≡ Menu

blackberry ginger secondary

Blonde Ale : Blackberry Ginger Blonde

brew pot outsideThis batch all started with a gallon bag of frozen blackberries I’d picked from a friend’s yard.  There needed to be a proper reward for the pain and agony of picking blackberries, and what better way than a delicious batch of beer?

I decided to use my favorite Blonde Ale recipe as a base, and thought ginger would be a cool addition to work with the blackberries.

All-Grain Recipe: Blackberry Ginger Blonde Ale

Ingredients:

chopped ginger

  • 8 lb. – Pilsner Malt
  • 1 lb. – Munich Malt
  • .50 lb. – Carapils
  • .50 lb. – Flaked Wheat

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (6.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .2 oz. – Hallertau (6.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 oz. – Saaz (5.3%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 – Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 15 min
  • 2.5 oz. – Fresh Ginger (chopped) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .2 oz. – Hallertau (6.5%) – added at flame out

Yeast:

blackberry ginger secondary

  • Fermentis Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on 6B – Blonde Ale
  • OG 1.050 / TG 1.008
  • 5.3% ABV | Color: 5.5 SRM | ~26 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 11/01/2014, Secondary: 11/15/14, Bottled: 01/03/15
  • Mash Temp: ~151°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency ~74%, Attenuation ~84%

Brewing the Blackberry Ginger Blonde Ale

First brew day after moving to a new house. It was chaos.  Had two dead thermometers, so used a candy one.

blackberry-ginger-blonde-03The Mash:  The mash ended up cool, used a full 4 gallons to get it to about 150. Temp didn’t hold well, cooled off a lot, but gave it over an hour.  Overflowed first vorlauf, also had loose hose fittings on the mash tun, which leaked. Things didn’t go smoothly.

The Boil. Added yeast at 4:10. Long day… Started about 10am.

Fermenting. Ended up with about 4.5 gallons, didn’t add to it, will let the berries fill it out. FG is decent considering all the issues I had. Boil went well. Cooled pretty quick in the cool fall day. Fermenter says 75°.

steaming brew potSecondary. Racked two weeks later. Ginger blonde base is perfect, would like to try that again. I didn’t weigh berries, but they were most of a gallon plastic bag.  Also, they made a damn mess. Will use a blender next time. Put it in to a 65° fridge.

Sat in secondary for about a month.  Berries floating after a few days, but not much else going on. Probably some secondary fermentation, forgot to look for the first couple of days.

Drinking the Blackberry Ginger Blonde Ale

Cracked a bottle after 5 days, and was GREAT. Really happy with the balance. Could add crystal or wheat to add sweetness or body, but otherwise perfect.  The ginger plays really nice with the berry, and the base is light enough to let the flavors shine.  Overall a little dry, and became more dry as it aged.

I won’t have another chance at the same berries, but this batch turned out really great.  I’ll try the Ginger Blonde as a standalone recipe at some point, but I’d be glad to try this whole recipe again with minor tweaks.

griz-tears-IPA-V4-03

IPA : Griz Tears IPA V4

the boiling homebrewAfter a less than stellar previous batch, I circled the wagons and went back to a known recipe.  I narrowed things down to only one variable, which was a 3rd round on the London Ale yeast.

I thought it would be cool to see how the different yeast would play with a recipe that I’m already happy with.  I’d previously used this yeast on the Mint Chocolate Stout and Griz Tears IPA V3.

All-Grain Recipe: Griz Tears IPA V4

Ingredients:

griz-tears-IPA-V4-06

  • 11 lb. – Golden Promise Pale
  • .25 lb. – American Munich
  • .25 lb. – Crystal 40L – Great Western
  • .50 lb. – Crystal 15L – Great Western

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .6 oz. – Simcoe (13.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .3 oz. – Amarillo (8.7%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .45 oz. – Simcoe (13.2%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 1 – Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 15 min
  • .5 oz. – Australian Galaxy (15%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .65 oz. – Amarillo (8.7%)added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Citra (14.1%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • .5 oz. – Citra (14.1%) – added during boil, boiled 1 min
  • 1 oz. – Cascade (6.0%) – added at flame out

Yeast:

griz-tears-IPA-V4-01

  • Wyeast 1028 London Ale (3rd generation)

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on 14B – American IPA
  • OG (forgot to test) / TG 1.008
  • 6.3% ABV | Color: 7.4 SRM | ~68 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 04/12/2014, Secondary: 04/26/14, Kegged: ?
  • Mash Temp: ~151°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency ~66%, Attenuation ~86%

Brewing the Griz Tears IPA V4

The Mash. Mash temp was 151°. Stirred mash really well after, then 3 gallon vorlauf.

griz-tears-IPA-V4-05The Boil. Quite a bit boiled off, from almost 7 gallons.  Ended up adding some clean water to add volume.

Fermenting. Reused London Ale Yeast for a third time.  Forgot to get original gravity.  Oops.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Racked to secondary on 04/26.  Kegged entire batch.

