Tuesday, March 8, 2011


A good friend of mine who just visited town decided that he is a "celiac" and must obstain from beer, as a result he did nothing but rot his gut with excessive amounts of malic acid from cider and booze from mead. His pervasive requests for me to smell his bottle of sweet mead inspired me to brew some sort of honey concoction, ultimately a braggot.

This ones for you Jeff!

The grain bill part of the recipe basically utilizes 2 grains which to me have an exaggerated maltiness, victory giving a distinct "perfectly golden toasted wonder bread" type maltiness, and the aromatic malt giving that wonderful "sweet bread" character to the flavor and especially the nose. The 2 row in the recipe is just for enzymes to convert the specialty malt's starches to fermentables, and also for husk material for lautering.
The rest of the fermentables come from local honey, harvested from bee's which have only been pollinating fruit tree's.
I used Westamalle yeast on this one since it is so fruity and should play well with honey-ish fermentation notes.

Braggot #1

6 gal

4# 2row
1# Victory
1# Aromatic
5# Honey

Hallertau@5% .75oz@60min
.25@ 5min

wyeast 3787.

* The fermentation on this beer has been shitty to say the least. I pitched at about 62 and put the beer under a blanket with my heater to let it warm up, the next morning I woke up with a beer fermenting at 80 degrees! I cooled the beer back to 70 and checked the fermentation, the beer had only fermented about 20 points so luckinly there shouldnt be too much hot alcohol, unfortunately the fermentation has been dragging since I cooled the beer. Hopefully it will ferment out to dryness without having to mess around with the fermentation.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fat Fisted Ale

Ever tried a beer that haunted you for a while? What are those flavor's, what style is it in, how could I ever brew something close? I've had several of these but the most long standing has been the original batch of La Terroir by New Belgium Brewing Company of Fort Collins Colorado. I first tried this beer 2 or 3 summer's ago at Belmont Station's PuckerFest ( A week long celabration of sour and funky beer's) For some reason this beer has stuck with me for so long, I can distinctly remember ordering the beer, taking a few sips , and then chatting with the bar keep about how this beer was basically Orval with a bunch of Biscuit or Victory malt. It was a beautiful mix of flavors and I ended up ordering several pints.
Fast forward several years, New Belgium has now bottled La Terroir atleast once in their Lips of Faith series. Ive bought several bottles in hope for a taste of what I tried some years ago, or atleast a taste of what that beer is after sitting with brett for many months, no luck, after several bottles and tap tastes it seems like a vapid dull shadow of my memory.

no worry's though, I have such a distinct beer flavor in my head from the initial taste that I've had no problem coming up with what I feel will be a similar recipe.

I'm calling this beer "fat fisted ale" because the two main flavor adding ingredients are rather over the top or "heavy handed" to say the least.

First off, Biscuit Malt. This is a Belgian toasted malt that tastes like wonder bread after being toasted in the toaster to "just browned" A beautifully focused flavor in my opinion that is often used excessively to a point that is cloying, or exhaustive to to the palate.

Second is Brett B. In my experience Brett Brux is overwhelming usually swallowing up all malt character with it's spicy phenols.

My hope with this beer is to have the biscuit malt's over the top toastiness balance out the brett.

My recipe is very much influenced by both Orval and Fat Tire (allegedly the first batch of Terrior was just a brett inoculated batch of Fat Tire)

Fat Fisted Ale

6.25 Gallons
1.060 OG
38 IBU
86% Eff

82% 2 Row
12% CaraMunich
6% Belgian Biscuit

Magnum -8%AA .25 oz. @ 60 min.
Hallertau -3.9%AA 1 oz. @ 15 min - .5 @ whirlpool
Tettnanger -4.4%AA 1 oz. @ 15 min - .5 @ whirlpool
Perle - 8.8%AA 1 oz. @ 15 min - .5 @ whirlpool

US - 05 yeast
68 degree ferment

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Arrogant Bastard's

Stone's Arrogant Bastard is an over the top red ale that I've enjoyed more than a few of over the years, so I was pretty excited when I saw it as a challenge on the Brewing Network's ' Can You Brew It Show".

