Single Hop Citra Saison

The complexity of Citra hops are amazing. Since made famous by Sierra Nevada Torpedo IPA this new variety has quickly been calculated into recipes at breweries across the International craft brewing scene. After working with this hop at home and professionally I really enjoy it's flavor profile. Looking up up the parentage I was surprised to see Hallertau Mittlefruh, Tettnanger, and East Kent Golding to be it's pedigree since the flavor of Citra is tropical mango,papaya, and pineapple. Citra hops also have a flavor profile that seems to have a refinement to it that newly developed hop variety's usually lack. After looking at it's parentage this may explain the refinement of this newer hop variety. Earlier this year I brewed an Abbey Ale with Citra hops and enjoyed the Belgian yeast flavor interaction with the Citra hops flavors.

Recipe: American Pale Malt, Flaked Oats, Wheat Malt, Acidulated Malt, Honey Malt, and Biscuit Malt. First wort, bittering, and whirlpool additions of Citra. Fermented with Wyeast 3711 French Saison

India Pale Lager

The idea for this batch is to brew a Vienna style Lager but increase the hop bill to IPA levels. While still using traditional German Noble hops Hallertau and Tettnanger. This batch will be fermenting outside in the cool early winter temperatures in the mid 40's to mid 50's. Perfect for fermenting lager beers. I'm brewing this beer to discover the flavor of an aggressively hopped German style beer. When Americans travel to Germany I've many times heard that the beers were great but that everyone missed the flavor of hops. Most German beer styles are barely hopped compared American Craft Beer. Using Munich malt as the base malt to create a traditional Vienna style lager malt character with Noble German hops being showcased.

Recipe: Munich Malt, Biscuit Malt, Honey Malt, and Carastan. Bittered with Super Galena hops, flavored with Celeia hops, and then finished with Hallertau and Tettnanger hops. Fermented with Fermentis Saflager 34/70 German Lager Yeast.

Munich Dunkel

As Winter approaches and the temperatures drop I'm able to brew Lager's at home. My first lager this season will be a Munich Dunkel, a rich, dark, and malty beer brewed with noble German hops. The cool fermented Lager yeast strains prefer temperatures around fifty degrees Fahrenheit (which it just happens to be outside right now). While Ales prefer fermentation temperatures around 70 degrees Fahrenheit (room temp, making it easier to brew ales at home). The BJCP comments that Munich Dunkels "can taste like liquid bread, with a yeasty, earthy richness not found in the exported filtered Dunkels". So the next best thing to going to Germany to try this style of beer is to attempt to create it at home in all it's unfiltered glory.

Recipe: American Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Carastan, Caramunich 60, Chocolate Wheat. Hopped with Super Galena for Bittering. Hallertua and Tettnanger for flavor. Fermented with Fermentis Saflager W-34/70 German Lager Yeast.

Flemish Style Red

The complexity in the best examples of this style of beer called the "Burgundy of Belgium" by BJCP is nearly sublime. A red ale fermented with a plethora of different yeasts and bacteria such as Brettanomyces, Lactobicillus, and Pediococcus. This is done to create sour beers ranging from lightly tart to full on pucker face. The sourness comes from the lactic and acetic acid produced from these acetobacters that convert ethanol into aforementioned acids. Where as usual brewers yeast ferments from start to finish (for the most part) in less than two weeks it can take up to at least 6 months or more until there is a noticeable sourness in the beer, many times aged up to two years. Putting patience to task and creating an opportunity to blend different aged beers in the souring process to hit a desired flavor profile you're looking for. Blending young and 'old' beer for not only consistency but to balance the vinous flavor, sourness, and fruitiness (cherry pie, plum, and red currant flavors are desired) in the final beer.

For my first attempt at this style of beer I'll be using Wyeast Roeselare Blend which has brewers yeast, sherry yeast, and myriad of souring bacteria (as talked about above) to achieve the complex flavors in this style of beer. The Wyeast website suggests that it takes 18 months of aging to achieve desired flavor profile. Is it sour yet?

Recipe: Munich Malt, Biscuit Malt, Honey Malt, Carastan 30-37, and Chocolate Malt. First wort hopped with Celiea. Fermented with Wyeast Roeselare Blend.

pLambic 1.2

In August I brewed my first beer fermented with wild yeast and bacteria. A pLambic style (more info on style in first post) beer fermented with White Labs WLP655 Belgian Sour Mix. Today I'm brewing up a batch using Wyeast 3278 Lambic Blend in one carboy. Then I'll be racking the first batch out of primary into secondary and knocking out the rest of today's batch of wort onto the White Labs yeast cake. The grist bill in today's batch is similar to the first with only the addition of some Honey malt to add more un-fermentables for the bacteria to feed on during conditioning. Excited to taste the 3 month old batch of pLambic when I rack it today. To start racking these 'wild' beers I purchased a new Auto Siphon and retired my old one to rack my FunkHouse beers only. Unless you have an autoclave at home I would recommend not using the same equipment (cane, hose, bottling bucket, etc.) for racking both funky beers and 'clean' yeast strains beers. Have separate equipment and keep it separate, or everything could go sour.

Recipe: American Two Row, Munich Malt, Flaked Maize, Wheat Malt, Honey Malt, and Acidulated Malt. First wort hopped with Celeia. Now we wait.

