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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.

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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

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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

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IPA-bentnailclone-07

IPA : Bent Nail Clone

IPA-bentnailclone-05

Moving from MT to OR opens up a huge new world of beer, and honestly most Oregon beer is like comparing a college student to a freshman in high school.  Plenty of reasons, but the beer culture here is so hard core that you can make some pretty niche stuff.  Montana breweries often have to please a less refined palette.  Not to say they aren’t good, but there’s just a lack of interesting styles.  While I’m rambling… It’s worth mentioning that the best Scottish & Scotch Ales you can find anywhere are being made in MT (Cold Smoke, Jacks 90 Shilling, Copper John).

Anyways… there’s a beer I missed after moving.  Bent Nail IPA from Red Lodge Ales is one of my favorite beers.  It’s not the hoppy-est, it’s not the booziest, it’s not the anything-est, but it’s light, refreshing, tasty, and everything I love about an IPA.  It’s a pretty basic IPA, and I decided that I wanted to take a swing at creating something similar.

I was able to tour the brewery years ago, and I vaguely remembered which hops I was told they use.  They don’t publish many details about the beer, so I was basically guessing on everything.  That’s part of the fun, right?  My “clone” is more of a tribute than anything else, especially since my final product wasn’t even close!

All-Grain Recipe: Bent Nail IPA Clone

Ingredients:

IPA-bentnailclone-06

  • 12.75 lb. – Great Western 2-row
  • 1 lb. – Crystal 60L
  • .75 lb. – American Munich
  • .25 lb. – Caramel Malt 40L

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1.5 oz. – Northern Brewer (8.6%) – added during boil, boiled 50 min
  • 1.5 oz. – Cascade (6.4%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 1.75 oz. – Northern Brewer (8.6%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • 1.6 oz. – Cascade (6.4%) – added at flame out

Yeast:

IPA-bentnailclone-01

  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on 14B – American IPA
  • OG 1.060 / TG 1.007
  • 7.1% ABV | Color: 11.0 SRM | ~75 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 08/10/2013, Secondary: 08/24/13, Bottled/Kegged: 09/07/13
  • Mash Temp: ~149°, Thickness: 1.08 qt/g, Efficiency 59%, Attenuation 89%

Brewing the Bent Nail IPA Clone

IPA-bentnailclone-04

The Mash. Too much grain for my setup, so I was forced to go with a thicker mash than usual.  Efficiency suffered big time as a result.  Nailed my temp of 149° and let it sit for 75 minutes.

IPA-bentnailclone-03

The Boil. Pulled off 6.5 gallons for the boil.  Let it boil 20-30 minutes before adding hops.  Screwed up and added Cascade at 30 min.  The original recipe had called for a 10 minute addition.  Shortened the overall boil by 10 minutes to reduce bitterness.  Didn’t boil down as much as usual.  Ended up with almost 6 gallons to ferment.

Cooling. Indoor in shop sink. ~30 min.

Fermenting. 30-45 seconds of oxygen, plus yeast nutrient added before fermentation.   Created a yeast starter the day before brewing.  Had a good start, 2 or 3 days would have been nicer.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Racked to secondary 2 weeks later.  Kegged entire batch.

Drinking the Bent Nail IPA Clone

IPA-bentnailclone-02

Swing and a miss!  The hops are pretty close to what I wanted, but the beer is cloying.  It’s okay to drink, but it’s just so damn sweet.  It’s unbalanced and needs to be way dryer to come across as an IPA.  My next batch was another IPA with crystal grain levels dialed way back and more 2-row.  THAT is the body I was shooting for.  This combination of hops, with that combination of grains should get pretty close to the desired result.  I haven’t tried that yet, but it’ll happen soon.

It’s worth mentioning, if you’re ever brewery touring in MT, make a point to get to the tiny town of Red Lodge to visit Red Lodge Ales!

