Mars: The Bringer of War 12.25.18



Not red. It just isn’t the same vibrant red from the pictures I saw, or even the red description from the malster. It really gives off a mahogany color, very rusty colored. Deep brown with hints of red in it, but really reminds me of a nice varnished wood.



Nice hoppy bitterness hits the nose when first poured. Fruit aromas jump out as the beer warms up. 


Flavors has a great balance of bitter hops and sweet fruits. I honestly think it might be a tad bit under hopped, but that’s not a huge issue in this beer. I get a surprisingly clean malt flavor on this, almost as if it was 2-Row and some amber Candi Sugar. I don’t get a lot of malty sweetness at all. And my suspicious is that maybe the water profile combined with a significant amount of hops gave this beer a very good balance, or even slightly tipped in the direction of hoppy. 

Hyper Critical:

Would I brew this beer again? Not with these malts. My Targaryen beer turned out very red, perfectly red in my eyes, and that beer was Pilsner, CaraRed, and CaraMunich. If I ever do another Red IPA, I’m going to use that grain bill, paired with a healthy amount of hops.

Night of Lucid Dream Brew Day

I’ve attempted a black IPA in the past, but I didn’t like the results. I found that using roasted malts to a degree that would turn the wort black caused too much astringency.

In my latest attempt, I replaced all the black malts with 240L Candi Syrup as the only color agent involved.



Method Style Boil Size Batch Size Efficiency
All Grain Black Juicebier 3 gal 2.5 gal 70% Target


OG FG ABV (alternate) IBU (tinseth) SRM
19.2º P 6.7º P 7.5% ABV HOPPY 36

Target Water profile:

Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl SO4-2
100+ 5 10 200 50

My typical 200:50 juicebier profile

DI Water additions

Calcium Chloride 6.2g
Epsom 0.7g
Gypsum 1.0g
Sea Salt 0.4g

Estimated mash pH: 5.3


3.5 lbs Crisp Maris Otter
1 lbs Flaked Oats
1 lbs Golden Naked Oats
1 lbs Candi Syrup D-240
0.5 lbs Lactose
100 g DME Pilsen (starter)

Plus a healthy amount of rice hulls.

Hop Schedule

1 oz Citra (13.8% AA) Whirlpool 20 min 185ºF
1 oz Citra (13.8% AA) Dry Hop 4 days
1 oz Citra (13.8% AA) Dry Hop 4 days
1 oz Citra (13.8% AA) Dry Hop 2 days
1 oz Citra (13.8% AA) Dry Hop 2 days

I wanted to do something simple on this. Single hop Citra sounded very tasty. And the idea is to fool some people. Looking at a dark beer but getting only aromas and flavors of a juice bomb.


WLP095 Burlington Ale… Recently being very busy, I didn’t have time to make a starter, so I cooked one up right before brewing.

Brew day

I milled out my grains in the morning, making sure to crush the Golden Naked Oats into a flour, and then the rest of the barley.


I cooked up a quick starter and cooled it down before pitching yeast and setting on the stir plate.

6 hours should be enough to wake it up.

I heated my strike water to about 170, and then transferred it into the mash tun.


I poured in the grains, gave them a good stir, and sealed the lid up.


I checked the mash temp about 4 times in a 75 minute mash, and throughout the entire mash the thermometer read 152ºF.


After the mash, trouble struck. I cracked the valve on the mash tun… nothing. I cranked open the valve to see if anything would come out… nothing. Great.

Plan B, I lined my GigaWort with a large nylon bag, and poured the entire mash in.


I began my sparge, and collected 3 gallons of wort before adding my Candi syrup adjunct.


The Candi Syrup produced a brown wort rather than the black color I wanted.


I did a 60 minute hopless boil, and then let the wort naturally drop temperature to 185ºF before tossing in 4oz of Citra hops.

While whirl pooling I checked on my starter, and it was showing some good activity.


After a 20 minute whirlpool, I transferred the wort into a kettle lined with a mesh bag.


I cooled the wort down to 70ºF


Then transferred it to the fermenter along with my yeast starter.


A final gravity reading showed terrible efficiencies on the day. I only made it to 17.2ºP, (shooting for 19.2) which BrewersFriend calculates at 59% Brew House. I’m not too concerned if this beer isn’t as boozy as what was calculated.

I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong with this, but I’m definitely going back to bag squeezing for the foreseeable future. The upside to bag squeezing is that I use less water, less minerals, and have a significantly higher efficiency than this 3 vessel fly sparge method.

Chocolate Milkshake Brew Day

Here’s an experimental beer. I decided to take my base Juicebier recipe, add a few more malts, a lot of tasty adjuncts, and the result be a chocolate milkshake porter type thing. This dessert beer doesn’t really fit into a style, and I don’t really care.



