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What should we brew next?

22 Sep

Next Brew Day: 10/3 and 10/15

22 Sep

Next two brew days are scheduled.

Monday, 10/3, 6pm. Rookie Night!
On 10/3 we’re instituting a new feature of the CDBC: Rookie Night!
If you haven’t yet brewed, and are interested in brewing your own beer, or if you’re still getting a handle on the process and don’t want to dive into all-grain brewing, we’re going to get together on the first Monday of every month to help you. We’ll brew an extract batch, which is FAR easier than all-grain. New and beginning brewers will be invited to pick the recipe and brew the beer, with as much help and guidance from the experienced brewers as they want! We’ll bottle three weeks later at the next all grain-day, and you can take it all home with you (less a small donation to the CDBC). It’s your chance to learn to brew!
So we need a volunteer, preferably a beginner. Who’s up for learning to brew?

Saturday, 10/15, 10am. All grain brew, TBA. 
We’ve been making lots of IPAs and CDAs and such. I think it’d be fun to go towards a different style, so let’s make a Brown Porter or some other dark, malty beer. Recipe suggestions?

See you soon!
The Brewmaster

Shot o’ the Dark Recipe

19 Sep
BeerSmith Recipe Printout -
Recipe: Shot o' the Dark
Brewer: Central District Brewer's Collective
Asst Brewer: 
Style: Oatmeal Stout
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0) 

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 6.00 gal      
Boil Size: 8.24 gal
Estimated OG: 1.071 SG
Estimated Color: 37.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 23.0 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 75 Minutes

Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
12 lbs        Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)            Grain        74.07 %       
1 lbs 3.2 oz  Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)     Grain        7.41 %        
14.4 oz       Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)                     Grain        5.56 %        
9.6 oz        Caravienne Malt (22.0 SRM)                Grain        3.70 %        
9.6 oz        Roasted Barley (500.0 SRM)                Grain        3.70 %        
9.6 oz        Special B Malt (180.0 SRM)                Grain        3.70 %        
4.8 oz        Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM)                Grain        1.85 %        
0.53 oz       Magnum [14.00 %]  (90 min)                Hops         20.9 IBU      
0.53 oz       Saaz [4.00 %]  (10 min)                   Hops         2.0 IBU       
0.60 oz       Saaz [4.00 %]  (0 min)                    Hops          -            
1.00 T        Pumkin Pie Spice (Boil 5.0 min)           Misc                       
1.20 items    Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min)          Misc                       
1.20 tsp      Yeast Nutrient (Primary 3.0 days)         Misc                       
29.00 oz      Canned Pumpkin (Boil 60.0 min)            Misc                       
29.00 oz      Canned Pumpkin (Mash 60.0 min)            Misc   

Actual Pre Boil Gravity: 1.046
Actual OG: 1.062
Efficiency: 65%
Final Batch size: 5 gallons

Brew Day Report: Shot o’ the Dark Pumpkin Stout

19 Sep

Hi all,

Great brew day on Saturday! We successfully made around 5 gallons of our Shot o’ the Dark Pumpkin Stout, which is fermenting away in the brewery as I write this.

We used the recipe pasted below, but scaled to aim for 6 gallons at the end of the boil (which usually gives us at least 5 gallons that make it into the carboy).

We started the day by setting up the new brew tent, to shelter us from the rain.

We added a can of pumpkin to our strike water (shown with head brewer/brewer's head) and another can to the boil.

We added roasted pumpkin seeds to the mash, too.

This was a pretty cool beer to design and brew. We started with a basic oatmeal stout recipe, in terms of proportions of grains and hop scheduled, and then adjusted the ingredients based on what Elysian posted on their website about their Dark o’ the Moon Pumpkin Stout. The hitch: 1) I’ve never had one of those beers and 2) I have no idea what proportions to use for that beer. So it was cool trying to guesstimate what we should use in the brew.

We ended up with the recipe below, and added pumpkin spice and vanilla at the end of the boil to try to give it a little (but not too much) pumpkin pie flavor.

Kylene also roasted the pumpkin seeds for us and carved our first CDBC pumpkin, which was pretty awesome to have it watching over the brew.

We finally pitched the beer over a yeast cake and trub from the Count’s Red Ale, and it was already fermenting within a couple of hours.

A few puzzles for us, though. Our our pre-boil gravity was around 1.046 (target was 1.059), so we got substantially less conversion than we’d expected. We mashed at around 156 or so, although some time was spent at >160ish waiting for the tun to cool down (our strike water was around 183, which was probably too hot). We ended up with around 8.50 gallons pre-boil, and had measurements of 7.75 gallons (and 1.055) at 30 minutes, 7.5 gallons (and 1.058 ish) at 45 minutes, so we increased our boil time to 75 minutes hoping to get the gravity up. But the hydrometer reading at the end was only 1.062 in the carboy, although the reading from the pot was more like 1.066. So we undershot our gravity, which was unexpected. It could be that the trub from the Count’s ale actually lowered our gravity reading, but it’s not entirely clear. At any rate, it was a good brew day! The checklist was super helpful; we had very few incidents due to the checklist.

