Saturday, December 11, 2010

Johnny Red's Quaff (Strong Scotch Ale)

Well, while we're on the topic of Irish and Scottish Ales, I might as well share with you folks a recipe for the granddaddy of the category...the Strong Scotch Ale.  This is one beast of a beer thick in malt character and warming with it's high alcohol content.  A great winter quaff, in this case dedicated to my partner in crime Jonny Red.  So here we go...

Jonny Red's Quaff

OG: 1.081
FG:  1.021
ABV: 8.9%

-9 lbs Briess 2-row
-1 lb Caramel Wheat Malt
-1 lb Briess Caramel 40L
-0.5 lb Gambrinus Honey Malt
-0.25 lb Briess Caramel 120L
-0.25 lb Crisp Pale Chocolate Malt
-4 lbs Briess Golden light LME

-2.5 oz Fuggles 4.5% 60 min
-1 oz Fuggles 4.5% 15 min

White Labs Edinburgh Scottish Ale (WLP028)

We struck the 12 lbs of grain with 3.5 gallons of 168F water to attain a mash temperature of 154F.  After a 60 minute mash, we sparged with 3 gallons of 175F water.  Carbonated to 2.25 volumes of CO2, boiling 2 cups of water and adding 3.3 oz of corn sugar, cooling, then priming.  Mmm...caramel...

-Myles and Carla

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Heather and Honey Scottish Export Ale

The Black IPA recipe turned out more like an American Brown Ale.  We'll give it a shot again soon, but meanwhile, here's what's fermenting...

-Chocolate-Coffee Robust Porter
-Cherrywood-Smoked and Oaked Old Ale
-A surprisingly "to style" Northern English Brown Ale
-An equally "to style" American Brown Ale

And in bottles...

-Old Speckled Hen Clone (Extra Special Bitter)
-Jonny Red's Quaff (a strong scotch ale brewed to style that came out superb)  
-A Dry Stout, dry-hopped with Cascades and...

A Scottish Export Ale (80/-) brewed with Heather, the recipe for which we will now share.

Heather and Honey Scottish Export (80 Shilling)

OG: 1.065
FG: 1.013
ABV: 6.8%

-9.5 lbs Briess 2-row
-0.5 lb Briess Munich 10L
-0.5 lb Gambrinus Honey Malt
-0.25 lb Crisp Pale Chocolate
-0.25 lbs Briess Caramel 120
-1 lb Briess Caramel 40
-1 lb honey (added at end of boil)

-0.8 oz Northern Brewer 8.8%AA  60 min

-11.5g Safale S-05

-Dried Heather tips, 0.5 oz additions at 30, 15, 5 minutes, and in the fermenter.

For those of you who've been following the bunker, this next part should seem pretty straightforward.

We struck the grains with 3.75 gallons of 172.4F water to reach a mash temperature of 158F.  Mashed for 60 minutes, then sparged our grains with 2.5 gallons of 175F water for 20 minutes.  After combining the first runnings with the sparge, we boiled for 60 minutes, with the single bittering hop addition.  However, halfway into the boil it was heather time!  This stuff smells so gloriously honeyish and aromatic!  Additions at 30, 15, 5 minutes, and "dry-heathering" lent this brew an amazing complimentary taste to the already sultry Scottish Export flavor.

Primed with 2.1 oz corn sugar for 1.75 volumes of CO2.

Definitely one we'll be repeating!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Black IPA

Here's our recent Black IPA recipe.  I refrain from calling it a "Cascadian Dark Ale" becuase there are no cascade-like hops present.  We were going for more of an earthy hop presence.  Here we go:

-8 lbs US 2-row

-1 lb German Carafa II

-.5lbs US Caramel 407

-2 lbs granulated white sugar


-.5 oz Perle 7.7% 60 min

-.5 oz Northern Brewer 8.5% 60 min

-.5 oz Perle 7.7% 45 Min

-.5 oz Northern Brewer 8.5% 30 min

-.5 oz Perle 7.7% 15 min

-.5 oz Perle 7.7% 5 min

Mashed with 3 gallons at 152F for 60 min, then sparged with 2.5 gallons 170F water.
The wort tasted delicious, can't wait to taste it finished!
-Myles and Carla Nestok

New brews

Sorry for the lack of updates, the Bunker's been busy.  In fermenters right now we have a black IPA and classic Trippel using WLP500, which we also plan on pitching in a Dubbel next.  Gotta love the belgians!