Method Style Boil Size Batch Size Efficiency
All Grain Dessertbier 3 gal 2.5 gal 70% Target


OG FG ABV (alternate) IBU (tinseth) SRM
20.5º P 6.7º P 8.4% ABV 28 42.88

Target Water profile:

Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl SO4-2
85 0 25 150 50

I’m slightly tweaking my Juicebier water profile. This time there’s no magnesium, and I’m bumping the Sodium up to 25, and calming the chloride down to 150. 

DI Water additions

Gypsum 1.3g
Sea Salt 0.9g
Calcium Chloride 3.5g
Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl SO4-2
88.5 0 24.9 157.4 51.1

Estimated mash pH: 5.3


3.5 lbs Crisp Maris Otter
1 lbs Flaked Oats
1 lbs Golden Naked Oats
.25 lbs Honey Malt
.125 lbs Chocolate Malt
.125 lbs Roasted Barley
1 lbs Candi Syrup D-180
.5 lbs Lactose
100 g DME Pilsen (starter)

Plus a healthy amount of rice hulls. 


Hop Schedule

1 oz Liberty (4% AA) FWH 28.27 IBUs

Extra Flavors

4 chopped vanilla beans “dry hopped” in primary.

2oz Cocao Nibs “dry hopped” in primary.

And even possibly, 0.25oz white chocolate extract added at kegging.



My original choice was going to be London Fog, but it was sold out locally. I picked up a tube of WLP095 Burlington Ale instead. 

The night before brew day I pitched the tube of Burlington onto a 1 liter starter.


Brew Day

I weighed out my minerals prior to brewing, and then began heating 8 quarts of strike water in my GigaWort.

When the water was ready, it went into the mash tun,


and then the grains were added. I hit my mash temp mark of 155, and it even was running a little hot, but stayed below 160.


After the mash was over, I began the very slow process of sparging and lautering out the wort. I bought a coffee urn, fitted it with a kettle valve, and use this as my hot liquor sparge tank.


I vorlaufed quite a bit of wort as the sparge water heated up.


And when the sparge water was ready, I began draining the wort into the GigaWort. It was at this point I added my 1oz of Liberty hops.



I continued the sparge, very very slowly.


When I had enough wort in the GigaWort, I added 1 lb of D-180.


Shooting for my 3 gallon boil volume, I missed by just a little bit.


After the wort was boiled for 60 minutes, I tossed in the 8oz of lactose and gave it a good whirlpool for a couple minutes to let it dissolve. Then the wort was transferred to another kettle to be filtered and cooled.


After the cool down process, I poured the wort into the fermenter,


and then poured in my yeast starter. The fermenter was moved into my fermentation chamber, where it will ferment at 68º.


My numbers at the end of the day were lower than expected. The wort read about 18.9 on the refractometer instead of 20.5, which doesn’t overly concern me. I’d rather more chocolate flavors come through than booziness.

Mars: The Bringer of War Brew Day

Yes, I have had a pint of the Bell’s beer with the same name. I thought it was good. I didn’t think theirs was very red, though. 

Wanting to make my own Red IPA, I chose to do a single malt beer with the reddest malt I could find, Red X. It wasn’t available locally, (the homebrew shop doesn’t have the ability to get it for some reason). I bought 5 lbs of it from Austin Homebrew online, and decided to give this recipe a whirl.




Method Style Boil Size Batch Size Efficiency
All Grain Red IPA 3 gal 2.5 gal 70% Target


OG FG ABV (alternate) IBU (tinseth) SRM
16.6º P 3.3º P 7.5% ABV Shut up 13.32

Target Water profile:

Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl SO4-2
100+ 5 10 50 200

I originally was going to go with the Mosher Ideal Pale profile of 275:50 SO4:Cl, but I decided I’d just take my jucebier profile and flip the SO4:Cl ratio. 

The main issue I ran into making this water profile was that the malt, being Lovibond 12, and all of the Calcium Sulfate and Calcium Chloride additions, the mash pH would be significantly too low. I did a bit of research and settled on Calcium Hydroxide (Slaked Lime/Pickling Lime) as the best pH buffer, instead of Baking Soda.

