Bottling and Blending Woxbic

Have barrel, will age beer

DIY Barrel Transfer tool from Milk the Funk Wiki

After four long years, it’s time to blend and package my first Woxbic beer.
I struggled quite a bit on the blending ratio. Too many variables to take
into account: the volume of beer I could produce to replace what goes into the
blend, the number and size of the barrels I already have, the volume to package,
and ultimately, how the blend would taste.

where did you get that shed? what have you got in your shed?

Transferring Year 1 Woxbic from barrel into a keg

In order to ensure I did have some of year 2 blend left, I needed to limit the
total volume I packaged. The result was that I was going to have quite a bit of
year 3 left over and that I’d need a new barrel to fill for going forward since
I was not also ready to package what would be left in year 3 barrel. Eventually
I settled on a 60/30/10 of Year1/Year2/Year3 ratio, similar to what Jester King
did with their recently released lambic-inspired, Méthode Gueuze beers. I
packaged approximately 10 gallons of blended beer. That works out direclty to 1
gallon of three year old, three gallons of two year and six gallons of one year.

Don't mind the fancy photos

Year 3 and Year 2 barrels transferring into keg for blending.

Year two and year one blends will remain in-barrel (without a top off) for next
year’s blend, and year 3 will have 9 gallons left to package separately. I’m
planning on blending that with some fruits for a cuvee style release as well.

For the actual transfer of the beer, I was excited to use a constructed barrel
transfer tool fashioned after the industry tools, like a Bulldog or
Rack-It-Teer, this was put together by some homebrewers on Milk-the-Funk

The transfers from barrel to keg went flawlessly. A bit of CO2 to push and the
beer flowed quickly into the keg. After collecting all of the volumes, each was
pushed via CO2 into the Chronical where it was recirculated with some bottling


Recirculating the blend in the Chronical

Bottling with the Last Straw was nice. The ergonomics of holding the Last Straw
are very nice in comparision to the Blichmann Beergun. I do wish the Last Straw
had a larger diameter for beer. It was designed for already carbonated beer, so
I can understand why the line is small. But for uncarbonated beer, it would be
nice to fill faster.

Gonna need a new table son!

The weight of the line let the bottle fit itself slowly; that was handy for a single person operation.

With the bottling complete, I now have 6 to 9 months to wait to see how the beer
changes in the bottle. I’ll post some pictures and tasting notes later this

And some fantastic beer to celebrate the occasion.


Dat Crooked Stave!

Subtlety and Nuance: A Brewer’s Beer


The prince is a big fan of Zwanze!

One thing I miss when I was brewing more often was the chance to try out a bunch of different beers in a session. At a brew night, I’d sample close to ten or twelve beers but not have to worry about drinking the whole bottle. As I’m brewing less often I’m finding that I really enjoy having something lighter, but interesting to drink along side a larger bomber.

Dirty keg is dirty; fixing that!

Until I finish this batch, I’ll have to make due with some Han’s PIls

As with many brewers, profession and otherwise it’s a great enjoyment to drink beer while working. In some cases any beer is fine, but when there’s a long day and one would like to stay sharp, the lighter, refreshing (dry) beers tend to be a favorite. This has has proven true for myself. I can recall a number of brewery mishaps after a long brew night (and beer sampling session) due to a lack of lighter beers. A perfectly reasonable solution is to have lots of lighter, flavorful choices available.  If you’re not into the lighter stuff, then you might be into the complexity; some might say the subtlety and nuance of these expressive beers.

Soon you'll be filled with funk and sour!

It was a great day to sip a refreshing beer in the yard.

My recent brews have been stronger, longer aged brews which leaves my taps devoid of anything lighter so I figured it was time to remedy that situation.  My previous brews using the Jester King mixed-culture fermentation have been more successful using an initial hotter fermentation, 75F up to 90F for roughly a week, or however long it takes to get below 1.010 S.G.  After that point, lowering the temperature allows the souring bacteria to take root and bring the pH down under 3.6 for some solid sour flavor.

I’m a huge fan of a local pub, Pinthouse Pizza’s Calma Muerta, a session IPA with huge flavors and strong bittering.  I’ve got that on my list to brew next yet my good friend suggested that we start experimenting with cultivating a high level of funk out of the Jester King yeast since we’ve got a good hold on target gravity and souring methods.  Besides producing an excellent lighter beer, ala, Jester King’s Le Petite Prince, exercising the funk in this brew will help in our sour-aged hot sauce experiments.

