askies   homebrew for the breakcore

Syrah Porter


A while back on a whim I decided to culture some brett from a few bottles from a local brewery. Though I don’t know for certain which strain was used, it would be my best guess it is B. Lambicus as the brewery has used that strain more often than others in their beers. The reputed cherry pie flavours which B. Lambicus is known to create, a dark beer came to mind to complement.

Knowing I’d wouldn’t be able to culture up enough yeast (mostly due to laziness) for a 100% fermentation. I figured using the brett in conjunction with another yeast would be my best bet. I’d been inspired for a while by a beer that bear-flavored brewed that used a combination of red wine and brett in a strong ale. Going a bit further, taking more inspiration from an infographic on vinepair, where they had paired a wine with a beer. If you like this kind of beer, you may like this kind of wine. Which on an aside, has gotten me to branch out a bit in my alcoholism and try some wines. One of the taste pairings was syrah/shiraz and porter. From there all the inspirations coalesced into one concrete idea: a syrah grape porter fermented with wine yeast and brett.

Now here is where things get interesting. The wine yeast I wanted to use, Lalvin RC-212 was only available at one LHBS in the city, which is located across town from me. Now if you have ever taken public transit in Toronto, you will understand my less than thrilling desire to spend half my day commuting in order to obtain one ingredient. Considering my options, I decided to take a chance and use the naturally occurring yeast on the grapes to try a spontaneous fermentation. I pulsed 3.6kg of Californian Syrah grapes in my blender (I don’t own a wine press), and added the slurry to a one gallon jug. Along with a big pinch of yeast nutrient I added the airlock, and went off to work. Upon returning from work, I found the natural yeast to be quite sufficient. Perhaps a little too efficient, as the cap had exploded out of the carboy and I had wine skins firmly embedded in my ceiling.

From there I pitched the brett slurry, and the syrah ferment into a 6 gallon fermentor along with 19 litres of a fairly run of the mill porter. Will the natural yeast, and brett be enough to ferment out the wort? I guess I will have to wait and see.

the deetz

Princess of Porter
SG 1.056 (14.8ºp)
25 ibus

75.6% 2row
6.2% special roast
6.2% special b
2.7% crystal 30
8.3% chocolate
1% black patent

25 ibus east kent goldings 90 minutes

190g/l California Syrah grapes added to primary

- 19/10/14 racked to secondary. Added 40g of medium toast American oak gravity 1.014

— 2 weeks ago with 1 note
#syrah  #shiraz  #brettanomyces  #homebrew  #porter beer 
Brewing with Nuruk - Korean Farmhouse Ale


I am not sure how I first found out about nuruk, but a long story short I became determined to brew up a batch of makgeolli. Having recently moved to within walking distance of Korea Town here in Toronto, I set out to find some nuruk. I eventually found it being sold as enzyme powder with the only additional English in small print on the back indicating it was required for making makgeolli. With nuruk now in hand, step one of my quest was complete.

For those who are unaware, nuruk is a combination of moulds, bacteria, and yeast which is used to ferment the traditional Korean beverage, makgeolli—there are alternative spellings, but makgeolli is perhaps the most common. Similar to kome-koji used in the production of sake, the same process occurs. The moulds present on the nuruk produce alpha-amylase which converts the starches of the rice into simpler fermentable sugars for the yeast and bacteria to consume.

To be honest, I wasn’t too particularly interested in making makgeolli, and more so in harvesting the unique yeasts and bacteria present for the fermentation of a sour beer. Granted the potential presence of food borne pathogens was a bit troubling, but you can rest assured that I survived.

I made a light 7.5ºp “wort” of 2.1kg of sushi rice for 23 litres (assumed based on potential extract of rice - as gravity can not be measured due to the parallel fermentation). In addition to the package of nuruk, I pitched a small starter of dregs of two bottles of Bellwoods Brewery’s No Rest For the Wicked. Which according to the brewer was a combination of Brett, Lacto, Pedio, and Sacc. After primary fermentation, I transferred the makgeolli to secondary, and saved the lees to pitch into a subsequent batch of beer.