I was even more excited after I listened to the podcast and learned that Stone was completely unwilling to give any details on the grist or how to brew the beer. Although I've listened to most of the episodes I feel that the CYBI show is pretty bollocks seeing as how they get the full malt/ hopping bill as well as yeast/ sacch temp/ferm temp, why not just have the pro brewer set aside 6 gallons so jamil can ferment it in his garage? That said, they really had to work out what the flavors in this beer were and how to go about achieving them. I'm really impressed with Jamil's "pro brewer" logic of scaling a recipe and then rescaling to acount for grain bag size and most pro brewer's tendency to use a whole bag instead of holding back a few pounds.
Anyways give it a listen, it made way better radio to me than just " here's all the number's, ferment it"

Red Ale # 1 is based on the suggested changes to Tasy McDoles AB clone attempt #1

7.25 g. run off
85% eff
og 1072
fg 1015
90min boil
80ibu rager
colour: ~23srm
yeast:cal ale
mash @ 148

6.35kg pale/2-row
0.50kg Crystal 150
0.25kg Crystal 15
0.25kg Crystal 40
0.25kg Crystal 80
0.15kg Chocolate

28g Chinook @ 85
14g Chinook @ 45
14g Chinook @ 15
14g Chinook @ 0

fermented at 68 degrees for 7 days
and then raised to 72 degrees for 5 days
crash cooled and kegged

This beer does not taste anything like AB. But it kicks ass none the less. Those sharper more aggressive chinook notes are still very far in the background while the caramel notes stick out, brown sugar, buttery toffee, raisins browned with dark sugar, mixed with resiny tree sap from the hops, even at 80 IBU the malt seems to dominate the hop character.
I want to brew this recipe again but sub in some toasty malt character, most likely 20% munich for base malt, or aromatic/ biscuit. This beer is all caramel it needs, some toasty malts.
This recipe is a great starting point for adding roast malts. I will definitely be using this as a base for some brown ales and porters in the future.

Recipe #2 is Based off the actual re brew of AB on Can You Brew It, the recipe is much simpler yet apparently spot on, listen to www.thebrewingnetwork,com/canyoubrewit for more details

7.25Gallon PB
95IBU Rager
1.072 SG
21 SRM
cal ale yeast
148 sacc temp

89% 2 row
11% special B (120L)

chinook @ 12.9%
.85G @85 min
.85G @45 min
.85G @15 min
.85G @ 0 min

Saturday, October 30, 2010


boring old ipa...
I drink a ton of this stuff yet seem to find it somewhat boring to brew. I'm not exactly sure why, maybe the simple grain bill or the complications that come with blending a myriad of hop choices into a focused conglomerate. Either way, I don't think I have ever brewed an IPA that has been kick ass enough for me to stop experimenting.

This one is inspired by Lagunitas: it's big, hoppy, and dextrinous as hell. Twice this week, I have been drinking Lagunitas beers and trying to guess the FG's only to look them up and be shocked at how high they are. To me, all their beers taste like they finish at 1.015 yet are most often in the 1.017 - 1.025! range. This definitely goes against the Vinnie logic of always finishing around 1.012, yet seems to strike a different type of balance in my opinion.

I'm hoping this beer finishes out around 1.018; preferably with most of that non fermentable sugar coming from the high mash temperature. 80 ish IBU's is where I usually put my bitterness for IPA's of this gravity but I bumped it up to 96 to account for all that extra body.
Oh, and the Lyle's Syrup? I put it in most of my English beers so why not an American IPA. It lends easily ferment able sugar along with a toffee like flavor to the finished product.



7.5 Gallon Pre boil
6.5 Gallon Post boil
90% Efficiency
96 IBU
1.066 OG

76% 2 row
9.4% domestic munich
9.4% domestic C-10/C-20 even mix
4.8% Lyles golden syrup

157 degree mash for 90 minutes

60 minute boil

Magnum@14.4% 28.5 grams @ 60 minutes
Amarillo @8.6% 28.5 grams @ 10 minutes
Columbus@14.6% 28.5 grams @ 10 minutes
Simcoe @ 12.2% 28.5 grams @ 10 minutes
Amarillo @8.6% 28.5 grams @ 0 minutes
Simcoe @ 12.2% 28.5 grams @ 0 minutes

US - o5 yeast

pitched @ 65 and let rise slowly to 68

This is a sweet find that I got for free from my work. An electric stand alone burner that I can use indoors or outside with an extension chord.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Almost Mackesons Milk Stout

Some times brew days don't work out as planned. Usually drunkenness is the culprit, after that it's usually carelessness, forgetfulness or plain stupidity. I'm guilty of the latter on this particular brew day.
The brew in question was a recipe for Macasons Milk Stout circa 1936 curtesy of Ron Pattison on the shutupaboutbarclayperkins blog. Mackasons milk stout is one of the first beer's I can remember drinking, I couldn't resist and had to make this beer.

