JD’s Brew Log

Figured I’d track what I was doing in the brewery, or so it’s called when my wife see’s me put my apron on, and keep some notes lest I forget what the hell I was doin’.

October 8, 2017 Bourbon Barrel Two Braggot

Started the day out gathering up all my brewing equipment, one pot, one spoon, and one paint strainer. Whew…what a morning. Going to put together another Bourbon Barrel project, this one is just a bit different from the original. I added some honey malt, roasted barley and used maltodextrin in place of the lactose. Here’s the recipe:

6lbs dark malt LME (late addidion at 15 min)
4 lbs Wildflower honey
1 lb Wheat DME
5 oz maltodextrin
.75 lb UK Chocolate
.5 lb Crystal 120
.25 lb UK Coffee malt
.25 lb UK roasted barley
.25 lb Canadian honey malt
1 oz Chinook hops for 60 min
.5 oz UK Goldings for 15 min
.5 oz UK Goldings for 5 min
1 oz American oak chips (primary)
4 oz soaked Hungarian oak cubes (secondary)
16 oz Michter’s Kentucky Bourbon (secondary)
4 Madagascar vanilla beans
SAFALE04 yeast

30 minute steep for the grains at 155º F, 60 minute boil. After 7-10 days in primary, should be good for secondary, I’ll add the wood, bourbon and beans. I plan on aging at least 6 months, maybe more.


October 5, 2017 Kegged & Bottled

OK, so it’s been a while. I bottled up a what was left of the Tin Can Beach braggot, wound up with just shy of a case. It needs some work, a little too hoppy, and not enough honey aroma. Will try that one again next year after I refine the recipe. Besides, I needed the keg.

I also kegged the Pumpkin Braggot, not real impressed with it either. The spice recipe I used that people raved about has way too much allspice. A clove flavor sort of overtakes the nutmeg and cinnamon. I can pick out the ginger a bit, but the spice recipe needs a work over too. Will try again in the next few days. I racked the Bourbon Vanilla Porter a few days ago, tasted a small sample, not bad. It’s sitting on 4 oz of Hungarian medium toast oak soaked in Belle Meade bourbon, poured the excess bourbon off and added fresh bourbon to 16 oz and dumped that in. Added 3 vanilla beans, and will let it sit for about 8 months to age a bit.

Ordered a bunch of grain and malt from MoreBeer, going to start another Bourbon Barrel Braggot, something similar to my second place category winner, BB1. Lots going on here, check back in a few weeks to see if there’s anything new.



UPDATE September 15, 2017 Bourbon Vanilla Porter Braggot

It’s in the fermenter at 66º F for the next 2 weeks. Used White Labs, WLP005 British Ale yeast. Saw some good reviews on it, figured I’d give it a try. Most say it gives a very smooth, malty taste to beer, and this is right in my wheelhouse for this project.

September 14, 2017 Bourbon Vanilla Porter Braggot

Here’s the grain bill:

1 lb Crystal 40L
.5 lb Black Patent
.5 lb Carapils
.5 lb UK Chocolate
.25 lb German Munich 1
.25 lb UK Coffee

I’ll use 7 lbs of extra light LME, and 6 lbs of caramelized wildflower honey. Hopped up with 1 oz of Northern Brewer at 60 min, .5 oz Chinook at 30 min, and finally 1 oz of Cascade at 5 min. Secondary is where all the fun takes place. I have 4 oz Hungarian Oak soaking in some Belle Meade Bourbon, and will also add 4 Madagascar vanilla beans to a few ounces of Jack Daniels Single Barrel, and 18 ounces of Eagle Rare 10 year Bourbon. It will sit in secondary until late December to age.


September 10, 2017 Limes & Carpet Cleaners

I started a mead using 12 pounds of Brazilian Wildflower honey and 1  1/4 cup of fresh squeezed lime juice for a 5 1/2 gallon batch. I purchased 4 pounds of limes from a fruit stand on the way home from a photo shoot up the coast. I zested all the limes before juicing them, will use the zest in secondary. Also thinking of adding some tequila soaked oak as well. But, on the second day as I was about to feed my mead after a degassing, I had a MASSIVE explosion all over the carpet in my brew room. I had purchased a new cordless 1/2 inch drill and it has a high speed switch on it. I must have accidentally bumped the switch, because when I squeezed the trigger, it spun like a turbine spewing mead over the top of the fermenter like one of those decorative waterfalls you see on Amazon. What a mess. It was about 10 pm, and luckily we have a carpet cleaner that I could use to clean the mess. By the time I was able to mop up what I could with towels, I started cleaning carpets at about 11 o’clock that night. I’m sure the neighbors probably though I was tuning an Indy car in my house.

