Monthly Archives: October 2011


Well… Not sure what to say about this brew day.

I took a stab at doing a no-sparge brew. Mixing all the grain (15lbs) with all the water I would need (7 gallons + absorption + deadspace) and draining everything after an hour rest and going with what I got.

No problems with the concept and everything proceeded smoothly. I took a pre-boil reading, which I never do, just out of curiousity and ended up with 1.072. My brewing software, BeerSmith, was estimating a preboil gravity of 1.065 on a regular batch sparge formula. I seemed to be WAY ahead of the game on this one!

In the little bit of reading that I had done, including this page, it seemed that I would end up with a lower efficiency and lower gravities on a similar quantity of grain for a no-sparge batch. My initial reading certainly didn’t show that.

I continued on with a pre-boil volume of 6.5gal which was a little below what I had estimated. Boiled for 60 minutes, cooled and drew a sample for OG reading and came up with 1.068. What?! I should have been somewhat higher than my pre-boil reading of 1.072, not lower. Something was not right…

Oh well. As I say most every brew day, “It’ll be beer.”

I like the idea of a no-sparge batch but in my set up doing stove top it was no time saver as had been reported by others. My stove takes too long to bring the full volume to a boil and usually that time is filled with lautering/sparging, so no savings there.

My MLT is plenty big enough to accommodate the quantities of grain and water involved by I do find the end result is somewhat less than manageable for me. A full mash tun is pretty heavy and having to lift it up to lauter height is just plain awkward. It’s not impossible but I usually do that kind of lifting with a brew partner, not on my own. So, again, no savings there.

We’ll have to see how the end result is to really determine whether the process is worth it. It didn’t save me time and the efficiency seems to be about the same whether I sparge or no-sparge.

Stay tuned for tasting results.

Cute Carrot

Pulled the last of the carrots from my wife’s plot at the staff garden at her work. Sliced and froze some. Small ones will go for snacks. Wasn’t sure what to do with this one except to take a photo of it.

You can feel the love…

Cute Carrot

Fin de la Saison

Took my first foray into Belgian beers today by brewing a Saison with my friend, Scott. My BeerSmith recipe is at the bottom of this post for those who are interested. I’m not a fan of wheat in my beers so I excluded that grain from my version but it’s a “farmhouse-style” of ale so it could really be almost anything you want. No wheat? Sure.

We used some Wyeast Belgian Saison yeast.

Wyeast smack pack.

You give it a little squeeze to mix some nutrients with the yeast inside and it gets all puffed up in a few hours and it’s ready to pitch.

Wyeast puffed up.

Fortunately (or sadly, for this blog) there was nothing that went awry with this brew day. When brewing with a friend I usually brew 10 gallon batches but we decided to go with a 5 gallon batch for the Saison. I’m reasonably adept on my own with 5 gallons and it makes it that much easier to have a friend around for it. It’s very low maintenance brewing so we had a very pleasant brew day of it.

Lunch always factors in and today we enjoyed some homemade sauerkraut (last week’s project) and some pierogies with onions and bacon. Pure goodness!


This was a brew we wanted to have ready for Remembrance day in a few weeks so we were trying to decide on a name once we finished brewing. Around this date in 1918 things were coming to an end in Europe during WWI. That, combined with a killing frost last night in Cambridge clearly marking the end of reasonably mild nights led us to call this beer “Fin de la Saison”.

It’s what’s on tap…

Fin de la Saison

Brand new brewing blog!

“It’s what’s on tap…” will be my first venture into the world of blogging. I’ll be writing about brewing, mostly, with (mis)adventures in my home “brewery” and in the craft brewery where I work occasionally. There will be side trips and tangents to talk about food and some photography as well.

I’m always open for discussion and I welcome your comments.