Monthly Archives: October 2013

Building a Home Bar

Last week I finished a project I’ve had planned since we moved to a new apartment in the end of August. We had some extra space in our living room, so we decided to build a bar counter, which would double as a glass and beer storage. The visuals of the bar counter were inspired by two fantastic TV series: Snuff Box and Twin Peaks. The bar is still missing a shelf along the ceiling and some gliding doors on the inside, but I’ll complete those at a later date. Below are some pictures:

The bar also features this amazing oil painting of Sir Charles Berry, which my sister Linda was kind enough to make for us! Thanks!

Homebrew: Blueberry Sour

Today I brewed a small batch of something a bit different. I made an attempt of brewing a sour ale / pseudo-lambic. The malt bill was simple, containing 2 kg of pilsner malt and 1 kg of raw wheat. The mashing was however a bit more complicated, as I attempted a turbid mash. The turbid mash results in a starch-rich wort, leaving some food for the pitched bacteria once the yeast has consumed all the simpler sugars. The mash procedure was as follows (12 liters of mash water and 3 kg of grain):

  • 2.4 liters of 65C water was added to the grain, resulting in a mash temperature of 45C. The temperature was held for 15 minutes.
  • 2.4 liters of 85C water was added to the mash, resulting in a mash temperature of 52C. The temperature was held for 15 minutes.
  • 1.6 liters of wort was transferred to an empty kettle, and temperature was raised to 88C.
  • 3.6 liters of 100C water was added to the mash, resulting in a mash temperature of 65C. The temperature was held for 15 minutes.
  • 3.4 liters of wort was transferred to the kettle already containing wort, and the temperature was again raised to 88C. Total volume in kettle now 5 liters.
  • 3.6 liters of 100C water was added to the mash, resulting in a mash temperature of 72C. The temperature was held for 30 minutes.
  • The mash tun was drained, and the wort (~7 liters) was transferred to the kettle, and the temperature was again raised to 88C.
  • The grains are rinsed with the 88C wort, resulting in a mash-out temperature of 78C. The temperature is held for 20 minutes.
  • The wort was transferred to the boil kettle, and the grains were batch sparged with 10 liters of 78C water.
  • The sparged wort was then added to the boil kettle, resulting in a pre-boil volume of around 22 liters.

After the mash I boiled the wort for 2.5 hours (in order to reduce the 22 liters of ~1.025 pre-boil wort, into 15 liters of 1.040 post-boil wort) together with 20 grams of old Saaz hops. The hops (2010 harvest) have been in an opened package in the freezer for over a year, so their alpha acid content is presumably below the 3.1% stated on the package. In a sour ale you want to keep the iso-alpha acid concentrations on the low side, since they inhibit the growth of lactic acid bacteria. After the boil I chilled the wort and pitched a pack of Wyeast’s Lambic Blend. I will leave the wort in the fermenter for around 9 to 12 months, after which I will add 2 kg of blueberries and bottle dregs from two bottles of 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze. I’m expecting to bottle this one in around 12 to 15 months.

I was mashing in my 21 liter kettle and a BIAB-bag (this helped when pulling the liquor from the mash).


The yeast and the hops. Hopefully I haven’t overdone the hopping.


I’m using a glass carboy for fermentation, in order to reduce the amount of oxygen that comes into contact with the wort/beer during the long fermentation.


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Kosoolan Panimo Belgiblondi #73

  • Brewery: Kosoolan Panimo
  • Country: Finland
  • Style: Belgian Blond
  • ABV: 5 %
  • Size: 330 ml
  • Bought from: –
  • Not on Beer Advocate
  • Not on RateBeer

Time for another homebrew from Juhani@Kosoolan Panimo. This is another beer I received from him in the end of July, and it has been in my fridge since the end of August. I don’t have much information on it, other than it should be close to 5% ABV and it has been hopped with East Kent and Styrian Goldings. Let’s see how it tastes!

[easyreview title=”Kosoolan Panimo Belgiblondi 73″ cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours with a clear golden-yellow color (just a hint of orange) and a massive fluffy white head is formed. The head collapses relatively quickly, but leaves nice patches of lacing along the glass. A really nice appearance!” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is mostly bready and yeasty, with some sweet grainy tones combined with some spicy phenolics and a light fruity esteriness. There are slightly solvent-like, alcoholic and grassy hop tones present as well, but these stay mostly in the background. The aroma profile reminds me a bit of my Belgian Blond and Belgian Dark Strong Ale I brewed around a year ago with Wyeast’s 3787, could this perhaps have used the same yeast? The overall aroma is quite light, but suitable for a beer like this.” cat2rating=”3.5″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavor begins similarly to the aroma with a slightly sweet, grainy and bready maltiness. These are joined by a light grassy hoppiness and some spicy yeast tones. The phenolics leave a slightly astringent impression. The finish is quite dry (despite the initial impression of sweetness) and moderately bitter. There is some warming alcohol in the finish as well. The flavors are quite well balanced, and work nicely in this blond. I like how the spicy phenolics from the yeast work together with the grassy and spicy hop tones. The slight astringency pulls down my points slightly.” cat3rating=”3.5″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The body is light and the carbonation level is high, giving a very sparkly mouthfeel. Suits the style and flavor profile well.” cat4rating=”3.5″ summary=”Overall a well-made beer, that reminded me a bit of my own Belgian Blond I brewed slightly over a year ago. The style isn’t a favorite of mine, but this beer worked well. The ‘belgian’ tones were quite subtle in this, with the yeast and hops working together nicely. A slight astringency and some solvent-like/alcoholic tones took away a little from the drinkability. Otherwise a really nice beer!”]

Homebrew: Smoked Brown Ale (K02)

Today we brewed a Brown Ale with the malts we smoked on Monday. Everything went very smoothly for once, and we also managed to get a huge bump in efficiency (75% instead of the 60-65% we have usually been achieving) by batch sparging. We have previously been using no-sparge, but decided to try batch sparging to improve efficiency. Couldn’t detect any smokiness in the post-boil wort, but hopefully there will be some in the final beer. The beer will most likely be a strange mix of styles, as color and malt profile brings it into Brown Ale territory, the yeast is English (WLP002), the hops are American (Summit; wanted to use up 2010 harvest hops), while the smokiness adds to the complexity. I hope the resulting beer will be drinkable. We ended up with 41 liters of 1.062 wort, which is now placed in the fermentation chamber set at 19C.

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Smoking malts

On Wednesday we will be brewing up a batch of Smoked Ale, and the twist will be that we will be using home-smoked malt. I’ve never tried smoking malts before, but after a quick search on various homebrew forums, I got the impression that it is easy to do. I chose to smoke only 1 kg of Pilsner Malt (~10% of the grain bill) as I didn’t want to overdo the smoke in the final beer. The smoking was carried out in a smoke box, filled with alder chips, placed on a grill. Here are some pictures:

I began by poking holes in an aluminum tray. These trays would contain the malt during the smoking.

I then soaked 1 kg of Pilsner malt in cold water for 5 minutes, in order to have them absorb some moisture (this will help the smokey character stick).

I then filled the bottom of the smoke box with alder chips. These are the ‘standard’ smoking chips in Finland (mostly used for smoking fish). Afterwards I realized that chips from another tree species would have given a more pleasant smokey character.

I then filled the trays (two of them) with malt, and loaded them into the box.

I finally placed the box on the grill for 25 minutes. There wasn’t much smoke during the first 15 minutes, so the actual smoking time was closer to 10 minutes. The malts have now been spread out in a thin layer in the sauna for drying, and they have a light smokey and slighty woody aroma and flavour. Will be interesting to try these tomorrow!