Cider Recipe: “Record Number of Entries” Dry Hard Cider

This is my first cider.  I’ve been meaning to do one for quite some time, and it just kept getting pushed off.  But, I recently saw a cider from apple juice over at Brulosophy and was finally inspired grab some yeast and get ta cider’n.  I modified/ simplified from the original “recipe” to make it even easier on myself.

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Beer Recipe: “Wacky Wit” Wit with Brett

To be honest, I’m not really sure where I got the idea in my head to brew this beer.  I have been reading a lot about sour beers lately (American Sour Beers is a wonderful book), and I wanted something outside of a normal ale.  But, I wanted to enjoy it relatively quickly, unlike the Flanders Red I have sitting in a closet upstairs until this summer.  So, I just decided to co-pitch some brett and a saison yeast into something like a wit wort and see what happened.

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Beer Recipe: “Merlin” Belgian Pale Ale

The last Belgian pale ale I made was decent, but ended up being too sweet when the hops dropped out.  And, the yeast character ended up being rather tart and muddled.  But, I thought it had potential, and whipped up this batch with lessons learned.  Its more of a “spiritual successor” than a direct descendant with all of the changes made. Read more of this post

Beer Recipe: “Sochi Stout” Russian Imperial Stout

This is one of the big beers I brewed this past winter (I am resigned to brewing with the seasons until I get temperature control) during the Sochi Olympics.  It was disappointing watching the Americans go against the Maple Machine in hockeyand the subsequent implosion against the Finns—but I still thought it was an appropriate beer name.

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Beer Recipe: “River Thames” Southern English Brown

I’ve been trying to get some more low alcohol beers into the rotation lately.  For whatever reason, there is sort of a sweet spot of 6.5-8% ABV that I can easily and consistently produce good beer without having to worry about it being too watery or bland on the low end or extreme fermentation issues on the high end.  But, I wanted to be able to drink more beer (and thus brew more beer), which meant pushing ABV lower.

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Beer Recipe: “Cantankerous Leprechaun” Dry Stout

This beer was originally supposed to be named “World’s Tallest Leprechaun” after the shirt my brother-in-law got me on his honeymoon to Ireland.  If you’re not yet chuckling, picture a 6’5/ 2 m tall man wearing a tiny green jacket.  I decided to rename it after having one of the more difficult brew days in a while. Read more of this post

Beer Recipe: “Mo’Citra” Hoppy Saison

This beer is the spiritual successor of last season’s “Lawn Dart” Saison. I really enjoyed the high dose of wheat, and decided to up the ante with some rye.  I also wanted to have a bit more of a hop impression without much bitterness, so I used a favorite technique of minehop burstingwith my favorite hop pair, Mosiac and Citra.

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Beer Recipe: “Meiko” Belgian Pale Ale

About 10 batches ago, I brewed a beer modeled after Flying Dog’s “Raging Bitch” Belgian IPA, mostly following a recipe given on the Jamil Show podcast on The Brewing Network.  It turned out really well; friends claimed it was better than the commercial version, but I suspect they just wanted more free beer.  This summer I thought it would be nice to have an easier-drinking pale ale version.  Its named after our new cat, Meiko, who we got about the time this was bottled (and they are surprisingly similar in color).

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Beer Recipe: “Imposter” German Dark ‘Lager’

For this brew, I was targeting something more in line with the German brewing tradition than any of my previous brews.  I didn’t shoot for a particular style, but rather a mix of what I like about schwartzbier, dunkel, and bock to get a full flavored beer, but still drinkable in the warmer months.  I also don’t have any desire to decoction mash or set up for lagering, so I instead chose my ingredients, especially yeast, carefully.  Hence the Imposter moniker: this is an ale in a lager costume.

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Beer Recipe: “Eureka” Tripel

This is my first brew I put to use the information I learned from Brew like a Monk and posted about earlier, so named for my various “eureka!” moments while reading.  Its a style I love and have been wanting to brew since I started, but always got pushed off for reasons unknown.

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Brewing Belgian-Inspired Beers at Home

I have always been a bit infatuated with Belgian beers.  I (finally!) got my hands on a copy of Brew Like a Monk, and there were numerous “ah-ha!” eureka moments that stuck out to me for brewing a proper Belgian-inspired beer.