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kolschV2-07

Kölsch Ale V2

kolschV2-08

This is round two, of my 2013 Kölsch project.  Both recipes were based on research I’d done through books and the internet.  I don’t know if either one was specifically based on any one source, though BYO Magazine probably played a factor in one of them.

This second Kölsch reuses the same yeast from the first Kölsch I brewed. I brewed this batch 2 weeks after the first one, and strained the wort directly on to the yeast cake from the recently fermented batch.

All-Grain Recipe: Kölsch Ale V2

Ingredients:

kolschV2-01

  • 10.3 lb. – Pilsner Malt
  • .4 lb – Vienna Malt

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1.5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min

Yeast:

kolschV2-06

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on Kölsch – 6C
  • OG 1.060 / TG 1.010
  • 6.5% ABV | Color: 4.1 °SRM | ~24 IBU’s
  • Brewed: 05/12/2013, Secondary: none, Bottled/Kegged: 06/02/13
  • Mash Temp: ~149°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 80%, Attenuation 83%

Brewing the Kölsch V2

kolschV2-05

Kind of a problematic batch, with a few dumb missteps, but the final product didn’t seem to suffer as a result.

The Mash. Missed the mash in temp by a ton, to about 156°.  Cooled with ice, but too far, then heated with more water, used about 4 gallons total.  Final temp was 148.5°, so should have been pretty close, maybe over cool.  Mashed for 90 minutes.  Stirred really well before doing the 3 cycle vorlauf, hoping to help efficiency.  Pulled off first 4 gallons and started heat.  Added 2 more gallons 20 min later.    Very cloudy wort.

The Boil.  Crazy bubbly.  Boiled over on first boil, then foamed to the top with first hop addition.  Boiled for probably 30 minutes before adding hops. Added whirfloc with 10 minutes remaining in the boil.

Cooling. Outdoor cooling using hose water. ~30 min.  Cooled to 68°.

kolschV2-02

Fermenting. No oxygen on this one, lots of stirring. Fermented at about 60° in temp controlled fermentation fridge. Kept cool for 2 weeks.  Primary stayed in fridge at about 50-55° after fermentation.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Chose to rush things for no good reason, skipping the secondary.  Bottling same day is Kölsch V1.  TONS of yeast in the primary.  Was worried about additional fermentation in bottles, but nothing bad happened. 

Super cloudy at bottling. Should have settled for a week or two in secondary.  Bottled 3 growlers and keg.  Flavor nowhere near as good at bottling, but probably due to yeast.  Kölsch V1 wasn’t great when racked over either.

Drinking the Kölsch V2

kolschV2-03

Really liked this one.  Simple flavors, but really let that Kölsch yeast shine through.  Even with all of the weird issues along the way, things turned out well.

I think the yeast health was a little better on this batch, from using a healthy yeast cake.  That seemed to give the batch an overall better flavor than my first effort.  As mentioned in my Kölsch V1 write up, this beer was better from the keg, while the other batch was better bottled.

Definitely something I can improve upon, but really happy with both Kölsch batches of homebrew.

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kolschV1-04

Kölsch Ale V1

kolschV1-03I’ve been really enjoying Kölsch beers lately, so I wanted to branch out and try brewing a couple.  In an effort to cut costs, and try a couple of different recipes, I made the decision to brew two Kölsch batches back to back, reusing yeast.

For those who aren’t familiar, “Kölsch is ale that tastes like a lager. The beer has a very soft mouthfeel. It can be slightly sweet, but has no malty aroma and finishes very dry. Some Kölschbiers have some fruity flavor, but it is very slight. Any fruitiness in the beer should be very subtle.  Kölsch is similar to an American Blonde Ale, but finishes much cleaner and crisper.”   Quoted from Beersmith.

