Tag Archives: recipes

A common brew

As I was saying, during the summer I try to make some more drinkable ales. It’s good practice to make some lighter beers since these reveal any flaws much easier and provide me with an opportunity to evaluate what it is I’m doing.

So with that said, I have attempted a California Common ale. Sorta. I don’t know that I can ever really stick to a recipe so these things are usually guidelines instead of rules. I didn’t use a lager yeast for example, because I don’t have the ability to refrigerate my wort and keep it at a proper temperature and I added cocoa nibs to it…just because.

That said, it came out pretty well! But hopefully you won’t have to take my word for it, as I’ve recruited Erik to do a review. (This is your public guilt trip, Erik!)

Steeping Grains
Crystal 40 1 lb
Victory .5 lb
2 oz coca nibs

7 lb LME

1.5 oz Crystal @ 60
1 oz Domestic Sterling @ 25
1.25 oz Hibiscus tea @5

Rogue Pacman, final use (4th)

OG 1.062

TG 1.016

transferred 4.28.12
bottled 5.13.12

ABV  5.99

Orange Blossom Pale

A few weeks ago, this beer was ready to drink but I was told; It just doesn’t seem time to drink it. It’s going to be great in the heat but right now, it’s just not ready for the stage.

With the weekend hitting the 80’s, it was time. Good thing, too: It’s really bubbly, so the mouthfeel is light. It’s smooth and sweet, with the orange flavor being quite refreshing. The beer also has a slightly astringent finish, very much like tea.

Which is the trick with this ale: I added way, way too much orange blossom tea at the end. Worked like a charm. Fortunately. I am not a professional, so I do not recommend anything per se.

But let me tell you how I made it anyway:

Steeping malts
.75 lb Gambriuns pale
.5 lb Victory
.5 vienna

7 lb LME

1.34 oz Crystal @ 60
1 oz Crystal @20
1 oz Perle @ 20

3oz Orange Blossom blend tea @5

from Laurelwood, gotten that day!

Original Gravity

Final Gravity

Terminal Gravity


The best beer I should never pour

So, for anyone who wants to know how the dunkel I made turned out…it’s pretty much in the title.

Sad but true. There’s some awesome flavors in the actual beer itself; coffee and chocolate, very smooth and it’s a lighter beer, very drinkable from a mouthfeel perspective.

But if you pour it, as I have done here, then you’re in for a bad time. There’s a very strong sulfur note there and there’s just no getting around the fact that this is very, very offputting to anyone who wants to, say, drink it.

Now, on the upside, I bottle my beer. So if I don’t put this into a glass, voila! Problem (mostly) solved. It’s almost all upside. And it’s way better than the last lager I attempted to make.

Still, it’s not quite there and, though I tried to give the yeast a diacytil rest to cut down on the sulfur note, it was to no avail. Still, there’s always next year.


Brew Date: 2.8.12

.75 lb 2 row
.25 Cafka 2
.25 Caramel

7 lb LME

1 oz Crystal @ 60
.75 oz Hallertauer @ 15

McPolander yeast from Wyeast-this yeast was acquired from Europe and is part of an experiment done with the Oregon Brew Crew.

OG: 1.064

FG: 1.016

TG: 1.024

ABV: 6.25%

Additional notes: Made a starter using 1cup dry malt extract, 4cups water, boiled, put into growler and set aside for a night.
Pitched yeast when wort was approx 54 degrees, set into dark room, hoped for best. No action so after 24 hrs I put it into laundry room: 4 days later it had gone up to 60 and started to get active, put back into subbasement.
3 days in subbasement, sulfur coming off brew (at about 58 degrees) so moved into slightly warmer climes for 2 days, until I didn’t smell sulfur coming off and then back to subbasement, temps got down to about 56.

3.11.12-bottling day
Still a strong scent of sulfur as I put it into the bottling bucket. I’d put it into the laundry room two days prior in order to work off some of those flavors but it doesn’t look like that worked.

Birthday Amber

But not my birthday. The girlfriend asked me to make an amber for her for her birthday, so I did:


I wanted to take a more interesting photo but computer lighting is awkward.

