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Wheatley Hills Weizenbock


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

That batch of Long Island Potato Stout turned out as dry as I had hoped, it will be conditioning and carbonating prior to getting it out in bottles. Word on when and where to follow. I'm looking forward to feedback on it.

The next brew in my experimental stout series will be a true Oyster Stout, using oysters from Long Island's east end. (The Potato Stout used organic potatoes from Sang Lee Farms in Peconic.) I finally got formula and label approval last week from the TTB on the oyster stout, but I'll probably brew it after my equipment takes a brief road trip to Brooklyn on the 18th. (More on that later.) So, it will be another batch of Weizenbock to be brewed this coming Sunday.

Hellsmoke Porter will be heading out in kegs, some bottles after that. Again, word on when and where to follow.

The next meeting of the Long Island Beer & Malt Enthusiasts is tonight at the Black Forest Brew Haus, in Farmingdale from 7:30 to 9:00 PM. Come on down!

Hellsmoke, Weizenbock, and Stout Experiments

Sunday, September 27, 2009

We had to cancel our vacation to California, but I've been getting some work done in the brewhouse this week. I brewed some of the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock a couple of days ago, and will be kegging up Hellsmoke Porter from earlier in the month this weekend.

Meanwhile, I've been working on a series of Stout experiments. Yesterday's was a batch of Long Island Potato Stout using local Long Island potatoes that are boiled, mashed, and then added to the mash of grains to add some dryness to what I anticipate to be a dry stout. The potatoes in this batch are the Yukon Gold variety, organically grown at Sang Lee Farms of Peconic.

Long Island Potato Stout label image

Why organically-grown potatoes? Conventionally-grown potatoes rely heavily on the use of chemicals and pesticides -- not great for you or the environment. It is a challenge to grow potatoes organically, though, so they are not as inexpensive or as easy to find as conventional potatoes.

What's Next (or not)...

Well, I didn't do great job keeping the yeast happy during the fermentation of my Wheatley Hills Weizenbock. After conditioning and bottling, it is unfortunately clear to me that while the Weizenbock is OK, it doesn't have all the character that I was aiming for. So, while it is drinkable (I'll be drinking and serving it at home), it isn't something I want to ask people to pay for. So, the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock won't be hitting shelves in the near future.

Meanwhile, more of the Hellsmoke Porter is currently fermenting and conditioning, so that will be out again soon. I'll be next brewing up beer more appropriate for Spring, and fresh batches of my Weizenbock should be making an appearance this Fall.

More beer is a'comin... really!

One of the perils of part-time operations is that the job that pays the bills has been taking priority over the part-time startup. The "day job" keeps spilling into evenings and mornings, but I'm lucky to have it.

I had planned on getting the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock out before the end of this week, but it looks more like it will be out sometime next week -- as I'll be bottling and labeling on Sunday. If that goes well, I'll then be making deliveries next week -- so either watch this space or your email (if you are signed up for the email updates) for news on where and when. In the meantime, the Weizenbock has been carbonating and conditioning in "corny" kegs.

Saturday will be the better day for brewing this weekend, and so I'll be smoking and brewing more of the Hellsmoke then.

Hellsmoke and Weizenbock

Monday, February 16, 2009 (7:09 AM)

OK, so I didn't get much work done on Saturday (Valentine's Day). Did get some cleaning done on Sunday, and am about to take advantage of the balmy just-above-freezing Monday-off-from-work to smoke and brew more Hellsmoke Porter. I've had a pot of coffee, and am out the door to begin right after I post this.

Apologies to all about the still-pending Wheatley Hills Weizenbock -- it's still conditioning, but it will be out this month. Word of where and when will be posted here (and via the Blind Bat Brewery Email Updates).

Happy Monday!

Baby Steps - On Ice

January 26, 2009

We seem to be having a real Winter this year, and things are again "progressing" slower than I would like. A busted pipe reminded me that the equipment isn't too happy with the sub-freezing temperatures. (Unlike the fermentation room, my little brewhouse is unheated.) Couple that with the fact that this is a small-scale, part-time endeavor (brewing on weekends or days where I can play hooky from work), the beer isn't flowing out too rapidly at present. As warmer weekends approach, so will new batches of beer.

Meanwhile some Weizenbock should be out early February.

I'll be kicking the smoke up a notch with the next batch of Hellsmoke Porter. The earlier homebrew version was a lot smokier than what was available to folks in December's "First Flight", but I seemed to be the only one who was happy with the homebrew level of smoke. Perhaps I brought the smoke level down too much. A good number of RateBeer / BeerAdvocate reviewers indicated that they would like more smoke, so I'll try to find a happy balance between the old homebrew smoke and that of the December release. Not too much to overwhelm the senses, but a bit more smoke seems to be called for.

