Friday, February 26, 2010

Second Place Win!

Well I heard through a friend that I had won a second place in Quaff's America's Finest City HB contest. My Belgian Dark Strong/Belgian Barley Wine called Bon Hiver scored the second place win. The beer is about 16 months old and is really drinking nicely. It was a cross between a Belgian Strong Dark and an English Barley Wine. I will post more on the this recipe and how teh other beers faired later.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My New Homebrew Club: CHUG

I have thought about joining a a homebrew club for the past few years. I was briefly in a very loose brewing organization a few years back called Nano Club, too many of the guys got into the "industry" and homebrewing became less of a priority for them, which I understand. San Diego has a couple of clubs one is the big one QUAFF. Quaff is a good club, but it just doesn't seem like my style. Luckily one of the guys that I was in Nano Club with started a new homebrew club for San Diegans in the city. The club is called CHUG and it stands for what ever each of us wants. So far I have come up with Cerevisiae Harmed Upon Gulping. It is the first thing I came up with and works, except for all the other yeasts and bugs I have been brewing with. The club is pretty free form and it is just getting started but we will be meeting periodically to talk beer styles, techniques, and to share beers and get feedback from each other on our bees.

We have a great website ( where we post recipes, etc.

I am looking forward to this club!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

One Hell of a Brew Day Part 2: The Recipies

I brewed a Schwartzbier and a San Diego style IPA. For the Schwartzbier I went for middle ground for the style, it lies between a traditional German style and a more roasty American style. I was going to use some roasted barley but at the last minute I decided against it and just upped the amount of Carafa II. This is only my second attempt at a Lager

4C-Dark Lager-Schwarzbier

Selected Style and BJCP Guidelines

Recipe Overview

Volume At Pitching: 5.28 US gals

Expected OG: 1.049 SG

Expected FG: 1.011 SG

Expected ABV: 5.0 %

Expected IBU (using Tinseth): 27.9 IBU

Fermentation Temperature: 55 degF


US 2-Row Malt 4.50 lb

Dark Munich 30L Malt 4.00 lb

German Carafa II 0.50 lb

US Chocolate Malt 0.25 lb

US Caramel 40L Malt 0.25 lb


German Hallertauer Hersbrucker 3.5 % 1.75 oz 23.6 Loose Pellet Hops 60 Min From End

German Hallertauer Hersbrucker 3.5 % 0.50 oz 4.1 Loose Pellet Hops 20 Min From End

German Hallertauer Hersbrucker 3.5 % 0.50 oz 0.3 Loose Pellet Hops 1 Min From End


White Labs WLP830-German Lager

Visible signs of fermentation after 12 hours, large Krausen forming after 24 hours.

For my IPA I wanted to make something that was typical San Diego IPA (or at least attempt it). I went with a beer close to Alpine's Duet. It is a Golden colored, dry, balanced bitterness, and huge hop flavor and aroma. I went with a simple malt bill and a "duet" of Amarillo and Simcoe hops. I plan on dry hopping this beer with whole leaf Amarillo and Simcoe. I am debating throwing in some un-toasted american oak chips with the dry hops.

"Edgemont IPA"

14B-India Pale Ale(IPA)-American IPA

Recipe Overview

Volume At Pitching: 5.28 US gals

Expected OG: 1.072 SG

Expected FG: 1.016 SG

Expected ABV: 7.5 %

Expected IBU (using Tinseth): 70.7 IBU

Fermentation Temperature:

66 degF


US 2-Row Malt 11.00 lb

US Caramel 20L Malt 1.50 lb

US Carapils Malt 1.50 lb

Corn Sugar 8.0 oz


US Amarillo 8.6 % 0.50 oz 13.8 Loose Pellet Hops 60 Min From End

US Simcoe 12.2 % 0.35 oz 13.7 Loose Pellet Hops 60 Min From End

US Amarillo 8.6 % 1.00 oz 16.7 Loose Pellet Hops 20 Min From End

US Simcoe 12.2 % 1.00 oz 23.7 Loose Pellet Hops 20 Min From End

US Simcoe 12.2 % 1.00 oz 1.7 Loose Pellet Hops 1 Min From End

US Amarillo 8.6 % 1.00 oz 1.2 Loose Pellet Hops 1 Min From End

US Amarillo Dry Hop

US Simcoe Dry Hop

White Labs WLP001-California Ale

Strong fermentation after 12 hours, great hop aroma coming from the airlock.

