Mr. Brown

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
38 L 60 min 23.7 IBUs 22.3 SRM 1.059 SG 1.017 SG 5.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
2-Row 8.3 kg 78.93
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L 0.907 kg 8.62
Wheat, Raw 0.5 kg 4.75
Honey Malt 0.3 kg 2.85
Black (Patent) Malt 0.277 kg 2.63
Special B Malt 0.232 kg 2.21

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Northern Brewer 50 g 60 min Boil Pellet 7.5
Cascade 26 g 5 min Boil Pellet 7.1

Miscs

Name Amount Time Use Type
Irish Moss 0.50 tsp 10 min Boil Fining

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
London ESB Ale (1968) Wyeast Labs 69% 17.78°C - 22.22°C

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 66.67°C 60 min

Ladybones Road Blonde Ale

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I’ve been playing a lot of the browser based game Fallen London lately. It’s a sort of cavern-punk RPG where you get to hang out with demons from hell and collect lucky weasels. There are a number of mystery storylets where you solve cases at a location called Ladybones Road. For some reason, this all inspired me to brew an American style Blonde Ale despite the favoured libations in Fallen London being mushroom wine and absinth that moves on its own accord.

I’m still getting the hang of milling my own grains. I was happy with the crush for this brew and also added some raw red wheat berries that I pulverized in a blender (no cereal mash for this brew, but I’ve experimented with that subsequently). The sparge proceeded like a greased lucky weasel despite the wheat. I brewed 38L so that I could use half of the wort for post fermentation adulteration by adjunct. In keeping to the beer’s theme I choose 2 separate additions that would bring to mind bloody murder: Raspberries and a hibiscus tisane. What can I say, I’m a concept brewer.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
38 L 60 min 23.6 IBUs 4.5 SRM 1.048 SG 1.009 SG 5.2 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
2-Row 7.5 kg 89.07
Wheat, Raw 0.5 kg 5.94
Honey Malt 0.42 kg 4.99

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Northern Brewer 40 g 60 min Boil Pellet 8.5
Northern Brewer 20 g 5 min Boil Pellet 8.5

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
San Diego Super Yeast (WLP090) White Labs 80% 18°C - 20°C

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 66.67°C 60 min

It has been fun doing flights of this with the different varieties. I’ve taken the same approach with my most recent brew as well, a Robust Porter. I really enjoyed the honey malt and will definitely be using it again as it’s difficult to secure prisoner’s honey topside.

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If you decide to venture into the neath, I’m known as Slarthington in Fallen London.

A Saison in Hell

sunny

I’m trying out a new system for the SkullBräu Beer Brewing Brewery. I’m moving the operation into the great out of doors so I can really start to connect with the natural world through the act of brewing. It’s via the boiling and fermenting of malted barley under the open sky that I will for once realize the loving embrace of mother Gaia and come to terms with the connectedness of all living things. Nah, just jokes, it’s really because my new huge ass kettle (57L) won’t fit on my stove.

Being that this is my first time using a propane burner with a full boil, I though to keep things fairly simple. Seeing as Ol’ Scorching Yellow Face is spending more time on high these days, I thought a lighter style would be nice. I decided on a Saison. There are still more variables changing in this brew than I’m totally comfortable with. I also made an immersion chiller to add to the change up as well.

The grain bill is dead simple. Wheat is the new hops, so I couldn’t leave out some of that. I’m hoping to have the yeast shine through. I’ll make a starter tonight of Yeast Bay’s Wallonian Farmhouse strain. One thing that I haven’t figured out in my setup is a fermentation chamber. Seeing as this yeast likes things warmer, I’ll ferment in my kitchen rather than in the dungeon and this also gives me the opportunity to beat box along with the bubbling yeast flatulence. This yeast is supposed to be a monster attenuator so I’m adjusting the mash accordingly. I’m not sure if I’ll bother adding the sugar or not. If I do, I’ll add it after fermentation has slowed down a bit.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
20 L 90 min 26.3 IBUs 3.3 SRM 1.055 SG 1.006 SG 6.5 %

