Archive for the ‘Yeast Experiment’ Category

The brew: American Wheat part II. The last wheat I brewed was about 2 months ago, and the last beer I brewed was almost 1 1/2 months ago. Work and life have been so busy – I ended up having to squeeze in a brew day last minute.


Photo courtesy:


The absence of Bells Oberon in California has me craving a crisp and clean wheat that I can have a few pints of in this triple digit heat, no water having, California summer. The last wheat brewed unfortunately fell to my friend, Acetaldehyde. It might’ve been high fermentation temperatures, bacterial infection, an underpitched amount of yeast, or any combination of a few other post boil factors. I’m sure there were at least a few other things going on in that batch, but the green apple and fruity esters overpowered just about everything else. So I decided to keep going with the same recipe.



Here’s what was supposed to happen:



American Wheat Recipe (Based on Jamil Z. Recipe)


  • 5 lbs. 8 oz. US 2 Row (50%)
  • 5 lbs. 8 oz. White Wheat (50%)
  • 1 oz. Williamette at 60 mins
  • .3 oz. Williamette at 0 mins
  • .3 oz. Centennial at 0 mins
  • American Hefe Strain (WLP 320 or Wyeast 1010)
  • Single Infusion Mash at 152 F for 60 mins



According to BeerSmith (for my equipment profile):


  • OG: 1.054
  • FG: 1.014
  • ABV: 5.3%
  • 19.3 IBUs


Here’s what really happened: 

The brew day setup.

The brew day setup.


Everything went according to plan. I entered it into a few competitions, and it took gold in each one… Okay, not really. I actually haven’t even tasted it yet. I will be transferring from primary to keg tomorrow, so it should be ready in about a week.


But the brew day really did go as well as I hoped. I used a nylon mesh BIAB bag as my false bottom, which was used in combination with the bazooka screen. The 11 lbs. grain bill with 50% wheat in my 5 gal. mash tun worked out just fine – No stuck sparge  like last American Wheat brew day!


I did mash a little higher than I expected – 155 F. I was trying to make up previous experience with my mash tun losing several degrees over the duration of the saccharification rest. Fortunately or unfortunately, the 155 F was consistent throughout the entire mash. For my purposes (drinking at home), the 3 degree difference will not be a major issue. I did pitch warmer than I wanted. I was aiming for around 70 F, but pitched around 80 F due to time constraints on the brew day.


Other than that, the day was fairly uneventful. I put the glass carboy in the fermentation chamber set for about 65F (the temp controller probe was taped to the carboy surrounded by some cloth to try to get a closer read). Here’s to a successful batch of American Wheat!

This post roughly marks this blog’s 1 year anniversary! Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to also find me at!

Thanks to traveling, work, and having only one arm, I finally got to brew today. I have to admit, I’m a little rusty on my processes. I haven’t brewed since before the holidays! This year, though, I’m ramping up the grain mill to eventually start entering a few competitions.

Today’s brew: American Wheat. I didn’t want anything special (that’s later in the year) – just a cool, crisp, clean sessionable something or another that also allows my tastebuds to live another day. The original, original recipe was supposed to be an Ode to Oberon (Bell’s Oberon). I saw it everywhere as I was traveling, but of course, it’s not in California. As the brew day came closer, I decided to keep it simple and go with a classic American Wheat.

Here’s what was supposed to happen:

American Wheat Recipe (Jamil Z. Recipe):
6 lbs. US 2 Row (50%)
6 lbs. White Wheat (50%)
1 oz. Williamette at 60 mins
.3 oz. Williamette at 0 mins
.3 oz. Centennial at 0 mins
White Labs WLP 320 – American Hefe
Single Infusion Mash at 150 F for 60 mins

According to BeerSmith (for my equipment profile):
OG: 1.066
FG: 1.017
ABV: 6.43%
17.6 IBUs

Here’s what really happened:

Brew Day 16 May 2015

Brew Day 16 May 2015

I stuck to the recipe intended, with the exception of the yeast used. I procrastinated and didn’t think that WLP320 would be as uncommon as it was. I made the last minute decision to use what was on hand – US-05. Dry yeast (when hydrated properly) is actually a lot better than people give it credit for!

And now for the downer of the day… My 60-minute mash then sparge turned into a 60-minute STUCK mash and another 60 minutes of “kind of sparge.” Turns out the mill made the grains a little too fine/pulverized, and the wheat decided to make my day twice as long. How was it solved you ask? With morning tasters of home-brewed IIPA, Pliny the Elder, and Monk’s Blood (21st Amendment Brewing). Yes it was 0900am, but we limited ourselves to tasters. I mean C’mon, we’re not lushes… Next time I will definitely use a 1/2 pound of rice hulls.

On a separate note, you can now find me as a contributor on Check out my posts along with a variety of others written by an awesome team!

Yes, I am still here, and I have yet to give up on this blog. Some busy work months, attacks of the Rhinovirus variety, a few family emergencies, and here we are almost at Thanksgiving.

