Falconer’s Rye and National Homebrew Day

In 1988 Congress declared May 7th as National Homebrew Day. It’s also my sisters birthday so I have two reasons to celebrate with a brew day.

This beer is a re-brew of a beer that was I brewed three years ago.  The malt bill is based closely on Denny Conn’s Wry Smile IPA. The hops bill uses Nugget and Falconers flight.  Falconers flight is not a single hop but a blend of different west cost hops. I remember it being awesome. I did make a few changes from my last brew. I dropped the Carapils malt and added some whirlpool hops.

Estimated (Actual)
OG: 1.074 (1.076)
FG: 1.013
ABV: ~8%
IBU: 80
SRM: 9.5

22# 2-Row Malt
6# Rye Malt
2# Crystal 60L Malt

2 oz Nugget Pellet – 60 min
2 oz Nugget Pellet – 30 min
2 oz Falconer’s Flight Pellet – 10 min
2 oz Falconer’s Flight Pellet – 0 min
2 oz Falconer’s Flight Pellet – Whirlpool @ 160* for 20 min
2 oz Falconer’s Flight Pellet – Dry Hop Fermenter

Mash @ 152 for 1 hour

Fermentis SafAle US-05

Here is a shot of the new dual return for my HLT re-circulation. I am now maintaining a zero or one degree delta between HLT temp and Mash In temp.


The beer has dried up! Time to get back to business. Up first several IPAs. It’s time to brew a New England IPA (NEIPA). I have had a chance to try the great NEIPA Mass Riot from Prison City and a friend was nice enough to share some brews from Treehouse. The signature of this style is low bitterness but a huge juicy hop flavor and smell. It generally has a nice full/soft mouthfeel and is as cloudy as a glass of orange juice.  Below are the keys to a good NEIPA from my research.

  1. Water profile – Opposite of traditional IPAs this style calls for high amounts of Chloride and low levels of Sulfate.
  2. Hops – Few if any hops added during the boil. Most of the hops should be added during a whirlpool. That whirlpool should occur at lower temp then right after knockout to protect the volatile hops oils you want in your beer. Citra, Mosaic, and Galaxy are very popular.
  3. Grain – Wheat, Oats, and Barley are popular to help add body and haze.
  4. Mash – Keep your mash pH around 5.3. Acidify your sparge water.
  5. Dry Hop – Should be done at full krausen not at the tail end of fermentation.

OG 1.065 / FG 1.013 / ABV 6.86% / IBU 36 / SRM 4.76

18# 2-row
4# Marris Otter
1# Flaked Oats
1# Flaked Barley
0.5# Wheat Malt
0.5# Honey Malt
1.5oz Warrior @ 60 min
2oz Citra @ 0 min
2oz Mosaic @ 0 min
2oz Simcoe @ 0 min
2oz Citra Whirlpool @ 160° for 30 min
2oz Mosaic Whirlpool @ 160° for 30 min
2oz Simcoe Whirlpool @ 160° for 30 min
3oz Citra Dry hop @ full krausen
2oz Mosaic Dry hop @ full krausen
1oz Simcoe Dry hop @ full krausen
3oz Citra Dry hop in keg
2oz Mosaic Dry hop in keg
1oz Simcoe Dry hop in keg

Water target – Ca 96 – Mg 12 – SO 74 – Na 11 – Cl 118

Mash at 153° for 60 minutes then raise to 168° and hold for 10 minutes.  Collect 14 gallons and boil for 60 minutes. Produces 12 gallons at the end of the boil and 11 gallons in the fermenter.

GigaYeast – Vermont IPA Yeast

Brew day notes:
Salts – Added 6g of Gypsum and 14g of Calcium Chloride to 19 gallons

Mash was initially a pH of 5.56. Added 6ml of lactic acid to the mash and 5ml to the remaining sparge water. Mash pH settled at 5.35

I am going to add a splitter to also pump water inside the coil  


Mashing in TUN

Sweet wort run off

Hops explosion after dry hop at high krausen

Looking and tasting good on keg day (14 days after brew day)


Christmas Pliny

I brewed up a batch of Pliny the Elder clone. Brewed the week before Christmas and it was pouring on new years. It came out great. I have never had Pliny so I cant say if it was accurate to the original. I split the batch between US-05 yeast and a new yeast by Rochester Yeast Co. AM-CAL.  The US-05 finished faster and dryer.  The AM-CAL had more character by adding a bit of spiciness.

