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How Do I Modify My Tustin Monster Brew?

I hope you are all planning to join us at Tustin Brewing’s Second Annual Monster Brew, on February 27th, hosted by our very own Jon Porter.  We’ll be brewing up a batch of medium-gravity amber wort.  Where it goes from there is up to you!  We’re hoping to have as many variations on the theme as possible for upcoming events such as the Southern California Homebrew Fest, club meetings and other beer venues.

The recipe for the wort is shown below.  This year, we are going with a simple Blond Ale recipe.  Like last year, though, it is deliberately formulated so that you can use your own creativity as broadly as possible.  The wort will have a starting gravity of 1.050, 30 IBUs of bitterness and a color of about 5 SRM.  A lot of different beers can be made out of this.  With a bit of tweaking, you can make just about anything.  Here are some ideas on what to do.

1)  Pick a yeast.  The wort comes unpitched, so at a minimum, you have to get some yeast for brewing day.  If you pitch with the Wyeast 1056 Amierican Ale, or White Labs 001 California Ale yeast, you’ll have a pretty good middle-of-the-road Blonde Ale.  But don’t stop there.  If you have ever though about trying a new yeast, this is a great time to try it.  Just make sure you are set up to use it.  Don’t pick a lager yeast if you don’t have refrigeration for your fermenter.   Also, for best results, make up a starter the day before brew day.

2)  Make it stronger.  Styles such as IPA, Barleywine, Belgian Tripel can be made by adding some malt extract or Belgian candi sugar.  Just boil up a small amount of water and extract and boil for about 10 to 15 minutes, to make sure it is sterile.  Cool, and add to your fermenter.

3)  Make it darker.  Pick a dark grain like roast barley, Special B, chocolate malt or Carafa.  Steep in hot water, then strain out the grains and boil the liquid.  Voila, instant dark beer!   Last year, my Schwarzbier come out terrific.  Another variant is to add some melanoidin malt to make some of the malty German lagers.

4)  Dry hop it.   The recipe this year has no finishing hops, though it does have a healthy dose of American flavoring hops.   You can go American for American Pale or Amber Ale, British hops for ESB, or you can go with Continental Noble hops for something like Saison.

5)  Boost the bitterness or hop flavor.   You’ll have to do this if you want to get to IPA range, and I also recommend it for ESB, Robust Porter, Altbier and several other styles.  Boil up a small amount of water and add hops to make a hop tea.  Boil for at least half an hour with high alpha hops to raise the IBU level.  Boil for 10 to 15 minutes with your favorite hop variety to boost the flavor.  Note that this will boost the IBU level by a smaller amount.

6)  Do combinations of the above.  Suppose you want to make an American Barleywine out of the wort.  Boil up some malt extract, add some hops to boost the bitterness and flavor during the boil.  Cool and add to the fermentor.  Then, dry hop in secondary.

The attached table has a list of some of the interesting combinations you can do.  I came up with 20 variations without even breaking a sweat.  You can probably come up with even more.

You’ll want to pitch your yeast as soon as you get your wort home.  For most of the variations, you should plan of adjusting the wort at the same time, though you could wait a day or so.  Make sure you get it going before primary fermentation is done, since the yeast will need to work on the additional materials.

So, start whipping up your recipe now.   Hope to see you on the 27th.

Got a question for the Brewmaster?  Drop me a line at [email protected].  Also, an archive of prior questions can be found at the Picobrewery website at

Monster Brew 2 Recipe for 16 Barrels (496 gallons):

660 lbs 2-Row Pale  Malt
55   lbs 17oL Crystal Malt
55   lbs 37oL Crystal Malt
55   lbs  3 oL Vienna Malt
32 Oz Chinook 11.4% First Wort/Boil
50 Oz Simcoe 12.2% at 15 minutes
50 Oz Cascade  7.8% at 15 minutes

Vital Statistics:

OG:  1.050
FG:  1.012
Color:  5 SRM
IBU: 30

Guidelines for modifying your wort:

Beer Style Yeast Grain/sugar Hops Fermentation
Amiercan Pale Ale Amer Ale Dry-Amarillo Med
American Amber Amer Ale Crystal Cascade Med
California Common CA Lager Northern Brewer Cool
IPA AM Ale or Eng Liquid malt Extract (LME) Tea/Dry Amarillo Med
Altbier German Ale Melanoidin Hallertauer Cool
Porter English Chocolate Med
Dry Strout Irish Roast Barley Med
Export Stout Irish Roast Barley, LME Med
Imperial Stout Irish LME, Roast barley Tea/Goldings Med
Old Ale English LME Tea/Fuggles Med
Barleywine AM Ale or Eng LME Tea/Centenniel Med
Belgian Pale Ale Antwerp Bel Biscuit Warm
Belgian Dubbel Abbey Dark Candi, Special B Warm
Belgian Strong Dark Trappist Dark Candi, Special B, CaraMunich Warm
Tripel Golden Light Candi Warm
Saison Saison Dry-Saaz Warm
Vienna Lager Vienna Munich or Vienna Cold
Oktoberfest Oktoberfest Melanoidin Cold
Munich Dunkel Munich Lager Melanoidin Cold
Schwarzbier Munich Lager Carafa Cold

Tustin Brew 2.0 Pricing Update

There have been several pricing related updates. For full details see the previous posts.
You can now purchase either 5 or 10 gallons using the buttons below. (10 max per member).
If you already paid for 5 gallons and would like 5 more, just use the 5 gallon button once more.