DI Water additions

Gypsum 4.3g
Epsom 0.7g
Sea Salt 0.35g
Calcium Chloride 0.95g
Calcium Hydroxide 1.25g
Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl SO4-2
146 5.2 10.4 50.6 201.7

Estimated mash pH: 5.3


5 lbs Best Malz Red X
12 oz Dextrose
100 g DME Pilsen (starter)

Hop Schedule

.75 oz Warrior (16.8% AA) Mash/Sparge 20.35 IBUs or whatever
.25 oz Warrior (16.8% AA) Boil 60 minutes 30.94 IBUs
1 oz Amarillo (10.3% AA) Whirlpool 20 min
1 oz Mosaic (10.9% AA) Whirlpool 20 min
1 oz Amarillo (10.3% AA) Dry Hop 4 days
1 oz Mosaic (10.9% AA) Dry Hop 4 days
1 oz Amarillo (10.3% AA) Dry Hop 2 days
1 oz Mosaic (10.9% AA) Dry Hop 2 days

I only wanted .25oz of Warrior for bittering, so trying to not be wasteful, I thought i’d add the rest of the Warrior on top of the grain bed when I sparge. It ought to contribute a little bit of hoppiness, time will tell.  


WLP090 San Diego Super, typically the homebrew shop never carries San Diego Super, but it was available there, so I jumped on it for this beer. 

As usual, I made a starter with the yeast on 100g of Pilsen DME and 1 liter of water the night before brew day.


Brew Day

I woke up Wednesday morning to the sight of fermenting starter.


I sanitized all my equipment, and then weighed out my minerals. I pour the minerals straight into the  into the kettle, and then dilute with my mash water, in this case 7 quarts of DI water…

Based on my last brew session, I’m calculating that I’ll need 14 quarts of water for this. And I’ve decided to just split mash and sparge right down the middle. 

I began heating my GigaWort to the Brewer’s Friend prescription of 167ºF.


When the water reached temp, I opened the valve and let it pour into the igloo mash tun. Grains went in with a good stir, then the thermometer, and finally the lid.


After about 10 minutes, I checked the temp and was sitting perfectly at 152ºF.


I’m planning to mash for 90 minutes, depending on how impatient I am. 

After an 89 minute mash, I checked the temp, and the mash had cooled to about 143ºF.


I drew off about a quart of wort, and poured it back over the grain bed. I repeated this about 3 more times.



This wort smells eerily similar to Munich malt. And it tastes a lot like Munich malt also. Hmm. 

I then began lautering the wort into a kettle, added the .75oz of Warrior hops to the top of the grain bed,



and began pulse sparging with my sparge assembly. 7 quarts total was sparged through the grains, with the mash tun valve just cracked open.


Turns out that 7 quarts of sparge wasn’t quite enough. I’m wondering if it was either a stuck sparge, or my lack of false bottom, but the mash tun puttered out at about 11 quarts or so. I needed a little bit of bag squeezing to collect the rest of my volume, which I did no problem. I got a gravity reading at this point; 11.3ºP


I added in 12 oz of dextrose, stirred well, and grabbed my pre-boil gravity reading; 13.8ºP. 


I tossed in the .25oz of Warrior hops, (easier to do a First Wort addition, it probably won’t make much of a difference), and fired the kettle up to boiling temps.


After the hour long boil, I killed the heat, started stirring the kettle, and tossed in my whirlpool additions. These are going to stir for 20 minutes. 

After the whirlpool, I opened the ball valve,


and transferred the wort into a separate kettle lined with a nylon bag for filtration, and placed that kettle into an ice bath.


Here’s a closer look at the color


I cooled the wort down in an ice bath, and when it reached 70ºF, I took a gravity reading of 17.8ºP

I poured the wort into the fermenter,


and then pitched my 1 liter starter. Looks like a got a little bit more than usual, should be OK. 


One last gravity reading on the day reads out just at 17ºP.

I carried the carboy into my fermentation chamber, where it will ferment somewhere around 80ºF for the next 7-10 days. Unfortunately my house is bit too cold. There isn’t enough warmth to help buffer the beer back up, so I’m going to ferment on the warm side.  


House Lannister 11.13.18

House Lannister

Final stats on this beer:

Expected OG Expected FG Expected ABV SRM
19.6º P 3.0º P 9.7% ABV 5.75
Actual OG Actual FG Actual ABV SRM
19.8º P  1.012 SG 9.8% ABV 5.75

This beer has been changing in the keg quite a bit. Fermentation kicked off a lot of banana notes, and it was something that stuck around for a while. This beer has now settled to its final profile I believe. 



VERY transparent beer, deep golden color. I’m surprised that this beer is as transparent as it is, and I’m also surprised that this beer appears a little more deep gold than bright gold. Not bad things, but not exactly what I was expecting. 



A big combination of the dried fruit, classic Chimay Belgian aromas, and banana. The banana is probably because the beer was fermented too warm, but I don’t find it unappealing at all. 


Snappy carbonation with medium to light body/mouthfeel. Right off the bat the beer hides its alcohol well to my palate. I wouldn’t be able to tell it’s encroaching 10% ABV without knowing. The flavor has a lot of banana on it. It isn’t as much banana as it was about a few weeks ago, but it’s a prominent flavor. I do get a bubblegum kind of thing going on also. The overarching flavor though is that of Belgian dried fruit and Chimay yeast, which is what I was going for. The more I drink this beer the more I can start picking out what I think is a Munich malt flavor. Although Munich Type 1 (5L) makes up only about 7% of the grain bill, it still leaves behind a big malty backbone. 

