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No-Boil Berliner Weiss no. 1

Last week I had a day off, so I decided to brew up a no-boil Berliner Weiss.   Not only was this my first try at the style, but it was my first attempt at decoction mashing.  Traditionally Berliner Weiss’ are very low in IBU’s, in the 3-7 range.  So, since this is a no-boil, I pulled 3.94 qts. (about a gallon) from the mash to boil for the decoction, and added the hops in with that.  Despite boiling for around 20 minutes, I undershot my target saccharification temp (154) by about 10 degrees.  Fortunately I had some hot water ready to add to get it up to temp.  I made a starter with WYeast Lactobacillus and a quart of apple cider a few days before brewing.  Lactobacillus loves simple sugars, hence the apple cider.  It also loves warm temps, so it sat next to my heating vent.  I let the wort cool on it’s own to 90 degrees, then pitched the Lacto starter.  The picture above is of some very active Lacto at work.  2 days later I pitched a packet of US-05 to finished out the fermentation.


3lbs. Weyermann Pilsner

3lbs. Wheat malt

SG: 1.032

Target FG: 1.006

1oz. Saaz added during decoction.

Here’s the mash schedule from BeerSmith:

Mash Steps

Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Protein Rest Add 12.00 qt of water at 142.2 F 133.0 F 35 min
Saccharification Decoct 3.83 qt of mash and boil it 154.0 F 45 min
Mash Out Add 0.00 qt of water and heat to 168.0 F over 10 min 168.0 F 10 min

Mash Notes: Used in some authentic German styles. Attempt to draw decoction from the thickest portion of the mash. Profiles vary. Some traditional German mashes use a long acid rest at 40 deg C. Also some sources recommend the decoction amount be given a 15 minute saccharification rest at 158 F (70 C) before boiling it.


I’ll let you know how it turns out!



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Belgian Dark Strong with Date Sugar

Life over the past few weeks has been very busy.  Working overtime and staying active socially has led me to neglect this blog a bit.  But, of course, I’ve still been brewing.  I brewed this up this past Wednesday:

Harbinger (Belgian Dark Strong)


16lbs. Weyermann Pilsner Malt

2lbs.  Date Sugar

8oz.  Belgian Special B

SG:  1.082

Target FG: 1.015


0.7oz.  Chinook (120 min. boil)

Mashed at 148 for 75 min. and fermented with a yeast cake of WYeast 1762 Belgian Abbey II.  I have been fermenting it in front of a heating vent to keep the temp up in the 80s.  Many Abbey-ales are initially fermented at high temperatures, then crash-cooled.  These high temperatures cause the yeast to highly attenuate, leaving the beer dry and more digestible   Check out Stan Heironymous’ Brew Like a Monk for more info.  Here’s a glorious picture of the yeast in action:

Yeast in action

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Crazy Rare

I have not been able to update this blog as much as I would like due to being very busy, but as I prepare for my next post, I’ll leave you with this link from local Homebrew/Bottleshop Siciliano’s Market about the “lunacy” surrounding rare beer releases, in particular, Canadian Breakfast stout:

The phone started ringing a half hour before we opened (we open at 8am) and the calls continued throughout the day. When would we be getting CBS? How much would we be getting? Would it be possible to reserve a bottle? Do we have any left? Any idea where to find more? When one early caller asked if our three cases had arrived yet I asked him how he could possibly know that we were getting three cases.

Read the rest here.

I am not going to lie and say that I don’t care about these releases.  I have had some great times with releases like KBS, Dark Lord, etc.  It can be exhilarating waiting in line with friends and new-found friends, having some rare beers along  the way.   But each year, and with each release, I feel like I care so much less.  It gets to the point that I don’t care about the bottles–I’ll have a taste, but I don’t need to spend that much time and effort on a beer I don’t even know if I’ll like.  And that’s another thing:  it’s hard to live up to the hype surrounding these releases.  I more often than not feel underwhelmed because I hear people describing it in some life-altering way, and I come away with not much more than palate fatigue.

When it comes down to it, most days I’d rather have something drinkable and enjoyable, not necessarily challenging.  I’ve had enough strong beers to know that they’re special, to be reserved for special moments.  But we have so many of these beers on the market.  I guess the question is “How many is enough?”






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