’ versions, but not as high as the extra-hopped version I made recently.


OG: 1.045
FG: 1.003
IBU: 36
ABV: 5.5%

Brewed on the Grainfather, with the following batch parameters:
16L mash volume
15.5L sparge volume
26.9L target pre-boil volume
Target pre-boil SG 1.036 (73% BHE)
23.1L target post-boil volume
21L target fermentor volume

Water Adjustments:
6g Gypsum (2/3 in mash, 1/3 in sparge)
4g Calcium Chloride (2/3 in mash, 1/3 in sparge)

Mash Profile:
131F dough-in for 15 mins
145F for 45 mins
152F for 45 mins
170F mash-out

Boil 150 minutes


78% Bohemian Pilsner [3.12 kg]
12% Vienna malt [0.48 kg]
8% Flaked wheat [0.32 kg]
2% Acid malt [0.08 kg]


30g German Tradition @ 60m [24 AAU]
10g Azacca @ 15m [8 AAU]
10g Nelson Sauvin @ flameout
20g CZ Saaz @ flameout

Dry hop: 10g CZ Saaz, 10g Nelson Sauvin


Escarpment Labs ‘Spooky Saison’ 180B pack
No starter, pack dated best before Feb 22 (cutting it close)
Pitch temp 64F
First 48h set to 78F
Next 48h set to 80F
Next 48h set to 82F – activity rather abruptly subsided @ 5 day mark
Allowed to drop to ambient ~68F for 7-10 days

Bottle condition to 3.2 vols CO2.

Brew Day Notes: The 131F rest lasted about 25 mins instead of 15, and added a short rest at 161F on the way up to mash out. Hit pre-boil volume and SG perfectly – 27L and 1.036. 45 mins to go from mash out to boil; left the grain basket on until 196F.
Collected 21L into the fermentor of 1.045 wort, a bit higher than the 1.042 target.

Bottled March 3rd 2019 at 1.003.

Batch 52: Kombi

Brew date: February 3, 2019
Bottling date: March 11, 2019

This is one of those rare brews where I try to emulate a BJCP style properly. Well, at least with half of the batch: the other half will be conditioned for an extended period with a blend of brettanomyces. The style is 24B, Belgian pale ale. I’ve built out a blank page recipe based on some reading as well as the BJCP guidelines. As usual, I am going with Weyermann Bohemian pilsner malt for the base, and added in a healthy dose of Weyermann Munich II (9L) malt as well. I am not adding sugar, but instead targeting a very fermentable wort for a dry finish. I hope that the oats will allow the body to remain medium to medium-low with the dry finish.

For water profile, I went light on the salts using Brewer’s Friend ‘Light and malty’ profile as a starting point. My additions below should provide about 60 ppm Ca, 42 ppm SO4, and 75 ppm Cl.

Target OG: 1.050 Target FG: 1.009
Actual OG: 1.047 Actual FG: 1.012
IBU: 28 ABV: 4.7%

Batch size: 19L (into fermentor)
BHE: 73%

Water Adjustments (add to mash):
4g CaCl
2g gypsum
2.5g 88% lactic acid to each mash & sparge waters

Mash steps:
131F dough in with 16L water
148F for 45 min
152F for 25 min
161F for 20 min
170F mash out, sparge 13.5L of 170F water

Boil 90 minutes

3.00 kg Bohemian Pilsner (Weyermann) [69.4%]
0.80 kg Munich II Dark (Weyermann) [18.5%]
0.20 kg Flaked oats [4.6%]
0.16 kg Victory malt (Briess) [3.7%]
0.16 kg Caramunich II (Weyermann) [3.7%]

18.3 AAU Hallertau Tradition @ 60 min [28g]
7.6 AAU Czech Saaz @ 15 min [28g]

1/2 tablet Whirfloc @ 15 min
1/2 tsp yeast nutrient @ 15 min

Imperial Yeast B53 – Precious
Pitch @ 57F
First 48 hrs at 66F
Next 48 hrs 68F
Next 48 hrs 72F
Condition 50F for 2 weeks

Bottle condition to 3.0 vols

Above: Kombi Deluxe, the dry-hopped, brett conditioned version.

Brew Day Notes:

Mashed in @ 3:55 pm, much later brew day than usual. Held 131F until 4:10 then increased to 148F and headed out for groceries. Raised to 152F at 4:50, started heating sparge water. Added 1/2 tsp CaCl and 1/4 tsp gypsum to mash water, half those volumes to sparge water. 2.5ml 88% L.A. into mash water, none in sparge water. 161F setpoint at 5:25, 170F at 5:45. Mashed out with 13.5L of 170F water, drained pretty quick – sparge took about 15 mins. Collected just a hair under 27L of 1.042 wort. After 1h 20m volume was still a tad high at 24L so let go an extra 10 minutes.

