Monthly Archive for April, 2005

Yakistan Imperial update

I moved Yakistan to secondary today and took a gravity reading of 1.030, which is still about 10 points higher than what I want. (ok, .01 points) The beer itself was very turbid with yeast (good) and smelled awful when I pulled the airlock out. Luckily the nasty trub/sulfur odor was left behind and the beer itself has a rather nice aroma. I’m still unsure about dry hopping but I could add some for a fresher hop profile. The taste is also great if a little sweet. Things are looking good.

Portland Brewing becomes Pyramid Brewing

Michelle and I were out taking photos of brew pubs on Saturday and visited Portland Brewing for the first time. Portland Brewing was bought by Pyramid Brewing last August, and I’ve not heard much of what was going to happen here at the brewery. Oddly enough, just a week before our visit Pyramid finally changed the facade on the building to read Pyramid Breweries.

Somewhat shocking, but we continued. The gorgeous copper kettles really give the place an air of authenticity. We grabbed a seat and were promptly offered Pyramid Hefeweisen or perhaps an Apricot Ale. *shudder* I guess change is good.

I asked about the kettles and about what the plans for the brewery were and was told that Pyramid would be moving all its brewing to the Portland facility and would be using their Seattle facility for brewing Malternatives (alchipop, etc). While I’m glad that the Portland brewery got the good end of the stick, it seems that there may be an increase in the number of breweries that seek the coveted Brewed in Oregon status. This worries me because it may draw beer marketers who may merely seek to exploit the Oregon Craft designation.

We’ll see what the future holds, but I hope that the quality of “brewed in Oregon” doesn’t deteriorate like Weinhard’s “ales” have since leaving Portland.

RUPissed BAC calculator

Troy sent me a link to the RUPissed BAC calculator this morning. Kind of fun to play with, especially to get your weight in metric. The hangover section is also somewhat illuminating. Cold pizza has sooo many uses.

Yakistan Imperial IPA – Brewing Day

I’ve never brewed a high gravity beer before. I brewed a barleywine once, but it wasn’t that big of a beer, and it didn’t “turn out.” So as I added 10 lbs. of LME, I was skeptical. But, there was no scortching of malt, and when I measured the OG, I was very pleased to find it right on target at 1.082. I changed the hop additions and varieties around a bit and used 3 oz. of Simcoe instead of Centennial just for the sake of experiment. I know and love Centennials, but I’d read good reports on Simcoes so I dropped a few in. The final hop bill:

  • 1 oz. Simcoe @ 60 minutes
  • 1 oz. Simcoe @ 45 minutes
  • 1 oz. Simcoe @ 30 minutes
  • 1 oz. Crystal @ 10 minutes
  • 1.4 oz. Crystal @ 5 minutes

So far the aromatic qualities aren’t what I want, so I’ll probably dry hop with something when I transfer to secondary. I want a more floral aroma, and though the crystals are nice and herbal, they aren’t as bright as I remember them. We’ll see. All told, we’re looking at just shy of 100 IBU. Damn.

Still – I’m pretty stoked to see that I hit my target gravity on such a big beer. Lets hope that starter kicks in quickly and eats a lot.

tea towel grain sack

One of the defining characteristics of home brewers is that they’re usually quite innovative in a pinch. One such example – I left my grain sack at a friends last night and needed to steep my grain this morning. I spent a fair amount of time (like 5 minutes, tops) considering the options:

  • Wait, get the grain sack, then brew
  • use an old sock, but don’t tell anyone
  • perforate a plastic bag
  • use a tea towel, don’t tell michelle
  • drop it in

I decided on the tea towel. I used the oldest, holiest one, but rinsed it under tap water for some time because no one wants fabric softener in their beer. Then I put the grain in, tied of the top with some copper wire, and dropped it in.

Now as I write this I realize I could have steeped the grain in a second vessel with a colander, but that’s what happens when you make hasty improvisations.

Still, it looks like it will be fine.

Hop Variety Chart

I’ve put together a hop variety chart that may be of use to someone. Once again, that someone is most likely myself, but that’s what this site is here for.

I’m planning on filling out the descriptions more as I sample the hops and making more personal notes about their uses as time goes by.

I love hops

Yakistan Imperial IPA

Going for a big freakin’ IPA this time. Yakistan Imperial IPA
For a 5 gallon batch, partial-mash.
Estimated OG: 1.082
Estimated IBU: 88
Estimated ABV: 8.3%


  • 10.0 lbs LME
  • 1.0 lbs Munich
  • 1.0 lbs Crystal 10L
  • 0.5 lbs CaraPils


  • 1.0 oz Centennial (10% alpha) 60 minutes
  • 1.0 oz Centennial (10% alpha) 45 minutes
  • 1.0 oz Centennial (10% alpha) 20 minutes
  • 1.0 oz Crystal (3.9% alpha) 10 minutes
  • 1.0 oz Crystal (3.9% alpha) 5 minutes


  • California Ale Yeast (WLP 0001)
  • Irish Moss

Qbrew data for 2005 hops

One of the wonderful things about QBrew is that you can edit your own config files. The qbrewdata file is simple XML and you can add ingredients, change IBUs, add styles, etc. I did this last year because the IBUs on the hops differed from my stock (and they differ year to year).

This year I’ve again updated the IBUs on my hop list, as well as added a few varieties that weren’t on the list. I also added my most frequent yeast, California Ale. Lastly, I added an Imperial IPA category to the list using the BJCP style guidelines for that newly recognized style.

I doubt you’ve any interest in my changes, but here’s a copy of my qbrewdata. Just remove the .xml and put it into the same folder as your application and you’re set.

usually C:\Program Files\qbrew\ on windows, and mac/linux users are smart enough to figure that out on their own since its a more involved installation.

The Teacher

I’m going to be introducing brewing to some friends and I’ve done it enough times that I think I’ve got hand of it. But when I’m “teaching” I tend to speak (and think) faster and often less contiguously than is proper when teaching. Add to that a beer, or two, I wonder what I forget. I’m just curious what lessons about brewing people have found the most helpful, or wish they’d learned earlier? I’d like to know.

Old Kegerator Plans

old hand-drawn kegerator plan

I stumbled upon an old work training packed from early in my employment. I had doodled all over the back of it with plans for a kegerator – including this one, which is astoundingly accurate. The picture even includes the BLC bottle and hop packets on the door. It looks and functions quite similar to my existing kegerator though I’ve only lagered a single beer since its christening. That reminds me though – I need to make a lager. Or a Pils. Mmm…. pilsner….