Wiezenbock All Grain

This weekend I did my first all grain without a kit. I made a wiezenbock that is going to be fairly dark with chocolate malt. Over the break I bought a lot of equipment to improve my brewing. This is the first time I used a stir starter for my yeast which I will need to start using because I am doing a high gravity beer for the first time. I was given a mill by my grandparents for Christmas so I used that for the first time with this brew. I think I will have to start milling the grain the night before to save me a bit of time on brew day.

On brew day there were winds and snow that almost made me have to stop brewing. I moved my burner into the garage with the door open to keep me out of the wind and the cold which worked out really well. I mashed the 11lbs of grains at 154 degrees Fahrenheit for one hour and used 170 degree sparge water. I got a new mash tun from my dad for Christmas that worked really well for this bigger beer. I boiled for one hour adding an ounce of US Hallertau hops. At the end of the boil it was not difficult to bring my wort down to 70 degrees because it was just so cold outside. I used a new set up for storing my brew. I now keep my fermentation bucket in a large pot filled with water and use an aquarium heater to keep the water at temp. There was some fairly violent fermentation the first two days. The lid on my bucket blew off but the larger pot kept everything contained and stopped me from having a mess. The original gravity was around 1.083 so this should be a fairly high alcohol beer, hopefully it goes well with the low IBUs and sweet orange peels I plan on adding in secondary.


Mash Ingredients

8 lbs Best Malz Munich Malt
8 lbs Muntons Wheat Malt
1 lbs Briess 2-Row Chocolate


1 oz US Hallertau (60 min)


Belgian Ale Yeast

O. G. 1.083

IBU 14


All Grain Smashing Pumpkin

Last Monday I attempted my second all grain brew, which I was really excited for because I tried my first all grain, and while it needs a bit more time in bottle, it came out surprisingly well.  This was another kit from NorthernBrewer that I got at the same time as my wheat kit.  Knowing what I was doing this time really helped this brew.  I know I still made a few mistakes but nothing like last time, and my last brew turned out fine so how bad can it really be?

I heated my water for mash to a proper temp and accounted more for heat lose to my grain and heating the tun.  After around ten minutes in the tun I checked the water temp and it was at 148 so I added just a little more hot water to bring it back up to 152 degrees F.  It ended up being in mash for around 75 minutes because I tried to make myself a quick dinner before heating my sparge water.

After I got done sparging I headed out side to boil in the dark.  With band cancelled I figured I would have plenty of time to brew in the evening, but I didn’t think about how early it gets dark now so I spent most of my boil time standing in the dark.  I guess standing in the dark beats standing in the rain but I still think I will do my next brew in the morning.  I brought my brew to a boil and added my Cluster hops.  After an hour of boiling I added the pumpkin pie spice.

This time around I used a new set up to cool my brew and I don’t know what I was doing wrong but I had it down to 75 degrees F in somewhere between a half hour and an hour.  I used my new wine thief to take some of the wort out to test the original gravity and poured the rest into my fermentation bucket and added my California Ale Yeast WLP001 and let the yeast get to work.  The original gravity for my brew was 1.054 which is what the recipe said I should get, so that is really exciting.  My wine thief pulled out a lot of crude that was floating in my brew which I think means the filter in my mash tun let too much through.  I am not sure how much of a problem that will be after I move it to secondary and then move it to a bottling bucket, but I will have to check that for my next brew.  Yesterday I found my airlock had filled with gunk and over flowed but I think it still kept out anything that would have tried to get in so I think I am fine.  I sanitized another airlock I had, pulled out the old one, and replaced it with the new one so I should be fine.

Smashing Pumpkin Ale

Mash Ingredients

  • 7.5 lbs Rahr 2-row Pale
  • 2.5 lbs German Munich Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Briess Caramel 80
  • 0.25 lbs Briess Caramel 60


  • 1 oz Cluster (60 min)
  • 1 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice (0 min)

O. G. 1.054

IBU 25

All Grain American Wheat Secondary

I took a little time this morning to transfer my first all grain brew to secondary.  It is so much faster to finish up with what I have to do with my brew when I don’t have to bottle.  When I was cleaning everything this morning my thermometer cracked.  Luckily it looked like just the weight cracked so I cleaned up and didn’t have to worry about the thermometer liquid making a mess.  I had a surprisingly low specific gravity when I measured it, and I am not sure what caused it.  I hope it doesn’t effect the quality of my brew, but I figure this brew is just about learning and not necessarily quality.  If my specific gravity is right I will end up with almost 5% ABV which isn’t bad for me.

Original Specific Gravity: 1.035

Current Specific Gravity: 1.005

AVB: 4.8%

First All Grain Brew American Wheat

I did my first all grain brew this week.  It was an American Wheat from NorthernBrewer.  This was definitely not my smoothest brew but I did learned a lot.  This was the first time I used my homemade mash tun and my new burner so I had to get into the swing of using those.  It was also my first brew since the end of last semester.

I heated my mash water and added my grains to my mash tun and closed it up for fifteen minutes.  After the fifteen minutes were up I opened it up to make sure it was holding temperature, but I guess I must have lost too much heat when first adding the grains so I had to add some more hot water to bring the temp up to 152 F.  I had a terrible time figuring out how to get the burner running properly because the instructions were really unclear but after a bit of googling it was up and running.  The burner threw a wrench into my operation and my grains stayed in the mash tun for two hours rather than the one hour I was shooting for.  When I finally got my burner working I heated my sparge water to 175 F and drained my extract into my new nine gallon aluminum brew pot.  The whole time I was outside using my new burner it had been raining lightly off and on.

