Friday, July 31, 2009

Trappist Monk Ale, July 31 2009

During my trip to the big island of Hawaii, I read most of Brew Like a Monk by Stan Hieronymus. Also while there, I was hoping to see a real monk, the Hawaiian Monk Seal. Last year, the Monk Seal was declared as the state's mammal to increase awareness of this critically endangered species.
Though I did brew two Belgian Ales last year, I thought I'd give it another go using a Trappist yeast. What I really like about this style is that almost anything goes. The central theme I took from "Brew Like a Monk" is digestability. The Trappist Monks referenced in the book all described good beer as "digestable".
To make this more Hawaiian, I would consider using Maui organic raw sugar. It was in the shopping cart for a purpose such as this as well as a lilikoi flavoring but for some reason I decided against it, grrr.

Trappist Monk Ale, Brewed July 31 2009
5 Gallons, Grain/Extract, Multi-Step Infusion Mash, 90 Minute Boil

7lbs. Domestic 2-Row
3lbs. White Wheat
1lb. Vienna
0.25lbs. Caravienne
0.125lbs. Special Roast

122°F for 30min.
144°F for 30min.
150°F for 15min.
Raised to 165°F for Mashout

Added 1lb. *DRE (instead of a sugar)

0.75oz. Styrian Goldings 60min.
0.25oz. Santium 30min.
0.25oz. Spalt 20min.
Whirlfloc tab 20min.

White Labs WLP500 Trappist Ale Yeast (No Starter)

Chilled to 65°F before oxygen aeration and pitching. Will ferment at 65°F for 3 days then warm to 75°F to finish primary. Will lager with others. The four lagers are being warmed up to 65°F for a diacetyl rest for the 3 days.

Seanywonton, I'm totally using Anti Foam for this ferment. I used 10 drops (2 drops per gallon). Wahoo, no blow-off tube needed!

OG: 1.060 @ 77°F - Corrected 1.062
FG: 1.012 @ 38°F - Corrected 1.011
ABV: 6.69%

August 12 Update: Racked to secondary many days after krausen fell. Current gravity is 1.010. Light body with clove flavor. I will keep this warm for another week then put in the kegerator with the lagers in the upper 30's.

Kegged 9/27

Image Source:
Watt, James. Hawaiian Monk Seal. Digital image. Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument. NOAA. Web. 31 July 2009.

Current state of the kegerator above. Lagers are getting a diacetyl rest while the Trappist Monk (lower left) gets 3 days of 65°F. If I only have one primary (6.5 gallon carboy), I'm able to squeeze in four secondaries and a keg. Nice! I still need to hard mount a CO2 manifold one of these days.

*Dry Rice Extract

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

CO2 Injector for Cornelius Kegs

First of all, I wanted to give HUGE props to Genuine Innovations for providing not only a convenient product for homebrewers but mostly for providing a lifetime warranty and exceptional customer service.

A few years ago I purchased a Cornelius Keg Ball Lock Injector/Charger from William's Brewing for $20. Prior to this item, I schlepped around a 5lb. CO2 tank and regulator to take kegged homebrew on the road. Very unchillindamos. Since then, the injector was very easy to travel with and simple to teach others to use. I would use two to three 12-gram CO2 cartridges to dispense a 5-gallon keg of beer and could buy the cartridges in bulk also from William's Brewing for $0.69 each (16-gram CO2 cartridges also available in bulk for $0.99 each).
Earlier this month, I was dispensing my Independence Day IPA using the CO2 injector when the plastic area that connects to the ball-lock broke. This dissapointed everyone enjoying the brew but I managed to hold the charger inplace to inject enough pressure to dispense a few pitchers (at the cost of an entire cartridge).