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Open-air Fermentation and a Recipe

Open-air fermentation?  You mean fermentation with no lid?  NO AIRLOCK!?  Yes.  Its time to take the top off.  I know what you’re thinking: the beer will get infected.  You’re also thinking: that’s crazy, why would you even bother with such non-sense?  This is the 21st century, not the dark ages; we use lids in century 21, sir! Read more of this post

Brewing Session Ales and a Rye Recipe

I love the idea of session ales: you can have a few without falling out of your chair.  But, they’re devilishly hard to brew without tasting like you just added carbonated water to an actual beer. Read more of this post

Beer Recipe: “JuniPA II” Juniper Pale Ale

This is a recipe loosely based on an extract brew I made a while ago before converting to all grain.  It features an ingredient I really love- juniper berries.  They are far more “berry” and far less “gin” than you might think, and make a very interesting addition to many beer styles.  As you’ll read below, this is a good brew, but didn’t quite capture the magic of the original recipe.  But, I think I know how to fix it in the future. Read more of this post

Sour Mash Sour Beers and a Recipe

Do you want to make a sour beer but don’t want to worry about contaminating all of your equipment with spoiler microbes?  The sour mashing technique might be for you, even if you are an extract brewer.  In a nutshell, the wort is allowed to sour during the mash, then the beer is boiled, killing any spoiler microbes before they can get to the rest of your equipment. Read more of this post

Beer Recipe: “Kick in the Mangos” Brett IPA

I have been playing around with the tropical fruit hops like mosaic, simcoe, falconer’s flight (a blend), etc, for my last few batches, and have really enjoyed the result.  This time, I decided to pair these hops with the brett trois yeast strain which is known for anything from tart to mango and pineapple to horse blanket; I tailored the conditions to draw out only the mango and pineapple to complement the hops.  The result was an IPA gushing with tropical fruit flavors layered over smooth bittering. Read more of this post

Beer Recipe: “JuniPA” Juniper Pale Ale

This was a beer born after listening to a podcast or two about brewing sahti, a traditional Finnish beer which frequently uses Juniper or similar evergreen sprigs in the mash to flavor the beer.  I happened to have the much less resinous and more mild juniper berries already in my spice cabinet from some sauerbraten I made a while back, so I decided to use the rest for a beer.  I went with an American pale ale base so the berries could really come out and not get hidden behind too much malt or hops- I really wanted to see what they would do in the beer.  This is one of my older recipes just before I made the transition to all grain and water treatment, so this is a partial mash recipe.  I’ll soon be making an all grain beer based (loosely) on this recipe. [UPDATE: Here is the all-grain JuniPA post.] Read more of this post

Beer Recipe: “Stormy Night” Session Stout

There are many things about spring and summer I love- everything turns green and colorful, the weather is nice (well, for a few weeks until it gets so bloody humid its just oppressive), and its great to finally get outside again.  The beer, however, seems to get far less interesting.  Summer pilsner this, light ale that.  Its understandable- no one wants to sit outside with condensation running down a glass of barleywine.  In an effort to come to a happy medium, I set out to brew something full bodied and flavorful, but clean, drinkable, and lowish alcohol.  I came up with this stout I’ve dubbed Stormy Night.  Corny, I know, but it named itself when the lights started to flicker as I was bottling. Read more of this post

How to Build a Beer Recipe

Building a recipe is a large part of the craft of brewing, which means there will be even more opinions than on the scientific portion of brewing.  And opinions are like, well… lets just say everyone has one.  Here’s mine (my opinion, that is): Read more of this post

Beer Recipe: “Lawn Dart” Saison

This spring I decided I wanted a nice summer beer.  I have a bit of a fascination with Belgian styles, so a moderate gravity saison seemed like the perfect choice.  I named this one after a game I used to love playing as a kid in the back yard: lawn darts.  And no, I’m not that old- there was a set in my grandparent’s shed from back before they were outlawed.  Something about giving kids and drunk people weighted objects with a 4 inch spike on the end to hurl high into the air apparently struck someone (no pun intended) as a bad idea after a couple of years on the market.  There’s just no having fun anymore I suppose. Read more of this post

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