The Story of The Twins (Tomax & Xamot)


  • You can pitch yeast the next day, just be sure of your sanitation.
  • You can make two different beers from the same wort

A number of weeks ago I had a pint of Hop Sun, Southern Tier’s hopped wheat ale.  (Full disclosure: I’m, a ST fan boy).  This pint inspired me to create a summer wheat ale.  I’d make it slightly more hoppy than the style dictates, but not too hoppy as to destroy the wonderful wheat taste you want in the summer.

After finding a clone online, seeing what I had on hand I devised the following recipe for a 10.5 gallon batch:

  • 11# Maris Otter
  • 7# White Wheat Malt
  • 1# 12 oz American 2-row (had it left over)
  • 1# Rice Hulls
  • 12oz of Cara 60

Here are my boil additions

  • 1.8 oz Centennial (9% Alpha) at 60
  • 1.8 oz Centennial (9% Alpha) at 5

Pretty simple right?  Well I figured I’d make it a bit more interesting.  I thought of making 2 beers using the same wort.  I’d make a 10.5 gallon batch, split it into 5 and 5.5 gallon beers.  I added an extra half-gallon because I would be dry hopping one of the beers.  The 5 gallon beer would be the twin of the 5.5 gallon with two exceptions

  1. Yeast choice: The 5.5 gallon batch (Tomax) would be close to “Hop Sun” with American Ale Yeast (US-05) and the 5 gallon batch (Xamot) would get a dose of American Heffe Yeast (WPL320).
  2. Dry hopping: Tomax would be dry hopped with 2 ounces of Centennial for 3 days.  Xamot would get nothing at all.

Brew Day

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PBG 1.042
2015-05-30 10.17.11
My mash tun & keggle. Notice the thermometer on the keggle.

Well brew day came and I had all my grain milled.  That much grain really started to test the capacity of my 10 gallon mash tun.  I had only done a 10 gallon batch once before, so I was a bit nervous.  Everything was going smoothly.  I don’t know why I never thought of this but i measured my pre-boil gravity by simply drop my hydrometer right into my keggle (it was 1.042 in you’re interested).  It took me a while to get wort boiling, but because I was dealing with double to volume of wort than I normally do.  The extra wort caused another issue, which I’ll get to in a minute.  The boil was pretty boring with one hop addition at 60, dropping in my wort chiller, whir flock tab, yeast nutrient, and another hop addition at 5.  I was moving right along.

Then when flame-out happened I hooked up my wort chiller and started it up.  If you noticed in my pic, I have a thermometer on the keggle.  It’s been fantastic. I  no longer have to constantly drop a thermometer into the wort and pray it’s at pitching temp.  I simply have to look on the side of the keg.  No fuss, no muss, right?

Welp after 45 minutes I got the temp of the wort down ti about 80 degrees…according to the thermometer.  I didn’t take into consideration that I was dealing with 10 gallons of wort.  When I started to drain my kettle I noticed the first bucket was a bit warm (86 degrees), but managable.  The second bucket was 110 degrees!  Now what?

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OG 1.053 (corrected)

Earlier I had read of people pitching their yeast the next day, but I’ve never tried it.  So some frantic online searches later I decided to do the same thing.  I am typically very cautious of my sanitazation  techniques but today I took extra time to over spray everything with Star-San.  With the baby beer sitting there I wanted to make sure nothing got into it.  At least when yeast starts to ferment out it pushes CO2 out and nasties away.  That day and night, I would have nothing to fight away even the tiniest of nasties.  I put the buckets in my fermentation chamber, cleaned up, and ate dinner.

The following morning I went outside and pitch a pack of US-05 in one bucket and WLP-320 (American Heff) in the other.  Only after about 8 hours the US-05 took off while the WLP-320 took about 14 hours to start.  Mission accomplished!

Kegging day

Time to keg these beers.  First up was Xamot.  The FG was 1.010, which gets me to an ABV of 5.9%.  After dry hopping Tomax the FG was 1.008 (6.1%).  It would appear that the US05 does indeed ferment lower than the Heff yeast I was using.

Vertical Tasting

2015-07-19 20.54.18
(L-R) Tomax, Hop Sun, Xamot

Even though it was hard for me to hang onto a ST Hop Sun for as long as I did (2 summer months), I finally cracked it open on a hot day in Jersey.  It was time for a vertical tasting of my beers along with it’s inspiration.

I first tried Tomax with Hop Sun.  Hop Sun was more crisp and had more dry-hopped aroma, but they were pretty close.  Hop Sun was also a bit more bitter, but not  much.  Perhaps changing the mash temp would solve the “crispiness” and adding more hops would make it taste even closer.  Also, don’t forget, I used MO when the brewery more than likely used American 2-row, which would make it pop.

Next I tried Hop Sun with Xamot.  Xamot tasted like Hop Sun younger brother that could never really catch up.  Compared to Hop Sun, Xamot was “dull”, but a better way to say that would be rounded.  I honestly wasn’t expecting this beer to taste like Hop Sun, but I wanted to see what would happen.  I also have a ton of American Heffe Yeast for a Wheatwine I’ve got in mind.

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