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Ask A Brewer | July 18

Dan Moss takes aim, and a break hosing runoff from the filter…

Every couple of weeks, we’ll be soliciting your brewing questions on Facebook for Brewer Dan Moss to answer here on Here are his answers to Round Five.

Mike McGuire: Whats your recipe for Brooklyn East IPA? Its too expensive in Ireland!

I can’t divulge the whole shebang, but I can steer you in the right direction. East India Pale Ale’s grist is roughly 30% continental lager malt and 70% English pale ale malt. We add a small amount of crystal malt and malted wheat as well. After mashing, we end up with a wort between 16 and 18 deg. Plato that we boil for just over an hour. We bitter the wort with Willamette hops, and blend some English and American varietals for flavor and aroma. After the boil, we ferment with our house ale yeast until the gravity of the beer is around 2 to 3 plato. This is also the point where we dry hop the beer, again with a blend of English and American hops. Cascade, Golding and Fuggle are just a few of the varieties we use in our dry hop blend. After allowing the beer to soak up all that hoppy goodness, we’ll filter the beer and prepare it for packaging. After that, we’ll package the liquid in kegs and bottles and then it’s off to your friendly neighborhood beer seller. If you’d prefer not to spend your hard earned money on our bottles and homebrewing is out of the question, you can always come to Brooklyn and get your fix at the source!

Brendon Van Allen: Getting into the industry is HARD, I have found. What advice can you give someone who wants to get into the beer industry?

You should grow a beard. And then trim it into a mustache. Think Gabe Kapplan or Burt Reynolds, and it’s in the bag. Seriously, that’s how it happened for me, and that’s how it might happen for you.

Amy DeFalco: Love the Summer Ale and the Local 2. On the Summer Ale, do you use Maris Otter as the backbone? It has such a wonderful crisp quality to it (and do you ferment it on the cool side?). On the Brooklyn Local 2, do you use the same yeast for bottle conditioning as you do in the primary? Thanks in advance : ]

Summer Ale is actually a blend of English pale malt and German pilsener malt. We use our house ale yeast to ferment, but in the standard 60-70 degree range. On the Local 2, we actually don’t use the same strain of yeast to bottle. We filter the beer and then add a blend of yeasts that do a great job with the stresses of bottle conditioning.

Scott Carmichael: My brother and I have been brewing for two years but our last four batches have all come up sour, like our ESB tasted more like sour patch kids than beer. This has happened ever since we tried our bacon beer. What could cause this?

There’s a laundry list of reasons for your beer to turn sour; it really depends on your particular practices when you brew. The most likely culprit is an infection of some kind. Lactobacillus and pediococcus are fairly robust bugs and if you weren’t diligent about sanitizing every piece of equipment you use to deal with the beer post-boil, chances are your fermenter, hoses and any plastic equipment you may have are going to be funky for life. My suggestion would be to get some new plastic equipment and revisit your sanitation regimen. Or you could just start brewing modern day sour ales…

Kevin Heidel: I’ve been homebrewing for a couple of years now with partial mash using recipies and supplies from a local home brew shop. What advice can you give to me for moving up from partial to full mash? Also, I am equipped for making only five gallons at a time, how difficult would it be to move up to say 20 or 30 gallon batches and how does a home brewer go about doing that?

There are a few ways to go about it, some more labor intensive than others, but the beauty of home brewing is being able to develop a system that works for your particular situation. To start off all-grain brewing, I would recommend buying one of those big outdoor propane burners (think turkey fryer or crab boil style). Most chain home improvement stores probably carry these coupled with a large pot, think 6-8 gallons. After you get your burner and pot, you’ll need a porous sack to hold the grain you’ll be mashing. The basic idea here is that you mash your grain and boil your wort in the same vessel with as little movement of hot liquid as possible. Moving up to 20 or 30 gallons would require a much bigger pot and sack for all of the grain of course, and the amount of hot liquids you deal with would increase as well. As you get more comfortable brewing all-grain, you’ll probably start developing your own ideas about how to increase the volume of liquid you produce in a shot, just remember that boiling wort burns, so be careful and happy brewing!

Mark Stieffenhofer: What makes your Weisse so much more tasty than other Hefeweizens? I’m addicted to it. I also heard that it was coming back in bottles… is there a time frame? Thanks!

I couldn’t say exactly why our Weisse is tastier than the rest of the field — my heart tells me that it’s because of the rich Germanic brewing heritage in our fair city, but it could also be the blend of German wheat and English barley malts we use, or the house yeast which ferments like no other Weisse yeast I know of.

[PS. We're currently experimenting with bottling Weisse again, but there's no guarantee of an official re-release.]

Hugo F Trejo: Is it true you shouldn’t trust a skinny brewer?

I’m going to say that it’s false. Have you ever seen a brewery in action? We don’t usually have the luxury of climate control and lugging full kegs around during packaging is no low impact activity. We stoop, sweat, struggle, haul and heave things just about every day here and it’s a struggle keeping our beer bellies at a healthy size.

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