Monday, February 15, 2010

One HELL of a brew day

I was weary of another double brew day, I have been knocking out two beers at a time for about the past 4 months, but I felt today was different and in my gut I said just brew one. Ignoring my inner self I moved ahead as planned and brewed the double batches. Stupid!
As you can see in the earlier post I started my brew day at 8 am and was chugging along through my first beer, right on time. I was cooling the Schwartzbier and was getting ready to mash in on my IPA when a buddy called and asked to do lunch, I figured I had an hour so I went for it. Well that is when it went down hill. I went out to get into my car and it won't fully start ( I think I have a fuel filter or pump problem). So I have to wait for my buddy to pick me up. Lunch goes well nice and quick. When I get home I start my sparge water and at about 140F my propane runs out. Now I have a car that doesn't work and no propane. So I call AAA and have a tow truck pick up my car (another 30 minutes wasted) and take it to the repair shop. I then picked up my propane tank and hoofed it down the three or so blocks to the store to grab a new one and walked back. Mind you it is probably about 75F today and so it was rather warm lugging a full propane tank around the neighborhood ( I can only imagine what people passing by were thinking). Back at home I hooked up the propane and began to reheat my sparge water. I got it up to temp and away I went back on track and only 2 hours behind my normal schedule. As I began to cool my IPA wort, I noticed my dog Kelby acting as if she had just eaten something nasty, and buy was it! See Kelby is highly allergic to Bees and because she can't tell the difference between them and other insects, she tries to catch and kill them. So now I go into medic mode and I give her a dose of Benedril, this usually works. However, within 5 minutes she is puking and panting. I have seen this before and it is not good. This is usually where I run her to the vet, but I am sans car. Now what, my dog is gonna die if I don't get her some help. My fiance is on her way home, but Kelby then takes a turn for teh worse and she starts to show signs its getting worse, she essentialy becomes a limp dog. Lucky for me she is only 25 pounds. I call the ER vet and tell them we are on our way. I run to the neighbors house and ask for a ride (it is about 11 miles away and I am really worried at this point). Kelby continues to puke on the car ride except this time it is on my lap. We finally make it. My awesome neighbor saves the day and the vet tech is waiting at the door when we arrive. Kelby is fine about an hour and a half later. It is now 7:30 pm and I still haven't finished brewing, but my dog is alive and so I am happy. My fiance cooks me her amazing mac and cheese and I finish up, at 8:30 my 12 and a half our ordeal (brew day) comes to an end.

I learned some important things today. #1 cut my plants that have flowers #2 Don't try and brew 2 batches in one day unless I have help and a functioning car, #3 Get a doggy Epi pen (the vet actually gave me a perscription) and #4 There are much more important things in life then brewing, I hope the extended cooling of my partially cover IPA that had two tiny moths in it comes out, but hey if it doesn't at least I have my dog sleeping peacefully right next to me.

More on the actual brews later in the week. I will also include some pictures.


I just entered 4 beers into the America's Finest City Homebrew Competition put on by QUAFF here in San Diego. I entered a few beers last year but they were not my strongest beers so although they did alright and I got some good feedback I didn't place or score well. I have only entered a few local competitions but in my first competition at the San Diego County Fair I took home a second place in the Hefe Category. It was the first Hefe I had ever brewed and it was an extract batch. It did well the next year and would have placed based on the judges comments but it lacked enough carbonation due to bottle conditioning issues.

In this years AFC which will be held next week I entered a Golden Strong, a Dark Strong, a Meyer Lemon Zest & Lavender Belgian Blond (in the spice/herb category) and my 100% Brett. c and Amarillo Pale Ale (in the Belgian Specialty Category). I think I have a good chance with all of these beers to place or score well. I will post the results and score/feedback when I get the results.

Just finishing the boil on my Schwartzbier right now, then my IPA! More on these later today, and my new Homebrew Club CHUG!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Brewing on Monday

I have Monday off for Presidents day and so I will be brewing two batches. I posted last time that I will be making a schwartzbier and either a bier de garde or a vanilla strong ale. Well with the rest of the country deep in snow, the weather here in San Diego has become awesome, we are expecting highs in the 70's today and lots of sun, even the flowers on my iris' are starting to bloom and I even see my first hop shoot breaking ground!. I also have lots of sour beers aging away in carboys. So instead of a big beer that will take a while to age and may be out of season by the time it is ready I went with something a little more San Diego. I will be brewing my second IPA. It is not a style that I usually brew because I am so spoiled living in San Diego (not the weather) because we have some of the best IPA's around. Green Flash West Coast, Alpine Duet, Nelson, O'Briens, Port Slap and Tickle, Stone IPA, Ballast Point Sculpin, we even get Russian River Blind Pig and Pliny the Elder all the time. I am a fan of light colored, dry, huge hop aroma and flavor IPAs with a balanced but strong bitterness. The recipe I will be brewing is inspired by Alpine's Duet a IPA brewed with Amarillo and Simcoe in perfect balance "duet". I am using 2-row, Crystal 20L, and Carapils. I will be dry hopping this beer as well. I amy even throw a little untoasted American Oak chips in with the dry hops as Blind Pig used to and Alpine's Pure Hoppiness does.

I will also be brewing my scwhartzbier my second lager, more on that on Monday. I cleaned my keggerator and the brew house yesterday so i am ready to go. I will have my Brett Gose and American Mild on soon, they are cooling and carbonating right now.