Capricorn Brewing Log

This is a copy of my brewing logbook.  On the left is the actual log text, and on the right I have added whatever commentary I felt was appropriate.
There is a new logbook out there, and Capricorn Brewing has been doing some pretty good work lately. We've been too busy brewing to bother posting it on the web though, so if you want some of our delicious Left Coast Lager or Brendan's Special Spiced Stout then you will have to invite us to your party.
Batch #1   Light American Wheat
Batch #2   Dark Red Ale
Batch #3   Belgian Ale
Batch #4   American Pale Ale
Batch #5   American Brown Ale
Batch #6   Hefeweizen
Batch #7   Apple/pear cider
Batch #8   Light Peach Cream Ale
Batch #9   Left (Stage Right) Coast IPA
Batch #10   Spiced Christmas dark ale
Batch #11   Left Coast IPA (again)
Batch #12   Leftover Malt Weizen
April 3, 1999
December 23, 2000
February 3, 2001
February 17, 2001
March 31, 2001
April 8, 2001
June 6, 2001
August 4, 2001
September 16, 2001
November 18, 2001
December 16, 2001
December 24, 2001

Batch #1     4-3-99

Kettle put on to boil at 5:11 PM

reached 150 degrees F at 5:41 PM

Steeped 1 lb Belgan Aromatic Malt for 25 mins, sparged as per instructions

Added 5.83 lbs Alexander Wheat & Barley Malt syrup

Rolling boil reached at 6:59 PM

added 1 oz German Spalt hops at start
added 1/2 oz German Spalt hops at 30 mins
added 1/2 oz German Spalt hops at 55 mins

added 1 tsp. Irish Moss at 30 mins

Stop boil at 65 mins

Wort cooling takes forever!

pitched yeast, siphoned and started cleanup at about 10:00 PM

Bitterness Calculations

4.5% Alpha German Spalt hops

1 oz     60 mins   (1)(4.5)(4)     = 18
1/2 oz   30 mins   (1/2)(4.5)(1.4) = 3.15
1/2 oz   10 mins   (1/2)(4.5)(0.7) = 1.58
23 IBU

(using simple method in Brewing Quality Beers)

Bottling     Batch #1     4-10-99

Today is Saturday.  Fermentation stopped on Wednesday, but we let it sit to precipitate more stuff out of the beer, and just wait for the weekend.

We have about 4 gallons after racking.

Sample tastes like, well, beer.

Primed with 1 cup corn sugar and enough water to make 5 gallons.  Water used here and in making wort is purified, deionized water from Ray's in Chico.  In retrospect, it might have been a good idea to add some salts etc. to the purified water.

Yield: 53 bottles (and about a third)

A bottle tree would be nice but is not essential

I should figure out a way to use less sanitizer than filling the boiling kettle

Capping takes a little more force than I expected, but there is nice feedback when it's capped.

One milk crate holds 23 bottles.  If there were a compartmental insert, it would hold 16 loosely.

At this point it has a good basic taste, but there are rough edges and so on.  I presume this will improve over the next week+ as it carbonates and sits.

This was before I had my 200,000 BTU/hr burner.  It took forever to heat.

The recipe was put together by the Chico Homebrew Shop, since we didn't really know what we were doing yet.

I don't recall why I added the irish moss so early.

This was also before I had a wort chiller.

The physical feedback is more helpful than I thought when we bottled this batch.  In a later batch, we were using a different capper, and Brendan nearly lacerated his hand breaking a bottle.

Batch #2     12-23-00

Kettle on fire @ 4:00 PM
There doesn't seem to be anywhere in Sunnyvale to get propane from, we had to go to U-Haul in Mt. View.
Good rolling boil @ 4:12 pm.  Damn, that burner's a cooker! will have to cool water to steep malt.

