We have never talked about Beer


Spent a couple of weeks in Florida. Brought back some of one of my favorite IPAs - Jai Alai by Cigar City (not available where I live).


Checking in on the imperial IPA. @ChristienMurawski and I are waiting, mugs in hand.



We tossed in the dry hops* yesterday, and are planning to bottle on Saturday before our approximately-monthly D&D night.

* Galena and Nugget, because we were feeling adventurous and didn’t want to stick with the usual aroma hops. I’ve heard people say Galena has woody and citrus aromas, and Nugget has herbal and floral ones; those seem like they’ll blend in an interesting manner.


Sounds interesting. I’ve never hopped with either of those, but I’m pretty accepting of any hoppy beer, and a fresh dry hopped beer is so damned good.

Looking forward to hearing your tasting notes.


I’ll make sure to write down my brew partner’s, too. He’s much more the hops guy.

I’m all about the malts. Happily, we’re starting to get back toward malty-beer season.


Time for a marzen or pumpkin if you do that sort. Or maybe a brown ale or early imperial stout if you like those more.

I have a decent imperial pumpkin ale recipe if you want it, it’s not for the faint of heart though. It’s spiced well and boozy enough to sneak up on you, fast.


Does not compute, it is always malty-beer season.


By all means! Even if we don’t get to it this time around, I’m becoming a recipe collector.

I think we may end up doing a brown ale to kick off the fall, alongside a cider for our wives. (If we’re feeling really ambitious, we might see about adding an apple-picking trip and visiting a local cider press.) We want to brew our Flue Season winter warmer fairly early in the fall, so it has time to age before Christmas.

I like the cut of your jib.


And, because I forgot to answer this…

We don’t have a fermentation chamber for lagering yet. I am, however, working on getting part of my basement set up for brewing. The guy who previously owned our house was a caterer, and we have a hookup for a gas stove in the basement. Once we get that set up, and a used chest freezer purchased, we’re in business.


No worries, pumpkin recipe here. Run it through any sizing converters you want, as I have a fairly large brew kettle and this makes about 6 gallons.

The malt bill gives it a great malty flavor, the spices just layer on top of that to give it something similar to a Weyerbacher Pumpkin kind of taste, but fresher. For canned pumpkin I use Libby’s.

Two HUGE tips, because I have learned that lesson and man, don’t copy my mistakes. Pumpkin clogs a sparge like you would not believe. I’m not joking, it’s like concrete down in there. Add a boatload of rice hulls to your mash tun. Keep that in mind because if you use a small vessel for that, reduce the entire size of this brew JUST to get in more rice hulls. And sparge/lauter as slowly as you can. Keeping it slow means things don’t get as junked up flowing out, or at least not as quickly. Pumpkin brew day takes an extra hour for sure.

Second tip, I add vanilla bean into secondary. You don’t have to secondary if you don’t want, you can just add it to primary after fermentation drops. To keep it easy you could add a cap full of your favorite vanilla bean flavoring. Or if you go the bean route like me, split the beans, fold them in half and put them in the tiniest amount of bourbon you can to cover them. When it comes time to add that to primary/secondary, dump the beans and bourbon straight in. They eventually sink, so you can siphon everything off prior to bottling/kegging.

Almost forgot, forget the actual measured amounts at the bottom. Those appear that way because I never updated BeerSmith on the day I actually printed that to PDF.

If you want to drop the boozieness, cut all the malts by a small percentage, not just the Pale Malt. It comes out as a slightly sweeter pumpkin due to the booziness and low IBU. You can adjust that it you want, but it makes for a very nice sipping pumpkin ale as-is.


A recipe for a recipe, then: our rye witbier.

Not much to watch out for in that one. You can either use dried orange peel like we did, or the zest of 2-4 large oranges to get the same weight. The mash design is for BIAB, where we have the luxury of just turning on the burners to go from protein rest to saccharification rest.

We aimed for 3-3.5 volumes of carbonation, and for the handful of bottles that were correctly carbonated, rather than overdone or underdone, it had a nice head and an almost champagne-like mouthfeel, which nicely complemented the citrus and the peppery bite from the rye and cardamom.


You had me at cardamom, coriander and orange peel. That would be so yummy with a lightly peppery witbeer. Thanks man!

My best learning experience with carbonation was with a tripel I brewed. Some beers like that change greatly based on the carbonation, so I can understand when you got that bottle that hit the sweet spot, it was probably like heaven.


My love of IPA’s has ruined my ability to appreciate a malty beer.


I actually managed to drink a few IPAs over the last few weeks much to my chagrin. If i opt for the least hoppy and fruity then they are generally drinkable.


As has mine. Hoppy cheers to you, sir.


I guess because of new styles and combinations of hops I have actually had a few IPA’s recently that I didn’t care for. IPA’s have gone from your basic IPA to the test tube recently, and that isn’t always a good thing. But I am sure some like that variety.


I was a lot more ambivalent about hops before I started brewing. It’s more to experiment with; that’s half the fun.

My beer measurement project forges onward. Having ditched the tilting idea for intellectual property reasons, I’m thinking I’ll be ditching the torpedo-in-the-wort idea for engineering reasons. The next idea on the list is a scale for the entire fermentation vessel. The change in mass for an average-gravity beer over the course of a fermentation is nearly a kilogram, and on a five-gallon batch, one gravity point is 20 grams (about 3/4 oz). That’s within plausible measurement range for a 20kg scale.

There’s much less engineering to be done there, which strikes me as a good thing. It also requires zero modification to existing brewing gear and zero extra sanitized components.


So, here’s a question for my fellow homebrewers—if you were building one of these beer scales for yourself, how important to you would battery power be? I’m working under the assumption, at present, that it’s important enough to build into the controller and onto the box.

If I were to leave that off, the solution would be to get a USB power pack and plug that into the board instead. Leaving it off the board makes the board cheaper and easier to assemble, and increases the accuracy of the scale (because then I have a guaranteed 5V input from the USB power, so I can drive the load cell at higher voltage).

The downside is that a lot of USB power packs don’t seem to actually support passthrough charging, so unless you buy one of those, you’re limited to either wall power or a (large) battery. Unlike the current setup, with built-in li-ion battery management and USB/battery switching, you wouldn’t get battery backup for free.


Ill drink to that.


@Skipper, @ChristienMurawski, the Imperial IPA is bottled! WLP-001 was much more efficient than we anticipated, fermenting our 1.076 starting gravity wort down to 1.006. That’s 9.3% ABV instead of the 7.5% we were planning on.

That said, it’s really good even now. The Galena dry hops lend a powerful pineapple aroma, with some floral undertones from the Nugget (although they’re barely perceptible). Very little malt flavor, and a clean bitter finish. One of our best efforts yet, we both agree.

In a week or two, I’ll have some pictures.