Eagle Face Oatmeal Stout 1.5

Another year, another iteration of the Eagle Face! This is my absolute favorite recipe, and it has done well for me. I’m entering this in the national homebrew competition this year, after scoring a very respectable 40 last year. Unfortunately, the comments on the judging sheets were not as precise as I would like, other than a vague “needs more malt character.” So, I decided to change the background malt from 2-row to Maris Otter. Other than a minor change in bittering hops, this is pretty much exactly the same as I usually brew. Following last year’s example, I toasted the oats for a bit, too.

Eagle Face Oatmeal Stout 1.5

  • 7.5 lbs. Maris Otter pale malt
  • 1.5 lbs. flaked oats (toasted 1.25 hours at 300°)
  • 1 lb. 80° crystal malt
  • 1 lb. Victory malt
  • 0.75 lb. chocolate malt (Briess)
  • 0.5 lb. roasted barley (Bairds)
  • 6 oz. rice hulls
  • 0.53 oz. Magnum hop pellets (11.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 0.31 oz. Warrior hop pellets (15.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 1 pkg. English ale yeast (WLP001), prepared in 1L starter 24 hours in advance

Target Parameters

  • Infusion mash to hit target of 158°, 60 minutes, batch sparge.
  • 1.062 o.g., 1.023 f.g., 5.2% abv, 37 IBU, 41 SRM
  • Claremont tap water, 56 ppm Ca, 9 ppm Mg, 23 ppm Na, 41 ppm SO4, 21 ppm Cl, 220 ppm HCO3, 135 ppm RA


  • I mashed in with 4.25 gallons of water at 171°, to hit a mash temperature of 158°.
  • After 60 minutes, the mash was down to 157°. I added 0.75 gallons of water at 180°, let rest 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and collected the first runnings. I then added 3.25 gallons of water at 180°, vorlaufed, and collected the second runnings.
  • In total, I collected 6.25 gallons of wort with a gravity of 1.053, for 74% efficiency.
  • I boiled for 60 minutes, adding hops and finings per the schedule in the recipe.
  • After a 60 minute boil, I cooled to 72°, pitched the yeast, and put the beer in the fermentation chamber. I’ll be fermenting at 68°.
  • I brewed this beer on 24 February 2018. Starting gravity was 1.062–right on target!
  • Update: I kegged this beer on 8 March 2018. Final gravity was 1.028, a bit higher than predicted, but I’m pretty comfortable that the beer is fully fermented out. Everything tastes pretty good right now; calculated abv is 4.5%.
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First of Maibock

My homebrew club is doing an in-club style competition for its May meeting, featuring–appropriately–maibock. Flying in the BJCP guidelines as a helles bock, this is a fairly malty, higher gravity German lager. It’s also not a style I’ve brewed before–this provides a great excuse (and is a reminder of how participating in a homebrew club can push you to try new things)!

This recipe is modified in part from one that appears in Gordon Strong’s Modern Homebrew Recipes. I adjusted the grain bill and hops slightly, and opted for an infusion mash rather than a decoction mash. The main commonality is that the recipe is basically pilsner, Vienna, and Munich malt, in descending proportions. I added in some melanoidin to help up the maltiness (particularly since I wasn’t doing a decoction mash). Finally, I adjusted this to be a 3.5 gallon batch, rather than a 5 gallon batch. This is a bigger beer, and I just didn’t want 5 gallons of the stuff!

The name is mangled from a Jonathan Coulton song; apologies to everyone.


First of Maibock

  • 5 lb. Château Pilsen malt (Castle Malting)
  • 2.5 lb. Vienna malt (Great Western Malting)
  • 1.5 lb. Munich I malt (Weyermann Malting)
  • 0.25 lb. melanoidin malt (Weyermann Malting)
  • 0.45 oz. Magnum hop pellets (11.8% alpha), 60 minute boil
  • 1 oz. Tettnang hop pellets (2.2% alpha), 5 minute boil
  • 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
  • 2 pkg. SafLager West European Lager yeast (S-23)

