Saison (Batch #124)

This is one of my favorite recipes. I have made this beer a half dozen times and have been happy with it each time. For those of you who don’t know about about Saisons, here is a brief description. A Saison is a Farmhouse Ale which was originally brewed for drinking by European farmers and their worker during the late summer harvests. It originally was a lower alcohol beer, but these days that is not always true.

Good temp for mash

Willow Creek Loop

This is now one of my favorite loops. I have done it twice and look forward to adding some variations to it. It is perfect for a gravel bike or a mountain bike. There is a very steep climb up to the top of the ridge so an easy gear makes that more enjoyable. You do spend a tiny bit of time on the road but they are lightly traveled roads. Coleman Valley Road is a good example, narrow, but lightly traveled. Here is a link to my Garmin Data. Willow Creek Loop. I do take a sharp right hand turn right before the bottom of Old Barn Trail. It is a nice, bumpy trail that drops you off lower down Willow Creek Road.

Almost to the top

Hunter’s Camp Trail

Batch 120

Well, according to my records, I have been brewing beer for 12 years now. Thanks to my son and wife for surprising me on my birthday with a starter kit from The Beverage People in Santa Rosa.

First batch

The first couple of batches were made from extract in the kitchen.

William and our all grain apparatus.

Luckily, 4 months later I inherited a gravity feed system that had belonged to a friend of ours who was tired of making beer. I also ended up with a kegging system that really changed everything. No more bottling, just hook up the CO2 and stick it in the fridge.

New bike (not real new)

I acquired a Giant Revolt this summer. It is a total departure from my typical rides. Carbon frame, carbon wheels (replaced), and WiFi SRAM drivetrain. I have really enjoyed the versatility of the bike. I built a set of traditional wheels with some DT Swiss hubs I had lurking in one of my boxes of old parts, installed some 700 x 45 WTB tires, and changed out the saddle.

First off, the SRAM WiFi shifting is amazing. I get to test ride lots of bikes, and have always felt that I was fine with my older Campy 10 speed shifters on my Cannondale SuperSix. I liked the fact that I could pull them apart if they felt sluggish and put in a couple of inexpensive springs and they felt like new. The SRAM shifting is awesome and very intuitive. One shifter goes to higher gear, one goes to lower, and both change front rings.

The carbon Giant frame is quite comfy and the d-fuse seatpost really flexes to absorb the vibrations from the road and trail. The day of the picture below I did a bunch of rocky single track around Fallen Leaf Lake. The only time I was uncomfortable was the downhills. I did run the tires down to around 35 psi, which helped out a bunch.

Somewhere in Tahoe.

Another double batch day

It has been a couple of months since my last brew day and we are running low in the basement fridge.  I decided to make a typical IPA like usual and an ESB which would be lower alcohol and be ready to drink in a couple of weeks. Claire and I visited the Beverage People in Santa Rosa for all of our supplies a couple of weeks ago. I had a package of San Diego Super yeast left over from my last brewing. I made a couple of yeast starters two days before hand.  The first beer went off without a hitch. Everything was spot on with my mash temperature at 152 and mashing out at 170. 

The second beer, which was the ESB was a different story. I was A little distracted during the mashout and ended up getting almost 15 gallons of sweet wart instead of 10 or 11. Thank goodness I have a 15 gallon keg to boil in. So it may turn out to be a little lighter beer, but that is sort of what you want from an English ESB. 

Beer # 95        

Date Feb 12, 2018     

Yeast San Diego Super Yeast 

Grain Bill    

 25 lbs American 2-row      

 2 lbs Crystal 20 malt      

 2 lbs Carapils      

 2 lbs Corn sugar      

Hop Schedule

 10 ml Hop Extract 1h     

 2 oz Centennial 0h 15m     

 2 oz Amarillo 15m     

 2 oz Citra 15m     

 2 oz Simcoe 15m     

 4 oz Citra Dry hop     

 2 oz Simcoe Dry hop     

 2 oz Amarillo Dry hop     

Beer # 96          

Date Feb 12, 2018       

 WLP#002 English Ale Yeast with starter 


Grain Bill  

 17 lbs English pale malt

 2 lbs Carastan malt 35l 1.050  

 12 oz Golden brown sugar      

 .5 lbs Special roast 50l      

 12 oz Malt extract      

  Hop Schedule

 2 oz Kent goldings 60 min     

 2 oz Kent goldings 30 min     

 2 oz Kent goldings 5 min       

 2 oz Kent goldings 60 min     

 2 oz Kent goldings 30 min     

 2 oz Kent goldings 5 min     


Beer making day

It was A two batch day for me. The first was, of course, an IPA with some new hops and the second was an ESB. I used some hop extract for the first time on the IPA. This stuff came in tiny little 5 ml syringes. Claire and I both learned the valuable lesson of not tasting this stuff directly. We both put the tiniest of drops on our tongues and we were “rewarded” with intense hop flavor that stuck to your teeth and wouldn’t go away. Not a pleasant experience. 



Installing a hitch on the Hub Bus

The project for the day was installing a hitch on the back of the Hub Bus.  There are 4 bolts that hold the bumper on the back end of a 1976 VW bus.  As luck would have it, one of those bolts had rusted inself into place.  For some reason, the engineers had spot welded the nuts into an enclosed box that has no access other than a tiny little hole in the side.


I purchased a custom made hitch from a guy named Jamie in Canada who welded them together when people ordered them.


After cutting the old bolt and drilling a hole in the bottom of one of those boxes, I was able to get the old welded nut out and placed a piece of flat bar that I tapped to 10 x 1..5  so that I could thread into it.

For the final project of the day, I needed to make a new locking pin to hold the rack in.  I pulled out the old lathe for this one and had a good time machining a piece of steal that I had found on the side of the road into a piece that would fit into the locking system that we had on our old Hollywood rack.

First day of spring???

To celebrate the first warm sunny day in quite awhile, Claire and I went out for a great tandem ride thru the West county. We wanted to make sure we were home in time to sit on the deck and enjoy the sun and a refreshment.   I opened up my last package of pork crackles that Claire got me over a year ago for my birthday. Her cousin in Yorkshire came thru with them. They do taste better when drinking uncarbonated beer in a dark pub.  I enjoyed this bag with a Pilsner I brewed a couple of months ago.