so here is how I shit the bed on this one,

Should be

68% Pale
.5 % oats
5.7% brown malt
5.5% choc malt
8% #2 sugar
3.5% cane sugar
8.5% Lactose

OG 1.051

In my scaling of the recipe I forgot to give the sugar (which I added together as Lyles golden syrup) an actual ferment able average, so my base grain made up for it in formulation.
As a result of this miscalculation my wort was much richer in the pre boil gravity. By the time that I had noticed this mistake I needed to make the decision whether to leave the sugar out and water the wort down to get close to the recipes' intended gravity, or carry on and end up with a much higher gravity and very different product. I decided to go ahead and add the sugar because I felt that the caramel notes from the light treacle would be a key part of this beer's overall taste. I also ended up bumping the bitterness a tad to balance the higher original gravity. Unless this beer ferments out to a magically low gravity I will most likely not be adding the Lactose to the fermenter.
Usually when I screw something up like this I get pretty down on myself, but this is an exception, mistakes happen and I think this beer should be right up my alley the way it is.

the recipe ended up being:

1.070 OG
36 IBU
90 minute boil
149 mash temp
6 gallons post boil

12# Golden Promise
.75# Brown Malt
.75# English Chocolate
1.2 oz. Flaked Oats
1.25# Lyles Golden Syrup

all fuggle pellets at 4.75 Alpha Acid

1.4 oz @ 90 minutes

.55 oz @ 30 minutes

The yeast used was a large starter of Wyeast 1469 "West Yorkshire Ale Yeast" and single packet of Wyeast 1028

68 degree ferment for 4 days and then roused and raised to 70 to finish out for a few more days.

Sunday, September 26, 2010


Which one is not like the others?

How do labels affect the the alcoholic beverages you buy?

It's been pretty well documented that label design drives most wine sales but how does this translate to beer?

I'm curious what money ( if any) brewery's spend on label design.

I know the wine industry spends a grip on labels, so I never buy off design or flavor descriptors on the back. Yet for beer I can't help but be a little biased. Many of the Belgian breweries' labels are beautiful yet playful (Caracole, D, Achouffe) they hint at what's inside while still being playful (not to mention pandering to Americans by reinforcing how "rustic" Belgium is); this somehow comes off as appropriate to me.

With American beer, things seem to become a little more convoluted. For instance, we have all of Russian River's barrel aged sours - worst labels EVER!! (I do like the little graphic that explains the aging and micro organisms used, someone should make that mandatory on sour and/or barrel aged beer product regardless of bacteria and yeast). It's amazing beer inside but, if I weren't enmeshed in the beer scene, I can safely say I would never ever, ever buy their product - even if i had money to throw at things in that price range.

I'm finding that when it comes to the cheaper range of American beers, I won't buy certain beer's simply because of the label or name. This might seem pretentious, but I have a policy: no beers named after dogs or dinosaurs. I don't want beer to become pretentious, but I feel these names and labels do nothing but dumb down the immense work it takes to create a quality beer.

There has to be a middle ground between spending a ton on label design and simply defining your company. As much as I dislike their business practice, I feel that Rogue has mastered this field. Their labels are distinct, hint at whats inside, and most importantly they are uniquely Rogue - ish.

tommy arthur???

This is turning into a rant but the key point is this:

If you are truly proud of what you make why would you make a label like this?????? *

* and for the record, this beer sucks and probably deserves this label; therefore my argument is moot. However, Laughing Dog's Alpha Dog is my one exception to the no dog/dino thing. It is excellent and y'all should try it.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Guinness plus Brett C

Randomly decided to make Guinness last weekend. I used Kristen England's number's but came up with a bit of a higher gravity because of an unexpected increase in efficiency ( thanks again FH Steinbart's for adjusting your mill) I also added some aroma hops and brettanomyces clausenii

Guinness Plus

1.050 OG
45 IBU
6o minute boil

64% Ashburne Mild Malt
16% Roasted Barley
20% Flaked Barley

152 mash for 60 minutes

.45 oz magnums @ 16%AA @ 60 minutes

1 oz fuggles@ 6% AA @ 10 minutes

1 oz fuggles@ 6% AA @ 5 minutes

fermented with US-05 at 66 degrees

one packet of Brett C pitched 24 hours after the initial yeast pitch

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Autumn Ale

Autumn Ale

1.070 OG
1.015 FG
35 SRM
46 IBU
60 min boil
6.25 Gal. at the end of the boil

10# 2 row
1 # Brown Malt
.75# Black Malt (british)
. 25# C - 55 (british)
4 # Yams roasted at 315 for about 2 hours (until sweet and dripping all over the roasting pan), then mash with a fork and add to the mash*

1 vanilla bean chopped
a big pinch cinnamon
a pinch:

all @ flameout

The spice additions are next to nil. I plan to adjust this post fermentation for a much more dialed in flavor.