Hyper Critical:

The thing I point to the most in this beer is the banana flavor. While I think it happens to be a decent flavor and compliments the beer a little bit, I don’t think the flavor of banana belongs, or at least wasn’t my intention. But I think that’s about it. I really enjoyed this beer, I think it drinks well, and I find it more pleasing with each sip. If there was really really anything else, I might challenge myself to find a good adjunct to add to characterize the beer’s namesake. 

OllieQuadz 2018 Brew Day

Olliequadz is back. This was one of the first beers I wanted to brew when I set out brewing on my own. Similar to my favorite beer, Chimay Blue, I wanted to brew a Belgian Quad that I could bottle condition and cellar for a long time. I did just that, and I am still sitting on a bottle of OllieQuadz from 2016, 692 days later according to my Brewer’s Friend record. 

OllieQuadz in 2016 was the first beer that I made that I considered a big step forward. I thought it was appropriate to attempt another step forward with this beer on my new fly sparge and mash tun system.


There’s some odd numbers at play here, I had to make adjustments as I used too much water in the process. 



Method Style Boil Size Batch Size Efficiency
All Grain Belgian Quadrupel 3.5 gal 2.75 gal 70% Target


OG FG ABV (alternate) IBU (tinseth) SRM
18.9º P 3.0º P 9.64% ABV 30 20

Target Water profile: Chimay (boiled)

Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl SO4-2
30 7 7 21 21

Once again, I’m using the Chimay water profile. 

DI Water additions

Gypsum 0.80g
Sodium Chloride 0.3g
Calcium Chloride 0.60g
Lactic Acid 3.5g
Ca+2 Mg+2 Na+ Cl SO4-2
22.4 0 7.6 30.2 28.6

Estimated mash pH: 5.34


5.75 lbs Château Pilsner
0.50 lb Flaked Wheat
0.50 lb Weyermann Munich Type 2
1.0 lb Belgian Candi Syrup D-90
100 g DME Pilsen (starter)

Hop Schedule

1 oz Hallertau Mittelfruh (4% AA) First Wort 30 IBU


WLP500 – Monastery Ale (Chimay). I pitched 1 fresh tube into slightly more than 1 liter of wort, about 1100mL, 24 hours before brew day.

Brew Day


I sanitized all equipment, and then weighed out my minerals. Those went into the kettle, and were then diluted with 13.5 quarts of DI water… Brewer’s Friend recommended a 2 qt/lb mash for higher gravity beers, so I trusted that along with a default of 0.5 qt/lb absorption rate. 

I heated up my strike water to 163ºF in the GigaWort, and then transferred it via gravity into my mash cooler lined with a nylon bag, which is going to act as my false bottom for now. 


I doughed in the malt, gave it a good stir, and pressed on the lid. About 10 min later I checked back and nailed the mash temp of 150ºF perfectly. 


After the 90 minute mash, I slowly began lautering the wort out of the cooler. I caught two quarts of the first runnings and added that back to the cooler. And then continued lautering. The Brewer’s Friend calculator I used recommended 3 quarts of sparge water according to my profile. So I slowly pulsed in 3 quarts of 170 water over the grain bed. 


I stopped the sparging and lautering when I hit 12 quarts of wort in my kettle, but realized I had some more to go in the mash tun. I then drained out the rest of the mash tun and got about 1.75 quarts extra.


I decided to combine both worts in the GigaWort since they had the same gravity readings. This got me up to about 13.75 quarts. I added my D-90 Candi Syrup, and the 1oz of Hallertau hops, and checked what my boil size was: about 3.5 gallons. I also decided I needed to do a 90 minute boil.

After the 90 minute boil, I transferred the wort out and into a nylon bag filter, and began the cool down process.


I now had 10 quarts of wort at 20.8ºP, with my starter of about 1.1 liters still to pitch. Knowing it wasn’t going to fit comfortably in a 3 gallon carboy, I quickly sanitized a 5 gallon glass carboy, as the wort cooled down.

Once the wort was cooled, I combined my starter into the kettle, and grabbed a starting gravity of about 19.5ºP, and poured it all into the carboy.


I’ll let this beer go for 10-14 days in the primary, with plans to bottle and condition for at least 6 months before consumption.


13.5 quarts mash + 3 quarts sparge = 16.5 total

16.5 – 13.75 = 2.75 absorbed.

2.75 / 6.75lbs of grain = 0.4 quarts per pound absorbed.