Monster Mash

Every once in a while, I feel the “urge to purge” – the grain cupboard, that is. As I brew, I often have to buy whole pounds or more of grains when I only need four ounces or a half pound. Which means I am left with stray quarter or half pound bags of a variety of specialty grains, sometimes even of base malts. So, as I said, once in a while I clean out the bin, and brew with whatever I have on hand. This is one of THOSE brews. Since it’s not following a standard recipe, I have to find a vague sort of catch-all category to place it in. This one, big and rich and hoppy, sounds to me like a “Strong Ale” or even an “Old Ale”… so that’s what I’m calling it. There are some 11 or 12 different grains here, maybe more – I found a couple of bags of mixed grains, possibly leftovers from the homebrew section of the Market which I couldn’t bear to throw away, even though I had no idea which bins they cam from. It will be what it will be, but just to be sure I am adding a tin of Golden Syrup, which guarantees it will be strong and rich.

“Old Ridiculous”, Old/Strong Ale

5 gallons, all grain


  • 1 lb. Belgian amber malt
  • 1 lb. Kilncoffee malt
  • 2 lbs. Cara-amber malt
  • 1/2 lb. Biscuit malt
  • 2 lbs. Maris Otter 2-row pale malt
  • 2 oz. Peated malt
  • 2 oz. Honey malt
  • 1/2 lb. 60°L crystal malt
  • 1 lb. Victory malt
  • 3 lbs. Mild Ale malt
  • 3/4 lb. miscellaneous leftover malts (incl. wheat, black, roasted barley…?)
  • 1 tin (454 g – 10.6 oz.) Lyle’s Golden Syrup
  • 1 oz. Columbus hop pellets (at 14.5% aa)
  • 1 oz. Yakima Gold hop pellets (at 4.5% aa)
  • Windsor dry ale yeast (11 g.)
  • 3/4 cup corn sugar (for priming)

Procedure: Crush grains. Heat 15 quarts water to 164°F. Mash in grains, hold at 152°F for 60 minutes. Heat another 15 quarts water to 170°F. Begin runoff and sparge, collecting 27 quarts sweet wort. Bring to a boil, add Columbus hops. oil 45 minutes, add Yakima Gold hops. Boil 15 minutes (60 total) and remove from heat. Chill to 80°F, take a hydrometer reading. Pour into a sanitized fermenter, splashing well to aerate. Sprinkle dry yeast over surface of wort, seal and ferment warm (65 – 68°F) ten to twelve days. Rack to secondary, condition cooler (55 – 58°F) for three to four weeks. Prime with corn sugar and bottle. Age cool (48 – 50°F) for at least eight weeks.

OG: 1072

IBU’s: 65

2 Replies to “Monster Mash”

  1. Closet clean-ups can lead to fun beers. I entered a “whatever’s left” imperial porter into the 1st Greg Noonan competition and got some interesting feedback. I don’t remember all the ingredients, but they did include a friend’s three-pound can of very old John Bull brand , hopped dark liquid extract syrup and whatever candi sugar I had lying around. Here’s what the judges said [and my responses]:

    “Complex beer…ease back on chocolate malt [not sure there was any]”
    “Watch your sparge temps – high astringency” [extract – no sparge]
    “Hops not notable” [hopped extract?]
    “Hop rate excessive for a porter” [hmm…]

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