To-Style Belgian Saison

Diverting from trodden path of Wyeast’s 3711 French Saison,this batch peeks over the fence at the big dog of Saison strains, Wyeast 3724. Armed with Experimental Homebrewing’s inconclusive testing on tin foil v. air lock, the brew began.


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BAVARIAN HEFEWEIZEN #3 – Really Really Precise Temp. Control

Another iteration of the Never Ending Hefe. The goal here is to put to test the idea that ramping up wort temperature will increase the production of esters in a yeast such as WLP300. I’ve previously attempted ramping with this yeast in my ferm. chamber, but the control there was an ambient one and didn’t offer precise control of the actual wort temperature. With a recent craigslist score the wort can now be put into an enclosed refrigerator with the control box probe submerged in the wort. This system is able to keep the internal wort temp within 1° of the target.

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BAVARIAN HEFEWEIZEN #2 – Unrestricted Fermentation

As homebrewers, the lesson we never stop learning is the importance of timing. As I jaunted down to the homebrew store with my latest Hefe in hand, passing it off to the store owner I explained a bit about the recipe, process and aim for the beer, citing one of America’s best Hefeweizens from Live Oak as a source of inspiration. I would of course learn once again that timing is everything, as another customer came up to the counter sporting a ‘Live Oak’ shirt, introducing himself as an employee of the brewery. Of course I pounced at the opportunity to seed out some guidance on fermentation. His advice was simple,

‘That beer is all about horizontal fermentation.” Continue reading

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An Impatient Man’s Oud Bruin

If brewing has taught us anything it’s patients. This lesson anchored in me as a (former) bottle filler who regularly waits 6 weeks to sip the fruits of my labor. But being the curious lot us homebrewers are, I began peeping the world outside  saccharomyces cerevisiae and quickly shied away for a single reason – turn around time.

As some of my favorite brew like to boast,

“aged 18 months for full character”, “aged 12 months in oak casks”

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$12 Walmart Test Batch Kettle

As my curiosity of beer styles rose and available empty bottles declined I found myself wanting and needing to brew smaller batches. Forking out $100+ for a homebrew branded kettle put this idea was on hold…until a visit to Walmart. I found this 4 gallon stainless kettle for a mere $12. One hole punched in the lid later and I’m brewing it’s maiden Dunkelweizen.

I thoroughly love the output, control and function of my 12 gallon electric BIAB system but the plain simplicity of brewing a batch on this size is difficult to beat. It’s easy, low cost, quick, cleanup is only a few minutes..what’s not too love?

Brewdown $12 walmart brew kettle

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Lo Siento – Oaked Mexican Saison

Unashamedly I still love Corona. It’s a deliciously refreshing variant of the ubiquitous American lager and just like any beer, has a time and place. This recipe was meant to capture the flavors which make Mexican lagers what they are and shove them into something with more distinction.


Brewdown Lo Siento Mexican Saison Wyeast 3711 French Oak tequila Fermentation Homebrew

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Switching to a Plate Heat Exchanger

Upon arriving at the fork of plate vs counter flow chiller, I opted for the hose wrapped,  copper tubing counter flow. Because A) I could make one and B) It was cheaper. It worked wonderfully! Wort went in hot and came out cool, what more could you want? Well, call me finicky but as someone who spends my paid hours designing parts that both work well and are easy to use, the trusty old coil HE fell short. It was chaotic to arrange, hoses everywhere, had to be leak checked frequently and for its purpose, took up too much damn space in a home brewery which strives to fit on a single rolling stand.

Brewdown Duda Diesel Plate Chiller Homebrew Heat Exchanger


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Whirlpool/Stir Inlet

Whether myth or fact, the thought of scorched wort while electric brewing gives me a bit of a shiver. So what’s one to do? Stir! 30 minutes of it while waiting for the boil sounds dull. Let’s put that pump to work.

Started with a piece of 0.5″ 304SS pipe. Bent the exterior bend, the outlet bend and welded on two 1.5″ TC caps. I designed the top to sit above the kettle to avoid adding another ball valve.

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The Carman – 12 gallon Pyrex Carboy

The craigslist gods have cast their light upon me! An original Pyrex 12 gallon glass borosilicate carboy. While more or less impossible to find used, they are available new – just get ready to give Amazon a month’s worth of rent.



One fermentation vessel down from two means less cleaning but what I’m most excited about is the increased exposed surface area for fermentation. The 6.5 gallon carboys I have been using have ~95 square inches of surface area at their widest while the carman has ~175. It’s maiden voyage will begin with some wheat, some barely, a bit of WLP300 and no stopper. Let’s see if we can get those esters cranking!

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My long running romance with German Hefeweizen hit a speed bump. As the frigid Texas winter rolled in, I found my self wanting something with more malty roast umph. This lead me to a few pints of Porter, and delicious they were! But I missed that bready, chewy wheat flavor, eventually landed me in front of a half liter of Weihenstephan dunkelweizen. And let me tell you…. It was falling in love with weizen all over again. Nutty, malty and roasty packed in with the coveted Weihenstephan wheat yeast flavor.

brewdown dunkel wlp300

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