A Spring in my Sip.

March 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

With the first day of Spring came the sweet smells of wheat mash and bitter hops.  The brew?  A Dunkelweizen.   Don’t speak German?  Me neither.  As per the BJCP Style Guidelines a Dunkelweizen should have:

Low to moderately strong banana and clove flavor. The balance and intensity of the phenol and ester components can vary but the best examples are reasonably balanced and fairly prominent. Optionally, a very light to moderate vanilla character and/or low bubblegum notes can accentuate the banana flavor, sweetness and roundness; neither should be dominant if present. The soft, somewhat bready or grainy flavor of wheat is complementary, as is a slightly sweet Pils malt character. Hop flavor is very low to none, and hop bitterness is very low to moderately low. A tart, citrusy character from yeast and high carbonation is often present. Well rounded, flavorful palate with a relatively dry finish.

The day started as many of mine do, arising from the floor of a buddies flat.  I shake Jon and we start out.  We mashed our grains ASAP and decided to find a sparge tool that was a little more… automated?  This inspired a trip to Home Depot.  Still a bit hazy from the previous evening Mike, Jon, and I set off to ask Home Depot employees some stupid questions.  This was evidently a success.  We found a couple of lawn sprinklers and some CPVC connectors that we thought may work somehow.  On the way back we obviously hit Rita’s, can’t hate on free passion fruit water ice.

The fly sparge process with our new tools went as flawlessly as anything can go when homebrewing.  However it is a bit nerve-racking putting a five gallon pot of boiling water on top of an eight foot ladder.  “If for beer,  endure the sear;” or something like that.  This is what the rig looked like.



The sparge process went so much quicker.  The boil was normal, may have been a bit more than a gentle rolling boil though.  In my defense it is hard to see with the keggle steaming.  I want to open the top a little more and cut a spout for easy pouring sometime in the future.  The outcome yielded about three gallons into the fermentor, which means my calculations were brutally off OR a lot more boiled off than I expected OR my grains absorbed too much water OR all of these combined.  I pitched them yeasty beasties and threw a blow off tube on that bad boy and watched it krausen within hours!  Ok, technical time!

Recipe Specifics—————-
Batch Size (Gal):         5.00

Wort Size (Gal):    5.00

Total Grain (Lbs):       12.00

Anticipated OG:          1.065

Plato:             15.93

Anticipated SRM:          12.7

Anticipated IBU:          27.2

Brewhouse Efficiency:       75 %

Wort Boil Time:             60    Minutes

%     Amount     Name                          Origin        Potential SRM


58.3     7.00 lbs. Wheat Malt                    America        1.038      2

20.8     2.50 lbs. Munich Malt(dark)             America        1.033     20

16.7     2.00 lbs. CaraVienne Malt               Belgium        1.034     22

4.2     0.50 lbs. CaraPilsner                   France         1.035     10

Amount     Name                              Form    Alpha  IBU  Boil Time


1.00 oz.    Hallertau Hersbrucker             Pellet   4.75  21.8  60 min.

1.00 oz.    Tettnanger                        Pellet   4.50   5.5  15 min.  1.00 oz.

Hallertau Hersbrucker             Pellet   4.75   0.0  0 min.

WYeast 3068 Weihenstephan Weizen

Mash Schedule————-
Mash Type: Single Step
Grain Lbs:   12.00

Water Qts:   12.00 – Before Additional

InfusionsWater Gal:    3.00 – Before Additional Infusions

Qts Water Per Lbs Grain: 1.00 – Before Additional Infusions

Saccharification Rest Temp : 154  Time:  75

Mash-out Rest Temp :         150  Time:   80

Sparge Temp :                170  Time:  90

Total Mash Volume Gal: 3.96 – Dough-In Infusion Only

To come:

1. Hopmonster IPA variation Brew.

2. Yard’s IPA clone.

3. Wegman’s vs PLCB

4. Maybe some beer of the week type of deal?

Happy brewing,



The Bookends Doppel-Bock

February 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Recipe Specifics:

Batch Size (Gal): 5.00
Total Grain (Lbs): 14.30
Anticipated OG: 1.089
Plato: 21.30
Anticipated SRM: 24.4
Anticipated IBU: 50.6
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 mins
Evaporation Rate: 15%/h
Pre-Boil Wort Size: 5.88 Gal
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.076 SG
18.31 Plato
















55.9 8.00 lbs Pale Malt(2-row) America 1.036 2
7.0 1.00 lbs Vienna Malt America 1.035 4
3.5 0.50 lbs Chocolate Malt America 1.029 350
23.1 3.30lbs Muntons LME – Dark America 1.037 27
10.5 1.50 lbs Briess DME – Gold America 1.046 8


Amount Name Form




1.00 oz. Chinook Pellet 11.50 47.4 60 min.
1.00 oz. Hallertau Pellet 3.80 3.1 10 min


Wyeast: Hella Bock

2 liter starter made from one pouch.

1 pouch directly pitched.


