Yesterday I brewed my 100th batch of homebrew. As it was a little bit of a milestone, I wanted to make something different than I normally do. With the disgusting heat of spring and summer moving in, I thought a saison would be perfect.

The saison I brew at work is lightly spiced and hopped, and isn’t nearly dry enough for me to enjoy very much. For my saison, I said “fuck yooouuuuu, Ommegang!” and went for a spicier and drier version of the style. I used Wyeast 3724 Saison yeast, and am planning to ratchet the temperature up after a couple days of fermentation to get as much attenuation as possible (and some extra spicy phenols/esters).

The grain bill was pretty simple, and geared toward attenuation with the addition of honey and a mash profile around 150F:

  • 10 lbs Pils malt
  • 1.5 lbs Wildflower Honey

For the water, I had to bump up the gypsum to make sure the pH didn’t stay too high. It wound up at 5.62, which is on the high end, but it’s still acceptable. The gypsum will also help accentuate the hop bitterness and the dryness of the beer.

  • 7 gm Gypsum (in the mash)
  • 2 gm Calcium Chloride (in the mash)
  • 2 gm Gypsum (beginning of the boil)

The hops and spices are the core of this batch. I was going for a spicy beer with some fruit undertones, so a combination of challenger (spicy) and centennial (fruity) hops seemed like a good idea. For the actual spices, a mix of coriander, grains of paradise, and green and black peppercorns rounds out the flavors and aromas I’m looking for.

  • 0.60 oz Galena (60 minutes, 11% Alpha Acid)
  • 0.75 oz Challenger (15 minutes, 5.6% Alpha Acid)
  • 10 gm Coriander (15 minutes)
  • 4 gm Grains of Paradise (15 minutes)
  • 10 Black Peppercorns (15 minutes)
  • 4 Green Peppercorns (15 minutes)
  • 0.50 oz Challenger (End of Boil)
  • 0.50 oz Centennial (End of Boil, 10.9% Alpha Acid)

All my numbers were good. Mash pH was 5.62, boil volume was 7.8 gallons, end of boil volume was 6.5 gallons, carboy volume was 5 gallons, gravity was 1.053, efficiency was 80%, wort pH was 5.32, and pitching temperature was 70F (74F as of right now, 18 hours later). That should just about cover everything. I’m really hoping I didn’t overdo anything in this one.


More Rye Experimentation

December 3, 2011

A couple of days ago I finally got the rye pale ale keg carbonated and tapped. It’s got a dark gold color with a light haze from the dry hops. The aroma is a combo of grapefruit and pineapple. The bitterness is aggressive up front with a decent amount of resin character. Its body is dry with a spicy and resinous flavor with some pineapple in the background. Overall it came out pretty nice. I kinda want to reduce the Simcoe in the bittering and flavoring additions to knock the resin character down a bit.

Today I brewed up an Irish stout. It’s based on a previous recipe, but I replaced the flaked barley with a bunch of rye to reduce how chewy it gets. I’m using Challenger hops for the first time in this beer because they have a spicy character that should go well with the dry character of the stout.

Dry Stout (Rye)

Boil Volume: 8.27 gallons

Batch Volume: 6.57 gallons

Fermenter Volumer: 5.00 gallons

Original Gravity: 1.048

Boil: 70 minutes

Efficiency: 88%


  • 7.50 lb Maris Otter
  • 1.25 lb Rye Malt
  • 0.50 lb Carafa II Special
  • 0.50 lb Roasted Malt


  • 0.65 oz Galena (60 minutes, 11% Alpha Acid)
  • 1.00 oz Challenger (15 minutes, 5.6%Alpha Acid)
  • 1.50 oz Challenger (End of Boil)

Water Additions

  • 2 gm Calcium Sulfate
  • 6 gm Calcium Carbonate
  • 6 gm Calcium Chloride


Wyeast 1098 British Ale Yeast


  • Strike with 3 gallons at 170F
  • Mash at 150F for 60 minutes
  • Sparge with 7 gallons at 180F

This weekend I had a friend from Albany in town to help me brew. He’s getting ready to upgrade his system so he can do all-grain batches, and wanted to see an all-grain brewday in person. I had Ryan help me brew my favorite recipe, the Amarillo IPA.

The Amarillo IPA is my best house beer, and the only change I had to make to it this time was recalculating the hop additions based on the higher alpha acid content of this year’s Amarillo crop. The only issue during the brewday was that we oversparged a bit, so I tacked on 15 minutes to the boil and we wound up hitting our gravity and volume targets perfectly. It’s currently bubbling away in the fermentor.