Table Beer(s)

A low gravity full flavored session ale has become a favorite 'style' of mine. It's also gaining popularity by the greater craft beer community. In January 2009 Lew Bryson started The Session Beer Project a blog to promote session beer. Also this last year Notch Brewing was founded, a brewery that will only brew beers below 4.5% abv. In a time where 6% abv beers have become the new standard for 'session' beer in America, I'd rather be quaffing a flavorful beverage under five percent that is full flavored. Today's batch of beer will accomplish this by having a thirst quenching toasted malt flavor with a spicy, herbal flavor from blending Styrian Golding, Perle, and Hallertau Hersbrucker hops into the beer. For experimentation I'll be splitting the batch between two carboys pitching American Ale yeast Safale US-05 into one and Safale T-58 in the other.

Recipe: American Two Row, Honey Malt, Biscuit Malt, CaraMunich, Munich Malt. Hopped with Hallertau Hersbrucker, Warrior, Perle, Styrian Goldings. Fermented with Safale US-05 and Safale T-58.

Porter with Smoked Paprika & Fennel Seeds

This is definitely a batch to file under experimental. A porter designed to pair with a well seared and seasoned steak. Where the golden brown toasted bread and chocolate flavors of a Porter are blended with the licorice flavor of the Fennel Seeds and unique flavor of Smoked Paprika creating a one of a kind Porter. The fennel seeds were toasted in the oven for twenty minutes before being crushed in a mortar and pestle.

Recipe: American Pale Malt, Munich Malt, Victory Malt, Amber Malt, Coffee Malt, Crystal Malt, and Chocolate Malt. Super Galena hops for bittering. Half an ounce of Smoked Paprika and three quarters of an ounce of Fennel Seeds added to end of boil. Fermented with Safale US-05 American Ale yeast.

White Heat 2.0

Very excited to brew up another batch of this beer because people really liked it. A family friend proclaimed it was like an "Explosion!" of flavor. A group of chefs tried this beer and really enjoyed the heat and were excited to cook Mussels with it. I first brewed White Heat in November 2009 in great esteem for chefs worldwide and Marco Pierre White in particular. Many of my beers are inspired by different chefs cooking styles and flavors from around the world. Where I try to blend unique spices into complementary beer styles to create new beer and food pairings. This beer is perfect for seafood and tacos, and I wouldn't even be offended if someone asked for a lime with it.

A Double White Beer brewed with Habanero Chiles, Coriander, Orange Peel, Lemon Peel, and Red Peppercorns. Pilsner Malt, Wheat Malt, Torrified Wheat, and Flaked Oats. First wort hopped with Hallertau Hersbrucker. Fermented with Wyeast 3463 Forbidden Fruit yeast strain.

Belgian style Dubbel with Figs & Honey

The plan is to brew a big, chewy Belgian style Dubbel with Figs and Honey. The style is known for deep caramel and dark fruit flavors and an abv above 8%. Traditionally brewed by Trappist Monks the style is now emulated around the world and often referred to as a Belgian style Strong Dark ale. Some would argue that Belgian style Dubbel and Belgian style Strong Dark ales are different, but they're darn close in flavor profiles with only slight differences in my opinion.

In my riff on the style today I'll be adding honey which will add gravity to the beer while the Figs will enhance the raisin and toffee malt flavors derived from the specialty malts used in the grist bill. I brewed a Belgian style Dubbel in April of 2009 (post has more history about the style). The beer was okay with nice ale fruit flavors and slightly phenolic, but finished too dry and was too thin to be a good Dubbel. So I've added over a pound

of Weyermann Carahell malt as well as some CaraPils to the grist bill to provide unfermentable sugars to the wort thus creating more body in the finished beer. I'll also be mashing in warmer, 155*f, which also provides more body to the finished beer compared to mashing in at a lower temperature, 148*f for example. Even just a few degrees difference (149f-156*f, dry to sweet) in mash rest will affect your final gravity by at least half a degree Plato. So when planning a recipe remember that your mash rest temperature is another tool that can be used in creating the flavors your after in the final beer.

Recipe: American Pale Malt, Munich Malt, CaraMunich, CaraHell, CaraPils, Dark Crystal Malt, and Chocolate Malt. Hopped with Super Galena to balance. Fermented with White Labs WLP550 Belgain Ale yeast from A'Chouffe brewery in Belgium.

Imperial Amber Ale

Today's batch is an Imperial Amber ale. A style that's basically a pumped up version of an American Amber Ale in the same way a Double IPA is scaled up version of an IPA. More malt means bigger flavors and higher alcohol levels. More hops mean a bigger hop bitterness, flavor and aroma. A bigger, bolder Amber with emphasis on dark malt flavors and huge hop character. One of my favorite Imperial Amber Ales is Flying Mouflan by Troegs Brewing. On the dark side of the style but recently won a gold medal at GABF 2010.

Recipe: Amercan Two Row, CaraMunich Malt, Amber Malt, CaraPils, Chocolate Malt. Bittered with Warrior hops with a late kettle addition of Centennial hops. I'll be dry hopping this one but haven't come up with hop bill yet. Fermented with White Labs American Ale yeast.

