Tag Archives: ale

Vienna Ale – Arromatic Caramel Wheat

The recipe I made up for Daniel’s brew smelled and looked so good, I had to make a variation before I’d even tasted the final result. In particular I used different grains for the consumable sugars and picked some with a bit more aroma. Also, I used a different yeast and hops, so while I had a similar goal in mind, I changed a lot of the recipe along the way. Initial brix 17.4, which could lead to an ABV as high as 9.7%. By the time it went into secondary, the brix was down to 10.5.

Yeast was Nottingham, started in a canning jar with honey, which was a great way to use up the last of the honey as well as speed up the start of fermentation.


  • Czech saaz 3% alpha, 4.8% beta
  • Nugget 13.5% alpha, 4.5% beta
  • 5 lbs. Vienna
  • 5 lbs. Maris Otter
  • 2 lbs. roasted barley
  • 2 lbs. 20L
  • 1 lbs. Belgian special aromatic
  • 1 lbs. Belgian biscuit (FrancoBelges)
  • 1 lbs. chocolate


This had a lovely flavor and an excellent smell.

This had a lovely flavor and an excellent smell.

racking a whole lot of tasty roasted grains

Cooling was done directly in the brew kettle

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Posted by on October 4, 2013 in Brewing


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Dark as Sin, and Twice as Tasty – Coffee Stout

July 27th Daniel came over hoping to get something appropriate for football season. In particular, something with ‘lots of coffee flavor.’ Towards that end, I picked up a grain bill with lots of roasted flavors and residual malts to make up a strong stout.


  • 1 lbs.Chocolate Malt
  • 2 lbs. Roasted Barley
  • 1 lbs. Belgian Aromatic Wheat
  • 1 lbs Belgian Biscuit
  • 1 lbs 20 Lovabond Caramel
  • 7 lbs. 2-Row

Hops were added throughout the boil and were 1 oz Summit pellets and 1 oz. Nugget pellets. Yeast was new to me, but came well recommended; Denny’s Favorite 1450, which claimed to be good for big ales and stouts.

Initial Brix was 13.95. After one week, primary fermentation had slowed, and the Brix was down to 9.8, meaning it is already 3.9% ABV. The smell of the roasted grains is very strong, making me think this may take too long to be at its best for the coming football season. Given the recipe was mine, and I’m willing to give it the long cellar time, I offered Daniel the chance to do make a stout which is ready sooner and take this one off his hands if he wants. =) Clearly I was only trying to help out a friend! I look forward to seeing this one come to fullness.

Update: 9/27/2014

Moved to final keg, with a BRIX of 6.9, or 1.027 FG. This speaks to the amount of non-fermentables visible in the result. Great taste with a nice balanced mouth feel, some treacle flavors along with the roasted grains. Look forward to having this chilled and carbonated. Final ABV: 4.1%


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Posted by on August 4, 2013 in Brewing


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Dark Mild

Today’s project was another variation on the dark wheat beer, which I’ve made twice before. Today I used a slightly varied grain bill, different yeast and hops.

  • 2 lbs. Vienna Malt
  • 3 lbs. 2 Row
  • 1 lbs. American Cystal Malt 20L
  • 2 lbs. American Cystal Malt 40L
  • 1 lbs. American Cystal Malt 60L
  • .5 lbs. CaraAmber Bsicuit Malt
  • .5 lbs. Pale Chocolate Malt
  • .5 lbs CaraPils

Total: 10.5 lbs.

Yeast was the Safale S04 this time, and the hops were Fuggles. My initial attempt was for another ale yeast from the fermentation trap, which was a month past it’s best before date and having been stored at room temperature. After 8 hours in a starter of honey and warm water it showed no signs of life. By contrast the Safale I’ve had in my fridge for quite some time was 2 months past it’s best before date, and was growing well after less than an hour.

Previously I’d added DME to lift the gravity. This time I added about 3.5 lbs. of grain to the earlier recipe to attempt to make up the difference, and ended up with exactly the same OG: 1.052 when I checked it just before the flame-out. Oddly, when I checked it a second time with the same refractometer, it yielded a very different result, of 8.9 Brix, which would be 1.035 SG. If that reading is correct, my only guess would have been that the chiller was leaking into the beer. Since that water would not be sterile, I certainly hope that isn’t the case. Each time I checked, it appeared to be doing fine.

About this point I was thinking brewing in warmer weather would be a better idea.

About this point I was thinking brewing in warmer weather would be a better idea.


Posted by on March 17, 2013 in Brewing


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First Attempt – Mild Ale

Today’s target is a mild ale. Found the starting recipe here, which I modified to have a bit more grains since we were extracting the malt without the aid of proper mashing gear. The ingredients were:

  • 7.0 lbs Pale Malt, Maris Otter
  • 2.0 lbs Crystal Malt – 60L
  • 1.0 lbs Crystal Malt – 40L
  • 0.33 lbs Chocolate Malt
  • 2 oz. Fuggles hops (1st addition with 45 minutes remaining, 2nd addition with 15 minutes remaining)

Original Gravity was 1.030, which appears to be about right for the style. Due to the warmth outside, it was slow going getting the temperature down. Fortunately the fluid level was low, and I was able to add ice to both bring it up to 5 gallons as well as drop the temperature down to 78 degrees. To accomplish that I moved it to a plastic ale pail, which I added ice to to bring it up to 5 gallons, and gave it a stir with the aerator. Once those melted, the temperature was down to 78, and I added the Nottingham yeast, and transferred it to the glass carboy.

Before its addition, the yeast was made into a bit of a starter to prove it was active and give it a kick start. This was done by taking some residual honey in a container, adding some water and heating that up, shaking it around a bit, and putting the result in a canning jar with the yeast. In less than 30 minutes, it was highly pressurized and oozing yeast.



Posted by on June 24, 2012 in Brewing


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