Category Archives: homebrew

Strong Amber Ale

Amber ale in glass on table

I knew I wasn’t going to be able to bottle this beer as quickly as I have in the past, so I boosted the malts in this to give it a little more life.

The nose has some malt quality-is almost touching a roasted quality-but, interestingly enough, also has a smidge of dried fruit to it. (I like the word smidge). The sweetness bears that dried fruit quality well so when it comes back in the last third of the beer, it ties nicely together.

This amber is a little stronger than average: I knew it would have to ferment for two weeks instead of one before bottling, due to my schedule. I tried to amp it up a wee bit so that it would stay drinkable.

I’d say that worked out! It’s not boozy by any means but I’d say there’s an element of robustness.

Brew date: 2/26/22

Steeping grains
7.5 Lb Evergreen pale malt
.5 lb Amber malt

Fermentables
4 lb extra light extract

Hops
.75 oz Northern Brewer, .75 oz Multihead @60
.25 oz N Brewer, 1.25 oz Multihead @5

1 tsp Irish Moss in flameout
1 tsp Gypsum in preboil

Yeast: Imperial’s House

OG: 1.063

FG: 1.01

Bottled 3/5

ABV: 7.2%

Tinted Pale

Tinted pale ale in glass on table indoors

This is more malt forward than I was suspecting. But there is a bit of the hop spiciness there in the nose.

The middle of the beer has it’s malt presence but I probably would’ve liked more Vienna malt in there, for a stronger bready quality.

I held back on the finishing bitterness, using only half an ounce of Chinook hops and it shows. The ending is there, and I can see where it wants to approach the mouth scraping sensation but it doesn’t. Which for a pale is good.

I think this year I’m going to be experimenting a little with restraint and seeing what small additions do to my beers.

Brew Date: 12.04.21

Steeping grains
4 lb Maris Otter
3lb Munich
1 lb Vienna
.5 lb C15

Fermentables
4 lb Extra light extract

Hops
1.33 oz Ekuanot & .5 oz Chinook @60
.5 oz Chinook .66oz Ekuanot @5

Yeast: Imperial’s Pub

OG: 1.075

FG: 1.02

Bottled 12/12

ABV: 7.4%

The Cara 20

Cara 20 beer in glass on countertop

This is a pretty clean beer. In some ways, it feels a little ‘classic’. The head on it is fluffy and consistent The nose has some malt qualities and the body is on the sweeter side for sure.

But the finish has first a decent hop bite-takes the sweetness away without being a tongue scraper- and then a dryness to it. Which is pretty neat! It gives this beer a drinkable quality that I appreciate. 

The color here is just a touch on the orange side and I think that’s due to the Cara 20 malt. If this beer was a bit clearer, it would probably be a lovely color but, given my inability to negate chill haze, it looks a little less inviting.

Still, it’s tasty, and that beats everything.

Brew date: 1/29/22

Steeping grains
5 lb Bohemian pils
3 lb 2 row
.5 lb Cara 20 (as a Vienna possible sub??)

Fermentables: 4 lb pils extract malt

Hops
.75oz Galaxy, .25 oz Warrior @60
1.25 oz Warrior, .25oz Galaxy @5

Yeast: Imperial House (2nd use)

OG: 1.072

FG: 1.014

Bottled 2/5

ABV: 7.9%

First Brew ’22

I started my first brew for 2022 with less of an intent to brew a style and more a desire to focus on some malt character. This whole year I’m going to really watch my malt bills in order to see what subtle changes can do for me.

That is; I want to use a lot of base malts, with just a little bit of other stuff to see what happens.

With this one, there’s a touch of amber cast onto the beer, but it’s letting the hops touch in.

This is a more drinkable beer than you might think: it’s not too heavy, has a nice finish that isn’t too crisp or bitter, but isn’t too sweet either. I think this beer might be equally (almost) crushable, but also going well with pub food, cutting through anything that might be too salty or fatty.

Brew date: 1/1/22

Steeping grains
3.5 lb Vienna
3.5 Maris Otter
1 lb biscuit
.5 aromatic

Fermentables: 4 lb Light LME

Hops
.5 oz Ekuanot, .75 oz Pearle and Mt Hood @60
.25 Ekuanot @30
1 oz Ekuanot, .25 oz Pearle and Mt Hood @5

Yeast: Imperial Pub (3rd use)

OG: 1.075

FG: 1.018

Bottled 1/8/22

ABV: 7.7%

Fest 2: The Lemoning

Second Fest ale of 2021, in glass on countertop in kitchen

Ed.: I know I missed Wednesday’s post, but last week had four so it all works out!

On this one, the malt-forward aspect is right there in the nose. Toasty and warm, it speaks well of the beer.

The flavor isn’t immediately apparent though. It actually behooves me to let this pint warm up, just a little, before continuing. Otherwise, the flavors are a bit muted-although there is a little kick of lemon on the end, thanks to the hops.

Doesn’t suck!

However, when the beer warms up a little, the toasted and caramel qualities step to the front and make this a very drinkable beer. The effervescence and lemon bit on the finish help keep things in check. Pretty good, even if I say so myself.