10 oz. Molasses @ 10 minutes

12 oz. Maple Syrup @ 0 minutes

152 mash
cal ale yeast

the initial fermentation has been a bit hot. 70 degrees for the first few hours.
I just put it in a water bath to set in in nicely around 67.

Oh yes,

We had a party recently so I must show the amazing out door keggerator design...It's 11th hour but I'm pretty happy with it.

Friday, August 20, 2010


So I've finally decided to make a beer that I've been mulling (no pun intended ) over a long time. Pumpkin spiced beer! That wonderful beer that you only want 6 of a year.
Anyways I long ago decided to eschew the traditional route which usually consists of a grain bill mimicking pie crust, most often this seems to contain aromatic, and special malt for exaggerated munich notes as well as some sort of biscuit/victory type malt for all the fresh cooked dough notes.
My beer is a brew inspired by the nebulous between old ale / brown stout / and pumpkin beer, quite a void.


Autumn Ale

1.080 OG
1.015 FG
8 % ish
32 SRM brownish darkish nessish
38 - 45 ish IBU
60 min boil
6.25 Gal. at the end of the boil
78% Efficiency

10# 2 row
1 # Brown Malt
.75# Black Malt (british)
. 25# C - 55 (british)

other things! -







Randy Mosher OUT!

4 # yams slowly roasted until carmelized and then added to main mash until carmelized.

.75 # Black Treacle added at 10 minutes

9 oz. maple syrup added at flame out or possibly during the end of fermentation.


all added to taste

The goal is a brew that has an alcohol presence in both sweetness and spiciness. The malt character should be mostly caramel and roast notes which should ideally blend together enough so that they seem like they are on the same flavor continuum. Toffee caramel, smooth espresso like roastiness, backed up by the toast/ cocoa notes from the brown malts.

and then all those spices plus yam( allegedly it tastes more like pumpkin in beer than pumpkin does)

cal ale yeast for this one.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Alright Dupont Yeast, your alright

shit took 4 and a half weeks to attenuate completely. What a pain in the ass.
That said I might re pitch this yeast into another brew to see how the fermentation carries on during a re pitch. I'm thinking the beer will be a re brew of Sean Paxton's Archaic Beer, an Oierbeer type malt bill. This was one of the best beer's I've made in my opinion, the perfect mix of complex malt flavors, spicy yeast and low level sourness.
I need to brew it's been a few year's since I've seen so many of my boy's empty.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fuck you Saison Dupont yeast!!!!

Yes thats right

Fuck you!

I pamper you and build you up, I give you delicious wort,I give you pure oxygen, I give you a nice warm enviroment, ( I even give you a nice warm rotating dryer to sit on), Most of all I give you ample time to finish your thing yet you still fail to attenuate past 1.020 after almost 3 weeks.
I will relish in the fact that the champagne yeast I plan to pitch next week will annihilate you and finish the job. Good riddance... that other french saison yeast's rubbery phenolics are almost seeming welcome at this point.

In other news.....

Sour Cherries!!!

Sean Picked me up 25 pounds of these bad boys last week. 11 pounds went in a dark rosemary spiced sour ale that's been sitting at around 1.014 for about a year now. I'm excited to see some new activity with this beer, and am hoping renewed fermentation will drive down the final gravity a bit.

The rest of the cherries are frozen and slated for Quinns birthday beer ( brewed on her birthday but ultimately wont be done anytime near her next). This beer is a strong malty dubbel type brew that is based on Cuvee de Tomme. I haven't taken a gravity reading in several months and probably won't until it's first birthday but I'm hoping to have this finish around 1.012 before the cherries.
Any extra cherries are going in pie

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Mild Malt Barley Wine

A Barley Wine strength beer brewed only with mild malt. Weird, definitely made a few heads turn at the home brew shop. The recipe for this came from Ron and Kristen at the shut up about barclay perkins blog. The recipe is for Barclay Perkins 1839 XXX Ale. An X ale for the Barclay Perkins brewery denoted a beer that was served fresh, this is the recipe for the stongest of their Mild ale line up thus the XXX.*

I'm curious to see how the hop presence comes though on this one, the huge charge of low alpha bittering hops should add a very tannic and drying note to the beer.