Bottling Notes:

Despite being a few points shy of my target OG, it still finished 3 points high on my target FG. I attribute much of this to the unfamiliar yeast, as my mash schedule should have produced a pretty fermentable wort. If I go with this yeast again, I’ll likely add a small amount of clear sugar along with a longer rest in the 146-148F range.

Bottled March 11 after a couple weeks in secondary with 85g table sugar for 10.5L (about 3 vols CO2). Instead of my usual technique of pouring the boiled/cooled sugar water into the bottling bucket then racking the beer on top, I bottled direct from the secondary vessel and poured the boiled/cooled sugar water into it (letting sit for 10-15 min). We’ll see how that pans out in terms of even mixing of the priming sugar – I’m a little nervous. [Note: it did not pan out well at all. About 60% of the batch was flat or near flat, while the other half was spot on – surprisingly, no gushers / overcarb]

Tasting Notes / Competitions:

Due to uneven carb, I only entered the clean version in one competition, Vanbrewers Awards 2019. It placed first in the Belgian Ale category, with scores of 36 and 35.

2019.01.15 Buckstock Tasting

Buckstock is my Burton ale recipe aged for nine months with Brett C. It was brewed in January 2018, bottled in September. It’s 9.6% ABV and theoretically 80 IBU, but that is not at all apparent. There is traces of the hops in the aroma with a touch of citrus and herbal character, but the taste is all dark fruit and caramel with that typical brett C musty fruitiness. There is some leather on the finish as well. There is light carbonation, finally, which took about 4 months to develop as no fresh yeast was pitched upon bottling. Believe it or not, this is 100% maris otter pale malt – the colour is from the extended boil as well as the higher gravity.

2019.01.15 – Pomebic Tasting

This is the most drawn out, and perhaps convoluted beer I’ve made to date. It’s only been bottle conditioning for five months, but it was brewed in 2016. It was a turbid mashed wort made up of Pilsner, malted and raw wheat similar to a Lambic style grist and I racked it onto the yeast cake from a spontaneously fermented cider. After a few days without activity, I accepted that my fears that these yeasts would not be able to ferment maltose and picked the US-05 I had in the fridge. Over the next few weeks I added bottle dregs from a few sour beers I was drinking and left it to sit for over a year. It developed a nice clean acidity but lacked in character otherwise owing to the rather neutral primary fermentation.

My choices were to fruit, or to add honey. I decided to go with honey, and added 800g of orange blossom honey which bumped the theoretical OG up from 1.045 to 1.065.

Anyway, onto the task at hand here: tasting this creation. Thankfully, the end product is palatable. It pours full gold, with a fizzy head that dissipated to lacing fairly quickly. Not surprising, given the acidity. The aroma is largely floral, with rose and chamomile type notes, and an acidic, citrusy bite. Acidity is the first thing you notice when taking a sip, with sweet lemon and tart white peach flavours. It’s otherwise quite clean but with a bit of a lingering lactic acid thing on the finish I can’t quite place, but often experience with sour beers. The honey is also noticable on the finish, with a floral mead-like quality.

Batch 51: Aurea

Brewed: Jan 19, 2019
Bottled: Feb 3, 2019

This is my first batch of the bière de miel I have given the name ‘Aurea’, but it has been a long time in the making. I’ve spent a lot of hours thinking about what has ended up being a very simple beer on the surface. The idea behind this beer is to showcase the honey addition in a significant way, so there is a significant amount of honey added, and the rest of the recipe is designed to support rather than overshadow the honey’s delicate flavours. Malted wheat and flaked oats are used in place of my typically favoured raw or flaked wheat to offer a little more perceived sweetness to balance the extremely dry finish and light body expected from all that honey. Water additions are kept minimal and balanced.

Target OG: 1.052 (Theoretical)
Target FG: 1.000
IBU: 25
ABV: 7%

Brewing on my Grainfather system (~73% BHE)
19L batch size (24.5L pre boil, 21L post boil targets)

Water adjustments:
2g CaCl
2g Gypsum

Mash schedule:
Dough in 131F for 15 min
Raise to 153F for 20 min
Raise to 161F for 20 min
Mash out, sparge at 170F

Boil 90 minutes


45% Bohemian Pilsner malt [1.60 kg]
15% Malted wheat [0.60 kg]
5% Munich II [0.20 kg]
5% Flaked oats [0.20 kg]
5% Cranberry blossom honey @ flameout [0.20 kg]
30% Cranberry blossom honey @ 72 hours [1.20 kg]


20 AAU of German Tradition at 60 min
5 AAU of Saaz at 15 min


Escarpment Labs ‘Old World Saison blend’ 180B cell pack
Pitched at 72F, free rise and hold at 78F 72 hrs

Brew Day Notes:

Brewed on the Grainfather, fermented in the 7-gal Brew Bucket and first time using the FTSs temp control setup.