Just in time for this weekend, I found a place to get my CO2 cylinder refilled so I could get my chest freezer full of carbonated kegs. The dark mild ale, pale ale, and Munich pale ale are all carbonated and on tap now, finally.

Dark Mild – This current version of the dark mild came out really nice. The increased hop rate helped the hops come through just enough to be noticeable. Adding flaked oats and reducing the crystal malt gave the beer a smoother and less cloying body. All in all this batch really came out well, and tastes significantly bigger than the 3.9% ABV that it contains. I may play with the recipe again at some point, but for now I’ll call it finalized.

Munich Pale Ale – This was just an experiment to see what a beer would be like if it was almost all Munich malt. It’s a very deep amber color with a rich malty sweetness. Galena and Northern Brewer hops give it a slightly sweet citrus aroma and flavor with some nice spiciness in the background. The bitterness is pretty well balanced and the body is fairly full. I’d say it was a successful experiment, and could the base for a really nice amber ale in the future.

Pale Ale – Given how few beers in Cooperstown are remotely hoppy, I made this beer to be strongly bitter up front with lots of hop character. When I tasted it near the end of fermentation I thought I had gone too overboard with the bittering addition. Now that it’s carbonated and chilled, I really like where it is. The aroma is full of citrus, resin, and pine. The body is light, with a dark straw color. Up front, the bitterness is strong and prominent, but smooth and resiny. The bitterness lingers, but not for long. I really like how this turned out. I’m considering brewing it again with a higher gravity to make an IPA out of it. That could turn out really nice. At 5.3% ABV, it’s not gonna last long.

Since the last post I’ve managed to get two batches bottled, and brewed a new one today. It’s been six days since I bottled the mocha porter, and two days since I bottled the amber ale.  I did a carbonation test on the mocha porter earlier tonight and it was really solid (though not fully carbonated yet). It has a nice roasted coffee aroma, a sweet chocolate taste up front, and a lightly bitter coffee flavor at the end. I’m quite pleased, though I’d probably tone the coffee down just slightly next time.

The sample of the amber ale that I tried after bottling it was also quite nice. It came in at 4.2%, which is what I wanted. There’s a nice rich malty character with a balanced bitterness and a solid up front hop American hop character. This will be a full flavored session beer through and through. I like the pine aroma combined with a subdued citrus character.

Today’s brew was kind of an experiment. The only base malt I have at the moment is Munich, which is kilned higher so it’s sweeter and maltier than pale malt. I decided to make a pale ale using mostly Munich malt to see what I could get out of it. A little caramel Munich will give it a bit of body and sweetness. I used a combination of Northern Brewer and Galena hops to give it sort of a noble earthy character to go with the rich malty character from the Munich malt. I guess this could be considered an American ale version of the Munich Dunkel dark lager style from Germany. It should be a decent session beer regardless.

Pale Ale

Boil Volume: 8.33 gallons

Batch Volume: 6.50 gallons

Fermenter Volume: 5.00 gallons

Starting Gravity: 1.053

Efficiency: 80%


  • 11.00 lb Munich
  •   0.75 lb CaraMunich
  • 0.50 oz Galena (60 minutes, 11% Alpha Acid)
  • 0.50 oz N Brewer (60 minutes, 9.8% Alpha Acid)
  • 1.00 oz N Brewer (15 minutes)
  • 1.00 oz Galena (5 minutes)
  • 1.00 oz N Brewer (End of Boil)
  • 1.00 oz Galena (End of Boil)
  • Strike with 3.25 Gallons at 168F
  • Mash at 150F for 60 minutes
  • Sparge with 6.75 Gallons at 180F
Water Additions
  • 3 gm Calcium Chloride
  • 8 gm Calcium Sulfate
Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale Yeast

Another Imperial IPA

November 23, 2010

On Saturday I whipped up another Imperial IPA. I was considering making my Simarillo IIPA again, but wanted to try something different. This one was a pretty simple grain bill and used no sugar. Instead of the Amarillo and Simcoe hop combination, I used Chinook with the Amarillo for most of the character with some Columbus in the aroma and Galena for bittering. I wanted a solid and clean bitterness with plenty of citrus and spice in the nose.

For this batch, because of the all the hops being used, I bumped the volume up half a gallon to account for hop absorption. 8 gallons were collected and boiled down to 7, then the hops plugged up the screen in the kettle just as I got 5 gallons into the fermenter. Just as I had planned, basically. Keeping as much of the sediment out of the fermenter as possible has become my goal recently.

