Monday, February 27, 2006

Arrogant Bastard Clone Recipe

Arrogant Bastard Clone


11.5 pounds pale two-row malt

1.5 pounds crystal 120

1.25 oz chinook pellets (12.5 aa%) (15.6 AAUs) @ 90 min
1.0 oz chinook pellets (12.5 AAUs) @ 30 min
0.5 oz chinook pellets (6.25 AAUs) @ flame out
1 tsp Irish moss
White Labs WLP007 or WLP001 (English Ale Yeast)

Place crushed grains in water and steep at 155 degrees for 60 minutes. Boil for 90 minutes, adding the hops according to schedule. Add Irish Moss last 5 minutes of the boil. Cool wort and pitch yeast. Primary ferment at about 68 F for 7 to 10 days. Secondary fermentation optional.


Style Strong Ale

Recipe Type All Grain

Batch Size 5 gallons

Original Gravity 1.074

Final Gravity 1.018

Boiling Time 90 minutes

Primary Fermentation Glass, ~ 68 F, 7-10 days

Secondary Fermentation optional

Other Specifics 75 IBUs, about 7% abv.


Aging will mellow the Bastard so drink it young if you want to prove your worth.

Extract Brewers can substitute Light Malt Extract for the 11.5 pounds of pale malt. Should take about 2 three pound cans.

Recipe from

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Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Scotch Ale

I stopped into our local brewpub (Marzoni's) for a few beers and some fine grub. They make six beers that are the everyday beers and usually have 2 different ones on tap. During October, you can have an Octoberfest beer, Spring time was a Sassion, etc. Currently, they have a Scotch Ale and an Imperial Stout on tap. I tried the Scotch Ale and for those of you that do not like a lot of hops, then this beer is one to make. You can taste the malt in a Scotch Ale and is a nice drinking beer. My wife even liked it and she is not a beer drinker. So this week's recipe is a Scotch Ale.

This recipe has a variety of procedures that may be new to some beginners. Give it a try and see how well you do.

Read This Week's Recipe

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Or, If you want to try an easier recipe, here is one to try.


  • 6.6 lb Ireks munich light LME
  • 2.0 lb Ireks munich malt (10L ?)
  • 0.5 lb M&F crystal malt (60L)
  • 0.5 lb Ireks crystal malt (20L)
  • 3.0 oz M&F chocolate malt (350L)
  • 4.0 oz white wheat malt (2L)
  • 2.0 oz Hugh Baird peat smoked malt (2L)
  • 1.0 oz East Kent Goldings (whole, 60 min boil)
  • 1.0 oz Fuggles (whole, 15 min boil)
  • 1 tsp Irish moss (rehydrated, 15 min boil)
  • Wyeast 1338 (european ale, 1 qt starter)
  • 4.5 oz corn sugar (primimg)


- mashed all the grains in 4 qts of 156F water for 1 hr
- sparged with 4 qts of 170F water
- SG of runnings: 1.036 in ~7 qts
- added LME, made volume up to 3 gal, boiled for 1 hr
- chilled with immersion chiller, aerated, made volume up to 5 gal, aerated some more, pitched 1 qt starter
- fermented at 65 - 68F

To do the mash on my stove, I just heat up the mash water to ~165F (in my kettle) then drop in the grain bag containing the crushed grains. Stir real well, let it sit for a minute, then check the temp. If its to low (which it will be) either add small amounts of boiling water (1 cup at a time, stir, let it sit for a minute, then check the temp) or add heat with the stove burner on medium heat while gently stirring constantly. After you hit the mash temp, cover it up and let it sit for 1 hour. At the end of the 1 hour, I lift the grain bag just above the surface of the wort and sparge by pouring the sparge water over the grains gently with a measuring cup.

