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Red Wednesday Recap

Red Wednesday Recap


Super smooth brew day yesterday - whipped up 10 gallons of our NW Red Ale, which will be one of the staples going forward and needs a name badly. I liked Redemption Red, but it's already taken by these creepers. Any ideas? Specs: 1.065 OG, 65 IBUs, 16 SRM


  • Malts: Pale 2-Row, Munich Dark, Caramel 80 and Caramel 120
  • Hops: Bittering – Centennial.   Flavor/Aroma – Simcoe. Dry Hop - Cascade, Simcoe
  • Yeasties: Wyeast 1056 slurry

It was a busy night too; kegged some of our Christmas beer, transferred the Continuous Pale to secondary and made the chalkwall more awesome: 

Enjoy the turkey, football and family today. Gobble Gobble.

Tuesday Night Recap - Spice Wars

Smooth brewing last night, showed the cold and rain who's boss by shifting all operations into the garage - which is conveniently where the taps are located... Specs on our Wee Heavy Christmas Ale: OG: 1.083, 30IBU, 22 SRM.


  • Malts: Pale 2-Row, Maris Otter Pale, Brown Sugar (shugga), Special B, Caramel 80 and Roasted Barley.
  • Hops: Bittering – UK Goldings.   Flavor – Fuggles
  • Yeasties: WLP028 Edinburgh Scottish Ale
  • Spices in Boil: Cinnamon and Clove
  • Fresh ginger and lemon zest to go in secondary

We missed our target OG by 3 points on the low side, which doesn't matter much with a big beer like this one. Seven weeks from now we'll be sipping this at our Christmas party in high form, making elaborate toasts and debating foreign politics.

We also dry hopped our Imperial IPA and gave it a sample, so far it's delicious and promising - making good beer is so much more fun than not making good beer.


Imperial Brewing

Dan, Gregory and I held down the brewing fortress last night - whipping up a new recipe of an Imperial (or double) IPA. I'm super excited about this one, and I'm caring for its fermentation conditions like a baby bird. Specs:  OG: 1.082, 116 IBU, 7.2 SRM.


Malts: Pale 2-Row, Maris Otter Pale, Caramel 40L, Carapils and straight Corn Sugar in the boil (stole that from the Pliny the Elder recipe).

Hops: Bittering - Pacific Jade.   Aroma & Flavor - Pacific Jade, Simcoe, Centennial, Amarillo, Columbus

Yeasties: One 5 gallon carboy with WLP090 (San Diego Super Yeast), the other with WLP001 slurry .

Mostly smooth and easy brewing despite another clog/subsequent burns during the chilling process. I slacked on pictures, so I'll give you a video I just took of these guys fermenting away. You must excuse the voiceover, I (probably like everyone?) can't understand why my voice sounds the way it does on video. Don't tell me that's what it actually sounds like, I won't hear it.

If you were ever wondering what homebrew fermentation looks like: this is the fun part, about 16 hours after adding yeast (sorry that I always seem to have my camera sideways? This is 2012, that should get auto-fixed).


2nd Degree CDA

We at Ex Novo Brewing labored on Labor day, bringing into the world 10 gallons of Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA) and having a mostly enjoyable afternoon in the process. This is a new style for us, and I put this recipe together based on my preferences and staying true to the style as much as possible. ImageGrains: 2-Row, Munich 10 and 20, Midnight Wheat and Chocolate Malts

Hops: Bittering with Warrior, Flavor and Aroma with Amarillo, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial.

Stats: 1.070 OG, 65 IBU, 38 SRM (just about black)

Easing into fall it's time to start asking yourself what you'd like to be drinking when the air crisps up and it gets dark earlier and earlier. Smooth brew day except the last and most sanitation-sensitive step, where we got a hop clog in our counter-flow chiller. I didn't know what the worst thing that could happen was, but turns out that is it. We had 45 minutes of panic and heavy lifting, imparting small 2nd degree burns on Dan's and my shins but I think it all turned out ok (I took pictures of the burns but they are gross and close-up (Tobias Funke style) so I will spare you).


ImageHere's Dan, often referenced yet his first photo debut. It was Dan's idea to start brewing in the first place. Dan is a NICU doctor, and should you unfortunately have your child end up there, you really want Dan to be the guy in charge. Dan doesn't believe everything he reads, and he's smarter than me so I can't argue much when he says things like "there's no way bacteria is going to thrive in such an anaerobic environment" before we pitch our yeast. Dan is an idea guy, one you need around if you are into hatching schemes. Most of our phone calls are about future recipes and the tenacity of the current fermentation, but my wife Sarah and I consider Dan and Jill among our closest friends.

Pils/Saison Sabbath

So I haven't had the chance to brew for a while, which has been a tough pill to swallow as long summer days pass me by. My brew buddy Dan has been working like a mad man and fathering his two toddlers, so needless to say it's been difficult to align schedules, not to his discredit in the least. I on the other hand, have a lot of time to think and daydream (occasionally at work I must admit) leading me to decide that I would try to brew every 10 days, whether I have help or not, but hopefully making it a beverage-sampling, corn-hole tossing event with friends of all levels of brew skill. I also wanted to try to up our brew-equipment arsenal, diy style to make brew nights more efficient and less lame. So that was my last week, gearing up for today's brew - a read on...

This may look like just another black hose curled up to you, but to me it is a precious counter-flow wort chiller, designed to produce better beer and to shave 20+ minutes off a brew night that could be otherwise spent playing yard games, eating potato chips, etc.

I tested it before its maiden voyage, and the beauty takes wort from boiling to 68F as it transfers from keggle to carboy. The middle-man has been eliminated.

I brewed a repeat recipe of a Classic American Pils (pre-prohibition mind you) with 6-row, corn and rice adjunct and Czech Saaz hops. This beer has been delicious in the past, excited to get some more coming.

Who can just brew 5 gallons though, honestly? It was a double-batch day, with the 2nd being a non-conventional Saison with 2-row, wheat malt and corn plus Warrior, Chinook and Amarillo hops. I wanted to try to get close to Boulevard's Tank 7

As it was Sunday and people tend to hunker down, I was brewing alone - and what a brutal day to do so. For various reasons, mid-brew I ended up running for more propane, grinding the lid of a keg for a 2nd kettle, sweating copper for the fittings, etc. About 4.5 hours of relaxation-lessness. I did what I had to do with my manly face on, and settled down for some medieval times toward the end.

See you in 10 days.

UPDATE 8/16: The gravity on the Saison was down to 1.022 today, 2.5 weeks after starting, Saison yeast staying true to form as a slow-worker. The Pils has been baffling in fermentation - the Wyeast 2035 smack-pack did not start fermenting at all, so I grabbed a pack of dry SafLager and it got going...except only down to 1.023 as of today - I have it out for a diacetyl rest right now so I really hope that drops because it is no good at all.

8/21: Kegged and dry hopped the Saison with Amarillo today, F.G. down to 1.014, it took a full 3 weeks to finish fermentation - despite being the 'fast' WLP566 yeast. As I didn't have my hydrometer when I brewed it (thanks Dan), I dub this one Zero-Gravity Saison. It tastes great and is likely around 8.5%, full of flavor.