Amber Ale

Was going to brew an American Pale ale tonight but decided to blend in some darker malts to create a bready Amber Ale with a pronounced hop aroma and flavor. Not an overly exciting style but you can find an example of one at nearly every brewpub in America. The darker malt character helps to carry the style to gateway craft beer drinkers. An American Pale ale can many times be noticeable bitter to the drinkers palette. While an Amber ale, although many times brewed with higher IBU's, is greatly enjoyed. The darker malts help to blend and hide an otherwise surprising hop flavor to the new craft drinker. This amber ale will have a noticeable hop flavor and aroma though. So, some drinking experience is required for this Amber.

Recipe: American Pale malt, Munich malt, Amber malt, Briess Extra Special Roast, and Chocolate malt. Hopped with Warrior, whole leaf Centennial, and Chinook. Fermented with White Labs WLP001.

California Common

A style of beer resurrected by an early craft beer pioneer Fritz Maytag, who recently did an interview for Reason magazine. The style of beer that was resurrected was Steam Beer of Anchor Brewing who has trademark rights to be the only brewery to be able to call it Steam Beer. If another brewery makes this style they call it a 'Common'. Common beers are a hybrid style that's fermented with a lager yeast strain but at a higher temperatures. Most lager yeast strains ferment at less than 55*f making a cleaner crisper beverage, but this style pushes the normally cold fermenting yeast into warmer temperatures. Creating a reserved ale yeast fruit character while retaining some malt accentuating lager qualities. Generously hopped, traditionally with Northern Brewer variety, to have a lingering hop bitterness to complement the toasted malt flavors. My batch today will feature three hop variety's Super Galena, UK Goldings, and Northern Brewer. A busy triple brew day in eleven hours was a breeze with duel burners.

Pumpernickel Porter

The first time I brewed this beer I brewed 150 gallons of it at the Dogfish Pub while I was working as a brewer at the production brewery in Milton, DE. When it was my turn to brew at the pub I went through my research and development folder and looked at my list of styles and beers I was planning on brewing at home. A porter brewed with caraway seeds and rye malt inspired by Rye Bread was half way down the list. I decided this would be a fun one off for the pub that I called Daily Wry. Overall I was happy with the finished beer and it's reviews. To make this beer better I'm going to try and get a more pronounced flavor from the caraway seeds. Adding a half ounce of crushed caraway seeds at end of boil might do the trick. We'll see. Also first wort hopped this batch with Hallertau Hersbrucker which I've found lends a peppery flavor which will complement this brew.

Belgian Pale Ale

Brewing an easy drinking Belgian style pale ale today. Using White Labs WLP550 yeast. A versatile strain that ferments wort into an array of delicious beers. A blend of Slovenia Celeia, Styrian Goldings, and Centennial hops will create a floral bouquet of aromas to accompany the spicy Belgian yeast. With a slighty toasted, biscuit finish in the malt flavor. I'll probably be dry hopping this beer but will decide when I rack to secondary. Looking forward to this batch being on draught.

White Beer with Lime

Brewing a collaborative recipe today with my good friend Brent Baughman. He's moving to Portland in a few weeks to continue his brewing adventures and if anyone is looking for a damn good veteran brewer they should hire him. We began taking stock of what was available to brew with. With the yeast selection (chico, lager, hefe, and two wit strains) on hand we decided to brew a Belgian style White beer with fresh Lime peel instead of the traditional curacao orange peel. A small twist on a classic style. We used the zest of three limes and a half cup of lime juice added at the end of boil as well as the ground coriander. Fermented with Wyeast 3463 Forbidden Fruit yeast strain for a classic wit biere flavor profile.

Farm Fresh Series: Smoked Pumpkin Porter

After a hot summer this year Fall is finally in sight. The changing of the season signifies the time of year when almost every brewery in the country is brewing a spiced Pumpkin ale. An amber ale that sweeps you away on a sensory experience of Halloween, Thanksgiving, and well, Autumn.

For my fall seasonal I'll be using a heirloom pumpkin variety called Red October. A smaller, sweeter, pumpkin that is ready for harvest early in the season. The pumpkins were grown at Wright's Farm in Delaware. They were roasted and then smoked. The smoker that was used is a well seasoned smoker that contributed a huge smoked bacon flavor. After cooking the pumpkins there were twelve pounds of pumpkin meat to add to the mash. The base style to complement the flavor of the smoked pumpkins is a strong porter with a target abv of 7.5%. I'm not using any smoked malt in the grist so the smoked pumpkins will be the only smoke flavor in the beer. Also won't be using any spices to muddle the flavor of this harvest ale. Allowing the smoked pumpkins and dark malt flavors of the Porter to shine.

Heather Scotch Ale

Brewing an ale in the Gruit tradition. Before hops were commonplace in beer, Gruit was the traditional name for cereal grain fermented beverages where spices, herbs, and roots were used to flavor and add the needed bitter counterpoint to what would otherwise be a cloyingly sweet fermented cereal grain beverage. Where wine has the bitter counterpoint of tannins from the skins of the grapes, beer and gruit need to have hops, herbs, spices, and roots to balance out the beverage. Some traditional Gruit herbs and spices are yarrow, mugwort, myrica gale, wild rosemary, juniper berries, horehound, and heather. In terms of the history of "beer" hops are relatively new. Cereal grain fermented beverages have been produced, to the best of our discovered knowledge since 4000-5000 BCE with origins in the fertile crescent. Hops have only been used in the production of beer for the last 400-500 years.

