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Beer Name:  Falconer’s Success I2PA

Style:  Imperial IPA (Rouge XS Imperial IPA clone)

Alcohol: 7.78%

Color: 18

Recipe Source:  Austin Home Brew Supply, Extract

Well this is the first beer I’ve made that I’d say that I’m impressed with and say that it is a success.    My beers prior to this were okay, but not impressive and I always thought they were not just quite right.   This beer is clear, well carbonated, the hops aromas are amazing, and the taste is excellent.  It is the second beer since I made the fermentation chamber  and I’ve gotten better at the process in general, but either way I’ve happy with the outcome.  In fact I was so pleased with my beer that I had a stupid childish grin on my face that Lisa couldn’t help to notice when I had the first bottle.  At any rate this beer is my first true success!!!


My Brew Notes


I used the extract kit provided in the link above and added 1oz falconer’s flight hops added with the other dry hops.

Execution Notes

This was the first time ever and used my new flask.  I used 6.5oz DME to 1.8mL of water for the first step up.  I had a hard time pouring DME into flask and should pour water into measuring cup then back into flask.  I also had a major boil over and lost about 0.100mL.  For the second step up I used fermcap-S and have zero boil over!!  Water took longer to get to boiling since there was so much water stretching the time out more than it should in the future.

This batch went pretty well on brew day.  I didn’t do any of the pre-brew day tasks except for buy the ice and water and managed to do the rest while I was brewing without any delays between steps.  After about 10 mins into the boil I had to run to the restroom and somehow managed to have a boil over in that time.  I was concerned that I might have lost a lot of wort since I wasn’t there to witness the boil over, but after a few questions to the home brew forums I think I was able to determine what happened which caused me to miss my ABV by 0.66%.

The fermentation took off quite vigorously and foamed out of the bucket on the second day.    I noticed I had an issue when I saw a fruit fly buzz across the webcam.  I was afraid that when I opened the fermentation chamber that there were going to be flys and larva everywhere, but fortunately there was just the one fly.  This was a pretty sticky mess to clean up, but wasn’t too bad to wipe out of the chamber.  I cleaned out the airlock and let to do its thing

I used a secondary (cold crash prior to transfer) and gave it my first try at dry hopping.  I finished things off with gelatin and a cold crash prior to bottling.  I also tried something new this time when transferring to the bottleing bucket.  I placed the siphon in a fine nylon filter which I think helped keep out some of the muck.  I don’t know how affective this was, but it is simple to do and will add this to my normal routine.

Yeast: White Labs California Ale V WLP051


  • Brew day: 1/4/2014
    • Boilover
    • Vigous fermentation mess
  • Cold Crash Start: 1/13/2014
  • Secondary Fermentation: 1/23/2014
  • Dry Hopping: 2/25/2014
  • Cold Crash 2: 3/3/2014
  • Gelatin (32): 3/4/2014
  • Bottling Prep: 3/7/2014
  • Bottling: 3/8/2014
    • nylon filter around siphon


  • Target Starting Gravity: 1.80
  • Starting Gravity:  1.077
  • Target Final Gravity: 1.020
  • Final Gravity: 1.022
  • Alcohol %: 7.78

Color: 18

Recommendations for next time

Watch the boil over.  I lost about 0.15G affecting the OG.

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After posting my beer making process to the Homebrew forums someone suggested that I look into yeast starters to ensure that I was getting enough yeast to ferment the wort.  A sign of low yeast is a slow start and from my last beer I certainly saw that with the fermentation not starting for 2-3 days.

After looking to this a bit more it turns out that I haven’t had enough yeast for most of my beers (low pitch count).  With my discovery being around Christmas time some of my wish list items were a 2000mL Ehrlenmeyer flask and a stir plate.  You can do starters without these, but the flask makes the heating and cooling pretty simple and the stir plate pretty much ensures that you only need one step for most beers.

Well I got the flask to use for my first yeast starter, but the stir plate is on back order.  For the beer I was making the OG is supposed to be 1.080 and according to the yeast calculators online I needed two steps.  The first step could fit in the flask, but the second step needed 4.5L which is too much for my flask.  I had a huge boil over here and it made quite the mess.  In the end though my yeast starter went great and caked out nice.

For the second step I wanted to avoid the boil over and after reading several forums there is some stuff called Fermcap-S which is an anti-foaming agent.  I went to the local home brew store and got a small bottle.  With just a few drops of this stuff I had no risk of a boil over.  This stuff is a must have.  Well since the second step wouldn’t fit in my flask I got some of the new cooled wort and put it into the flask (after pouring out the liquid from the first step).  I then shook it around real to break up the yeast cake and poured the whole thing into the cooled wort.  After a good amount of mixing I poured the contents into two containers, the flask and a emtpy bottle.  I followed the same steps and ended up with a really nice yeast cake in both.

When I used the starter for my beer I took some of the wort and gave each a good shake then pour the contents into the wort.  After just a few hours the yeast was fermenting and it did it so vigorously that I got a block air lock and a big mess in the fermentation chamber.  I had a good amount of foam on top of the wort when I packed it all up so hopefully with a bit more care I can avoid the air lock blockage, but my yeast starter sure worked great. Next time I hope to have the stir plate in hand to see how much easier (one less step) things go.   If you are curious about the steps to make a starter I’ve written my process on a fixed page so that I can keep refining it.


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