6.30.16 Tree House Yeast

Since my equipment was at capacity this week, I decided to give one more chance to using the yeast cultured from cans of Tree House Brewing.  I haven’t had any new cans since January and had one failed experiment due to my lacking equipment and an underpitch of yeast.  I did still have some of the yeast inside of a mason jar inside my fridge.  Truthfully, I had no idea if it were even still viable.


I boiled 200ml of water with ¼ cup of extra light DME and pitched my remaining dregs and then onto the stir plate.  24 hours went by without much visible activity.  I added another addition of 200ml boiled water, this time with yeast nutrient, energizer, and another ¼ extra light DME and BOOM.  Off she went.  Going forward I will measure gravity of my starters with my recently purchased refractometer.


The NEIPA craze has led many conversations as to what yeast is truly used.  WL007 / WY1318 / US04 / WY1056 / Conan.. I’ve tried all of these to date and I’ve had favorable results with all except US04 (wet cardboard).  If I had to say which yeast I’ve used that most closely resembles this Tree House culture would be Conan, simply because the only way I’ve been able to get Conan to drop out is using cold crashing.  All others have dropped on their own.  My experience with Conan is that it will stay in suspension until you take action to actively remove it.  This Tree House yeast, acts the same.

I’m currently crashing the starter in order to decant and ramp it up once more before its call to duty (and top cropping).  My first experiment (that failed) was a heavy handed IPA using Belma and Citra hops.  I may do something that I know works and suits my palate; Mosaic/Amarillo in a 1:1 ratio yields huge, bright peach when used in late addition.


6.27.16 Double Milkshake IPA

In weeks prior, my friend showed up as normal with a can of Tired Hands Milkshake IPA with passion fruit.  To my understanding, it’s a collaboration brew with Omnipollo.  This was amazingly different.  Big notes of tropical fruits, citrus, passion fruit, and vanilla ice cream.  Being from Michigan, most of the Tired Hands stuff is alien to me.  All I know is that I can’t get enough hops.  This brew was mind-blowingly good.   As with the majority of the NE hops, I can’t get them.. so let’s make them.

After stumbling through numerous threads, blogs, and postings I came across a fellow member on homebrewtalk.com (mintyice) who had some inside information regarding the milkshake brews.  He claimed to have made several, so I inquired.

“TH/Omnipollo recipes are closer to: 70% pils, 20% wheat, and 10% oats. Lots of whatever juicy/tropical hop you can get. London Ale III again, 1.5 lbs. Lactose, 2.5 vanilla beans in the keg. (the recipe I have has 1 lb. dextrose at the end of the boil. OG ~1.054. 2lbs+ of whatever fruit you want (I’d go closer to 1lb per gallon). I used juice in a recent mango IPA (32oz) and you can use 32-64oz of whatever good juice you can get from Whole Foods/Trader Joe’s.

I also learned that TH/Omnipollo uses pureed apple in the Milkshake IPA.  Listening to a podcast, I absorbed as much info as I could.  I decided to put 4 huge granny smith apples, peeled and pureed, into my mash.  All the pectins.

My brew equipment, as primitive as it is, has been downsized.  If I’m going to make a great beer, I want to have a lot of it to go around.  I enlisted the assistance and equipment of the MI Beer Guy.  Typically I develop a recipe based on my 2.5 gallon equipment, especially when in development.  I was persuaded to go big, so the recipe was doubled.



Flaked Oats

Flaked Wheat




(Columbus, Belma, Mosaic, Citra) and (Columbus, Belma, Citra, Motueka)


Golden Delicious Apples (skinned pureed)

AP Flour, Time: 15 min

Strawberries (2lb – gallon)

Vintner’s Harvest Sweet Cherry Puree – 1  49oz can

Vanilla bean




Wyeast – London Ale III 1318

Brew day went fairly smoothly aside from a partially stuck sparge from what we believe to be from the apples.  Going forward, if I ever used apples again, they would go in the boil.  In addition, Belma was a happy accident.  I’ve experimented extensively with Belma.  I want it to work for me.. I want it to be great, but I am yet to see it.  There’s lots of fresh strawberry aroma and flavor on Belma, perhaps it’ll work out and lend itself to the strawberry in my recipe.  It certainly played out well in the aroma coming from the kettle in the whirlpool – WOW.


I realize that I may have gotten a little wild with the fill in my fermenter, so I racked off a gallon into my 2.5 gallon conical, and topped off with another half-gallon of sanitized water.