All-Grain Recipe: Kölsch Ale

Ingredients:

kolschV1-02

  • 8.5 lb. – Pilsner Malt
  • .5 lb – Vienna Malt
  • 4 lb. – White Wheat Malt

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1 oz. – Tettnanger (4.8%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .7 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .3 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added end of boil

Yeast:

kolschV1-07

  • Wyeast 2565 Kölsch

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on Kölsch – 6C
  • OG 1.050 / TG 1.008
  • 5.5% ABV | Color: 3.9 °SRM | ~26.1 IBU’s
  • Brewed 04/23/2013, Secondary 05/12/13, Bottled/Kegged 06/02/13
  • Mash Temp: ~151°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 75%, Attenuation 84%

Brewing the Kölsch

kolschV1-06

Kind of a problematic batch, with a few dumb missteps, but the final product didn’t seem to suffer as a result.

The Mash. Mash at 151° for an hour.  Pulled off first 3 gallons of wort, then started boil.  Overflowed the 5th pitcher for who knows how long… Added to about 6 gallons, heating along the way.

The Boil. TONS of coagulant in the boil. Flame blew out after about 30 minutes.  Kept terrible notes on this one, and hop additions are generally off due to the boil issues.  Extended overall boil by 10 minutes to make up for lost time.

kolschV1-05

Cooling. Outdoor cooling using hose water. ~30 min.

Fermenting. Added 45 seconds of oxygen & cap full of yeast nutrient.  Fermented at about 60° in temp controlled fermentation fridge.  Kept cool for 13 days.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Warmed up 1 day before secondary.  Yeast is floating on top, wort is very cloudym but gravity is in the right range.  Kept in the closet at 65° for 2 weeks.  Bottled half, kegged half.

Drinking the Kölsch V1

kolschV2-08

Pretty happy with my first shot at a Kölsch.  I feel like I could have probably aged it out a bit longer, but the taste is great.  Happy with the recipe, overall.  Compared to my second Kölsch (recipe to follow this one), it was better tasting out of a bottle, but not quite as tasty out of the keg.  No idea why, it just lent itself to the crisper carbonation from bottle conditioning.

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honey-wheat-ale-08

Honey Wheat Ale

honey-wheat-ale-07After trying out a Honey Rye, I’d had a request to brew a Honey Wheat Ale.  I’ve created some decently successful Wheat Ales, so I decided to refer to a few of my older Wheat Ale recipes for inspiration.  For the honey, I went with a honey malt instead of actual honey.  I’ve never been that impressed with the flavor I’ve gotten from real honey, and I wanted the flavor of honey.  In my experience, the honey malt provides a better honey flavor than actual honey does.  Real honey tends to ferment away and dry things out.

The all-grain recipe is mostly wheat malt and pilsner malt.  Honey malt and Munich are used for a little character.  The hops are the same as you might find in a Pilsner, but also what I’ve liked in Blond Ales I’ve made.  The attempt is a spicy blond ale / wheat ale hybrid.  In my mind this all makes sense…

All-Grain Recipe: Honey Wheat Ale

Ingredients:

honey-wheat-ale-05

  • 4 lb. – Pilsner Malt
  • 4 lb. – Wheat Malt
  • 12 oz. – Honey Malt
  • 12 oz. – Munich Malt
  • .5 lb. – Rice Hulls

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .5 oz. – Hallertau (4.5%) – added end of boil
  • .5 oz. – Saaz (5%) – added end of boil

Yeast:

honey-wheat-ale-01

  • Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • Style based on American Wheat Ale – 6D
  • OG 1.047 / TG 1.012
  • 4.6% ABV | Color: 8.1 °SRM | ~26.8 IBU’s
  • Brewed 03/10/2013, Secondary ?, Kegged 04/14/13
  • Mash Temp: ~152°, Thickness: 1.3 qt/g, Efficiency 67%, Attenuation 82%

honey-wheat-ale-04

Brewing the Honey Wheat Ale

honey-wheat-ale-06

The Mash. Poured the rice hulls in to the mash tun before the grains in an effort to keep from getting a stuck sparge.  I’ve had that problem with wheat before, and it’s a pain.  Not a lot of grains for this one, didn’t require much water to mash.  Did a loose mash, 1.4 qt/lb.    3.5 gallons of water at 162° to get it to 151°.   Recirculated 3 gallons of wort back over the grain bed after an hour to set the grain bed.

honey-wheat-ale-03The Boil. Nothing very exciting here.

