Saturday, March 22, 2014


Man, it's been a while since I posted here!  Since last posting I've had a lot going on, although I have been steadily brewing.  I haven't brewed as many batches as I'd like, but I've been brewing a larger quantity.  How is that you ask? buddy Scott and I built this:

That's right...we now have a functioning 1.5bbl brewhouse.  We can now brew 46.5 gallons of beer at a time.  But why would we want to do that?  After all, isn't that a lot of one single beer to brew at once?  Don't homebrewers like experimenting and creating all sorts of awesome new beers to be continually changing things up?  Well, yes, we do like brewing a lot of different beers.  And yes, that is a lot of one beer to brew at once.

The reason we've built this and sold/salvaged our old systems is because we've decided to go for the gusto and try to go commercial.  There are a number of "successful" home based breweries in Portland right now and we decided to go for it.  Pretty much all of these small operations are brewing on a 1-3 barrel system and then kegging their beer to be sold in taprooms, restaurants, and bars throughout town.  We're planning to go a little different route and bottle in 22 ounce bottles.  We feel this will help to distinguish us in the marketplace as well as allow us to make a higher profit to save towards our dream of having a taproom and larger brewhouse.  Time will tell if this happens...

So here's the specs on the system.  We've gotten three 55 gallon drums from Bubba's Barrels and had Practical Fusion weld some tri-clamp fittings on the HLT and Boil Kettle.  We're running an electric system that we modeled after The Electric Brewery.  We'll be fermenting for now in a 110 gallon plastic conical (so we could potentially brew back to back and have 3bbl fermenting at once).  Here's a pic of that:

We also have a simple designed hood vent with an 8 inch inline fan that blows out the window.  So far we have had no issue with steam buildup or condensation on the walls in my basement.  Now the sweet smell of mash and boiling wort is another story...

So that's why I haven't been posting here lately.  Lots of planning, projecting, and pondering for our new venture.  You can check out Brewery 26 on Facebook here or our simple website here.  I'll try to update our status as we begin applying for licenses and permits and all that fun stuff.  And someday before too long hopefully you'll be able to get a bomber of Brewery 26 beer at a bottle shop near you (so long as you live in Portland)!


Monday, August 5, 2013

New Fermenter!

In my constant search for better homebrewing methods, I have come across a great tool.  Fermentation is such a key part of producing good beer and so easy to see go bad in a hurry.  Plus, I typically brew 10-11 gallon batches at a time, thus needing two buckets and two packs of yeast.
I've started using more starters with my brewing which greatly speeds up fermentation as well as reduces the opportunity for infection.  Enter, the new fermenter!

I recently ordered a Speidel Plastic Fermenter from MoreBeer.  This thing has been working great overall so far.  I got the 60L size, which allows me to ferment over 11 gallons at a time with a single vessel.  Here's the good and bad I've seen so far...

The Good:
-I can ferment over 11 gallons at a time (I bet I could do up to 14-15 gallons if I really pushed it).
-Super sturdy.  The handles and structure on this thing are solid!
-Wide open top for easy cleaning and hop additions.
-Valve on front allows for super easy keg filling.
-Way cheaper than a conical.

The Bad:
-Plastic, although I have never had an issue with fermenting in plastic and really more and more startup breweries are using plastic conicals until they can afford stainless steel.
-Not conical.

Overall, that's how it's doing.  I'm currently finishing up my second batch in it and it's awesome.  Easy to clean, works great, super sturdy and a good deal.  I would highly recommend one!  Check one through here.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Springtime Aroma Pale Ale

Well, spring is in the air and it has been beautiful here in Portland lately.  Best spring I can remember.  That better not jinx the next three months... I tried a new beer the other day, NWPA from Fort George Brewing.  It was awesome.  Light bitterness with a ton of hop aroma.  There was a large amount of hop particles floating in the beer, that was poured from a can (why breweries filter everything seems strange to me, I like the lack of filtering on a beer like this).  It was delicious.  So naturally, I used that beer to inspire one of my own.

This is a session style beer (4.2%) with only 23 IBU's.  There are a ton of hops in this thing though.  I'm hoping that the aroma and flavor really dominates over the usual crazy bittering I do.  I also didn't do any hop additions at 60 minutes, but let it boil plain for 30 minutes, then added hops at the midway point.  Hopefully that really does something good for the beer.  Anyways, here's the details...