At the time, I figured that I got my use out of it and may as well buy another. Instead of buying the entire thing, I decided to check to see if I can just purchase the top portion from the manufacturer. I found on their website that they provide a warranty on all types of their injectors:
Genuine Innovations warrants that all products will function properly and safely for an unlimited time. Should any product fail to perform safely or properly please return it to the place of purchase.
I contacted customer service at William's Brewing to see if they would arrange the warranty. Janis Martinez at William's responded to contact the manufacturer since it was beyond their warranty time and also said that they were very good at sending out replacements.
After submitting a brief explanation to Genuine Innovations via their Contact Us form, I was quickly contacted by DJ Lopez who clarified the item requested for warranty replacement and offered to send it out immediately. BTW, the email response time for each message was nearly immediate! I was headed out of town and let him know that I would be unable to accept receipt of a package and DJ said he'd send it out upon my return.
The replacement arrived today, two days after my return from a chillindamos vacation. Awesome customer service! The gross design is the same but the compromised location has apparently changed.

Anyone else looking to increase your portability of your draft system, I would highly recommend Genuine Innovations CO2 charger. Good products with excellent customer service and lifetime warranties are a rare commodity. Very chillindamos!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chillindamos, You're Doing it Right

Wish you were here but glad you're not. I am Chillindamos. Sent from my mobile phone.

Update: Notice the literature. Surprisingly, Belgian Ales are my final frontier. I think I was turned off by them early on with trying a number of funky beers. In turn, I personally categorized them as such. I've learned so much since those early years but never really explored much of the region and styles. A couple of years ago I took a BJCP course and took the exam. This really opened my eyes and tastes toward Belgian ales. My next door neighbor is a huge fan but explained to me that he hasn't branched out much and needs to learn more about styles outside of Belgians. I replied that I know quite a bit about all other styles besides Belgians. Well, it was about time I started learning more of what everyone raves about.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Kona Coconut Brown Ale Float

Dana and Lindsey had to have the float but wanted it with their Coconut Brown Ale rather than the menu Pipeline Porter or Dryside Stout. Sent from my mobile phone.


Found out some cool info about Kona Brew Co. The Kona location brews for local bottle and keg distribution, for their restaurant here, and for the Oahu (Hawaii Kai) restaurant location but all mainland brewing and distribution goes through Oregon (Widmer). Makes sense considering shipping would be outrageously unchillindamos. They are also working on an East Coast brewing and distribution location.
If you've never had their Wailua Wheat, its quite the summer beer being brewed with passion fruit. ALTHOUGH, the Wailua Wheat here uses lilikoi fruit and the mainland version uses a passion fruit available locally. After having Wailua Wheat enthusiastically on tap on the mainland, I can say that the island recipe is insanely more amazing.
Here, I'm having their Dryside Stout. Kona is on the dryside of the island with the other side, the Hilo side, being one of the wettest in the world. I'm unsure of the attenuation of this stout but I think its the driest beer I've had thus far. Aloha!
Sent from my mobile phone.

Kona Brew Co.

Aloha! I'd blog more if not for marinating in copius amounts of chillindamos here on the big island. We happen to be in town today which painstakingly forces us to stop at Kona Brewing for good food and brews. Oh, time to order pupus! Sent from my mobile phone.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Oktoberfest, July 14 2009

Some year I would like to make it out for the world's biggest beer party, Oktoberfest. The image below shows the Lowenbrau biergarten tent sourced from Wikipedia. The image was sourced, not the tent. Oh, and c'mon, that's a friggin' tent! Eat your heart out Mountain Hardware, next time I buy a backpacking tent, I'm calling Lowenbrau to find out where they got this one.
This brew will max out the space in the kegerator. Otherwise, I'd be making more lager! On Thursday, we leave for the big island of Hawaii so this batch will get two weeks before considering racking to a secondary. The previously brewed pilsner and vienna lager are now in secondary fermentation along side this brew and yesterday's vienna agave lager. When all four are nearing the end of fermentation, I may consider a day or three for a diacetyl rest. After the short warming period, I'll begin the process of decreasing the temperature to about 38°F for lagering.