Just bottled a KY Strong Golden Ale (added the "KY" because it included a corn cereal mash, as well as some apple wine and good ole sasparilla!  Expect details soon!

-Myles and Carla

Friday, May 21, 2010

I've fallen and getting up slowly

If you've noticed a lack of updates here recently, good for you for visiting so often!

But seriously, a couple weeks ago I fell down a flight of stairs and chipped my left kneecap.  So we've been taking it easy, lots of me laying with my leg up in a brace.

We bottled the 3-grain Citrus Breakfast Ale a few days ago, and I must say, uncarbed, this stuff tasted like some kind of dry white wine!  It finished out at 1.006 (no wonder it tastes so dry), almost opaque and super light in color.  Funny enough, the citrus fruits didn't lose any of their color, but the grapefruit taste came through great.  It's like a smoother, less skunky version of ruby red grapefruit juice.  I'm extremely excited to taste this one carbed and chilled!


Monday, May 10, 2010

3-Grain Citrus Breakfast Ale

Ah, spring is in the air...what better time for a refreshing wheat beer?  And to continue with our breakfast theme, we decided to add oats to the mash.  So here it goes:

Citrus Breakfast Wheat Ale

OG: 1.046

-5lbs Pale Rahr 2-row
-3lbs Wheat malt
-.75 lbsrolled oats

-.5 oz Northern Brewer 8.5% 60 min
-1 oz Cascade 7.5% 15 min

Safbrew US-05

-1 oz dried orange peel 15 min
-1 peeled and separated Ruby Red grapefruit - in secondary
-8 peeled and separated tangerines - in secondary
-4 oz light Belgian Candi Sugar - in secondary

 First we heated 3 gallons of strike water to 165F.  Then we poured in our grist to land at a mash temperature of 152F, and held it for 60 minutes.

After the mash, we poured our first runnings into a clean bucket, 
Added 2.5 gallons of sparge water,
And replaced the grain bag, sparging for 20 minutes at 175F.  Next we remove the bag again to a drip bucket (gotta catch all those fermentable sugars!), to be added to the boil later.  Combine wort with sparge water, and bring to a boil:

As it came to a boil, we added the nylon bag filled with .5 oz Northern Brewer 8.5% hops.

Then, 45 minutes into the boil, here comes the 1 oz dried orange orange peel and the 1 oz Cascade 7.5%!

Then the usual: cool, whirlpool, pour into sanitized fermenter, pitch yeast, fit with airlock.  It's that simple!

This is where things get interesting.  Two weeks into the fermentation, we popped off that lid (to a wonderful scent).  We had previously peeled and quartered the grapefruit and tangerines, which we added to 170F to sanitize, held for then minutes, then added the Candi sugar.  After the mixture cooled we threw it in the beer.  Can't wait to taste it!

We'll keep you updated, if we don't drink it all first!

-Myles and Carla

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Crick is in the bottle!

We bottled the Sour Cherry Crick last night and I've got to say...what a beast!

 A very pink beast!  The sourness came through great, both in aroma and taste.  It finished lower than I expected, with a Final Gravity of 1.013.  It was a little sour for Carla's taste, but I found it superbly tart.  Uncarbonated it tasted almost like a fine wine to me, very dry, with barely a hint of cherry.

We dissolved 6.2 oz corn sugar in 2 cups of boiling water, then cooled it to around room temperature.  Pour while stirring:
We aimed for the higher carbonation level.  This would be a good one for champagne bottles.

And funny enough, later in the night while drinking sour mash whiskey in celebration, I thought I kept smelling the Crick.  After a couple of drinks I realized I was smelling the whiskey!

-Myles and Carla

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Home Roast Nestok Amber

So here's a new experiment: an amber ale with only home-toasted grains. Referencing this site on home roasting grains,
I roasted 1 pound of Gold malt, and one 1 pound of Amber malt.  Here's the grain bill:

Home-Roast Nestok Amber Ale
OG: 1.044
FG: We'll see!

