Category Archives: homebrew

Penultimate Amber

Penultimate AmberThis was the second to last amber ale I made in 2018; the year of ambers is almost over! So what we got?

There’s a good nose; rising bread scent, yeast and malt and I like it.

The flavor doesn’t quite hold up though, which is a little disappointing. It isn’t bad, but I was hoping for a little more malt character in there than I’m getting. There’s a roasted note, that doesn’t suck but it’s wiped out pretty had by some serious carbonation. The mouthfeel on my tongue is all sparkly, and that means the beer isn’t as smooth or drinkable.

It’s not a disaster by any means! I don’t hate this. I just was expecting a little better.

Brew date: 10/13/18

Steeping grains
1 lb C60
1 lb Special Roast
1 lb C20

Fermentables: 7lb LME

Hops: 1 oz Golding, .5 oz Nelson Sauvin @60

Yeast: Imperial Darkness (2nd use)

OG: 1.065

FG: 1.015

Bottle: 11/4

ABV: 6.7%


The Porter Dream

Marijuana porterThis beer has a nose of chocolate and marijuana. The chocolate is closer to coco powder-dry, sidling up to bitterness but not quite there. A little sweetness, even but that seems to be cut off by the marijuana.

The flavors follow this pattern, too. There is, I think, a little more sweetness in the taste than in the nose, which is nice. Again, though, the marijuana cuts through the beer on the finish. However, the marijuana isn’t the finish on this beer, which is great.

There’s a dry cocoa quality that re-introduces itself and keeps everything in check.

I should’ve been doing things this way long ago; contrasts instead of competition. Every good chef knows that, and lord knows I’ve been taught enough times.

On the upside, though: now I have a path forward!


Brew date: 9/16/19

Steeping grains
.5 lb Chocolate
.5 lb black barley
.25 lb black patent
2 oz cocca nibs
1 cup toasted oats

Fermentables: 7 lb Light malt extract

Water additions: 1/2 tsp Gypsum

1 oz Nugget
3 oz Pale Blue Dream (marijuana strain)

Yeast: Imperial Darkness

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.018

Bottled 10/6

ABV: 5.7%

Another Rough Amber

Less Awesome Amber aleNose is faintly boozy on this one. A little malt there but not much.

The flavor is sweet and then finishes with the same bite as the last amber. I am holding the yeast responsible for this-two times in a row isn’t coincidence, especially when I’ve brought the malt sugars down.

It’s not undrinkable, though. It’s just not what I wanted and it doesn’t encourage more sips: it’s a One And Done (with this).

Brew Date: 8.12.18

Steeping grains
5 lb toasted pale
.75 lb Caramunich, Encore, Munich, Opal 44

Fermentables: 4 lb Light Malt Extract

Hops:  .72 oz US Fuggle, Loral @60

Yeast: Imperial Barbarian (3rd use)

OG: 1.075

FG: 1.01

Into secondary: 8/29
Bottle: 9/3

ABV: 8.8%

Finally: I’m going to be out of town for two weeks.

But not to worry! A friend has agreed to step in and provide content for me while I am gone. Yay, content!

So thanks to him, and I’ll be stepping back into the  saddle in 14 days!

Amber Liquor

So, this is a bummer.

On the upside, I have discovered how to make malt liquor. On the downside…I have discovered how to make malt liquor.

In my defense I was trying to make an imperial amber, because everything else had been going so well! Why not shake it up? What I should have done is doubled down on what I was doing, until it was perfect.

imperial amber ale
The nose is sweet, not quite sickly so, but definitely without much dimension.

The beer is also sweet, which is to be expected. The  complexity comes on the finish, which is interesting. There’s the alcohol warmth, yes, but there is also a spicy note, which at least means I’m not drinking something entirely bland and syrupy.

It’s weird though, and it doesn’t hold together at all. I don’t hate it but I also don’t want more of it. Safe to say, this one did not work out like I hoped.

