Birthday Beer Haul Part 1

Today is my birthday, and it’s the big 3-0.  For a very brief period of time I was actually dreading the day that I turn 30.  I can honestly say it really isn’t that bad so far.  My best friend Matt’s 30th birthday is tomorrow.  Our wives planned an awesome birthday celebration for us that was yesterday.  I’m sure my darling wife will be blogging about it soon. 🙂  There was lots of good food, friends and family.  You really couldn’t ask for anything more!  Hey, we even got to beat the crap out of a piñata!

I received a couple of gift certificates to one of my favorite beverage shops, Murphy’s Beverage in Old Town Winchester.  Today, I made a trip downtown to spend one of the certificates.

From left to right: 21st Amendment Brewery Black IPA, Founder’s Centennial IPA, Trappistes Rochefort 8, Fuller’s London Pride, Ayinger Oktoberfest-Marzen and Sierra Nevada/Dogfish Head Life and Limb. I think I did pretty well for spending one of my gift certificates! 🙂

Until next time, Happy brewing/drinking!

Update: Vienna Lager

Hi Everyone,

I’m just posting a quick update on the progress of my Vienna Lager.  After a couple of weeks in primary, the final gravity got down to 1.014 which works out to about 5.08% ABV (not that I really care about the alcohol content of my beers).

I racked the beer to secondary, and now it is lagering away at 34 degrees.  After about a month it will be ready to keg and drink! Now the all important question remains..what shall I brew next? I’ve decided that I want to brew another Belgian-style beer (my first being a Wit Beer).  I’m going to try my hand at brewing a Dubbel.  Now all I have to do is find a recipe!  Until next time, happy brewing!


Time for another cooking/canning post.  This weekend, I was in the mood to make and can a soup that was inexpensive to make.  I decided to make Split Pea With Ham Soup.  This was one of my favorite soups growing up (probably because it had ham in it). It was a really easy soup to make but, it was time consuming (an hour and a half just to make the soup). The total cost of the ingredients to make the soup was around five bucks!

The recipe is from the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving:

Yields 5 pints or 2 quarts

  • 1 (16 ounce) package dried split peas
  • 2 quarts water
  • 1 1/2 cups sliced carrots (about 3 medium)
  • 1 cup chopped onion (about 1 medium)
  • 1 cup diced, cooked ham
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 teaspoon allspice (I substituted a pinch of ground cloves, because that’s what I had on hand)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Combine dried peas and water in a large saucepot. Bring to a boil; reduce heat.  Cover, simmer about 1 hour or until peas are soft.  If a smooth soup is desired, puree in a food processor or food mill (I chose not to puree).  Return puree to saucepot.  Add remaining ingredients and simmer 30 minutes.  If mixture is too thick, add boiling water.  Ladle hot soup into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 1 hour and 15 minutes, quarts 1 hour 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.
After filling the jars, I had enough left for a bowl for lunch, and it was mighty tasty! I can’t wait to be eating this soup in the fall or winter.  It might not even last that long!

Vienna Lager

Another successful brew day is in the books! Yesterday, I brewed another lager and I decided on the recipe for a Vienna Lager from my copy of Brewing Classic Styles.  It was my second time doing a 90 minute boil, so I decided to up my total water by about a gallon since I was about a half to three quarters of a gallon short on my volume into the fermenting bucket on my last lager.

Yesterday was warm, but not too hot.  The weather forecast was calling for a chance of showers all afternoon, but I decided to press my luck and brew anyway! My friend Jim came over to hang out while I brewed and his good luck kept the rain away.  As soon as he left, it poured! 🙂

All in all, it was a very successful brew day.  I didn’t come up short in my final volume going into the fermenting bucket, and my brewhouse efficiency was 66%.  I used to be obsessed with my efficiency, but with my system I seem to be consistent in the mid 60’s.  After all, the most important part is that the final product tastes good right? 🙂

The wort is chilling in my fridge down to the pitching temp of 50 degrees.  I will be pitching the yeast tonight!

Here’s the Vienna Lager recipe that I brewed.  Happy brewing everyone!

BeerSmith Recipe Printout -
Recipe: North Of The Border Vienna
Brewer: Karmabrew
Asst Brewer: 
Style: Vienna Lager
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0) 

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 5.25 gal 
Boil Size: 8.35 gal
Estimated OG: 1.053 SG
Estimated Color: 11.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 26.8 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 66.80 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU 
5.00 lb Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 43.37 % 
3.40 lb Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 29.49 % 
3.00 lb Munich Malt - 10L (10.0 SRM) Grain 26.02 % 
0.13 lb Carafa II (412.0 SRM) Grain 1.13 % 
1.50 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.00 %] (60 min)Hops 21.6 IBU 
1.00 oz Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.00 %] (10 min)Hops 5.2 IBU 
1 Pkgs Southern German Lager (White Labs #WLP838)Yeast-Lager 

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 11.53 lb
Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Step Time Name Description Step Temp 
60 min Mash In Add 17.30 qt of water at 161.7 F 152.0 F 

Bottled: Hefeweizen

Two cases of Hefeweizen are bottled and ready to condition!  It’s been a while since I have bottled a batch of home brew.  To be honest, when I think of the bottling process, I think it to be a huge PITA and very time consuming (that’s one of the reasons that I got into kegging).  It actually isn’t that bad! Once you get into a groove, those bottles are all full before you know it. 🙂

My brewing assistant, Cooley, investigates and agrees that it’s a job well done!


Good grief, this heat wave is crazy! I’m so over this 100+ degree heat.  I’m so glad I brewed last weekend. Last Sunday, I brewed a nice and simple Hefeweizen recipe from Brewing Classic Styles. This book is absolute gold.  Every one of the beers that I brewed from this book so far have been outstanding, and this beer looks like it won’t disappoint.


BeerSmith Recipe Printout -
Recipe: Harold is Weizen
Brewer: Karmabrew
Asst Brewer: 
Style: Weizen/Weissbier
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (35.0) 

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 5.25 gal      
Boil Size: 7.61 gal
Estimated OG: 1.053 SG
Estimated Color: 4.2 SRM
Estimated IBU: 13.9 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 61.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amount        Item                                      Type         % or IBU      
6.00 lb       Pilsner (2 Row) Ger (2.0 SRM)             Grain        50.00 %       
6.00 lb       Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM)                 Grain        50.00 %       
1.00 oz       Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.00 %]  (60 min)Hops         13.9 IBU      
1 Pkgs        Hefeweizen Ale (White Labs #WLP300)       Yeast-Wheat                

Mash Schedule: My Mash
Total Grain Weight: 12.00 lb
My Mash
Step Time     Name               Description                         Step Temp     
60 min        Step               Add 18.00 qt of water at 161.7 F    152.0 F

The specific gravity of the wort going into the primary was should be ready to bottle next weekend!

Bohemian Pilsner Tasting


This post is LONG overdue as my wife and I have been drinking this brew for about a month now.  I am quite pleased with how it turned out.  The beer is quite clear, and it tastes very “clean” (no diacetyl).  The water treatments that I used placed the beer in the balanced category.  I would have liked for the Saaz hops to shine through a little more.  The next time I brew this beer I might adjust the treatment so it is barely in the bitter category.