1.       Mashed in grains at 154°F in 3 gallons of water for 75 minutes.

2.       Vorlaufed for about 15 minutes.

3.       Sparged with another 2.88 gallons of water at 200°F.

4.       Fly sparged and collected all run offs in my newly cut keggle.

5.       Turned my burner to medium and added my LME + DME.

6.       Started the boil and added Chinook hops.

7.       Added a WhirlFloc tablet at 15 minutes left in the boil.

8.       At 10 minutes left added 1 tbsp of Wyeast nutrient, and Halertau hops.

9.       Killed the burner and used the emersion chiller to bring the wort down to temp.

10.   Aerated well and pitched 2 liter yeast slurry.

11.   Airocked.

12.   Placed it in my modified refrigerator set for 47°F.

13.   On day two I added another Hella Bock yeast activator pack.


Just finished mashing, beginning of vorlauf.

Straining vorlauf and beginning of fly sparge

Fly sparging into my newly built keggle.

Resulting carboy.  Had to cut the shelving out of my refrigerator and add some straps to keep it closed.  Pretty tight fit.

My pipeline.  That is the Irish Red and “Layout” Stout.

DIY Stir Plate

February 24, 2011 § 1 Comment

Hi Everyone!

It’s been awhile, my apologies.  I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve been extremely busy; school, work, brews, it can get hectic quick!  But, as promised here is how to make your very own magnetic stir plate for yeast propagation. I promise it’s cheap and nearly painless.

What you will need:

A non-metal box Free I used a Frisbee, of course.
LED toggle switch $1.99 RadioShack
Control knob $2.99 RadioShack
Electrical tape $1.99 RadioShack
Potentiometer/rheostat $3.99 RadioShack
6-12 Volt power supply Free checkout your old small appliance chargers.
Computer fan Free easily retrieved from a scrapped CPU
Rare earth magnet Free I took a hammer and crow bar to a hard drive for this one.  Honestly, to hell with those little screws.  Who the hell has those little screwdriver anyway?)

Total =    $10.96

Tools to have on hand

  • Wire cutters/strippers
  • Drill & Bits
  • Gorilla Glue

Now that we have procured everything it is time to assemble.  Many sites that I checked out while trying to figure this project out had piss poor assembly instructions, I will try my best to do better.

The Fan:

First you want to secure your extracted rare earth magnet to the center of your computer fan.  I did this with a dab of gorilla glue.  Make sure it is as centered as possible or else you will have an obnoxious wobble.  Next you want to take the red and black wires coming from the fan and strip them with your wire cutters; snip any others at the source (mine was blue.)  Next, you want to cut your power supply cord down by the appliance plug end and strip the ends.  Test your wire polarities and mark the rest of your power supply cord accordingly; red is positive and black is negative.  You will want to remember this for the rest of your parts.

The Rheostat:

A rheostat is an electrical appliance used to raise or lower the resistance of a circuit correspondingly to decrease or increase the current flowing.  This piece has three terminals at the top and a resistance knob on the front.  First you will want to cut your power supply line again.  Be sparing when you cut your line, measure comparatively to your box, you still want some to make it to the wall.  For all references left to right assume we are looking on the rheostat from the knob side with the terminals pointing up.  Take your power supply positive and connect it to the far left terminal, this is your main power.  The negative from the power supply will go on the far right, this is the ground terminal.  Next you will strip the lines coming from your fan.  Connect your positive to the center terminal, this is the resistor knob and will control speed.  The negative will be connected to the far right, ground terminal.  Now plug your power supply in and test your fan.  Play with the knob and make sure everything works.

The Toggle Switch:

The toggle switch is designed just like the rheostat with a power, ACC, and ground terminal; no worries, these are all marked accordingly on the product.  Your power supply positive goes to the power terminal. Power supply negative goes to the ground.  Positive coming from the rheostat goes to the ACC, this is the switch.  The negative from the rheostat goes to the ground terminal.  Again, test your new switch, make sure it works all fancy like with your rheostat.

The Prestige:

Now you will connect your positives and negatives and tape them up.  Next, wrap all of your open connections thoroughly with electrical tape.  Drill holes for your rheostat knob, toggle switch, and power supply accordingly.  Set all of your pieces and make sure they fit snugly.  Consolodate any loose wiring with electrical tape, make sure nothing is in the way of your fan.  Now you will want to center your fan on the base of the box with the magnet facing toward where you will be placing your beaker.  I used a piece of cardboard as a buffer so that my fan moves freely, and easily glued this into place.  Some people like to use bolts and wood and fancy stuff; I say keep it simple.  Let the glue set.  Then, flip it over, connect your control knob to the rheostat knob, plug it in, and bask in the beauty that is your own, homemade, stir plate.  Be proud, it’s yours.

This is how my finished product came out.  Notice the round rheostat and the rectangular LED switch.  Also how I ran the wires around the fan and consolidate them with electrical tape.

Of course I had to rep DiscShoppe.com!

For information about making a yeast starter and propagating yeast pay Mr. Malty a visit.

Have fun with this project and let me know if you have any issues (tfitz267@gmail.com).

