Tag Archives: recipe

Sympathy for the Devil(‘s Mother)

24424159773_2d24defe06_kThis is the third time in about a year I’ve taken a  swing at an imperial milk stout. The results are starting to speak well of my process, I’m happy to say.

The nose is like chocolate milk mix. The flavors run along with that, except with some coffee mixed in. However, it doesn’t have any acrid notes at all. There is some bitterness but it’s not very hop oriented at all. Of note: I avoided these bitter flavors by steeping the dark malts in cold water I was going to brew with the night before I brewed. Just filled up my pot of water and let it sit overnight with the malt.

As the beer warms up, it gets smoother but it also marks a rise in the coffee flavors of the beer. It’s a pretty significant shift away from the sweeter qualities but it’s still very good.

All in all, it tastes a lot like the second batch of Devil’s Mother, and that’s pretty cool! It’s a hell of an accomplishment to be able to replicate a beer.

However, what feels even better is the responses I’ve gotten from not only friends but other homebrewers. Everyone’s been really impressed with this beer and that has felt really good.

Brew date: 12/6/15

1lb Black Patent, 1 lb Chocolate .5 Blackprinz 4 oz cocoa nibs steeped overnight
3 lb 2 row
4 lb pale
7 lb LME
1 lb milk sugar

Hops: 2 oz Nugget hops @60

Yeast: White Labs London ale yeast, starter made

OG: 1.1

FG: 1.034

Bottle 1/1/16

ABV: 8.9%

Don’t Get Off The Boat

This amber ale is almost there.

It’s a solid enough beer but it tastes a little thin and that is because I added too much water to the wort after the brew.

See, I always have to add in some water because my brew kettle doesn’t hold five gallons of boiling liquid. It holds closer to four. So, I top the wort off and most of the time, that’s not a problem.

This time, however, I added in a bit too much water and that means that the malty qualities of this beer are muted, instead of prominent. An unfortunate mistake but one that is easy to fix and isn’t all that bad, honestly. Sure, the caramel notes of this amber aren’t as robust as I wish they were, but it’s not a bad beer by any means.

This is especially surprising as my notes remind me that this is a beer where I did have to add in a second yeast in order to get the batch fermenting. Mixing yeasts can have weird results but it looks like I got away with it this time!

Brew date:

2 lb pale wheat
3 lb Maris otter
1 lb 2 row
2 lb C120

Fermentables: 4 lb LME

1 oz Glacier, 1 oz Palisade @ 60
.5 oz Glacier, Palisade @30

Yeast: Wyeast American Ale 2
Had to add Windsor dry yeast after 24 hours

OG: 1.075

FG: 1.014

Secondary on 11.21

Bottled 12/5

You Are Not Sancho

23337065874_b4b9ebb17f_zNew year? Let’s get to it.

I have started on a quest to make a pale ale. So I am purposefully going to brew them until I have made a beer that I find acceptable to my standards. Then I’ll try and repeat it. I should have a small repertoire of beers that I can make reasonably well and produce at will, I think.

This was not that beer. It looks OK: in the picture you can see there’s a pretty solid head on the beer and that’s often a good sign. However, it’s also a bit cloudy, which the picture doesn’t illustrate quite so well.

The flavor is off though and I couldn’t put my finger on exactly how, so I brought it to a group of homebrewers and the first thing they did was ask about the yeast. They said it had a phenolic quality, (which is not good for a pale) and suspected the yeast as culprit.

It was my third use of this yeast-a Windsor english ale dry yeast that I was told was old to begin with, so it’s entirely possible I just stretched this one too far. It’s also possible that in my handling of the yeast from batch to batch, it got infected or just gave up the ghost.

So it looks like it’ll be time to take another swing at this, soon.

Brew date:10-Oct

Steeping grains
7 lb Full Pint Pale
1.5 lb C40

Fermentables: 4 lb LME

1 oz Amarillo, Simcoe @ 60
.5 oz Amarillo, Simcoe@ 30
.5 oz Amarillo, Simcoe@ 5

Yeast: Windsor dry English yeast from Oct. 3rd, final use

OG: 1.075

FG: 1.01

Secondary on 10/31

ABV: 8.8%

Good Job, Amigo

This was a nice swing at a brown ale. Since I never seem to be able to find brown ales when I want them, brewing my own is really the best option. I don’t know why this style hasn’t caught on, like ambers have: maybe it’s more difficult to sell? Pity, because the style is tasty.