As you can see, my mash setup/technique is pretty simple and doesn't require a lot of extra equipment. I'm not trying to get the max possible extraction from the grains, only the flavor/body that was missing before I started doing these partial mashes.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Stuck Fermentation

Weekly Troubleshooting Tip

I have had troubles in the past with different wines and beers not starting out as they should or stopping before being complete Most recently, a cherry concentrate took a couple of days to get started. I fiqured it was due to low temperature and took the steps to correct it.

This article from Grapestompers is a very good article and covers most of the problems with a stuck fermentation. It is a long post, but is really worth the time to read it.

Have you ever started a wine - and fermentation seems to start normally enough - but all of a sudden, the signs of fermentation (bubbles in your airlock, or falling Specific Gravity, for example) seem to slow down or stop too soon? If so, you've experienced what's known as a "stuck fermentation."

By definition, a stuck fermentation is a fermentation that has stopped before all the available sugar in the wine has been converted to alcohol and CO2. Were you to give up on the wine at this point, it would taste semi-sweet and pretty bad. That would be a shame, and what's more, a waste of good juice!

How did this situation occur? More importantly, what can you do to restart fermentation and salvage your wine?

Is It Really Stuck?
Before we dive into these questions, we should first make sure that our wine is stuck. Ask yourself these questions before you start dumping yeasts, additives, and chemicals willy-nilly into your carboy:

  1. What is the SG (specific gravity) of your wine? Do you have proof that the SG is no longer falling, or is tremendously sluggish? If you don't know (or aren't sure how to do this), we recommend you see our article on how to use the hydrometer. It explains the ins and outs of measuring your wine's SG.
  2. Do you have a good airtight seal at your airlock? Is your airlock firmly seated in the bung, and is the bung securely seated in the mouth of the carboy? If not, this might explain why you don't see bubbles in your airlock.
  3. Are you fermenting in hot weather or in a hot area? Yeast works faster under higher (yet tolerable) temperatures, so your wine may actually be finished fermenting before you realize it.

Luckily, stuck fermentations don't occur very often - but when they do, it's important to make corrections right away and get the fermentation going again.

Causes of Stuck Fermentations
More than likely, the cause of a stuck fermentation centers around the wine yeast. Either something in the wine environment is preventing the yeast from working properly, or there is a problem with the yeast itself.

Even if the proper yeast is used, most experienced vintners know that wine yeast is pretty particular when it comes to fermenting wine to dryness - the proper environmental conditions (such as cleanliness and temperature) must be met, and nutrients (such as a balanced source of DAP [diammonium phosphate], amino acids, minerals, and vitamins) need to be available for the yeast to continue their hard work.

Wine yeast is most happy when:

  • It's not too hot, and not too cold
  • There's lots of food to eat
  • No killer agents are present
  • They live in sanitary conditions
  • Oxygen is available (to kick off fermentation)

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Sounds a lot like humans, huh? Using a little common sense, then (which vintners seem to have a lot of!), we can easily extrapolate the major causes of a stuck fermentation:

  1. Extreme fermentation temperatures - too high or too low
  2. Using unsanitized equipment - dirty or unsanitary equipment increases the possibility that microbiological factors such as wild killer yeasts and bacteria will spoil your wine
  3. Using old yeast - weakened or expired/out-of-date
  4. Incorrect yeast used - match the proper yeast for your wine (in the case of buying wine concentrate kits from grapestompers, this is automatically done for you)
  5. Yeast not rehydrated before pitching - always rehydrate yeast according to manufacturer's suggestions
  6. Yeast rehydrated at too low or too high a temperature - this can kill a large percentage of yeast cell population
  7. Temperature shock when rehydrated yeast is introduced to must - try to allow no more than a 5-7° C differential between yeast mixture and must
  8. Sulfite levels too high - adding too much metabisulfite; failing to wait 24 hours after Campden applied to must before pitching yeast; or high must pH, which can lead to high fermentation rate
  9. Pesticide residue on the exterior surface of grapes or fruits - wash all grapes or fruits well before processing
  10. Lack of nutrients, including a lack of nitrogen or certain amino acids
  11. Extremely high starting SG - too much sugar in must at the outset
  12. Sugar has all been utilized - you don't want your starting SG to be too low either!
  13. Too much CO2 in your wine - don't forget to degas
  14. Naturally occurring sorbate in must - as in the case of blueberries