-7 lb Pale 2-row
-1 lb Home-toasted Amber
-1 lb Home-toasted Gold
Go here to learn how to toast your own grains

-0.5 oz Cascade 7.5% 60 min
-0.5 oz Cascade 7.5% 30 min

Fermentis Safbrew S-33

-2 g Servomyces yeast nutrient 15 min
-1 tsp Irish Moss 15 min

 We heated 2.5 gallons of strike water to 167F, to achieve a mash temperature of 148F.  Pour in those milled grains!

Stir that stuff up good, break up any clumps.

Then we wrap it with a towel, and mash for an hour.  Enjoy a homebrew at this time, or a good craft beer if you're out at the moment.

On a side note, I've gotta say, I love Cascade hops.  We buy them by the pound!  Very cheap at Brewtensils.

60 minutes of mashing, and we ended up a little above 140F.  Then we remove the swollen grain bag,

Pour into a bucket,

And heat 2 gallons of sparge water to 170 degrees Fahrenheit.

We sparged for 20 minutes, then removed the grain bag to a drip bucket, for adding any drippings later in the boil; gotta get all that malty goodness!

Get that sucker boiling, stove on high,

and add the first half ounce of Cascade hops.

 30 minutes into the boil, we added the rest of the Cascade hops, in a muslin bag.

At 45 minutes we added the Servomyces and Irish moss, a fining agent.  Then after the full hour boil, we shut the stove off, made an ice water bath, and cooled.  Remember to whirlpool your wort with a sanitized paddle or spoon when cooling to collect solids in the bottom/middle.

Beautiful!  The beer looks great too!

After that we poured the wort eagerly into the fermenter splashing vigorously to aerate.  The yeast love us!  Then we pitched one 11g packet of Safbrew S-33 at 88F

Now it's bubbling happily away, should be a good one!  And super cheap too!

-Myles and Carla

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Throwing Cherries in the Crick

 Pages: Brewday - Cherry Addition

Last night we threw 10 pounds of frozen, tart cherries (pitted) into the partial sour-mash beer affectionately known as "Crick" fermenting in the corner.  It was a week and two days since primary fermentation began, and the initial speedy bubbling had died down.

Our 10 lbs frozen pitted tart cherries came in two 5 lb bags.  We cut these open, poured the contents into our brewpot, and turned the heat on medium, stirring occasionally.

You don't want the cherries to boil for numerous reasons, including the extraction of bitter tannins and the destruction of delicate aromatic compounds.  We heated them to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and turned the pot off, holding the temperature for 20 minutes.  This pasteurizes the cherries without boiling or chemical additions.  After turning the burner off and letting the cherry slurry cool to 80F, we poured it, cup by cup, into the beer.  Get a load of the color!  And the goop!

These yeasties really love me!

Then we popped the lid back on, fit it with a fresh airlock, and set it back in the corner.  When we woke up, it was bubbling as fast as it had 3-4 days into primary fermentation.  Preferably you should use a blow-off tube, but alas, our tube is the wrong size.  No worries though, because no beer has come up through the airlock.

Pre-cherry addition, this beer already smelled like a fantastic fruity wheat beer.  The color was darker than expected, probably due to the oak cubes.  The sourness wasn't apparent in smell, but then again, it's still fermenting.

We can't wait to taste this one!  It's definitely our most out-there brew to date...

-Myles and Carla

 Pages: Brewday - Cherry Addition

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


We're tossing 10 lbs of red tart pitted cherries into the Crick tonight, pictures will soon abound!

Also, the first all home-roasted all-grain beer is fermenting away, expect the pictorial on that within the next couple of days.  It's a delicious smelling Amber Ale, so stay tuned...

-Myles and Carla

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

VD American Ale: Even Grandmas love it!

Left to right: Pa Nestok, Granma Nestok, and good ole Bunker Brewer, Myles Nestok

And she sure did love it!  Her impressions were mainly of the fruitiness in aroma, and depth of the lightly kilned malt flavors. The trip to Florida was a blast, best vacation yet, and everyone loved the VD American Ale.

