haymaker's switchel
• 1 c. light brown sugar
• 1 c. apple cider vinegar
• ½ c. light molasses
• 1 tbsp. ginger
• 2 qts. cold water
• ½ c. whole oats
• ¼ tsp. bread yeast
• plastic 2 liter bottle with lid.
Bring to a boil 2 qts of water. Add oats, sugar, molasses and ginger and simmer for 10 minutes. Add apple cider vinegar to kettle and let cool in a sink full of cold water until "blood warm" (90˚F) and pitch yeast. strain and funnel into clean two liter bottle and let sit on the counter for a couple days or until bottle becomes "rock hard".

Fat Basset Brer Rabbit Cider
Easing back into brewing. . . .

(from:)Fat Basset Brer Rabbit Cider
  • 4 gallons "bottom shelf" apple juice*

  • 12 oz Brer Rabbit molasses

  • 8oz lactose

  • 0.7 oz black tea

  • 2 oz vanilla extract

  • Danstar Nottingham yeast

  • Red Star Côte des Blancs

Notes on the yeast substitution:
Red Star® Côte des Blancs, a strain of Saccharomyces cerevisiae, has been derived from a selection of the Geisenheim Institute in Germany. It is a relatively slow fermenter, identical to Geisenheim Epernay, but producing less foam. This yeast requires nutrient addition for most chardonnay fermentations. Côte des Blancs produces fine, fruity aromas and may be controlled by lowering temperature to finish with some residual sugar. It is recommended for reds, whites, sparkling cuvées and non-grape fruit wines (especially apple, it is reported).
Ferments best between 17°-30°C (64°-86°F). Sensitive below 13°C (55°F).
Click here for Technical Specification Sheet.
Dry or Liquid: Dry
Wine Recommendation: All Wine Types
Fermentation Speed: Moderate
Relative nitrogen needs: Medium

Pour the 4 gallons of juice directly into your sanitized fermenter.
Put 1 gallon of water into a pot on your burner and bring to a boil.
Turn off the burner and add the tea and let it steep for 5 minutes.
Add the lactose, molasses and vanilla extract to the tea.
Let the tea mixture cool a little and then add it to the cider. Since the 4 gallons is already cool, you can dump the hot tea in and it will still end up fairly close to pitching temp.
When the wort/must is down near 70F, pitch the yeast, put your airlock on and ferment thoroughly.

ITis batch ferments in space that stays a fairly constant 62°F and plan to rack after three weeks and let it sit in glass for 3 - 5 months again before bottling.

*In the grocery store or Target or wherever, the big 1 gallon jugs on the bottom shelf are usually what you're looking for. It should be 100% juice, with no preservatives (except vitamin C). It can be pasteurized (and pretty much is certainly going to have been).

OG: unknown
FG: unknown


Brewed on October 31st, 2011
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Ballast Point Brewery's Sculpin IPA clone recipe
Ballast Point Sculpin Clone
Beer Style: American IPA
Recipe Type: All Grain
malt & fermentables
% LB OZ Malt or Fermentable ppg °L
80% 11 12 American Two-row Pale info 37 1
9% 1 6 Caramel/Crystal Malt - 10L info 35 10
7% 1 0 Cara-Pils/Dextrine info 33 2
4% 0 10 Caravienne Malt info 34 22
14 12

Batch size: 6.0 gallons
Batch size: 6.0 gallons Original Gravity
(1.062 to 1.073)
Final Gravity
(1.015 to 1.018)
6° SRM / 11° EBC
(Yellow to Gold)
Mash Efficiency
use time oz variety form aa
mash 60 mins 1.0 Amarillo info leaf 7.0
boil 60 mins 0.25 Columbus (Tomahawk) info pellet 14.0
boil 60 mins 0.5 Warrior info pellet 15.0
boil 60 mins 0.25 Hallertauer N. Brewer info pellet 7.0
boil 60 mins 0.25 Magnum info pellet 14.0
boil 30 mins 0.25 Simcoe info pellet 13.0
boil 30 mins 0.25 Crystal info pellet 3.5
boil 30 mins 0.25 Centennial info pellet 10.0
boil 1 min 1.0 Amarillo info pellet 7.0
dry hop 7 days 1.0 Simcoe info pellet 13.0
dry hop 7 days 2.0 Amarillo info pellet 7.0

Boil: 8.0 avg gallons for 60 minutes Bitterness
88.3 IBU / 23 HBU
ƒ: Rager
White Labs California Ale (WLP001) info
ale yeast in liquid form with medium flocculation and 76% attenuation
7.1% ABV / 5% ABW
231 per 12 oz.

