Brewday 20: Hefeweizen

Brewed 16/07/2014

Due to the loss of my last attempt at a Hefeweizen to infection (see Brewday 18) this beer was quickly back on the brewing schedule. Summer is a perfect time to drink a refreshing wheat beer and seeing as the weather seemed to be picking up it was only right to have another go! New software (Beersmith 2) and a new brewery setup would require a bit more concentration than previously so there are no orange or corriander additions this time!

The recipe for the Hefeweizen today:

  • 2.1kg Maris Otter Malt
  • 2.5kg Wheat Malt
  • 200g CaraRed Malt
  • 15g Galena hops @ 30 minutes
  • 15g Galena hops @ 0 minutes
  • 1 White Labs Hefeweizen IV Ale yeast

According to the Beersmith ‘style guide’ this recipe is very slightly over hopped at 16.7 IBU compared to a maximum for style of 15 IBU, but as Galena imparts a nice apple flavour I wasn’t too worried if this was slightly more prominent than it was supposed to be.


Obligatory Grain Shot!


New mash tun in use


Boil and cooling complete, and transferring to the fermenter.


OG 1.048 (temp adjusted)

Overall the brewday went to plan and in the end I was only just off on the target OG of 1.050 with 1.048. However I did only end up with 21.5l in the fermenter instead of 23l meaning an overall efficiency of just 67.5%. I put this down in part to having a very vigorous boil today which would have translated to a higher evaporation rate than normal, and also that I may not have complete accuracy in the liquid losses etc for my new setup input into Beersmith yet. More tinkering on this would be required before the next brew but in the meantime though I would be supping on a lovely 4.7% ABV Hefeweizen in the sun! Cheers!



Brewery Upgrades!

So it’s been roughly 2 years since I took the step from kit beers to my all grain setup. That is a total of 19 brewdays and 95 gallons of beer produced, which resulted in me filling nearly 800 bottles! Over the course I’d noticed a few glitches in my setup: the hop filter in the boiler was too long so the cooler didn’t fully fit in, when making a beer over 5% Abv the mashtun was often full to the brim and spillages happened quite regularly  and the gravity fed setup took up too much room in the garage and didn’t have the space to store all the other equipment! The time had come for an upgrade!

Firstly, a word of warning! It’s very easy when looking at brewing equipment to be blinded by shininess and bigger volumes and to then price up a 250l stainless computer controlled wonder brewery! In reality though I know I don’t need to produce more than 5 gallons. In fact a bigger capacity for me would mean less brewing and therefore less chance to experiment with new styles.  Ultimately this would mean less fun for me! (And let’s face it this blog would be terrible if I only brewed 5 times a year and it was 25 gallons of Irish Red Ale every time!)

This being the case I’d limit my own upgrades to a new mashtun and other additions to make the brewday easier or slightly enhanced in some way!
First upgrade was a new brewing bench. My fledgling wood working skills lucked out again and now there is a dedicated corner for brewing and the storage of brewing stuff! The walls and doors are painted with a moisture resistant paint that claims to be self-cleaning… well it’s worth a try isn’t it?! The eagle eyed will notice this is all on one level now so gravity isn’t going to help me anymore!


Brewing corner!

Second up was the mashtun; this would change from a 30l blue plastic cool box affair to a 38.5l stainless steel thermopot. It would have just enough extra volume to allow me to fit those higher ABV beers, and it would also have a false bottom for ease when sparging and cleaning afterwards. The thermopots insulation will help ensure that my mash temperatures remain steady over the full 90 minute mash.


Oooh! Shiny!


Upgrade number three: pumps and hoses! The pump (just hidden behind the curve in the hose) is a 24v solar pump controlled with a dimmer switch unit. Not the most powerful option available to homebrewers but plenty strong enough to move the wort from the mash tun to the boiler on the right. The new hoses are reinforced silicon and are with stainless steel Camlok quick fittings.


All finished, pumps and hoses installed

Finally, as a little extra toy I also made a hopback but I will cover that in more detail in a separate post!

Brewday 19: Black IPA

Brewed 21/06/2014

Again, due to my change in phones, no real details exist of the recipe for this brew!

Black IPA’s are quite a contentious new style of beer. An IPA is of course an Indian Pale Ale so by making it black doesn’t really fit with the name anymore! The IPA is still relevant as they are very hoppy beers but perhaps IBA is a better description? Either way, the idea is to get the hoppiness of an IPA and to balance that with some roasted malt flavours too.


The recipe was something like:

  • 3.5kg Maris Otter Malt
  • 2kg Munich Malt
  • 500g Carafa Special III Malt
  • 100g Chocolate Malt
  • 25g Chinook @ 90 minutes
  • 25g Simcoe @ 30 minutes
  • 25g Amarillo @ 30 minutes
  • 25g Simcoe @ 15 minutes
  • 25g Amarillo @ 15 minutes
  • 25g Citra @ 15 minutes)
  • 25g Chinook @ 0 minutes (Hopback)
  • 25g Simcoe @ 7 day dry hop
  • 25g Amarillo @ 7 day dry hop
  • 25g Simcoe @ 3 day cold dry hop
  • 25g Amarillo @ 3 day cold dry hop
  • 1g Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
  • 1 Safale US-05 yeast

I was aiming for something in the region of 6.5-7% ABV so those malt weights may not be totally accurate!

