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Belgian Dubbel Winter 2018

It’s been almost a year since I last brewed! Gonna re-brew a belgian. With the little bit of off-flavor I’ve had with my non-belgians, I’m gonna stick with something where I won’t have to worry about it (or maybe it’s just hidden in the other flavors of belgians). Plus, this beer was delicious last time.

My plan was to split this brew over 2 days. Mashing and sparging the first day; boiling, pitching, etc. the second. I succeeded in achieving that plan, but I don’t think I want to try it again. It just felt like I had 2 brew days and man, are they starting to feel like work.


Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew Day – part 1 (2/3/2018)

Dough-in: 1:30

Lauter: ~3:00

Good lauter with the fly sparge (i.e., no clogs). Took ~20 minutes, turning on the pump at the end when I felt confident that I had enough liquid left to get me topped off.

Heated to 190°+ F before transferring to a couple pots to keep on the stove inside (I don’t want to leave it all in the garage overnight). I figure at this point, separated from the grains and headed to 190, there’s not much to worry about.

Brew Day – part 2 (2/4/2018)


<140: 2:27

<100: 2:40

<80: 2:40

<70: 2:19

Stop at 65: 1:49

OG: 1.071

Finally feel like I didn’t over-sparge. I ended up tilting the kettle a little at the end and still ended up a little shy of normal in my 6-gallon carboy. Normally I overdue it enough to over-top my carboy (i.e., I’m usually nervous when I remember that I should have accounted for my starter wort). As a result, my gravities are a little on the low side.

This time, I ran off a good amount and kept the boil pretty vigorous for the 90 minutes. The result, I think, was a good boil volume and gravity ended up a tad high, actually. I guess what I should really take away is that I need to get a proper measuring instrument. I long ago lost a makeshift marked wooden dowel I made shortly after getting my kettle.


Starter didn’t show much activity after being on the stir plate from before noon until after 7:00. Hopefully there’s not a problem.

Aerated 1 minute

Pitched ~7:30 pm

Not much activity after 12 hours (some bubbles on the surface). Good krausen within 24 hours, though.

Sample after 5 days: 1.021. very bitter, sharp in the back of the throat. Very cloudy.

Sample after 8 days: 1.014. actually less bitter. Alcohol in the aroma, not really tasting it, though. Dark fruit maltiness. Maybe it’s in my head, but the candy syrup send to be coming through.

Sample after 10 days: 1.010. bitterness continues to lessen. Malt mellowing a bit. Less sweetness, drying out.


Spring 2017 Scottish


Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew Day (2/26/17)

Pre-boil:  1.052

OG: 1.058


  • <140 F: 2:35
  • <100 F: 4:30
  • <80 F: 2:38
  • <70 F: 3:10
  • Stop @68 F: 2:12


Yeast was old (bought in ~November) and the starter didn’t show a lot of activity.  I’m not super optimistic that fermentation will be too vigorous and I expect to notice some fermentation problems (fusel alcohol, etc) in the final product but hopefully it’s not too bad.

12 hours later:  smooth, unblemished surface.  I expect it’s taking longer for the yeast to grow to an appropriate population to get going well.  Unfortunately, that probably means more growth than I hoped for (though not more than I expected).

<24 hours: good krausen.  Not so vigorous that the blow-off is necessary, but it’s setup in case

36 hours: vigorous fermentation, though still not enough to require the blowoff

48 hours: not much change from 12 hours ago, still pretty steady

60 hours:. Slowing, krausen dropping, but still steady

At 68F for the first 4 days when activity was vigorous to stay, then ramp to 75F when activity mostly stopped.

ESB Summer 2016

Finally getting around to brewing.  Just duplicating what I did most recently except for using London Ale Yeast (WLP013, I think…).

Brewsheet / Recipe

Brew Day (7/10/2016)

Cool down

<140°: ‎2:49.06
<100°: ‎3:36.46
<80°: ‎  4:‎47.34
Stop at 72°@ 16:01.62


Fermented for 2 weeks, temperature controlled at 70 for the first week, ~75 for the second.  Starter looked great when pitched and resulted in steady fermentation for a few days before dropping off suddenly (as expected).  A little bit of blowoff (that was luckily prepared for).


