Author Archives: Joe Domm

Chance to win Renaissance Festival tickets to BrewFest

Every year the Carolina BrewMasters holds a homebrew competition where the winner of the Gambrinus Cup gets to have their beer brewed by Foothills Brewing and is served at the Renaissance Festival.Renfest beer small

The Renaissance Festival holds BrewFest where the winner of the Gambrinus Cup is honored with an artisan crafted trophy. This year it’s October 18th and 19th 12pm-3:30pm.

Here is your chance to win tickets to the festival and attend BrewFest! If you are going to enter by leaving a comment, make sure to put the comment on the Facebook post.

Click here to read more about the Gambrinus Cup winner and more about the festival.

*Update: Thank you to everyone who entered! The winner was Mark A.

Mark’s “sour” dough starter recipe

So I [Mark] was bored one day in between brews and I wanted to make some bread. I had the idea of making sour dough. Yeah I know, I know, starters take a lot of time to get nice and sour, so I set out to make it a little faster. I had a few sours going at the time so I made a small starter and set that aside in the fridge. It’s very basic.

2 cups AP flour
2 cups warm water
1 TBSP sugar

About 2 TBSP sour dregs from the bottom of a bottle or fermenter

1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and place in a slightly oiled plastic sealable container.

2. Over time you will have to feed the starter to make the bacteria grow. All you have to do is pull out about a cup of the mix and replace it with 1 cup of flour every week or so. The cup you pull out you can start making bread with or throw out till it’s sour enough for your liking.

This starter will get sour after about 4 to 5 months instead of years of developing the flavor.

Basic sour dough bread

4 3/4 cups bread flour
4 tablespoons white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm milk
1 1/2 cups sourdough starter
1 extra large egg
1 tablespoon water

1. In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt, and dry yeast. Add milk. Stir in starter. Mix in the rest of the flour gradually, but you may need more depending on your climate.

2. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turn once to oil surface, and cover. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in volume.

3. Punch down, and let rest 15 minutes. Shape into loaves. Place on a greased baking pan. Allow to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled.

4. Cut an X in the top of the loaf and then brush egg wash over the tops of loaves.

5. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes, or till done.

Additional BrewPi information from episode #3

Hey Fermentation Nation!

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Stephen Williams and I am an avid homebrewer/geek/commandline cowboy. I have been home brewing for about two years now and have been a geek…well my whole life HA HA!

brewpi 5I got into home brewing with a good friend of mine because we both enjoyed craft beer and thought “hey we could do this!”. After running out to my LHBS I came home with a book, a kit, and a lot of giant glass vessels and went about making my first brew. I have to say it was semi controlled chaos and I was pretty clueless as to what I was doing. This drove me immerse myself with reading books, web searching, and finally joining my local homebrew club (Radegast Club of the year 2014 The Carolina Brewmasters). My questions have probably driven some nuts in the club, but I think they still like me.

All this reading and learning drove me to my second obsession: buildingbrewpi 4 geeky things. I started with the normal stuff, brew house kettles and a 10 gallon mashtun. While these things worked fine I wanted even more since I have aspiration of owning a brewpub someday. My next project was to build a RIMS (RIMS stands for Recirculating Infusion Mash System) setup. I built a neat little PID controller using an old .50 BMG ammo can and it works great. Alas my brew was still missing something and I started the search for a fermentation controller.

I searched all over the interwebs and stumbled across a youtube video of this guy Elco Jacobs from the Neatherlands talking about this project he had built: BrewPi. The device is a tiny Linux based computer since I am a UNIX engineer by profession this was right up my alley. And thus I built my first BrewPi.

Not familiar with the BrewPi and what is does? Here’s a little run down:

The BrewPi utilizes two main components to control fermentation temps brewPi 2within .1 degree (pretty darn accurate). The main brain of the operation is an Arduino micro controller. This device is used to read/send signals for heating and cooling. The second part is a RaspberryPi (tiny Linux based computer) that is used for data logging and an easy to use interface for programming your fermentation profiles. Once all setup in your brew house you can simply log into the webGUI on your local network (the device is WiFi) and start building/graphing your fermentation.

Now most people will say well my stc-1000/Ranco/Johnston do just fine for me why would I need/want this, easy better control. How you say? The brewpi 3main difference between this and most of the other common controllers out there is precision. You see, most controllers do not let you build a profile that will gently raise/lower the temperature of your brew over time. Most rather just turn hot or cold on till the desired temp is reached which can introduce stress to the yeast (we don’t want stress in our lives nor do our yeasty buddies). The BrewPi allows you to control the raise/lower with great precision and you can even define rest periods.

BrewPiExample I have an IPA and am using WLP001 Cali Ale and it’s range is 68 ̊-73 ̊ so I will build my profile to start around let’s say 71 ̊ (middle of the road) for 36 hours to let my happy little friends start to multiple like tribbles (live long and prosper). I want to then lower my temp once I have a good bubble going to 68 ̊ for say three days to avoid any nasty esters I may produce. I can then choose if I wish to to a diacetyl rest for a few days and follow up with a cold crash for 3 days. All this is done with super precision and makes for the best environment for your yeast/brew.

The last thing to mention is what we all really want/should strive for in our brews: REPEATABILITY! Since we datalog and store these profiles I can brew a beer today build my fermentation profile and a year later repeat that exact same profile. This is really going to take you from home brewer to more of a pro home brewer by allowing you to control your fermentations the same every time.

Special Thank You to Stephen for coming on the show and sharing information about BrewPi with us! We appreciate your time!

Beer BBQ Sauce for Baby Back Ribs

This time of year is perfect for cooking ribs! Here is a recipe from Mark that is sure to liven up your BBQ!




1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, diced
6oz Brown ale or Scotch ale
1 cup ketchup
1/3 cup molasses
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons distilled vinegar
2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Salt to taste
4 racks of baby back ribs
1. Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium-low heat.
2. Add the garlic and onions and cook till translucent. Make sure to stir consistently as to not let them burn.
3. Add the beer and then reduce the heat to low. Reduce the mixture by half.
4. Add the ketchup, molasses, brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and stir.
5. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.
6. Taste after simmering and add whatever ingredient it needs (more spice, more sugar, etc.).
7. Once the ribs are close to being done move them to a cooler unlit part of the grill and mop with sauce. Let the sauce caramelize on the outside and the meat get to an internal temp of 160F.