Tag Archives: licorice

Judgement Day

The homebrew club that I’m part of, GRAB (Grand River Area Brewers), recently held a friendly competition with the HOZERs (Hamilton Ontario Zymurgy Enthusiast Ring). I submitted three beers: An APA, a Stout (Vanilla Bourbon, brewed with Scott), and my LISP

There were four judges, Kevin Freer, Jason Stranak, Nate Ferguson, and me. It was not a BJCP sanctioned competition but it was run fairly similarly to one. I had never judged before so it was a real learning experience for me!

Some photos from the day:

Results for the competition.


Moving Beer

It was as busy a day as they come in my “brewery”.

I have two competitions coming up in January: Ontario Beer Kegs and a friendly competition between my homebrew group, GRAB (Grand River Area Brewers) and the HOZERS (Hamilton Ontario Zymurgy Enthusiasts Ring). It’s all fun and I’ve been brewing a fair bit over the last month or so so I have a few things to enter.

I spent a fair chunk of time today in my brew space moving beer from carboy to carboy. I acquired my new filtration unit a few weeks ago and one of the bonus features of it is that you can bypass the filter pads/plates and just use it as a small pump. It’s perfect for transfers and I don’t have to worry about siphons, gravity or lifting heavy carboys.

I was able to transfer and dry hop an IPA I did a while ago and move it from the bottom shelf to the top shelf of my fermentation cupboard with the pump. Pretty painless!

moving beer

moving beer

There was a question asked of me about the filtration process and that is whether the pump introduced oxygen/air through cavitation. I’m happy to say that, no, there is no cavitation in this pump since I have used it. There was a bit of air introduced via filtration but it very quickly subsided and the lines were free of any air.

No aeration/cavitation

No aeration/cavitation

It may not be totally clear in the above photo but the lines are free of any air. The little pump was a work horse today. I not only used for the bigger transfers but also for taking out a gallon of a particular beer to add to priming sugar in a gallon jug and the using it for bottling. No siphon needed!

My to-do list for today:

  • transfer/dry hop IPA
  • transfer/dry hop competition APA
  • transfer/gel Christmas Ale
  • bottle RIS for comp
  • bottle LISP for comp

Done and done!

Peter’s Happy Pils and May the Schwarz be with you… It’s what’s on tap.


LISP brew day

We did it before and it was awesome so we’re doing it again. This time with 10 gallons of the good stuff!

My birthday brew about five months ago was a Licorice Imperial Stout Porter (LISP). Scott and I brewed 5 gallons of it back then and split it and we liked it so much we each wanted 5 gallons of it. Only one way to do it.

Here are some photos from the day:

Here is the recipe:


I’m Back!

Actually, I’ve been back for a while and I seem to recall that I said I was going to post while I was in Winnipeg. Oops! Can I take that back? Things just got a bit busy while I was there and I didn’t get around to posting anything about beer.

My one beer-related highlight was my visit to Half Pints Brewery. Brewmaster David Rudge showed me around and spent a good chunk of time with me to answer some questions and give me a brewer’s tour of the facility. Learned lots and got to see a great little brewery!

Back in my own brewery things have been perking along nicely. I tapped the LISP from a while back and it’s great! Very rich stout clocking in at just over 10%abv. A real sipper.

I’m playing with a new hop: Calypso. I made an IPA made with Calypso hops only, calling it a West India Pale Ale in honour of the hop. It’s a high AA% hop with lots of fruit in the aroma and hopefully a good amount of bitterness in the beer. I didn’t go nuts with the hopping but I’m hoping for a reasonably well balanced IPA on this one.

Today was a brew day at home. My friend Scott provided a recipe for an Imperial Stout called “Stygian Cave”. It’s huge!! We finished off the day with a starting gravity of 1.126! If we pretend that the yeast we use under our conditions takes it down to even 1.015 we end up with a beer that is 14.9%abv. That’s just silly. We’ll see where we’re at next week and then we should have a reasonable prediction for a final gravity.

My LISP is on tap and my cider experiment is also on. It’s what’s on tap…


She’s gonna be big ‘un!

Brewed a pumpkin brew last week to put on the second tap. This week I decided that I would brew nearly the exact opposite of what I would normally brew and that it was also my birthday I would just go nuts with the ingredients. From that came the idea of LISP: Licorice Imperial Stout Porter (recipe for LISP).

Grains for LISP

A bigger grain bill than normal for me for a 5g batch. You can see the crystal 110 in bowl, bags of chocolate malt, roast barley, and carafa II on top of a bucket that contains the 9lbs of Munich II and 9lbs of 2 row. WAY more grain than I normally use.

Hops and extra ingredients for the LISP

The grain bill was not only one of the larger ones I have had to deal with but the extras were also numerous. In the photo above are two (of three) of the hop additions on the left, bowl of licorice candies in the middle, star anise on the bottom right, fennel seed on the middle right and in behind are demerara sugar and molasses (not just the plain kind, I sprung for the fancy kind). Missing from the group photo is the licorice root (which will be soaked in Sambuca asap until we add it two secondary in a few weeks) and the third hop addition.

The brew went almost as planned with a bit of a bonus in the middle. I was brewing with my friend, Scott, and we have been talking about a doing a parti-gyle brew for a while. We have plans for an “Epic Parti-gyle” involving many mash tuns and many boil kettles resulting in many more carboys filled with beer. Before we went that far I wanted to see how the basics would work. The LISP was not planned as a parti-gyle but when you brew a beer as strong as the LISP you end up leaving a lot of sugar behind in the grains. Instead of just throwing that away we decided to continue sparging so that we got a few more gallons of wort with the same grains in order to make a porter.

Mild brown on the left, LISP on the right.

The timing with both brews worked perfectly! The big brew came to a boil while we were still lautering for the small brew so it had a bit of a head start. That difference was just enough so that when the big brew was done chilling we immediately started chilling the small brew. Transferred into primary with the big brew and as soon as that was done the small brew was ready to transfer.

I pitched the big brew on a yeast cake from a previous batch of beer–A topic always open for discussion on various brewing forums–but was still worried about the viability of the yeast. It was a decent batch that it came from but it had started slow. No worries, though. I checked on the beer after a couple of hours and there was already signs of fermentation. Came back in a few more hours to this:

Excess blow off!

Not a great thing to clean up but it definitely could have been worse.

After a bit of work with a damp cloth and a bucket of water I devised another solution:

Larger jug inside stock pot... No worries now.

Not a great way to spend several minutes having to clean up the mess but I can say that it smelled amazing! I’m really looking forward to this brew in the deep of winter: A true sipper.