Category Archives: homebrew

The 3% Solution

35619000633_b098156866_cThis swipe at a brown ale was a little different and I’ll explain why after I talk about the beer.

It’s got a chocolate nose, with an undercurrent of coffee. The coffee hit is not strong, juuust enough to keep the 3% Solution from being too sweet. A little bit of an espresso bean thing happening.

The beer is pretty light as well and while it is once again too dark visually, there is a nice fluffy head on it.

At the finish, the 3% Solution is just a wee bit sharp on the coffee note near the end. It lingers over the effervescence and makes the beer a bit more acrid than the sweeter flavors can support.

However, for a new experiment I’m going to consider this a mild success. Perfect? No. But good? Yes.

Ah! The experiment part: I made this beer without using any malt extract at all. Partly to see what would happen, partly because it was recommended by a brewer friend who has way more experience.

What happened was: I got a beer that had really, really low ABV, because my equipment isn’t efficient enough to really pull as much of the sugars from the grain as it could be. The resulting beer was good enough, though, that I’d give it another go.

Brew Date: 5/13/17

5 lb Two row
1 lb chocolate
.5 lb biscuit, .5 C120
2 lb red wheat

1 oz Cascade @ 60
1 oz Palisade @ 15
1/2 tsp Irish moss @5

Yeast: Imperial House

OG: 1.035

FG: 1.009

ABV: 3.5%

Bottled 6/4


Dank Mees

35113131563_e8bf3da235_cThere’s a lot for me to like in this beer. It looks really clear-so long as I don’t decant the yeast bits at the bottom of the bottle. That’s pretty cool, and something I’ve been hoping to achieve in my pale ales for awhile now.

It’s got a pleasantly grassy nose, with a touch of peaches in the flavor of the body. Although it might be a little too sweet in the middle, the bitterness is there to clean it all up. Appropriate strength bitterness, too: This isn’t an IPA scour, this is a solid dusting away of the fruitiness and preparing me for the next sip of beer.

I did pretty well on this one.

Brew date: 4/9/17

Steeping grains
4 lb Kolsh malt
2 lb Lamonta
1.5 lb Victory

Fermentables: 4 lb extra light malt extract

1 oz Millennium .5 oz Mosaic @60
.5 oz Millenium, .25 oz Mosaic @30
.5 oz Millenium, .25 oz Mosaic @5

Other: 1/4 tsp Gypsum

Yeast: Imperial Dieter 2nd use

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.01

Secondary on 5/16
1 oz Mosaic added to secondary

Bottled 5/20

ABV: 8.1%

Heavy B

35140105512_87b1db6016_cPart next in the brown ale series: The nose has a lovely caramel and chocolate mix going on. It’s rather luscious, considering and I’m a little surprised I managed to create something with this kind of scent. Pretty cool.

The beer isn’t too heavy on the tongue but there’s a definite cocoa flavor happening, with the inclusive dryness that comes from dark chocolate.

The finish is light, strong effervescence on the tongue and is there a touch of lemon there? It’s a pretty solid ale, I’ll say that. The color isn’t what I hoped but the flavor profile is pretty nice.

I suppose that at the least, I’m making some really good porters.

Brew date: 3/26/17

Steeping grains
2 lb Chocolate
3 lb British brown
1 lb Belgian biscuit

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

Additions: 1/8 tsp Calcium Chloride to boil

.75 oz Nugget & US Fuggles @ 60
.25 oz Nugget & US FUggles @5

Yeast: Imperial Independence (3rd use)

OG: 1.072

FG: 1.028

ABV: 6%



I’ve been making some pale ales to contrast the brown, this one created when I thought that Spring would show up soon…

It’s a Sorachi Ace pale; nose is faint but pleasant, with a soft grassy quality that has an undercurrent of grain to it. The head lasts pretty long too: half way through the beer and there is still plenty of foam on the top.

The flavor is pretty solid; a fine element of malt in there but this finish….
It is bone dry. I don’t know exactly how I did this. It’s so dry, it leaves a feeling in my mouth like I’ve touched a 9 volt with my tongue.
It’s pretty good though, easy to drink and not heavy at all.
I just wish it had been a little warmer out when I was drinking it.

