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Making your own beer.

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    Just for you, Dane--Pix of the brewpub in Copenhagen!!

    The grain feeder that loads the cracked/crushed malted barley into the mash tun

    The mash tun, where the fermentables are extracted (mashed) from the grain with precise temperatures for maximum yield. The exhausted grain is rinsed (sparged) with water to get all the "good bits".

    The boil kettle, where the liquid (wort) has hops added to it for flavor, and the precise specific gravity is reached to produce the desired alcohol level

    The open fermenters I mentioned above

    Open fermenters are rarely used outside of Belgium, where the style of beer there uses yeast in the air, like winemaking. Most beer is innoculated with a specific pure yeast strain and fermented in a closed, sterile environment with an airlock for excess carbon dioxide to be released.

    Dane, I couldn't really understand why he uses open tanks- except that he uses only one strain of yeast for all his beers, so there's no danger of cross contamination. The entire room is a "clean" environment and can be hosed down from top to bottom, if necessary. Cool to see.....

    The freshly-fermented beer is filtered to clarify it and remove remaining yeast and other bits.

    The beer then heads to the conditioning tanks to get it's carbon dioxide, or if the yeast is left in the beer, to condition and develop the CO2 naturally. Hoses then run the beer up to the taps on the bar!!


      My parents have just returned from a month in Europe and my father brought me two bottles of Aecht Gehlenferla Rauchbier and said "can you make some of this". Gee. No pressure...

      Since I have a long list of ales to brew I'm going to brew my test batches as ales using Fermentis S-05 and once I feel I'm getting close I'll break down and switch over to lagering.

      I'm having a hard time since I can find so few people that like this type of beer and even fewer have brewed it. I've spent days questioning my father about what he likes. What makes this beer special? "It's smooth and not bitey". Aw you've gotta give me more to work with...

      Before this vacation he was all about the hops. Now he comes back and my standard American Red Ale "has an aftertaste". Gee dad! It's called hops! REMEMBER! Now he wants everything smooth with no aftertaste. I should just bottle up some Natural Lite for him.


        I am so sorry. I forgot to thank you for the great pictures.

        I would kill to have a big 'ole copper mash tun in the basement.

        It is funny to see the krausen flowing over the top of the fermentors. It looks like mud baths at a spa.


          now THAT would be a spa soak....BEER!!!! LOL

          Rauchbier!!!! I haven't thought of that in YEARS!!!!! Make a brown ale and hang some smoked gouda rinds in it....LOL

          Yeap- been through the questioning phase a lot recently with the "newest beer drinker in the family" (only in Europe, folks, only in Europe...don't send the ATF after me..)...Lots of "whys"--Why do you like this more than that... why do you say it's "bitey"--

          Sounds like he's an English Ale guy after all...nice brown ESB --or what about a Märzen- style recipe but using ale yeast instead of lager???? That's less hoppy...softer...

          I will look in Clonebrews to see if they have a rauchbier...but quickly I googled and found this page on beertools..

          wonder how to adapt for extract.....will give it a think!

          Glad you like the pix...but if I had a big ol' copper setup like that, it wouldn't be in the basement....I'd want it for show!!!!!


            I am going to do his rauchbier all grain. The recipe I am going to start with is not as dark as my fathers target sample but I have to start somewhere.

            I'll be doing a 5 gallon batch with:
            3lbs rauchmalt
            3lbs German pilsner
            4lbs Munich
            8oz cara Munich

            Since my brew fridge is tied up with ales I will brew this as an ale (yes, I know it is not correct) using Fermentis S-05. Now I am trying to figure out the mash schedule. My father just says that he like this beer because it is "smooth" and not "bitey". I figure I'll go light on the hops with some version of hallertauer. I have some perle in the freezer that I might use.

            This brewing for someone else is very difficult. Right now I'm drinking something similar to Sierra Nevada pale ale but with a bit more hops. Perfect for my taste. I just don't know how to brew for "smooth" and "not bitey".


              Sounds YUMMY!! I was going to suggest something like Hallertauer.. Perle might be too harsh--what's the AA on it???

              Sierra Nevada but MORE hops????? You are a hop head..... Yes, you and Alan are a brewing match made in heaven....


                The perle has an AA of 8.5%. A 60 minute boil gives me 29 IBU. If it were for me I would think it was about right but for my father who is off hops right now I'm not so sure. I'm sitting here keying numbers into Beer Smith and thinking of dropping it even lower. I have never used perle before. So I am not married to it, but it is what the recipe calls for.

                In the freezer I have:
                German hallertau
                Czech Saaz
                American Cascade
                Argentine Cascade


                  I brewed it up today with the perle. The bittering was good but I am disappointed in the amount of smoke. Next time I think I will go gonzo with the rauchmalt.


                    I never get the utilization I think I am going to get with my malts.......or I should say Alan never does. I've learned to pad the recipe a bit....(usually about 25% worth on adjunct grains.....) but that 's the fun of it. I want to hear how your dad likes the beer! Maybe when the sugars ferment out, the smoke will be more noticeable!!!!!