The CDBC Pumpkin oversaw the boil, and an indoor/outdoor cornhole tournament.

Jack looks upon the mash with approval.We got a nice rolling boil going.

The CDBC Pumpkin oversees the mash

The great pumpkin got the fermentation going in no time!

Updates from the Brewmaster

14 Sep

Every once in a while (especially when I’m trying to put off other work), I’ll try to update you all on what I’ve been doing with the brewery when you’re not around.

Adventures in Dry Hopping with Simcoe: Tragically Hopped Amber Ale

We’re lucky enough to live in a part of the country that is really close to where the majority of hops are produced. That means that when the hops are harvested, we often get first dibs on the hops, and can make “fresh hop” beers more easily than almost anywhere else.

So I ordered a pound of fresh Simcoe hops (because they are a CDBC favorite). You’re supposed to use them within a few days of when you get them. Unfortunately for me, Mountain Homebrew emailed me to say that my hops would be arriving on Friday, 9/5, the exact day I was leaving for a trip to Winthrop. Luckily for us, you can dry-hop with fresh hops, and we’d just brewed round #2 of the Tragically Hopped Amber Ale the week before. So, BLAMMO, those hops got pwned right into the Amber:
One half pound of fresh Simcoe awesomeness. Apparently the water content of fresh hops makes them equivalent to about 20% the same weight of dried whole or pellet hops, so this was like adding around 2 ounces of dried Simcoe.

Kegging Update

I spent some time cleaning the whole kegerator system and the kegs themselves.

I also kegged the amber ales (coming in at 7% ABV)  last night so we can bottle them off of the BeerGun, and added a half gallon of “hop tea” to one keg. I did this by making a light wort with 6 ounces of DME and a half gallon of water, boiling it, and then adding 1 ounce each of Amarillo, Warrior and Centennial to the “tea” in a hop bag after I turned the flame off. I let it steep for about 10 minutes, then cooled the wort and added it to the bottom of the keg before filling the keg up. This may add some nice hop aroma to the beer, or it may completely kill the beer. We’ll see!

Right now we have 4 kegs of beer in the kegerator, almost all of which are scheduled for bottling: the Brown Ale and IPA from the Pork n Pie (ready to bottle this Saturday), and the 2 kegs of Amber Ale.

The Count’s Red Ale

Finally, we’ve been commissioned by The Count vonAbbittstein himself to brew a beer for his annual Halloween Spooktacular (or something). Scott and I met last Wednesday to conduct this mission, trying out a new Red Ale Recipe (adapted from

The brew went well, with no major hiccups. We achieved an efficiency in the low 70s, and hit most of our targets spot on. It’s fermented quite nicely already, and is in the final week or so of conditioning before it’ll be ready to be kegged.

Recipe: The Count’s Red Ale (Mojave Red)

Brewer: Central District Brewer's Collective
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Amber Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0) 

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 6.00 gal
Boil Size: 8.24 gal
Estimated OG: 1.057 SG
Estimated Color: 18.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 39.7 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU
11 lbs 5.0 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)            Grain        83.54 %
11.0 oz       Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)     Grain        5.06 %
11.0 oz       Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)     Grain        5.06 %
5.5 oz        Munich Malt (9.0 SRM)                     Grain        2.53 %
5.5 oz        Special B Malt (180.0 SRM)                Grain        2.53 %
2.7 oz        Carafa II (412.0 SRM)                     Grain        1.27 %
0.53 oz       Warrior [18.20 %]  (60 min)               Hops         28.6 IBU
0.53 oz       Columbus (Tomahawk) [13.00 %]  (10 min)   Hops         6.7 IBU
0.53 oz       Amarillo Gold [8.50 %]  (10 min)          Hops         4.4 IBU
0.60 oz       Citra [12.00 %]  (0 min)                  Hops          -
0.60 oz       Columbus (Tomahawk) [13.00 %]  (0 min)    Hops          -
0.60 oz       Amarillo Gold [8.50 %]  (0 min)           Hops          -
2.68 gm       Salt (Mash 60.0 min)                      Misc
8.05 gm       Epsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash 60.0 min)        Misc
13.41 gm      Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min)  Misc
10.73 gal     Randy Mosher Adjustment to Seattle Water  Water
1 Pkgs        American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056)          Yeast-Ale                  

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 13.54 lb
Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time     Name               Description                         Step Temp
60 min        Mash In            Add 16.93 qt of water at 165.9 F    154.0 F

Tragically Hopped Amber Ale: Brew Day Report

30 Aug

Well, folks, it’s a little late in coming, but here’s the brew day report for Saturday, 8/27/2011.

