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 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

Brew 4 Orange Wheat

Today I brewed my fourth brew, a wheat beer with orange zest.  This was my second non-kit brew and I am starting to experiment with flavors and ingredients.  I used a can of wheat extract and a can of light extract, and used saaz hops for the first time today.  I added orange zest in the last 5 minutes of boil to compare to adding peels in primary like in my last brew. I used the white lab hefeweizen ale yeast WLP300 again as it seems to be working nicely in my last brew, but this time I remember to take it out of the fridge four hours before adding it to the wort like the bottle suggests.

Last night I built a wort chiller using 10 feet of 3/8 OD soft copper tubing and two 5 feet pieces of 3/8 ID food grade tubing.  I was hoping I could get the wort chiller started with my auto siphon and pull ice water from a bucket to chill the brew but the suction would not keep the water flowing so I had to continuously pump the auto siphon.  I chilled the brew to 80 degrees and took a specific gravity of 1.040 before I added my yeast.

I have my preferred airlock in use on my first orange wheat while it is in secondary.  This caused me a bit of dismay because I had to use my 3-piece airlock which I have never used before but hopefully I have it in place right and it will not cause a problem for me.  The beer closet currently had over 15 gallons of homebrew in it before I removed the case of German light.  So much homebrew would make anyone smile.

Orange Wheat Transfer to Secondary

Today I took a break from studying and transferred my third brew to secondary after a week of primary.  My brew had orange peels in primary that I did not transfer to secondary.  This is the darkest brew I have had so far which is odd because it is almost the same recipe as my first brew.  The brew still had bubbles coming out of my air lock as recently as this morning which is a testament to the white lab yeast I would have to think because my past brews stop bubbling after around three days of primary.  As you can see in the image below my specific gravity was around 1.010 at 68 degrees before I transferred it to secondary.  Assuming the specific gravity does not change in the next two weeks that should give me around a 5% ABV, possibly closer to 6% according to some calculators.  In just over a month I hope to be enjoying my first non kit brew and also my first flavored beer.


Brew 3 Orange American Wheat

For my first brew not using a kit I am making an Orange American Wheat. It was very similar to the American Wheat I brewed but I added two oranges worth of zest at primary.  My brew used two cans of wheat extract, cascade hops, and I am trying out white lab’s hefeweizen yeast.  I cooled the wort to 85 degrees and took an initial specific gravity of 1.045 when I added the yeast, then added the orange zest.  This is my first time playing around with not using a kit so hopefully it will turn out well.  I am looking into doing a full grain brew in the near future, hopefully by the end of the semester.


Homebrew Beer Brats

Cooking with my American Wheat

Kristopher Hough's Blog

Last night for dinner I made beer brats with my American Wheat homebrew.  It was fairly simple but I was happy with how they turned out.  I coated the bottom of a pan with vegetable oil and added half a dozen brats to the pan and started them cooking.  I added half a chopped onion and a handful of mushrooms to the pan.  Then I poured a bottle and a half of homebrew into the pan to cover the brats, onions, and mushrooms.  I cooked the beer down till there was almost none left in the pan and the mushrooms and onions were caramelized. It was too cold and snowy outside to grill the brats but they still came out well.

Beer bratsBeer Brats

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