Pretty typical Portland ESB for me (i.e., what I expect from my ESB brews in Portland).  A little “muddy” making me think I may be suffering from too pure water.  While it’s great to have a blank slate when brewing, it can’t necessarily be left alone and result in the beer I want.  I think I need to play with some mineral additions in the future and see if I can get the crispness I’m missing.

I should really try a pilsner some time…

Old Ale

Optimistically planning to reuse the yeast from the latest ESB, wanting to step up the gravity and color with an old ale.  I’m surprised I haven’t brewed one before, but I didn’t find a recipe for it.


Recipe / Brewsheet

Yeah, this didn’t get brewed.😣

Spring ’16 ESB


Recipe / Brewsheet

Brew day (4/24/2016)

  • First wort hop: 0.5 oz E. Kent goldings
  • Hopefully de chlorinated water (ran through double Brita filter contraption)
  • Cooldown:
  • stop at 68:  14:01
  • <140°:   ‎3:22
  • <100°:  ‎6:36
  • <80°:    10:01
  • <70°:    14:01
  • Pre boil:  1.048
  • OG:  1.053

De-chlorinating Brewing Water

Note to self: think about de-chlorinating my brewing water.  Supposedly imparts a medicinal (phenol) character.  I can’t say that that’s been the off-flavor I’ve noted since moving back to OR (seemed more red apple), I do recall brewing mailing lists talking about treating it and it couldn’t hurt to try.

Dusseldorf Alt Winter 2016

Brew Day (2/21/2016)


< 100 F: 5:00
< 80 F: ~7:30
<70 F:  ~10:00
Stop @57 F:  15:00

Pre boil: 1.041 (11 Brix)
Original gravity: 1.048



I didn’t expect to get the wort as cool as I did after the boil.  Instead, I expected to have to leave it overnight in the keezer to get down to ~60 F so I didn’t pitch the starter until after brewing (technically I pitched while I waited for trub to settle after cooldown.  Unfortunately, overnight the starter didn’t get too much going.  I woke up to find that the stir bar had been thrown so there was no agitation.  I expected a good head to show up once I got it started as the dissolved CO2 from the starter was agitated and released, but instead it stayed completely still.  It was nice and milky as expected, just not as much (any) CO2 as expected.

After pitching, the beer itself got to a slow start.  Remember previous brews that were pretty vigorous, I set up a blowoff tube first thing.  By the end of the first day (evening after brew day), nothing was really evident.  It wasn’t until the next morning (Tuesday morning after a Sunday brew day) that the blowoff tube started bubbling in the sanitizer.  By the end of that day, I good looking krausen had formed that fell overnight (I can’t remember for sure when it happened) and the beer ended up looking like a puddle of mud (with tiny bubbles apparent if you looked closely).

Tried to keep beer between 60 and 62 but during more active first couple of days, it coasted up to ~63 max (by thermometer in bubble wrap insulation).  Afterward, it fell down to ~60.  Throughout, I tweaked the keezer temperature control to keep it where I wanted.

By Thursday afternoon (~3.5 days after pitching) the blowoff tube was no longer very active and I took my first sample:

~3.5 days after pitching:  1.012. Still lots of yeast in suspension.  Good bit of carbonation (expected with the low fermentation temperature).  Licorice aroma.  Pretty dry, firm bitterness.

~10 days: Still 1.012. Still lots of yeast in suspension. Still firm bitterness.


Mostly through the batch.  Been on-tap for the last few weeks and, while it’s been serviceable, it hasn’t been what I was hoping.  There was certainly something wrong, and I think it’s largely a combination of too low OG skewing the malt:bitterness to the bitterness and some yeast health issues that left out some character.

Overall, it really reminds me of a brown ale I brewed way back in my early days in Madison.  The fermentation started really sluggish and, while I didn’t get the brain-like krausen, it was just kind of weak.  Such a weak fermentation is really out of character for this beer, even keeping the temperature low.

Other than the brown ale, it’s also similar to my first – and so far only – try at a mild.  It’s pretty highly carbonated, leading to a bit of a carbonic bite.  Little body and really a macro-beer-like flavor:  bland, though certainly firmer bitterness.

Color is brown-amber and pretty clear.  Good head.

Note: After writing up these impressions, I went back and read about my Mild and Brown and I was surprised how I’d written that my Mild had reminded me of my Brown.  It would seem that maybe these 3 brews had something in common that it would be nice to avoid in the future.  I’m chalking it up to poor yeast health.