The brewday itself went mostly to plan. I was brewing on the new bench for the first time and using my new pumps for the first time too. Just to make it a little more interesting I also decided to use my new Hopback for the first time as well! There’ll be another blog about the new setup so I won’t go into detail here! Probably as a result of this new equipment I remember my efficiency was a pretty terrible 65% and although the target OG was hit I only ended up with 21l instead of 23l.

Fermentation is now complete, dry hopping done, and the beer is now sat conditioning in a Corny Keg in my beer fridge (being used for the first time!). Only one more week to go and I will post an update with the finished product. I almost hope it isn’t too good, I’m not sure I would be able to recreate it (even if I did still have the actual recipe!)


The new brewing bench!

Brewday 18: Hefeweizen

Brewed 13/04/2014

Due to my change in phones, no real details exist of the recipe for this brew other than it was a variation to the Hefeweizen I made on brewday 5!

The recipe then was:

  • 2.5kg Pilsner Malt
  • 3kg Wheat Malt
  • 25g Hallertauer Mittelfrueh hops @ 90 minutes
  • 1 Wyeast Labs 3068 Weizen yeast

But this time I used Galena Hops, and also added the peel of an Orange, and Coriander Seeds to the boil. The plan was to add a Strawberry syrup to half of the finished beer prior to bottling too.


Grain Shot!


Extra Additions


Cooling in progress


All finished.

The brewday itself went to plan however unfortunately Lactobacillus struck again in the fermenter and the whole batch was destined for the drain! This was the same fermenter as the infected Octoberfest Ale in brewday 13 and on closer examination in seems the inner surface has become pitted and scratched and provided a perfect hiding place for bacteria to lurk. I may have been being overly cautious but this fermenter was officially retired to the tip!


Brewday 17: Irish Red Ale III

Brewed on 23/02/2014

My personal challenge for this year was to ‘perfect’ my Irish Red Ale recipe. I’m happy with the taste, but the deep scarlet colour I was after has been evading me so far. The first attempt all the way back on Brewday 4 was ok for a first attempt. Brewday 10 was a bit ‘Golden’ for a Red Ale. So was Brewday 17 going to be a case of 3rd time lucky? With the Red colour defined by a matter of just grams of Roasted Barley it’s not an easy thing to predict!

This version of the recipe was:

Irish Red Ale:

  • 3.2kg Maris Otter Malt
  • 1.4kg Munich Malt
  • 227g CaraRed Malt
  • 170g Dark Crystal Malt
  • 113g Roasted Barley
  • 25g Bramling Cross @ 60mins
  • 15g Bramling Cross @ 15mins
  • 15g East Kent Goldings @ 15mins
  • 1 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
  • 1 White Labs 0004 Irish Ale Yeast

Due to a phone ‘upgrade’ I no longer have the details of brews 17, 18 and 19 so will have to rely on my memory. Brace yourselves, we’re going in!

The presiding memory from this brewday was that I missed the perfect Red colour again! Annoyingly this time it was down to brewers error as I hadn’t adjusted the brewing app (iBrewmaster) to show the correct EBC for the Crystal Malt and as a result the finished beer was darker than intended and a deep brown colour with a red-ish tint when held up to a light. Close, but not quite right! Everything else was on target, and again it is a very tasty recipe! Take four for the colour? We shall have to see!

Brewday 16: Kolsch

Brewed on 02/02/2014

This first Brew of 2014 and it took me until February to do it? Shocking… Anyway after a winter of drinking Stouts, Porters and other dark beers I was really craving for something light, golden and tasty! Kolsch is a German style, fermented like a bitter in the warm but then conditioned like a Lager in the cold. The result should be a light golden colour, decent hop flavour and limited bitterness. Perfect for the sunny Spring we’re going to have, right?!


  • 2kg Wheat Malt
  • 0.35kg Munich Malt
  • 0.2kg Vienna Malt
  • 1kg Cara-Pils
  • 2kg Pilsner Malt
  • 30g Styrian Goldings @ 90mins
  • 15g Hallertauer Hersbrucker @ 30 mins
  • 15g Saaz @ 5 mins
  • 15g Hallertauer Hersbrucker @ 1 min
  • 15g Saaz @ 1 min
  • 1 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes
  • 1 pkt Safale S-04 yeast


Everything went nice and simple on this brewday, an 80 minute mash at 68C followed by 10 minutes at 76C to mashout followed by two batch sparges and I was left with approximately 32.5l in the boiler ready for the hops. The 90 minute boil also went without issue and finished with an OG of 1.051 (bang on target) and, once the S-04 yeast does its thing, a target ABV of 5.1%. Perfect for a lazy evening in the sun!

No photos from this brewday unfortunately, I was too busy making sure everything went to plan!