For this brew I’m adapting the homebrew recipe Jester King posted and supplying my ingredients.  I’m really excited to give such a lighter brew a go!  Enjoy.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
6 gal 90 min 20.6 IBUs 2.3 SRM 1.026 1.004 2.9 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Saison 17 2 1.048 - 1.065 1.002 - 1.012 20 - 35 5 - 14 2.2 - 2.8 5 - 7 %


Name Amount %
Pilsen (BestMälz) 5 lbs 83.33
Wheat (BestMälz) 1 lbs 16.67


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Goldings, East Kent (2011) 1 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 3.2
Fuggles 1 oz 10 min Boil Pellet 3.7
Fuggles 0.5 oz 20 min Aroma Pellet 3.7
Goldings, East Kent (2011) 0.5 oz 20 min Aroma Pellet 3.2
Fuggles 0.5 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 3.7
Goldings, East Kent (2011) 0.5 oz 7 days Dry Hop Pellet 3.2


Name Amount Time Use Type
Phosphoric Acid 9.60 ml 60 min Mash Water Agent
Calcium Chloride 0.60 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Epsom Salt (MgSO4) 0.60 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 0.60 g 60 min Mash Water Agent


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Jester King Mixed Culture (JK01) Jester King 84% 65°F - 77°F


Step Temperature Time
Saccharification 152°F 60 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min


Smoke ’em if you got ’em


One of the very few Pilsners that I enjoy drinking from a can

Smoking malt for a batch of Russian Imperial Stout turned out quite well.  With that success complete and now kegged, I’m happy to proceed with more smoked malts! One of my favorite smoked beers is Jester King’s Gotlandsdrika.  The recipe has been shared by owner/brewer Jeff Stuffings over at the Beer and Wine Journal.

This bunghole smells amazing!

Despite the cracks in the wood, the barrel is water tight.

I took this recipe and scaled it up for 15 gallons so I can fill my newly acquired Rye Whiskey barrel.  This time, I’m smoking 100% of the malts used.  I also decided to keep them under the smoke a bit longer to help keep the smoke present post-fermentation.

The recipe calls for using beech and birch woods.  I had access to beech wood chips but no birch.  Instead I picked up some Alderwood to smoke half of the pilsner malt.  The whiskey barrel is a bit aged, dumped in 2015.  It tested well with the swelling and holding water however, I was some what concerned about what might have found its way into the wood since it sat dry for so long.  Barrel steaming to the rescue.


You wouldn't believe how long it took me to get that lid on. Embarrassing.

DIY Barrel steamer comprised of Pressure Cooker, Quick-disconnect adapter, Pressure Gauge , Check Valve, Silicon tubing, nipple to 1/2″ NPT, 90 Deg Street elbow to 2 ft. Copper pipe with drilled holes and end-cap.

Gloves are a must when dealing with steam.

A couple of rags help keep the steam inside the barrel to raise the temperature over 212 for approx 15 minutes.

Using the steam wand, I brought the internal temp up over 212F for about 15 minutes.  I’m really excited to see how this smoked beer comes out after fermenting in this whiskey barrel.

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
15 gal 90 min 26.7 IBUs 4.5 SRM 1.052 1.003 6.3 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
American Amber Ale 6 B 1.045 - 1.056 1.01 - 1.015 20 - 40 11 - 18 2.3 - 2.8 4.5 - 5.7 %


Name Amount %
Birchwood smoked Pilsner (Weyermann) 12 lbs 40
Smoked (BestMälz) 12 lbs 40
(Oak Smoked) Wheat Malt, Ger 3 lbs 10
Rye, Flaked (Briess) 3 lbs 10


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Goldings, East Kent 3 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 5.6


Name Amount Time Use Type
Phophoric Acid (20%) 40.00 ml 60 min Mash Water Agent
Calcium Chloride 2.70 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Epsom Salt (MgSO4) 2.70 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 2.70 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Juniper Berries 0.60 oz 0 min Boil Flavor
Gale, Sweet 1.26 oz 0 min Boil Spice


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
JK Mixed Culture (JK01) Jester King 94% 55°F - 95°F


Step Temperature Time
Mash In 154°F 45 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min


0.20 oz. juniper berries, at whirlpool
0.42 oz. sweet gale, at whirlpool

Phosphoric Acid additions during multi-infusion step mashing:

Woxbic: Lambic-style Beer; Third Year: Now with more barrels!

Woxbic v3

Active fermentation with ECY 20 – Bug Country, 12 hours after pitching. Ambient shed temperature at 55F.

Another year and another Woxbic! This year I was quite a bit late. Normally I’m brewing this batch during January or early February since there aren’t that many days which have cool enough weather for fermentation in the garage in the mid 50s. But better that than not at all. Also with the “magic” of science, I happen to have a shed in which I can keep things at just the right temp, ~55F.

I’m really excited about these lambic-style beers and the fact that the previous two batches are tasting really well! My favorite local brewery, Jester King has just blended their first batch of lambic-style spontaneously fermented beer. I’m about a year away from being able to blend and bottle as well. When brewing for blends, one needs to have enough younger beer to spread out the older beer. So this year, I finally was able to get two barrels.


11 Gallon Rum barrel, waxed with paraffin. 15 gallon Rye Whiskey barrel waits a few weeks for its’ fill.

This brewday I filled the first barrel, another 11 gallon rum barrel. I’ve picked up an additional barrel, 15 gallon Rye Whiskey. After a quick batch of smoked saison, I’ll pick up this recipe and put 15 gallons of Woxbic in it as well.


Initial cleaning and swelling of the 15 gallon Rye Whiskey barrel.

