Tag Archives: home brew

McKinley Park Wee Heavy

Got home from going out to breakfast plus a half hour walk. Thought I had nothing else to do today. Had milled grain sitting around from a postponed batch, so I decided to brew up a Wee Heavy. Except this wee heavy is going to have an American twinge to it. This was probably the most grain I’ve ever used at one time. All approximately 20 pounds of grain went into the mash tun with 5 gallons of water. My temp was right around 154, but I did not have complete conversion. I added another gallon to bump the temp up and let it sit for another 30 min. This time was good. I got about 3 gallons in the brew pot and added 5 more gallons to the tun for the sparge. After an hour, I drained off about another 3 gallons and began the boil. While that started I added another gallon of water to the mash and let that sit. My first runnings were 1.093 at 140 deg with refactometer. To start the boil I had a 1.080 initial reading on the refractometer. Below is the recipe. I had some business to conduct so the boil went a little over 1 hour. I also pulled off another gallon from the tun and boiled that separately.

  • 18#  Marris Otter
  • 1# Crystal 40
  • 1# Munich Light
  • 8 oz Special B
  • 2 oz Roasted Barley
  • 1 oz Nugget (14.9% AA) at 60 min
  • 3/8 oz Fuggles (4.2%) at 60 min
  • 1 oz Hallertau (2.7%) at 20 min
  • 3 gallon freezer bags full of homegrown Cascade and Nugget hops at 15 min

Did not get done with the boil until around 7:00 PM and had plans to go out. So, I stuck the brew pot in an ice bath after the wife helped me squeeze wort out of the bag of hop cones. Got home at around midnight. Due to the boil and use of whole cone (or miscalulations) I ended up with only 4 gallons, so I had to add the gallon from the separate boil. This may knock down the IBUs. I pitched Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast. OG was 1.090.

Update 4/3: Bottled after 6 days of dry-hopping with 1 oz of Cascade pellets. Had to use detrose and DME. FG 1.018 so about 9.5% ABV. End of the bottling bucket was fruity, smokey/spicy and bitter.


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Backyard Pale Ale 2015

Brewed this West Coast Pale Ale up on February 28. I’ve read and heard that West Coast Pales are supposed to dry and hoppy. That is what I’m going for whatever the reality may be. I’m not sure if Northern Brewer fits the American bill, but that is what I had on hand for bittering.


  • 12# two row
  • 0.5 oz Northern Brewer
  • 1# LDME
  • 4 gallon freezer bags full of home grown Cascade and Nugget hops

I had 7 gallons in the tun which maxed out. Got about 5 gallons in the kettle. My initial pre-boil gravity reading was 1.040 at 127 degrees. Put 1.5 gallon in tun for “sparge”. Got about the same amount back. Added 4 gallon freezer bags full of cones. Got 5 gallons in the fermontor. OG = 1.056. Pitched Omega West Coast ale yeast. House smells piney.

Update (3/14): I check the gravity and have a reading of 1.002. I added 1 oz of Cascade pellets for dry hopping. At the moment, not thrilled about the taste. Got some esters. May have fermented at over 68 degrees.

Update (3/20): Bottled 40 bottles (2 bombers). Still had estery characteristics but was also very bitter.

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Four Hop IPA

I brewed up my American IPA with 4 different kinds of C-hops. I tried to do a “regular” brew with a sparge but could not get mash temp above 150 with the original 3.5 gallons. So I ended up with 4.5-5 in the tun. This have me a gravity reading of 1.058 at 140 deg F and 3.75 gallons in the brew pot. I poured 3.5-4 gallons in tun for sparge. I got about 7 total gallons in the brew pot after an hour plus sparge. The gravity was 1.042 at 120+ degrees. This only comes to a gravity of about 1.050, so I’ve decided to do a 90 minute boil. I’ve got far more that 5 gallons in the pot, and I’d like to get a higher gravity. Even though I’m using some whole hops, I don’t think I’ll loose too much.


