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...