The best way to understand the flavors of spices and herbs is to steep them much the same way you make tea. Heat water to a boil then pour over whatever traditional gruit spice or herb you are interested in using. Let steep for one to five minutes. Then smell and taste what is going on. Make notes of each spice and herb. Some gruit spices and herbs are better utilized for there bitterness, while others for there aroma and flavor. Figuring out when to add them during boil is probably the most difficult part next to how much to add. Unlike hops where you can calculate alpha acid content by utilization rates during boil there isn't a spreadsheet to figure out how much mugwort will give you your desired bittering units. Use your senses when you make teas, try to understand how much bitterness, flavor, and aroma each spice and herb you plan to use provides. Adding an ounce of the more bitter herbs and spices with five minutes left in the boil may have the same effect of adding an ounce of five percent alpha acid hops at the start of a sixty minute boil. For me the exciting part about brewing with herbs and spices is discovering the flavors of the spices and herbs that hops can't provide to fermented beverages. Play around with your favorite spices whether it's chamomile, licorice, or meadowsweet anything is possible in gruit (or beer as we call it today). A great website for further inspiration is

In the tradition of Northern British Isles Gruit I'm going to brew a Scotch ale with Heather flowers to add bitterness, flavor, and aroma. There are some commercial Heather Ales being produced and many mead makers carry on the tradition of brewing with Heather. Dried Heather flowers lend a floral, earthy, fruity aroma that blends well with malty beer styles.

Recipe: American Two Row, Munich Malt, Briess Extra Special Roast, and Roasted Barley. Barely hopped with Celeia. With Heather flowers added near the end of boil and at the end of boil for flavor and aroma. Fermented with Wyeast 1318 London III.

Steel Cut Irish Style Oatmeal Stout

Most oatmeal stout's are brewed with flaked oats(that have been pre-gelatinized) and/or Oat Malt to lend the style it's signature body. To make flaked oats, raw oats have been rolled while being steamed making the starches ready to be converted by the enzymes present in the mash. For today's Oatmeal Stout I'm going to use raw Steel Cut Irish Style Oats that need to be cooked for 30 minutes to break down the starches in the raw oats before being added to the mash. After the oats are cooked the enzymes in the mash can convert the starches in the oats into fermentable sugars. I'm hoping the steel cut oats add even more body than flaked oats, creating a motor oil oatmeal breakfast stout.

Recipe: American Two Row, Irish Style Steel Cut Oats, Roasted Barley, Dk. Munich malt, Crystal malt, and Chocolate malt. Hopped with Warrior for bittering and Willamette for flavor and aroma. Fermented with Fermentis Safale US-05.

Iron Brewer Robust Smoked Brown Ale

Today's brew is for the Iron Brewer competition where three mystery ingredients are picked and each brewer much concoct a beer to showcase these ingredients. So far there has been two rounds of six brewers and this is the third round of six. The three ingredients this round are Smoked Malt, Vanilla, and Centennial hops. With the hops adding a big citrus, grapefruit flavor I'll be using the hops for bittering because I'm not sure how smoke,vanilla, and grapefruit go together in beer, but grilled grapefruit with vanilla foam sounds good. Anyway it's very exciting to be invited to brew in this competition. The competition is steep this round with home brewers who brew damn good beers. Really looking forward to try what everyone brews up, but especially Slovak Brewer Stephen Freshnock's Belgian 'house smoked' Golden ale. He is by far taking the biggest risk while the rest of us are being 'safer' and brewing darker beers (3 porters, a dunkelweizen, and my brown ale). The dunkel is a pretty bold move as well though.

Allez Brasser! With these three ingredients I decided upon a Robust Brown Ale as a base. A baltic brown porter of sorts. With 37% of grist bill being Cherry Wood Smoked Malt to create a sweet bacon malty backbone. A halved Vanilla bean will be added to secondary after infusing in Bourbon for a week. Centennial hops will be used for bitterness to balance out this burly brown ale. Click here for recipe.

pLambic 1.1

The title for this post is not a spelling error. The lower case 'p' stands for 'pure culture' since real Lambic beers are only produced in the Pajottenland region of Belgium. Lambic beers from this region are brewed with a plethora of wild yeast and bacteria that creates sour and vinous flavors. These bugs of the brewing world lend a complexity to beer that doesn't exist in pure brewers yeast. Tomme Arthur writes about these bugs on the White Labs webpage. To read more about the history of Lambic beers read on.

For my pLambic today I performed a single decoction mash to create the web of dextrins necessary to make a flavorful Lambic. Also did my best to have a turbid mash which is to do the opposite of what good brewing technique dictates. By stirring the mash periodically during runoff I affected the turbidity of the wort I collected. Again, normally you want clear wort when you runoff but when preparing wort for wild beers it's a little different. You want tannins, dextrins, and other proteins to make there way to the fermentation vessel. What normally is a detriment to creating a high quality beverage is in this case needed to feed the bugs.