Fermentables

Name Amount %
Pilsner (2 Row) Ger 4 kg 84.21
Wheat Malt, Ger 0.5 kg 10.53
Cane (Beet) Sugar 0.25 kg 5.26

Hops

Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Northern Brewer 20 g 90 min Boil Pellet 8.5
Saaz 28.5 g 10 min Boil Pellet 4
Saaz 28.5 g 0 min Boil Pellet 4

Yeast

Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Wallonian Farmhouse Yeast Bay 85% 20°C - 26°C

Mash

Step Temperature Time
Mash In 66.67°C 60 min

 

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Parti-Gyle like it’s 1699

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I’ve been slowly stealing and otherwise nefariously acquiring the equipment to do full boil all grain batches. The local sporty sports sporting team is going to miss their 10 gallon Gatorade cooler and now my mashing capacity far exceeds my boiling ability (note that any reference to illegal acts contained herein are solely employed for the humorous reinforcement of purest evil and, along with lots of other content, are filthy lies).

My solution to the lack of a proper kettle for my last two brews has not been to mash less but to to parti (gyle) down and boil first runnings in a smaller pot and do a smaller beer in my 19 liter vessel. The first attempt turned out pretty well with the smaller beer turning out as a sessionable India Black Ale or a Cascadian Dark Session Ale or a Mini-Black IPA or Satan’s Diluted Ball Sweat or whatever you most like to call it. The majority of the first runnings were lightly hopped with some Norther Brewer then forced into an unholy union with some apple juice. Sipping the resulting Black Graf takes me directly into the fantasy world of Stephen King where a giant lobster bites off most of my hand because that’s how shit goes down in Steve’s head.

All told, parti-gyle numero uno went fairly well so I thought I’d rinse and repeat, this time with a variation on a recipe popular Down Under formulated by somebody who chose to adopt the moniker Dr. Smurto. I don’t know what Smurto is a doctor of, but I’m imagining him in a laboratory hunched over a kettle lined with a mesh bag wearing a hat with corks dangling off the brim. Because of my mash tun, I don’t have to employ Aussie style BIAB. I increased the overall grain quantity and bumped up the percentage of wheat a bit.

All was relatively fine until I was forced to stop pretending the refractometer was a light saber and took some pre-boil readings that showed my small beer only sugared in at 1.030. I either screwed up on the volumes or my efficiency was crap. I decided to mix the two after the boil and ended up with 19 litres of wort at 1.050 plus 3 extra liters from the first runnings boil that I combined with the remainder of apple juice I had on hand. I wasn’t planning on making more Graf and surprise Smurto juice is not typically what I would imagine as a good thing but we’ll see how it turns out. I pitched Wyeast 1098 British Ale which went crazy in the small Smurto and necessitated a blow-off tube. I need to dial in a reasonable method with the mash tun so I think the parti-ing is concluded for the time being until I figure out what I’m doing.

Drinking to the Tune of Doom

You’ve finished listening to Led Zeppelin 1, 2 and 3 and are wondering what you should pour down your ear esophaguses next while attending to beer related (or fuelled) business. How about something with some vikings on the cover? You can’t go wrong with vikings. Bass solo? Yes, please.

Dust deliver some solid proto-metal. If you follow the trajectory established by them and others (eg. Sabbath) you’ll soon arrive at the ominous precipice of Doom Metal. My favourite Doom Metal experience was when Calgary flooded during Sled Island last year. I wasn’t planning on ushering in that disaster through the fuzz of the apocalypse but I sought refuge from the deluge at the closest venue and there they were ready to soundtrack that bitch, Witchstone:

Doom Metal is best paired with something Imperial. Big beer for big riffs. How about a Megadestroyer?

Satanism and Beer, A Match Made in Hell

pentabeer

It’s a little known fact that parallel to the Trappist brewing tradition there developed a entirely more evil method of beer making. While the pious monks were busy in their cloisters fermenting by God’s plan, in remote forest clearings and in dank caverns there labored another group of brewers who were motivated by Satan’s cruel hand. These witches and warlocks weren’t entirely about blood sacrifice and took beer making very seriously.

