I see why brewing beer is a monkish activity:  it really tries your patience to have to wait weeks for a beer to be ready to drink. If it is tough waiting for a single month beer, how tough will it be waiting for a beer that isn’t ready for 4 months, or 9 months, or a year or two (or worse)? Patience has never been a strong point of mine, maybe brewing will change that.

Uhg. I racked to secondary today and the carboy is about a quarter gallon shy of being full. Another lesson: brew 5.25 gallons of wort.



Alt text: An ‘American Tradition’ is anything that happened to a baby boomer twice.

Bottles are expensive, labels are a pain to get off, but names are important. I am thinking about calling my little brewery Ash. Simple, and it even has a cool rune I can put on my bottles:

File:Runic letter ansuz.svg

And, if I get really fancy I can throw Yggdrasil on the bottle.

It looks pretty straightforward to use chemical glass etching. I can start with the basic Ash rune as the label. I could also make a large block of etching that can hold chalk which is where I’d write the specific beer name and type.

Why can’t I remember to get everything in a single trip?

  • 2 airlocks
  • priming sugar
  • brewing gloves
  • cleaning gloves

With my first brew happily fermenting away, it is getting time to choose what to make next. In the running are making a chocolate stout or porter, a mead or a barleywine. I will probably wind up making the chocolate stout or porter and a mead or barleywine, since both the mead and barleywine have to age for nearly a year. Or maybe I will make all three!


Video games and girlfriends prevented this tragic future.

a glimpse of a possible present

The airlock is now bubbling away quite rapidly. Bubbles are forming every second. The closet also smells like delicious beer with a splash of 44° North.

Recipe Volume

5 gallons

Boil Time

65 minutes


S-05 Dry Ale Yeast

Specialty Grains

Steep for 30 minutes at 170º F in 1.25 gallons of water

  1. 1/2 lb Dextrin Malt
  2. 1/2 lb British Crystal Malt 50-60L
  3. 1/2 lb Carafa II Malt


  1. 1 lb Light Dry Malt Extact
  2. 7 lb Steinbart Light Liquid Malt Extract

Hops & Additives

  1. 2 oz Amarillo @ 60 minutes (beginning of boil)
  2. 1 oz Cascade @ 30 minutes
  3. 1 oz Cascade & Whirlfloc tablet @ 15 minutes
  4. 1 oz Willamette @ 1 minute
  5. 1 oz Willamette for dry hop during secondary fermentation


Bring 2.5 gallons of water to boil in a small pot and then turn off heat and cover with lid. Bring 1.25 gallons of water to 170º F in brew kettle and add specialty grains and steep for 30 minutes. Remove specialty grains and bring volume up to 5 gallons. Bring to 170º F, turn off heat, and add malt extracts, stirring until they dissolve completely. Bring to boil. Add hops and additives according to schedule. With 10 minutes of boil time remaining add the wort chiller to the kettle. Begin proofing the yeast. At 65 minutes, turn off heat and begin cooling the wort. Stir gently to help wort chiller but do not hard enough to introduce oxygen to wort. When wort reaches 70ºF, remove wort chiller. Aerate wort by poring into fermenter using hose and kettle valve. Top off fermenter to 5 gallons with pre-boiled water. Pitch yeast. Add fermenter lid and attach airlock.


Bubbles should begin forming in primary within 48 hours, but may be as soon as 12 hours. Ferment in primary until bubbling slows, then add hops (using a marble to help it sink) to secondary and then rack. Ferment in secondary for 1-3 weeks. Rack to bottling bucket and prime with 1/4 cup boiled corn sugar. Condition in bottles for 1-2 weeks.

What Went Wrong

So much. Forgot to pre-boil fill and yeast water. Felt like I could have sanitized more. Didn’t have a thermometer to measure yeast temperature. Didn’t take an Original Gravity reading. Didn’t have enough muslin bags. Should have had spare yeast on hand. Need to have more towels on hand, and gloves so I don’t burn myself with sanitizer.


Waiting to find out.

WordPress has come quite a ways since 2008. I just connected it to Facebook and Twitter via its Publicize feature. Simplified sharing. Cool.


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