Because makgeolli has been traditionally a farmer’s drink, being produced locally across the  country side with variation in process and recipe from farmhouse to farmhouse, my natural inspiration was to use the slurry in the other well known farmhouse beverage, saison. From a short googling, there a few breweries who have done a sake/beer hybrids. Goose Island’s Kisetsu, Hitachino Nest’s Red Rice Ale, and Cambridge Brewing’s Banryu Ichi but as far as I can find no one has done a Korean-Belgian hybrid beer. Therefore for the sake of experimentation, I figured it was my duty to brew such a concoction.

Korean-Belgian Farmhouse Ale

15.6ºp (1.064) sg
1ºp (1.004) fg
23 ibus
BHE 70%

Canadian Malting 2row 5kg
Canadian Malting Munich 10l 900g
Sushi Rice 750g

28.5g Willamette 4.7%aa 12 ibus 90 minutes
28.5g Mt. Hood 5.6%aa 11 ibus 30 minutes
28.5g Sorachi Ace dry hop 0 ibus 7 days
28.5g Nelson Sauvin dry hop 0 ibus 7 days

CaSO4 .4g per gallon and CaCL2 .4g per gallon added to de-chlorinated Toronto tap water.

- brewed on 170814
- precooked rice, and chilled with water to the same temperature as the main mash @ 65ºc, then combined the two. Mashed combination for 1 hour.
- pitched 1.6 litre slurry of makgeolli lees
- visible signs of fermentation at time of writing

— 2 months ago
#nuruk  #makgeolli  #farmhouse ale 
All-Grain Graf


A few months ago I stumbled across episode 68 of brewing tv, and subsequently the originating thread on homebrewtalk. From there it went further down the rabbit hole through reddit, and youtube. Graf (or Graff) is a slightly malty hopped cider, inspired by a beverage of the same name from the Stephen King’s Dark Tower series. Fanfic homebrew. I have not read the books, but graf piqued my interest. I thought it was an ingenious way of providing a degree of control over a cider fermentation to a homebrewer. On a commercial scale, cider manufacturers have many ways of controlling the terminal gravity of their ciders. Be it dry, semi-sweet, sweet, or whatever their market research department deems appropriate. On a homebrew scale, it is a bit of a crapshoot. One could carefully monitor the fermentation, stopping fermentation at the desired gravity with sulfites, then force carbonate in keg. This method pretty much requires you to not have a job or sleep, and a kegerator. Another method would be backsweetening after terminal gravity has been reached. Though if you are bottle conditioning, you are limited to using complex sugars which the yeast can not ferment, e.x. lactose, stevia, splenda, maltodextrin. Which I have read can lend off-flavours to the cider. From there there are other methods such as keeving, where nutrients are removed from the cider slowing fermentation down to a crawl. Not impossible on a homebrew scale, but a daunty task none the less.

Because your standard sacchromyces cerevisae is unable to ferment longer chain dextrinous sugars in the malt, by favouring alpha-amylase in the mash you can control the final gravity of the cider by the cider:grist ratio and the mash temperature. If all goes according to plan, the result will be a slightly malty hopped cider, or a graf.

English Mild Cider

7 ibus
23 litres
70% bhe

15 litres apple cider (10.8ºp~)
450g (1#) wheat malt
560g (1.25#) amber malt
270g (.66#) dark crystal 150l malt
230g (.5#) chocolate malt

8.5g 4.7%aa East Kent Golding 90 minutes 4 ibus
20g 4.7%aa East Kent Golding 10 minutes 3 ibus
28.5g 4.7%aa East Kent Golding 7 days dry hop in secondary

whirlfloc 1 tablet 15 minutes
yeast nutrient 15 minutes

1 packet Fermentis S-04 11g


  1. Heat 4 litres of dechlorinated water on the stove to the appropriate mash temperature to achieve a mash temperature of 70c. Best to undershoot, as raising the temperature is relatively easy with the stove top.
  2. Put grains in BIAB/paint strainer bag, and steep in strike water until conversion. If your oven goes down low enough, place the mash pot in the oven at 70c to help maintain temperature.
  3. Remove mash bag from liquid, and place aside. In another pot heat 4.6 litres to 76c. Steep mash bag in water to extract residual sugars
  4. Combine first, and second pots for total volume of 8 litres, with an estimated starting gravity of 9.6ºp. Depending on how efficient is your stove top, you may want to adjust starting volume to compensate for the boil off. I had no idea what I would boil off in 90 minutes, so I decided to adjust the volume post-boil. Boil wort, and add hops, and additionals when indicated. 
  5. Cool the wort, and combine with the cider in a clean 23l (6g) carboy. Aereate, and pitch yeast. Ferment at 18-20c.
  6. When airlock activity ceases, rack to secondary and dry hop for one week. From there bottle, or keg as desired.