The Satanists originally started brewing as a reaction to the gruit taxes that were keeping civilian brewers in check by the authorities of the day. A Satanic coven can’t really enjoy evil ritual without the proper libations and the quantity required was very cost prohibitive. Early Satanic brewers concocted their own gruit from what they had on hand so it was common that they used Belladonna, Nightshade and various goat parts in their beer until they too adopted hops as the primary flavouring.

Satanic beer is most commonly dark, an inky black which doesn’t show up when spilled on ceremonial robes (this happened a lot throughout a typical coven gathering). There are records about certain clans preferring the Bock style but this is only typical of groups that did a lot of goat sacrifice (ein bock is quite literally a billy goat). Another characteristic of the Satanic style is a pronounced sulfur flavour. It is thought that this taste is imparted into the beer via souring with Zymomonas and Enterobacteriaceae. This theory has been proven to an extent by analysis of a dagger used in Satanic brewing that contained traces of these microbes. It’s unknown at what part of the brewing process the brew-dagger is employed. Modern day brewers that are influenced by the Satanic methodology are unforthcoming and when pressed on the issue, they have their eyes roll back into their skulls and their voices drop an octave.

Despite the mystery and apparent danger of demonic possession, we can see the Satanic influence on today’s beer scene. Dock Street brewery in Philadelphia resurrected an old Satanic technique with their goat brain Walking Dead brew. Surly, Three Floyds and Real Ale were not only influenced by a Satanic recipe recovered from a grimoire bound with human skin but also got together to preform some of the associated rituals while brewing Blakkr. While it’s thought that Imperial Black Ale is a relatively new style, the Satanists have been brewing similar beers for centuries.

Evil_Beer

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For the Love of God

godslov

I like to be very direct when I praise the divine. I tend to skip over God and focus my worship right on the yeast. I know that technically it is just a fungus but I feel that every time I brew my prayers are answered in the form of sweet intoxicating alcohol.

ALL HAIL SACCAROM! LAY YOUR NUTRIENT UPON THE ALTAR AND BEG FOR ATTENUATION!

Remember kids, the definition is insanity is to brew the same beer over and over and expect the same results.

Brewamorphosis

bug

I opened a 50lbs bag of two row pale malt but discovered that every grain in the bag had been consumed by iridescent beetles. “Welp, at least that explains the writhing,” I thought as I fired up the drill and started grinding bugs through the mill. Juicy little buggers; quite a spray. I wondered if these beetles have enough enzymes too convert all the starches as the strike water steamed up with a nutty aroma. Nailed my mash temp; beetle exoskeletons do a decent job setting an insect bed. First runnings were a respectable 1.090. Good work little bugs, good work. Magnum for bittering then citra at five minutes and a bit more after flame out to steep during whirlpool. OG was 1.072.  Pitched brettanomyces at 21degrees. The wort had shimmering opalescence and smelled like tri-fold records from the 70s.

Imbibe!

TABLET

Most books about beer start out by making clear the historical significance of our beverage of choice. It has been argued that the allure of partying and getting wasted was no match for early humans’ hunting and gathering lifestyle. Soon civilizations that were happy snacking on nuts, berries and the occasional mega fauna were enslaved to their fields of special grass knowing that if prepared properly, those grains could get them totally wrecked. It was better than having to try and organize a party around the occasional stumbled upon puddle of rancid fruit anyways.

We all know the ancient Sumerians loved to party and get wasted. They even kept track of their epic sessions on clay tablets, much like how we in modern times duct tape together empty cans of Lucky Lager to form impressive wizard staffs by which to display our drinking achievement. There are also early depictions of gravity fed instruments that could seemingly quickly deliver liquid to the imbiber. This ancient technique was rediscovered by anthropologists and became a favoured method in places of higher learning everywhere showing we still have lots to learn from our brewing forebears.

I didn’t start brewing beer so that I could hydrate armies of slaves to build enormous pointed, alien attracting monuments in my honor. Nor am I really all that interested in how beer has shaped our culture. I’m even too old and responsible(ish) to care about rock and rolling all night and partying every day. I really just want an excuse to futz around with microbes and fire and large shiny metal objects. If there is a tasty beer at the end of (and also during) that, so much the better.