Brew date: 3.19.17

Steeping grains
4 lb Munich
3 lb Maris Otter
1 lb 6 Row

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME

3/4 oz Mosaic @ 60
1/2 oz Sorachi Ace @ 60
1/2 oz Sorachi Ace @ 5
1/4 oz Mosaic @ 5

Yeast: Imperial’s Dieter

OG: 1.072

FG: 1.018

2ndary on 3/30, 1 oz Sorachi Ace added

Bottle 4/2

ABV: 7.3%

Page 184

34343701006_ea1c892ce7_kContinuing the brown ale series, we have Page 184. This has a chocolate malt nose and a bitter chocolate finish. Not like cocoa powder, more like very dark chocolate, but pretty close to the former.

It’s still quite drinkable, though as I managed to buffer those bitter chocolate moments with a sweet taste in the middle. It’s pretty drinkable and not hard on the palate on any level, so I can have it with lots of different foods; even, I think, a good salad with blue cheese crumbles in it would work well.

It’s a good late spring mid-autumn beer I think. Sure, it’s dark but it’s not too heavy so that if the weather is warm, you don’t feel like you’re overdoing it. But if it’s a little nippy out, well this will still suit you just fine.

Is it what I meant it to be though?

No. Just look at it: is that a brown ale? It is not. It is a Porter. A damn fine Porter in my opinion, but still a Porter.

Now, I don’t want to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, here. A tasty beer is the goal at the end of the day.

However, I am trying to do something specific and that means holding myself up to a slightly higher standard. So, this beer but lighter might work just fine but as it is? Back to take another swing at it.

Brew date: 2/19/17

Steeping grains
4 lb Maris Otter
.75 lb Carapils
.5 lb C120
.25 lb Carafa 1 and 3
1 lb Chocolate Malt

4 lb Extra LME

Extra: 1/4 tsp Calcium chloride

.5 oz Pearle .5 oz US FUggles @60
.5 oz Pearle .5 oz US FUggles @5

Yeast: Imperial’s Independence (2nd use)

I forgot to get the OG. Sigh.

FG: 1.018-but without the original gravity, I can’t calculate the ABV.

Bottled 3/12


33594144870_573bed0ebf_cInitially, this beer was meant to be brewed with extra-light malt extract, because I was shooting for a pale. When I got to the store though, they were all out and so my response was “Eh, screw it. Light malt extract is fine.”

Except it wasn’t quite, because I just continued with my ordinary recipe as though nothing had changed. That was an error on my part.

The hop nose isn’t too intense and with it is a strong undercurrent of malt. There’s a bit of yeast there too, almost like I have walked into a brewery, with a touch of bready warmth, as though the beer is still going.

The head on this beer is pretty thick and steady, too…which isn’t nearly as sexual as it might sound. Yes, I’ve probably ruined everything now. It’s OK.

Still, the steady foam top gives this beer a nice visual, like frosting on a cake.

The beer itself, I didn’t know what to do with. The malt qualities just run all over this beer, until the last touch of hop bitterness bushes it aside. That bitterness is juuust strong enough to endure a bit after the effervescence clears my palate. The finish has this interesting sparkle-bitterness happening but it wasn’t something I meant to create.

And I didn’t know what to do about that.

Sometimes, though, life steps in and throws a line, right? Or, I just buy a lot of different kinds of beer when I can.

Either way, it was about this time that I had a Deschutes India Red Ale and suddenly, my questions about flavor profile and style were solved! I had inadvertently made a an IRA instead and while it wasn’t identical, the Adaptable was still pretty close.

So I’ll take it as a happy accident and call it good.

Brew date: 1/11/17

Steeping grains
5 lbs Munich
2 lb Sacchra
1 lb Carapils

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1 oz Simco, .5 oz Galaxy @60
.5 Simco @ 30
.5 Simco .5 Galaxy @5

Yeast: Imperial Independence

Secondary on 2/3, added 1oz Simcoe to beer

OG: 1.092

FG: 1.03

Bottled 1.22.17

ABV: 8.4%