I'm going to split this batch between two 3 gallon FV. One I'll pitch White Labs WLP655 Belgian Sour Mix. The other I will pitch a pure brewers yeast strain, Fermentis US-05. To then pitch a different blend of bugs to that 3 gallon version later on. The caveat with these bugs is they take up to six months to really begin to emerge. So what is brewed today is enjoyed a very long time from now.

Farm Fresh Series: Mixed Berry Saison

Raspberries and Blackberries fermented with a blend of Saison yeast strains to create what I imagine will be a spicy, fruity, a little tart, easy drinking ale. It's been lots of fun brewing these fruit beers recently. Results have been good with whole fruit in primary during fermentation thus far so I'll be doing the same today.

Grist Bill: Belgian Pilsner malt, Honey malt, and Aromatic malt. Lightly hopped with Celeia. With three and a half pounds of blackberries and raspberries.

Cascadian Dark Ale

A collaborative brew with friend and fellow pro brewer Brent Baughman. We decided to brew up a decidedly American style of beer in honor of this holiday weekend celebrating the 234th birthday of America. We both agree it's a great time to be apart of this New American Craft Beer Renaissance that has been growing since the 70's. This fairly new style, first called black IPA, but renamed Cascadian Dark Ale, origins discussed further by Lisa Morrison. In her article she discusses how it's a style created in the Pacific Northwest, but Greg Noonan brewed a 'Black IPA' called BlackWatch in 1990. Anyway, I do like the name Cascadian Dark Ale and the idea and spirit of creating truly new beer styles, with new names that aren't derivative mash ups of existing beer styles. Let's agree on a name and start brewing even more regional beer styles to be celebrated nationally.

Grist Bill: Briess Two row, Honey malt, Flaked Rye, CaraPils, Chocolate malt, Black malt. First wort hopped with Perle and Centennial hop variety's. Finished with a heavy hand of whole leaf Centennial hops. Fermented with Safale US-05 American Ale yeast.

Centennial Pale Ale

Kicked my most recent batch of pale ale on draught and I have quitea bit of whole leaf Centennial hops. So, I'll be brewing an American Pale ale today with over a quarter pound of hops at end of boil. Also, I'll be collecting 900 ml of wort from today's brew to start a prop for a batch of Saison to be brewed tomorrow. The yeast for tomorrow's Saison is White Labs WLP568.

Grist Bill: Briess Two row, Munich malt, Dk. Munich malt, Toasted Flaked Rye, Amber malt, Briess Xtra Special malt. Hopped with over a quarter pound of whole leaf Centennial. Fermented with Safale US-05.

Farm Fresh Series: Blueberry Belgian Ale

Continuing my Farm Fresh Series with fresh Blueberries from my local farmers market. So far in the series I've brewed a Strawberry Cream ale and a Tart Cherry Porter. I kegged the strawberry ale yesterday and racked cherry porter to 2nd. I'm very happy so far with how both batches are maturing. Strawberry flavor comes through surprisingly well.

Today's recipe is similar to strawberry cream ale's grist bill, but instead of flaked maize I'll be using flaked barley and oats. Creating a golden ale for the blueberries to influence any way they please. Hopefully with some color and flavor. To mix it up from most commercial examples I'll be fermenting this batch with a Belgian yeast strain creating spicy and fruity flavors of it's own that hopefully won't overwhelm the blueberries. Just like the strawberry and cherry beers I'll also be adding the fruit directly into primary FV during knock out. Good results so far with whole, well slightly crushed or cut up, fruit fermentation.

Grist Bill: Pale two row, Honey malt, Flaked Barley, and Flaked Oats. Slightly hopped with Celeia variety with five and a half pounds of fresh blueberries from Fifer Orchards in the fermentation vessel. Fermented with White Labs WLP570 Belgian Golden Ale yeast.

Belgian Table Biere(s)

Brewing up a big batch today of low gravity Belgian blonde ale that I'm going to split between two carboys and ferment each with a different yeast strain from White Labs. It's always interesting to see how different strains affect the flavor profile of the same wort. In one carboy I will pitch WLP500, a strain from the Chimay Trappist Brewery. In the other carboy I'll pitch WLP575 which is a blend of Chimay yeast, Westmalle Trappist yeast, and Achouffe yeast. Originally I was looking for WLP550 which is just the Achouffe strain but alas my local home brew store didn't have any this weekend so I went with the WLP575 Belgian Blend. I'm able to find out the origins of these strains by using the yeast strain chart that Mr.Malty has created. It's very interesting and useful to determine what yeast to use knowing the flavor impact the yeast makes in the beers brewed from the brewery's where the yeast comes from. Giving you an idea of what your beer will taste like using that yeast.

Grist Bill: Belgian Pilsner malt, Briess Pale malt, Rye malt, Aromatic malt, and CaraPils. American whole leaf Palisade hops for bittering and finished with whole leaf Centennial hops. Adding a citrus kick to the nuances of the two different Belgian yeasts from White Labs, WLP500 and WLP575.