Put 1 lb chocolate malt in to steep @ 150 degrees, 4:43 pm

Sparged at 5:11 pm (oops, we forgot to separate the sparge water)

Finish sparging & add 7 lbs "Tartan" Scottish Red malt extract.  Start adding heat at 5:33 pm

Boil at 5:42, add 1 1/3 oz Centennial hops (10.6% Alpha)

Add 2/3 oz Centennial & 2/3 oz Cascade (6.5% Alpha) @ 30 min

We seem to have lost boil at some point, but it came right back when we turned the gas up.  We are probably fine.
Add 1 1/3 oz Cascade @ 50 mins

Stop boil @6:45.  Start chill.

Pitched yeast at about 7:45

Specific gravity 1052 at 64 degrees F

The airlock is bubbling  away nicely, and the fermenting wort has a good head on it, about 2 1/2".  The gas eminating from the airlock has a nice red ale sort of character to it.
fermentation must have stopped some time today.

Batch #2 - bottling day     12-30-2000

Prime w/ 7/8 cup corn sugar & 1 1/2 cups water

Final gravity (w/o priming sugar) 1020 @ 65 degrees F

Yield: 51 bottles

Alcohol content:   1052 - 1020 = 32
                   32 / 8 = 4%

Wed, Jan 10
developing definate red characteristics
needs more body, has more of an ale body
I don't think the yeast is typical of a red
has a slightly acrid taste, was the choc. malt oversparged?
could use better head retentioin for a dark
Red.  it's definately a red, but the dark malt throws me.
pretty good alcohol for a red  :-)
Sun, Jan 21
Flavors have mellowed much better after three weeks.  The red and chocolate malts are getting along much better now.  Much of the acrid-ness has lessened, leaving a slightly citrus flavor.  I imagine that at six weeks it should be a good red, but with some neat burnt characteristics to back it up.  It still has no head retention, either our wateris rather poor (Sunnyvale "Pure Water" store) or we managed to contaminate it with a cleaning agent (?) at some point.  Oh, it has a certain bitter aftertaste the origin of which I am unsure.  Maybe the chocolate malt?  I still think our grain handling is pretty bad.
Yes, there was a long time between batches 1 and 2.  The astute reader will notice that I moved from Chico to Sunnyvale.

Wendy gave me 'the rocket' (as Bob calls it) for my birthday.  It is a 200,000 BTU/hr propane burner.

Later, I found out that the 76 station at Fair Oaks and Hwy. 101 has propane.

This recipe was one that Wendy concocted.

Remembering how long it took wort to cool last time, I bought a wort chiller before this batch.  I could easily have made one, but it wasn't very expensive.

If I remember correctly, we used a dry yeast for this batch.

I made this comment because I got a bit tipsy on one bottle.  I was probably dehydrated.

The citrus was probably from the Cascade hops.

Batch #3     2/3/2001   --   Belgian ale (Dubbel)

Steep 1/4 lb Cara Munich & 1/4 lb Special "B" @ 165 degrees F 45 min

60 min boil w/6.6 lbs Gold Malt syrup & 1 lb Light DME
(Muntons spraymalt extract "PLAIN LIGHT")
& 1 lb Brewers Garden Belgian candi sugar (sucrose from beets)

added 1 oz Styrian Goldings (pellet - 4.3% Alpha) for 60 min.

added 1 oz Saaz (pellet - 3.7% Alpha) for ~1 min
"Product of Czech Republic"  :-)

Starting gravity 1.063

Total boil was 1 hour
2/4/2000, 1pm
yeast does not seem to be fermenting yet.  I'm a little worried about it.  White labs stuff is supposed to be pretty good.

2/5/2000, 1am (Monday morning)
Just got back from Lee's place, and fermentation is progressing nicely now.

2/9/2000, 11pm (Friday)
Fermentation has slowed almost to a stop.  There is still a little foam, but there is no visible yeast activity and bubbles in the airlock are few and far between.  Tomorrow it should be ready for the secondary, which is convenient since it will be the weekend.

Final gravity 1.013 @ 66 degrees F  (1.014 corrected)  -->  -40 points
   5% abw
This kit recipe came out rather well.  I feel there is a little rubbery flavor to it, but Lee describes that as representative of the style.

This was a kit from either Williams or Northern.

I thought the origin was interesting

They were out of the Wyeast that they normally use for this kit, so they sent us a White Labs Trappist Ale yeast instead.