Love ya, Granma!
-Myles & Carla Nestok

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sour Cherry Crick

Pages: Brewday - Cherry Addition

So I'm undertaking my a big endeavor here; a trifecta of firsts.  We're  doing a sour mash, oak fermented, cherry wheat beer. We're calling it "Crick" because it'll be like imitation Lambic, with sour mash replacing the lacto culture. And of course, when I hear sour mash I think of some good old sour mash KY Bourbon, so there you go: Crick.

-3bs 2 row Pale malt
-2 lbs Wheat malt
-1 lb Flaked wheat
-3 lbs Bavarian Wheat DME (65% Wheat, 35% Barley)

-Tettnang 4.7% 60 min

-Safbrew T-58

-3 oz American Oak cubes (house toast) in primary
-10 lbs frozen pitted tart cherries during secondary

Day 1: I took 5 oz of the grist (no extract), mashed in 1 quart of water at 150 for 60 minutes

Then I cooled it to 120 and poured it into a thermos, filling it almost to the brim. I threw in a handful of raw malt, and sealed tightly.

Day 2: I opened the container, pH was about 5, and temperature was 80. So then I boiled a couple cups of water in a tea kettle and set a drip tray under the thermos for spillage. Then I poured in boiling water, mixing with a spoon until the temperature was back to 120. I sealed it tightly, wrapped a towel around the thermos, and set it in a warm place in the closet.

Day 3: Here we go!  Sour mash pH was 3.5.

Time to brew!

We heated 5 gallons of water to a strike temperature of 157 degrees Fahrenheit, rigged it with our trusty strainer bag,

and poured in our 6 pounds of milled grains.  But...oh crap, I miscalculated!

When pouring the grain, I had forgotten to account for space displaced by the grains (one too many homebrews, eh?).  We had a bit of spillover, and boy, what a nasty mess.  Sadly, there were no photo opportunities, because we were both in frantic action.  All I can say today is thank god for baking soda and scrubbies.  In retrospect, we should have mashed with 4 gallons instead of 5, or maybe even less, of course adjusting temperatures accordingly.

So we poured a gallon of the wort into a clean bucket, and held back 3 cups to sour a bit and add during the boil just for the hell of it (actually it was 3 cups over a gallon...double oops).

When all was said and done, though, our mash still landed right at 150F, the projected temperature.  After mashing for 60 minutes, wrapping the pot with a towel, 

and ending at a temperature of 140F, we sparged with 1 gallon of 170F water for 10 minutes.  Then we raised the temperature, adding the hops at 190F,

and brought the wort to a rolling boil for 60 minutes.

30 minutes into the boil we lowered the heat and added the 3 lbs Bavarian Wheat DME, stirring constantly to prevent clumping.  For the first 45 minutes of the boil, I periodically added the quart of sour mash as evaporation occurred.

Then in the final 5 minutes of the boil, we added the American house roast oak cubes, for sanitizing purposes.

We turned the burner off (flame out) at 60 minutes, and let stand 20 minutes before cooling in an ice water bath in the sink.

Once that sucker hit 88F it was on!  We pitched the eager yeasties onto their fresh malt meal, and this morning the airlock was bubbling away.  Golly those things sure are gassy. (heheh)

Uh an inebriated state, I seemed to have forgotten to take an Original Gravity reading!  Those VD American Ales sure are tasty...

But at 75% Brewhouse efficiency, this beer would have an OG of 1.076 .  We usually hit more around 80% or 90% efficiency, and maybe even higher on this batch, considering the high water/grist ratio.  And with the addition of cherries to secondary fermentation, you can only imagine how monstrous this beer will be.

This is one Crick you don't wanna be caught up without a paddle...

-Myles and Carla

EDIT: OG is more like 1.060, thank you Highlander on

Pages: Brewday - Cherry Addition

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Spring is in the air...

