Batch 77: Harvest Amber Ale

The next in a series of pumpkin ales for the season, inspired by the impeccable Nepenthe Amber Ale recipe (adapted earlier this year to include MO as the base malt), and riding on the heels of the Pumpkin Dubbel that placed 3rd in the professional panel of the homebrew comp for the 2016 Baltimore Craft Beer Festival, and brewed to enter into this year’s (2018) BCBF Homebrew Competition, I present to you: the Harvest Amber Ale.

This is basically a re-brew of Nepenthe Amber Ale, adding caramelized pumpkin and (a very careful and small portion of) pumpkin spice 🙂

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Nottinghan
Yeast Starter: Two packets
Batch Size (Gallons): 11
Original Gravity: 1.061
Final Gravity: 
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

18# Maris Otter
2# C40
1# Munich (light)
8oz C120
4oz Pale Chocolate

90oz Libby’s Pumpkin, caramelized at 350° for 75 minutes (1/2 in mash, 1/2 in boil)

initial mash temp was 146°. I decocted 2 cups of mash and re-added at 30 minutes, which raised the mash temp to 149°.

1oz Centennial – 60 min
1oz Columbus – 60 min
10z Amarillo – 10 min
1oz Centennial – 5 min
1oz Amarillo – whirlpool
2oz Cascade – whirlpool

3tsp pumpkin spice @ 10 min

1 whirlfloc tab @ 10 min

boiled for 60 minutes

yielded about 10 gallons spread between 2 carboys, but the second carboy seems to have gotten all of the sludge (!).

EDIT 10/1/18 am: HAPPY YEAST! yeasties are chugging away at 74°. I put in blow-out tubes in anticipation of a rager. The glass 6gal carboy had all of the sludge (looks like ~1/2 sludge) and has a nice calm krausen. The big mouth plastic carboy had almost all beer, and is raging (hence, blow-out tube).

UPDATE 10/6/18: Tastes soooo good, very subtle spice profile and a very malty/biscuity/warm-bready backbone that hits in the middle of the taste and lingers. FG: 1.007 (7.3% ABV). Almost want to pull and keg it right now, but there is a subtle and indescribable off-flavor on the nose and I want to see if the yeast will figure that out. Also, this recipe included the same ratio of spice to beer as the Pumpkin Dubbel, but the dubbel had a more prominent spice profile. This strongly suggests that indeed using Belgian Ale yeast in the dubbel had the desired effect of adding/accentuating/augmenting the spice profile. Might add a bit more spice next time (or maybe consider splitting the next batch and fermenting half on Notty or Chico, half on a Dubbel yeast.

Batch 76: Stephanie’s India Pale Ale

The name of the game today is: make beer. We have pale male, some C120, some rye, and some hops so … I think we’re gonna make an IPA 🙂 Adding dextrose at the end of the boil to augment the ABV and dry it out a little more

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Nottingham
Yeast Starter: 0.5L starter from yeast left over from Batch #69
Batch Size (Gallons): 11
Specific Gravity: 1.046
Original Gravity: 1.061
Final Gravity: 
IBU: 53! (?)
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

21# 2-row
0.5# C120
1# rye
2# dextrose (Added last 10 minutes)

2oz Northern Brewer (14%) – FWH
2.3oz Cascade (?%) – 10 min
1oz Nugget – 10 min
1oz Simcoe – 10 min
1oz Nugget (12.4%) – 0 min
1oz Simcoe (13.9%) – 0 min
1oz Cascade (13.9%) – 0 min
1oz Northern Brewer – 0 min

(2) tsp Gypsum added to mash
(1) tsp CaCO2 added to mash

Mashed for 90 minutes at 151°

Pumped to fermenter, hop stand for 30 minutes at 180°

Chilled below 70°, pitched 5 packets of Brooklyn Brew Shop 1-gallon brew club yeast. Woohoo, thank you Stephanie for saving the day!!! Stephanie Libonati gifted me two quarters worth of brooklyn brew shop brew club boxes 🙂 I thought I could re-use saved yeast from previous batches (69, 70, or 72) but these all ended up infected (and a starter was lost, boohoo), but thankfully I had the yeast from these Brooklyn kits!!!!! Far, far better than nothing. Now I have to put together the grain bills from the remaining kit beers to see what I can get 🙂 muhaha.