Cooling. Outdoor cooling using hose water.  ~30 min.

Fermenting. Added 30 seconds of oxygen.  Fermented at about 68° in basement closet. About 63° ambient temp.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. Skipped the secondary on this batch (not sure why). Kegged entire batch.

Drinking the Honey Wheat

honey-wheat-ale-02

This one turned out okay, but I missed the mark a little in my recipe creation.  I’m on a run of batches that are coming out just a little bit too sweet.  I need to add a higher ratio of the base malt to let the Munich and Honey Malt be a lot more subtle.  Not to say this was a bad batch, but it was nothing I will rush to make again.  It’s also not a style that I’m particularly fond of drinking.

This batch didn’t age particcularly well.  As with a few other batches lately, it started to take on a certain level of green apple flavor.  Best I can research, that is an indication that my yeast health wasn’t where it should have been when I started.  I’m hoping to get better with yeast starters going forward.

The nice thing about a Wheat Ale is that you’re brewing something that rookie homebrew drinkers have a decent shot at liking.  This batch was a decent crowd pleaser, and a good recipe for new drinkers.

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espresso-stout-03

Espresso Stout Ale

Winter is when I try to brew some darker beers.  For whatever reason, most people don’t think they like “heavy” dark beers, so it takes me forever to get through a darker batch.  I decided to try my hand at an Espresso Stout, to see if the coffee flavor would entice some of my less enthusiastic drinkers to give it a whirl.  Long ago, I had added coffee to a kit that I’d made, and it turned a lame beer in to one that was pretty damn good.  Something I wanted to try on a beer that didn’t suck to begin with!

I used espresso beans instead of coffee beans, not that I really know the difference.  The beans were crushed a bit, then cold steeped for about a week in my fridge.  I added the espresso juice in to my secondary when I racked the batch over.

All-Grain Recipe: Espresso Stout

Ingredients:

espresso-stout-01

  • 10 lbs. – American 2-row
  • 1.25 lbs – Munich Malt
  • 5 oz. – Crystal Malt 45°L
  • 4 oz. – Roast Barley
  • 4 oz. – Pale Chocolate Malt
  • 4 oz. – Black Malt
  • 4 oz. – Brown Malt
  • 2 oz. Coffee Grounds

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • .25 oz. – Magnum (14.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz. – Crystal (3.2%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 1 oz. – Crystal (3.2%)added end of boil, at flame-out

espresso-stout-02

Yeast:

  • Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • OG 1.056 / TG 1.010
  • 6.01% ABV | Color: 25 °SRM | ~18 IBU’s
  • Brewed 12/02/12, Secondary 12/30/12, Kegged 01/13/13
  • Mash Temp: ~153°, Thickness: 1.3 qt/g, Efficiency 66%, Attenuation 82%

Brewing the Espresso Stout

 

The Mash. espresso-stout-04Totally missed my goal of 151°, and mashed this about 153°.   Mashed in 4 gallons of water at 163° for a thickness of 1.3 qt/gal

The Boil.  Nothing special.  Started with about 6 gallons.  Added Whirlfloc and the Wort Chiller near the end of the boil.

Cooling. Used the wort chiller hooked up to indoor shop sink. Added 30-40 seconds of oxygen.

Fermenting.  Slow to start, but was rolling by the second day.  About 63° ambient temp.

espresso-stout-05Racking to Secondary & Bottling.  Added the liquid from about 2/3 cup of cold steeped espresso to the secondary.  Kegged the entire batch.