Once I got my brew outside and to a boil the rain started up again and kept raining for the full hour I was out there boiling.  At the start of the boil I added 1 oz Willamette hops and in the last five minutes I added 1 oz of Cascade hops.  It took forever to cool my wort down to just 90 F.  I had it sitting in an ice bath and was running that ice water through it with my wort chiller.  I think my main problem with cooling it was there was no circulation so my wort at the bottom would cool but the top where all the hot liquid would sit wasn’t cooling at all, so hopefully next brew circulating the wort will help it cool faster.  Once it dropped to 90 F I added Safale US-05 Ale Yeast even though it wanted to be down at 75 F, but I couldn’t wait any long because I had to get to class.

My original Specific gravity was around 1.035 which is lower than the 1.043 the recipe said I would have but all things considered it could have been a lot worse.  Hopefully I will end up with around 4.5% ABV.  My IBU should be around 25 when all said and done I believe.  If all goes well I will have my first batch of all grain brew drinkable in four weeks, but if it doesn’t I will at least have learned about the all grain process and do a better job when I brew my Smashing Pumpkin ale from NorthernBrewer in around two weeks.

American Wheat Beer

Mash Ingredients

  • 4 lbs Rahr White Wheat malt
  • 4 Lbs Rahr 2-row Pale


  • 1 oz Whilliamette (60 min)
  • 1 oz Cascade (5 min)

O. G. 1.035

IBU 25

Bottling and Secondary of Orange Wheats

Today I bottled my Orange American Wheat 2 and added my sweet orange peels to my third Orange American Wheat when I transferred to secondary.  I miscalculated how many bottles I would need so I ended up putting the extra beer in a growler.  Hopefully the growler will ferment properly because it was more of a spur of the moment idea.

I used two third cups of sugar like my first Orange Wheat for priming this time as well to get around to give me around 2.6 Volumes of CO2.  I liked the amount of head I was getting from my last orange wheat which I tried last night to see how it was doing.  I took a specific gravity of 1.010 at 66 degrees before bottling today giving me 4.3% ABV.  According to Rooftop Brew’s Glenn Tinseth’s formula IBU calculator this brew has a total IBU of 16.9 which is a characteristic of beer I will have to learn more about.

Orange Wheat 2

CO2 Volume: 2.6

ABV: 4.3%

IBU 16.9

My Orange Wheat 3 had a specific gravity of 1.010 at 66 degrees also giving me a ABV of 4.8%.  I added dried sweet orange peels to my secondary to see how that will make a difference in taste.  Moving my brew to my carboy I found that I had more of this brew than any of my others because it almost over flowed my carboy and I still had brew left in my primary bucket.  I am not sure how I ended up with so much of this brew because I did not do anything different with this brew but I must have added more water to this brew.

Orange Wheat 2

Potential ABV: 4.8%

IBU 13.7

Brew 5 Orange American Wheat 3

Yesterday was my fifth brew and my third in my series of tests to find the best way to add orange flavor to wheat beers.  It was my standard American Wheat brew but I am adding sweet orange peels in secondary.  I boiled for 30 minutes as usual and used my wort chiller to bring down my wort to 75 degrees F before adding the yeast.  Even with the wort chiller running ice water through the wort I still had time to go for an hour run before I was ready to add my yeast.  I took a specific gravity of 1.040 at 75 degrees so I should be able to get a 4% ABV which is a little lower than my last brew but still not something I am disappointed with.

This will be my last brew before the semester ends so I don’t have to worry about coming back down to bottle over the summer.  I plan on moving to a full grain set up over the summer to give me more control over my brews and to really get into brewing and the science behind it.

Orange American Wheat 3

Extract: 2 cans wheat extract

Yeast: WL300 hefewiezen

Hop: US Hallertau

Flavor: Sweet orange peel Secondary


Belated Bottling and Secondary

Thursday I realized as I got ready to bottle that I was out of bottle caps.  So I had to put off bottling until last night.  I bottled my first Orange Wheat beer and am very excited to try it in a few weeks.  This is the first brew I did not use a prepackaged bag of priming sugar but measured out sugar cane to prime with. I used two thirds of a cup of cane sugar boiled in one cup of water for my five gallons of brew.  Ideally this should give me about 2.6 Volumes of CO2.  I took a SP of 1.010 at 68 degrees before I added my priming sugar to my Orange American Wheat which should give me an abv of 5.1%.  I got just over 50 bottles from this brew and hopefully it will turn out with a nice sweet orange flavor.

To clean and cap my bottles I talked my lady friend into helping.  She does not like beer in the slightest but she knows I love to brew so she wanted to help. You know you found a good girl when she will volunteer to help clean and cap your bottles, two of my least favorite things in brewing.

After I bottled my Orange American Wheat I moved my second orange brew, my Orange Wheat, to secondary.  I took a SP of 1.010 at 68 degrees so this brew should have around 4% abv.  This is a lower abv but it will help me determine when and how I will like to add my orange flavoring.  In another 12 days I plan to bottle this batch, which will be my second to last brew before the semester is over.