Tag Archives: recipes

First Quarter IPA

first quarter IPAExcellent nose; really get the dank scents from the hops. They seem to fade rapidly, which is a tiny drawback, and a surprising too. The head of this beer is thin, but steady so I’d hoped I would be more from that.
Still, a persistent head is a good sign, and pays off by helping clear some of the bitterness of the finish away.
You might notice that it’s a bit darker than your standard IPA; this is because I have continued with last year’s attempts at Sierra Nevada’s Resilance IPA which called for some caramel malts, giving it both the reddish hue and some sweetness.
I should definitely try this without the caramel malts, just to produce a ‘classic’ style.
However, this is a solid beer; again, one of the better ones I’ve made and I absolutely contribute that to the expedience with which I took to bottling this beer-and not putting it into secondary for a hop addition. Less exposure to the elements has made for a better beer.
Brew date: 4.11.20

Steeping grains
2 lb Dark honey
1.5 lb C30
5 lb Serenade paleFermentables: 4 lb ExLME

2 oz Centennial, .5 oz Columbus, 1 oz Magnum @60
1 oz Magnum, .5 oz Columbus @30

Yeast: Imperial House (3rd use)

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.01

Added 1 oz Columbus on 4.14

Bottled: 4.18

ABV: 8.1%

The First Cream Ale

first cream ale 2020It’s not too often that I feel like I really get to be proud of what I did, but this is one of those times.

For a first stab at a cream ale, I really like what I did here. There’s a pleasant sourdough nose, the malts are sweet but not grainy, and the finish is reasonably crisp. There’s even a subtle bitterness from the hops, which helps set the whole thing into balance.

The head on the beer isn’t quite as strong as I would like, which means that the effervescence on the finish doesn’t quite pop as much.

However, for the first time trying, couple with new methods of bottling, I feel like this is a pretty serious upgrade!

Brew date: 3.22.20

Steeping grains
4 lb Blue Serenade Vienna
3 lb Weyermann floor malted pils

Fermentables: 3 lb light LME-amber (doh)

1 oz Hallertauer @60
1 oz Hallertauer @10

Yeast: Imperial house yeast, 2nd use

OG: 1.055

FG: 1.012

Bottled 3/28

ABV: 5.8%

First beer 2020

At least, the first one I brewed. This is the year I’m working on making cream ales, so this will be the first of many reports on that process.

Pale ale 2020Nose has an element of roasted quality-something I can pick up from the malt. There is a pretty strong head on the beer, too: very clean.

But it’s old, and it’s a little dependent on a good pour. Because what I’ve noticed is that if some of the yeast from the bottom of the bottle gets in the beer, you can taste the stale qualities; a bit of a wet paper thing.

But if the pour is clean-and that’s not always easy to do but when I manage it!-this is a pretty solid beer. My goal was to shoot for a lighter ale (visually), but the honey malt put a kibosh on that. Still; a solid beer that, for being 4 months old, I am proud of.

Brew date: 1/12/20

Steeping grains
6 lb Lamonta
2 lb Serenade pale
1.5 lb dark honey malt

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME


1.5 oz Cascade, .75 oz Hallerltau @60
.25 oz Cascade, Hallertau @5

Yeast: Imperial House yeast, 3rd use
Added .5 tsp Irish Moss for clarity

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.01

ABV: 8.1%

First Homebrew 2020

Pale aleSo, this was the first homebrew I drank this year. I’m getting by on a technicality but I’m OK with that. It took this long to get to this beer, because I had an abundance to drink and just didn’t get to it until March…so I keep that in mind as I review it.

The nose has an old hops scent. It is similar to what I get from fresh hop ales that have been around too long. Almost vegetal, and it is a little off-putting.

Still, given that the beer is three months old, that’s not too bad.

Fortunately, the flavor profile improves upon the first impression. The caramel malt gives this pale a nice counterweight, and the finishing bitterness doesn’t have any trace of the nasal qualities. It’s just a solid bitterness.

