Homebrew recipes, now with 100% more GitHub!

A few weeks ago, I decided to share some of my brewing recipes. At the time I was also setting up a fairly comprehensive (private) dotfiles repo. This is because I’m trying to refine my life and my workflow to use more native unix tools; but then I realised – why not just use GitHub to share the recipes?

That will fit my workflow very well, I can keep my local recipes in sync with GitHub very easily, not to mention the surprisingly large number of brewers who also work with technology, this may also work for them, too.

My recipes, all in BeerXML format, are located at https://github.com/vortexau/HomebrewRecipes/ If you’re handy with Git, feel free to clone and send pull requests with improvements!

Continue reading Homebrew recipes, now with 100% more GitHub!

Belgian Saison, with Brettanomyces

After really enjoying the last “vanilla”(i.e. Saison yeast only) Belgian Saison I brewed, I took more of a dive into the commercial beers available in this style. There are a range of reasonably common Belgian Saisons available here; De Ranke and Dupont to name a couple, and a few from American breweries like Golden Road can be found occasionally along side Australian breweries like Bridge Road Brewers who are now also dabbling in the funkier end of the spectrum.

Unfortunately I’ve not yet had the guts to spend $35+ AUD on the bottles of Jester King that are available here, though I’m sure they will be awesome.

Continue reading Belgian Saison, with Brettanomyces

Fermentation Controller – Hardware Completed!

What you see below, is the completed hardware for my fermentation controller!



Yep, not too pretty! But in this picture is 4 temp sensors connected – stupidly one of these was mounted to the permaproto board and where I placed it is directly above the power supply. Dingbat! It’s reading about 8c higher than ambient… Because of that, I had to make up another sensor, and I soldered some wire to it and then mounted is so it’s handing literally in free-air where heat of a power supply shouldn’t affect it.You can see the red, brown and orange wires where the sensor is mounted in the photo. The sensor is out of shot.

Only two of the 4 fermentation sensors are connected in the photo, both of these are for fridge 1 (which may no longer be a fridge in the next month or so – details to follow!) – one sensor is for the fridge air-temp and the second is for the wort temp. In the next phase, if this fridge does disappear, the air-temp sensor will then become a peltier cooling block sensor perhaps. Unsure exactly of what it needs to be at this point. The second will remain a wort temp sensor.

These sensors are then duplicated for the second fridge, air and wort temps.


All temp sensors connected in the above photo, with the ambient sensor visible. And yes, I did plait all the wires! With three wires per sensor it seemed the sensible (and cheap) way to keep them together and tidy.

Now I need to do some coding!

root@raspiferm:/sys/bus/w1/devices# more /sys/bus/w1/devices/28*/w1_slave
7d 01 4b 46 7f ff 03 10 24 : crc=24 YES
7d 01 4b 46 7f ff 03 10 24 t=23812
6b 01 4b 46 7f ff 05 10 49 : crc=49 YES
6b 01 4b 46 7f ff 05 10 49 t=22687
6f 01 4b 46 7f ff 01 10 67 : crc=67 YES
6f 01 4b 46 7f ff 01 10 67 t=22937
6f 01 4b 46 7f ff 01 10 67 : crc=67 YES
6f 01 4b 46 7f ff 01 10 67 t=22937
73 01 55 00 7f ff 0c 10 b8 : crc=b8 YES
73 01 55 00 7f ff 0c 10 b8 t=23187
ee 01 55 00 7f ff 0c 10 02 : crc=02 YES
ee 01 55 00 7f ff 0c 10 02 t=30875

Brewery Updates

So while I’ve been a bit quiet here I’ve actually been working on the brewery itself, as I touched on in the previous post.

I’ve painted the frame, installed some wood decking to allow the lower level to be used for storage while I’m not brewing, installed the mash return bowl and the RIMS tube. Finally!

RIMS tube

Mash Return Bowl

I also found some time to get my Mill motorised:

Final fitting of the motor.

Motor is now mounted properly. Can’t see an updated photo on my phone so I’ll take one later.


Brewery plumbing just about all finished. Need one 12v pump and a couple of other small fittings and it’s getting pretty close 🙂

Been a while…

…since the grain hit the water around here!