Aeration for 2 minutes using my handy drill paint stirrer attachment.  The yeast is a second generation strain previously used in Galaxy Gravy built up with a starter for 24 hours.  Fermentation began within 12 hours of pitching.  The next morning I arose to the back room (where I ferment) of my house filled with a creamy, banana, berry aroma reminiscent of walking into an ice cream parlor.

Dry hops went in at fermentation slowed.  Since this is a bigger beer, I added a charge of yeast energizer and nutrient to encourage full attenuation before adding my fruit.  I had intentions to rack to the secondary, but I want to minimize oxygen exposure potential.

6/13 – I added 2lb of chopped strawberries (soaked in sanitizer) and pureed with the ninja blender and added to the conical.  Also added 1, 49oz can of vintner’s harvest sweet cherry puree to the larger fermenter.  It seems that the yeast still has some work to do.  The larger fermenter is still active.  I’m going to keep my eye on the conical as I expect that to finish sooner.  My, the base beer is tasty!

6/20 – The cherry portion finished at 1.018 on June 20 and was kegged atop citra, mosaic, and vanilla bean.   I’m VERY impressed at how the WY1318 took to this.  That’s almost 10 points down from what my software estimated.  Pressure was applied at 25psi, purged of O2, and rocked for a few minutes.  After transferring, I took a shot glass of the beer for myself.  Huge citric, stone front nose.  Some burn from the alcohol; after all, this one turned out to be about 9.5% not counting the fruit addition.  My best guess is 10.5 – 11% abv.  There is a nice, mild sweetness from the lactose.  The color is straw pale.  I can’t wait to try this in its final form when the vanilla and keg hops take hold.  Wednesday is my b-day and I intend for it to be happy.

The strawberry portion in the conical is being cold crashed.  Added to the conical were citra, motueka, and vanilla bean.  This is my first experience with motueka and it smells amazing.  I can’t wait to experiment with these hops in the future.  I did not pull a sample as the top yeast did not flocculate out yet, thus, my logic behind the cold crash.  I want to mitigate the chance of getting that in the bottles.

6/27 – Bottled the strawberry portion and will be giving it away to local friends for their feedback.  The cherry portion is drinking very well.  On the nose is sweet vanilla, slight cherry, lots of tropical fruit.  Huge, thick mouthfeel with light bitterness, full flavor, and a bit of a bite from the alcohol.  This was an excellent beer and I can’t think of much that I’d do differently.  Cheers – Mike

6.14.16 Taking Flight

There’s lots of things in the world that you don’t need to make great things.  For years, I’ve been making good beer with nothing more than a stove and bare bones, entry level equipment.  Find what works best for you and learn to use it to the best of your ability.  We’ve all found ways to make things work the way we need to.

I wouldn’t consider myself to be stepping away from my roots in the near future.  It’s not selling out.  Its natural evolution.  Its growth.  Though I may retire the stovetop from my brewing routine, it served its purpose and could continue to do so moving forward.  For me to achieve my goal, I need to standardize.  I need to refine.  I need to maximize.  I need to nail it down.  Whatever it is… i’m chasing it and I will find it.

In the spirit of growth and evolution, I’m taking one of my personal favorites, Ball & Chain, and putting a fresh spin on it.  Ball & Chain was originally brewed for a friend’s bachelor party, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t get the job done.  5 gallon batch, gone within hours.  Originally a hodge podge, shot in the dark, extract batch; now, a mainstay on my rotation.  IT has been discovered, refined, and shaped.


  • German Pilsner
  • Carapils
  • C20


  • Falconer’s Flight


  • WY1056 – Started 24 hours  prior to pitch

Today I’m going to experiment around with extending the whirlpool at a lower temperature, for a longer time.  Today we’ll shoot for 160F for 40 minutes and see how that works.  In addition, I’m going to add my first round of dry hops directly to the fermenter.

I also picked up an idea on BeerAdvocate where a user was speaking to Citric Acid and how it livens up the hop flavor in his brew.  I picked some up yesterday and will add .5tsp to the boil and we’ll see where it takes me.

Cheers – Mike



Obligatory First Post…

Call it what you want to call it; a pipe dream, a fantasy, a hobby.  Whatever it may be, its something that’s captivated my interest and has become a borderline obsession.  Brewing.  I’ve sampled some of the best beers available, to date, and have made a conscious decision to craft my own to the same fashion as opposed to chasing the white whalez (bro).

My goal is to create the finest tasting beers possible, at all cost.  I will not yield to style guides, I will not conform to the rules.  I will do whatever necessary to make the most flavorful, unique, and complex beers that my mind will allow.  Hopefully, one day, I’ll be able to make a living out of it.

Stay tuned to read a real-time success story, or a man’s descent into madness.  Either way, I’ll be sure to enjoy the ride.