The Severest Critics of All

January 19, 2009

While the Hellsmoke Porter has been receiving decent reviews on RateBeer and BeerAdvocate, the two cows at the old Lewis-Oliver Dairy in Northport haven't been taking at all to the last batch of spent grains from the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock. So, at least for the mix of spent wheat and barley, it's off to the compost.

Was too wintery to brew the next batch of Hellsmoke Porter this weekend (not just for me, but more importantly, for the equipment as the brewery currently needs to be set up). Please check back for news on that.

More Weizenbock

January 6, 2009

Took a day off from the regular job to brew more Weizenbock, but it turned out to be a bit longer of a day (into night) than expected. So, we missed getting to last night's Friends of the Farm meeting in nearby Northport. I will be getting more spent grains to the cows later this week, though, "leftovers" from yesterday's brew session.

Next to brew: More of the Hellsmoke Porter.

Feeding Time (Yeast and Cows)

January 2, 2009

I've had some good feedback on the Hellsmoke Porter, and will be smoking and brewing up more soon. If you have had some, and haven't yet shared what you thought of it, please do -- either via the "Be the Judge" form on, or on Beer Advocate or RateBeer (or all three). I truly appreciate honest criticism. (And thanks to those who have given feedback.)

Meanwhile, back in the Fermentation Room, the yeast is happily eating the sugars, creating alcohol and carbon dioxide to make the wort into Wheatley Hills Weizenbock.

I finally got the spent grains to the cows in nearby Northport (no one was a the old dairy when I went on Sunday). If you have kids and happen to be near Northport, some free family fun can be had at the old Lewis Oliver Farm in Northport. They've got two cows ("Sassy" and "Half-Pint"), as well as some chickens, ducks, geese, and a pig. For more information check out the Friends of the Farm blog at

Image of Cows eating spent grain in Northport

The farm happens to be looking for volunteers. If you are free, they are having a meeting at the farm at 7:30 this coming Monday night (January 5, 2009).

Back in the Brewhouse

December 28, 2008

Had some issues with a problematic pump that put a crimp in the plan to brew back-to-back batches, but I did get one batch of the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock brewed yesterday. Will be taking advantage of as many unseasonably-mild days as possible to keep busy in the brewhouse, which is heated only by the kettles when they are fired up.

In addition to more of the Weizenbock, I'll be brewing up more of the Hellsmoke Porter. Today, I'm hoping to bring the spent grains from yesterday's mash over to a couple of hungry cows I know of in nearby Northport. Our compost bins are full!

Fermenting, Kegging, Bottling...

This week should see me kegging up the Bitter Wheat test batch experiment (A.K.A. "Grodziskie") as well as that first production batch of the Hellsmoke Porter. The Hellsmoke will be bottled up after some time carbonating and conditioning in the corny kegs. Commercial keg options are being explored this week, I should be finally pulling the trigger on a couple of "sixels" soon.

Next on Deck: Wheatley Hills Weizenbock
Wheatley Hills Weizenbock Label Image

Once the big fermenter is clear of the Hellsmoke Porter, the next production batch will be the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock. I had planned to have two more large fermenters by now, so as to keep the production batches rolling along. I'll get those extra fermenters once money loosens up a bit.

A little Long Island history
The Wheatley Hills Tavern used to be on Post Avenue in Westbury, and a few businesses (and a golf club) in the Westbury area still bear the name. The original Wheatley Hills is in England (I'm not sure if the good folk there would appreciate a German-style beer bearing their town's name). There is also Wheatley Heights in Suffolk County. "Westbury" and "Salisbury" on Long Island were also named for original places in England by English settlers here in the 1600s -- after they took over western Long Island from the Dutch, who in turn muscled out the original Lenape people.

A glimpse of Wheatley Road circa 1906
The Vanderbilt Cup Race was held from 1904 to 1910, and was a pretty big deal at the time. It was the first international automobile race held in the U.S., and Vanderbilt had the Long Island Motor Parkway built partially for the race itself.

The film below is from 102 years ago, and shows a hairpin turn at Wheatley Road in Old Westbury.

For more about these early 20th Century races, check out the excellent The Vanderbilt Cup Races site.

Catching Up

Summer officially fades away soon, and while I've been away from the Brewhouse Blog, I've been keeping busy in the brewhouse itself test batching some Fall and Winter Seasonals. The August 30th batch of the Wheatley Hills Weizenbock will likely be kegged up soon.

Got that new smoker, and tested it out with a small batch of the Hellsmoke Porter, now fermenting away. Much better control of the smoke is possible with the new smoker than with my previous Flintstones method. While I personally liked previous incartnations of the Hellsmoke Porter, the feedback concensus was that it was oversmoked. I'll also be taking another crack at the smoked wit soon.

I'm also experimenting with a dry stout using a local ingredient, so watch this space. The TTB won't approve the label for this one until they give the OK on the formula, but I also won't release it unless it is worthy.
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