Brew Updates

Time to go back to the last few beers and give some up dates.

Back in May I made a lower gravity Honey ale

This beer really came out spectacular. Did have a bit of a hiccup with carbonation. I left it hooked to 40psi for about 5 days. Ah yep. took a while to gas off. Took a big hunk of the aromatics with it as well, but it still was great. As expected though, no real honey characteristics from the honey. But not sure I would just take the honey out. With that small grainbill, I’m sure it affected the body somehow. I would give it a 4/5

Also in May was the mini extract batch of Brown ale.

I was really hoping for this beer to shine, as I have been having some great extract beers lately. This one however is not one of those. First extract beer in a long time that had the extract taste. But even today as I’m having one, I’m not entirely sure its the extract. I thought then, and now that the heavy hand on the 80L may be whats going on here. Its far far better now in September than it was in June or July. And I really don’t recall the extract taste fading before,, at least not as dramatically. Everything else I love about the beer. The color, the aromas, the feel.. need to revisit this one again. 2/5

The last one here the Zerg the Pines Amber  is really one of my favorites. Though I gotta say its nothing like what I wanted or expected. I wanted the real piney, dank stuff like the Titletown Eureka beer.

It did have some of that sure, but not as much as I hoped. It was more grapefruity, and the yeast really stood out in this. And while its been a while, its really reminded me of Alaskan Alt Amber. I’m still gonna pick up some to do a side by side. Its probably way off, but at least I can nudge it one way or another then.  Definitely going to make this again. 4.5/5

(next up,, time for some stouts)


Porter and fresh hopped

Been doing a little more brewing lately since it’s cooling off. And since I like the morning brews, I’ve been out there 5am.

First was the Memorial Mild. As the name suggests, it used to be my Memorial Day beer. Small, easy going. I think it’s not quite a Porter, but not a Brown either. And brewed it Labor day weekend.

It will be getting served at an upcoming event in October.

Then we finally got to the annual fresh backyard hop brew.

This year I went with a Kentucky Common. A rustic kind of beer that more or less a darker cream ale. Doesn’t really use that much hops. Except almost everything was  Britishy..

While I do have tons of hops back there, this recipe let me get away with only picking for 1/2 hour.

2017 Backyard Hillbilly Amber 5 gal.

  • 7 lbs Maris otter
  • 12oz flaked corn
  • 4oz instant rice
  • 2oz midnight wheat
  • 1oz cluster to bitter @60
  • 1/3 bucket of fresh picked hops @5 min.
  • Nottingham yeast
  • Mashed at 152


Whoops. Had most of this sitting in draft mode.  So I’ll post it up with some new stuff I was gonna post…

The brewery down the road has a beer on tap that uses Eureka hops. Wow I had to have these. Like cedar siding in the basement kind of action.

I was going to be making an Amber any way so let’s do both.

ZERG THE PINES   5 gallon

  • 10 lb 2 row
  • 1/2 lb 60L
  • 1/2 lb 40L
  • 2 oz chocolate malt (500 but probably shoulda went 350)
  • 1 oz pearl @ 60
  • 1 oz Eureka @ 5
  • Nottingham yeast
  • Mashed 154

Should be kegging this up today so will have some feed back soon.

Also managed to beat the birds to some currants this year. 

Got about 3 lbs before the mosquitos drove me out. Be looking for a reddish blond coming out soon!

The Throwback Brown Ale

This week’s brew was more of a plan ahead kind of thing. I will be brewing a barley wine in the next two weeks, so I need yeast. So, how bout a 3 gallon batch to steal the yeast cake from….

Since I will be using Nottingham yeast, why not an good old Brit Brown? Haven’t had a good British Brown ale in a long time. All the ones you find now days are too Americanized.

So I went back into the vault and found o e of my long lost extract brown ales. (Needs a new name)

Basement Brown 3 gallon extract

  • 1 can light LME
  • 12oz crystal 80
  • 8oz carapils
  • 8oz biscuit
  • 3/4oz EKG
  • 1/4oz EKG
  • Nottingham yeast

Well for some reason, I could not get Beersmith to work they way I wanted. I don’t know if I was using wrong profile or what, but it wanted me to be using 8+ gallons of water for a 3 gallon batch.
But figuring out an extract batches needs is like nothing.