I obviously hadn't adjusted to the new year yet, I wrote the wrong year on these notes

It also benefitted from a couple months of aging.  It was quite nice in June.

Batch #4     2/17/01   --   American Pale Ale

7 lbs Alexander light extract
3/4 lb crystal malt @ 40L
1/4 lb cara-pils
1 oz Perle bittering (5.1% Alpha)
1/2 Cascade flavor (7% Alpha)
1/2 oz Casc. & 1/4 oz Perle aroma
3/4 oz Cascade dry

Steep grains @ 155 degrees F for 45 mins.

toal boil time will be 90 minutes, start adding hops after 30

bitter 60 mins
flavor 30 mins
aroma 10 mins

would have measured O.G. but Lee broke hydrometer.


I like the finished product, Lee is decidedly not a fan.  The flavor/aroma times probably should have been shorter, it doesn't have quite the character it was supposed to.  The recipe was created by averaging 5 Sierra Nevada clones.

Lee complains of a 'plastic' or 'metallic' taste.  I don't percieve what he does in it.


I created this recipe by averaging 5 Sierra Nevada clones.  I had planned to use 1/4 oz Perle flavoring, but on a whim I moved it later.  I also reduced the Cascade aroma by 1/4 oz. to leave more for dry hopping.

Batch #5:   American Brown Ale     3/31/2001

("Cedar Mountain Brown Ale" from Homebrewing for Dummies p. 149)

6.6 lbs Northwestern light (substituted 5 1/2 lbs. light DME)
1 lb Williams Austrailian darm DME (sub. generic)

6 oz chocolate malt
6 oz roasted barly
6 oz 80L crystal malt (sub. 60L)

All hops pellet

Bittering:  60 min.
   1 oz Fuggles @ 4.3% Alpha
   1 oz Northern Brewer @ 6.6% Alpha

Flavoring:  10 min
   1/2 oz Fuggles
   1/2 oz Cascade @ 5.7% Alpha

Finishing:  2 min.
   1/2 oz Cascade

Yeast:  Wyeast 1007 (substituted White Labs WLP029 German Ale / Kolsch Yeast)


Steep grains @ 153 degrees F for 35 min
raise to 170 degrees F, sparge with about a gallon of 175 degree F water

at 10 min remaining added:
   8 1/3 oz corn sugar
   9 oz confectioners (cane) sugar

Total boil was 1 hour

O.G. 1.060 @ 72 degrees F  (1.061 adjusted)

Fermentation temp. is 70 degrees, above spec but the best we can do.
Sat. 4/7/01
   Siphon to secondary.  Gravity 1.020 @ 66 degrees F  (1.0205 corrected)

Mon 4/16/01
   Bottle.  FG 1.018 corrected.  Primed w/ 1 cup DME.


The recipe here is the one from the book, with my substitutions noted.

Even though mash and sparge temperatures aren't so important for an extract brew, I am trying to be more particular about it in preparation for all grain brewing.

On a whim, we added all that sugar to boost the alcohol content.  This batch was brewed for Wendy's graduation party.  :-)

Final ABW was a little over 5 percent.

Batch #6:   Hefeweizen (European style)     4/8/01

6.1 lbs 60/40 wheat extract
1/4 lb 40L crystal malt
3/4 lb 8L cara-pils

1/2 oz Perle + 1/4 oz Hallertauer   60 mins
5/8 oz Hallertauer      30 mins
5/8 oz Hallertauer      5 mins

Wyeast 3068 or Yeast Labs Bavarian weizen

irish moss 8 mins

90 minute boil
Mashed grain for 60 mins @ 155 degrees F
raised to 170, held for 5 mins
sparged w/ 170 degree water
O.G. 1.040 @ 78 degrees F (1.042 corrected)

We came up shy on water.  A 90-minute boil uses a hair over 8 gallons
Monday 4/16/01
   Siphon to secondary.  Gravity is 1.010.  There is still some foam in the fermenter, but no airlock activity.
Tuesday 4/24/01
   Bottled.  Primed 1 1/4 c DME, which might have been too much as there was already some carbonation.  Taste is pretty light, it should be good.