We just got back from our awesome Florida trip (pictures soon!) and everyone loved the Engagement Day American Ale!  So now that we're back, the Bunker's operating again.  Bottling the Brown Porter with home roasted grain tonight, and this weekend we will try something new: sour mash.  Tomorrow we start the sour mash by taking 5 ounces of 2-row and doing a mini-mash, then cover and let it sit for 2 days.  By Sunday morning we'll have some lactobacillus and other funky stuff going on, which we'll through straight into the main mash during the boil.  This will lower the pH level of the mash, lending a tart flavor.

And what mash, may you ask?
A Sour Cherry Lambic-style Wheat Beer!

Stay tuned...
And after that, Dark Chocolate Wheat...mmm...


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Brown Porter with home-toasted Special Roast (All-Grain)

Yesterday was brew day, so we hiked our excited asses up to the Miami Valley Brewtensils for the freshest ingredients to brew our first 5 gallon all-grain batch, a basic brown porter.  We got there and found everything for this recipe easily, except one pound of British brown malt.  When I asked if they had it, Jeff Fortney told me they didn't, but they were getting it in soon with their bulk grain order.  He told me there was no straight substitute for British Brown, but he would use Special Roast 50L, with an added step: spread the grains on a flat pan, and toast them in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 to 30 minutes, checking periodically.  They would be done when the inside was a brownish white color.  Of course we decided to give it a shot.  Here we go:

Brown Porter #1 (All-Grain)
5 gallon batch

OG: 1.046
FG: 1.018
ABV: 3.7%

-6.5 lbs US 2-row Pale malt
-1 lb Caramel 40L
-1 lb toasted Special Roast 50L
-0.75 lb Chocolate 350L

-1 oz US Fuggles 4.8%AA (90 minutes)

-1 packet (11g) Danstar Nottingham dry yeast

-1 tsp Irish Moss (15 minutes)

 (Special Roast on right is pre-toasting)

First we had to toast the pound of Special Roast.  And boy, did it ever smell good!

First, we spread the grains out on a flat baking pan.

 While she spread the grains, I set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Once the oven was heated, we popped the grains in and set our timer for 20 minutes, stirring halfway through to ensure even heating.  When we took the pan out, it looked like this:

When we cut one in half, the inside was brown-white, and we knew we were done.  We heated 3 gallons of strike water in our pot to 166 degrees, to try to attain a mash temperature of 152.  While that heated we crushed the toasted Special Roast.  Since we brew in a nylon mesh bag and don't have to worry about stuck sparges, we just ground them in our food processor.

Once the water hit 166, we turned off the stove and poured the grains into our already-secured mesh straining bag.

We stirred profusely with the mash paddle to break up clumps, and wrapped our trusty towel around the brew pot.

Always remember to write everything down!
There's no use in a good recipe if it can't be remembered.
After a 60 minute mash, we removed the grain bag to a drip bucket, and poured the wort into a separate bucket.  Time to sparge!  We heated 3 gallons of sparge water to 180 degrees Fahrenheit in the brew pot.  Then we replaced the grain bag, stirred a bit,

And let it sparge for 10 minutes.  After pulling the swollen sack from the sparge water and removing it to a drip bucket,

We poured the wort back in to mix with the sparge water and bring to a boil.

Holy crap!  That's way too full!
We cut it extremely close with our pot's headspace, and preferably would have had more, but still suffered no boil-over.  Needless to say, we hovered over the pot with brew paddle ready.
Once the wort came to a rolling boil, we put our ounce of Fuggles hops in a nylon bag, dropped it into the wort, and set the timer for 75 minutes.

After that 75 minutes had passed we added 1 tsp of Irish Moss (a fining agent) and stirred the boil periodically for 15 more minutes.
Then it was time to chill the wort, so we filled our sink with ice water, put the kettle in, and removed the hops bag.

After the wort cooled to around 115 degrees, we poured it into our fermentor.  It only reached the 4-gallon mark, so we brought another gallon of water to a boil, let it cool for a moment, and topped off our "Ale Pail" to achieve 5 gallons of raw porter.

We pitched the yeast straight into the fermentor without rehydration, at a higher temperature (around 104) than most would recommend, sealed the lid on tight, and fit with an airlock.  Then we sent it to the corner.

When we awoke this morning, it was bubbling away!  This should be a good mid-range Brown Porter.  Rest assured, we'll let you know how it turns out!

-Myles and Carla