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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



  • 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



  • 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.




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.


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



  • 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



  • 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.


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.


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



  • 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



  • 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


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.



IPA : Bent Nail Clone


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



  • 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



  • 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


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.


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


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!



Batch 41 : Relocation Black IPA

relocation-black-IPA-00Around February of 2012, I made the decision to leave MT and relocate to Portland, OR.  I’d been brewing a LOT, and I’d finally shaken my contamination issues, so I wanted to get one last batch in before I left.  Sometimes it’s good to dig up an old recipe that worked, which is what I decided to do for this batch.  My original Black IPA is still one of the better beers I’ve ever produced, so I wanted to make something similar again.

I made a few small recipe changes, but can’t remember exactly why.  Hard to say… Either way, this has a little more Chocolate Malt and less Carafa III than the first time around, and the Chinook was replaced with Warrior, which I probably had on had.

Ingredients: Relocation Black IPA

relocation-black-IPA-05All-Grain Recipe

  • 12 lbs. – American 2-row
  • 8 oz. – Crystal 80
  • 3 oz. – Carafa Type III
  • 6 oz. – Chocolate Malt

Hop Additions

  • .5 oz. – Tomahawk (16.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .3 oz. – Warrior (16%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 oz. – Centennial (9%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • .8 oz. – Cascade (5%) – added during boil, boiled 6 min
  • 1.1 oz. – Centennial (9%) – added end of boil



  • Safale S-05 Dry Yeast

Additional Details / Notes

  • OG 1.070 / TG 1.012
  • 7.68% ABV | Color: 23.32 °SRM | 67 IBU’s
  • Brewed 4/11/12, Kegged 04/28/12
  • Mash Temp: ~153°, Thickness: 1.25 qt/g, Efficiency 80%

How to Make the Relocation Black IPA

relocation-black-IPA-01Smooth brew day on this one.  I hit my mash temp a little high, and stirred it down from 160° to settle in at 153°.  For my strike water, I used a blend of tap and RO water (3 gal / 2 gal ).  I used 4 gallons of that, then heated 5 additional gallons of RO to use for the sparge.  I also added 1tsp of gypsum, as I was experimenting with my water.

I drained off 7 gallons before the boil, which is a little higher than I normally do, but I let it stay at a rapid boil for 30 minutes before starting any hop additions.  One note about the hops, I used pellets for the Tomahawk and Warrior, but the Cascade and Centennial were grown in my garden.  I got some great use out of those!

relocation-black-IPA-02I tried something a little different for chilling on this batch, running the hose through a bucket of ice, in an effort to cool the ground water a little extra and cool faster.  It didn’t matter much.

Once cooled, I strained the wort though a wire mesh strainer, added 50 seconds of Oxygen & 1/2 tsp of Yeast Nutrient, and pitched the Yeast at 69°.  Very happy with the efficiency on this batch.

Drinking the Black IPA

FINALLY!  Finally I made a good batch of beer!  I already knew I liked this recipe, but it was great to finally make a batch without contamination (the first of many).

If you’re a fan of Black IPA’s (or CDAs, as they’re called here in Portland), this is a great recipe.  As time goes on, I’m enjoying this style less and less, but this recipe is as close to what I once loved about them as anything I’ve drank.  Not overly hoppy (but close), and a nice balance of coffee notes, without the two doing full on battle in your mouth.  Smooth drinking and tasty.  A nice Fall or Winter Ale.


Pitch Black IPA Clone

A recent issue of BYO had a whole section on Black IPA’s.  As a huge fan I rushed to try out one of their recipes.  I loved Widmer’s Pitch Black IPA, so I picked that one first.  I was really happy with my first Black IPA, so I had very high hopes for my second.  The recipe called for quite a bit of grain, so I looked forward to making a decently ‘big’ beer after my Summer of low alcohol offerings.

Ingredients:  Amber Rye Ale

All-Grain Recipe

  • 10.5 lb American 2-row
  • 24 oz Caramel 10L
  • 12 oz Carafa II
  • 10 oz Special Roast

Hop Additions

  • .7 oz Warrior (16%) – added during boil, boiled 75 min
  • .3 oz Cascade (5.8%) – added during boil, boiled 2 min
  • .7 oz Warrior (16%) – added during boil, boiled 2 min
  • .6 oz Cascade (5.8%) – dry hop, 1 week in secondary
  • .3 oz Warrior (16%) – dry hop, 1 week in secondary


  • Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast – reused from Amber Rye

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.068 / FG 1.010
  • 7.6% ABV
  • Brewed 08/13/11.  Racked to Secondary 08/27/11.  Bottled 08/21/11.