Despite the picture, I pulled this one off pretty well. The finish has just enough of a bite to balance it off but not so sharp I don’t want another drink. It’s got a solid amber color, it’s pretty clear and the citra hops I used are all over this beer, in a good way. The nose and the finish have a strong tangerine element to them. Which is excellent, because that’s what she asked for: an amber with citra hops. I hope this isn’t the best beer I make this year but if it sets the standard by which the other beers I make need to reach, I feel pretty good about that. It’s a good bar to try to get over.

Recipe is as follows:

Brew date: 1.8.12

Steeping grains
.75 lb 2 Row
.25 lb 6 Row
.5 lb Special B
.5 lb C60

7 lb LME
1.5 lb Dry malt extract, light

.75 oz Citra @ 60
.75 oz Citra @ 15

Rogue Pacman from Wyeast




Transferred to 2ndary on 1.5, added 1.5oz Citra to 2ndary as dry hop

ABV: 8.12%
Hm. Not sure this is as alcoholic as results state

Chamomile 2+3

You can read about #2–the lighter beer in this photograph-here.

chamomile brewsBut #3, seems to have no nose to it at all. From a  flavor perspective it doesn’t ring any serious bells-nothing seems off or weird. It’s a little less sweet, which I think is a good thing.

However, the mouthfeel is improved. There’s something just a little bit silkier about it, which is a nice effect. I dig on the result and I think it’s  a definite plus for certain styles, especially darker ones.

Essentially, I think toasting the oats will become part of making this beer and is something I’m going to keep in mind for my future stouts. Here’s the recipe:

Brewed: 8.17.11

Steeping Malts:
1 lb Toasted Oats (toasted for 15 min @ 150)
.5 lb Pils
.25 lb C60

7 lb LME

Hops and adjuncts:
1 oz Ahtanum @ 60
.5 oz Hallertauer @ 60

1/8 tsp Grains
1/4 Corriander
3/4 tsp Bitter orange
1 tsp Orange peel
2.25 oz Chamomile all at 10 min

Yeast: Final use wit yeast, Wyeast 3944

OG: 1.062

TG: 1.011

FG: 1.02

2ndary 9/1
Bottled 9/11/11
Used 1/2 tsp yeast for bottling

ABV: 6.67%

Earl Gray Brown addendum

I ran into Ken from Fearless Brewing last weekend and he was kind enough to explain some of the finer points of gravity as it relates to beer, and explain to me why my beers are coming out in a similar range. I told him about my Earl Gray Brown beer and he said he was interested in the recipe, which I promised to send him. It’ll be interesting if he conjures something out of that. As I was typing up the recipe I realized that I’d pretty much forgotten to tell people how I made this beer-so here goes:

Started by steeping 14 bags of Earl Gray tea in 3 quarts of water

Steeping grains:
2 oz black malt
5 oz C40 malt
5 oz Victory
12 oz British Brown

7 lb liquid light malt extract

1 oz Amarillo @ 60
1 oz Nugget @ 30

Irish moss@ 5 for clarity

Added the tea after the wort had been cooled and put into a carboy.

2 packs Wyeast 1084 Irish ale

Primary Gravity: 1.061

Finishing Gravity: 1.02

5.3% ABV


So the fourth IPA of the year has been brewed and sometimes it looks just fine…but sometimes it looks like this:

I wish I knew why my beers were becoming so carbonated! Granted, it’s better than the last beer, which was flat. And there’s no way the nose can be missed, the spicy Amarillo hops coming right on up and saying hello. In addition, the head of the beer deflates very quickly so the brew is drinkable in a short time, just not right out of the bottle. If there’s any consolation it would be that the beer tastes pretty good, despite having a very, very bitter back end. I realized afterward that I shorted the malts in the wort by nearly two pounds. That’s the kind of thing that makes a difference.

I guess I’m getting to the point as a homebrewer where I want to get it right. Maybe not perfect, but right at least. I’m not sure what I’ll have to do to step things up though, at this point. My first thought is; submit my beers to be judged in some competitions. If nothing else, the OBC has monthly competitions and I think my project for 2010 will be to produce beers for them to get some feedback. In the meantime, here’s the recipe I used.

