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GrowleyMonster

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Apparently, we don't need no steenking recipe, and it wouldn't matter if we did. I brewed my last couple batches pretty much at random, just making sure there were plenty of fermentables in there. My kegs got all mixed up. Last keg was I THINK my "Double Block" Northern Brewer recipe kit for their "Block Party Amber Ale, but two kits of ingredients in one 5gal batch. Mrs Monster liked it and I did, too. The new keg I just hooked up yesterday and obviously NOT the same ingredients, I sampled today and it made me leap with joy! Wow that was some tasty stuff! Came out like a stout with a very VERY intense, almost overpowering espresso flavor and an incredible stiff, foamy head on it. In fact, for my second glass, I poured about 1/3 mug of milk and then pulled my "beerpresso" shots into it. Delicious! Beer Cappuccino! I am sure the beer nerds will be howling with outrage but sometimes the most random stuff is just the absolute best. Now, if I can only exactly, precisely duplicate that batch... LOL! The keg before last came out like a very creamy ale, pretty darn good. I bet it was the batch where I ground up a carton of quaker oats and a pound of cooked rice and dumped them in with the two row. Mrs Monster wants me to try cream of wheat one of these days.

Today was supposed to be a brew day but I had to spend the day securing the boat for Hurricane Sally. I was planning to grind about 12lbs of pale two row and two pounds of some briess super dark choc malt, brew in the bag style, then add several pounds of pale LME. Then the not so spent grain I would sparge and add all the rest of my LME, however much that is and whatever type it is, to the second run, for a second 5gal batch from the same grains. I have been using Hothead yeast and I got one pack in the fridge and I am pretty sure I got some other miscellaneous ale yeasts I can use for the second batch. Maybe this time I will do a better job of labeling the kegs. Or, maybe not. And I still got two mystery kegs ready to drink!

This is a lot more fun than driving to the store and picking up another case of Dixie.
 

bobeer

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wow a lot going on there! Sounds good! That espresso coffee sounds awesome. I love to drop an espresso shot in my oatmeal chocolate stout.

Recipes are a good way to get started just to see what styles have what kind of ingredients in them but once you get a grip on that stuff it's pretty easy to make up your own. If you care about style that is haha. Pushing the style guidelines is the best part of brewing.

I still use a brewing calculator just to make sure I'm in the wheelhouse of where I want to be but it's all based on the ingredients I have on hand. It also saves my recipes in case I want to brew them again or if I want to add notes.
 
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GrowleyMonster

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So, Friday was a brew day. I ground up 15lb Viking Pale 2-row and 2lb Briess Chocolate. I got one 10lb bag of the pale left, for the next batch, and that's all the malted grain I have on hand. So after next brew day, got to stock up again. For LME, same situation. After next brew day, I will be out.

So I mashed in a bag with a strike temp of 160. My digital thermometer went out on me. After mashing in, I checked and the temp, which should have been about 152, It was reading 162 so I decided I couldn't trust it. Mashed for an hour, pulled the bag and set it aside for a sparge batch. I added 5lbs Brewmaster pale LME to up the grav. I boiled this for an hour with 1oz Cascade hops. At room temp, sg was 1.096. Since I can only estimate temp, I didn't bother correcting to 60f.

While that batch was chilling, I sparged the bag with 5gal water. The mash, after cooling to room temp, was 1.065 sg. The sparge came out 1.020. So, a significant amount of sugar was salvaged, about what I thought I was getting when I did this before without bothering to take gravity readings. Of course, lots of color, flavor, ad a bit of body. But I had an ace in the hole. I added 9lb amber ale LME and 5lb Porter LME. My room temp grav after boiling and cooling to room temp was 1.107 on this batch. Again, 1oz Cascade hops.

Yeast was supposed to be Hothead but the pack I have is kinda old so I went to the local brew shop for more. They were out, but I scored some Voss Kveik and pitched one pack each in the two Big Mouth Bubblers, and for good measure I split the Hothead between them. I figured that was a pretty good pitch for a big beer.

And boy was it. The next day I had a nice 2" krausen on top of each. I walked away and in two hours they were both blowing off like volcanoes, so I rigged a couple of blowoff hoses and they settled down by evening.

These two batches will be slightly bigger beers than any I have made to date. Fingers crossed but everything seems to be going okay except for the dried puddle of foam all over the hallway.

So the ingredients I still have on hand are the 10lb bag of pale 2-row and 1 4lb bag of Porter LME. That should make a nice drinkable 5gal batch, poured right over the trub of one of these two batches. That will leave me with every keg in the house full.

The cheap Viking pale 2-row has worked nicely for me, as well as the hothead yeast, both from the pack and saved from the fermenter. I will probably back off on the gravity in the future and go about 15lb grain for 5 gallons, sparge the grain and add LME for a second run off the same grain. To keep expenses down, I probably won't bother with any special stuff like the chocolate malt, or any stout or porter LME. I liked the batches I did like that just fine. I am sold on the BIAB method, too. It just WORKS. A kettle with a spigot... huge work saver. I will definitely be getting another, for my two batch days. The Big Mouth Bubblers are a game changer. My Corona corn mill has a busted foot and I may be upgrading, though the Corona is crazy cheap and works just fine so maybe just a new Corona. The only other thing I am thinking about adding to the setup is an O2 system.
 

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