Batch 81: Ryan’s IPA

For the past few years, folks at the BPRU have organized a charity auction. Nothing too huge or outlandish, but we’ve raised a fair penny each year for a good cause. Last year and this year, I offered a case of home-brewed beer, brewed to order, and this year the prize was won by my friend and colleague, Ryan Vandrey. His order was a crisp, citrusy IPA, and while I haven’t locked in a good NEIPA yet (which is really his target), we worked towards a crisp, low-bitterness citrusy IPA.

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: SafAle US-05
Yeast Starter: 1L starter, pitched at high krausen
Batch Size (Gallons): 10.5
Original Gravity: 1.056
Final Gravity: ??
IBU: ~32
Boiling Time (Minutes):  75
Color: ~7 SRM?
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

18# 2-row
6# Maris Otter
1.25# C40
1.25# Carapils
9oz rolled oats

2# sugar towards the end of primary fermentation!! (can’t forget this)

2oz Sorachi Ace 10min
1oz Falconer’s Flight 10 min
1oz Sorachi Ace 5min
1oz Falconer’s Flight 5min
1oz Sorachi Ace @ Whirlpool (after cooled below 180°)
1oz Falconer’s Flight @ Whirlpool (after cooled below 180°)

Mashed in and held 148* straight for 60 minutes. Collected ~13 gallons from the mash, had a minor boil-over (my first on this system .. woohoo?), and we let the boil go about 10 minutes longer than planned. Wort was used to sanitize the conical, and after transferring, we needed to recirculate a little longer to get temps down. I pitched the yeast starter at high krausen and at 65°, and left things to work themselves out in a chilly basement. The next morning before work, I checked and found a nice krausen forming in the fermenter, and exactly 10.5 gallons of wort in the fermenter. Can’t beat that.

Except for a water hose malfunction at the beginning of the day (we have really good water pressure in the house) and the minor boil-over (just enough to say it happened), the brew day went flawlessly. Ryan shared a few tasty beers from Vermont (including Double Shush). The kids all had a great time, I got to hang with Ryan, and everything was clean before we retired. Ryan wanted to get around a 7-8% beer – at this rate, we’ll be getting around 6.5%, so I am going to add 2# of sugar towards the end of primary fermentation. This will bump up the ABV and dry out the beer a little bit.

UPDATE 5/3/2019: added 2# sugar, dissolved in 3L boiling water

UPDATE 5/7/2019: very unique aromas and flavors: crisp, bright citrus, possibly with a touch of cilantro and cardamom flavor – I need to really dig in and explore Sorachi Ace!! I think I will also need to dry hop with SA

Batch 80: Obama’s Last Stand

One of the best dark beers I’ve brewed was inspired by the inauguration of our 45th president (see here). I’m at it again, with a 10 gallon batch 🙂 Let’s see if we can recreate the magic!

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: WLP001
Yeast Starter: 1L starter, pitched at high krausen
Batch Size (Gallons): 11
Original Gravity: 1.0
Final Gravity: ??
IBU: ~
Boiling Time (Minutes): 90
Color: ~38 SRM?
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

24# Maris Otter
3# Special B
1.5# Carafa II Special
1# C60

2oz Northern Brewer 90min
1oz Northern Brewer, 1.5oz Falconer’s Flight
1oz Nugget, 1.5oz Falconer’s Flight @Whirlpool (after cooled below 180*)

Mashed in and held 148* straight for 60 minutes. Starting gravity with ~14 gallons of wort was 1.058 (1.050 at 108°). Boil began at 4:10p. didn’t keep good notes on the process, but we recovered 9 gallons of wort in the fermenter. I had questions about the yeast cake from falconer’s revenge, so I started a new 1L starter of WLP001 at the time I would have pitched. The starter was sluggish since it was rather chilly in the basement, so the wort stayed sequestered in the conical for 2 days before I pitched at what I thin was high krausen for the starter. Fermentation took off, and we had krausen for at least a week and a half.

Posted March 31, 2019 by fbarrett in Uncategorized

Batch 79: Falconer’s Revenge

Brewing the SMaSH(ish) with Falconer’s Flight got me thinking about how this hop blend would taste with a bit more Umpfh … so we’re brewing a double IPA with FF, to open it up and see what it can do.

