Tag Archives: Homebrew


Brewed up an amber based on this Irish Red. I have been using this recipe for a while, but I finally managed to find brown malt.


  • 10# two row
  • 0.25# crystal 40L
  • 0.25# crystal 60L
  • 0.25# brown
  • 0.5 carapils
  • 0.75 oz Fuggles for 60 min
  • 0.5 oz Goldings for 60 min
  • 0.25 oz Fuggles at flame out
  • 0.5 oz Goldings at flame out

20160123_150442I got all of the grain and about 7 gallons of water in the mash tun. I am again doing a no-sparge method, but I only mashed for 90 minutes in stead of 3 hours. The gravity reading was about 1.041 with both instruments. About 5 gallons went into the brew pot and 1.5 gallons of heated water went back into the mash tun for a mini-sparge. I stepped out to get an adapter to properly connect my wort chiller to my faucet. I needed a 3/4″ to 13/16″ adapter, I had been having a difficult time finding, but Ace was the place. After a side trip to Brew & Grow for a new fermentor and some DME, I got back home to drain off the mini-sparge which had a gravity reading of about 1.020 at 128 deg F. 20160123_150434I started boiling the main brew pot and the liquid from the mini-sparge separately. After 40 minutes of boiling, I added the remain 1 gallon from the mini-sparge into the main brew pot and added 1# of DME.

Then stuff started to go to hell. I broke the tip off of the floating thermometer. Of course that happened after I went to the brew store. I also again had trouble with the wort chiller. I am now using the correct intake tubing which has a garden hose (3/4″) attachment. The 3/4″ to 13/16″ adapter I bought at Ace fit the tubing to the faucet correctly, but when I turned the faucet on water went everywhere. I eventually minimized the leakage at the connection, but I could not get the tube clamped down tight enough on the chiller to stop dripping at that point. I also tore up my hand trying to tighten up all of the connections, so into the bathtub the brew pot went.

I pitching White Labs Irish ale yeast into 5.5 gallons of wort in the fermentor with an OG of 1.060.

Update: FG was 1.010. Which should give it a 6.5% abv. 20 IBUs



Leave a comment

Filed under Brewing

Basil IPA 2015

I got the recipe from Homebrew Talk Forums. It is on I’ve done and blogged about many years before, but the post has been lost to HBTF’s blogging format change. I had saved a bottle for several month’s after it was first ready and it received some rave revies at a homebrew club. This is the first time I’ve tried to repeat the recipe. Originally I had used fresh basil from my backyard that I had just torn of the plants and thrown into the boil. However, I’ve been having a difficult time growing basil, so for this recipe I used local organic basil that came in a box. Some basil lime hand soap also inspired me to add lime zest to the wort. I forgot to properly identify the types of grain that I bought at Brew & Grow, but I did record their codes. I am planning to have this ready for HoPS! Oktoberfest at the end of September.

11# Two row
1.5# Honey malt ? (Brew & Grow #129)
1.5# Victory malt ? (Brew & Grow #105)

Hop and spice schedule

  • 2 oz. Northern Brewer (7%) FWH
  • 1 oz. Cascade (5.7%) 30 min
  • 1 oz. Cascade (5.7%) 15 min
  • 1 oz. fresh basil leaves 15 min
  • 0.5 oz. Amarillo () 8 min
  • 5/8 oz. fresh basil leaves 8 min
  • 0.5 oz. Amarillo () 2 min
  • 1 oz. fresh basil leaves 2 min
  • 1 lime, zested 2 min

I ended up with a final gravity in the 1.050-1.051 range, and pitched London Ale yeast.

Update (10/25): I left the fermenter on the first floor for a day after brewing. It was a hot day, so I moved to the basement. Despite this move the vigorous fermentation still blew the air lock and made a mess. After 2 weeks I kegged it up and placed it in my slowly failing refridgerator. It ended up at 5% ABV and 68 IBUs.

The beer was served at Oktoberfest three weeks after kegging, but it had a very yeasty flavor to it and had a bit too much lime. A couple weeks afterwards a HoPS member had his own O-fest party with leftovers from the club event. My beer had a definite band-aid flavor likely the result of an out-of-control, too hot fermentation.

