Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Starting Over 2015

Friday, January 9th, 2015

So Happy New Year to all my readers, faithful and otherwise. Time to get back into the swing of things. New year, new start, new beer…

Keeping it as simple as possible, my first brew of 2015 contains only 5 ingredients (including water); 6 if the two different hops count separately. I owe this recipe to two great brewing friends, Walter Wallner (once and again of Austria) and my Tunbridge neighbor Carol Hall.

Several months ago, Brew Your Own ran an article about SMaSH beers – single malt and single hop – I brewed a SMaSH pale ale for my friend Rick’s summer party, using only North American 2-row malt and only Columbus hops – a 5 gallon corny was drained in about an hour. Then Carol came to a HOPS club meeting with a Vienna Lager she’d done with only Vienna malt – it was delicious, but not what you’d expect a Vienna to look like – nowhere near the color of, say, Negra Modelo or Dos Equis Amber, which are pretty much held up as the modern commercial examples. Then I remembered that Walter used to brew what he simply called a “märzen”, a typical Austrian lager – which was barely darker than a Czech Pilsner.

OK, I can do this – all Vienna, minimal quantities of noble hops, Mexican lager yeast (a nod to Modelo and the immigrant disciples of Anton Dreher in Imperial Mexico), and voilà…


  • 8.5 lbs. Weyermann Vienna malt
  • 1 oz. Tettnang hop pellets
  • 1 oz Saaz hop pellets
  • White Labs Mexican Lager yeast (WLP940)
  • 2/3 cup corn sugar (for priming)


  • Crush malt.
  • Heat 14 quarts water to 161°F.
  • Dough in crushed Vienna malt, mash at 150°F for 45 minutes.
  • Heat 11 quarts water to 170°F.
  • Begin runoff and sparge, collecting about 23 quarts sweet wort.
  • Bring to a boil, add Tettnang hops.
  • Boil 30 minutes, add Saaz hops.
  • Boil another 30 minutes, remove from heat and chill to 75°F.
  • Take a sample for your gravity reading, pour into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well.
  • Pitch yeast, seal and ferment at 65°F for ten days.
  • Rack to secondary, lager two months at 40 – 45°F.
  • Bring back to “room temperature” for 24 hours, prime with corn sugar and bottle.
  • Age in bottles for three weeks, the first at 65-68°F, the last two at 45°F.

OG: 1054

IBUs: 27

A deep golden lager, crystal clear, emphasis on the malty backbone but with a noticeable noble hop bite and flavor. The Vienna lager style first brewed in Vienna around 1841 by Anton Dreher, was darker than the beers of Munich and Pilsen but was probably not the amber/brown creature we know today. It was the primary style brewed by German/Austrian brewers who went to Mexico with the Emperor Maximilian, and it is primarily in Mexico that the style even exists today, it is very rare in Europe.


A Beer for trick-or-treaters?

Friday, October 31st, 2014

By popular demand/request – here’s the recipe for my successful (third) attempt at a Peanut Butter Cup Porter. First one went funky, second one just didn’t have it… This one, on the other hand, mmmmm.


  • 8 lb. 2-row pale malt
  • 1 lb. dark Munich malt
  • 1 lb. Belgian kiln-coffee malt
  • 1 lb. pale chocolate malt
  • 1 lb. biscuit malt
  • 8 oz. cara-pils malt
  • 4 oz. malted wheat
  • 4 oz. 30°L crystal malt
  • 1/2 lb. flaked oats
  • 2 oz. Carafa III malt
  • 1 oz. Mosaic hop pellets (12.7% aa)
  •  4 oz. de-oiled, dehydrated peanut butter powder
  • 2 oz. cocoa nibs
  • White Labs London Ale yeast (WLP 013)
  • 2 oz. peanut butter powder and 2 oz. cocoa nibs, soaked for three weeks in 3 oz. vodka


Mash: crush all grains. Mash at 155°F in 17 quarts water for 90 minutes. Runoff liquid and sparge grains with 15 quarts water at 169° F.

Boil: 60 minutes. 1/2 oz. Mosaic for 60 minutes, 1/2 oz. for 15 minutes. Add first dose of PBP and cocoa nibs at the same time as the second hop addition.