5 Gallons $27.00 ($28.12 total)

10 Gallons $54.00 ($55.92 total)

BJCP Classes Are Now Full

There has been overwhelming demand for the BJCP classes and as a result, they are now full.

I’ve sent an e-mail to everyone who has reserved a spot.  To confirm your reservation, please bring a check for $50 made out to Carl Townsend or cash to the Culver City Shop.  Please also check your information on a sign-up sheet that I have there.   I will send the password for the password-protected area once I have confirmed your registration.

Thank you to those who have already paid.  You should have received the password for the complete reading list at
in a separate e-mail.  If not, or if you have trouble with it, please let me know.

I will take some additional names on a waiting list in case anyone has to drop out.

Carl Townsend
[email protected]
Pacific Gravity Home Brewers Club

BJCP Classes and Exam Scheduled

Pacific Gravity has announced a new set of classes and exam for the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP).   Here are the details so far.  As more details are available, they will be posted at

We will meet alternating Sundays at 5:00 pm at the Culver City Homebrewing Supply Co at Read more

What type of beer should I leave for Santa on Christmas Eve?

This Month’s Question:  What type of beer should I leave for Santa on Christmas Eve?


I can still remember the days of my youth, or more exactly, at least back to the days when my nephews were young, and they asked their Grandmother if they could leave milk and cookies for Santa.    Their stockings were hung by the chimney with care when my brother piped in, “Don’t you think Santa would rather have a beer with his cookies?” Read more

Holiday Party; We Need Your Help!

The Holiday party is fast approaching and we need your help! The party is set for December 12th this year. Our summer party was a huge success primarily because of those of you who cooked a dish and brought it to the party! Our holiday party has always been the more traditional “pot-luck” of the two parties and so I am hoping all of you can come through for us again!

The food is mostly traditional style holiday dishes, I expect we will see things like deep-fried turkey’s, baked ham, Carbonnades a la Flamande and prime rib served with sides like stuffing, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, many kinds of vegetables and salads and breads. Plus the desserts! Pies, cakes, cookies and cupcakes! The desserts last year were amazing and I did not even get to try them all!

What I am hoping to do is have a similar type of sign up as we did for the summer party. If you can make a dish, any dish, please let me know and I will add you to the master food list. You can email me at [email protected] just give me your name and which dish you plan to bring. I will coordinate the list and update the group as to things we may need.

We are cooking for 200 party goers but don’t let that scare you! I am not trying to get one person to make all the food, but rather I am hoping we can get many members to make a single batch that when added all together will be our feast! If you can make a large batch (or even a small batch) of any of the above items I want to hear from you!

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you!


New PG Shirts Arrive!


Latest word from the printer is that the new shirts will be ready in time for November’s meeting! Get to this month’s meeting and bring your wallet!

Just in time for the holidays we’ll have lady’s (American Apparel) sizes S, M, L in short sleeves and men’s (Hanes) S, M, L, XL, XXL, and even a few XXXL’s in short and long sleeves. (Sorry XXXL is short sleeve only). Outfit your whole crew!$20 for the short sleeves, $25 for long.

Promote your club in style!

He’s Alive!


This just in! Photographic evidence that in contrast to popular belief;  Pacific Gravity member formerly known as Martin Svab is in fact still alive and well!
See it to believe it:

Mike Sautter asks this month’s question: Is it better to force carbonate a keg or add priming sugar?

This is one of those cases where you can go either way.  However, there are a couple of factors to consider before you make your decision.  You might even want to split the difference.

The big advantage of force-carbonating a beer is that it is quick.  Suppose someone calls up and asks if you can have beer ready for a big party Read more

Ask the Brewmaster: My Homebrew Smells Like Rotten Eggs and Corn!

This Month’s Question:  My beer sometimes has a corn-like sulfury smell.    What can I do about it?

Answer:  A corn-like smell is usually due to a specific chemical compound called dimethylsulfide, or DMS for short.  DMS forms in the malting process and in the boiling process while brewing any beer.  It is the result of a thermal degradation of sulfur-containing amino acid in the grain called s-methylmethionine.   This amino acid is present in all malts.  Hence, all beers have some amount of DMS.

DMS is a highly volatile compound.  This makes it an easily detectable compound in aroma, even in trace quantities.  Fortunately, the volatility makes it fairly easy to scrub out of your beer.


The amount of DMS in your finished beer depends on a number of factors.  First of all is the amount of s-methylmethionine in the grain.  High protein malts such as six-row have higher amounts, hence more DMS.  Some of the DMS is driven off by heat in the kilning process.  Hence, the paler malts kilned at lower temperature have more.  These two factors combined contribute to the fact that pale lagers (made from pale six-row malt), often have high levels of DMS.  Not surprisingly, corn also contains a lot of s-methylmethionine.  These characteristics are a hallmark of lager beers.  A lager without DMS tastes rather bland.

The second factor that affects the amount of DMS is how much is removed from the wort during the boil.  Every bubble of steam that comes out of the kettle will carry some DMS with it.  Hence, longer boiling times and a more vigorous boil tend to reduce DMS levels.  For best results, you want to keep the boil rolling for the whole time.  Don’t simmer your beer! Read more