Petite Saison

Brewed with Barley, Wheat, Oats, and Rice. First wort hopped with Saaz andCeleia. With East Kent Golding hops at the end of boil. Fermented with Wyeast 3711 French Saison. Simple recipe, but most likely a delicious beer. Step mash for today's brew to break down extra proteins in the large portion of wheat and oats in the grist. This was a great beer for the middle of Summer. Dry and drinkable, but spicy enough to be interesting. Some more noble hop flavors from dry hopping would be a nice addition to recipe. Styrian Golding, Saaz, or Tettnanger would add the needed hop flavor.

Farm Fresh Series: Tart Cherry Porter

This weekend at the farmers market there were some fresh Tart Cherries and Blueberries. I decided to brew a Porter with the cherries. I'll be adding the cherries directly into the primary FV as I did during knockout for the Strawberry Cream Ale. Both the cherries and previously mentioned strawberries were from Fifer Orchards in Wyoming, Delaware.

Grist Bill: English pale malt, Amber malt, Crystal malt, Coffee malt, Chocolate malt, Black Patent, and CaraPils. Six Pounds of Tart Cherries. Lightly hopped with Willamette. Fermented with Safale US-05.

Abbey Ale

After working with and living with my house mate, who is also a professional brewer, for over a year now we haven't done a collaborative brew yet. Which is kind of ridiculous. We're brewing an Abbey style ale with Citra hops and dried orange slices. A blonde 7% hoppy citrus Belgian style ale.

Grist Bill: Belgian two row, Munich malt, Biscuit malt, and Aromatic malt. First wort hopped with Saaz and Willamette. Citra hops for finishing hops along with dried oranges at end of boil. Fermented with the Westmalle Trappist brewery strain the White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale yeast.

Smoked Session Stout

This is a beer I would like to serve using nitrogen. The beer would be greatly improved by this serving method. A firkin would also compliment the flavors in this Stout. It's a low alcohol but full flavored offering. It's your usual 'sessionable' Stout but brewed with over 30% smoked malt adding a delicious old world twist. As most beers had smoke flavor back in the day due to open fire malting techniques.

Grist Bill: Pale two row, Smoked malt, Chocolate malt, Roasted Barley, Crystal malt, Flaked Barley, and CaraPils. Hopped with Super Galena and Willamette. Fermented with American ale yeast WLP001. I do need to get some Thames Valley and/or London III yeast around for when I decide to do brews like this, but this one will be fermented with chico.

Copper Ale

Brewing up an easy drinking Copper ale tonight. Brewed with 24% Biscuitmalt to give this brew a bold bready character. Commercial examples of this 'style' of beer are Otter Creek's Copper Ale and New Belgium's Fat Tire. Both are very biscuity, malty, well balanced ales with enough hops to hold up to the malt but not overpower it. A style of beer that doesn't really have a category. It's American but doesn't have the American citrus hop character that Category 10 American Ales have. Copper ales are similar to German Alt beers but the yeast character in American Copper ales contributes more flavor than a traditional German Alt beers yeast that has a cleaner, lager like yeast characteristics.

Grist Bill: American two row, Biscuit malt, Aromatic malt, Dk. Munich malt, and Briess Xtra Special malt. Bittering hops are Super Galena, finishing hops are Willamette and Celeia. Fermented with Safale US-05.

BBQ Bourban Brown Ale

On Memorial Day this year I'm brewing a big brown ale inspired by the many barbecue's that are taking place today. To turn this brown ale into a barbecue inspired batch I'll be brewing with Smoke Malt, Molasses, and Ancho Chilies. Lending the delicious flavors of well done barbecue. Brown ales are the best style to pair with grilled and barbecued foods. This is because of the Maillard Reaction. Think toasting bread, searing a steak, the browning action of your favorite foods. The flavor of toasted bread, biscuits, seared and roasted meats, and dark beers are made from "a chemical reaction between amino acid and a reducing sugar, usually requiring heat. It is vitally important in the preparation or presentation of many types of food." Going to be aging this beer on house charred either mesquite, hickory, or oak chips soaked with Bourbon. Nothing like a Bourbon infused Barbecue sauce. The boiled wort has nice chocolate, toffee and caramel, with a ripe dark fruit pepper flavor from the Ancho chilies. Should be interesting.

Fin de Printemps Saison

An 'End of Spring' Saison. I've brewed a few different spin-offs of the 'Saison' style of beer this last year, a Black Saison, and most recently a Saison with red peppercorns and sumac berries. I've been very pleased with results. Today's will have no spices and be a more 'traditional' style Saison. I will be doing a step mash for extra added more traditional, time consuming, dividend paying, and multiple step taking process that is a step mash. This mash procedure will insure conversion and more importantly break down extra proteins that are in the flaked rye, wheat malt, flaked maize and flaked oats that will be in the mash along with malted barley. These other grains have a much higher protein content and these proteins can be broken down by performing a step mash.

One of my favorite styles of beer is Saison. Drinking them, brewing them, and cooking with them. Whether brewed in France, Belgium, America, or by some other independent spirited brewer they can be delicious. Thirsty quenching when either strong or 'sessionable'. Brewed with spices, fruit and can get better with funk. The possibilities are endless with this traditional farm hand field beverage.

