Mike’s Homebrewing Page

(Last Updated 10-09-08)

 

 

Welcome to my Homebrewing and Beer page!

 

Here's hoping you will find something on the site that helps you in your own brewing, or at least a bit interesting.

 


History

I started homebrewing in 1998. The progression from Extract Brewing to Extract with Grain was on the 3rd batch. About a year and a half after starting brewing, on the 25th batch, the move was made to All Grain. My brewing knowledge has increased over the years and and much of it can be attributed to working with and in my local homebrewing club, CARBOY.  Since beginning brewing, many ribbons and awards have been earned in competition for my beers, culminating in a third place finish for North Carolina Brewer of the Year in 2002. My current BJCP ranking is National, I grade exams, and serve as the BJCP Communications Director.   Generally brew days consist of multiple batches at the same time with different mashes to end up with two to four 5-gallon batches at the end of the day.  The preference is variety, and if a recipe is brewed twice, it is usually tweaked some the second time around.  Online participation includes frequent postings on rec.crafts.brewing, Beerinator, BeerMapping, BJCP Forums and More Beer and lurking on on the HBD, RateBeer, BeerAdvocate along with many other homebrewing and beer sites. In January 2006, I started writing for the Southern Brew News covering the states of NC and SC.

 

 

 

Pages

Below are some pages about my brewing equipment and techniques along with some other experiences and interests.

 

Fermentation and Serving – A unique aspect, others have more elaborate systems, and some with similar equipment, but few have more flexibility and variety. (Sad note - the bottle cooler died in 2005 - now just a garage fridge, fermentation freezer, and kegorator remain.)

 

Inexpensive Rectangular Mash Tun – This is the very first mash tun I started with, and still use to this day.  It generally runs in the 80-85% efficiency, and once you see the simplicity and low cost of it, you will no longer be scared of the potential costs people often associate with All Grain equipment.

 

How to make a Coffin Mash Tun – This is how to make a large mash tun for team brews. The cooler was donated and the manifold was created from CPVC. Total cost for the transformation was less than $12 and the efficiency of the first use was 78%.

 

Malt Mill and Large Hopper – This is my malt mill which was motorized, and the large hopper constructed for it.  An in depth article about motorizing a mill is in the section below

 

Propane Burner conversion for Sanke Kettle – This is how to make a three legged propane burner work for a converted Sanke kettle which was originally too large in diameter to fit on the burner.

 

Setup and Mashing Techniques – This is a rundown of my brewing setup, and the techniques used to make the brew day more productive.

 

Starters and Pressure Canning Wort – Page on starters and the procedure for pressure canning wort for starters.

 

Freezing Yeast – Method for freezing yeast and then bringing them back to life.

 

Measurement Devices – This page details some information on Thermometers, Hydrometers, and Refractometers.

 

Counter Pressure Bottle Filler – This is my filler.  PARTS LIST NOW AVAILABLE!

 

Great Taste of the Midwest 2003 – Twelve of us from North Carolina made the trek to the Great Taste in Madison, WI.  This is highlights of that trip!

 

Ginger Beer Plant – A section on Ginger Beer Plant. This was discussed in a session at the 2006 AHA convention by Raj Apte. He gave out some samples and this is a page devoted to those ongoing experiences with the GBP and the resulting Ginger Beer. Note with our local soft water our grains did not grow as readily. Hard water may be necessary for the grains to grow.

 

Articles

Here are several articles I wrote.

 

Building a Keg Pressure Tester – This is a device all people who are kegging must either purchase or make.  It is the only way you can insure the pressure in your keg is exact. (PDF)

 

Cleaner or Sanitizer? – This article lists a majority of the cleaners and sanitizers on the market and their recommended concentrations to properly do the job. (It is about midway through the newsletter or PDF.)

 

The Brewing Library – This is a list of the publications you might want to get to establish a decent brewing library. (It is about midway through the newsletter)

 

Motorizing a Malt Mill – An in depth article on how to go about motoring your mill.  The article should be applicable to any type of mill that can be motorized. (PDF)

 

Yeast Washing, Quick and Dirty – An article taken from the information on the Wyeast website, and an old article by Robert Arguello. (PDF)

 

Cleaning and Rebuilding Ball Lock Kegs – A slightly dated article but with good information.  It should be updated to suggest cleaning with Straight-A, and sanitizing with StarSan. (PDF)

 

Lubricants for Keg Parts – An article describing what “keg lube” is and might be.

 

Base Malt Steeping Experiment – An article on whether base malts can be steeped or not.  Conclusion - they must be mashed, and not simply steeped.

 

Keg Thread Sizes - A quick page on the thread sizing for Ball-lock and Pin-lock kegs and which posts are interchangeable.

 

 

Recipes

Below are links to many of my recipes that have done well in various competitions. 

(The recipe Aye Corona was meant to be a crowd pleaser for a party, and has become a favorite of many of my homebrewing friends, some who brew it fairly often.)

 

Fuggled Up Pale – ESB recipe brewed to get rid of a plethora of Fuggle Hops, 5 gallon recipe.

140/- Shilling Historical Scottish Ale (1850) – Very strong historical Wee Heavy, 3 gallon recipe.

IP Freely – IPA recipe brewed to get rid of Cascade Hops, 10 gallon recipe.

Klassic Kolsch – Very good Kolsch recipe, 5 gallon recipe.

Altstadt Alt – Very good Düsseldorf Altbier, 5 gallon recipe.

Red Mild – Very good mild that uses quite of bit of cane sugar, 5 gallon recipe.

Bigfoot + - Sierra Nevada Bigfoot Clone that does not miss by much, 5 gallon recipe.