Oktoberfest, Brewed July 14 2009

5 Gallons, All Grain, Multi-Step Infusion Mash, 105 Minute Boil

3lbs. Munich
3lbs. Vienna
2.25lbs. Domestic 2-Row
1.75lbs. Pilsner
0.5lb. Caramunich
0.5lb. Caravienne

122°F for 30min.
146°F for 30min.
155°F for 15min.
Raised to 168°F for Mashout

1oz. Hallertauer 60min.
0.25oz. Hallertauer 10min.
Whirlfloc tab 10min.

Pitched on Vienna yeast bed

OG: 1.054 @ 74°F - Corrected 1.056
FG: 1.016 @ 38°F - Corrected 1.015
ABV: 5.38%

UPDATE July 31: Racked to secondary, current gravity is 1.015 @ 65°F, raised to 65°F for 3 days for diacetyl rest

Kegged 9/27

Below is all four lagers crammed in the kegerator. Though a keg can squeeze in, I've never managed to include a fifth carboy in there with having two primaries. A 3 gallon would fit but certainly not another 5 gallon.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Vienna Agave Lager, July 13 2009

This should be ready by Oktoberfest with the rest of the lagers. I've been wanting to try making another beer with agave nectar. Two summers ago I brewed up a lager featuring agave with some success. The ferment turned out to be very slow and the flavor was certainly off in my book. Others really enjoyed it. Personally, I think I went too far with the agave nectar last time and so, will try a lighter approach today.
Vienna Agave Lager

5 Gallons, Grain/Nectar/Extract, 90 Minute Boil, Outstanding San Diego Weather

4lbs. Vienna
2lbs. Pilsner
2lbs. Domestic 2-Row
1lb. Munich
0.25lb. Caravienne

122°F for 30 minutes
146°F for 30 minutes
154°F for 15 minutes
Raised to 166°F for mashout

Bring to a boil and add:
8 ounces (1 Cup) of Organic Blue Agave Nectar
1lb. DRE (Dried Rice Extract)

1oz. Hallertauer 60min.
0.25oz. Hallertauer 10min.
Whirlfloc 10min.

Racked on Pilsner yeast bed

OG: 1.060 @ 76°F - Corrected 1.062
FG: 1.012 @ 38°F - Corrected 1.011
ABV: 6.69%

UPDATE July 31: Racked to secondary, current gravity is 1.010 @ 65°F, raised to 65°F for 3 days for diacetyl rest

Kegged 9/27

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hop Farm July 12 2009 Part 1

First harvest today! Michelle and I picked the Chinook and Centennial. We only picked the ready hops to half-fill two paper grocery bags. There's plenty more on the way. The magnum is doing well though 2 out of 5 mounds were ravaged by prohibition rabbits. Last, the vojvodina is a bit slow this year and just started budding.

Hop Farm July 12 2009 Part 2

Here's a look at the second wave of hop flowers coming in. As in the past, the second harvest has very dense clusters with the Chinook plants.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Anti Foam for Yeast Starters

During Seanywonton's visit here, he suggested Anti Foam for yeast starters to prevent boil overs. Previously, Michelle and I had an elaborate routine of using the microwave to preheat measured amounts of water and DME along with using a few hop pellets all in an attempt to reduce boil overs when making a yeast starter. For us, a yeast starter is almost always necessary since we build up our yeast arsenal from frozen stock. Click HERE to see how we make our yeast starters.
During the last brew order with William's Brewing, I picked up some AntiFoam to give it a try.

They suggest 2-4 drops so I applied 4 prior to boil. The foam that was present immediately subsided. I was then able to vigorously boil for the entire 20 minutes. Previously, I have always needed to be careful not to have the burner on too high for risk of boil overs. Before our microwave routine, I even went as far as turning the heat on and off - basically baby sitting the flask for 30 minutes. Very unchillindamos!