Brew date: 9/25/31

Steeping grains
4 lb Wintmalt Pale
3 lb Maris Otter
.33 lb special B
.66 lb Cara 30

Fermentables: 3 lb dry pils extract

Hops
@60 1oz Lemondrop, 3/4oz Fuggle
@5 1/4 oz Fuggle, 1/2 oz Lemondrop

Yeast: Imperial House (second use)

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.01

Bottled 10/2

ABV: 7.3%

Less Is More Brown Ale

Brown ale in glass on countertop

So, this brown has all the flavor characteristics I want; chocolate on the nose, which ribbons through the beer, with a hint of coffee near the finish. The ABV could be lighter- but that’s fixable.

What I’m happy about is that I finally got the visual element correct. This beer isn’t quite translucent but it will allow light through, and I absolutely get a sense of how bright the beer is.

And I did it, because instead of using a pound or a pound and a half of chocolate malt (for flavor!) I pulled back to just a half pound. I wonder if a quarter-pound would be better. I’ve been trying to get there for years and I’m finally accepting that sometimes, less is more.

I’m excited about it.

Brew Date: Nov 7, 0021

Steeping grains
7 lb Pale
.5 lb chocolate
.5 biscuit

Fermentables: 4 lb pils liquid malt

Hops
@60 1oz East Kent Goldings, .25 oz Fuggle
@10 .75 oz Fuggle

Yeast: Imperial’s Tartan (3rd use)

OG: 1.074

FG: 1.01

Bottled 11/14

ABV: 8.7%

Late Year Golden

2021 Golden ale

The nose on this beer is of bread dough, with a sweeter layer of malt underneath it.

The beer has a pretty crisp finish, so it really clears the palate well, too.

It’s an easy drinking, malt forward beer with a a solid bitterness to help keep things in check, too. The effervescence and the bitterness make this a solid finisher.

Brew date: 12/19/21

Steeping grains
6 lb 2 row
1 lb dextra pils
1 lb cascadian white wheat

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLight liquid

Hops
1 oz German Saphir .5 oz Pearle @60
.5 oz Pearle 1 oz. German Saphir @5

Yeast: Imperial’s Pub (2nd use)

OG: 1.069

FG: 1.014

ABV: 7.5%

Devil’s Mother 2021

Let’s talk about this year’s batch of Devil’s Mother (previously known as the Mary McCleod).

Believe it or not, the watchword for this year’s mix was restraint. One pound of lactose sugars, instead of two. Hold the cocoa nibs. A little less malt sugar.

Also, I tried something else: I didn’t add any bottling sugar to the mix. I did this because I figured that a month of bottle conditioning would provide me with juuuust enough carbonation.

I was wrong about that. On the upside, the Devil’s Mother doesn’t taste flat but it also weighs on the tongue more than it ought to.

That said, this is a good batch of beer. Dark chocolate with a little milk sweetness to keep things in check, this beer does exactly what I was hoping it would do.

Brew date: 10/10/21

Steeping grains
1 lb Carafa 1, 2lb Chocolate steeped overnight
3 lb Golden Promise
4 lb 2 row
2 lb Caramel 75

Fermentables: 6 lb dry pils malt extract

Hops:
@ 60 1.5 oz N. Brewer
@5 .5 oz N. Brwer

Yeast: Imperial House (3rd use)

OG: 1.1

FG: 1.035

ABV: 8.8%

Pale Red

The nose has a sweeter malt flavor, but it’s not very bready.

Red pale ale in glass on kitchen counter

That’s alright though because the flavors have more dimension. It’s still sweeter, but the caramel malts come up, and the finish is got that hop panache that keeps this beer on the balanced side. I probably didn’t go as strong on Vienna malts as I needed to, but that’s alright.

The Lemondrop hops don’t seem to have much of a footprint but I suppose that’s to be expected, since there was only half an ounce, at the last five minutes of the boil. Even with that, I was expecting a stronger hop finish here.

Still, it’s not bad, if on the maltier side. And the clarity for this one is pretty high for one of my beers! So there’s some things to be happy about.

Brew date 10/23/21

Steeping grains
5 lb Pale High Color malt
2 lb Barke Vienna
1 lb Munich

Fermentables: 4 lb extra light extract malt

Hops
@60 .5 oz Amarillo, Chinook
@30 .25 oz Amarillo, Chinook
@5 .25 oz Amarillo, Chinook, .5 oz Lemondrop

Yeast: Imperial’s Tartan (second use)

OG: 1.074

FG: 1.01

Party Amber

So, a friend asked if we could make a beer for her Halloween party and any excuse to brew is a good one. After a little discussion about what they’d like, an amber ale was the choice. Malty, easy drinking, not to high on the ABV; this is a good party ale.

Now, while we made the beer for the party, I still kept a couple bottles back so I’d have something to write about! I hope they don’t mind.

First, the appearance is solid: yes, this amber is affected by chill haze, but there’s a bright white head, and the color of the beer is right in line with what an amber should be.

Second, the nose offers a nice caramel malt quality. Not too strong, mind you but something to set the stage.

Finally, the flavors are just pleasantly caramel and mellow. The effervescence on this amber does the work of cleanup, setting the palate for the next sip or bite (as appropriate). It’s a pretty damn good beer and we’ve got good reason to be happy with it.

Brew Date: 9/26/21

Steeping grains
4 lb Eureka malt
3 lb Two Row
1 lb C15

Fermentables: 3 lb dry pilsner malt extract

Hops
@60 1oz Moteuka, .5 oz Zamba
@5 1oz Moteuka, 5oz Zamba

Yeast: Imperial’s Tartan

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.01

1tsp Irish moss at flameout

Bottled: 10/3

ABV: 6.8%