First things first – A few updates from the previous posts. The split batch of SMaSH Pale experiment turned out much differently than what I was expecting. To bring you up to speed, I used a very simple  all grain 2 row/Cascade small batch (2 gallons) recipe and used WLP001 and WLP565 in each one gallon fermenter. The 001 really allowed the hops and the bitterness to shine through. Unfortunately for me, it was a bit too much without a fuller malt backbone to support tne bitterness. However, the 565 batch had the phenolics to mask the bitterness. The Saison yeast gave it a Farmhouse IPA character. It ended up being my preferred  batch.

In other news, I have continued my look into the craft beer business. In following much of the beer and beverage industry news, including various podcasts and websites/articles, I have opened my mind to contributing to the industry in other ways besides a nano brewery/brewpub. Perhaps it’s in the cards to open a local brewery. Perhaps its a tap house or bottleshop or some other local retail shop focused on quality beer. Or maybe it’s to keep spreading the knowledge of good beer. Who knows what the future holds… for now I’ll just have another pint. Cheers!


A Golden Strong with cherries from Mraz Brewing

If by some miracle you are actually keeping up with this blog and its posts, you may have noticed that the posts have stopped. Well… as it turns out, I am still alive and well. It also turns out that blogging is A LOT of work. By “a lot of work,” I don’t mean its hard work – but it is work to publish something that doesn’t turn into a series of Facebook and Instagram updates, yet is still frequent and interesting to read. 


     “Here’s a picture of my beer.”
     “Here’s the food from this place that I had with my beer.”
     “This beer tastes like this.”
     “Look at this IPA. It is so hoppy.”

Other than trying to figure out this whole blogging thing, I’ve also been shoulders deep in reading everything I can about entrepreneurship, brewing, and running a taphouse/brewpub/restaurant. My office is filled with everything from recent articles and books on running your own business, to magazines on beer and brewing – including some old issues of Zymurgy (1989-1996 editions) given generously on [ is this amazing, community-based website where you can give and find tons of free/used stuff. For more information, click here.]

From what I’ve read so far, apparently there are a million ways to do the same thing – and everyone is right! There will definitely be good times ahead. If I never open a brewery/taphouse/brewpub, at least I’ll be that much better of a businessman and homebrewer right?


In other news, the experimental “Pale ale”  is now in the secondary. Its cleared up quite a bit, and is hopefully conditioning just as well. It should be bottled within the next week, and thanks to natural carbonation, will be ready to drink by the middle to the end of September. I’m curious to see the differences the yeast made. I’ll get some photos come bottling time.


Finally, here’s a funny photo just because I can. You’re welcome.


Photo cred: see photo.

Well, the weekend is over, and for most of us, it’s back to reality. Other than the couple home-brews and the half a bottle of wine, I think I got a good amount of work done. More importantly, I was able to begin the first in a series of homebrewing experiments. I’ve included the recipe and some photos of the brew day below.


Since I am fairly new to homebrewing, I decided I would try variations of ideas that I’ve had or heard about in order to become much more familiar with the ingredients I would be using. Much of the first round of experiments will be  SMaSH-based recipes. If you have not heard of the concept, or are new to home brewing, SMaSH recipes use a Single Malt and a Single Hop. The purpose of using this strategy would be to isolate the differences in the different ingredients. For example, I may want to focus on malts one day, hops another day, and yeast on a different day. If I wanna get crazy, I may even play with the water or the mash and fermentation profiles. The possibilities are endless, but that is the beauty of homebrewing!


In the experiment that took place this weekend, I decided to play with the yeast (since that’s what was on hand). I made a SMaSH with American 2-row malts and Cascade hops in a 2 gallon mini batch. The yeasts used included a starter derived from White Labs WLP001 California Ale yeast and a starter made from White Labs WLP565 Belgian Saison yeast. I am curious to see how the fermentation progresses, and what flavors come from the different yeasts.
The mini set up. A friend brewing an American Wheat in the background.

The mini set up. A friend brewing an American Wheat in the background.

The work area with BeerSmith mobile running on the tablet.

The work area with BeerSmith mobile running on the tablet.

60 Minute Boil
4 lbs – US 2 Row
4 oz – 20L Crystal
.25 oz – Cascade @ 60 mins
.6 oz – Cascade @ 15 mins
1 – Whirlfloc @ 15 mins
.5 oz – Cascade @ 5 mins
Cascade additions. From left to right, initially supposed to be at 60, 30, 15, and 5, but decided to combine the 30 min and 15 min additions.

Cascade additions. From left to right, initially supposed to be at 60, 30, 15, and 5, but decided to combine the 30 min and 15 min additions.

1 gal – WLP001
.5 gal – WLP565
.5 gal – WLP565
Both fermenting at approx. 68 – 72 F.

If I’ve missed or didn’t include anything, or if you have questions or feedback on the recipe, feel free to comment or email. Thanks for reading!

The final product. The WLP565 on the sides, and the WLP001 in the middle.

The final product. The WLP565 on the sides, and the WLP001 in the middle. The WLP565 batch had to be split due to the size of the starter.