There are a bunch of random hop additions (ranging 0.2 to 0.4 oz) from these beers that I might also be able to commandeer for a dry-hopping schedule, including: Nelson Sauvin, Ahtanum, Simcoe, Galaxy … these might be killer dry hops 🙂

UPDATE 9/26/18: coming in at 1.009 (7% ABV), dry hopping with:

0.7 oz Simcoe
0.5oz Ahtanum
0.3 oz Chinook
0.2 oz Nelson Sauvin
0.2 oz Centennial

These are hops left over from pilfering the Brooklyn Brew Shop 1gal beer kits gifted to me by Stephanie. Thanks, Stephanie!!! Since the yeast from those kits also saved this beer, I think it only fitting to name it after her. Here’s to drinkin!

UPDATE 9/30/18 late night: two full kegs of beer! Hop aroma is nice, but matched with an unfortunate apple flavor 🙁 This may be the product of fermentation temps getting Out Of Control (in the low 80s at certain points). Oh well. Beer!!

Batch 75: Small Pale Ale

Pale ale made from the leftovers of Batches 73/74.

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-04
Yeast Starter: None (one packet pitched)
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Original Gravity: 1.062
Final Gravity: 1.008 (on 7/4/18)
IBU: 24?
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: ~6.6?
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

8# 2-row
14.5oz Carapils
12oz C40

0.5 oz Cascade Pellets (6.3%) – 60 min
1oz Cascade Whole Leaf (8.1%) – 15 min

Mashed for 60 minutes at 152°F

UPDATE (7.4.18): clocked in at 1.008, leaving a 7% beer in the glass. Doesn’t drink that high, and wasn’t intended to be that strong of a beer, but folks: that’s what we have, by the numbers.

UPDATE (7.9.18): grain/malt/caramel on the taste buds, giving an intriguing offering. Need to keg soon.

Posted July 1, 2018 by fbarrett in 2-row, Carapils, Cascade, Crystal 40L, Pale Ale, Safale S-04

Batch 73/74: Pliny Two Ways

The experiment today: brew a Pliny Clone with a handful of hop substitutions, and split the batch between a standard fermentation (Batch 73, one carboy with San Diego Super/WLP090) and one as a NEIPA (Batch 74, in a carboy with London Fog Ale Yeast/WLP066). Based on the following Pliny recipe:

Russian River Pliny the Elder Clone

Hops were substituted based on the best I had available.

I simultaneously brewed a pale ale (boat beer? Batch 75). In truth this may not taste quite like Pliny but the proper half should hopefully fit the bill of a righteous West Coast IPA (73), and the experimental half (NEIPA; 74) – we’ll see!

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: WLP090, WLP066
Yeast Starter: 1L starter for each
Batch Size (Gallons): 12 (6 and 6)
Original Gravity: 1.085 (1.078 @ 105°)
Final Gravity: 
IBU: lots?
Boiling Time (Minutes): 90
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

27# 2-row
1.2# Carapils
1.2# C40
2# Dextrose

6oz Nugget (12.4%) – FWH
2oz CTZ (?%) – FWH
2oz Nugget (12.4%) – 45 min
2oz Simcoe (13.9%) – 30 min
5oz Simcoe (13.9%) – 0 min
4oz Cascade – 0 min

(1) package Burton Salts (for 5gal batch) added to mash
(2) tsp Gypsum added to mash

Mashed for 60 minutes at 150°

Chilled below 80°, split between two carboys and pitched yeast. Woohoo!

now we just need to work out the dry hop schedule … using advice from across the web, but including:

— SO word on the street seems to be that linalool and geraniol are oils likely to be bioconverted. According to the YCH web site, classics in NEIPA (citra, mosaic, amarillo, less often used: simcoe) have higher percentages of these oils than other hops (just clicking through reports on different varieties). It turns out that NUGGET, Cascade, and Northern Brewer also express these to varying degrees. Simcoe seems to cover the geraniol base, nugget seems solid on linlool, and cascade and NB seem to meet in the middle. So, instead of the suggested 1oz each Columbus, Centennial, and Simcoe for first dry hop (and 0.25oz each for second dry hop) recommended by the Pliny clone recipe, our dry hop additions will be as follows:

– First dry hop (7/4/18): 4oz each, Simcoe and Nugget, 1oz each, NB and Cascade
– Second dry hop (7/9/18): 1oz each, Simcoe, Nugget, 0.5oz each, NB, Cascade

Pliny Clone, roughly as recommended at AMA
– first dry hop (7/9/18; after racking to 2ndary): 1oz each, Simcoe & Nugget, 0.5oz each, NB and Cascade
– second dry hop 5 days later <TBD>: 0.5oz each, Simcoe & Nugget, 0.25 oz each, NB andCascade

UPDATE 7.9.18: the Pliny clone tastes full-bodies, HOPPY, and quite delicious. A little cloudy in the fermenter (hasn’t dropped clear yet, but I racked to 2ndary anyway), and the first taste was a little sweet, but it rang in at 1.012, leaving a whopping 10.26% ABV in the glass. It does not in any way drink like a 10% beer. Holy crap. The NEIPA smells oh-so-juicy, but I haven’t sampled it yet – I’ll do so upon kegging, in a few days, but – oh boy. Ohhhhh boy. Yum 🙂

Batch 72: Imperial Stout

This beer was destined to be a partigyle … but ended up just being a bitchin beer 🙂

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05
Yeast Starter: Yeast cake from Batch #70
Batch Size (Gallons): 12
Original Gravity: 1.084
Final Gravity: 
IBU: ~40?
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: ~45?
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

13# 2-row
13# Maris Otter
1.5# Roasted Barley
1.5# Chocolate Rye
1# Special B
1# flaked Barley
8oz C120
4oz DH Carafa III

3.5oz Northern Brewer – 60 min
2oz Northern Brewer – 15 min

1# Amber DME added to the boil

chilled to the 70s, then pitched onto yeast cake from batch #70 (12.5gal mark on the conical, and there was a good 1/2 gallon of trub/yeast left over from batch 70). Next morning, the yeast were VERY happy, and the krausen had almost reached the top of the conical


Batch 71: Nepenthe Amber

So, for batch 70, I kindof … planned too large a grain bill for my mash tun. Aaaaaand … maybe we crushed a little too much grain for the plan. PSA: don’t measure and crush grain when you’ve been drinking heavily on St. Patrick’s day. We tried to fit as much as we could in the mash tun (pushing the thickness), but I ended up with too much M-O, and it was already crushed, so to make sure we didn’t waste it, I planned another beer.

I walked into Nepenthe with a vague notion that I didn’t want to brew something hoppy or light. Chiron (please excuse me if I’ve butchered your name, he’s a solid dude) helped me zero in on the best “not light, not hoppy” recipe in their library to pitch onto a yeast cake from a putatively (it didn’t end up tasking quite like an) orange coriander pale ale (given an upcoming keg lineup including a huge barleywine and a Yankee IPA), and we settled on an Amber Ale.

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Nottinghan
Yeast Starter: Yeast cake from Batch #69
Batch Size (Gallons): 5
Pre-boil Gravity: 1.054 (1.042 @ 128°)
Original Gravity:
Final Gravity: 
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

10# Maris Otter
1# C40
8oz Munich (light)
4oz C120
2oz Pale Chocolate

0.5oz Centennial, 0.5oz CTZ – 60 min
0.5oz Amarillo – 10 min
0.5oz Centennial – 5 minutes
0.5oz Amarillo, 0.8oz Cascade – Whirlpool (after 180°)

chilled to 65°, pitched onto yeast cake from batch 69 😉

UPDATE 3/25 am: the yeast totally approved. Huge blowout overnight, and caught first thing in the morning. Woohoo! #happyyeast

UPDATE 4/1: citrus, with a nice toasty ending 🙂 1.005

Batch 70: Glitter Barleywine

So many thanks to Tom and Drew for the assistance with this brew 🙂 The day began with a disappointment, when the new heat sticks tripped the breaker. We moved outside into the COLD, and lost a lot of heat in the mash. In addition, we couldn’t fit all 36# of grain that were planned into the mash tun. So, we made beer … we’re just not entirely sure what it will be like. Salud!