                    (and I thought you were going to Costa Rica for a long weekend??????)


                      My efficiency was actually higher than I predicted by 2.8% so my mash and sparge are spot on. I calculated an OG of 1.058 and got 1.060. I just think the recipe was too light on rauchmalt with only 3lbs out of a total of 10.5lbs. At no time did I smell smoke. Not in the dry grain. Not when mashing. Not during the boil. I want a beer with a mild+ smokey aroma.


                        I bottled my first rauchbier last weekend. Going into the bottles I think it will be a good beer though not my goal, but I knew that when I brewed. It had a amber color slightly darker then Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and the hops nicely balanced the malt. There was a very subtle smoke aroma with no real smoke flavor at first but the beechwood smoke comes through in the aftertaste.

                        I've ordered ingredients for my next batch. I'm going for a darker, smokier brew. Beer Smith is predicting a color of 23.4 but I have not thought about hops yet. It will be:
                        47% beechwood smoked malt
                        19% Munich
                        19% German Pilsner
                        10% CaraMunich
                        5% chocolate malt

                        I am really feeling limited by the size of my mashtun. This batch will come out about 1.057. I'd like to do this rauchbier up around 1.07 for those colder fall & winter nights. I can cheat a bit and get OG's up to about 1.060 for a 5 gallon batch with my mashtun.


                          Well, you could "cheat" (as Alan, the all-masher calls it) and throw in a pound or two of dark spray malt to bump up the OG..........

                          I just ordered a big bunch of supplies from Williams Brewing out on the left coast. "Joe College" told his new fraternity brothers that his parents brew I figured I better get ready. They have really good kits, and I wanted to have a few on hand when he brings some guys down, so I can show them how easy it is...( I really prefer extract brewing to mashing...I use the analogy of starting off with a good cake mix versus grinding the flour and raising the eggs to bake the cake...) He fell in love with Dunkel Hefeweizen on the trip, so I'm going to make him some...and I got 6 oz of German Hallertauer and Czech Saaz...some English Kent Goldings and some Sterling....and my favorite Cascade.... Thinking about a nice English Bitter or Red Ale...maybe a porter for cooler weather..and a stout, but we always fight about that...he's a Guinness, I'm an Oatmeal.....Alan will want to make his Pilsner, and I think Joe College's friends might like a Doppelbock, dontcha think??

                          Is your Munich and Pilsner six row??? Believe it or not, when the BBC brewed our Pilsner, they used plain ol' Briess 2 row American...same as they use for everything. I don't like fooling with 6 row...conversion can be a pain sometimes....

                          Oh, and Alan (not a Rauchbier fan, but ever the master of tact....) says to tell you "he wants Rauchbier?? Tell him to throw a slab of bacon in the brewpot...." LOL

                          And my friend has a BUMPER crop of tastes soooo good..very flowery--nothing like you get in a store...totally unpasteurized and only slightly filtered to get the bits of wax I also got some champagne yeast and a recommended demi-sec wine yeast.... time to make some mead.........and a cider yeast, as I was thinking of an apple/pear blend for hard cider...

                          Gee, I sound like I'm turning into an alcohol-laced version of "Prairie Woman"...... and gonna try to make some home-made mozzarella this weekend.....

                          The meads and the cider can sit for a while...but I think I'm eventually going to have to get out the bottle capper to bottle any beer that goes back to college. Gosh, I haven't done that in 10 years....YIKES!!!!! Once you start putting things in kegs, you never want to put anything in a bottle...............might investigate those collapsible wine bags for the mead...but I do like to let the mead rest for a couple of years...

                          Looking back at your recipe reminds me how much I like medium crystal and chocolate malts...I always seem to use lots of these instead of black patent or dark crystal....must be because I like a reddish brown versus a golden brown... hmmmm

                          You've given me lots to think about...however will I sleep???????
                          Last edited by ehp; September 18th, 2009, 05:06.


                            Tell Alan that the rauchbier is for my father. I eased into it with the first batch. Something mild enough that most people will like it. This second batch is going to be a bit closer to the juice that drips from a bar-b-que grill.

                            I've put all my extracts in the freezer for the summer. I'll get back to extract brewing this winther. It's no fun watching a pot boil when it's 38 degrees and raining.


                              Is that 38° F or C????? lol

                              I am running to the "back of the house" --the Den-- aka Alan's territory-- as soon as I post this to give him your very witty comeback....

                              We were talking over dinner how fun it would be to get the two of you together......


                                This is what my brewing fridge looked like today. I have three batches fermenting:
                                5 gallon, all grain Fat Tire clone
                                2 gallon (Mr. Beer) sized batch of hard apple cider
                                2 gallon oatmeal stout (extract) so it can have plenty of aging for winter

                                Also in the fridge is my first Rauchbier one week into fermentation.