Farm Fresh Series: Strawberry Cream Ale

Brewing up a Cream Ale today with fresh local strawberries and bananas. Brewing a somewhat traditional style cream ale by using flaked maize in the mash. The somewhat will be the addition of 6 pounds of whole strawberries and 3 bananas into the primary fermenter. Now, I recommend and prefer fermenting in glass for a couple reasons, plastic scratches much easier and never smells 'clean'. Regardless I've purchased a 7 gallon plastic FV for a 'Farm Fresh Fermentation Series'. The plan is to brew with whatever fresh local fruit's and vegetables that are available throughout this year's season at my local farmers market. First batch of series will be a Strawberry Cream ale. My friend Jon Talkington, Master Meadmaker of Brimming Horn Meadery makes a strawberry mead and has found that the addition of bananas to fermentation doesn't add much banana flavor but does seem to enhance the strawberry flavor. The flavor of strawberry is delicate and often difficult to brew with, probably a reason there are not many commercial examples (compared to blueberry for instance). I'm especially excited to brew something with cantaloupe, honey dew melons, and carrots later this year. Of course the randoms will be most fun, kohlrabi ale anyone?

Simple grist bill of pale two row, flaked maize, and honey malt. Barely hopped with Celeia variety and fermented with White Labs WLP009 Australian Ale yeast. White Labs claims this yeast "can ferment successfully, and clean, at higher temperatures."

Pale(s) In Comparison

The attention to detail will be hyper focused on the task at hand. Which is to brew two batches of my American Pale Ale recipe that placed 2nd in First Round of National Homebrew Competition in Category 10 'American Ale'. This means it was the 2nd best 'American Style' ale out of the 76 entries in that particular category. There are three sub category's in category 10, they are as follows: 10a Pale ale, 10b Amber ale, 10c Brown ale (further reading, BJCP style guidelines). So, all of the 76 entries of 'American style' beer were judged against each other on which was the, 'most true to style'. The winners of category 10 were an Amber ale(10b) that received 1st and a Brown ale(10c) receiving 3rd. Meaning of all Pale ales(10a) entered into Northeast region that, on the day of judging, mine was 'best' pale ale entered by getting 2nd. After burning my candle on both ends for quite some time this is a nice 'pat on the back' for all my hard work. I really enjoy crafting delicious brews whether using strange grains, herbs & spices, and wood aged beers, but to place with an American style pale ale means more than my other beers I entered into previously mentioned experimental categories. The fact the judges recognized on that day the 'quaffability' of my take on what has become a flagship style in the bedrock of this New American Craft Brewing Renaissance is an honor.

Since I don't have anymore of that batch of pale ale around I'll be brewing more to send to nationals. The batch I sent in was brewed at the end of January and was mostly a prop batch for what was an upcoming Imperial Coffee Stout. I didn't even blog about it in between a Schwarzbier and a Rye'd Pale ale. I did try new hopping technique which is a combination of hop additions that I've found work well. Basically I 'first wort' hopped during run off. Which is the practice of adding hops to your wort which weaves together a unmatched hop flavor (first wort technical reading). I then added just enough bittering hops to balance and didn't add another hop addition the rest of boil. With my theory being, "if I'm going to dry hop the beer, why not just move late kettle additions to dry hops as well." So I added the ounce of what would have been my zero minute hop addition and added them on day 2 of fermentation. After fermentation I racked to 2nd and dry hopped a second time the way I do normally. It was then bottled in the middle of February and two months later at the end of April a couple of BJCP judges enjoyed it. My friends and I couldn't wait that long, we enjoyed the whole batch much sooner.

Now that I'm brewing up a couple batches that will be in bottle a little over two weeks instead of two months before they are judged I'm wondering if I should try and reverse engineer the hop levels to what they may have been after two months in bottles. As many hop heads know, hops are best fresh, and that hop flavor fades and fades fast. I'm probably over thinking it, but I'm going to brew one batch exactly the same and the other with a 10-15% decrease to the overall hop bill and then decide later which to send to nationals.

Rye'd Pale Ale(s)

Brewing a ten gallon batch of a an American Pale Ale with just over 15% Rye malt. I'll be doing a little bit of a hop experiment on this one. I've got quite a bit of whole leaf hops that need to be used up (In freezer for 6 months). I am confident they are still 'fresh' enough' to use but I would like to use them up quickly at this point. So I'm going to be adding over half a pound of whole leaf Palisade, Simcoe, and Amarillo hops all combined at end of boil. Still leaving me with part of a brick of Simcoe to use up. I've heard/read about this hop technique being used by Deschutes for their Hop Trip. Brewed with very little, if any bittering hops and a truck load of whole leaf hop flowers at the end of boil. So I'll be first wort hopping with some Chinook hops, which provides some bitterness, then not adding another hop until end of boil. Today's brew is based off my Rye'd Pale Ale recipe I brewed in January 2010.

Grist Bill: Briess two row, Rye malt, Munich malt, Crystal malt, and Amber malt. Hopped with Chinook, Palisade, Amarillo, and Simcoe. Fermented with Chico yeast.