We brewed the “Tragically Hopped Amber Ale”, and as you’ll see, apparently there is tragedy aplenty when this beer is brewed. This recipe is courtesy of user prosper, and it was by far the hit of the Pork n’ Pietacular. (recipe here:

Brew day started around 5pm and ended around 10pm (although the drinking lasted much later with a dramatic battle between Scott, Becker, Zach and Kylene about whether (Scott, Zach and Becker) or not (Kylene) they were going to go to Ozzies…I believe the good Kylene won the battle there, if not the war).

We have a new burner, a CampChef 60,000 BTU burner, which is great because it allows us to heat the strike/sparge water on the turkey fryer and get the boil going on the CampChef, using the pump to transfer wort and water from the hot liquor tank (the keggle) to the mashtun and from the tun to the boil kettle. Trust me, it’s awesome.

The brew went pretty well. We mashed for an hour at 155, and boiled for 90 minutes. We started with 13 gallons pre-boil, and were aiming for 10 gallons post-boil at 1.062, and we got around 9 gallons at 1.066. I’m pretty happy with those numbers. We’re keeping our efficiency (i.e. the amount of sugars we extract from the grains) around 70%, which is pretty good.

There was only one major screwup…we forgot to add the flameout hops. Just plain forgot (everyone was drinking except me, and I was doing too much). I did add them briefly to the cooled wort, but then realized that hop oils can coat the outside of yeast cells and screw with fermentation, so I actually fished the hop bags out and just dumped them.

The good news is that many amber ales don’t even have a late hop addition, so worst case scenario is that we just have a nice amber ale. My current plan is to both dry hop this beer as scheduled, and to try to boost hop aroma by making a weak “hop tea”. Essentially I’m going to make a quart or so of a weak wort with dry malt extract (like 1.040 or so), bring it to around 180, add the hops we didn’t add before, cool it, and add it to the fermenter right before we bottle/keg. I think I’ll do that with one batch and not the other; it’ll be interesting to see if it makes a difference.

We also discovered that Indy is not only an awesome brew-dog, but he’s alsoan ace cornhole player. Here he is the day after with his new trophies:

He owned those bags. OWNED them.

Next brew day: September 18th. We’ll be brewing an American Pale Ale (a version of our CDBC pale) for the Count’s Halloween party. Given our system, we COULD try a double brew day, to try a pumpkin beer if someone is up for leading that.

I might also try to brew before the Sounders game next Saturday (9/10) if anyone is game.


Pliny Clone: Taste Report

3 Aug

My little brother is visiting from Maryland with his family, and he has homebrewed in the past. I was showing off the CDBC beers, and I thought I’d break out a little something special. So I broke out the Pliny.

This beer…this beer is still amazing. I think this is a Pliny from our first all-grain attempt at Pliny, since we kegged the second batch from Jen Galland. Whatever it is, it’s still 6 kinds of awesome. This beer is old. And, surprisingly, it still pretty much rocks. It’s got a great nose right out of the bottle, but it does fade more quickly. A lot of that Simcoe goodness in the aroma and initial taste. Almost a little booziness now too, now that the hops seem to have faded a little. It also has a really nice lingering bitterness. Man, I can’t wait to buy 2 pounds  of Simcoe for brewing next year, when they come in season!

Simcoe beauty!

The dregs of the Pliny

Brew Day Report: Janet’s Brown Ale 10 gallon brew

17 Jul

In preparation for the Pork n’ Pietacular, we’ve been brewing up a storm at the CDBC. What is the name for a large collection of beer, anyway? Not a storm…maybe a murder? Like a murder of crows? Anyway, we’ve been brewing a boatload of beer.

I thought I’d take this time to walk you all through the brew day. I brewed a brown ale, from the Brewing Classic Styles book. This is a Mike McDole recipe that has won a gold medal in homebrew competitions.

The brew day actually started yesterday, when I made the starter for the beer today. Using two yeast packs and a 1750 ml starter (which is basically dry malt extract and water, brewed to 1.040 strength), I let the starter sit on the stir plate for about a day, and then pitched it immediately. Sometimes I do a starter 2 days before and cool it first (so I can pour off the weak beer and keep just the yeast cake), but I didn’t have time.