Brewing the Pitch Black IPA Clone

For my mash water, I warmed 5 gallons of water (3 gal. jug / 2 gal. tap).  I mashed in about 4 gallons of water at 162°.  As seems to be common for me, my mash started out a bit warm, and I stirred to cool for a while and got it to 152°, which I let sit for 60 minutes.  After an hour I recirculated about a gallon of the first runnings back over the grain bed, then I started my sparge.  My sparge water was 1 gallon left over from my mash and 2gal/2tap with a T of pH balancer tossed in for good measure.

I sparged for about an hour and collected about 7 gallons in to my brew pot.  This batch had a 75min hop addition, so I got the pot to a boil and let it run about 15 minutes before my first hop addition.  I ran out of gas in the middle of my boil, so there was a point when my pot lost heat for a time.  The rest of the hop additions went pretty standard, and I added the Wort Chiller and whirlfloc at 10 minutes.

As I cooled the wort, I racked over my Amber Rye, so that I’d have a yeast bed ready for the Black IPA.  I then proceded to strain my Black IPA wort in to the Primary.  I added about 45 seconds of Oxygen before giving it a good stir and capping it.  Due to my interrupted boil, I didn’t boil off quite as much as usual, so I had more than 5 gallons of wort.  I used a blowoff tube, knowing I’d need it.  As you can see from the picutres, I REALLY needed it.  This thing took off like I’ve never seen.  I even overflowed my overflow!

A week after racking to the secondary, I made my final hop addition.  Normally I use a hop bag, but I decided to just toss them in this time to see how that works.  It didn’t…  A week later the hops still hadn’t settled out at all.  When I racked to my bottling bucket most of the hops came along for the ride.  I decided to fix this, so I poured the beer in another bucket and re-racked it over with the hop bag at the end of the cane, acting as a filter.  This took a pretty high risk of aeration, but I don’t think this played in as a factor in my eventual off flavors.

Drinking the Black IPA

So I’ve got a problem.  This batch and the Citra Blonde that followed both have an issue.  I haven’t completely figured out what my problem is, but ultimately both batches have a strong bitterness that they shouldn’t have.  There’s also a sharpness to the carbonation, and they’re a little dry.  After a lot of research I’ve decided I must have a dirty piece of equipment and each batch had a slight bacterial contamination.  It seems like a little wild fermentation has taken place after bottling that really dried out the beer, and adding some additional bitterness.  Damn.  I’ve since gone through and cleaned EVERYTHING, which has resulted in good batches ever since.

This batch isn’t so bad you can’t drink it, but it’s pretty damn bad.  Fortunately, not everyone I hang out with is a beer snob, and there are some who are more than happy to help me drink it!  As far as taste, it’s not great, but I think you have to blame my issues before you comment on the recipe.  There’s a pretty strong coffee flavor that balances out the extra bitterness, but I don’t know that I’d want it that strong, otherwise.  Trying to think past the contamination, I think I prefer my first Black IPA recipe.



The “Scraps” English IPA

After brewing a bunch of non-kit batches, I’d started to accumulate a pile of hops and crystal grains. It was time to get some of them used up! I like to use yeast 3 times, if possible, and the third round on my S-33 seemed like as good a time as any to make a ‘kitchen sink’ beer.

Upon further review of my hops, I had a pretty random assortment, but I figured it was worth a try, anyway. I picked a pretty standard grain bill, with mostly American 2 Row and 10L & 80L.  I’d originally set out to make an IPA, but upon tasting the beer, it was a lot fuller bodied, with caramel and toffee notes, and barely citrus hopped.  Even more, it fits the style of an English IPA better in Beer Tools.  Also, calling it an IPA gave people the impression it was a bad beer, but adding the word “English” in front of it confused people enough to take it at face value.  Nothing wrong with a little B.S. from time to time, right?