Good Job, Amigo has got a solid chocolate presence in the nose but at the finish the beer leans into coffee. It’s very light, however, effervescence bubbling the whole way through the flavors. All in all I am happy with this.

Brew Date: 9.19.15

Steeping grains
2.5 c 40
.25 lb black patent
.25 lb chocolate

Fermentables and other
7 lb LME
1/2 tsp gypsum
1/8 tsp calcium chloride
(note, I have no idea why I added this but it worked so I’m not going to complain)

Hops: 2 oz Willamette @ 60

Yeast: Wyeast 1084 3rd use

OG: 1.059

FG: 1.01

Bottle 10/18

ABV: 6.6%

Dad Ale

The goal was to make an oktoberfest ale and I think I went a little too far on the dark malt to really hit the mark. From a style perspective, it missed the mark a little. But from a “I like it” view, this beer does just fine.

The nose is chock full of that C80 malt; a little bready and roasty. Since I put in 4.5 pounds of C80 malt, that follows. Not much in the way of hops, so that’s good: the style is meant to emphasize malt flavors and on that count I think I succeeded.

The flavor is coffee-like. I ducked the acrid bitter part, which is good, but it’s got a little bit of bitterness resembling coffee. That’s OK because for the most part this beer is a little on the sweeter side, so the coffee element helps reign it in. My Dad, who pined for coffee flavored ales when I was visiting Nevada earlier this year, would like this.

Brew date: 9/7/15

Steeping Grains
4.5 lb C80
3 lb Vienna
2 lb Full Pint pale
1/8 lb cocholate

Fermentables: 4 lb LME

1.5 oz Tettananger @ 60
1.5 oz Hallertau @60

Yeast: Windsor yeast from Rye, 2nd use

SG: 1.061

FG: 1.012

Put into secondary on 10/3, bottled 10/8

ABV: 6.6%

The Second Mother of Satan

A friend was coming into town and told me well in advance of her arrival. Which means there’s a chance for someone I know who hasn’t yet had my beer to try it! But she doesn’t like IPAs at all.

So let’s make the Devil’s Mother again!

The nose is coco, like the powder, in a shift from the last batch. There is not a lot of sweetness present there. The beer itself is pleasantly sweet though and it finishes nicely, with an element of good chocolate ice cream in the mouthfeel. This beer doesn’t seem quite as hot as the last one. That’s definitely a positive.

While I liked this beer, my plan to get feedback didn’t go as well as I hoped. Ah well: more for me!

Brew date: 7.11.15

Steeping grains
1lb black patent
1 lb pale chocolate
3 lb 2 row
3 lb Irish pale

7 lb LME
1 lb milk sugar
1/8th tsp Calcium carbonate

Hops: 2 oz Savinjski Golding @60

Yeast: Wyeast 1084

OG: 1.094

FG: 1.025

Bottled 8.9

ABV 9.3

Sir We Have A Problem

I got the recipe for this from the White House’s web site. President Obama asked the kitchen to make homebrew and I thought; well hey, I should totally see what kind of beer the President likes. So I made it.

There are…issues.

There’s a spiciness in the nose and I’m pretty sure that this is due to the fermentation temperatures over the actual yeast, which was just an english ale yeast, or the addition of honey.

This is the slight drawback to brewing under less than advanced conditions: I ferment my beer in my basement. The temps are steady, which is good, but subject to climate change, which is bad. I figure I’m getting about 1/2 of a bottle per beer. Not the best yield.

It hasn’t resulted in a bad beer; The spicy quality in the nose is present in the finish and it’s not a hoppy thing, it’s more floral. This could be due to the pound of honey: with the other sugars eaten, it’s pretty easy to imagine the residual floral elements taking up the space left over.

It’s a pretty good looking beer too, when the foam hasn’t take over. The drawback of finding a flaw in my process means that I probably won’t see the correction for another three recipes. Still, I’d like to give this beer another shot, perhaps this fall.