Drinking the Espresso Stout

espresso-stout-07

I know that the espresso is a cop out on an already easier style… but this one turned out really great.  Easily one of my bigger crowd pleasers, as well as one of my personal favorites.  The recipe was nearly perfect, if not the tiniest bit thin.  I would like to get a little more body and mouthfeel out of it next time, but there’s a chance that wouldn’t even be the right way to go.  I just felt like I wanted it a little bit “chewier”.  For sure a recipe I’ll come back to in the future.

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mystery-hop-ale-02

Mystery Hop Pale Ale

mystery-hop-ale-01Having recently moved to a different state, I didn’t have access to my previous years wealth homegrown hops. However, a friend happened to have a ton of hops growing in his back yard that were planted for decorative purposes. We don’t exactly know what they are… but that shouldn’t stop me from trying to make beer with them!

It takes about a year to forget what a pain in the ass it is to pluck hops from the vine.  It’s hours of slow, sticky work.  That said, I got a ton!

I haven’t had great success in the Pale/IPA category, but try, try again…  I’m not exactly sure why I picked what I picked for this recipe, but we’ll pretend I had a good reason.

All-Grain Recipe: Mystery Hop Pale Ale

mystery-hop-ale-03

Ingredients:

  • 9 lbs. – German Pilsner
  • 7 oz. – Crystal Malt 10°L
  • 6 oz. – Caramunich
  • 5 oz. – Crystal Malt 60°L

Hop Additions / Boil Additions:

  • 1 oz. – Cascade (5.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 oz. – Cascade (5.5%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • 1 Whirlfloc Tablet & Wort Chiller – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 4 oz. – Wet Mystery Hop (~1 oz. dry) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 5 oz. – Wet Mystery Hop (~1 oz. dry) – added end of boil, at flame-out

mystery-hop-ale-04

Yeast:

  • Safale US-05

Additional Details / Notes

  • OG 1.061 / TG 1.008
  • 6.95% ABV | Color: 10.6 °SRM | ~44 IBU’s
  • Brewed 09/02/12, Secondary ?, Bottled & Kegged 09/30/12
  • Mash Temp: ~151°, Thickness: 1.35 qt/g, Efficiency 85%, Attenuation 87%

Brewing the Mystery Hop Pale Ale

mystery-hop-ale-05

Interesting process on this batch.  I had spent so much of the day messing with the dang hops, that my mash ended kind of late in the afternoon.  I had errands to run, so I left my drained wort to cool in a covered container.  I had planned to boil the next day, but I ended up getting scared and starting the boil late in the evening.  Things went fine, it was just under the cover of darkness.  Nothing a cigar and a couple beers can’t help, however.

The Mash. Called for 3.4 gal. of strike water at 165°, using 1.35 qt/lb to get the temp to 151°.

The Boil. Done hours after the mash ended.  Used Cascade hops in pellets for the bittering additions.  Fresh hops used at 10min and flame out.  I didn’t have a clue on bittering for the Fresh Hops, so I used them for the flavor and aroma additions.  I roughly figured 4-6oz of wet hop to equal 1oz. of dry.

mystery-hop-ale-06Cooling. Used the wort chiller hooked up to the outdoor spigot.  Added 30-40 seconds of oxygen.

Fermenting. New packet of dry Safale US-05 yeast.

Racking to Secondary & Bottling. I don’t have notes about a secondary on this batch, and I was out of town two weeks in.  I have a feeling this sat on yeast for 4 weeks until it was kegged and bottled.

Drinking the Mystery Hop Pale Ale

mystery-hop-ale-07

This batch was never really bad or good.  I had a run of a few batches that had a weird green apple character, and this was one of them.  It wasn’t foul, just not really great to drink.  I don’t love fresh hop beers, so maybe I just wasn’t a fan of this one for that reason.

This batch eventually got drank, but not because it was great… I still need to dial in a good Pale or IPA base so I have a better starting point when it comes to batches like this.

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