OG: 1.074,
FG: 1.015 (US-05), 1.018 (Roc AM-CAL)
ABV: ~7.70%

24.5# 2-Row
1.25# Corn Sugar
0.5# Crystal 60L

2 oz Warrior Pellet – 90 min
0.66 oz Columbus Pellet – 90 min
2 oz Amarillo Pellet – 45 min
2 oz Simcoe Pellet – 30 min
1.5 oz Cascade Pellet – Whirlpool 15 min
1.5 oz Centennial Pellet – Whirlpool 15 min
1.5 oz Amarillo Pellet – Whirlpool 15 min
1.5 oz Simcoe Pellet – Whirlpool 15 min
2 oz Simcoe Pellet – Dry Hop Fermenter
1.66 oz Cascade Pellet – Dry Hop – Fermenter
1 oz Columbus Pellet – Dry Hop – Fermenter
2 oz Simcoe Pellet – Dry Hop – Keg
1.5 oz Cascade Pellet – Dry Hop – Keg
0.72 oz Amarillo Pellet – Dry Hop – Keg
0.72 oz Columbus Pellet – Dry Hop – Keg

Hot summer = Kolsch

I had a local Kolsch on draft on a hot day and it has been in my head to brew a batch. The Sept/Oct 2016 issue of Zymurgy hit my mail box and had the National Homebrew Competition results.  Joe Edidin of the Tennessee Valley Homebrewer’s won the light hybrid beer category with a good looking Kolsch recipe. It uses a lager yeast vs the traditional Kolsch ale yeast. After scaling up to 12 gallons and adjusting for my system I ended up with the following recipe.

OG 1.049 / FG 1.010 / ABV 5.05% / IBU 29 / SRM 3.24

16# Pilsner malt
2# Vienna malt
1# Carafoam malt
.5# Acidulated malt
3.75oz Tettnang @ 60
1oz Tettnang @ 15
0.25oz Tettnang @ 1

Mash at 148° for 60 minutes then raise to 164° and hold for 10 minutes.  Collect 15 gallons and boil for 90 minutes.

White Labs WLP830 German Lager – 5L Starter (decanted)
Ferment 14 days @ 54°


Yeast pitched Monday morning @ 53°.  Nice krausen 36 hours later.

Beer gas, partial pressure, psia, and psig,oh my!

The question of what pressure to run your beer gas setup seems to be a topic folks struggle with.  Below is my attempt to clear this up.

I have easy accessibility to a 25/75 blend of CO2 and N2.  When you see a blend the first number will always be CO2 the second N2.

I will use a target of 1.2 volumes of CO2 for the bourbon barrel stout. This is the same level used for Guinness.

Using a calculator like brewersfriend and my kegerator temperature of 38° we are informed we need a pressure of -2.5 psi to get 1.2 volumes. The important thing to note here is the result we are given is in psig for gauge.  Our gauges are set to read 0 at 1 atmosphere or 14.7 psi at sea level.

  • The first step is to first convert to psior actual by adding the 14.7 psi for 1 atmosphere of pressure. If you are at high elevation you should look up the appropriate value for you.
    -2.5psig + 14.7 = 12.2 psia
  • Next we account for the fact that our gas is only 25% CO2.
    12.2psia / 0.25 =  48.8 psia
  • Now we convert back to psig so we know what to set our regulator to.
    48.8 psia – 14.7 = 34.1 psig

McDantim has some great calculators. I use this one.  It accounts for some additional factors like ABV and elevation.

It is recommended to force carb your keg a little on CO2 just to get to your wanted volumes then place the keg on the beer gas.  If you are running the right pressure it will stay perfectly carbonated.
The N2 tank fits on the hump with the CO2 tank and a 5 gallon ball lock keg.  On the floor is three more ball lock kegs and a commercial 1/6th keg from a local brewery.

Beer Update, Kegerator Upgrade

Several updates today.  The whirlpool IPA is ontap and I am very happy with the result.  It has that juicy hop character while not being very bitter.

