It’s Alive!

Posted in Beer on February 17, 2012 by elproducto75

After a month in primary with nothing but the Roeselare yeast, La Lanterne Rouge has started to develop a nice pellicle.  Going to be a long 11 months!  It’s a long weekend coming up, so I have plans to do at least 2 brews: Dark English Mild, a nice sub 4% session beer and hopefully a Schwarzbier to pitch on the cake from my Stubby’s Pils which will go into lagering at the same time.


Sorry for the picture quality, hard to take photos in the carboy.


Stubbys’ Pils

Posted in Beer, Recipes on February 1, 2012 by elproducto75

My grandfather is just an amazing guy.  He joined the Canadian Navy when he was 16 by lying about his age.  You normally hear about people not wanting to join the military.. but he fibbed his way in.  He has had about every job in order to support his wife and 5 kids, everything from selling TV’s, working for hydro as a lineman, and selling office trailers and mobile homes.  He loves to fish and hunt, and be outdoors in general.  As of late, his health and mind are starting to fail on him but he still keeps that great sense of humor that everyone knows him by.  He is one of the great inspirations for my love of beer and food.  Not because he drank the best beer (he’s a Bud man), but he always encourages us to try new things.  He has travelled the world with my Grandmother, and loves to drink the local beers of whichever country he is visiting. 

My first lager, a Bohemian Pilsner is dedicated to my grandfather who goes by his Navy nickname Stub.

I present Stubby’s Pils

1.056 OG

40 IBU’s

Mash at 154 for 90 minutes. – Didn’t bother with a decoction mash, mostly b/c I use a cooler, and it seems like way too much work.

95% Pilsner Malt

5% Carapils

 Saaz 60 min.

Saaz 20 min.

Saaz 10 min.

Saaz 5 min.

2 packs of Saflager W34/70 yeast rehydrated and pitched into 45 degree wort.  Free rise up to approx. 52 degrees (ambient basement temp).  It’s chugging away as we speak, and I’ll likely do a short Diacytl rest at the end of 7 days, and then leave in primary for another week.  I then will lager in my kegerator for about 4 weeks before tapping.  Hoping for a nice hoppy, crisp pilsner.. like Stubby loves to drink.

In other news, my Flanders Red has stopped active fermentation, but I’m keeping it in the ferm chamber at 68 degrees for the meantime to get the bugs going.  Superbowl is this weekend, and I’ve got a couple of kegs dangerously close to kicking.. must brew more!!

Nervous Nelly

Posted in Uncategorized on January 24, 2012 by elproducto75

La Lanterne Rouge is in the bucket fermenting as we speak, I can finally say.  Brew day went well, which made me happy as it was my first time trying a concentrated stovetop boil.  Winter brewing in Northern Ontario sucks, I’ll get that out there.  Either the propane freezes and the boil is anemic, or there is too much steam to see the boil and I end up overshooting my gravity.  My solution was to try doing a concentrated stovetop boil in a 20 quart. pot, and adding sterile water after to get my final gravity. 

I’ll spare you the mathematics as I mostly threw caution to the wind and basically made it up as I went.  I figured I’d mash/sparge using my normal grain bill for a 5 gallon batch, but aim for 3 gallons at the end of the boil.  I would then use Beersmith’s dilution feature to figure out what I’d need to dilute.  Although it took a while longer to get a good boil going on the stove, it worked out well and I ended up with a 1.081 OG for 3 gallons.  I was aiming for about 1.056 going into the fermenter, and Beersmith told me that by adding 1.5 gallons of water would get me at 1.055 OG in the fermenter.  I ended up with just shy of 5 gallons of wort, which was a dark red.. I then added my med. toast oak chips.

I had a pack of Wyeast 3763 Roeselare blend which is recommended for Flanders Red.  It contains all of the bugs needed to sour this beer, including Brett, Lacto and Pedio.  Some people ferment with a regular ale yeast and then add the Roeselare blend in secondary, but the 3763 has some Saccro in it, and it has been felt that by pitching in primary you get a more sour beer.. which is fine by me.  I wanted Rodenbach Grand Cru level sour.  Unfortunately the pack I had was about 6 months old, so after smacking I had no visible signs that it was working 6 hours later.  I tossed it in 500ml of leftover wort from the boil, and planned on pitching the next morning once it got going.  Well that didn’t exactly happen.