Imperial IPA

Boil Volume: 8 gallons

Batch Volume: 7 gallons

Boil Time: 60 minutes

Gravity: 1.075

Efficiency: 75%


  • 14.00 lb Pale Malt
  • 4.00 lb Munich Malt
  • 0.75 lb Crystal 60L


  • 2.75 oz Galena (First-Wort, 11% Alpha Acid)
  • 1.00 oz Chinook (Boil for 30 minutes, 10.9% Alpha Acid)
  • 1.50 oz Amarillo (Boil for 20 minutes, 7.3 % Alpha Acid)
  • 1.00 oz Columbus (Boil for 10 minutes, 13.2% Alpha Acid)
  • 1.00 oz Chinook (End of boil)
  • 1.00 oz Amarillo (End of boil)
  • 2.00 oz Chinook (Dry hops)
  • 2.00 oz Amarillo (Dry hops)


  • Strike with 6 gallons at 167F
  • Mash at 150F for 75 minutes
  • Sparge with 6 gallons to collect 8 gallons in kettle


Wyeast 1332 Northwest Ale yeast cake from previous batch

Water Additions:

  • 2 gm Calcium Chloride
  • 5 gm Gypsum
  • 2 gm Chalk

This past Wednesday I brewed up an American IPA but completely forgot to blog the recipe. This one actually wound up being a modification of my Amarillo IPA. Same grain bill as the Amarillo, but a healthy mix of chinook hops added into the amarillo.

American IPA

Boil Volume: 7.5 gallons

Batch Volume: 6 gallons

Starting Gravity: 1.067

Efficiency: 80%


  • 11.5 lb Pale Malt
  • 2.0 lb Vienna
  • 0.5 lb Crystal 60L
  • 0.25 lb Wheat Malt


  • 1.75 oz Galena (First-Wort, 9.5% Alpha Acid)
  • 1.00 oz Amarillo (20 min, 7.3% Alpha Acid)
  • 1.50 oz Chinook (10 min, 10.9% Alpha Acid)
  • 1.00 oz Amarillo (0 min)
  • 1.00 oz Chinook (0 min)
  • 1.00 oz Amarillo (Dry hop)
  • 1.00 oz Chinook (Dry hop)


  • Strike with 18 qt water at 167F
  • Mash at 150F for 75 minutes
  • Sparge with 6.5 gallons to collect 7.5 gallons


Northwest Ale yeast (Wyeast 1332)

Water Additions:

  • 2 gm Calcium Chloride
  • 5 gm Gypsum
  • 2 gm Chalk

American pale ale is a style I like to play around with as it lets me experiment with hops while staying easily drinkable. On Thursday of this past week I brewed another of these, going with a Cascade/Galena mix for the hops. I’ve only used Galena once and wasn’t impressed, but I’m thinking that was more a recipe fail on my part than anything (that was the amber I made in the early spring that took me forever to drink). The more I smell Galena at the brewery, the more I’m coming to think it could be really nice if used properly.

In addition to trying out Galena hops again, I also decided that I’m going to play with the water chemistry of my batches from now on and put together a water profile to try for pale ales. This batch used gypsum to try to emphasize the hop bitterness and flavor.

This is also the second batch of beer I’ve made with my new fermentation temperature control method. There’s a plastic storage container half-filled with water in the basement that I put the fermenter in. Twice a day I put in a new one gallon milk jug of ice, and this has worked to keep the thermometer on the outside of the fermenter down around 64-66 degrees. That will keep the beer from breaking 70 degrees internally, which is exactly what I want.

American Pale Ale

Boil Volume: 7 gallons

Batch Volume: 5.5 gallons


  • 8.5 lb Pale malt
  • 1.0 lb Munich
  • 0.5 lb CaraRed


  • 0.75 oz Galena (Boiled for 60 minutes, 11% Alpha Acid)
  • 0.50 oz Galena (Boiled for 20 minutes)
  • 1.00 oz Cascade (Boiled for 10 minutes, 5.4% Alpha Acid)
  • 1.00 oz Cascade (Boiled for 5 minutes)
  • 1.00 oz Galena (End of the boil)

Mash Schedule:

Mash with 12.5 quarts of water at 150 degrees for 75 minutes.


Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast

Water Additions:

  • 2 gm Chalk
  • 4 gm Gypsum
  • 2 gm Calcium Chloride