  1. 9:45 am. Started the strike water heating. Often we boil water first to preheat the mashtun; this time I decided to try heating the water hotter than I normally would and letting it sit in the tun before I add the grain.
  2. Meanwhile, I weighed out and milled 24 lbs of grain (see pic in the gallery). Had to drain it into a fermenter to have enough room.
  3. 10:45 am: Start of mash. Mash at 151 degrees. Brought HLT (hot liquor tank; the keggle) up to 185 to preheat the mashtun. Mashtun got the water down to 175, let it sit until it was at 168. The addition of grain dropped temp to 151.
  4. During the mash, I wanted to get the sparge water up to temp ASAP (there was 12 gallons or so of water for the sparge!. There is a lot of extra water at the bottom of the HLT, below where the outflow pipe is.  Max size of HLT, after filling it up to the pipe, is 14 gallons. 14 gallons exactly!
  5. 11:45, begin vorlauf and draining mashtun. HLT at 180, mash at 149. Good heat retention over 1 hour. Added FWH (first wort hops) at 11:30 because I forgot about them.
  6. Sparge temp for first sparge (filled up mashtun about 85% of the way) around 175 degrees.
  7. 12:38 begin to heat for boil, completed batch sparges. Notice it’s 3 hours just to get the beer mashed and to begin heating! This is for a 10 gallon batch, of course, but even with a smaller batch it can take a while.
  8. Final pre-boil volume: 13 gallons. Pre boil gravity: 12.5 brix, or 1.049.
  9. If we boil off 2.5 gallons per hour, we’ll have 10.5 gallons at the end of the boil and end at 1.063 or 15.5-16 brix. I was estimating a boiloff rate based on prior boils, but I didn’t really know.
  10. At a boil at 1:09. So it took 30 minutes to come to a boil. First hop addition, 2 oz Northern Brewer pellet hops. I’m using hop bags, because I found that NOT using them really clogs up the works.
  11. 1:55: Hop addition with Whirlfloc, Yeast nutrient, a little Irish moss (because of only 1 tablet). 1:55. Looking good. Boil at 11.5 gallons. Perhaps we have less boil off than we think?
  12. Finished boil on time, 2:10. Final volume at the end of the boil: 11 gallons. So we have a somewhat lower boiloff rate than I’d thought.
  13. Final OG: 14.5 brix (1.058), 1.056 by hydrometer. Not sure where those points went, but I’m guessing that if we’d boiled off another 1/2 gallon or so we’d have hit the gravity, as we hit the PBG.
  14. I then started draining the boil kettle, through the march pump, into the hopback, and into the plate chiller. In spite of the speed of the chiller (whole batch, 9 gallons in total, down to 75 degrees in 10 minutes or so), it still uses a LOT of water.
  15. Into fermenter: 5 gallons in A and 4 gallons in B. More loss to hopback than expected (gets clogged after 8 gallons or so, it seems. About a gallon of wort left in boiler too. That will need to be accounted for.
  16. Aerated and pitched at 3:40pm. Paddle aerated for a few minutes each and then pitched half the starter into each fermentor. Left in basement at 61 degrees. Brought them upstairs for the night, it’s around 68 up here.
Over the next few days, I’ll need to keep an eye on the beer to make sure that it ferments well. I’ll check the gravity around the end of the week, to see how close it’s getting to the target gravity.
Hope you enjoyed (or didn’t fall asleep during) this little walk through a brew day.
BeerSmith Recipe Printout -
Recipe: Janet's Brown Ale
Brewer: Central District Brewer's Collective
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Brown Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0) 

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 10.00 gal
Boil Size: 13.17 gal
Estimated OG: 1.065 SG
Estimated Color: 20.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 50.6 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU
18 lbs 7.4 oz Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM)            Grain        76.63 %
1 lbs 14.8 oz Cara-Pils/Dextrine (2.0 SRM)              Grain        7.98 %
1 lbs 8.6 oz  Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM)                 Grain        6.39 %
1 lbs         Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)     Grain        4.15 %
12.3 oz       Chocolate Malt (420.0 SRM)                Grain        3.19 %
6.4 oz        Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)     Grain        1.66 %
3.08 oz       Centennial [10.00 %]  (Dry Hop 3 days)    Hops          -
2.00 oz       Northern Brewer [8.50 %]  (60 min)        Hops         29.2 IBU
1.55 oz       Northern Brewer [8.50 %]  (60 min) (Mash HHops         4.5 IBU
1.60 oz       Northern Brewer [8.50 %]  (15 min)        Hops         11.6 IBU
1.55 oz       Cascade [5.50 %]  (10 min)                Hops         5.3 IBU
2.31 oz       Cascade [5.50 %]  (0 min)                 Hops          -            

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 24.09 lb
Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time     Name               Description                         Step Temp
60 min        Mash In            Add 30.12 qt of water at 164.3 F    151.0 F
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