I'll get in here and fiddle with the format as motivation permits. Although I'm not much of one for cloned beer, I tried a couple pints of the real McCoy yesterday! It truly is the perfect IPA!

Spruce beer(s)
I had to re-work the spruce beers. The first was done on April 17th: 5 gallons
  • 10 lbs. crushed pale
  • 1 oz. Brewer's Gold hops(homegrown)
  • 2 large handfuls of Sping green spruce tips and twigs
  • #1056 American yeast starter
  • OG: ~1.050
By Tuesday it managed to kreusen straight outta the top of the primary bucket leaving about a pint of thick, pasty barm in the depressions in the lid. I didn't not panic - Relax. Don't worry. It's a homebrew. I believe it was the following Wednesday (21st) when I racked it to secondary. There were a couple yeasty pints left over that I sampled: So good that I decided right there I would have to make another batch!

Made on the following Sunday (25th): 5 gallons
  • 10 lbs. crushed pale
  • 2 lbs. rolled oats
  • 2 oz. Cascade hops
  • 2 large handfuls of sping green spruce tips and twigs
  • #1056 American yeast starter
  • OG: ~1.060
I attempted a step mash at Pop's using his well water and adjunct grains (oats). Because I was uncertain of the volume of water that would fit into a 4 gallon kettle along with the grist I heated the water in a separate vessel and added it to the other holding 12 lbs of grain. It's probably a better bet to heat the grain and the water together from the beginning - the major drawback of this is the time required to bring all the contents to the correct temperatures (130, 142, 170, respectively) would be spent constantly stirring the grist. Preheating strike water brought the temperature above the threshold of the first step, so it's a moot point for this batch, and even the remaining time I spent stirring still resulted in a scortched kettle. The other method to try is pre-heating smaller volumes of water to step level temps and mixing the grist in the lauter and then gradually adding hotter water at specified intervals.

I'll play with that dynamic with the next couple of batches - an Oatmeal and an Imperial Stout!

yeast starters
1 cup of DME in
1 Qt boiling water (1.040 SG)

Pitch yeast slurry and divide into two 1 pint sterilized bottles, cap with sterilized vapor locks. Let both come to kraeusen, pitch one in beer and put the other in the fridge after a couple days when sediment starts forming on the bottom of the bottle.

This weekend - Spruce beer!

House Ale
In search of a basic "house" beer and ale recipe, something that you can get anytime at medford, whether in the bottle or on tap*, and the hoppy, malty goodness of said will absolutely knock your dick into your watch pocket!

House IPA
  • 10 lbs 2 row pale

  • Wyeast 1056 - American Ale

  • 1 oz Palisade hops (pellet )

  • 1 oz Nugget hops (homegrown)

OG: 1.050
FG: 1.012

~5% abv

Brewed on March 18th, 2010
Special thanks to Eric Jesse for his assistance!

ZOMG! 1st All-grain!!!1BBQ
All the little pieces have come to match. My 5 gallon Igloo drink cooler/lauter tun conversion has at the bottom a pipe within a strainer leading to a tap, holds water, temperature and 10 lbs of crushed 2 row barley malt and 3 gallons of water beautifully! I'm mashin'! The recipe is a Hearty Spring Braggot, or some such.
  • 10 lbs 2 row pale

  • 10 lbs clover honey

  • (sub) Cote de Blanc (for D-47 yeast)

  • 2 tsp yeast energizer

  • 2 tsp yeast nutrient

  • 1 oz Centennial hops

  • 1 oz YBD homegrown hops (nugget, cascade, n. brewers)

Mashed in above @ 10:20, took a conversion test @ 10:45 and (iodine) and looked complete, no change in color. Tested the test @ 11:00 in a tsp of instant mashed potatos and, yes, the presence of starch does beget some weird color reactions! So, I'm confident that my starch conversion is happening. Opted for the additional mash time just to get some last minute things washed, and revel in my relative success. You know, relax, have a homebrew-type stuff. TIme to check the first runnings and either rejoice or cry - the magic of enzymes!

