Light Lager

The Vienna Lager was so well received another variation on the theme was in order. The day of the brew was muggy and warm, but most of the brewing time it was left to do its own thing, allowing us to hide in the air-conditioning.

It was a whole grain brew, using a mesh bag once again instead of the more complicated mash tun setup.

 Grain bill

  • Vienna Lager, 6 lbs
  • Munich, 2 lbs
  • Honey, 1 lbs
  • Pilsen, 3 lbs
  • Crystal, 40L, 2 lbs
  • Dingemans Cara 45, 1 lbs

Hops and Yeast

Hops were a combination of Mt. Hood and Cluster for the entire boil, and UK Fuggles for the last 15 minutes. Bavarian Lager yeast was used, along with fermcap after the cooling.


Initial Brix: 10, or 1.04 OG. This suggests the final result might be around 5.2% ABV.

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Posted by on July 8, 2013 in Brewing


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Dark Mild

Today’s project was another variation on the dark wheat beer, which I’ve made twice before. Today I used a slightly varied grain bill, different yeast and hops.

  • 2 lbs. Vienna Malt
  • 3 lbs. 2 Row
  • 1 lbs. American Cystal Malt 20L
  • 2 lbs. American Cystal Malt 40L
  • 1 lbs. American Cystal Malt 60L
  • .5 lbs. CaraAmber Bsicuit Malt
  • .5 lbs. Pale Chocolate Malt
  • .5 lbs CaraPils

Total: 10.5 lbs.

Yeast was the Safale S04 this time, and the hops were Fuggles. My initial attempt was for another ale yeast from the fermentation trap, which was a month past it’s best before date and having been stored at room temperature. After 8 hours in a starter of honey and warm water it showed no signs of life. By contrast the Safale I’ve had in my fridge for quite some time was 2 months past it’s best before date, and was growing well after less than an hour.

Previously I’d added DME to lift the gravity. This time I added about 3.5 lbs. of grain to the earlier recipe to attempt to make up the difference, and ended up with exactly the same OG: 1.052 when I checked it just before the flame-out. Oddly, when I checked it a second time with the same refractometer, it yielded a very different result, of 8.9 Brix, which would be 1.035 SG. If that reading is correct, my only guess would have been that the chiller was leaking into the beer. Since that water would not be sterile, I certainly hope that isn’t the case. Each time I checked, it appeared to be doing fine.

About this point I was thinking brewing in warmer weather would be a better idea.

About this point I was thinking brewing in warmer weather would be a better idea.


Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Brewing


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Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager Tribute

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Jason Oliver, please accept my compliment. The past weekend’s project was an attempt to recreate the excellent Devil’s Backbone Vienna Lager.

While it was intended to be a full mash brew, I wasn’t able to get the amber malt without ordering from two places, so I ordered a small container of extract, and used it all (which over emphasizes the amber). The large mesh bag managed to get burnt when the burner was on to keep the temperature up – which released the grains, and required me to strain it. For that, I scooped out the fluid one pitcher at a time, and finally poured the remnants through a strainer. Took a few minutes, but worked well.


  • 3 lbs Belgian pilsner
  • 3 lbs German pilsner
  • 3 lbs German Vienna
  • 2 lbs Franco-Belges Vienna
  • 1 lbs German Dark Munich
  • 3.15 lbs Norther Brewer Amber Malt Syrup (used as they didn’t have amber grains)


  • Full boil: 1 oz German hallertau pellets, 1 oz Cluster hop pellets
  • 10 minutes from end of boil: 1 oz German spalt hop pellets


  • Quest 2308 Munich lager yeast (in a smack pack)


  • Initial brix: 20, or about 1.084 OG
  • Prior to diacetyl rest, brix was 11, or about 1.019 specific gravity per the NB calculator (started rest on Jan 26th)
  • After diacetyl rest and while racking to the keg, 10.7, or 1.043 SG. May not be really done fermenting.
  • Final brix: 10.6, for a final of 8.2% ABV

Initial fermentation at 50 degrees F.

Fermented at close to 40 degrees F. for 8 weeks.

Diacety rest for 7 days.

Finishing fermentation at 40 deg F, as that’s about the best the fridge can do. Started drinking off it at the first of May, meaning it had just about 6 months to ferment.

Result is quite a nice lager. Like the Vienna Lager, it has a lot of body and plenty of flavor, but this one packs a bit more of a wallop in the alcohol department, and might have a few more residual sugars. Megan tastes a hint of apple, though I’m not sure what contributed that.

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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in Brewing


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This is what overcarbonated beer looks like. It is one of the last bottles of the cariboo slobber, which clearly got too much priming sugar as they are all like this. One of them partly emptied upon opening (that can be exciting) but most of them have simply poured out with far too much head.


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Posted by on November 4, 2012 in Brewing


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Dark Wheat Ale

This weekend I made a new batch of the Dark Wheat Ale which was so enjoyed after the first creation. The recipe and process was very similar, with a few mild changes.

  • Hops were the Cascade Hops this time. Added 15 minutes before the end of the boil
  • The brew boiled over, which lost a bit of volume
  • OG was 1.046 (a bit lower, likely due to the loss from the boilover and the addition to make up for that loss)
  • A new huge mesh bag was used, which allowed the grains a lot of mobility while steeping. The result was a much better utilization of the grains based on my inexpert tasting of the result
  • There was a TON of particulate in the carbouy a couple hours after the brew.







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Posted by on August 12, 2012 in Brewing