Chill, pour into sanitized primary fermenter, splashing well to add oxygen. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment 10 days at 65°F

Rack to secondary, add vodka-soaked PBP and cocoa nibs. Age three weeks.

Prime with 2/3 cup extra-light DME, bottle and condition three to four weeks.

OG: 1073

IBU’s: 35

I think the next time I brew this I would add more peanut butter powder – it’s there, mostly aroma, but it could be more pronounced, in my opinion.

Happy Halloween, 2014!



Fifty Shades of Grain?

Friday, September 21st, 2012

I am a big fan of irony. I had this idea to brew a batch with a cornucopia of different varieties and forms of grains, as my Autumnal Equinox brew. A harvest ale that would reflect the richness and diversity of the season. So I looked online to see what other people had brewed with, to get some ideas. First result returned by my search engine? My own BYO article from several years ago! I didn’t even remember having written it until that moment. Can I say that it was a very helpful article, without seeming smug?

This recipe contains twelve different grains, in seventeen different packages. Six malts, five flaked grains and six different whole grains needing to be pre-cooked. I can’t tell you specifically what each component adds to the mix, but the resulting wort tastes nutty, bready and sweet. I expect it will be a semi-cloudy beer in the end, just because of all the unmalted flaked grains. I opted for two German hops and an English yeast, seeking noble flavors and malt-forward sweetness, and rounded out the kettle with some invert sugar (golden syrup) just in case my mash was inefficient.

I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly and efficiently my lauter and sparge went – normally with this much flaked grain material, the whole thing can glue together and make a very slow runoff. I credit the malted oats, as their grain hulls stayed relatively whole after milling, creating a nice filter bed.

Green Man Mabon Ale

5 gallons, all-grain


  • 2 lbs. malted oats
  • 1-1/2 lbs. malted rye
  • 1-1/2 lbs. malted spelt
  • 1 lb. malted red wheat
  • 2 lbs. 2-row pale malt
  • 1/2 lb. carapils malt
  • 1/2 lb. flaked wheat
  • 1/2 lb. flaked barley
  • 1 lb. flaked oats
  • 1 lb. flaked rye
  • 1 lb. flaked maize
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1/4 cup amaranth
  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 1/4 cup black quinoa
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat
  • 1/2 cup emmer
  • 1 tin (454 g) Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 1 oz. German Tradition hop pellets
  • 1 oz. whole Sterling hops
  • White Labs English Ale Yeast (WLP002)
  • 2/3 cup corn sugar (for priming)


Brew Day Eve: Cook the rice, amaranth, millet, quinoa, buckwheat and emmer in about 4 cups water for 30 minutes, or until all the water is absorbed and the grains are chewy. Leave covered overnight.

Brew Day: Crush the malts. Heat 17 quarts water to 165°F. Dough in malts, stir well. Add flaked grains, stir again. Add cooked grains, mix into malts and flakes. Cover and hold at 154°F for 75 minutes. Heat 15 quarts water to 169°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 28 quarts sweet wort. Add Golden Syrup to kettle, bring to a boil. Add Tradition hops, boil 60 minutes. Add Sterling hops (in mesh bag), turn off heat. Steep for ten minutes then remove bag of hops. Chill to 80°F, take a hydrometer reading. Pour into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Pitch yeast, seal and ferment 10 days at 68°F. Rack to secondary, condition cooler (58 – 60°F) for two weeks. Prime with corn sugar and bottle, condition three weeks at 60°F.

OG: 1060

IBUs: 34

Note on grains: As was the case for an ancient Egyptian-style clone I brewed a few months ago, I had to malt the spelt myself, as I could not obtain malted spelt from any of my usual sources. I placed the spelt in a quart mason jar with a perforated sprouting top on it and soaked the grains for 24 hours, drained the liquid and allowed the grains to sprout over the course of several days, rinsing and draining once a day. When I began to see small sprouts at the ends of the majority of the grains, I spread them on a baking sheet and dried them in the oven set at 170°, with the door open. It took about 4 hours to dry, then I left them in the closed oven for 24 hours. I thought about trying to do the same with the rice, amaranth, quinoa, etc. but decided it was too much work. Those interested in growing or malting their own grains may want to check out the chapter in Joe & Dennis Fisher’s book “The Homebrewer’s Garden”.