3.125 gallons into fermenter
1.75 lbs grain x .12 water absorb
1.5 gallons boil off
.125 gallons kettle gunk loss
= 5 gallons water

I took 1/2 gallons of that water and mashed/steeped the grains in the mini masher while I was bringing the rest of the water to boil. Once I got boil I dumped it I to the kettle and got under way.

I did do a full boil with all of the extract. I wanted to get a little darker color since I used the golden light Lme.

Mmm the smell of a British Brown is awesome. Caramel, EKG.. Oh yea.

Sure looks like a good color going in. As the way with my first rounds of extract beers, I’ll just chuck it in the basement and let it go at what ever temp it is down there.  And right now it’s still 58.  Perfect for Notty.

Honey, and strange hops

Well it’s National Homebrew Day, so let’s brew!

Nephew wanted to see how the brew process works so he dropped in to check it out. 

 I needed to make a beer for Memorial Day and a something with honey. So a very quick 3.5% honey bitter. Plus I got these free hops from Tenatious Badger. (More on these later.

Honey Burst – 5 gallons

  • 4.5 lb 2 row
  • .5 victory
  • 1 lb honey
  • 1oz Michigan Copper @10
  • 3/4 magnum @10
  • Nottingham 
  • Mashed at 155

This was the first brew in quite a while that I made outside. In fact this beer should be completely brewed, fermented, kegged and drank entirely in the garage.

Now these Michigan Copper hops. They are described as “fragrant floral and tropical fruit”  

If fragrant and floral means vomit and parmesan cheese, then I concur. I really had to force my self to put them in my beer. If would have had another 10% hop laying around, these would have been dumped. 

But once they got into the boil they smelled exactly like fresh cut lemon peel.

Both before and after smells aren’t really something I’m excited about having in my beer.. but we will see.


First a quick update on the Golden ale made for the Wine Walk. The beer was a big hit.  We were billing it as a cream ale, but I would have called it a blonde ale. Light,  slightly malty with just the faintest of hops. As good of reception that this received, there is no doubt it will be brewed again. 

Moving on to this weekends brew. For our February club meeting we are brewing with oats. Oat malt,  flaked oats, oatmeal… Stuff like that. I figure there will be a few oatmeal stouts,  so I went the other way. A Pale Oatmeal mild

I was looking to get something light colored, but decent body,  and very low hopped to showcase the oatmeal. I came up with.. 

  • 4lbs maris otter
  • 1.5lbs oatmeal
  • 1/4 lbs 40L crystal
  • . 75oz Fuggles @60
  • Nottingham yeast
  • Mashed at 156

This beer hands down is the best smelling beer of the year. Even the kids came downstairs to see what I was making. But cloudy.. Wow.  Pretty sure this will never drop out by February. 

I took several pics but none of them captured how hazy this really is. I can’t wait to see how this one comes out.  

Next I have to try to replicate the heavily caramelized Ipa for an upcoming contest.

Golden ale 

Today I brewed up a Golden Ale. A style I’ve never brewed before, but one that looks pretty basic feel to it.

The local homebrew shop is part of a December wine walk and  wants to have a few beers up for it. Only have about 4 weeks to get something up and kegged for it though, so this Golden ale fits the bill. 

Light easy drinking beer. I’d call it a British blonde ale maybe. Nothing complicated. Not over the top hoppy or malty. Balanced low gravity.

Now the only thing that may cause a hiccup is the clarity in this particular time frame  Maris Otter and the bit of wheat might leave a bit of a haze that won’t drop  in the two weeks or less it will have.

Will need a bit of bitterness to firm it up. But don’t want to get deep into the pale ale range. So keep a light hand on the late end hopping.

I chose the grain bill to give a more malty impression that would hold up with such a light mash temp. This style is known for it cleaner yeast, so went with Nottingham for its low, but still noticeable esters.

  • 5 lbs Maris Otter
  • 1.5 lbs Munich 
  • 1.5 lbs wheat malt
  • .5oz Amarillo @6o
  • .5oz cascade @60
  • .25oz Amarillo @15
  • .25oz Amarillo during whirlpool 
  • Mashed at 148 with a ramp to 152 at 15 minutes.
  • Nottingham yeast  

I did an extended hop stand during whirlpool. Like 25 minutes. Temp only dropped to 197, and really let the cone firm up and add you can see in the pic, the wort was very clear going into fermenter.