A mead for Imbolc
There are a lot of factors that inspire me to brew. Generally it's something inside but once in a while there is the perfect storm of external catalysts that all come together at a given time that give rise to a very special brew. A few days ago was Imbolc and, although, I'm not a practicing Pagan I always feel a little behind the curve when a celestial event comes and goes without my acknowledging it. Then there are those 5 "queer" bottles, 750 ml, green with long necks and tapering shoulders. Absolutely nothing wrong with them whatsoever other than I'm not likely to find another twenty of them in short enough time to brew a full five gallons of mead; and the fact of the matter is that I like to keep a single batch in a uniform and standard style of bottle, mostly because I'm lazy about labelling them, otherwise. Odd bottles become clutter while waiting for enough of the same type to accumulate to cork a larger volume of mead. And since making a single gallon batch is practically the same amount of time and effort as a larger batch I don't tend to do so unless I'm experiementing with a recipe or some other determining factor makes it more practical.

Recently I've learned of a technique that piqued my interest, for brewing smaller batches and that actually takes a bit of the effort out of the process. This is a variation of an open fermentation technique, those of which I have come to favor lately. It seems that it is is possible to primary in the same stainless steal kettle used for heating the must provided it has a good fitting lid, so it saves the effort of making space of an available primary vessel and sanitizing it; simply aerate the must and pitch the yeast starter directly into the cooled must and place the covered kettle in an appropriate spot where the yeasts can to their work unfettered. A spot cleared on a bookshelf allows me to an ideal place to stow the fermentor for a few weeks with a clean towel wedged between the the glass lid and the shelf above making the lid stable and still allowing CO2 to escape through the inevitable but very marginal gap and while allowing the yeasts access to oxygen during the aerobic phase. A tall shelf space is preferable to one on the tight side. Books can be carefully wedged underneath the kettle to stabilize the lid.

Although this method does limit the size of a batch to that of a common kettle minus about 3 quarts to allow for a vigorous fermentation (in this instance that's actually a boon) the only other drawback is that it takes a brew kettle out of service for a few weeks. The trade off comes in that I have that much more time to make space in a glass carboy which are better suited for secondary fermentation anyway. The other big advantage to brewing any size batch of mead here and now is that all of the residual snow left on the ground is an ideal medium for a cooling bath - no buying, storing, and having to guard large amounts of ice. Bonus!
Basic Medium Sack Mead:
• ~8 lbs. grocery store honey (wildflower)
• ~1½ gal. clean water (clean as in chlorine-free, etc, not clean as in "not from the toilet")
• 1 tsp yeast nutrient
• 1 tsp yeast energizer (DAP)
• 5 g Redstar Premier Cuvee yeast
In the kettle/fermentor bring ~1½ gal. water to a rolling boil for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and stir in honey, energizer and nutrient. Pasteurize at between 140 and 150°F for 15 - 20 minutes. Cool must in ice bath or with immersion heat exchanger until 90°F. Rehydrate yeast according to directions on package (½ C 100 - 105°F water for 15 minutes). When must reaches "blood" warm stir for 5 minutes to aerate and then pitch yeast starter. Cover and store in an out of the way place. Listen for signs of fermentation and resist the urge to lift the lid.

OG: 1.120

I kept this one simple for now but will likely add a cup or two of blueberry syrup at the secondary stage. Also purchased a couple of quarts of orange blossom honey that I found cheap at the Annandale Healthway to make another batch on the heels of this should the method serve my evil purposes. Until then!
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Tasting corks save more than just the day!

I had just racked off five gallons of delicious cyser into 24 wine bottles only to discover that the corks I procurred earlier were too big to fit into the mouth of the bottles. Saturday night and everything is closed. . . What to do, what to do? Then I remembered a couple dozen tasting corks I had left over from a previous project. Not the best option for a permanent solution but they did buy me a couple days until my LHBS was open for business again and I could get the correct corks. Glad I had them!

Cysers & pyment
I bottled 2 dozen 750mL (5 gallons) cysers (mead with apples) last night. They're still a bit young but they'll be wonderful by the holidays of 2010! there's 3 gallons of pyment (mead with grapes) soon to be online as well that I brewed around the same time; just waiting for gumption and another set of helping hands.


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