Racking reminds me…

Just racked my most recent brew to secondary and that reminded me that I had put off posting the recipe and tips. So here I am to correct that lack.

Our homebrew club sets a style calendar a year at a time, giving everyone a schedule for brewing anything we plan to bring to a meeting in the future. For our June meeting we are all supposed to brew a clone of a commercial beer and bring in both our clone and the original, to be tasted side-by-side. Looking around the brewing closet, I remembered a jar full of oak cubes soaking in dark rum. This was back in January, around the time of our annual Burns Night party. I had laid in a stock of good Scottish beers for the evening, one of which was Innis & Gunn’s Rum Aged Ale.  That was easy!

Innis & Gunn Rum Aged Clone – 3 gallons, all grain


  • 6-1/4 lbs. Simpson’s Golden Promise malt
  • 1/2 lb. 60°L crystal malt
  • 1/4 lb. Simpson’s Brown malt
  • 1 cup, dark brown sugar
  • 2 oz. Fuggles hop pellets (3.7% aa)
  • Imperial Organic Tartan yeast
  • 4 oz. oak cubes, soaked in dark rum


Crush grains. Mash in 18 quarts of water at 154°F for 60 minutes. No sparge required, runoff all liquid. Bring to a boil and add Fuggles pellets. Boil 60 minutes. Chill, pitch Tartan yeast. Ferment at 62 – 65°F for ten days. Rack to secondary with the oak cubes (leave out any remaining rum). Condition cool (50°F) for three weeks. Prime with 1/2 cup brown sugar and bottle condition for three to four weeks.

OG: 1064

The day before brewing this at home, I had staged a brewing demonstration at the Lebanon Brew Shop to show Ben, our General Manager, how an all-grain brew worked. We also wanted to test-drive a new piece of equipment, the Catalyst Fermenter from Craft-A-Brew. Ben wanted to do an Imperial Stout, so we worked out a nice big dark recipe and met at the Shop on Saturday morning.  The brew went fine, the Catalyst was easy to set up and sanitize, and so far has been everything we had hoped – an all-in-one conical system, making unnecessary racking to secondary or to bottling bucket – you remove the trub and the yeast and bottle directly from the bottom of the fermenter! Ben wanted to add oak to this, so he soaked oak chips in rum and added some natural hazelnut flavoring. That will be added to the batch later this week, by attaching the jar of oak chips to the bottom where the trub/yeast trap are at the moment…

The Catalyst Fermenter by Craft-A-Brew. Photo courtesy of Ben Mayes.



Obi-Wan’s Imperial – 5 gallons, all-grain


  • 10 lbs. Malting Co. of Ireland Stout Malt
  • 1 lb. 150°L crystal malt
  • 1/2 lb. Chocolate malt
  • 1/2 lb. roasted barley
  • 1/2 lb. Brown malt
  • 1 lb. flaked barley
  • 2 lbs. corn sugar
  • 1 oz. Horizon hop pellets (12.5% aa)
  • 1 oz. Challenger hop pellets (9.6% aa)
  • 1 oz. Cluster hop pellets (7.0% aa)
  • Imperial Organic Darkness yeast
  • 4 oz. light toast oak chips soaked in rum with Brewer’s Best Natural Hazelnut flavoring essence (2 oz.)
  • 2 oz. Brewer’s Best Natural Hazelnut flavoring essence
  • Mangrove Jack’s Carbonation drops for priming (1 per bottle)


Crush grains. Mash for 45 minutes in 18 quarts at 154°F. Begin runoff and sparge with 12 quarts at 170°F. Bring to a boil, add corn sugar to kettle. Add Horizon hop pellets, boil 30 minutes. Add Challenger and Cluster pellets, boil another 15 minutes. Chill, pour into Catalyst. Let settle 20 minutes and remove trub from the bottom (see Craft-A-Brew’s website and various YouTube videos to see this procedure!), then pitch yeast with a new clean jar attached and the valve open.  Remove yeast after 12 days, add oak chips and the rest of the hazelnut flavoring (swap jars). Bottle after 3 weeks of aging, priming with one carbonation drop per bottle.

OG: 1080



Weird beer and a burst of energy

It’s 10° outside in the midst of a(nother) Nor’easter. Best thing I can think of to do today is brew. So brew I did. I’ve been wanting recently to try an Apple Ale – not just an apple-flavored ale but a dry, pale ale with a definite apple flavor/aroma and no “fake” apple sweetness… My friend Bill at Oddball Brewing got me a taste of their “Anniversary Ale” which was a Belgian Tripel finished with Brett – the Brett did not give it any funkiness, just dried out the finish. So as that light bulb came on, I combined it with the Apple concept and, being a Newton on my mother’s side, considered the gravity of the idea (see what I did there?)… Blame the snow, cabin fever, whatever…

Anyway, this is Sir Isaac’s Dry Apple Ale.

Sir Isaac’s Dry Apple Ale (3 gallons, all grain)


  • 5.5  lbs. Weyermann’s Bohemian Pilsner malt
  • 1/2 lb. Swaen Light crystal malt (15°L)
  • 1 oz. Calypso hop pellets (13.8% aa)
  • 1 can (12 oz.) frozen apple juice concentrate
  • Yeast Bay Dry Belgian yeast
  • Yeast Bay Beersel Brett culture
  • White Labs Brettanomyces Trois culture
  • 4 oz. light toast oak chips
  • 4 oz. Calvados

I soaked the oak chips for a month in the Calvados, then added the WL Brett Trois to the chips on Brew Day Eve.

Mash: 60 minutes in 16 quarts of water at 152°F.  No sparge.

45 minute boil, 1/2 oz. Calypso for 30 minutes, 1/2 oz. for the last 5 minutes.

Pitched Dry Belgian yeast in primary. When I rack to secondary I will add the oak chips (with the Brett 3 & Calva) and the Beersel Brett.

OG: 1052

And while I was at it and had energy, I bottled a Chocolate -Hazelnut Porter (“Gnutella”)… and racked my recent Rauchbier to secondary – smoky and rich! Might be another snow day tomorrow, more bottling time, I hope – I’ve got to catch up!

Don’t get too excited…

Just found out that Sierra Nevada is doing three more Anniversary beers, to follow up on the amazing Imperial Stout that none of us could get enough of a couple weeks ago… See the website for more info, but basically they will be bringing out an Imperial Helles lager brewed by Charlie Papazian and Fred Eckhardt (two of the pioneers of the home brewing renaissance); a Barleywine brewed by Jack MacAuliffe of New Albion; and an oak-aged blended ale, part Bigfoot, part Celebration Ale, part freshly brewed Pale Ale… Watch your local beer store for these releases, they WILL be amazing, I guarantee…