10.5 gallons

12.5# GW 2-Row
2# Victory
1.5# Carapils
1.5# Crystal 30L

Anticipated OG: 1.044
Actual OG: 1.048
Anticipated FG: 1.010
Actual FG:
Anticipated ABV: 4.5%
Actual ABV:

(60 minute boil)
1oz CTZ at 30m
2oz Citra at 5m

2oz Cascade at flameout
2oz Citra at flameout

4oz Cascade dryhop for 7 days
2oz Citra dryhop for 7 days

IBU's: 23

1 pack of Safale US-05 made with 1L starter two days before.

4/24/13: Brewed this last Monday (2 days ago).  I'm fermenting this one in a 50L keg with a stopper and an airlock in the bunghole.  So far so good.  Gravity was at 1.019 today which is impressive since I only used one pack of Safale.  I guess the starter is helping out.  It's the first time I've used a starter.  So far the aroma and flavor is exactly what I was going for.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Brewing Series

As part of stepping up my brewing skill set I've recently begun doing much more research into the science behind brewing.  I'm still pretty green going in this as far as the chemistry/science part so I've got a lot to learn.  Luckily my buddy Scott is super into this so he helps put stuff into laymans terms.

In order to learn more and get really indepth we've ordered a couple of books that are much more extensive than I though when we ordered them.  I just started reading the one on Hops and Scott is going to tackle the Yeast edition, then we'll switch.  There's also an edition on Water that is going to be released next month.

We'll be reading these and then reviewing them (so far they seems pretty incredible, although they read more like thesis papers than books).  We'll get to the main ideas and help pass on information.  The one I'm reading first is titled "For The Love of Hops".  Seems like a good book for me to start with since I sure love me some hops!  The series is called Brewing Elements Series and I'm hoping they also write one on barley/malts.

Here's some links to the current volumes available so you can check them out yourself if you're so inclined.  Clicking the links here helps support his site through your Amazon purchases (and costs you nothing extra).  I was not paid by the publishers or authors for putting these up or reviewing these books.  It just seemed like something fun to do!


Thursday, February 21, 2013

How to Brew Series

In the coming weeks and months you'll be seeing more info on how to brew, convert kegs, and other general information appearing here.  My buddy Scott and I were thinking about how there's a lot of info on detailed brewing and info on extract brewing, but not as much easily accessible info on how to switch to all grain brewing or how to do basic DIY projects that will save you hundreds of dollars.

There are some websites and books out there that give great detailed info about what happens during the brewing process (chemistry) as well as recipe creation and how to brew (brewing).  We'll try to review some of those for you and post our thoughts on them.

So basically, expect a much wider variety of articles and information to come soon on this blog.  Hopefully we can turn this into a great free place to get down to earth info on brewing as well as recipes, ideas, and other various tidbits.


(Also, if you're looking, here's a couple classic brewing books that are indepth and incredible useful).

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Resurrection IPA

Finally, another post about an IPA.  This is going to be my first time brewing with Citra, which seems kind of crazy since it's supposedly such a great IPA hop.  I guess I'll be the judge of that once it's all ready to be tasted.  I'm tempted to wait for Easter to tap this, hence the name.  If this is as good as I hope it is, then what better way to enjoy it than to celebrate the Resurrection!  The citrus-floral aroma while brewing will hopefully highlight the greatest holiday we have.  So here's the details...

Here's a 6 second clip of brewing this...
(if this doesn't play, sorry!)
11 Gallons

17lb GW 2-Row
7lb Simpsons Golden Promise
3lb Carapils
2lb Crystal 40L

Anticipated OG: 1.068
Actual OG: 1.066
Anticipated FG: 1.017
Actual FG:
Anticipated ABV: 6.6%
Actual ABV:

4oz Summit for 90m
2oz Summit for 30m
2oz Citra for 30m
2oz Summit at flameout
2oz Citra at flameout
2oz Amarillo at flameout

2oz Amarillo for 7 days dryhop
2oz Citra for 7 days dryhop

IBU's: 148

Wyeast 1056 American Ale in both buckets

Smooth brewing.  Finished in a little over 5 hours, which is pretty good for an 11 gallon batch.  Half the batch is for my buddy Randy who is preparing to head to the Dominican Republic to start a baseball ministry to tell kids about Jesus.  You should check it out and support them here.  He's the one who got me into brewing and helped me out early on.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Behind the ball...

Man, I've been behind on this blog.  I've brewed a couple times since my last post.  I think I've made the Drop Top Amber clone again (for my sister-in-laws wedding which I also performed; I know, I'm a modern Friar Tuck), a ten gallon of a Total Domination variation, and my Black Eye PA.  The recipes can be accessed by following the links as they were remakes of prior brews.