  • 12# Two-row
  • 0.45# Crystal 40L
  • 0.45# Crystal 60L
  • 0.5# Carapils
  • 1 oz Columbus 13.4% at 60 min
  • 1 oz Centennial 9.3% at 30 min
  • 2 gallon freezer bags full of backyard hops at 15 min
  • 1 oz Cascade 5.5% at 5 min
  • 1 oz Citra (dry-hop in a couple weeks)
Muku looking for a treat.

Too fast for the camera.

When I shook the first package of hops, Muku came looking for a treat. I am still having problems with my wort chiller. I did realize that the connector I purchased last week is slightly off. The 13/16″ male connection has thinner threads than the threads in the female part of the faucet. I switched back to using the out-take spigot from my mash tun and I forced a smaller tube over it, but I still had leakage at the point where it connects to the chiller. After much aggravation, I got the wort chilled, but my 90 minute boil back-fired. While I got a decent OG of 1.064, I only ended up with 4.5 gallons in the fermentor. I pitched California Ale yeast and off it goes.


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Bottling Celebration Ale clone

Last weekend I dry-hopped my Celebration clone with 1 ounce each of Cascade and Centennial. This was a bit more than the recipe called for (0.66 oz each). I dumped the pellets right in the primary fermentor, and when I opened it today the aroma was fantastic. Unfortunately, neglected to record my OG in the last post, so the FG of 1.012 won’t really help determining ABV. The recipe is supposed to have an OG of 1.067, but I doubt I got that. Oh well, I used a considerable amount of home-grown hops in the boil, so determining IBUs is not likely. I tasted the end of the bottling bucket. The beer has a deep golden color, and it had a nice malt flavor with a good bitter finish. I did not get much hops on the nose, but that might be more noticeable after bottle conditioning.

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Celebration Clone 2015

Brewed up my Celebration clone today. I used 3 bags of backyard hops at 30 min. I did not get to 5 gallons. Plan to dry hop this with an ounce of Cascade and Centennial.

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Bottling Two Beers

Yesterday I bottled two beers: my Wicked Winter Ale and the last of my imperial stout.

The Wicked Winter Ale had a FG of 1.006 putting it slightly over 5% abv. I was kind of surprised given that the OG was less that 1.050, but it fermented down below 1.010 so $. I used 3.75 oz dextrose for priming and added an ounce of raspberry flavoring. I want this ready by Christmas, so doing a secondary with puree or real fruit would have held me back. I ended up with forty-eight bottles.

Afterwards I bottled the remainder of my imperial stout which I had been aging on oak cubes for almost 5 months. The FG was 1.014 which gives me a 9.7% abv. I used 1.875 oz dextrose for priming and got 14 bottles and 2 bombers. Damn this tastes pretty awesome.

On a different note, the Basil IPA still tastes horrible. I added gelatin to the keg, transferred it to a different corny and added some basil extract I had made. No go. I guess you can’t get rid of band aid flavor.

On to the next. I took some mint from my back yard and added it to some medium toast oak cubes and whiskey in a 6 oz jar. I will use this in a couple of months to age an amber ale.

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Winter Ale 2015

20151025_090641Time to brew up my Wicked Winter Ale  using my base red ale grain bill. This is an homage to Pete’s Wicked Winter which has long been out of production. I ended up getting 32 quarts in the mash tun. On the third vorlauf, I got a gravity reading with the hydrometer of 1.032 at 135 deg F and 1.043 with the refractometer. I decided to lower the amount of nutmeg this year to 1 tsp, and I used fresh ground. Unfortunately, I only ended up with starting gravity of 1.047.

  • 5/8 oz Fuggles (5.3% AA) at 60 min
  • 3/8 oz East Kent Goldings (5.7% AA) at 60 min
  • 5/8 oz East Kent Goldings (5.7% AA) at 0 min
  • 2 tsp cinnamon at 0 min
  • 1 tsp nutmeg at 0 min


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