I'm a little worried about the malt though. I went with the Briess malted "ashbourne mild malt" because Paul's mild malt isn't available locally like it used to be. When I bit into the grain it didn't have any biscuit like flavors that I would associate with a grain that is malted to an English pedigree.

Barclay Perkin's 1839 XXX Ale

1.100 OG
1.020 FG
6.5 Gallons
10.3% ABV
87IBU rager
90 minute boil

24 # Briess Ashburne Mild Malt

Mashed at 150 for 90 minutes
mashed out at 168

collected 8 gallons of wort at 1.080


5.25 oz Kent Golding @ 4.5%AA @ 90 minutes

I used mostly imported plugs, 1 oz of the charge was Yakima grown Goldings

fermented 5 days at 65 degrees and then let the temperature rise into the 70's to help the beer attenuate and clean up.

* I don't actually think that this is a mild just because it has the X designation. There is no way in hell that this was drunk green let alone 3 months out. As far as modern labels go this is Barley wine or strong ale.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Salsa de Chiles Chipotles

First food post I think, This is for a "salsa" from Rick Bayless's cookbook. I put salsa in parenthesis because while it looks like a salsa I think it would be better utilized as a topping on a meat dish or tamale, the sourness it gets from the tomatillos would compliment a rich dish but gets old after just a few tortilla chips. Next time I might sub tomatoes for tomatillos or some ancho for chipotles in an effort to turn this into a good dipper.

some interesting revelations from reading the book as well as from making this recipe.

- According to Bayless, the one commonality that ties all Mexican regional cooking together is the roasting and cooking of most ingredients, i.e. husked garlic, tomatoes, peppers. You could say char and the mellowness it brings is the signature in a lot of simple Mexican dishes.

- Tomatillos contain a hell of alot of pectic enzyme. Who knew? This shit set like jello after an hour or so in the fridge.

- As far as fresh salsa or sauces go, using the " chipotles in adobe sauce" cans from the supermarket are going to be better than re hydrating the readily available dried chipotles that you can pick up at any old tienda.

- never ask the guy behind the counter if they take debit because it's basically akin to " hey this is a Mexican market so you MUST be 3rd world - ish and not have the amazing technology that is credit/debit machines... ( FUCK YOU tienda guy!!! the suuuuuuper hipster coffee place 2 blocks away only takes cash!!!) I just don't want to look like an ass.


here is the recipe

3 canned chipotles washed and seeded

3 tomatillos dehusked

2 cloves garlic with the husk left on

roast garlic and tomatillos for around 15 minutes

tomatillos are done when blackened and soft
garlic is done when it's soft, dehusk

add ingredients and some salt to a blender and blend with some water until a desired consistency is reached

Root Beer

So I finally made root beer this past week end. Making a non extract root beer has been a longstanding project and I'm glad to have finally tackled it " you know your a homebrewer when making root beer is the most exciting beer you can recall brewingl".

I ended up using Sean Paxton's recipe omitting only the red ginsing since I couldn't find it. The root beer is pretty good but needs some tweaks, while not sweet I find the flavor of the molassas cloying and overpowering I might switch from black strap to a lighter variety, the sassafras could be bumped up a bit too. All in all this is a great recipe that provides a base from which I can tweak flavors.

Paxton's Rootbeer

25 Gram Sassafras Root, Indian
8 Gram Sassafras Root, Jamaican
10 Gram Licorice Root
8 Gram Kava Kava
5 Gram Star Anise
5 Gram Birch Bark
5 Gram Dried Sweet Orange Peel
3 Gram Cloves
1 Gram Angelica Root
½ Teaspoon Sea Salt
¼ Teaspoon Wormwood
1 Ounce Vanilla Extract
2 Vials Red Ginseng (available at Asian Markets)

2 Cup Organic Brown Sugar
1 Cup Organic Molasses
1 Cup Blackberry Honey
5 Gallon Filtered Water
To Make:

In a large pot, add all the herbs and spices with a gallon of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for at least 2 hours.

Add Brown Sugar and Molasses and simmer another 30 minutes. Add the honey the last 2 minutes of cooking, bringing to a boil and then remove from heat.

Using a large fine strainer, strain the mixture into a sanitized keg or large bowl. Use remaining water pouring through the herbs and spices, to rinse them of any more flavor/sugar. Add the vanilla Extract and Ginseng to the keg, check the volume to make sure you have 5 gallons.

Force carbonate with 20 pounds of pressure for 2 days at 40 degrees. Keep this keg cold, as there is no yeast added to this soda recipe. This rootbeer will last about 3 weeks, without spoiling, if everything is kept clean and sanitized.