Another brew of this beer with the fennel seed crushed and added directly to the wort rather than using whole seeds in an infuser ball. This should add a lot more flavor to the final beer between the extra oils released from crushing the seeds and the crushed seeds being able to stay in the fermenter as well.

I also got to use my new hydrometer set. I first tried the main hydrometer which tops out at 1.073 SG and of course maxed it out. I then used the high gravity hydrometer which goes from 1.060 to 1.130. I have not properly calibrated it, but it read about 1.082 SG for the original gravity which is exactly where I expected it to be. You can see in the pictures that the 1.080 line is above the wort and even 1.081 seems to be and this was a few degrees cold.

Preboil SG: 1.063

Original gravity: 1.082

Final gravity: 1.018

Volume in Fermenter: 2.75 Gallons

Mash and Boil Process

As usual I did a full volume BIAB mash. I added grains to about 4.2 gallons of water at about 158F and stirred for a few minutes. I then did a 60 minute mash without touching it further. At 60 minutes I lifted the bag and squeezed as much wort as I could and then let the grain bag sit in a collander resting in a bowl to see if any more wort drained naturally before the boil was done. The wort had cooled more than usual this time and was down closer to 145F at the end, but temperatures did start to rise when I stirred at the end, so overall temps should be good. At worst I'll have some extra fermentable wort and that won't hurt since I'm using US-05 instead of the slightly more attenuative S-23.

I did a 60 minute boil as before but made a few changes. I only had 6 grams of Magnum hops left and needed 11 grams so I made up for the missing with a ton of 3% AA Czech Saaz since I have a ton of that on hand and they are used in the recipe anyway. I was just being cheap and avoiding buying more Magnum hops which I so far have no use for outside of this beer and I will be taking a break from this beer for awhile after this. At 15-20 minutes left I added the rest of the Saaz hops and my fennel seed. This time I crushed the fennel seed and put it right into the wort rather than whole seeds with a spice infuser ball. This way the crushed fennel seed should release a lot more flavor and it will stay in during fermentation as well, providing a much more noticeable flavor. At 5 minutes left I added 2 oz of Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder and 4.4 oz by weight of dark molasses.

I boiled for 60 minutes, adding Magnum hops for bittering immediately to give them a 60 minute boil. Saaz hops were added with 20 minutes of boiling left. At 5 minutes left I added 2 Tsp of fennel seed, 2 Oz of Hershey's Cocoa Powder, and 4.4 Oz (by weight, not Fl. Oz) of dark molasses. Afterwards I used my immersion chiller to get the wort down to about 60F and then transferred to a fermenter and pitched the yeast. Since this is high OG and I want a very clean fermentation I used the full packet of US-05 even though it is under 3 gallons.


I pitched a full packet of US-05 at about 62F and have my temperature contol set to maintain 63F rather than the 68F I used last time. The choice of US-05 as opposed to a proper lager yeast was again because I already have it on hand and it's a very clean fermenting yeast. Along with dropping the fermentation temperature down further this should be pretty much indistinguishable from having used Saflager S-23, at least to me. I used 1 Tsp of yeast nutrient and 1/2 Tsp of yeast energizer to help ensure a complete fermentation along with pouring from the boil kettle to the fermenter at a height while also shaking the fermenter followed by a few minutes of shaking and stirring to get enough oxygen in.

After a few days I will probably bump the temperature up to 65F. I do not know that I will go all the way up to 70F as I did with the last batch.

I discovered on Sunday morning that I had not plugged the heating wrap into the heat outlet on my temperature controller so wort temps had dipped down to 59F. This is still within US-05s stated optimal range and so is not a big deal.


The lower temperature and likely the very low dip definitely slowed down the start of fermentation. I had significant airlock bubbling by Sunday night but as of Monday night, after more than 48 hours, there was still no significant krausen in the fermenter, just some bubbles on top. Today, Tuesday morning, things had taken off and I had several inches of foam on top of the wort at 6am and it has held throughout the day.


I put the keg on tap for Friday night and poured one glass from it. I know it needs to age longer and so will hopefully become what I'm looking for. The flavor is definitely different from before which must be the change to how I handled the fennel, but at least last night I did not get the black licorice flavor I was expecting from it. I will have to keep trying it as it ages to see what happens to the flavor. I may have to switch to using actual licorice or star anise even though the bread recipe this is based on uses fennel seed or I may just scrap that part altogether since it is otherwise very good.

Style Details

1.060 - 1.090 1.016 - 1.024 20 - 40
17 - 30 srm

Batch Details

Brewed OnPackaged OnOn Tap DateOriginal GravityFinal GravityColor
Feb. 27, 2021 March 14, 2021 March 19, 2021 1.082 1.018
33 srm