I have a couple new beers I'm working on.  One is going to be a hopped up IPA (so unlike me, huh?) with Summit, Citra, and Amarillo.  I'm pretty excited about it.  I'll post the recipe once I brew it.  The other one is going to be a Westveleteren XII clone.  That one I found online and I'll probably brew at Bean's Brewhouse.  He's got a crazy electric system with super good efficiency and better temp control.  I'll post that as well once I brew it.

Anyways, thanks for being patient and I'll be back in the saddle here shortly.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Vinnie's Pliny

I've brewed Pliny the Elder several times now, each slightly different.  This one is also different.  However, this is the official recipe given out by Vinnie at Russian River for Pliny.  He's awesome, he gives out the recipe to one of the best commercially made beers in the world.  What other breweries do that?  Buttwiper sure doesn't, and their beer is crap.  So here is what you have been waiting for...

5.5 gallons (so you end up with 5)

13.25 lb 2-Row
9.6oz CaraPils
9.6oz Crystal 40L
12oz Dextrose (Corn Sugar)

Anticipated OG: 1.078
Actual OG: 1.071
Anticipated FG: 1.018
Actual OG:

3.5oz CTZ for 90m
.75oz CTZ for 45m
1oz Simcoe for 30m

1oz Centennial at Flameout
2.5oz Simcoe at Flameout

1oz Centennial for 14 days Dryhop
1oz CTZ for 14 days Dryhop
1oz Simcoe for 14 days Dryhop
.25oz Centennial for last 5 days of the 14 above Dryhop
.25oz CTZ for last 5 days of the 14 above Dryhop
.25oz Simcoe for the last 5 days of the 14 above Dryhop

White Labs California Ale WLP001

Smooth brewing after giving a sermon. I'd say that's a productive Sunday.  I did substitute about 1oz Northern Brewer for 1 of the 2.5 ounces of Simcoe at Flameout.  Just couldn't afford too much more Simcoe.  Missed my OG by a touch, so hopefully it finishes a little lower than the 1.018 to balance that out.  I seriously can't wait to drink this.  This will probably be something I regularly do so I always have it available.  After all, why not spend a few hours a $30 to get $200 worth of a beer that is worth that.  It's $5 for a 16 ounce bottle here in Oregon, and it only comes once a month and you can only buy one.  So looks like I'll be brewing this a lot...
Update 11/30/12: Gravity is as 1.022, almost there.  Takes a while for these big brews to ferment all the way.  Taste is really good.  Probably the best IPA I will have brewed so far.  So stoked to get this on tap soon!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Hey Porter!

So in my two years of brewing I have yet to brew a porter.  So I picked up a basic recipe from Brew Brothers and went for it.  It turned out ok, but I was hoping for something closer to a Black Butte Porter.  I guess I should have just brewed one of those... The name is a nod to the great Johnny Cash and his song, "Hey Porter".  So heres the details (which you can get in a printed form from Brew Brothers).

5 gallons

8.25 lb GW 2 Row
1 lb Crystal 10L
.25 lb Black Patent
.25 lb Chocolate

Anticipated OG: 1.052
Actual OG: 1.048
Anticipated FG: 1.017
Actual FG: 1.011
Actual ABV: 4.8%

.75oz Fuggles for 60m
.5oz Fuggles for 10m
.75oz Fuggles at Flameout

WLP011 European Yeast

Smooth brewing.  I did this one before we started our Cana meeting, so the two overlapped.  Always good to brew with friends!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Another Workhorse IPA Variation

Man, it had been a while since I brewed for myself.  So long in fact that I'm really close to running out (at least on tap).  It's also been a while since I've had an IPA on tap (meaning more than a few weeks) so I decided to brew up another Workhorse.  Since Amarillo is hard to come by, I switched it out for Summit.  I've had really good results with that before so I figured it was a good switch.  Here's the details:

5.5 gallons

14 lb GW 2-Row
1.2 lb Carapils
1 lb Crystal 40L

Anticipated OG: 1.081
Actual OG: 1.075
Anticipated FG: 1.019
Actual FG:
Actual ABV:

1.75oz CTZ for 60m
.5oz Summit for 30m
1oz Cascade for 10m
.5oz Summit for 5m

1oz Cascade in Hopback
1oz Summit in Hopback

1oz Cascade for 7 days in secondary dry-hop
.5oz CTZ for 7 days in secondary dry-hop
1oz Summit for 7 days in secondary dry-hop

88 IBU

White Labs 001 Slurry

Everything went pretty smooth.  It took some trickery to get the hopback flowing well.  A chugger pump would help that quite a bit.  Perhaps someday.

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