Drinking the Grizzly Tears IPA V4

griz-tears-IPA-V4-07This was a decent learning experience.  Using what was basically a repeat recipe, I got to see how a different yeast would work.  This batch was fine, but not my favorite.

The London Ale yeast just seemed to have more of a fruit/ester quality than a regular American Ale yeast.  Usually I’d like that, but I think I’d want to make a drier batch, or use less crystal malt if I was brewing with this yeast again.

griz-tears-IPA-V4-04

griz-tears-IPA-V3-06

IPA : Griz Tears IPA V3

Having recently come up with an IPA that I was happy with, and then proceding to burn through my supply, I decided to circle back again.  I’d hate to brew the same recipe twice… not sure that I ever have, so I added in some variables.  I know I’m happy with my base, so I wanted to try out some different hops.  On top of that, I had some yeast left over from the Mint Chocolate Stout I’d just made, and figured that should get a second round of action too.

griz-tears-IPA-V3-01

Picked up a couple hops I’d been wanting to try.

El Dorado is a dual purpose hop with intense flavors and aromas. This hop has bright tropical fruit flavors and aromas of pear, watermelon candy, and stone fruit.

Galaxy is an Australian hop variety with gentle citrus with passion fruit notes.  Similar to Citra, but with the tropical fruit toned down and a bit more grassy flavor.

The Wyeast London Ale 1028 is described as having a rich mineral profile that is bold and crisp with some fruitiness.

THEN, if new hops and yeast weren’t enough, I decided I wanted to age half this batch on tart cherries and pineapple…  Fruit all around.

All-Grain Recipe: Griz Tears IPA V3

Ingredients:

griz-tears-IPA-V3-02

  • 11 lb. – Golden Promise Pale
  • .25 lb. – American Munich
  • .25 lb. – Crystal 40L – Great Western
  • .50 lb. – Crystal 15L – Great Western

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .5 oz. – Citra (14.1%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz. – Citra (14.1%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 1 – Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 15 min
  • .5 oz. – Australian Galaxy (15%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – El Dorado (15.3%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Australian Galaxy (15%) – added at flame out
  • .5 oz. – El Dorado (15.3%) – added at flame out

Yeast:

griz-tears-IPA-V3-04

  • Wyeast 1028 London Ale

Additional Ingredients:

  • Aged half of the batch on 1 can of Tart Cherries and 1 can of Pineapple

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on 14B – American IPA
  • OG 1.056 / TG 1.008
  • 6.4% ABV | Color: 7.7 SRM | ~68 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 03/29/2014, Secondary: 04/26/14, Kegged: 4/26/2014 & Bottled:
  • Mash Temp: ~151°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 66%, Attenuation 86%

Brewing the Griz Tears IPA V3

The Mash. Mash temp was 151°, and ended at 150ish; very little temp loss.   Stirred mash really well after, then 3 gallon vorlauf.

The Boil. griz-tears-IPA-V3-02bGave it a good half hour or so preboil before adding hops.  Smooth day.  Started 6.5g, ended less than 5.  Weird evaporation during rain…  nice cold break, easy cool, though.  Added 45s of oxygen, but can was dying, but forgot yeast nutrient.

Fermenting. Yeast starter fired up on 3 days before boil.  1/2 DME to 2 cups water.  Lots of liquid from 1x washed yeast.  Foamed a bit the next day.  Turned off morning of brew day to let settle out a little.  61° ambient in fermenter,  bubbling away the next day.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Kegged half on 4/26, other half below.

Secondary Fermenter.  After kegging half the batch, I went wild and racked the other half on to canned pineapple and tart cherries.  I left that to sit for a week until bottling.

griz-tears-IPA-V3-05

Drinking the Grizzly Tears IPA V3

I know better than to introduce several new variables and expect a decent result, but I just can’t help myself.  In the end, the IPA was… fine.  It certainly wasn’t great, if anything it was a little weird. All the fruity hops and even the yeast that lent itself to fruit gave me an IPA that just tasted a little too fruity.  It was almost a canned fruit coctail beer, but not in a good way.   That’s not even the half that I aged ON FRUIT.

The cherries and pineapple were a bad idea.  In hindsight, I don’t know how I thought those two flavors were going to play nice.  In reality they took the flavors I didn’t love about the base and pushed them further.  Tart, tangy, and fruity.  Again, it wasn’t horrible to drink, but it wasn’t good either.

Overall, I wouldn’t personally use these hops in an IPA again unless I was introducing other hops to balance out the fruit.  Just too much in the same direction without any balance.

mint-chocolate-stout boil kettle

Mint Chocolate Stout

mint-chocolate-stout-07Having found an IPA I was happy with, I went the opposite direction and tried my hand at a stout.  I love a good stout in the Winter, but haven’t brewed all that many.  Due to that, I don’t have a base recipe to work from for the style.

As I usually do when I’m trying something new, I went back to Radical Brewing (my favorite brewing book).   The Mint Chocolate Stout sounded like a nice twist, and something most people wouldn’t have had before.  And heck, if it tastes like a thin mint, who’s gonna complain?  Worth a shot!