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S-05
Yeast Starter: 4 pints of settled yeast from Batch #68
Batch Size (Gallons): 10
Original Gravity: 1.084
Final Gravity: 1.009
IBU: ??
Boiling Time (Minutes): 105
Color: ??
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

30# Maris Otter
4# C60
2# Rye

6oz Northern Brewer FWH

About 32# of the grain made it into the mash. We lost a lot of temperature in the process, and ended at 140°. 20 minutes into the mash, I drew off 6 qts and boiled, then another 6 qt and boiled, yielding up to 150° mash in certain areas of the mash (though the heat didn’t quite evenly distribute). Chilled to 65ish°. I had taken three pints, and one half pint, of liquid with yeast from Batch #68. The yeast settled to a few inches thickness at hte bottom of each, and these were pitched into the fermeter.

UPDATE 3/19 pm: VIGOROUS fermentation goin on, temps at 64 😉

UPDATE 4/1: reads 1.012, and tastes Complex. Sweet, hoppy and a little fruity … might age quite well

UPDATE 4/13: reads 1.009 (10.5% abv), definitely with rye spiciness, and some caramel sweet and malty flavor from MO and C60, but not “sweet” just “sweet-like” flavors of the malt. This is gonna be a goodun.

UPDATE 4/15: kegged, and it is HOT, with a strange over-ripe banana peel sweetness. Very green, gonna need a long time to figure itself out.

Batch 69: Oriander Pale Ale

It took a lot of restraint to not come up with a more salacious name for this beer. EDIT after tasting it (3/23), I’m starting to think of something like “easier than a presidential fitness test” b/c it is Easy Drinking.

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: Nottingham (1 packets)
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): intended 6
Original Gravity: 1.051 (1.049 anticipated)
Final Gravity: 1.004 (!?)
IBU: 22 (tastes like less than that)
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 3° L
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 12 days @ ~62-65°
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): n/a

6# 2-row
4# German Wheat

3.5 gal 170° strike water yielded initial 155° mash, and I stirred and left the cap off of the mash tun until it came down to ~152°.

Sparge (infusion) with 5.25 gal 170° water
7 gal recovered into boil kettle
SG: 1.050 (1.030 at 155°)

Technical difficulties were encountered. One of the heat sticks was taking on water and shorting, so while the FWH were simmering away, I went out to secure propane. All in all, the FWH lasted about an hour, which is great b/c we had a boil over once we got to temperature.

1oz Cascade FWH
0.5oz Cascade 15 minutes

1 Whirlfloc @ 10 minutes

0.75oz Bitter Orange Peel @ flameout
0.75oz Crushed Coriander @ flameout

Chilled to ~68°, transferred to the FerMonster (recovered ~6 gallons), and pitched 2 old packets (expired 3/2017 and 10/2017, respectively) of Nottingham 🙂

UPDATE 3/12: nice calm krausen, and the fermenter reads just under 61* 🙂

UPDATE 3/23: clear, LIGHT (straw-colored), and potentially dry as a bone (FG: 1.004??). Rather delicious: crisp, very malty (and a tiny bit bready), and if the orange and coriander are coming through, I’m having a hard time telling. I will need to let the Mrs taste this when it is cool and carbonated, but by many accounts, I think this is shaping up to have the flavor profile of a ?Cream ale? though it’s clocking in at around 6% (I’m wondering if this is b/c I pitched two packets – they were old, but I’m wondering if they were more viable than I had expected). Who cares, it’s TASTY AS HELL. maybe re-make this beer and call it “boat beer”? maybe take the ABV back down a bit in that case?

Batch 68: Yankee IPA

IPA brewed after a long hiatus and a number of equipment upgrades, including the capability of fly sparging, purchase of a plate chiller, and addition of a chilling coil in the conical fermenter. Oh, and I have pumps. 2 pumps. An I’m Gonna Use’em.

