Followup on the Imperial Porter

January 27, 2010

Well, since it’s now almost gone I’d better get to this follow-up.

The Imperial Porter ended up losing its crown. I couldn’t locate the WLP007 or any high gravity yeast in time for brew day (every homebrewer in the area was apparently making a kick-ass winter beer), so I had to go with a standard English Ale yeast (Munton’s) and work a 2 day starter to get enough cells to take on the porter. They petered out early, and the resulting ABV was only 6.1% which, while reasonable, left the beer extremely sticky sweet. It’s been conditioning well in the bottle and I’ve received no complaints, but this was not the beer I was targeting. Ah well. It’s tasty and drinkable, so I can’t be too upset.


Monday Night’s Brew – Maple Honey Porter

January 27, 2010

I’m a sucker for adjuncts, what can I say?

Here’s a quick run-down of the recipe.


  • 3 lbs Amber DME
  • 2 lbs pale malt
  • .5 lbs black patent malt
  • .25 lbs chocolate malt
  • .75 lbs Crystal 120L malt
  • 32 fl oz pure maple syrup
  • 1 lb wildflower honey
  • 1 oz Cascade hop pellets (5.6%a)
  • 1.75 oz Galena hop pellets (10.6%a)
  • 1 vial White Labs WLP007 English Ale yeast

Brew Day’s Eve: I first stole 1/2 cup of Amber DME to make a 1 qt yeast starter. I gave the starter 24 hours so I’d pitch while the yeast was still highly active.

Brew day: Started with a 30 minute steep of all the grain in 2 gallons of water. Steeping held steady at about 155 degrees. Sparged with another 2 gallons of 165 degree water. Then started my boil with 4 gallons – a thick boil. Dropped 1 oz of Galena for the 60, the remaining .75 oz at the 30, and the Cascade at the 2. Transferred to fermenter, brought up to 5 gallons with clean cold water, chilled to 73 degrees, aerated and pitched the starter.


  • corrected OG: 1.073
  • 48 IBUs
  • color: 37 degrees L

Imperial Porter Recipe

October 8, 2009

I haven’t brewed in a while, mainly due to money and time. My next brew should be an imperial porter. I put this recipe together toward the mid-late summer, and intended it to be bottled by now and conditioning for the Christmas/New Years time period, but that didn’t happen. Perhaps it’ll be ready by St. Patrick’s Day…

Anyway, here’s what I intend to do:


  • 6.6 lbs pale malt extract
  • 3.3 lbs brown/dark malt extract
  • 2 lbs Crystal malt
  • 1 lb chocolate malt
  • .5 lb black patent malt
  • 1 oz Willamette hops
  • 1 oz Fuggles hops
  • 2 oz Northern Brewer hops
  • White Labs WLP007 dry English ale yeast

As you can see, this is going to pack a punch. The yeast I’ll be using is intended for higher gravity worts and can sustain in fairly high alcohol levels. I’m going to wing the Crystal malt and extract selections based on what’s available, but I’d prefer syrups and a lighter Crystal.


Bottling the Strawberry Summer Beer

August 25, 2009

A quick update…

I bottled the Strawberry Summer Beer with Angelos and guest homebrewer Jeff on Sunday. Final gravity was 1.010, giving this beer a final ABV of 4.5%, which is perfect for the style and a good yield for the lower starting gravity of 1.044.

The beer has a mild though distinct aroma and flavor of strawberry that does not intrude upon the light golden ale base. I think the oats I added softened the mouth feel up just enough, and perhaps took the potentially acidic edge off the berries. The beer is a bit murky still, but I’m hoping that much of that will fall out of suspension once the bottles are fully conditioned.

I’ll follow up next week with a tasting update. Need to test for carbonation, you know…

Monday’s Brew: Strawberry Summer Ale

August 20, 2009

This brew day happened on August 10th. Yeah, I’m a slacker.

I know August is an odd time of year to brew a summer ale, but honestly, it’s finally starting to feel like summer around here and I felt compelled to honor the warm weather. For those not in the northeast US, the weather throughout July can be summed up as follows: rain with intermittent thunder, lightning and wind, chance of sun 10%.

Earlier this year I discovered a delicious Strawberry lager by Abita and wanted to try my hand at brewing a strawberry beer of my own. Since I don’t have lagering capability (yet) I had to go with an ale recipe. I thought about using a wheat beer base, but then changed my mind at the last minute to a summer ale. Good thing, because that same day my brew buddy Angelos also brewed a strawberry beer using a wheat beer base.