F.G. 1.011, 3.9% ABW, Yield was 52 bottles.

This one was also brewed for Wendy's party.  The recipe was easy:  Some wheat & barly extract, some Hallertauer, and whatever else I had left over.

I think we went with the Wyeast strain for this brew.

There was a huge head in the fermenter with this one.  The finished product had great head retention.

As it turned out, although it was certainly drinkable by the party (May 19-20), the clove-like character of the style didn't really develop until June.

Batch #7:  Apple/pear cider     6/6/01

1 gallon (4 bottles) Santa Cruz organic pear nectar
5 gallons Wild Oats organic apple juice (pasteurized) (not all used)
24 oz Honey Run clover honey
1 pkt Pasteur champagne yeast (dry)

Siphon 4 gallons apple juice into carboy, leaving sediment behind.

Boil pear juice 10 mins, dissolve honey, add to carboy.

Add enough of 5th gallon of apple juice to make 5-gallon batch.

Rehydrate yeast as per directions and pitch.

Starting gravity 1.064

(gravity of the juice by itself was 1.059)



Used ice water bath to cool carboy to 78 degrees F.  Weather is very hot.  Fermentation is progressing nicely.
I thought it would be fun to make some cider.  There doesn't seem to be nearly as much agreement over what makes good cider as there is over what makes good beer, so we are basically winging it.

About 3 ozs of honey remained stuck to the sides of the jar.  If I had realized it was that much, I would have scraped it out.  Oh well.  We still got a pretty good gravity.

Batch #8:  Light Peach Cream Ale     8/4/01

Based partially on California Creamer, Secrets From The Master Brewers, p.154

1/2 lb Cara-Pils, steep @ 150 degrees for 45 mins.
5 lbs liquid pale extract
2 lbs 60/40 wheat extract

1/4 oz Mt. Hood @ 4.7% Alpha 90 min.
1/2 oz Mt. Hood @ 4.7% Alpha 60 min.
1/4 oz Cascade @ 5.8% Alpha 30 min.

Wyeast 2112 (CA Common)

Irish Moss


O.G. 1.052

we used 7 gallons and we were a tiny bit short



Siphoned to secondary with puree of 6 large peaches and one 16 oz can, drained. Probably 3 1/2 or 4 lbs. Should have been done earlier, but we were all very busy.

Gravity is 1.015, so it's a hair over 4% ABW.


Prime w/1 cup DME & bottle. F.G. 1.014
took a very long time for bubbles to stop rising in secondary.

52 - 14 = 38 / 8 = 4.75% ABW

This beer turned out to be a disaster, probably due to mishandling of the peaches. Perhaps they should be pasteurized to prevent contamination?
It was obvious when we went to bottle this batch that it had gone horribly wrong. If I recall, we just tossed it down the drain.

Batch #9:  Left (Stage Right) Coast IPA     9/16/01

Based on "Bombay Grab IPA" (Secrets From The Master Brewers pp. 106-108)
3 tsp Gypsum
1/2 tsp Epsom Salt

7 1/2 lbs pale malt extract
1 lb. 60/40 wheat malt extract

1/2 lb. crushed cara-pils
1/3 lb. cryshed crystal @ 50L

1/2 oz Cascade @ 4.8% Alpha     90 min
3 1/2 oz    "      "      45 min
2 oz    "      "      30 min
1/2 oz fresh, homegrown Cascade      30 min
1/2 oz Mt. Hood @ 4.7% Alpha at end of boil
1 3/4 oz Cascade @ 4.8% Alpha   dry hop

Wyeast 1056

Homebrew shop was out of cara-pils, so we had to sub basic light malt.

O.G. 1.056 (approx, was 1.061 but added H2O)

Siphon to secondary, gravity 1.022


Prime w/1 cup DME & bottle. F.G. 1.016

56 - 16 = 40 / 8 = 5% ABW

Excellent! If we can make more like this then we know what we are doing. Could use a tad more aroma hops.