For $3.90, the 1/2oz. bottle of AntiFoam should last for quite some time and prevent a number of inevitable clean-ups. Well worth it, if you ask me!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Vienna Lager, July 3 2009

Ah, Vienna Lager! This is an uncommon beer style. Despite being a lager, I suppose the "lite" crowd sees the vienna lager as a "dark" beer. And the ale crowd sees it as weak in body and hops. Then, its no wonder why vienna lager is not more commonly brewed and consumed in the US. I know Samuel Adams has made a Vienna Lager and even Trader Joe's has a labeled Vienna lager beer. Down the road from us is Gordon Biersch and they have a nice Vienna lager occasionally on tap. I feel that a Vienna lager is a great daily drinker. It pairs well with a variety of foods and is typically a crowd pleaser.
As with most lagers, this brew takes patience and temperature control. I'm shooting for a slightly lighter in color and hoppier version of the style.

Vienna Lager

5 Gallons, Multi-Step Infusion Mash, 80 Minute Boil

6lbs. Vienna
2lbs. Domestic 2-Row
2lbs. Pilsner
1lb. Munich

122°F for 30min.
150°F for 30min.
Mashout at 170°F and 5 Gallon Sparge for 60min.

0.33oz. Homegrown Magnum 60min.
1 Whirlfloc Tab 10min.
0.25oz. Hallertauer 10min.

White Labs WLP830 German Lager Yeast

900ml starter pitched at 60°F

OG: 1.050 @ 60°F
FG: 1.015 @ 38°F - Corrected 1.014
ABV: 4.73%

Kegged 9/27

Friday, July 3, 2009

Pilsner, July 2 2009

Brewing up a series of lagers over the next few weeks. Our new house seems to warm up to the upper 70's during the past few weeks leaving fermentation to the cool temperature-controlled environment of the kegerator. The plan is to do four lagers (2 primary and 2 secondary carboys in the kegerator is the max) using the two primaries and active yeast beds twice. The first two will be new personal recipe formulations of pilsner and vienna lager (I rarely use the same recipe twice) followed by an agave lager and an oktoberfest. These all should be ready in September for Oktoberfest celebrations.
For this brew, I could have used 100% pilsner malt but I wanted to stretch out the current pilsner malt stock for all upcoming lagers. I also put in a pound of Dried Rice Extract (DRE) to boost up the gravity without adding much color (or anything else). I've used DRE before but that turned out to be an alcoholic monster.


5 Gallons, Multi-Step Infusion Mash, 90 Minute Boil

6lbs. Pilsner Malt
2lbs. Domestic 2-Row

126°F for 30 minutes
148°F for 30 minutes
Mashout at 170°F and 5 Gallon Sparge for 60min.

1lb. Dried Rice Extract at boil

0.75oz. Homegrown Magnum 60min.
0.25oz. Saaz 30min.
0.25oz. Saaz 15min.
1 Whirlfloc Tab 15min.
0.25oz. Saaz 5min.
0.25oz. Saaz 1min.

White Labs German Lager Yeast, WLP380
800ml Starter Pitched at 60°F

OG: 1.050 @ 60°F
FG: 1.011 @ 38°F - Corrected 1.010
ABV: 5.25%

Update 7/13: Racked to secondary, yeast globules still churning but fallen krausen. Current gravity is 1.015

Kegged 9/27

Aha! I finally figured out the shortcut for the degree symbol on a Mac so that I can use °F and °C or even stuff like 15° Plato. On a Mac, use Shift-Option-8.

Hop Farm, July 3 2009 Part 1

The hop farm is doing well. The climate has been gentle thus far. Moderate to warm temps with coastal breezes and moisture. I will increase watering in a couple of weeks before I head out to Hawaii. Most mounds are doing well with a minor delay at the start of the season from rabbits munching on the initial plant tips. Sent from my mobile phone.

Hop Farm, July 3 2009 Part 2

As you can see, we're nearing a first harvest. This is one of the bottom row Centennial plants that has a number of cones ready for picking in about a week's time. The rabbits were not able to get the most vibrant of the mounds. Sent from my mobile phone.