I woke up, ready to pitch my raging starter only to find that the starter had absolutlely no signs of fermentation with the yeast sitting on the bottom.  On to the interwebs to find that 3763 is a notoriously slow starter, and to be patient.  I emailed Mike Tonsemiere and he urged me to get it going with a neutral ale yeast like S-04.  I started to think, well what’s the worst that can happen.. it gets an infection?  Mike for those that don’t know is well known in the homebrew community for being well versed in sour beers, his homebrew blog is a regular on my list (Mad Fermentationist), so I figured I should really listen to him.  I did decide though to give it another 24 hours and see what happens.

Much to my delight 48 hours later, I woke up this morning to some nice froth on the surface of the wort.. we are in business.  See you next year La Lanterne Rouge!

I’ll definately do this stovetop method for regular gravity beers this winter, it was easy despite the fact my wife really doesn’t like the smell of brewing.

Change of plans

Posted in Beer, Recipes on January 19, 2012 by elproducto75

I’ve had a change of plans for my weekend brew.  As I was sipping on a glass of my Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere clone my first ever “sour” beer (which turned out absolutely fantastic), I started to crave some Rodenbach Grand Cru which I of course have none of.  I made my way to my cellar and grabbed my copy of Wild Brews, resisting the temptation to crack one of my bottles of Lindeman’s Cuvee Renee.  Next thing I know, I’m checking my supplies to see if I can brew a Flanders Red.

Anyone who knows anything about homebrewing sours, knows that it takes TIME.  This thing will not even be drinkable for about a year, the longer the better.  So I figured that I can brew an American Wheat anytime, the kegerator is full (even have a pipeline) so I’d best get a Flanders started.

I’m going to use the recipe from Brewing Classic Styles as my first, since it’s simple and I have everything, including a smackpack of Roeselare yeast.  I know in BCS Jamil suggests fermenting with a normal Ale yeast first, and then adding the Roeselare in secondary, but I think he’s changed his tune and the concensus is that you will get better results by just pitching Roeselare right from the get go.

My plan is to brew this recipe every 6 months, reusing the cake and adding a fresh pack each brew.  Hopefully this will give me some good beers to blend.
In honor of my love for cycling, and the Tour De France I’m going to name this beer La Lanterne Rouge, which refers to the name for the cyclist in last place in the TDF.

La Lanterne Rouge

6 Gallons, 70% Efficiency

5.25 lbs Pilsener Malt
5.25 lbs Vienna Malt
1 lb Munich
0.5 lb Wheat (I’m going to use Flaked Wheat to add some complexity)

1 oz. East Kent Goldings at 60 min.

Mash 154 for 60 min.
90 min. boil
Wyeast 3763 Roeselare 6 months Primary, then secondary on Oak Chips

Fun with homemade labels

Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2012 by elproducto75

I don’t have the patience to label bottles, in fact I hardly bottle anymore, nor do I have any artistic talent.  It is fun though, to mockup some labels and I even use these as tap signs for my kegerator. is a great, fun website for making your own labels.  The selection is rather limited, but you can do one in about 15 sec.

Here is one I recently made for my Deschutes Obsidian Stout clone, I’ve nicknamed Line Poacher American Stout.


First brewing post – Red Rock Wheat (American Wheat)

Posted in Beer, Recipes on January 17, 2012 by elproducto75

I’m setting my sights on perfecting my  own American Wheat recipe.  I brewed one last year with Citra/Amarillo and didn’t really like it, the hops were overpowering.  My plan with this recipe is to brew something crisp/clean and reasonably light for summer drinking.  Calling it Red Rock Wheat after the famous lighthouse near my cottage on Georgian Bay

In my head I have the following as a recipe, any suggestions are appreciated.  I’m going to leave crystal malts out, use mostly noble “style” hops and ferment cool with a Kolsch yeast.  Last year I bought 1/2 pound of Sorachi Ace, and I’ve been afraid to use it with all of the reports of “Lemon Pledge” notes which I would like to avoid.  Brooklyn Brewery does a Sorachi Ace Saison but I have yet to try it, it’s popular so can’t be all bad.  I think I’ll use a light hand and just add a bit at flameout.

Somewhere around 5.2% ABV, and about 25 Ibu’s

45% 2-Row

45% Wheat

10% Munich 10L

Willamette – 60 min.

Willamette – 15 min.

Crystal – Flameout

Sorachi Ace – Flameout

Mash 152, Ferment in low 60’s with Wyeast 2565

I’ll post the final recipe this weekend after I brew, if anyone has any suggestions before then.. feel free!



Posted in Uncategorized on January 17, 2012 by elproducto75

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