Steeping grains:
1 lb Caramel 120
.5 lb Munich

Fermenting sugars:
7 lb LME

5 oz Liberty hop pellets @60
1 oz Galena @ 30
1oz Amarillo @15
1/4 tsp Irish Moss @ 5

Wyeast 1728, reused from the Scottish Ale I made earlier.

Approximately 1 oz of Amarillo hops was also used in secondary as a dry hop

OG: 1.069

FG: 1.017
1.026 apparent final

6.78% ABV

It is good to have friends

Friends who are employed, especially. Which is how I found myself at the Horse Brass to play cards with my friend baeza. We had a few beers between us, which to the man’s graciousness and general awesome, I did not have to pay for but here are the highlights.

First: Guinness 250. Yes, yes, yes, Guinness is 250 years old and good for them. Too bad they made such a bland beer in honor of the occasion. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if they just put regular Guinness into a bottle, slapped a 250 label on it and charged everyone an extra buck-fifty.

You know Guinness, I remember when you used to be cool. Of course, that was only 5 years ago for me. But now…well, you’ve lost it and I’ve found some far better drinks. I think it’s just best that we go our separate ways.

I’m keeping the house.

I steered baeza towards the Eilean Dhu and he enjoyed it quite a bit. He was, fortunately, not struck with any kind of morose vibe due to working in a warehouse, thankfully. And I must say (since I didn’t when I drank it) it’s a damn fine beer. Very potent, but quite tasty.

My notes also record me having Lompoc’s Monster Mash Porter. It had a very smoky nose and was incredibly dense for a porter. The flavors included a burnt coco or coffee and it was just flat out delicious. If you enjoy darker beers then this ought to be something to taste. It made me sit up from our card game and take notes. So I know I dug it.

And I totally meant to include the recipe for the Scottish Ale I talked about in Wednesday’s post. So I might as well include it now!

Light Scottish Ale:
Steeping Grains:
1 lb Vienna
1 lb Munich

Fermenting malts:
7 lb Light malt extract, liquid

@ 60
1.5 oz Galena
.5 oz Nugget used as dry hops from IPA 2.
.33 oz Centennial
.5 tsp of Irish Moss for clarity.

Two packets Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast.

The OG was 1.069, and the Final Gravity was 1.02.

Mistakes may have been made.

So the IPA in last weeks photo has been bottled. However, when I tasted it an overwhelming bitterness finished the beer off. Once again, this was the dregs so I’m not taking this taste as the gospel but it’s entirely possible I just didn’t add enough malt to balance the hops in this beer. Or that I added in way too many Liberty hops in secondary. That shouldn’t affect the bitterness, but maybe the pellet form of the hops allowed the beer to absorb flavors that the loose leaf form would not. Another lesson.

In the photo is the final gravity reading: 1.005. This gave the beer an 8%+ ABV level, which means that without some balancing effects, it might taste a little hot (meaning, you pick up on the alcohol). And bitter. So like coffee, only without actually being warm or roasted. While I’m not looking forward to it,  I’ll post an update of this beer in about a month.

Recipe follows:
Steeping grains
1 lb C 40

Other malt:
7 lb Light Malt Extract

1 oz Galena @ 60
1 oz Amarillo @ 30
1 large handful Liberty hopos @ 5
.5 tsp Irish moss @ 5

reused Pacman from the Alt-3rd use.

In secondary I added 5 handfuls of liberty hops.

In the foreground is the most recent beer I made; a light scottish ale. Or at least that’s what I’m calling it-alchemy, not science, remember?

The recipe:

Steeping grains

1 lb Vienna

1 lb Munich


Fermentable sugars:

7 lb Light Malt Extract, liquid



1.5 oz Galena 

.5 z Nugget hops, rescued from secondary of the last IPA I made @60

.33 oz Centennial @15


1/2 tsp Irish Moss @5



2 packs Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale. 


In the background is the third iteration of the IPA I’ve been making this summer, this time with Liberty hop pellets in secondary for aromatic purposes. (That’s what that green stuff on the top is.) If all goes well, I’ll be putting the scottish ale into secondary fermentation this weekend, and starting up another IPA on Sunday.


But on Saturday, I have Bailey’s 2nd Anniversary to look forward to:



I plan on being there early-as in, when the doors open- and hopefully writing up my thoughts this Wednesday.