Prevention of Stuck Fermentations
Here are some things the home winemaker can do to prevent stuck fermentations:

  • Monitor and ensure proper fermentation temperatures
  • Ensure proper sanitation - learn how to sanitize equipment
  • Use fresh yeast
  • Use the proper yeast for the wine you're making - don't guess or use a packet of yeast just because it's handy
  • Properly rehydrate yeast before pitching
  • Pitch the yeast within 20 minutes of rehydrating it
  • Maintain proper free SO2 levels - the amount of metabisulfite to add to your wine depends on pH of wine
  • Add yeast nutrient before pitching yeast - Item # 2733
  • Keep your starting SG to reasonable levels (1.090 - 1.100 or lower). If you don't currently have a hydrometer, buy one (they're inexpensive - about $5) and learn how to use it.
  • Aerate the must properly by vigorous stirring, just before pitching the yeast. This will introduce the oxygen needed to "kick off" fermentation.

Treatment of Stuck Fermentations
And here's what to do if you get stuck... and remember - always start with the simplest things first. Resist the urge to add yeast or additives until you've tried the easy things.

  1. Adjust the temperature of your wine. In most cases we've seen, simply warming your wine to 70-75° F for a couple of days will get the ball rolling.
  2. Rouse the yeast by swishing or stirring the lees (trub) - sometimes moving the yeast around in the wine will get fermentation going again.
  3. WARNING: Although it may be tempting, don't add vitamins (yeast nutrient) during stuck fermentations. Leftover vitamins can stimulate spoilage microbes. Only add a yeast nutrient before or as you pitch your yeast. If you want to add a yeast energizer at this point (which is not the same thing as yeast nutrient), that's OK. Simply go to the local drug store and ask the pharmacist for some Thiamin HCL (thiamin hydrochloride). Add 25 mg. per gallon of wine and mix well.
  4. Remove the old yeast by racking the wine, then re-inoculate with fresh yeast, preferably a killer strain like Lalvin EC-1118 or Red Star Premier Cuvee. In a pinch, you could even use a Red Star Champagne yeast. We want to get rid of the old yeast because yeast cells seem able to detect the presence of other dying cells, and are more likely to get "lazy" themselves.
  5. If you detect there is a nitrogen deficiency (less than 200 mg/L fermentable nitrogen), addition of DAP (diammonium phosphate dibasic - commonly known in the winemaking industry as Fermaid*) is called for.

If none of the above seem to help restart your fermentation within a couple or three days, it's time to bring in the heavy hitters:

  1. Make a yeast starter by pulling off approximately 1/2 gallon of must, and add 1.5 to 2 teaspoons of yeast energizer (thiamin HCL) and 1 packet of "killer" or champagne yeast. Mix well, cover loosely and place in a warm spot. Once you have a vigorous fermentation you can add it back to the original must. OR...
  2. Make a different kind of starter: use about a 1/2 cup of warm water, dissolve 1 teaspoon of sugar in the water, add some orange juice to this mix, make sure the temperature is about 90° F, before adding a packet of Red Star Premier Cuvee or Lalvin EC-1118 yeast to this mixture. Wait until it really gets working. Take about a gallon of your must and warm it up to about 68° to 70° F. Now add the yeast starter to the gallon of must, as it starts to work and gets going, SLOWLY add small portions of the stuck fermentation to that which is working. You should not add more than a quart, make sure the temperature of that which you are adding is at least 70° F. As the volume of the working must gets larger, you can add larger portions to the fermentation. Make sure the temperature is at least 70° F before you add it.

Using one of these methods should help get your fermentation restarted.

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