Fermentation Chamber on the Cheap

If you are looking to make better beer, the one thing that can help you the most is to control your fermentation temps.  Some people are fortunate to have a temperature stable area to ferment their beer in, but for the rest of us that means utilizing some kind of fermentation chamber.  There are any number of ways to build one, some elaborate and some more simplistic.  Let me show you the simplest fermentation chamber you could “make”. (more…)

Canning Starter Wort

I have a confession.  I hate making yeast starters.  They take time to make and then there’s the clean up afterwards.  Once I started messing around with yeast more, I quickly realized that this was the one thing that was keeping me from enjoying what I was doing.  So I set about trying to find a way to make it not such an unpleasant task. (more…)

Rye Wit

This weekend I decided to attempt something I haven’t done in a while…a double brew day. This isn’t something I often do because if you don’t manage your time well things are going to get hectic. I don’t brew to have a hectic day. I brew to enjoy the process and make beer. That said I’ve found myself getting behind the ball on brewing and wanted to get caught up.  Just to make things harder on myself I also decided to brew two very different types of beer: Rye Wit and Honey Porter.  So here’s how things went… (more…)

Just Peachy or My First Attempt at Mead


My wife, God love her, is not a fan of beer.  Wine, cider, and mead are really more her speed.  On a recent trip to California she tasted and really liked a peach mead.  I cannot remember who made it or what the name of it was, but that is not the point.  The point is she REALLY liked it.  So being the good husband I am, I set about to use my brewing abilities to make her a peach mead. (more…)

BrewPi Build: The Beginning

A while back I bought a Raspberry Pi which is a computer about the size of an Altoids tin that was developed in the UK.  There are a number of cool things you can do with this thing and after playing around with it for a while it ended up setting in my box of tinkering “stuff” awaiting a new epic project.  Until recently, when I decided I wanted to up my fermentation game with a BrewPi Fermentation Chamber. (more…)

Father’s Day Brew

I’ve had some WLP530 slurry in my fridge for a little while and I’ve been itching to use it on something, but was having a hard time deciding on what.  I finally put together a simple recipe for a low alcohol Belgian beer.  Something akin to a Patersbier, but a wee bit darker in color.  With Father’s Day weekend upon us, I felt it was a fitting time to brew this! (more…)

Weissbier aka “The Fritz”

This beer started a while back when I had some of Urban Chestnut’s Schnickelfritz, which is a tasty example of a Bavarian Weissbier.  I liked it so much I cultured the yeast from it and set about to make my own.  Weissbier is a refreshing, pale, concoction consisting of mainly barley and wheat malt.  It’s one of those beers that gets its character from the yeast and this yeast (which is a proprietary strain according to the folks at Urban Chestnut, who were kind enough to reply to my inquiries) is supposed to impart some clove/banana/vanilla/bubble gum flavors and aromas.  I’m excited to see what I end up with! (more…)

Plates and Slants

The last couple weeks I’ve been busy managing my yeast supply.  I have six strains in my yeast bank:

  • Wyeast 3711 French Saison
  • Wyeast 1098 English Ale
  • Oberon (isolated from Bell’s Oberon)
  • Birra (isolated from Prairie Artisan’s Birra)
  • Fritz (isolated from Urban Chestnut’s Schnickelfritz)
  • White Labs 530 Abbey Ale

From time to time they need to be reslanted and otherwise kept in shape. (more…)

Tale of Two Saison

I had a jug of Pilner LME on hand from a recipe kit that I didn’t use and I’ve been tossing around ideas about what to do with it.  A few things culminated in helping me decide.  First I drew inspiration from this kit from Brooklyn Brew Shop.  It didn’t hurt that I had a couple ounces of Sorachi Ace from a recent Brew Link Brewing Supply order (their hop grab bags are pretty awesome).  I’ve also been wanting to do a head to head between a couple different yeast strains: Wyeast 3711 French Saison and a strain cultured from a bottle of Prairie Artisan’s Birra.  While preparing for brew day I also read some recent xBmt posts on Brulosophy (Short & Shoddy Pt 1 and Short & Shoddy Pt 2) which influenced my brew day technique.  All of this led to The Tale of Two Saisons brew day this past weekend… (more…)