Finally, that drought ended yesterday. Knocked out something that will be like a Mild. With Rye. And Oats. And Dark.

BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout - http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: OatenRye Dark Mild
Brewer: Me
Asst Brewer: 
Style: Mild Ale
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0) 

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 50.80 l
Post Boil Volume: 46.80 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 40.00 l   
Bottling Volume: 38.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.041 SG
Estimated Color: 14.8 SRM
Estimated IBU: 14.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 84.4 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
4.29 kg               Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)         Grain         1        58.9 %        
1.09 kg               Rye Malt (Weyermann) (3.0 SRM)           Grain         2        14.9 %        
1.00 kg               Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM)                   Grain         3        13.7 %        
0.61 kg               Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM)    Grain         4        8.3 %         
0.30 kg               Carafa II (412.0 SRM)                    Grain         5        4.1 %         
16.73 g               Magnum [14.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min         Hop           6        14.9 IBUs     
1.00 Items            Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)        Fining        7        -             
1.0 pkg               British Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1098) [1 Yeast         8        -             

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 7.29 kg
Name                    Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In                 Add 23.00 l of water at 74.5 C          68.9 C        45 min        

Sparge: Fly sparge with 39.09 l water at 75.6 C

The brew day went smoothly! I mashed a bit lower than I wanted, not too worried about that though; the first runnings samples were similar to thin viscosity motor oil, such was the quantity of beta glucan in the wort. The Rye character was subtle which is exactly what I was aiming for.

Looking forward to getting this in a keg, and pulling some through my hand pump!

I’m on Instagram now too, if you’d like to follow and see my boring photos: https://instagram.com/auvortex

ABA, Brew Day.

The brew day went very smoothly. Cruisy brew day, being that I’m on a weeks holidays from work. Crushed the grain in the morning and put the water on timer in the HLT. We had to head out for an appointment but but when we got back at 11ish am the water was at strike temp and ready to mash in.

Mashed in, no worries there as normal. I got some pH strips a while ago and decided to test the mash to see what my mash pH was. I had no reason to think anything would be amiss as there’s no issues with the end product that would suggest a pH issue. Efficiency is always excellent, usually mash efficiency is about 85%, which I would expect to take a hit with a pH issue either way too high or too low.

Turns out my mash pH was 6.0, which is a bit high.

I don’t expect any issues with the end product as normal as nothing much has changed; and this is the process and water preparation schedule I usually follow.

Everything else went smoothly though and ended up bang on gravity and bang on volume in the fermenter. Actually over volume as I had a bit of wort left in the mash tun after I’d blown past my pre-boil volume. I ended up running this off to a smaller pot and thought I could make a small beer, but at 1020SG, it was a bit too small to bother with so just tipped it.

Interested to see how it turns out in a week after primary. It’s hopped at very similar levels to my CitraRillo APA, except with Citra and Columbus rather than Citra and Amarillo. Combined with the beta glucans from the oats and some esters from the WY1469 West Yorkshire yeast I’m keen to see how it will turn out.

American Oatmeal Brown Ale

Thinking about brewing something a bit more interesting. I have a bit of WY1469 here from a previous Bitter brew which just went in a keg, a heap of Oatmeal to use and a bit of BB Ale malt. Screams Oatmeal Stout, right? Naaa… At least not yet!

Something like 75% pale, 15% Rolled oats, the rest carafa II and a little chocolate malt to about 1050SG. Magnum to 15 IBU @ 60, Citra and Columbus in the whirlpool to 15IBU, and dry hopped for 5 days with the same.

I could even switch the Oatmeal for Rye, of which I have a whole sack of still. That may suit a little better to be honest; but you never learn anything by just sticking to the beaten path – or something.

No idea if it’ll work, but I’m sure it won’t be terrible. Or perhaps it will be…

Dead kegorator, Munich Dunkel and excessive drinking.

So, perhaps not so much excessive drinking but I did brew a Munich Dunkel and my kegerator has died. That’s annoying, because of the aforementioned Dunkel and SABSOSA coming up in 5 weeks..

Over the past few months the kegerator, well it’s actually a keezer I guess as it’s a chest freezer with an STC-1000 and a collar, had been displaying the typical signs of imminent death. Big fat frozen ring at the top, nothing but slightly cooler sides, and the motor running all the time. Struggling to keep itself at the 2c I have it set at. And then, last week, I notice it was sitting at 8c. Definitely not good news!