Ingredients:  “Scraps” English IPA

All-Grain Recipe

  • 10 lbs American 2-row
  • 4 oz  Crystal 80L
  • 1 lb Crystal 10L
  • 1 tablet Whirfloc

Hop Additions

  • .5 oz Simcoe (12.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .1 oz Chinook (11.9%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .8 oz Willamette (4.7%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz Northern Brewer (7.5%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • .3 oz Amarillo (8.5%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min


Additional Details / Notes

  • SG ~1.057 / FG 1.012 / Secondary FG 1.012
  • 5.81% ABV
  • Brewed 06/04/11, Secondary 06/19/2011, Bottled 06/27/11
  • Fermentation temps:  ~60° ambient Primary, ~75° Secondary

Brewing the Scraps English IPA

Sometimes I take bad notes… this would have been one of those batches.  Usually I scribble on my recipe, but since this was created in Beer Tools, and I didn’t bother to print it… I didn’t have anything to scribble on.

I have no idea what my mash temp was on this batch, but we can safely assume somewhere around 152°.  If I wrote that down, I certainly can’t find it…

Oxygen. Before & After

I was multitasking during the sparge, and let it go too long.  I started my boil with 7 gallons, so I gave it a solid hour boil before I added any hops.  You’ll notice my hop additions are really random.  As I mentioned before, this batch was made in order to use up leftovers from other batches.  A .1 oz addition of Chinook is silly, but it worked.  I had intended to do more interesting hop additions, but I got distracted again, and grouped the 5 min additions together.  The Hops and Whirlfloc were also added at 5min.

I racked my Scottish 60 while I cooled the Scraps Wort.  I used a sanitized rag to wipe away the krausen, then strained the wort in to that same bucket. I gave it about 40 seconds of oxygen, then capped it.  As was the theme of the day… I forgot to measure my SG.  This happens to me a lot…

Drinking the Scraps IPA

By the time this brew was ready to drink, I didn’t hold very high expectations.  I hadn’t had great success with the S-33 yeast on either of my previous efforts, and expected this to be a similar situation.  I also had no idea what my random sampling of hops might do for the flavor of the beer.

In the end… meh.  This beer is about as middle of the road as you can get.  I suppose that should be a good thing, it’s certainly not bad, it’s just kind of boring.  The hops ended up being pretty neutral, and balanced the beer nicely without adding much of their own flavors.  The half pound of 80L was a bit much for my taste, but certainly not too strong.  I’d like to describe the flavor of the yeast I don’t love, but I haven’t been able to pin it down.  I haven’t been able to find great descriptions on this yeast aside from that it can be used in Belgian Ales, so I kind of feel like it has a Belgian quality to it… whatever that means.

If you like a darker bodied IPA, this base isn’t bad.  The hop combo is nothing I’d repeat.  The yeast… let’s just say I won’t be working with S-33 any time soon!


Black Bart IPA

I’ve recently realized that I’m a huge fan of a black IPA.  I don’t normally gravitate to darker beers, but the touch of coffee on a heavily hopped base is so dang good.  I came across a recipe for a Black IPA on the Northern Brewer website.  I didn’t end up purchasing a kit through them, but I used their recipe as the basis for my shopping list when it came time to make this brew.   BTW, I have recently made a couple of the beers from NB.  I try to support my LHBS, but I’m a huge fan of the offerings over at Northern Brewer.

Ingredients: All-Grain Black IPA


  • 11.5 lb American 2-row

  • .5 lb Crystal Malt 80°L
  • .375 lb Carafa® TYPE III
  • .375 lb Chocolate Malt

Hop Additions

  • 1 oz Tomahawk (16.5%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • 1 oz Chinook (11.9%) – added during boil, boiled 15 min
  • 1 oz Centennial (9.0%) – added during boil, boiled 10 min
  • 1 oz Cascade (6.0%) – added during boil, boiled 5 min
  • 1 oz Centennial (9.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
  • 1 oz Cascade (6.0%) – secondary fermenter, for one week


  • 1 ea Safale US-05 (dry yeast)

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.060 / FG 1.012
  • 6.28% ABV
  • Brewed 03/05/11, Secondary 03/19/11, Botted & Kegged 03/31/11
  • Efficiency 70%, Attenuation 80%  (from Beer Tools)
  • Fermentation temps:  ~60° Primary, ~65° Secondary

Mash & Boil

This was my biggest mash to date, and probably about as much grain and water as I can pack in to my mash tun.  Weighing in at almost 13 pounds, this had the potential to be a big beer.  It’s worth noting that the Carafa III is one of the key ingredients in a Black IPA.  This de-husked malt doesn’t impart the bitterness of some of the other heavily roasted grains.  Using the Carafa keeps the beer from coming across as a Stout or Porter — or so I’ve read.