This was originally planned as a NEIPA, however I didn’t have quite the hop complement in the freezer that I needed, and I didn’t have exactly the yeast (something that is known to bioconvert hop oils), so I went with a “kindabutnotreally”NEIPA (maybe should consider that for the name?).

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: SafAle 05 (3 packets)
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): intended 11
Original Gravity: 1.058
Final Gravity: 1.008 (~6.75% ABV)
IBU: 67
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 6 SRM
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 12 days at ~65°, dropping down to ~61° toward the end of fermentation (due to cellar temps)
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

4tsp Gypsum, 0.25+ (heaping) tsp Salt, 0.75tsp Calcium Chloride in the strike water

16# 2-row
4# German Wheat
2# Melanoidin

Strike with 180° water, ~7? gal, mash temp starting 152° at 9:35am (perfect!! BrewPal said 6.3 gallons of 175° strike water, but I am finding that adding about 5 degrees can account for heat loss through water transfer during mash-in)

1 Whirlfloc @ 10 minutes

2oz CTZ (15%) FWH
1oz Cascade (6.3%) @ 10 min
1oz Cascade (6.3%) in whirlpool (starting at 180°, then adding plate chiller until pitch at 65°)
1oz each Mosaic (12%), Simcoe (12.9%), 1.05oz Cascade (6.3%) 3 days into fermentation

I have to say, I pretty much hit all of my numbers for the first time in a while 🙂 Target mash temp hit on the dot, OG: 1.059 predicted by Brewer’s Friend, I hit 1.058. This new setup is DOPE

pitched at ~2pm

UPDATE 3/5/18: checked at 8am and observed the beginnings of krausen, with infrared temperature holding steady at 65°

UPDATE 3/6 am: The outside of the conical fermenter read 66° this morning. Tame krausen evident.

UPDATE 3/6 pm: The outside of the conical fermenter read 70° this evening. Delicious odor of fermentation apparent.

UPDATE 3/7 am: The outside of the conical fermenter read 66° this morning. I opened the lid to a bright, harsh waft of CO2, and the top of the krausen read 66.2°. And, the beer smelled amazingly tasty.

UPDATE 3/7 pm: Outside fermenter and inside krausen both read 67°. I added 1oz Mosaic, 1oz Simcoe, and 1.5oz Cascade 🙂 Smelled INCREDIBLE (the beer, and the hops), can’t wait to taste it!

UPDATE 3/9 am: Checking every morning and evening, and the temps on the outside of the fermenter are between 65° and 67° … keeping it low and slow, that is the tempo, and I like it 🙂

UPDATE 3/12: fermenter reads ~64*. Yesterday I pulled 2.5 pints from the side port, and collected some rather thick (compared to past attempts when I “washed” yeast) layers of creamy yeast. Hurray!

UPDATE 3/15: the beer has looked relatively clear for a few days through the frosted side of the conical. I pulled another head of yeast and then hydrometer sample, and the hydrometer read 1.008. I think she’s near ready. Oh, and that plan for a ~5% beer turned into a typical 6.75% IPA. Woohoo?? (For the life of me, I can’t seem to figure out how to brew a session IPA). Gonna keg it tomorrow!!

Batch 67: Harford Porter

Straight-up porter, as the first beer brewed in my baesment.

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: WLP001 (2 pure pitch packets)
Yeast Starter: none
Batch Size (Gallons): intended 10, collected 9.5
Original Gravity: ??
Final Gravity: ??
IBU: ?27? ?33
Boiling Time (Minutes): 75
Color: ~25?
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

18# 2-row
1# Biscuit
1# Chocolate
1# C40
4oz Black Patent

2oz Cascade (4.5%) FWH
26 grams Nugget at 30 minutes into boil

1 whirlfloc

mash extended due to pump failure (2 hours total). boil extended from intended 60 minutes due to other failures. Transferred to conical fermenter for no-chill period after fermentation, due to counter-flow chiller failure. Wondering what will become of this bastard child.

Posted September 5, 2017 by fbarrett in 2-row, Biscuit, Black Patent, Cascade, Chocolate, Crystal 40L, Nugget