Brew date 6.27

.75 lb Amber Crystal C60
.5 belgian biscuit
5 lb 2 row

4 lb LME
1.25 lb of honey

2 oz UK Kent Goldings @ 60
2oz Fuggles @ 6

Yeast: Widsor dry yeast 3rd use

OG 1.072

FG 1.014

Secondary on 7/5

ABV 7.8%

Pale Into Fall

This is pretty solid; a nice pale to finish the Summer with. The nose has a definite lime quality to it, probably from the Palisade hops and I’m really grateful for the changeup. So many grapefruit IPAs and pales wear on a tongue and I’m glad I came up with something that steps away from that.

As you can probably tell from the picture, the beers are still a bit over-carbonated. It’s not a huge problem unless you want to drink your beer right away. A couple minutes and everything settles down. For the most part, the flavors don’t seem to be impacted, which is good.

Although I will say, the hop bitterness qualities seem to be diminished as a result of the bubbly. It’s not a massive drawback but the beer does finish with a kind of palate scouring effect that might not be so welcome and I really need to try and diminish.

Brew Date: 5.25.15

Malts: 1 lb c 30
1 pinch of gypsum

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1 oz Palisade @60
1 oz NZ Green Bullet @ 60
1 oz Palisade @10

Yeast: Hopworks ale, 3rd use

OG: 1.061

FG: 1.012

Secondary 6/7

ABV: 6.6%

If They Call It A Blonde, It’s A Blonde

Here’s how I can tell I’m getting better at brewing: I’m starting to think ahead. I am trying to make beers with the notion that they will be drank at a certain time of year, in this case Summer.

This beer came out sweet, a little lemony hint in the nose. The body isn’t thin but the beer is light: it doesn’t taste watery. It’s got a nice level of sweetness in the middle before coming up with a present but not dominating bitterness.

It’s pretty dang good! And it’s great for these summer days. To think: I actually planned for that. I was shooting for a lighter beer that had a bit more malt presence and by God I got it.

Granted, I didn’t plan on the style per se. When a pal asked me what the style was, I said I didn’t know. He took one look at it and said, “Looks like a blonde ale to me.”

Who am I to argue?

It would’ve been smarter of me to get a picture before the beer got drank but…it’s been hot! Can you blame me?

Brew date: 5/2/15

1 lb Carapils
2 lb C30
3 lb 2 row
1 lb Vienna

Malt: 5 lb LME

1 oz Chinook @60
.25 oz Ahtanum @60
.5 oz Ahtanum@ 20
.25 oz Chinook @ 20
.75 oz Chinook @ 5
.25 oz Ahtanum @5

Yeast: Reused Hopworks ale yeast (2nd time)

OG: 1.079

FG: 1.04

ABV: 5.3%

Bottled 5.17

Under Your Tongue

The timing for this beer could have been a little better.  Don’t get me wrong; when it’s hot out, cold beer is still cold and that’s hard to argue with. It’s not the most refreshing style or accomplishment on my part, though and when there is no such thing as air conditioning, that can be a little troublesome.

This red ale has a floral nose–but not a strong one. The bite on the finish is pretty solid though. Not citrus and not resin either. Woody, I suppose? Good word for it.

Woody is a good word for this beer all around. There’s a solidity to it. This may also come from what feels like a  higher alcohol content. It sits on my tongue a bit, even after the effervescence is gone, a bit of bitterness there to linger. Looking at the numbers, this beer shouldn’t be heavy but it doesn’t feel that way so I’m wondering if I made a mistake recording the numbers.

It possible but it doesn’t negate the quality of the beer; it’s still pretty solid! Just something I may want to pay more attention to next time.

Brew Date: 3.29.15

Steeping grains
2 lb C60
1 lb Medium Brit Crystal
1 lb 2 row
1.5 lb Carapils Dex

Fermentables: 7 lb LME

1 oz Summit @ 60
1 oz Nelson Sauvin@60
.5 oz Summit & .5 oz Nelson@30
.5 oz Summit & .5 oz Nelson@5

Yeast: Windsor dry yeast, with starter made

OG: 1.069

FG: 1.028

Bottled 4.26

ABV 5.55%