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Toys for Watts

Get it? It’s a thermodynamics pun! How many brewing blogs give you wordplay like that? None of the reputable ones, that’s for sure.

Anyway… Last year I started experimenting with partial boils, due to not being able to use a garden hose in the winter. And that technique has been working well for me, [...]

Double Grain-Brew

As I mentioned recently, I’ve been making a conscious effort to branch out and brew some less traditional beers lately. This pair of porters is a good example. The base recipe is the same for both, but one has a substantial portion (30%) of the grist replaced with Briess Cherrywood Smoked Malt, and the other [...]

Refractometer Calculator

This is something I’ve been meaning to do for a long time, but kept finding excuses to put off. It uses the simplified cubic polynomial derived in Refractometer FG Results. Please visit that post for more information. You can also download a spreadsheet to track OG, FG, and more for multiple batches.

Original RI (°Bx): [...]

Fall Classic Tasting Notes

Now that the holiday season is in full swing, I’m finally getting around to posting some tasting notes for the Fall Classic.

The visual appearance is really great. Deep amber with brilliant clarity, despite all the pumpkin in the mash, and an off-white head with excellent retention and lacing. The aroma is predominately of the [...]

A More Accurate Approach to Draft System Balancing

Balancing a draft system is one of those things that should be easy, but inevitably ends up requiring some trial and error. The basic principle seems sound: beverage tubing supplies some characteristic resistance per unit length (2-3 psi/ft for 3/16″ ID tubing), and all one needs to do is divide that into the desired serving [...]

Simple Sugars and Specific Gravity

A pound of sugar per five gallons of beer will add nine points to the original gravity and reduce the final gravity by two points.

We’ve all heard it. I’m ashamed to say that I’ve even parroted it myself in the past. But it’s only half true.

The OG contribution of simple sugars is certainly [...]

Ovens and Spices and Squash, Oh My!

Frequent visitors will probably have noticed that I tend to be a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to beer recipes. After all, brewers are discovering new things to do with malts, hops, water, and yeast all the time. That approach does get a bit dull after a while though – especially when one [...]

Reverse Mashing 2

Background

Last time I toyed with the idea of “reverse mashing”, I found that an unheated kitchen isn’t a great place to do mashing experiments in the winter. Fortunately, I have a new toy available in the form of an oven with a “Warm” (170°F – 77°C) setting, and so I was able to perform [...]

Burning Beers

Oh yeah, good stuff. Especially in cans. Labels were ordered today!

Dry Yeast Viability, Take Two

Background

The last time I published the results of some dry yeast viability testing, I made the assumption that the reduction in viability that resulted from rehydrating the yeast in wort rather than water would have flavor impacts similar to under-pitching a liquid yeast culture. Shortly thereafter, James Spencer of Basic Brewing and Chris Colby [...]