The hop variety is not particularly important, the only thing to pay attention to is the alpha acids. Any variety below 5%aa should be fine. The goal is to moderately offset the residual sweetness, not have a hop bomb. Leave making an ICPA for another time.
Yeast strain is also not particularly important, something English would be most appropriate but an American strain would be just fine.

The graf does benefit from a bit of age. It is a tad harsh out of the gate. A week in the fridge after priming does the drink wonders.

— 7 months ago
#graf  #cider  #stephen king 
Do The Ginger Bug


Upon one of my latest travels through the internets. I came across what is referred to as the ginger beer plant. Used for the traditional production of ginger beer (go figure), GBP is a composite organism consisting of Saccharomyces florentinus, and Lactobacillus hilgardii.

I had never heard of either organism, and them internets didn’t pony up much data. So, for science I decided it was my duty to attempt to cultivate said organisms.

The information that does exist about growing a GBP is unfortunately for the most part written by hippies. Generally very nice people, but have the habit of making OCPD brewers like myself cringe with the lack of reliable information. As an aside, I would like to say: hippies, the scientific method is your friend. Do not fear the method. It is a tool, not an ideology. At the very least, please list your ingredients in weight rather than in volume. If you don’t own a gram scale, you probably have a friend that does.

Using a recipe for a GBP starter taken from Wellness Mama, I extrapolated a 25ºp solution was built up over the course of a few days. The reason I assume for the stepped additions is due to the low nutrient environment for organism growth. I figured rather than waste time feeding the starter over the next 5 days, I would jump the gun and provide those lil’ organisms the proper environment for healthy growth. That is right, cocksucking beer wort! None of this white sugar - water solution shit. More FAN than you can shake a shaking stick at. Working with approximately half the plato (11.8ºp), but four times the volume (1.89 l), 6 pieces of ginger seemed appropriate. Granted, the requirement of 6 pieces was generally pulled out of my ass due to the original recipe.

I FUCKEN HATE PSYTRANCE ginger bug starter

1.89 litres 11.8ºp wort

513g grated ginger


can florentinus and hilgardii ferment maltose. find out next time, same shat-channel same shat-time?

19.01.14 update

Transferred sterilized mason jar, and took gravity. FG 2ºp

experiment verdict: SUCCESS!

Flavour: ginger spice, yeast bite, and lemon. Which ought to be pretty obvious.

— 9 months ago
#ginger bug  #ginger  #ginger ale  #beer  #brewing  #homebrew  #hippies  #science 
Augmented gorilla arm cat cyborg

Augmented gorilla arm cat cyborg

— 1 year ago
Making Not Skyr

Years ago on a trip to Iceland, I became acquainted with an Icelandic food called Skyr. It is sort of like strained yogourt like labneh. Recently I was reading the wikipedia article on skyr, and noticed it is made with a variety of bacterias, one of them being Lactobacillius Delbruckii. Lactobacillius Delbruckii is present on malted barley, and is the chief ingredient in making sour mashes, and acidulated malt. Which got me to thinking, could I make a facsimile of skyr with malted barley? Figured it was worth a shot.

Yes, it indeed was 2235 when I did this. Was a Saturday too. Some people spend their Saturdays snorting coke, and getting herpes. I make cheese like substances. Here the low quality milk is being heated to 49c, which is the optimal temperature for lactobacillius growth.

Please ignore my dirty quarter-round. One cup of good ol’ malted 2 row barley from Canada Malting.

Glorious cheese cloth. Fuck is my floor ever dirty.

Once the temperature was reached, and the bundle of bacterial joy was added to the milk, it was now time for the rennet. Most cheese recipes call for a quarter or half a tablet. Fuck that. I am too lazy for that shit. Again, please ignore the random dirt on my counter.

ha! Success! The Delbruckii was able to produce enough acid to curdle the milk.

Allowing the final bit of whey to drip out of the curd.

Whatever I made turned alright. By far not skyr in any respect. Closer to your standard farmer’s cheese. The sour lemony tartness from the lactic acid definitely comes through. All in all, a worthwhile culinary experiment.

— 1 year ago
#lactobacillius  #skyr  #barley  #malt