Category Archives: homebrew

Two Glass Winter

This is the winter ale that I’d made with my friend Miranda, something I’d mentioned back in December. It’s ready now and..

Well, it’s good!

And I screwed it up. (I also didn’t get a picture of it before I drank it all!)

It tastes good, don’t get me wrong: hearty, warming, molasses, a nice chewy beer with a little spiciness.

But you have to pour it into two glasses in order to drink it. The carbonation is so strong, it just takes up that much volume! Eventually that settles out and the beer can be drank without getting foam up my nose, so it’s not a disaster.

Fellow homebrewers advised me that my beer “Wasn’t infected, it just was overcarbonated.” That part-the carbonation in the bottle-is my fault, as I added too much sugar. I maybe shouldn’t have added any, given the result and might consider this with a future beer, or at least if I remake this style.

I’m glad it’s drinkable though! An uninfected beer is still better than an infected one, and I hope she’s enjoying glasses of it, too.

Brew date: 12/2/17

Steeping Grains
12 oz C120
8 oz C40
5 oz Black Patent
4 oz Choclate
4 lb Lamonta

Fermentable: 14 lb LME

Hops and additions
1 oz Magnum @ 60
1/2 cup molasses @5
1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/8 tsp cardamom, 1/8 tsp nutmeg @1

Yeast: Imperial Dry Hop (3rd and final use)

OG: 1.13

FG: 1.04

Bottled 1/6/18

ABV: 12.2





Q&D Pale

Something isn’t quite right about this beer. A bit sweet in the nose, similar to still fermenting yeast, which is not what I wanted. I made this during a crunch week, where I wasn’t going to have much time but I hoped by making a simple recipe that would offset my lack of time.

The beer is…mostly drinkable but there is absolutely an off note-it’s too sweet and then sparkly from the over carbonation and then there’s a hop bitterness on the finish but none of it comes together very well.

Q&D pale aleI suppose I just rushed my process too much on this one. It doesn’t seem infected but it doesn’t taste finished, either. I’m not sure if I needed to give this more time fermenting, or if it would’ve been OK if I had just restrained myself on the bottling sugars.

Brew date: 11/19/17

Steeping grains:
2 lb C 30
1 lb Eureka

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

.75 oz US Magnum, .5 oz Simcoe @60
.5 oz Simcoe, .25 oz Magnum @ 5

Yeast: Imperial Joystick

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.014

Secondary on 12/6
Bottled 12/17

ABV: 7.6%

Shades of Summer

Chamomile AleI finally got to my annual chamomile wheat ale, although late in the year, and have been delightfully pleased by the results.

The chamomile is in the nose and it’s not shy at all. It arrives with a pleasantly dense head on the beer that lasts a bit longer than I would’ve suspected. This helps keep the scents coming, which is great.

The flavor is where it’s at, though. The tea is once again pretty prominent, but the belgian yeast note gives it a strong spicy flavor on the finish, so there isn’t just an herbal dose of flavor, but some pleasant complexities.

Buffering that finish is a sweetness: the wheat malt provides both the haze and enough density that this beer doesn’t fall too lightly on the tongue nor get one dimensional with it’s herbal qualities. I definitely have to give this a go again-but in the summertime. It’s going to be about perfect for that.

Once again, I forgot to write down my finishing gravity. Ugh. I need to install some kind of reminder mechanism so I’m less likely to do that. Still, here’s what I did recall:

Brew date: 11/5/17

Steeping grains
5 lb Wickiup wheat
2 lb Shaniko winter wheat
1 lb carapils

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME

1.5 oz N Brewer @ 60
.5 oz N Brewer @5
1.80 oz chamomile tea @flameout

Yeast: Imperial Monastic, third use.

Bottled: 12/3/17


Devil’s Mother 2017

27807087509_73df525067_cIt’s that time of year: time to make the Mary McCleod again.

There’s a chocolate milk nose. It’s right up front and in your face. The chocolate runs through the entire ale but there’s a bigger roasted note in there too and it’s not entirely awesome. A bit burnt, turning the beer just a little harsh.

Although from the Devil’s Mother, a little harshness makes sense. Call it thematically appropriate, even if the style isn’t 100% behind it.

On some feedback I was told that it was the black prinz malt. Perhaps next time I should replace that with something else. But it’s tasty and it’s STRONG, but not obviously so. All in all, I don’t think too many tweaks need to be made to this beer.