Recipe-wise, no real changes. I was unable to pickup local Pilsner from Blacklands Malt due to their success. They only offer their pilsner malt under contract; and all available bags are being picked up by other local breweries. I was able to procure some Weyerman Bohemian Pilsner malt from a local brewery Adelberts, so a big thanks to them.


Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
13 gal 90 min 8.7 IBUs 3.5 SRM 1.054 1.013 5.4 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Straight (Unblended) Lambic 17 D 1.04 - 1.054 1.001 - 1.01 0 - 10 3 - 7 1.8 - 2.6 5 - 6.5 %


Name Amount %
Pilsner (Weyermann) 16.25 lbs 60
Wheat, Torrified 9.75 lbs 36
Acidulated (Weyermann) 1.083 lbs 4


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Northern Brewer 1.62 oz 60 min Boil Leaf 3.2


Name Amount Time Use Type
Phosphoric Acid 56.60 ml 60 min Mash Water Agent
Epsom Salt (MgSO4) 3.40 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Calcium Chloride 1.70 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 1.70 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Wheat Flour 3.25 oz 5 min Boil Other


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
Bug Country (20) East Coast Yeast 70% 63°F - 75°F


Step Temperature Time
Acid Rest 93°F 15 min
Protein Rest 113°F 15 min
Saccharification 1 131°F 15 min
Saccharification 2 149°F 15 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min


After mash-out, drain all liquid into boil kettle, raise temp to 190, pump back to mash for second rinse through grain bed.

Pitching ECY20 Bugcountry in 15G barrel

Phosphoric Acid additions during multi-infusion step mashing:
Step1: 20.1 ml in 6.7 gallons
Step2: 6.2 ml in 2.07 gallons
Step3: 9.09 ml in 3.03 gallons
Step4: 16.92 ml in 5.64 gallons

Total: 52.3 mL in 17.41 gallons ~ pH of 5.4 (5.2 , 5.3, 5.3, 5.4)

Smoking malts for a Sour Smoky Stout


I remember when I really fell in love with Jester King sours. Years ago I volunteered at Jester King with my good friend Mark on a bottling day. Turns out it was a Funk Metal day which is an amazing beer to bottle. Back then, the volunteers got to take some of the failed QC (almost always underfills or busted labels) bottles home. The other benefit was being able to drink Jester King beer on the job. It so happened that along with Black Metal Stout (non-farmhouse, aka OG BMS) and the ever present Le Petite Prince they had Salt Lick Saison, renamed Censored Saison due to the ridiculous laws here in Texas which don’t allow breweries to endorse a product by putting the name on the label. The massive level of smoke was initially too much but strong sour really wom me over; the combination was amazing. At the end of my shift I knew why Jester King prefers something light like Le Petite as I was feeling the 6% smoked saison.  Salt Lick Saison hasn’t been produced since that summer but the other smoked beers by Jester King, namely Gotslandricka, has similar levels of smokiness and a touch of sour.

My cellar is almost bare of these great smoked sours so I decided it was time to brew something of my own. Last summer Jester King brewed Black Metal Stout  for the first time in years and due to the time of the year, winter, the cold fermentation favored sour acid production resulting in an amazing combination of roast and sour. In this homebrew I’m hoping to clone that combination and add some smoke as well.


This is my first experiment with smoking my own malt. Cursory reading of the homebrew forums indicated that a low temperature, about 100F,  is best, as is the use of some sprayed water to help the malt absorb the smoke. I didn’t make my own basket but I did find a sink colander which does the right thing for exposing the malt to the smoke. I smoked 15# of Maris Otter, roughly 50% of the base malt bill in the Black Metal Stout recipe for approximately 45 minutes with a combination of oak and mesquite smoke. Only time will tell if this was enough, or too much (ha!).

I’ll be sure to report back on how this one turned out.  Happy New Year!

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
11 gal 60 min 31.3 IBUs 69.2 SRM 1.082 1.014 9.0 %
Actuals 1.082 1.014 9.0 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Imperial Stout 13 F 1.075 - 1.115 1.018 - 1.03 50 - 90 30 - 40 1.8 - 2.6 8 - 12 %


Name Amount %
Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) 14.938 lbs 39.12
Smoked Pale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett) 14.938 lbs 39.12
Black Barley (Stout) 2.467 lbs 6.46
Black (Patent) Malt 1.599 lbs 4.19
Chocolate Malt (Thomas Fawcett) 1.599 lbs 4.19
Brown Malt 15.21 oz 2.49
Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L 15.19 oz 2.49
Crystal Dark - 77L (Crisp) 12 oz 1.96


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Citra 1 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 14.4
Goldings, East Kent 2 oz 5 min Boil Pellet 5


Name Amount Time Use Type
Calcium Chloride 5.00 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 5.00 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Epsom Salt (MgSO4) 1.20 g 60 min Mash Water Agent


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
JK01 (JK01) Jester King Brewery 86% 60°F - 90°F


Step Temperature Time
Saccharification 156°F 40 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min


Kunsei (smoked) Makkuro-Kurosuke