Target Parameters

  • Infusion mash to hit target of 152°, 60 minutes, batch sparge.
  • 1.068 o.g., 1.018 f.g., 6.5% abv, 27 IBU, 7 SRM
  • Water built from RO to hit target of 50 Ca, 5 Mg, 5 Na, 55 SO4, 70 Cl, 0 HCO3 ppm, RA -40


  • To make my brewing water, I added 1.6 g gypsum, 0.3 g table salt, 1.2 g epsom salt, and 3.2 g calcium chloride to 6.5 gallons of RO water.
  • I mashed in with 3.15 gallons of water at 167° (and 4.75 mL of 75% phosphoric acid), to hit a mash temperature of 155°. After 40 minutes, the temperature was down to 152°. So, I added 0.65 gallons of water to bring the temperature back up to 157°. After a total of 60 minutes, I vorlaufed and collected the first runnings.
  • I added 2.75 gallons of water at 180°, let it sit for 10 minutes, vorlaufed, and drained the mash tun.
  • In total, I collected 5.5 gallons of runnings with a gravity of 1.049, for 78% efficiency.
  • I brought the kettle to a boil, adding hops and Whirlfloc per the schedule.
  • After 50 minutes of boiling, I measured the gravity and saw that it was at 1.058. This was well below my target, so I added 1.18 pounds of Briess pilsen DME to bring up the gravity.
  • After 60 minutes of boiling, I turned off the heat and chilled to 75°. I transferred to the fermenter, and put it in the fermentation chamber overnight to chill down to 54°. About 4 gallons of beer went into the fermenter.
  • I brewed the beer on 10 February 2018, and pitched the yeast on 11 February 2018. Prior to pitching, I hit the wort with 60 seconds of oxygen.
  • Starting gravity was 1.072.
  • On February 24, I let the beer free-rise to 64°. I’ll let it hang out at this temperature for a week or two before cold crashing.
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Evaluating my first hard cider

A few weeks back, I wrote about my first attempt at a cider. The recipe was dead simple (in fact, I called it Dead Simple Hard Cider), and the whole thing had fermented out in around two weeks. It clocked in at 5.4% abv; not too much, but not too flimsy, either.

ciderThe cider has maintained a consistent haze throughout its serving lifespan, and has a very thin and not terribly persistent head (unsurprising for a cider). It’s somewhat copper/gold in color, and has a nice apple aroma (with maybe a hint of something like diacetyl?). On the flavor end of things, it’s pretty dry, but not puckeringly so. I like the crispness that this brings. The flavor is…well, apple. It’s fairly tart, like the sorts of apples you would expect for a cider. More Granny Smith than Golden Delicious.

I put this cider squarely in the win column. It hit all of the marks I was hoping for, and is surprisingly drinkable. I might try backsweetening a future batch, but not by a lot. I like my ciders tart and dry! A different yeast variety, perhaps something with a bit more character, is also in the cards. A 3 gallon batch was about perfect, too. Cider is a nice treat, but not something I really want 5 gallons of. As the keg nears its end, I’m still enjoying it! And that’s a good state to be in.

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Blast from the Past: Gingerbread Winter Warmer 2016

winter_warmerLast night I pulled out a bottle of my 2016 Gingerbread Winter Warmer, and poured a snifter. Although I had kegged that beer way back in the day, I emptied the keg into a few bottles for extended aging. I figure I’ll open one a year, until the bottles are gone.

More than a year after brewing, this is a fairly enjoyable winter beer. It’s got a decent banana note, a rich, malty flavor, and a thin ivory head that disperses a few minutes after pouring. I think there might have been a little secondary fermentation in the bottle, because it seems a bit more carbonated than I remember.

We’ll do this again in a year or two!

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Speaking at Nerd Nite Los Angeles, Thursday!


I’ll be talking about “The Dinosaur in My Beer” for Nerd Nite Los Angeles this Thursday! The event is hosted at Busby’s East, 5364 Wilshire Ave., from 7 pm to 10 pm, with the action starting at 7:45 pm. Two other speakers are on the docket for that evening–should be a fun time! Each TED-style talk is slotted for around 20 minutes each. Tickets are $10 each, and they can be ordered here.

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