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: WLP007
Yeast Starter: 1L starter created from 1 packet, spun on the magnetic spinner for 3 days then chilled for another 3
Batch Size (Gallons): 11
Original Gravity: 1.0?
Final Gravity: 1.014
IBU: ?
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 6? (it’s darker than that)
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 61-64°
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

26.5# Maris Otter
2# Quaker Oats
0.5# C60

3tsp Gypsum in the mash, water was straight from the tap

mashed in around 4pm at ~130, then filled up the HLT with hot tap water – dropped down and started to rise again to 142 by 4:30, was up near 150* in places by 4:45, mashed until 5:30. Set to 168° for mash-out, achieved at

2oz Falconer’s Flight (11% alpha) FWH
2oz Falconer’s Flight – 10 min
2oz Falconer’s Flight – 5 min
1 whirlfloc – 10 min
2oz Falconer’s Flight – whirlpool at 180°

a folly of errors ensued. Took too long to get to temperature for the mash, mash out was horrendously slow, only recovered about 9 gallons for the boil, 7 for fermentation, and to top it off, I turned on hot water rather than cold for the plate chiller, and only brought my wort down to a paltry 125° in the conical. I let it sit overnight and then pitched the next day. And I forgot to get a gravity reading. We shall see…

UPDATE 4/17/19: kegged after dry-hopping with 2oz FF for just over 2 weeks. It is darker than I expected, sweeter than I had originally planned, but fragrant and aromatic. Once chilled and carb’d, this might work out.

Posted March 7, 2019 by fbarrett in Uncategorized

Batch 78: Falconer’s Flight/MO SMaSH(ish)

I scored a huge hop sale on before the holiday, and in that purchased my first ever Falconer’s Flight (1#). Over the holiday I finished the build and tested my 1-element electric brewing control (adapted from To test out the system (and add some more hops to my current tap list), I chose to brew a MO/Falconer’s Flight SMaSH(ish). The ‘ish’ is due to the pound of oats I added – this was a mistake in terms of process, as I didn’t have any rice hulls, and the sparge got stuck ( a few times 🙁 ). I brewed this in the red 5gal cooler, and it seems that this was not a good setup for the 6″ thermoprobe that I used, as this crept down to ~147* – to compensate, I tried upping the temperature of the HLT, but it didn’t budge the probe temps – I dropped my old floating thermometer in about 45 minutes into the mash and lo and behold – it was up around 160° (!!!) so … I dunno what happened or what will come of it, but the mash had a gradual rise from about 140-152° over about 15 minutes, and then sat probably in the 150-152° range for another 30 minutes before running up to 160°. I probably won’t be able to replicate this with any fidelity. After a few stuck sparges, I dumped everything into the big blue mash tun, ran it off, boiled, and made beer 🙂 I think I accidentally made a model of a few various NEIPA recipes (including use of WLP007 like Trillium does) so I’ll dry hop this as an NEIPA and we’ll see what happens!!

Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: WLP007
Yeast Starter: 1L starter created from 1 packet the day before, spun on the magnetic spinner over night
Batch Size (Gallons): 11
Original Gravity: 1.044
Final Gravity:
IBU: 33 if you don’t count the hop stand at 165°, but 64 calculated by Brewer’s Friend if you believe their whirlpool calc
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 6?
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 61-64°
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp):

10# Maris Otter
1# Quaker Oats

gradual rise from about 140-152° over about 15 minutes, and then sat probably in the 150-152° range for another 30 minutes before running up to 160°. dumped into a different mash tun after a few stuck sparges, which dropped the temps but sparged with 170° water.

0.5oz Falconer’s Flight (11% alpha) FWH
0.5oz Falconer’s Flight – 10 min
1 whirlfloc – 10 min
0.5oz Falconer’s Flight – 5 min
0.5oz Falconer’s Flight – 0 min

2oz Falconer’s Flight after temperature dropped to 165°, then whirlpooled as I continued to drop temps – they reached down to ~145° over 20 minutes before I began to transfer to the carboy. Probably stood between 165° and 145° for ~30 minutes.

1oz Falconer’s Flight per day for 4 days starting at high krausen

UPDATE 1/9/19: I pitched the yeast starter a few hours after transferring to the carboy. I checked the next morning and there were beginnings of krausen, and by the evening there was full, almost looking like post-peak krausen. I measured the temperature at about 62°, so the krausen may have just been tamed by the temperature (ambient was cold in the basement). I’ve since pitched ~1oz FF/day into the carboy (we’re now on day 3; the first two days were 32 grams, today was 28 grams)

Posted January 7, 2019 by fbarrett in Adjunct, Falconer's Flight, Hops, Malt, Maris Otter, Quaker Oats

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): 10
Original Gravity: 1.094
Final Gravity: 1.013
IBU: ~55?
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: ~40?
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

looks like ~80% efficiency, ~85% attenuation, 11.55% ABV by alternate calculation (!!)

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