Batch #10:  Spiced Christmas dark ale     11/18/01

3.2 lbs amber malt syrup
3.2 lbs dark malt syrup
3 lbs amber DME

1 oz Fuggles   60 min
1/2 oz Williamette   10 min
1/2 oz Hallertauer   55 min
1/2 oz Hallertauer   5 min

1/2 tsp irish moss   5 min

3/4 lb honey

5 3-inch cinnamon sticks
2 tsp allspice
1 tsp whole cloves
6 oz grated ginger root
zest of 6 oranges


Simmered spices with honey for 45 min.

added honey (strained) at 60 min.

total boil one hour, 20 min.

S.G. = 1.061

target primary fermentation temperature: 60 degrees F

transferred to to secondary 12/01, gravity 1.022
   Have been waiting for flavors to develop, and holding temp. at about 62 degrees F. Am suspicious that it may have been left in the primary for too long.

   Bottled. Tastes okay. Gravity very high at 1.020, works out to 5.1% abw. It seemed pretty fizzy at bottling, so we only used 3/4 cup DME to prime.

Wendy put this recipe together. If I recall, it came out pretty well. I thought it could have used more of all of those spices.

Batch #11:  Left Coast IPA (again)     12/16/01

Water additives:
   1/2 tsp epsom salt
3 tsp gypsum

1/2 lb cara-pils
1/3 lb crystal @ 50 degrees L

   steep @ 152 degrees F for 30 m

Mash grains for 30 min, raise to 165 degrees F, hold 5 min, then remove grain.

7 1/2 lbs pale malt extract
1 lb 60/40 wheat malt extract

1/2 oz Cascade @ 4.7% Alpha    90 min    (pellet)
3 1/2 oz Cascade @ 4.7% Alpha    45 min    (pellet)
2 1/2 oz Cascade @ 4.7% Alpha    30 min    (pellet)
1 oz Mt. Hood @ 4.7% Alpha    end of boil    (whole)
2 oz Cascade @ 4.7% Alpha    dry hop    (pellet)

Starting gravity unknown, I still have not replaced my broken cylinder. (oops)

   White Labs WLP001 California Ale yeast

   target fermentation temp. 68 degrees F

Oops, forgot irish moss in this batch.

   Siphon to secondary, add 2 oz Cascade dry hops (pellets). S.G. 1.022 (seens a bit high) Beer is very cloudy. Should do a tertiary for settling.

   Siphon to tertiary. 1.020. Tastes sort of odd, a little like pineapple. A bit too malty for the style. I think a little aging will improve it. Dissolved CO2 is low.

Bottle. S.G. 1.016

We started going through all sorts of shenanigans this time regarding grain handling. This isn't really necessary since the grains aren't providing most of the fermentable sugars, but we started doing it because I was thinking about going to all grain brewing and wanted to add some appropriate steps to the process for the experience.

Batch #12:  Leftover Malt Weizen     12/24/01

Inspired by the 5 lbs of 60/40 wheat malt left over from the last batch, because Fermentation Frenzy wouldn't sell us any less than 6 lbs.

5 lbs 60/40 wheat malt extract
1 lb light malt extract
3/4 lbs cara-pils
1/2 lb rolled oats

steep everything for 45 min @ 155 degrees F. Remove 1/4 lb cara-pils 15 mins. through, boil for 5 mins, then return to kettle. Mash out at 170 degrees F.

boil 90 mins.

1 oz Williamette    90 min    5% Alpha
1/2 oz Mt. Hood    30 min    4.7% Alpha
1/2 oz Mt. Hood    10 min    4.7% Alpha
1/2 tsp Irish Moss    10 min    mmmm...seaweed...

Wyeast 3068 (made starter on 12/23)

S.G. 1.035    We were short 3/4 gal and had to add

Siphon to Secondary on 1/2/02, S.G. 1.012

Bottled, S.G. 1.012

The astute reader will notice that there are no tasting notes for most of the beers we brewed in the winter of 2001. In January of 2002 we abruptly moved out of the Sunnyvale house, and much of the beer wound up getting tossed. I tried some, but the brew log was buried in a box somewhere and nothing was written down.

Lee, Wendy and I all went our separate ways, and brewing activities stopped for the next three years.

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