To your health,


Reuben’s HopMonster IPA

February 14, 2011 § Leave a comment

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal):


Wort Size (Gal):


Total Grain (Lbs):


Anticipated OG:




Anticipated SRM:


Anticipated IBU:


Brewhouse Efficiency:



Wort Boil Time:



Pre-Boil Amounts

Evaporation Rate:


Percent Per Hour

Pre-Boil Wort Size:



Pre-Boil Gravity:



15.26 Plato









12.00 lbs.

Pale Malt(2-row)





0.25 lbs.

Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt




0.25 lbs.

Crystal 10L





0.25 lbs.

Crystal 40L





0.50 lbs.

Briess DME- Gold










Boil Time

2.00 oz.





60 min

1.00 oz.

Amarillo Gold




20 min

1.00 oz.





5 min

0.25 oz.





5 min

0.25 oz.





5 min

0.75 oz.

Amarillo Gold




5 min


WYeast 1056 Amercan Ale/Chico

  • Mashed at 154°F for 60 minutes.
  • Added 1/2Lb DME after second runoff.
  • Pitched yeast at 70°F.
  • Stored to ferment at 65°F.
  • Will leave in primary for 3 weeks.

Recipe from BYO Magazine, February Addition.

Brewed on 2/12/2011 by Trevor, Meeze, and Justin.


The Ultimate Brewing Team.

The Presidents’ Brew

February 12, 2011 § 2 Comments

There are many times when facts go against reality. For instance:

Fact: beer is way difficult to make

Reality: fuck facts

And so we began work on the Rye PA, an IPA that won 1st Place in the Peoples’ Vote at the Beer Taste (put on by Phinny Neighborhood Association). The recipe is courtesy of Brew Your Own magazine. Now, to attempt such an award-winning recipe it takes attention to detail, commitment, and balls.

The process itself is not a-typical. Ultimate Brewing Co. has been hard at work perfecting the do-it-yourself technique of home brewing. Yet an event such as brewing an awarding-winning beer (on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, no less!), is no small task. Humbled, but not deterred, the work became hot and heavy, as boiling turned into mixing, filtering became none existent, and the brews kept on flowing (down our throats). Several bottles and an bowl of momma duke’s pasta contraption later,  the fermenting was set to begin. With all eyes raised to sky and cigarette smoke billowing from our mouths, the process was underway.

There is no turning back now. There is no brew we can not master. Mr. Lincoln would be proud.

Ultimate Brewing Co. ftw.

The “Layout” Stout

February 11, 2011 § 2 Comments

Whew, quite a week.  Sorry it took me so long to update.  So, on Sunday I brewed the Layout Stout.  The recipe which I finalized was:


  • 7 lbs Breiss Maris Otter
  • 2.5 lbs Flaked Barley
  • 1.5 lbs Roasted Barley
  • .75 lbs Chocolate Malt
  • 4 oz Black Patent Malt


  • Bittering: 1 oz Chinook (AAU = %11)
  • Aroma: 1 oz Fuggles (AAU = %4)


  1. Dough in 12 lbs malt with 12 quarts (3 gallons) at 133°F.
  2. Protein Rest at 132°F for 60 minutes.  Strained in 7.5 quarts at 210°F to reach 153°F .
  3. Saccharide Rest at 154°F for 60 minutes.
  4. Ran the vorlauf with about 1/2 quart jug about 20 times.
  5. Sparged with 11 quarts at 200°F, bringing final temperature to 170°F.
  6. Double run off that took about 35 minutes.
  • Had a stuck sparge at this point.  I had to manually blow the manifold clean.  Messy process…


  1. Brought about 6.75 gallons to a rolling boil.
  2. Added Chinook hops at minute 1.
  3. Added Fuggles hops at minute 50.
  4. At 60 minutes, began to bring the wort down in temperature with wort chiller.
  5. Original Gravity = 1.062 ~ 15° Plato  (that makes my overall brewhouse efficiency 72%, shooting for 75% )
  6. I pitched my Dry Yeast 05 at 74°F
  7. Used a blow off tube to avoid another Irish Red incident.
  8. Fermenting for 3 weeks at 65°F
  9. Added my Airlock at about 40 hours after high krausen.

For this session I decided to go with Star San for the first time.  The no rinse factor made cleaning a whole bunch easier.  Very happy with results.  I also wanted to use WhirlFloc tablets for this project but was busy dealing with a clogged sink during the boil (I had some grist that didn’t want to go down the sink. )  Because the stout is so dark I am not very worried about clearness in this brew.  If I decide to do a pale ale this weekend that will be a major part of my recipe for sure.

My next project will be to make a stir plate for yeast propagation.  Seems like a pretty simple process, should be a fun Sunday DIY project if I do not decide to make a quick extract Pale Ale to play with some specialty malts.

Next update will be about my stir plate project, the pale ale recipe, and a possible “Waka-Weizen” recipe.

Cheers all,



January 31, 2011 § 1 Comment

The American Amber Ale

Amber Ale

Single Hop India Pale Ale