August 25, 2017 Racking Day

I racked the pumpkin after 10 days in primary, gravity was 1.020, it has about 7 more points to drop, looking for around 1.013 or so. Took a taste, not bad at all. I detect a bit of alcohol even after fermenting at 67º F, but its not in your face. The plan is to let it sit and age for a few months and let all the flavors come together. I also added 2 1/2 Ugandan vanilla beans, they have a bold flavor, lots of vanillin, and an aroma that smells like milk chocolate. Its a great bean to use in chocolate deserts!


August 23, 2017 Cactus Hay Field Braggot

On the boil, 6 lbs wheat extract, 1/2 lb of Munich malt and 1/2 lbs Crystal 60L with 1 oz of Cascade hops to start. At 5 minutes til, I’ll dump in 1 oz of Willimatte hops. In the fermenter post-cool down, I’ll add 3 lbs of Cactus honey and 1 lb of Orange Blossom. Using SAFALE-05 yeast. Nothing more will be added. Ferment at 68º F.


August 19, 2017 Pumpkin Braggot Stout UPDATE

The boil went as planned last Monday, and by the time I got the pumpkin spice in during the last 5 minutes, the whole house smelled like pumpkin pie! For days~! Starting gravity was 1.096, rather high but suitable for the White Labs WLP0099 Ultra High Gravity Ale Yeast. If this works out, I’ll make a note to try Danstar Nottingham next time. I added 30 oz of canned Trader Joe’s organic Pumpkin, its for nothing more than mouthfeel. It will add a bit of creaminess as it provides little to no flavor at all. Don’t believe me? Throw a pumpkin pie in the oven without the spices and take a big bite! It took all night for it to get started, but Tuesday morning it was chugging like a freight train. It’s Saturday now, and it has already slowed to a crawl. Plan is to leave it in the fermenter for 10 – 12 days to allow as much sediment to fall out as possible. I have a good 5 1/2 gallons of wort, hoping to get close to 5 gallons into secondary. There I will add 2 Madagascar vanilla beans, 6 oz of toasted cocoa nibs, and a scant 4 oz of light roast whole coffee bean.

Today was also keg racking day for my Tin Can Beach Apricot Braggot Ale, this is a home grown recipe I managed to put together with 4 oz of Apricot extract. I snuck a few ounces to sample, it has a very mild apricot taste and I must say I’m pleased. It will sit overnight at 35º F in the keezer, then tomorrow evening I will insert the submersible carbonator gadget and get it carbed up.


August 12, 2017 – Caramelizing Honey & Blueberry Mead

I started the process at around 10 AM, and by 8 PM it had finally reached 220º F. I think I’ll stop here. After 10 hours on high in the crockpot, I’m satisfied that the level of caramelization is where I want it. It’s several shades darker, smells like toasted marshmallows, and I think it will go well with the specialty grains and dark extract syrup I chose for the project.

Finally 1.022

Another small project I have been working on is a blueberry mead using 71B, a yeast I have had issues

with in the past. This is simply 3 lbs of frozen blueberries that sat for 24 hours on pectic enzymes to help break up the cell structure for more juice and flavor, I also threw in 1 pound of mango chunks I had sitting in the freezer also. Around 3 pounds of orange blossom and a bit of wildflower to get me to 1.132 for a starting gravity, now sitting at 1.022, I racked it and put it in my keezer for a cold crash.


August 11, 2017 – Pumpkin Braggot Stout

My missing grain was delivered today, 1 pound of Crystal 70/80L and 1 pound of coffee malt. I had placed a big order a week ago, hoping to get my pumpkin project off the ground last Wednesday, but had to postpone. The task at hand now is to caramelize 6 pounds of wildflower honey to about 230º F and hold it there for about 10 minutes. I’ll get that done tomorrow.  I’m considering doing it in my cast iron dutch oven on the stove instead of the crockpot. That should give me a nice roasty flavor without going to the burn marshmallow stage. I have all my grains bagged and ready for the hot-tub, hope to get started by Monday.  I made up my own pumpkin spice blend using 8 tsp cinnamon, 4 tsp ground ginger, 2 tsp fresh grated nutmeg, 2 tsp ground allspice and 1 tsp ground cloves. My brew calls for 2 Tbsp of the blend at flameout. More tomorrow, if I don’t forget.