If I’d been drinking this beer in January, I bet it’s freakin’ excellent. Still, that it’s this good now speaks well of the change in my process and I’m definitely keeping this up for the future.

Brew date: 12/22/19

Steeping grains
5 lb Ballad Munic
1 lb Caramel 5
2 lb 2 row

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME

1.5 oz Ekuanot @60
.5 oz Ekuanot @5

Yeast: Imperial House

OG: 1.069

FG: 1.012

Bottled 1/5/20

ABV: 7.7%

Last IPA 2019

Well, this is it. The IPAs of 2019 have been completed.

final IPA 2019
First, the nose actually comes through. Nothing dominating but I can pick it up; a bit forest, a bit dank.

It’s a pretty clean beer, too: the malts are there but they easily step aside for the hop bitterness. It’s probably a little less challenging in respect to the bitterness than most IPAs, but I really feel as if this one is far better than most I’ve made this year.

Since this is the first time I tried doing everything in primary fermentation, there are undoubtedly improvements to be made. But I can definitely work from here.

This has come about because I got the advice to get my beer bottled quickly, that one issue I was having was that my beer tasted stale.

Which was a surprise to hear, since it’s usually bottled within 3-4 weeks.

This time I went for half that, and it made a massive difference. Clearly, this is how I should be doing things from here on out.

Brew date 12/15/19

Steeping malts
5 lb Genie pale
2 lb Serenade
1.5 lb caramel 30

Fermentables: 4 lb ExLME

1 oz Hallertauer Magnum, Columbus, .5 oz Centennial @60
.5 oz Hallertauer Magnum, Columbus, 1 oz Cenennial @30

Yeast: Imperial house yeast, 2nd use

OG: 1.07

FG: 1.01

Added .5 oz Hallertaur Magnum, Columbus, Centennial on 12/24 to primary

Bottled 12/28

ABV: 8.1

Mary McCleod (Devil’s Mother) 2019

Devil's Mother imperial milk stoutThis is the 2019 batch of the imperial milk stout I make every year.

The nose has a hint of alcohol to it, but also a little bit of dried fruit too. The flavors include elements of chocolate, milk sweetness, and I’d say fig. So that’s all good. It’s not as chocolatey as I’d like, and the dried fruit qualities are just a bit off of what I want.

I was told by a homebrewing pal that the dried fruit quality was the result of the beer starting to oxidize-to get stale, if you will. In this style, that can be OK, but in most styles of beer, that isn’t what you want! Which means I’m going to change the way I make beer-but we’ll save that for when the next batch comes up.

It’s a pretty easy drinking stout though, given its strength and flavor intensity. There’s a nice clearance of the palate with the effervescence, so it’s easier to take another sip. But it’s strong, so this is a beer that is good to share if a second bottle gets opened. Works pretty well with desserts, but isn’t as complementary with other foods.

Still, not bad.

Brew date: 9/28/19

Steeping grains
2 lb chocolate
.5 lb Carafe 3
5 lb Maris Otter
3 lb Opal 22
1 lb Golden Promise
2 lb Lactose

7 lb ExLME

Hops: 2 oz Mt Hood @60

Yeast: Imperial: Darkness (2nd use)

OG: 1.15

FG: 1.04

Bottle 10/29

ABV: 14.9%

Not The Charm

Cream Ale round 3I have kept at the attempt to make a cream ale and the third attempt was…the okayest beer?

There’s a bit of cereal grain in the nose; it’s a little weird since I’m not used to that kind of nose for a beer. It isn’t unpleasant though.

The issue I’m having the most trouble with right now is that it’s hazy and I wish it wasn’t. The up side: I am fairly certain that this is due to chill haze, because before I put the beer into the fridge, I can see through the beer. So it’s a visual flaw but not a flavor one.