Weizenbock Party – Helles Weizenbock that is excellent, though very light, 5 gallon recipe.

Historical Porter – First stab at what a historical Porter would been like, and a great beer, 5 gallon recipe.

Spaten + - A decent Oktoberfest/Maerzen recipe, 5 gallon recipe.

Red Ryder – A California Common recipe originally given to me by Mike D’Brewer, 5 gallon recipe.

MD CAP – My Classic American Pilsner recipe, 5 gallon recipe.

Berlin-Er-We-I-See – My Berliner Weisse recipe, 5 gallon recipe.

Wit or Witout – My Belgian Wit recipe, remains one of the best basic Witbier recipes around.

Now We’re A Bruin – My Oud Bruin recipe, 5 gallon recipe.

Mike’s Hard Lemonade – An experiment that got out of hand, 5 gallon recipe.

SinSaisonal – A very good Saison, 5 gallon recipe.

Recipes that have never been entered in competition

Aye Corona – A no style beer that is a crowd pleaser.  Plenty of alcohol, and a really nice finish. You can increase hops and other ingredients as you please. The key to this beer is the corn, the honey malt, the mash temp, and the yeast. 5 gallon recipe.

NHD2006 Imperial Rye Pale Ale - a batch made with 3 other brewers to celebrate NHD. This recipe also was the trial run of the CARBOY Coffin.

 

 

Historical Recipes

Below are a list of the Historical Recipes brewed and some notes about them. 
A few appear above and have won awards in competition, but most were brewed just to see how beers you cannot purchase today would have tasted originally.

 

1908 Kentucky Common – This recipe is a naturally soured brown ale that was brewed in Kentucky around the turn of the century.  The route chosen was to use yogurt to sour the mash, if rebrewed, raw crushed grain would be utilized for souring.  It is a quite refreshing, slightly sour brew that was a favorite of many.

1837 Historical IPA – This recipe was send to me by Andy Davison before getting my hands on a copy of Old British Beers and How to Brew Them.  It is an 1837 IPA recipe.  It uses nothing but pale malt, and the original hops were Kent Goldings.  One substitute was Fuggle for bittering, and Kent Golding for aroma and dry hopping.  The beer is surprisingly balanced and very good.

1850 Historical Scottish 140/- - A recipe from Noonan’s style book.  This beer is only a 3 gallon recipe and requires a large amount of malt, and caramelizing the first runnings.  It only gets better with age, and stands the test of time as good as any strong beer.  A very potent brew.

Historical Porter – When reading the book on Porter, I decided to try and brew one based upon the recipes and descriptions given in the book.  This was and excellent beer, and one that will be brewed again.

Classic American Pilsner – This is a pre-prohibition recipe.  CAP is rarely found outside of homebrewing, and this recipe is a good one for the style. In 2000 CARBOY brewed a commercial sized batch of CAP for NHD.  The details on that can be found here NHD2000.

 

Utah Series of Beers

These goal of these experimental recipes was to be less than 4.5% ABV when possible. In Utah brewpub beer is limited to being under 4.0% ABV, but that seems a bit small, so 4.5% +/- is the goal. (None of these recipes have been entered in competition.)

Mild/Porter (Cold Steeped Grains) Split Boil - a split boil batch of Mild and Porter and an inadvertent addition of extra grains.

Ordinary Bitter - a pretty nice Bitter recipe.

Red Mild - a variation of the award winning recipe above.

Ordinary Bitter II - an even better recipe for an Bitter.

No Sparge Special Bitter (oops, ESB) - a no sparge inadvertent ESB.

Berliner Weiss - no sparge, mash hopped, yogurt innoculated recipe.

Gotlandsdrika/Gotlandsdricke (large and small) - beer style from the Gotlands island off the coast of Sweden.

Sticke Alt and Altbier - a Sticke Alt and an Altbier to boot.

Tiny Saison - small Saison recipe utilizing T58 yeast.
American Belgian Pale Ale/English Belgian Pale Ale - split wort with different hops utilizing T58 yeast.
Mockel - a Munich Dukel grist using PacMan slurry.
Mocktoberfest - an Octoberfest grist using PacMan slurry. coming soon

 

 

Beer Judge Exam Study Aids - BeerStud

In our area we have a YahooGroups site that has many good links and lots of files that help brewers prepare for the BJCP exam. (Current BJCP Exam Schedule)  If you are interested you would need to join the group.  It is called BeerStud and to be included, you would need to send an e-mail to BeerStud to join, and give your name and city/state in the body of the e-mail. Once signed up, you can change the format, to read on the web, digest, etc.   If you are not going to take the exam when given in our area, please change your format to digest. Please be sure to spend some time in the files area once you become a member.

 

BJCP Exams

If I graded your BJCP exam, drop me an email and let me know . Also, keep me posted as to how you progress within the BJCP. Give me some information on when you took the exam and I can perhaps tell you why it was graded as it was.

 

A Raleigh, NC BJCP Exam is planned for February 2009. If you would like to take the exam in Raleigh, please contact me via email and be sure to be signed up for BeerStud (follow links given above).

 

Upcoming North Carolina and South Carolina Competitions

I’ll either be judging or entering the competitions listed below. 

If I ever judge your beer at any competition, please send me an email and tell me what you thought of your score sheet.  It will assist me in my judging.

 

BBG Skirmish In the Triad - November 1, 2008
PSB Brewer's Open - December 6, 2008

 

 

Southern Brew News

If you have any news to report with regard to NC and SC breweries, brewpubs, or beer releases drop me an email and let me know.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This page will certainly change and be updated.  If you have any comments, feel free to send them to me at my email address.

 

Thanks for dropping by, and Cheers!

Mike Dixon

 

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