The ingredient list:

  • 8 oz. oats
  • 1 lb. Carapils malt
  • 1 lb. Vienna malt
  • 12 oz. Wheat malt
  • 8 oz. Lager malt
  • 3 lbs. Golden dry malt extract
  • 3/4 oz. Hallertau hops (4.8% A)
  • 1 oz. Tettnang hops (4% A)
  • 3 lbs. whole frozen strawberries, pureed
  • 1 lb. sliced frozen strawberries in sugar
  • Windsor dry brewer’s yeast

The process:

Steep oats, Carapils, Vienna, Wheat, and Lager in about 2 gallons of water at 160 degrees for 20 minutes. Strain grain bags, move “tea” to boil pot, add water to 3-4 gallons. Bring to boil, add dry malt extract and Hallertau hops, bring to boil, set timer for 50 minutes.

Meanwhile… bring all strawberries to 180 degrees and simmer at 180 for 20 minutes to kill off any bacteria that may be hiding in the fruit. Bacteria at those levels are fine to eat, but will multiply in the fermenter into something quite nasty, thus the cooking.

When the 50 minute timer goes off, add the Tettnang hops to the boil and set a timer for 10 minutes. When timer goes off, remove from heat, remove hop bags and transfer to primary fermenter with the cooked strawberries. Add clean water to 5 gallons, chill to 70 degrees, aerate well, pitch yeast and seal the fermenter.

Original gravity was a low 1.044, which should produce about a 4-4.5% ABV beer unless the sugars from the strawberries don’t factor into the gravity. We shall see.

Monday’s Brew: English Pale Ale

July 28, 2009

I had forgotten to blog this at brew time, so here’s the post-game with all the brew details. In truth, I had a particular recipe in mind going into the brew store, but based on what they had, I made alterations. Looking back on the ingredients, this is leaning toward a pale ale.


  • 6.6 lb golden LME (liquit malt extract)
  • 2 oz Aurora hops (8.1% alpha)
  • 1 packet dry British ale yeast
  • 1 lb Crystal 10-degree Lovibond
  • 1 lb Vienna malt
  • 1 lb wheat

The schedule began with a 20 minute “tea”, which involved steeping the Crystal, Vienna, and wheat malt in a grain sock in about 3 gallons of 160 degree water. Once the tea was done, I lightly compressed the sock and ran the hot tea through it a bit as a bit of a faux sparge to release any remaining sugars into the tea.

I then brought the tea to a boil and added the LME along with 1 oz of the Aurora hops. I find that with extracts, it’s best to add hops as soon as possible to prevent boil-over. Something about the hop oils seems to calm the beer down as it approaches boiling.

Once at a boil, I set the timer for 30 minutes, at which time I added another 0.5 ounces of Aurora hops. Then set the timer for 28 minutes, at which the remaining Aurora was added for the final 2 minutes of boil.

At the 0-minute mark, removed from flame and removed the hop bags. With wort chiller, chilled down to 70 degrees, aerated the wort heavily and dry-pitched the yeast. I’ve had a lot of luck with dry-pitching, though over the past year or so the beer’s been slower to really start fermenting. But, it does ferment.

Original gravity was 1.062.

Final reading on bottling night (last night) was 1.014, yielding a nice 6.3% ABV IPA. The color is a bit on the deeper side, though not quite brown or amber. The beer has some strong bitter characteristics with mild maltiness behind it. At room temp and flat (and unconditioned) it was fairly good, but Angelos and I both agreed that once conditioned, carbonated and cold, this would be a fine brew. We shall see!

Yep, it’s beer.

July 1, 2009

Bottled my “nothing fancy” beer this past Monday. The beer was a deep golden color and had just enough hop character from the Fuggles to be interesting. Intended as a simple session ale, it will instead be a quite tasty and mildly interesting session ale. 😉

Still forgot to buy more priming sugar, so used table sugar instead. Bumped the quantity back to 1/2 cup for the 5 gallon batch since the 3/4 cup was a bit much for the honey amber. That beer is becoming a bit too crisply carbonated. You experiment and you learn; it’s the name of the homebrewing game.

Final gravity was 1.015 – a wee bit heavier than what I was aiming for, but the yeast was indeed done – yielding a final ABV of about 4.4%, which should do nicely for the session variety.