Still; the flavors here also include some cereal grains-I can’t quite shake the flavor of Cheerios, honestly. There’s a lot of malt sweetness, too, but the finish on this beer is surprisingly dry. Not crisp, but there’s a white wine element there that provides some restraint on this beer where it might otherwise be a breakfast instead of a beer.

Still, this could use some more work, so I may just may this the style I brew for 2020!

Brew date: 10/20/19

Steeping malts

6.5 Copeland Pils
2 lb Vienna

Fermentables: 3 lb Golden malt extract

.75 oz Mt Hood @60
@5 .25 oz Mt Hood

Yeast: Imperial House

OG: 1.055

FG: 1.01

Secondary: 11/3

Bottled: 11/11

ABV: 6.1%

Penultimate IPA

I get a faint bit of pine from the nose but nothing too sharp. A little disappointed in that, since I was hoping for more.

Soapy IPA homebrewIt’s…ok? There’s some decent bitterness on the finish but nothing distinctive, and the middle of the beer has enough to keep it from just being all about the hops.

But I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed. I’ve spent time working on this and nothing quite seems to come out right.

One other thing: I noticed that there was some wild variations in bottle quality. A couple-not many but still-were clearly infected. Which is disappointing as I’ve been paying more attention to scrubbing and cleaning these bottles before sanitization.

Still, more drinkable bottles than not, so…take what I can get?

Date: 11/17/19Steeping malts
5 lb High color malt
2 lb Munich
1 ob Full Pint Vielna
.5 lb Caramel 30

Fermentables: 3.5 lb ExLME

2 oz Cascade, 1 oz Palisade @ 60
1 oz Cascade, .5 oz Palisade @30

Yeast: Imperial’s Darkness (3rd, final use)

OG: 1.065

FG: 1.019

Secondary: 12/5, .5 oz Palisade, 1 oz Cascade added

Bottled: 12/8

ABV: 6.2%


Wash Your Mouth Out

Soapy IPA homebrewThis one is a puzzler. I was shooting for a pale ale and…well. No.

The nose and the finish remind me of cheap lemon soap.

I mean, there it is: I don’t have much more to add. The flavor that some people pick up when they eat cilantro; this is what I imagine they’re going through.
The suggestion that this was left too long in the fermenter doesn’t wash, because I bottled it 15 days after brewing. It’s possible that the hop additions or this combination of hop additions produced this-I’m definitely way off the map for the recipe I’ve been using most of the year.
It’s troubling, too, since I tried to make sure everything was sanitized well. I kinda need an expert on this one.

Brew date: 9/14/19

Steeping grains
7 lb 2 row
1.25 lb encore

Fermentables: 4.5 lb ExLME

1 oz Simcoe, ekuanot, Azacca @ 60
.5 z Simcoe, ekuanot, azacca @30

Yeast: Imperial Pub (3rd use)

OG: 1.072

FG: 1.014

Secondary 10/1
Bottled 10/6

ABV: 7.9%

Steep Dropoff

IPA #4 the bummerWell, this was a disappointment.

Everything seemed to go well-the first week, this beer was tasty! I got the hop nose, and the bitterness on the finish seemed about right. (This is part of my IPA series for 2019).

But then the infection kicked in and the beer just tasted dirty and bitter. I had really thought I’d gotten it right but no, no this just does not work.

Then again: the note to self about cleaning means cleaning, and don’t skimp on the work.

Brew date: 8/25/19

Steeping grains
.5 lb pale
2 lb C 60

Fermentables: 7 lb Golden light LME

1 oz Mt Hood, Simcoe, Centennial @60

Yeast: Imperial Pub (2nd use)

Added 3/4 tsp Gypsum, 1/2 tsp Irish Moss to water for hardening and clarity, respectively

OG: 1.06

FG: 1.012

Secondary: 9/3, adding 1 oz Simcoe, Centennial hops

Bottled: 9/7

ABV: 6.5