Right now I’m trying to fine what is left of it with gelatin. Tomorrow I’ll transfer it to another keg to see if that helps.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bottling/Kegging, Brewing, Drinkin

Splitting the Imperial Stout

A few weeks ago I brewed up an imperial stout with a few problems. Today I am splitting it into four different versions of the beer.

I opened the small PET carboy that I used to hold the overflow from the fermentation disaster. The FG was 1.016. It smelled a little skunky and tasted a little sweet, but it definitely had alcohol. I racked almost 2 gallons into the bottling bucket and bottled 2 twenty-two (22) ounce bottles and 6 twelve (12) bottles of pure stout. The day before I had placed a third of a cup of espresso coffee into a jar and filled it with a cup of water. After the first round of bottling I poured this coffee mixture though a strainer into the bottling bucket. I managed to get two (22) ounce bottles and 4 twelve (12) bottles out of this.

I took a taste of the end of the bottling bucket and it had a great coffee flavor to it. That kind of flavor that’s evident in coffee stouts like Big Hugs. So, I think that ratio of 1/3 cup in 1 cup water to 1 gallon of beer is fantastic.

I then opened the main fermenter and got a FG of 1.016. There was no skunky taste and it was less sweet. I racked about 2 gallons into the PET bottle where I had placed some medium toast oak cubes that had been soaking in Dewars White Label. The other 2 gallons I racked into a new 3 gallon glass carboy and then dry-hopped with 0.5 oz. of Northern Brewer. I will bottle this dry-hopped version of the stout in about a week.

Leave a comment

Filed under Bottling/Kegging

Backyard Pale

Brewed a pale ale with backyard hops.


  • 10# Two Row
  • 0.5 oz Nugget at 60 min
  • bag back yard hops at 15 and 5 min
  • NW coast yeast

OG 1.052 and FG 1.009

Update (5/17): Just tried this pale ale tonight. Poured nice and clear with a floral scent. Tasted crisp and a little bitter, but still with a good hoppy nose.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brewing

Wicked Winter Ale 2014

For double-brew weekend day 2 I’m going to brew up my Wicked Winter Ale, but I’ll be 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 1.038 at 120 deg F and 1.054 with the refractometer.

  • 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
  • 2 tsp nutmeg at 0 min


While the wort was cooling I also racked my Hoppy Amber to a glass carboy so I could dry hop it with an ounce of Citra. And man, did it smell awesome! The hydrometer reading on it was 1.008, but the refractometer read in the 1.020’s. I also noticed that the yeast had clumped together kind of like yesterday, but it wasn’t floating. Maybe this is a characteristic of Omega Labs yeasts.

Back to the winter ale: I racked it on to the yeast cake of the Hoppy Amber. The OG was 1.054 according to both instruments. I will secondary this with some raspberry puree in two weeks. See you then.

Leave a comment

Filed under Brewing

Hoppy Amber

It has been a while since I posted or updated the blog. I had some minor surgery a few months ago that prevented me from lifting heavy loads, but I’m back. I am brewing up the hoppy American amber that I brewed last summer. This, I will serve at the HoPS! annual Oktoberfest.

Since it has been awhile since the last brew, I ended up making a couple mental errors. First I forgot to set up for the no-sparge method. This means that I only heated up less than half of the water necessary to mash. I also did not realize this until I had already combined the water and grain. I also forgot that my efficiency is not particularly good, so I did not purchase enough grain to get the starting gravity I desired. This I also did not realize until I was about to start the boil.

Sadly, I have made notes of these things in my blog posts, but I have not updated my brew-day steps or recipe pages. Not getting the water ready was not a big deal, but only ending up with roughly a 1.039 starting gravity resulted in a trip to the brew store.

My hops schedule was a little different:

1 oz. Columbus (15.6% aa) hop first wort hopping (almost 90 minute boil)
1 oz Cascade (5.9% aa) hops at 30 minutes
1 oz Citra (14.2% aa) hops at 15 minutes
1 oz Citra hops dry-hop (planned)

I ended up adding two pounds of amber DME. I got a starting gravity of 1.060, and I pitched a west coast ale yeast from a new company, Omega Yeast Labs. They are located on the north side of Chicago and have several local breweries as their customers.

In two weeks, I will dry-hop this and then later keg. See you then.


Filed under Brewing