I also picked up my share of the bourbon barrel stout and it is awesome.  Far better than I was even expecting.  It has a nice nose on it but the flavor is not overpowering and complements the beer very well.  Now I need to determine what I am going to do with it.  I think I will bottle one keg and serve the other on nitro.


That brings me to my nitro upgrade. In a prior post I discussed a faux nitro setup using CO2.  This works but I found it was very easy to forget to bleed the pressure back down to the correct level each night.  This resulted in over carbonation several times. Rather they attempt to fix the user… I purchased a 20 cu-ft nitro tank and regulator. It seems there is a lot of confusion around what pressure to run beer gas at so I will write a follow up post discussing that.

Baby beer update and Whirlpool Hop IPA

I racked the baby brew to a new carboy for some bulk aging. I am really happy with the flavor it has developed and it has dried out nicely.  With an OG of 1.135 and a FG of 1.023 that puts it at 14.7% ABV.  The strength will hopefully let this beer age gracefully.

On the IPA front I brewed the fresh squeeze clone. I cooled the wort to 180° and let the hops steep for 10 minutes before cooling to pitching temp.  The OG for this beer came in at 1.066.

I also tried using my hop dam for the first time. I think it kept the pickup for my kettle clear without being a major new thing to clean.

Lots of whirlpool hops!

Shot of the brew bag

Baby beer ready for bulk aging

I need an IPA on tap

The baby beer is down to 1.032 and still dropping slowly.  That puts the current ABV @ 13.5%.  I am going to move it into a secondary fermenter and let it bulk age for a while.

Next up needs to be an IPA.  I am a big fan of the juicy hop flavor you get from whirlpool hopping.  I was a huge fan of Deschutes Fresh Squeezed when I had it on tap at Tornado Pub in San Francisco.  I was able to sample this back to back with Pliney the Elder also on tap, and liked the Fresh Squeezed better.  Both were amazing beers.

Bertus Brewery has a clone recipe that I like the looks of which I tweaked to my system and some suggestions in the comments.

OG ~ 1.068, FG ~ 1.021, ABV ~ 6.18%, IBU 107, SRM 10.9

22# 2-Row
2.5# Crystal 60
1# Munich 10L
1oz Apollo @ 60min
2oz Citra @ 10min
2oz Mosaic @ 10min
3oz Citra @ 180° Whirlpool for 15 min
3oz Mosaic @ 180° Whirlpool for 15 min
2oz Citra Dry Hop
2oz Mosaic Dry Hop
Mash @ 155° for 60 min
WLP005 British Ale Yeast

Barrel filling and baby brew day

The baby beer is fermenting and the bourbon barrel has been filled. I meet up with some club members for the barrel fill on the February 20th. Thankfully the barrel was water tight.  Each beer had its own character but blended together nicely.  The first planned tasting will be in one month.

The baby beer has been brewed.  I ended up with an OG of 1.135 which did not match my target of 1.160 at 65% efficiency but this was due to me not setting my target efficiency to the kettle volume not fermenter volume.  Using a 6 gallon target in the kettle 65% efficiency is 1.133 much closer to my actual results.  The beer was blowing off in less than 12 hours.  Now I will start a new starter with the WLP099 yeast to be pitched when this initial fermentation slows down.  I am hoping to hit 13% ABV with this barley wine.

filling full

Baby Barleywine

I finally decided on a recipe for the baby beer.  The goal will be 5 gallons of packaged beer or at least 24x bomber bottles.

OG at 65% efficiency 1.160, FG 1.039, 15.8% ABV, 78 IBU (Second pitch of WLP099 should hopefully lower the FG to 1.021 with an ABV of 18%)

28# Maris Otter
4# Munich 10L
1# Crystal 60L

2oz Magnum at 60min
1oz Fuggles at 15min
1oz Fuggles at 0min

Mash at 146° for 30 minutes then raise to 156° and hold for 30 minutes.  Collect 8 gallons and boil for 90 minutes.

Wyeast 1272 American Ale II  – Starting pitch @ 1 gallon (decanted)
White Labs WLP099 Super High Gravity Ale Yeast – Finishing pitch @ 1 gallon (decanted)