Brew Date: 7/8/18

Steeping grains
5 lb Lamonta pale
1 lb Opal 44, 2 row
.75 lb Munich, Vanora

Fermentables: 7 lb ExLME

.75 oz US Fuggle, .5 oz Medusa @60

Yeast: Imperial Barbarian (2nd use)

OG: 1.09

FG: 1.009

Bottled 8/5

ABV: 11%


The Latest Dream

Pale Blue Dream Ale 3This iteration of the Blue Dream marijuana series has a nose with a dollop of marijuana but in combination with the hops, reminds me of the old school lagers more than anything else. Which feels…strange.

The flavor does something similar. It’s not quite a cheap lager: the malt and alcohol content veer this ale well away from it. It’s got some weight to it that prevents the beer from being one dimensional. Still, it’s light, and it’s got some similar beats- a heavy cover of a lager, if you will.

The finish is quite dry, too. There isn’t a big effervescent pop to clear things away and although that finish starts sweetly, the finishing bitterness definitely clears away the other flavors and leaves my tongue just a little parched. Interesting, though I’m not sure this is the best iteration.

Brew date: 4.13.18

Steeping grains
1 lb Pale
1 lb C15
1 lb 6 rowFermentables: 7 lb ExLME

1.5 oz Amarillo .5 oz Azacca 2 oz marijuana blend @ 60
.25 oz Amarillo & .5 oz blend @ 20
.25 oz marijuana blend, .25 oz Amarillo, .5 oz Azacca @5
1/2 tsp Gypsum in pre-boil

The marijuana blend consisted of: .75 oz Tardis, 2.5 oz Hog (I don’t name these things)

Yeast: Imperial’s Tartan

OG: 1.065

FG: 1.009

Secondary on 6/7

Bottle 6/10

ABV: 7.6%

Not Quite A Dream

Blue Dream ale AugContinuing the marijuana series of 2018:

The marijuana smell is in the nose-it’s tempered, but it’s definitely there. I suppose the process has blunted the intensity of the marijuana a bit, but that’s not a bad thing. That I don’t pick up much else is a bummer-I’m expecting a more one dimensional ale now.

I tried a different method of hopping; putting in two ounces of hops at flame out (when one stops boiling the wort) but it doesn’t seem to have had the impact I wanted. Perhaps more hops were necessary? I don’t want to just default to ‘well if it doesn’t work, MORE’ but on the other hand, I doubt it will hurt to try.

Visually, it’s pleasantly clear but a little busy from the effervescence.

One thing that I think makes this beer a little more interesting is the addition of rye malt: this version is a little dryer and a little spicy as well. It doesn’t taste like I’m chewing on marijuana leaf, so that’s a definite plus, but I think it may be time to really mix it up.

Brew date: 6/30/18

Steeping grains
1 lb Carapils
2 lb 2 row
1 lb C20
1 lb Vienna
2 lb Golden promise
.5 lb rye

Fermentables: 5 lb ExLME

2 1/4 oz Pale Blue Dream, 1 oz Centennial @ 60
1 oz Falconer’s Flight, 1 oz El Dorado @0
1/2 tsp Gypsum (pre-boil)
1/2 tsp Irish moss @5

Yeast: Imperial Flagship

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.01

Secondary: 7/17
1 oz Calypso in secondary

Bottle: 7/21

ABV: 8.1%


Fizzy amber aleThe amber challenge continues!

The nose is rather nice: yeast oriented, it’s got a pleasant bread quality but it’s also allowing the malt to come through, too. It’s a very smooth nose too, the velvety quality coming through there: nothing sharp or dissuasive in it.

Flavor is pleasantly sweet; a bit like a fluffy piece of chocolate mousse. Lighter than-it’s not nearly chocolatey enough for that but it’s treading some similar water.

Now if only I could work out the carbonation. It’s not unpleasant but it just doesn’t fit the style. Getting a little further into the beer I might also be picking up a slight buttery quality? The darker malts and the effervesce make this not a problem but if I’d gotten the carbonation right, I might feel differently.

Brew date: 5.26.18

Steeping grains
4 lb Metolius
1 lb C 80, 2 row, Munich
.75 lb Vanora

Fermentables: 5 lb ExLME

.75 oz Northern Brewer, Amarillo @60
.25 oz German N Brewer, Amarillo @5

Yeast: Imperial Barbarian

OG: 1.08

FG: 1.016

ABV: 8.7%