Mashed in with 15L @ 131F at 11:40am. Since the mash needed to be thin to avoid pump cavitation, added 4 mL of 88% lactic acid to adjust pH. Still not great pumping and the drain pipe was a bit too tall; better to use 16L as a minimum. The mash temp reading was all over the place once I raised set point to 153F – spiked to 158, then dropped to 144 when I switched from the 1500W to the 500W element. back up to 158 again when I switched back – I think the lower water volume and lack of fluidity of the mash was leaving the probe out of the water, possibly. Settled in on the 500W element after a bit more time.

Gravity check at one week, down to 1.004 despite having added honey just a few days prior. Taste is promising, the saison yeast character is good and there is a noticeable young mead-like flavour which should hopefully round out. I realized I forgot to add nutrient when I added the post-fermentation honey, which was a pretty poor error to make, but I’m hoping the yeast was healthy enough at this time that I got away with it.

Batch 50: Woodstock 2019

Brew Date: December 30, 2018

More or less an annual tradition, I’ve made Woodstock for three of the past four years. The idea is that it is a dark old ale, primary fermented with English ale yeast and aged with brettanomyces. The first iteration was 90% Maris Otter, 6.5% C40, 3.5% C120, and 1.5% Chocolate malt. I’ve varied the recipe each time based on specific ideas for that vintage and haven’t concerned myself with any semblance of consistency from year to year other than that it is dark-ish and aged with brett.

This batch of Woodstock is loosely based on historic porter, with all Thomas Fawcett malts. The plan is to primary ferment it for about 5 months, then bottle without sugar and allow slow attenuation to build slight carbonation over time. I’ve gone a bit lighter on gravity than previous vintages (which typically finish around 12% ABV). I suspect I’ll go the other way next year.

OG: 1.076
IBU: 63

Batch size: 10L (into the fermentor)

Mash: 155F for 75 minutes; mash out 170F
Water adjustments:
– 5g Calcium Carbonate (chalk)
– 3g Gypsum
– 1g table salt

15L mash water in Grainfather
4.5L sparge (all water adjustments made in mash water)

Boil: 150 minutes


85% Golden Promise (3.40 kg)
12.5% Brown malt (0.50 kg)
2.5% Pale Chocolate malt (0.10 kg)


63 AAU Nugget at 75 minutes (20g)
50g medium toast boiled American oak cubes added at pitching


30 seconds pure O2 added to fermentor
Safale S-04 + Yeast Bay ‘All the Bretts’ slurry
Pitch temp 61F, held at 68F for the first 48h, then let rise to 71F.

Notes: Activity picked up around the 12 hour mark. Despite decent head space, blow off started at 24h and continued for another 36h. Kept temp using water bath with ice blocks; thus temp ranged from 67F to 70F during significant fermentation. Once fermentation slowed, allowed to free rise to ambient of ~71F.

[Feb 12, 2019] Gravity sample from primary; 1.021 SG. Aroma is caramel and oak, taste includes some dark fruit as well. This brett blend has exhibited a lot of cherry pie and leather and I’m seeing that build here.

Batch 49: Saison Lune

Brew date: December 29, 2018
Bottling date: January 13, 2019

This iteration of Saison Lune, my ongoing malt-balanced house saison recipe, uses an even blend of three base malts and Omega’s Jovaru lithuanian farmhouse ale yeast. The base malts are accented by some flaked wheat in an effort to balance the sweetness of the Munich. Hopping is restrained in order to keep the balance towards the malts, with a nod towards bière de garde.

OG: 1.041
FG: 1.006
IBU: 27
ABV: 4.6%

Brewed on the Grainfather, 20L batch

Water Adjustments:
4g Gypsum, 4g Calcium Chloride

Mash Schedule:

Mash in 131F with 15L, hold 15 min
144F for 25 minutes
148F for 10 minutes
151F for 5 minutes
161F for 30 minutes
170F for 10 minutes

Sparge with 13.5L of 170F water


30% Bohemian Pilsner (Weyermann) [1.10 kg]
30% Vienna malt (Weyermann) [1.10 kg]
30% Munich I malt (Weyermann) [1.10 kg]
10% Flaked wheat [0.37 kg]


23 AAU Tettnanger at 60 minutes [45g]
5 AAU Hallertau at 5 minutes [20g]


Omega Yeast – Jovaru Lithuanian farmhouse ale
Primary fermented at 90F for 72 hours; let free fall to 68F ambient for about 2 weeks.

Bottled with 3.0 vols of CO2 (134g table sugar)

Brewday Notes:

Activity kicked in within 6 hours! 1.007 after 10 days, still murky and tasted very doughy. After another 6 days it had dropped pretty clear and the taste was much better. Lots of white peach and a nice gentle peppery spice.

Tasting Notes:

[Feb 8 2019] Now that carbonation is where it should be, the perceived sweetness has diminished and it’s much more saison-like. A bright, and unique ester profile with a mix of citrus and apple. The malt backbone is strong thanks to all that vienna and munich. Quite nice, and full bodied and flavourful for 4.5%!