Sigh. Time for an emergency bottling session. Lucky I had a couple of cases of clean longnecks ready to go, they just needed a quick external rinse before sanitising and filling. Oh. To make matters worse, the gas bottle is in the red! So many first world problems.

Ended up with 4 and a half longnecks of the CitraRillo APA before it’s keg blew, and 20ish bottles of Mocha Porter which has been in a keg for a long time. That beer is tasting bloody magnificent, for the record!

The Munich Dunkel brew day went along perfectly. No major issues, timer kicked in at 5am and we were up to temp by 6am and ready to mash in. I do need to make some improvements here regarding the pumps and the stand to make this part a bit easier – and I need to get the RIMS tube up and running plus insulate the vessels, as they’re currently not insulated.

Ended up with 40L in the fermenter around 11:30am at 1050 SG which was exactly what I was shooting for. I’d been building up some WY2206 over the previous few weeks from some old smack packs I had, and the pitching rate was pretty high. Wort was 13c coming out of the chiller which isn’t bad, but I was rushing it a touch as it certainly could have been colder being the dead of winter here at the moment.

Down to 12c a couple of hours later, once the cleanup was over I oxygenated and pitched the yeast. 12 hours later it was down to 9.5c which is the temp I prefer to ferment lagers at and already showing signs of action (small krausen). Previously the lagers I brewed for SABSOSA last year took 36 hours before seeing the same amount of action.

Pushed it up to 12c last Thursday to increase the yeast activity, and then again to 14c on Wednesday. Thursday night it was still bubbling away, on Wednesday it was down to 1018 SG so still around 8 points to go. Due for another gravity check on the weekend and then it needs to go into kegs to be lagered for a month until the week before SABSOSA. This lagering will probably be performed under CO2 so I can get it carbonated in time to go into a bottle.

I may end up having to use the second ferment fridge to lager these kegs in, which is unfortunate because I was planning on brewing a simple English Bitter for SABSOSA also, but if I’m lagering in that fridge, then I will lack a place to ferment.

Looks like I’ll be hunting Gumtree for a chest freezer this weekend to build a new kegerator…

If I can’t brew in the short term, this give me good reason to jump in and get the next few steps of the brewery automation up and runnings. The frame needs some grinding on my dodgy welds, and needs to be painted or powder coated. Then I can mount the wood slats I have for the base and the RIMS tube and start seriously thinking about hardware and wiring. That’s the bit I’m looking forward to!

CitraRillo APA

This is the first batch back after my time away from brewing. Haven’t brewed since November! The idea is to brew a light/medium body American Pale Ale that’s hoppy on the nose and in the flavour, but around 5% ABV. Session IPA if you must be a beer geek and call it that.

It’s very similar to a recipe I have brewed previously, called ZitrusfrĂĽchte Pale Ale, just a slightly different malt bill and lower IBU.

Continue reading CitraRillo APA

I’m back! Nearly…

…I just need to finish the damn brewery!

So – don’t judge this on the date of the previous post – that was posted after I hadn’t brewed for months and my consumption was seriously down also – it wasn’t a one-month-fad like it looks like!

I’ve managed to get down about 14kg from my weight back in November and seriously cut my drinking down. But, for the remainder of the post, I’ll quote directly from my post on BrewAdelaide I made just tonight.

Who the fuck was I kidding! I’ve come too far, learned too much, spent too much money and invested too much time in this brewing caper to ever stop completely. I enjoy building stuff too much. The community is too awesome. The people are too awesome.

I was considering selling up when I cut my drinking down. I was considering just mothballing the brew gear and selling off the ingredients I have. But, I’m glad I didn’t.

I did sell the font though, that is definitely crucial to keeping my consumption down, but I still have everything else. I’ll be bottling a lot…

Planning to keep the consumption very low during the week and low on the weekend, keep riding the bike (I have entered Amy’s Gran Fondo in Lorne later in the year) and keep losing weight. Ultimate goal is sub 80kg so I can smash the climbs. Still 14kg to go!

Now to finish that brewery! Keen to brew a stout for Winter!