Category Archives: Beer

The Daddy of the drinks…

DIY Mash Tun Build

Here is a video of my attempt at a DIY mash tun based on the instructable project here, my version has a few tweaks to the design. It didn’t go entirely smoothly and my first mash in it got stuck big time but I think I have solved that issue and will report back once I have done the second test. If you fancy a go here is what I used:

3 Old FVs/Boiler Bucket (Need to be same size so they fit together)
Tank Connector
90deg Brass Elbow
Hex Nipple
Ball Valve
Expanding Foam
Thermawrap Insulation

A drill with 2-3mm bit and a 20mm spade

There will be loads of the insulation and foam left over, I used it to add insulation to my shed roof.

Stuck for an airlock?

So, I threw my mead on and was stuck for an airlock. Couldn’t find a bung anywhere. was closed and me the missus and the little monster were due out for dinner with the outlaws…

Quick Google showed this method and it seems to work really well…

Positive pressure inside the balloon and a couple of tiny pinprick holes means instant airlock. Brilliant. I think I’ll be using this method with my DJs from now on. So bloody simple…

Not quite so failed, but a lesson learned…

You may have read my post a couple days ago about my potentially failed brew, well, it seems its not as failed as I thought, and is in fact chugging along quite nicely now after the introduction of a non dead yeast…

Yep, you guessed it, the wonderful Wyeast Ringwood liquid yeast I inoculated with initially was dead. It’d been in the fridge for 8 weeks, and I honestly didn’t give it any thought at all before smacking it, and pitching it. Guess I really should have done.

Lesson Learned. Buy fresh yeast for brews you know you’ll have time to do VERY SOON, and keep a damned good stock of dried JIC.

Seems a few of the liquid yeasties were alive, and have begun making babies as I am getting a very interesting nose from the bucket which isn’t Weiss (From the MJ20 I pitched) but an estery almost floral mix…

Guess we’ll see how this one ends up, but it’s not the failure I first thought…

Moose’ Brew

In the vain of Dudes recipes, I thought I’d share one of my favourites, and an absolute ever present staple of my beer arsenal…

Moose’ Brew

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Weissbier
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 23 liters (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 31 liters
Boil Gravity: 1.036
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)


Original Gravity: 1.049
Final Gravity: 1.011
ABV (standard): 4.93%
IBU (tinseth): 12.38
SRM (morey): 5.01


3 kg – German – Wheat Malt (56.6%)
2 kg – German – Pilsner (37.7%)
150 g – Rice Hulls (2.8%)
0.15 kg – German – Caramel Wheat (2.8%)


20 g – Hallertau Hersbrucker, 60 min, IBU: 9.08
20 g – Hallertau Hersbrucker, 10 min, IBU: 3.29


1) Sparge, Temp: 66 C, Time: 60 min, Amount: 15 L
Starting Mash Thickness: 3.5 L/kg


Wyeast – Weihenstephan Weizen 3068
Starter: No
Form: Liquid
Attenuation (avg): 75%
Flocculation: Low
Fermentation Temp: 22 C

This comes out as a very clean, extremely close Weihenstephaner clone and a very nice weissbier. My brother in law loves the beer, so I decided to make him some for christmas, and it turned out amazing. I’ve since done another 2 batches scaled down to 10L and it doesnt hang around very long at all. Give it a shot, its Weihenstaphaner just at 30p a bottle…

Wacky Blonde

Continuing the Golden Ale theme here is one that uses one of the less well know NZ hops, Wakatu, to deliver a really light and refreshing Blonde/Golden Ale, looking at the hopping schedule you would expect this to be more in the American Pale category but the Wakatu hops are very subtle and the end result was not the sort of hop bomb you might expect with that quantity of late additions. This is probably down to the noble heritage (hallertau) of this strain and the modest levels of oils they contain. My tasting notes for this brew ‘Smooth fruity taste with a zesty but mellow lime finish, clean malt profile and a light frothy mouthfeel’. The grist here is a good base for golden/pale ales generally, use different caramel/crystal malts to adjust the colour.

Batch size: 23 Litres
Brewhouse efficiency: 70%
OG: 1.041
FG: 1.008
IBUs: 37
ABV: 4.4%


4 kg Pale Ale Malt
0.35 kg Munich Malt
0.2 kg CaraGold (Or Caramalt or Light Crystal etc etc)


22g Topaz at 60 minutes (or use any clean bittering hop)
20g Wakatu at 10 minutes
50g Wakatu at 0 minutes
30g Wakatu dry hop for 5 days


US05 or consider an English strain for a more estery character

Mash at 65c

Ferment at 20c

Dr Smurtos Golden Ale

This is a Pale Ale recipe from Australia although style wise its more of a British Golden/Pale Ale or Bitter, then again its also got American hops in so maybe its not worth trying to categorise at all! Anyway its very popular and rates extremely highly on the beersmith recipe database. I have made this as a partial mash and all grain and it’s been great both times.

Batch size: 23 Litres
Brewhouse efficiency: 80%
OG: 1.046
FG: 1.010
IBUs: 35
ABV: 4.7%


2.44 kg Pilsner Malt
0.8 kg Wheat Malt
0.8 kg Munich Malt
0.24 kg Weyermann CaraMunich II


20g Amarillo at 60 minutes
26g Amarillo at 20 minutes
26g Amarillo at 0 minutes


US05 or consider an English strain for a more estery character

Mash at 66c

Ferment at 20c


Looking like a failed brew…

So, I went to a beer festival (the Magna Real Ale Festival in Sheffield) last saturday and ended up having a couple of pints of Why kick a Moo Cow by Arbor Ales, a very nice pint with a wonderful fruity twist and a good hoppy flavour, while avoiding my personal gripe of making them too bitter.

I tried to replicate a version of this, aimed for the right colour, had the correct hops and did a quick blast with some fairly neutral yeast but it just hasnt started bubbling yet. No Krausen, no activity of any kind…


I’ve pitched the only yeast I had in stock (Mental note, order more…) which was a Belgian weiss yeast, and I’m hoping this will pull it through.

Have you ever had one just not start? I havent changed a thing in my process, and the starting gravity was on point with what was expected (1.050) so I’m a little concerned that something may be wrong with my sanitation and sterilisation routine for this one…

Heres hoping the yeasties pull one back and this beer comes to fruition…


ChemCast on SoundCloud!

The ElChemCast is now available on SoundCloud.

Check it out for regular discussion and thoughts on brewing and the brewing world, with some other banter and thoughts as well.

It may sound like the ramblings of a madman, and honestly it probably is, but I try to cover the bases and hopefully provide some nugget of information for you to enhance, explain or just plain entertain your brewing experience.

Enjoy, and leave any comments you have below.