Brewing ‘Mildly alcoholic’ beer

Looking back through my brewing logs, I’ve never brewed two batches as close together as I did these past two. I’m of the school of thought that the best way to get good at something is to do it often. It was nice to have my brewing process fresh in my mind when approaching this brew night. The last batch a hoppy pale ale is just off dry hops as I write this brew day up. This batch is a rebrew of the english mild I brewed last summer. The first time I brewed this, I made a biab beer. Taking a very simple approach and not worrying about it. This might have been one of the better batches I brewed last year. This time I have a slightly different target. I’ve been asked a few times if it is possible to make an NA beer, so I’m trying to brew a very low abv beer, and make it as close as I can to Non Alcoholic Beer(NA). I figured it makes the most sense to start with a flavorful low abv beer. Research (googling) and turned up anecdotal stories, but no well documented first hand experiences with abv testing. I found two approaches to making NA beer, heating the beer to evaporate the alcohol, or freezing the beer to concentrate the alcohol and sugars leaving behind low alcohol beer ice. There are issues with either approach. Heat and Oxygen are known to damage beer. However I can’t think of a way to achieve the goal of low abv beer w/out exposing the beer to these factors. If someone has done this and has found a reliable way to do it with good results please let me know.
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Brewing Daisy Cutter pale ale Clone

It’s been a while since I’ve brewed at home and it feels longer since I’ve brewed a good beer. I’ve felt either rushed, distracted, or otherwise I screwed up my last few batches. Coincidence or not, I also haven’t brewed a really hoppy pale ale in some time. I won’t go into the details here, I’ve already shared one failure on Facebook. Lets just say I could really use a win. Early this year I decided I was going to try to dial in my brewing, calling it the year of calibration. I am trying to both harden my brewing process, and add process controls. That way I can know how specifically I brewed a beer, which will allow me to reproduce success, and improve upon the beer in future batches. I haven’t been terribly consistent with either process or equipment in my last few batches. I think I’ve made my last major changes for a while, and my hope is that I can take this beer, evaluate it, access the recipe and brewing process, then brew it again making only slight changes to the process.
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Duo Brew Day

When Brew Free or Die announced a Dynamic Duo club competition I knew two things: that I was in, and I’d be brewing with my buddy Mike. What wasn’t immediately obvious was what we’d be brewing, but I did have a hunch. This fall Mike brewed a very tasty version of Mike McDole’s famous recipe, Janet’s Brown, A hoppy american brown ale. I have just brewed a not so tasty american brown ale (story for another day), and both of us agree the style is quite enjoyable. The club competition is named Dynamic duo. Brew a 1.040-1.050 beer, using only two hops, two malts, no adjuncts, no spices, etc. With that in mind, I tried to reworked the Janet’s Brown ale recipe down to just two malts, two hops, and bring the gravity down. Continue reading

Review: Homebrewers Guide to Vintage Beers

I’m a bit of a beer/brewing book collector, I have a Library of twenty or so books, and my amazon wish list is sure to have a few brewing books on it. I have recipe books, basic brewing books, advanced technique books, scientific books, historical brewing books, books about starting a brewing businesses, the list goes on. I have so many unread, that I made a goal for 2014 not to purchase any more books until I’ve gotten through the backlog. Fortunately I preordered this book back in March of 2013 so it doesn’t count as failing against that goal. When this book finally arrived I did not expect to pick it up for some time, or do what I did, read it cover to cover in a week. Continue reading

Designing a Parti-gyle brew day.

This is not my usual brew day recap, I’ve planning on brewing a big imperial stout, and I wanted to use all the grains we were putting in the mash tun to create two beers instead of just one. This calls for leveraging the age old Parti-gyle technique. While the technique is old school, I’ve yet to find a modern tool that can design a parti-gyle recipe. Continue reading

Very small batch Cyser

Making a mead has been in my brewing pipeline for quite some time. Last fall I took a swing at a cyser, but it was really more of a honey fortified cider, than a real cyser. Having tried a really good example at one of the BFD club meetings, I knew I wanted to make a better example. After listening to Michael Fairbrother (member of, and former President of BFD) of Moonlight Meadery on BeerSmith’s podcast talking about meads, and specifically Kurts Apple Pie (Cyser) I had a fairly good idea how to make a cyser I was hoping for. Continue reading