All-Grain Recipe: Mint Chocolate Stout

Ingredients:

mint-chocolate-stout-ingredients

  • 8 lb. – Pale Malt
  • 2 lb. – Biscuit Malt
  • .5 lb. – Roast Barley
  • .5 lb. – Black Patent
  • .66 oz. – Fresh Spearmint
  • 1 Altoid

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .5 oz. – Northern Brewer (7.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 1 oz. – Northern Brewer (7.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • Mint & Altoid – added at flame out

Yeast:

brewing spearmint

  • Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on 13E – American Stout
  • OG 1.052 / TG 1.009
  • 5.53% ABV | Color: 29 SRM | ~29 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 12/14/2013, Secondary: 12/29/14, Bottled/Kegged: 01/18/14
  • Mash Temp: ~152°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 67%, Attenuation 82%

Brewing the Mint Chocolate Stout

boil kettle steaming

The Mash. Start mash 152.8ish.  End 151.8 ish.  Nice and even.  Stirred mash before 3 gallon recirculation.  Drained off 6.7 gallons or so, a bit more than I’d wanted.

The Boil. Standard boil.  Added mint at flame out.

Fermenting. Started a yeast starter the night before.  Nice and foamy.  Fermented at 68°.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Racked to secondary two weeks later.  Bottled 3 weeks after that.

Drinking the Mint Chocolate Stout

I haven’t made many stouts, so this recipe was a good chance to experiment with mint and try out a new base.  As far as the mint goes, it was disappointed.  A package of mint wasn’t enough to give the beer any noticeable flavor.  You’d have to really want the mint flavor to spend the extra money to use enough to make a significant change.

Beyond the lack of mint, this ended up being a nice Stout.  Decently well balanced.  A little on the sweet side.  The batch also aged really well.  Even after a year, it was a decent beer.

Overall, nothing special, but not bad either.  Probably a nice base to play with for future batches.

mint-chocolate-stout-01

grains and hops

IPA : Griz Tears IPA V2

I’d recently decided to set off on a quest to make IPA’s until I hit one that I could be happy calling a house batch.  My Bent Nail Clone was a miss, so I decided to refer back to an older recipe.  My original Grizzly Tears IPA turned out pretty great, so I used it as a starting point for my recipe.

I’ve always been a fan of Citra, and thought that Amarillo & Cascade would play nice with it, so I chose those hops, too.  I like to focus on the hop flavor way more than extreme bitterness, so I really didn’t use that many ounces of hops for the final recipe.  I also don’t care for dry hopping, though I will probably play with it again down the line.

brew pot and chiller

All-Grain Recipe: Griz Tears IPA V2 Clone

Ingredients:

griz-tears-IPA-V2-01

  • 11 lb. – Golden Promise Pale
  • .25 lb. – American Munich
  • .25 lb. – Crystal 40L – Great Western
  • .50 lb. – Crystal 15L – Great Western

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .5 oz. – Warrior (15%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .3 oz. – Amarillo (8.7%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .4 oz. – Warrior (15%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .75 oz. – Amarillo (8.7%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Citra (14.1%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • .5 oz. – Citra (14.1%) – added during boil, boiled 1 min
  • 1.0 oz. – Cascade (7.3%) – added at flame out

Yeast:

griz-tears-IPA-V2-03

  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale & Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on 14B – American IPA
  • OG 1.050 / TG 1.006
  • 5.8% ABV | Color: 7.7 SRM | ~67 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 10/13/2013, Secondary: n/a, Bottled/Kegged: 11/03/13
  • Mash Temp: ~150°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 59%, Attenuation 88%

Brewing the Griz Tears IPA V2

The Mash. Mash temp 150.5, dropped to 147ish after 1 hour.  Nice loose mash.  Stirred before a triple vorlauf.

griz-tears-IPA-V2-05The Boil. Drained about 6.5 gallons off.  Ended boil with just under 5 gallons.  30 minutes to reach boil, 90 minute boil.
Super bad efficiency.  Not sure why.

Fermenting. Planned to reuse saved yeast from an older batch, but I wasn’t happy with the zombie yeast.  I added an old frozen packet i’ve had forever (rolled the dice…).  Smells fine and the new stuff was frothy and seemed healthy.  Pitched entire amount.  
Pitched yeast at 68°.  Fermented right about 68°, with 64° ambient temp.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Kegged 3 weeks later, no secondary.

Drinking the Grizzly Tears IPA V2

griz-tears-IPA-V2-06

In my quest to make an IPA to my liking, I only had to endure to rounds of battle.   Freaking nailed it!

The Citra is stands out in a great way, with the Amarillo and Cascade rounding it out in a great way.  Really nice balance between the hops.  Lots of citrus on a really light body.  Not too sweet, not too dry.  Has a nice amount of bitterness.  Could probably up the gravity that next time if body ends up too thin.

For sure a recipe I’ll continue to refine, but this batch was almost exactly what I wanted to create.