Yeast Slant Failure #1

Let’s be honest, when it comes to the hobby of home brewing from time to time even the most studious brewing enthusiast will make mistakes. From stuck fermentations, to soured batches, and even the occasional exploded carboy history proves that we all learn the most when we can learn from our mistakes. With that in mind I present what will likely be the first in a long line of mistakes that I will make in my beer making journey in the hopes that other brewers can avoid the obvious traps into which I fell.

Therefore I present a brewers guide in how not to prepare blank yeast slants. I repeat: Do not follow these directions if you want to make functional yeast slants.


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2011/02/15 at 10:14 pm 6 comments

How to make Belgian Candi Syrup

In a previous post I have discussed the benefits of Belgian Candi Sugar and have walked through the simple process of making your own. Using the adjunct in your brews usually involves adding the sugar 5 minutes before flameout. However, when adding the sugar at this stage time is needed before the solid mass fully dissolves and incorporate itself into the wort.

One way to to lessen the amount of time needed to incorporate the candi sugar into the wort and subsequently retain as much of its characteristics as possible is to preprocess the belgian candi sugar into a syrup form. The good news is that once you have in your possession some belgian candi sugar converting it to belgian candi syrup is a very simple task that we will walk through in the following tutorial.


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2010/12/01 at 10:34 am 11 comments

How to make Belgian Candi Sugar

Update: Thanks to continued (6 years!) interest in this post the content has been organized and updated into a convenient ebook format which can be downloaded from Amazon. Enjoy!


I have used Belgian Candi Sugar in several brews thus far and have found it to be one of my favorite adjuncts to use throughout the brewing process. Its use in the production of a beer can raise the alcohol content for use in styles such as Belgian dubbels and trippels without unnecessarily stressing the yeast or introducing undesired body characteristics to the beer.

Typically fermentation occurs when a desired strain of yeast is introduced to a solution or compound where sugars (specifically disaccarides or monosaccharides) are present. If compatible disaccharides such as sucrose are present the yeast must first break down this sugar into its fermentable monosaccharides of glucose and fructose by producing the enzyme such as invertase. However, the yeast must perform extra work in order to produce this enzyme instead of its more desirable job of fermentation. So, rather than forcing the yeast to perform this extra step during the fermentation stage it may be more desirable for the brewer to provide the sugars in their component simple sugar compounds. Thus enter the wonderful adjunct known as belgian candi sugar.


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2010/11/27 at 7:02 pm 45 comments

Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout

The Shakespeare Oatmeal Stout is (as its name suggests) an oatmeal stout from the Rogue Ales craft brewery in Oregon. Served in an imposing 22oz bottle this 6% ABV American-style stout has won many awards including gold in the 2006 World Beer cup.

Given my recent love of cream stouts I approached this beer with an air of anticipation. For this reason I decided to leave the oatmeal stout to the end of the gifted batch.

The beer pours very dark as expected with a light brown head which is a short but thick and very long lived. The aroma of the cascade hops is evident and heavy enough to trigger a taste response by merely smelling the brew. Initial tasting reveals an extremely bitter malt flavor with a thick mouthfeel and a mid range of carbonation. As indicated by its name the main taste characteristics are backed by a noticeable but not overpowering oatmeal flavor.

In my current worldview of beers the closest brew I can compare this offering to is that of the Hypercat Brown Ale. The main characteristic of this brew is its all-around bitterness: bitterness of the dark malts and an unnecessary overabundance of hops. Maybe its just my personal batch, but I fail to agree with the labeled rating of 69 IBU and would rate it much higher.

Although based on the reviews I should like this beer I just can’t recommend to anyone out there unless you like the taste of burnt toast. Instead stick with something a lot more balanced in its bitter and sweet profile.

2010/10/30 at 10:06 pm Leave a comment

Maredsous 10 Tripel

Maredsous 10 Tripel is a Belgian Ale in the Abbey style but produced by the Duvel Moorgat Brewery under a naming license from the Maredsous Abbey in Denée, Belgium. As with the Rochefort 8 this beer in one of three in the Maredsous line which consists of the 6% ABV Maredsous 6 Blonde, 8% ABV Maredsous 8 Brune, and this 10% ABV Maredsous 10 Tripel.
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2010/10/14 at 8:26 am Leave a comment

Samuel Smith Organically Produced Ale

This organically produced ale (no discerning name given) is one in the line of beers produced by the Samuel Smith brewery. Known for using the same strain of yeast since the 19th century the brewery produces almost all of its brews with a brewing method utilizing a yorkshire square. Given the history and unique method used to create this beer my hopes were high for a distinct taste.
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2010/10/11 at 2:29 pm Leave a comment

Péché Mortel (Mortal Sin)

Péché Mortel is an imperial coffee stout brewed by the Dieu du Ciel microbrewery and pub in Montréal, Canada starting in 2001. This beer has the highest alcohol content of all their brews at 9.5% which pairs perfectly with the imperial stout characteristics.
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2010/10/10 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

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