Brew date: 10/15/17

Steeping grains
2 lb Chocolate
.5 lb Black Prinz
.75 Black patent
5 lb Maris otter
2 lb Opal 44
1 lb Gold Rush toasted Pale

Additional fermentables: 7 lb LME

Hops: 1.5 oz Nugget @60

Additions: 1/2 tsp Calcium Chloride (this is to make the water more like the water used in England, which helps the stout be more correct, stylistically).

Yeast: Imperial Dry Hop, 2nd use

OG: 1.14

FG: 1.05

ABV: 12.1%

Final Countbrown

25606793278_8d94369bd4_cSo this was my final brown ale of 2017. I think it’s more a successful porter. Maybe even a stout. I can smell the roasted quality in the nose and it carries nicely into the body of the beer, too.

But it’s very dark. It also isn’t very sweet. Drinkable, sure. I’d put the flavors at semi-sweetened coco. You can definitely put a few down, and the flavors linger nicely, while still managing to feel like a dry ale, but it’s definitely not quite to style.

I’m glad I did this but I feel as though I just missed the mark this year. The flavors were decent but visually-especially visually- it just missed.

Finally, it’s pretty clear to me that something didn’t go right on my measurements with this beer. I don’t know what was happening there, most likely I wrote down the wrong numbers for initial gravity, but this is not a 1.4% beer.

Brew date: 8/20/17

Steeping grains
3 lb Gold Rush
1 lb Maris Otter
4 lb 2 row
1.5 lb British Brown
1.5 lb British Chocolate

Fermentables: 3 lb EXLME

1 oz Nugget @ 60
1 oz Nuggets @ 10

Yeast: Imperial house yeast 3rd use

SG: 1.032

FG: 1.022

Notes: added 1/4 tsp calcium chloride to boil
Transfer to secondary 9/8
Bottled 9/26

ABV: 1.4%

Belgian Red Is The New Red

38672130982_e96aa84430_cAfter the Zoiglhaus beer, I had Belgian yeast to use and not a single idea what to do with it. So let’s go for a red ale!

There’s some roast coming up in the nose, which is offset by a some yeasty-sweetness. It makes for a more interesting start than I would’ve thought.

The beer finishes really spicy, almost like ginger. The midrange has a banana-like sweetness that is reined in by the malt and the yeast spice. It’s a pretty interesting beer and a solid one to have. There’s some nice complexities here that I could see going wrong in another beer-too much banana, the spiciness overwhelming things-but it’s working here. I’ll take it.

Brew date: 9/16/17

Steeping malts
5 lb Munich
1 lb Belgian biscuit
1 lb Special B
1 lb C40

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1.5 oz Czech Saaz, 1 oz German Hallertau @60
.5 oz Czech Saaz, 1oz German Hallertau @7

Imperial Monastic (2nd use)

OG: 1.08

FG: 1.012

Secondary: 10/19

ABV: 9.2%

Finally, I’d just like to announce that I’m going to take the holidays off. It’ll give me some time to get some blog posts ready, try some cool beer, and otherwise just rest. Happy holidays everyone! Next post: January 3, 2018.

Heady Brown

37083472421_2b185ed311_cCurrent brown ale: head is super thick and very prominent. I think that it was because I didn’t put this beer into secondary. That might mean that more yeast was transferred to the bottle than most beers I produce. Because the beer doesn’t taste infected: there aren’t sour flavors that sometimes accompany other beers I’ve made with excessive foam.

That foam smells chocolaty and turns into beer-which is also pleasant and chocolaty. So the nose is a definite plus. The finish is so sparkly, it almost gives an electric shock.

I like the color here; it’s not quite light enough but if I hold the beer up to the light, a glow from the other side appears. It’s not as dark as my previous efforts so I’m taking that as a good sign.

Brew Date: 6/26/17

Steeping grains
1 lb Chocolate
1 lb British Brown
1 lb Special Roast

Fermentables: 7 lb ExLME

1.5 oz Czech Saaz, .5oz Crystal @60
.5 oz Crystal @ 30
1.5 oz Crystal .5 oz Saaz @5

Yeast: Imperial House Yeast (2nd use)

Additions: .5 tsp of Gypsum

OG: 1.055

FG: 1.014

Notes: Airlock blew & I didn’t notice until 7/1
Yeast still active, if slow so…maybe?

ABV: 5.6%