Sahti Altbier

The end of last April 2009 I brewed a Juniper Rye Ale that I wasn't thrilled with. Some changes to today's recipe will be moving the crushed juniper berry addition back to later in the boil. I experimented with adding juniper berries to the mash and middle of boil. Not much juniper berry flavor remained. What little was left was tannins and the oily bitter flavors of the berry on the tongue after each sip. The first time I brewed a beer based on this traditional beer style called Sahti was in January 2007. For that brew I added some juniper berries at end of boil, and at bottling I made a juniper berry tea which I added to bottling bucket with the priming sugar. The flavors from the tea and late boil additions were much more enjoyable. Aroma was floral,spicy gin with a finishing pine character. An addition to the grist bill will be a traditional Rauch(smoked) malt. Only 3% smoked malt in the grist will add authenticity to this traditional style without overpowering the palette.

Grist Bill: Baird Pale malt, Briess two row, Rye malt, Crystal Rye malt, Smoked malt, and a couple ounces Roasted Barley for color. First wort hopped with Hallertau Hersbrucker. Crushed Juniper Berries added at End of Boil. Fermented with Wyeast 1007 German Ale yeast.


Brewed a Quadruple with Pinot Noir juice/concentrate last November 09', and today's batch is an evolution of the recipe. Changing some specialty malts to create more toffee/raisin flavors in the malt backbone. Also going to be collecting the first gallon of first runnings and reduce by half to caramelize the delicious wort. The first batch, at 11% and even after six months still tastes young. The oak and red wine notes are the aroma. Happy with the batch but can always be better. The Briess Extra Special Roast in the first batch produced roast malt character that is out of place in what I want this beer to taste like (great specialty malt for Brown ales though).

Grist Bill: Pale two row, Munich malt, CaraMunich 40, Crystal 65, Biscuit malt, and CaraPils. Hopped to balance with Vanguard. 25% of extract from Pinot Noir grape/concentrate. Fermented with 2nd generation Wyeast 3711. Although not a true Trappist yeast strain, this yeast provides high attenuation and Trappist yeast type flavors. Origins of yeast, Brasserie Thiriez located in francophone Flanders.

Lemon Pepper HefeWeizen(s)

A traditional style German Hefeweizen, brewed with Lemongrass, Bay Leaves, Black Peppercorns, and Lemon peel. Based off two similar beer I did last year. One in March 09, and other in July 09' (which I just realized I didn't blog about last summer). I enjoyed how the banana/clove flavors from the yeast played off the earthy lemongrass, green tea flavor of bay leaves and subtle pepper spice undertones. I'm adding fresh lemon peel to bounce off the earthiness of lemongrass with the acidity of fresh lemons. Also added 1/2 cup lemon juice at end of boil for some dry, tart, sour background to the overall brew. Brewing two batches of the same recipe so I can blend together in newly made 10 gallon bottling bucket.

Grist: Wheat malt, Pale two row, English pale malt, Flaked Wheat, and Flaked Oats. Hopped with Hallertau Hersbrucker. Spiced with Lemongrass, Bay leaves, Black Peppercorns, and Lemon Peel.

Saison d'Hiver

Last September 09' I brewed an Imperial Black Saison. Spiced with Meadowsweet, Chamomile, and Nutmeg. Aged on French Oak for two months, called Saison d'Hiver. At 10% it's a big beer and has gotten better with age. One complaint I have with the first batch is head retention. I'll be making some changes to grist bill to aid in head retention. I believe the problem is in the use of spices (oils) and the high alcohol content doesn't help either. Another shortcoming is because of the high alcohol and low finishing gravity, thin body. Other tweaks to recipe are to give more body to the brew. Making it a true, Winter Warmer, of sorts.

Grist bill: Pale malt, Flaked Oats, Chocolate Malt, Black Patent malt, Biscuit Malt, Crystal Malt, and Coffee Malt. Maxing out my mash tun with twenty five total pounds of grain. Hopped lightly with Vanguard. Spiced with Meadowsweet, Chamomile, and Heather (no nutmeg in house).

Small Table Beer

With the final running's of Batch 100 I'm brewing a 3 gallon batch to create a small table beer around 3.5%. Hopped lightly with Celeia hops. Fermenting with Safale T-58, creating a Belgian style amber ale. The most famous commercial American small beer using this technique of collecting lower gravity running's for a separate beer from it's high gravity brother is Anchor Steam Brewing's Small Beer. Basically when brewing high gravity beers you use a bunch of grain to create enough sugar to reach higher gravity but don't want to collect all of possible wort otherwise you'll just have a big batch of more average gravity wort. So, by collecting the rest of the running's after you've collected what you what for the big brew you can now not waste any of the sugar you've made by brewing a small beer. Glad I decided to do this, used my original 16 qt kettle from when I started extract brewing four years ago to boil on my stove top. Good memories.

Batch 100 Barleywine

Ninety nine batches in the making. After home brewing for four years now I have brewed ninety nine batches and today's will be number 100. Brewing something special for the occasion. I've wanted to brew an English style Barleywine for some time now. Batch 100 seems like a good place to brew one (Nogne Brewery did a Batch 100 Barleywine that is delicious). I'm collecting the first gallon of first running's and boiling (reducing by half). Adding this caramelized concentrated wort to the rest of the wort before start of boil. I'll be aging this Barleywine on French Oak chips that are already soaking in Malbec wine from Argentina.

Simple grist bill of English pale malt, biscuit malt, and crystal malt. Ninety minute boil. Hopped with Super Galena, and fermented with 2nd generation English yeast.