The grains and water filled my mash tun to the very top, but luckily everything fit.  I aimed for 152° for my mash temp, which I held for an hour.  Once the hour was complete, I drained out the first gallon and carefully poured it back over the top of the grain bed, then started the sparge, using 170° water.

Time for the boil!  A bunch of hop additions in this batch!  Check above for all my times.  The original recipe from NB had used Summit, but my LHBS doesn’t carry that hop, hence the Tomahawk.  The original recipe also called for a pound of Corn sugar at flame out, which I didn’t do.  I felt that the alcohol level was already high enough, and didn’t want to boost it any further.  I may try it in the future just to see the difference in the body of the finished brew.

After the hour boil had completed, I cooled the brew down to about 80° with my Wort Chiller, for about 30 minutes.  The next step was something new!

Oxygenating the Wort

I’d only recently become aware of the importance of oxygen in the wort at the time of fermentation.  I think the Yeast Book was my first clue, and I looked in to it a bit more after that.

As you boil the wort, you are driving oxygen out of the solution.  Oxygen is essential for yeast growth and reproduction. Yeast must grow and reproduce first, before actually fermenting the wort to make beer.  Oxygen is really important, so it’s a good idea to force it back in to the wort.  This becomes more of an issue with 5 gallon boils, as you’re boiling all of your liquid – as opposed to extract brewing with a 2 gal. boil.  Pouring your wort from the kettle to the fermenting vessel will add some oxygen, as will a vigorous stir.  This may work, but it’s not the BEST way.  Best results come by pumping air (using an aquarium pump with a diffusion stone) OR by using a diffusion stone to pump straight oxygen back in to the wort.

The aquarium pump works, but takes a while.  I opted for the much quicker oxygen tank method.  You can see my aeration tools on my brewing equipment page (under odds and ends).  I think the aeration wand and regulator ran me about $35, and the oxygen tank is about $8 from any home improvement store.

I sanitize the stone, then pump the oxygen in to the wort for about 45 seconds.  I just count it in my head… not very scientific, but it seems to work.

Fermentation, Bottling & Kegging

I watched my temps pretty close for this batch.  I keep my fermentation fridge at about 58°, which means the actively fermenting wort is about 65°.  Once the wort is done generating it’s own heat, I’ll raise my fridge to about 65°.  I let the vessel sit for a total of 2 weeks.  I can’t control temp once I get to the Secondary, but my ‘beer closet’ sits at a steady temp of about 65°.  After a week in the Secondary, I dropped the last of the hops in to my hop bag and let them soak for a week.

4 weeks after brew day, I finally get to bottle and keg the beer!  I’m on a pretty solid half and half bottle to keg ratio these days.  Gives me plenty of travel brews, while still keeping the fridge stocked.

Drinking the Black IPA

I have a theory that you’re best off brewing styles people aren’t overly familiar with, as you’ll get away with far greater mistakes.  That said… this beer was AWESOME!  I’ll make a tweak or two, but this is a repeat brew, for sure.  I think the coffee and body were both a little bit heavy, but I did leave out a pound of sugar that would have thinned the body a touch.  The beer is one that really grabs your sense, but it’s great!  I loved it, and anyone willing to attempt to appreciate the style usually agreed.  At the time of this writing, there’s one growler left, and it’s being saved for a very special occasion!  (or until I make this great beer again!)




Ranger Hopped All-Grain IPA

My first all-grain batch was a Ranger IPA clone, from a recipe I’d found in a recent issue of BYO magazine.  As a result of the multiple hop additions, I had a bunch of leftover ingredients.  As the first recipe had some weirdness (like a cane sugar addition), I figured I’d tweak the other recipe and make a second, similar batch.  I also wanted to take a shot at reusing the yeast, something I’d never tried on a 5 gal. batch up to this point.

Ingredients : All Grain Ranger IPA Clone


  • 10 lb American 2-row
  • 1 lb Crystal Malt 60°L
  • 5 oz Crystal Malt 120°L

Hop Additions

  • 1 oz Chinook (11.4%) – added during boil, boiled 60 min
  • .5 oz Simcoe (12.2%) – added during boil, boiled 30 min
  • .8 oz Cascade (5.0%) – added during boil, boiled 15 min
  • .5 oz Cascade (5.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
  • 1 oz Cascade (5.0%) – added to secondary fermenter


  • 1 ea Wyeast 1272 American Ale II – reused yeast cake from previous batch

Additional Details / Notes

  • SG 1.064
  • FG 1.010
  • 6.98% ABV
  • Brewed 12/05/10, Secondary 12/18/10, Bottled 12/31/2011
  • Efficiency 84% – Attenuation 83% (from Beer Tools)

The Mash

As with my first all-grain batch, I used a calculator from Brew365 to calculate my strike water amount and temperature.  I had 11.3 lbs of grain x 1.25qt to make for a 3.53 gal mash.  Calculations said to use 170° water to get to 153°, but I ended up at about 155°.  Close enough, so I capped the mash tun.  After an hour, I popped the cap to recirculate, and found that my temp was closer to 160°, which I worried was too hot.

Being my second all-grain batch, I got worried I’d messed things up and my starches might not have converted.  Better safe than sorry, I ran to the drug store for some iodine, and did a starch conversion test.  No worries, all was well.

I recirculated some of the first runnings of the wort, then sparged for about an hour with 170° water.

The Boil

December isn’t exactly paradise here in MT, but I managed to find a day that was Sunny and not too awful cold.  It’s not a quick process getting a pot to boil when it’s below freezing, but it can be done!

After about half an hour, I got to a boil.  I let that roll for 15 minutes before starting my hop clock.  I decided to hop this beer exactly like I had done with the Ranger Clone.  I wanted to keep the hops constant, but change up other aspects of the recipe.  Plus, I enjoyed the hop flavor of the last batch, so it seemed like a good plan.  Hop additions are all stated above.  With 10 minutes to go, I dropped the wort chiller in to the pot to let it boil a few minutes.

After my hour boil, I hooked my wort chiller up to the spigot and let the cold winter water work it’s magic.  Luckily it was JUST warm enough that day to use the outdoor spigot.  Bonus.  Chilling the wort took about half an hour to get down to where I wanted it.  I chilled down to about 80°.

Fermentation | Reusing the Yeast Cake

I like to find new and interesting ways to screw things up, and this batch was no exception.  I’d read plenty about reusing yeast, but hadn’t ever tried it.  Most of the time the ‘experts’ claim you shouldn’t reuse dry yeast, so I never bothered.   Oh, and because every kit I’ve ever bought came with yeast.  That, too.

I’d used a Wyeast liquid yeast for my Ranger Clone, and wanted to get double use out of it (it’s expensive!). I brewed this batch of beer two weeks after the Ranger Clone.  I timed everything so that I’d be brewing a new batch on the same day I racked the RC from the primary to the secondary, leaving the yeast cake ready to rock.

There are a bunch of ways to go about reusing the yeast, but for this batch I opted for the easiest option.   I siphoned out the fermented brew, wiped away the krausen with a sanitized rag, and put the new Recycled Ranger right in to the same bucket.  Almost felt like cheating.  After a couple of minutes, I gave the whole thing a good stir, capped the bucket, and stuck it in my fermenting fridge to ferment at about 168°.  I was bubbling away in just a couple of hours.  It worked!

I added 1 oz of Cascade hops when racking to the secondary, which I left for a week.

Bottling & Drinking

After kegging the entire Ranger Clone batch, I realized it was lame not to have travel-ready beers available.  To balance things out, I decided to bottle this entire batch.  I filled up 8 Growlers and 2 1 liter bottles.

As I’d written about, my Ranger Clone turned out.. well, sub-par.  I was starting to worry about this one, but by dumb luck, I’d at least started fermenting in my beer fridge again, so I didn’t run the risk of overly warm temps like I got with the RC batch.  I wasn’t overly patient with this batch, and cracked one open after only about a week.  On the bright side, it was WAY better than the RC!  The flavor is decent, but there’s a bitterness that doesn’t quite fit with my expectatons of a good Ale.

There’s a lot of room for improvement.  I used too many crystal malts, and the color is weird.  I need to start using something for clarity, and I have since started playing with the water to reduce the effects of the hard water in my area, balancing the bitterness I mentioned above.  More on this to come in future brews!