Archive for December, 2014

AG#26 – Yo-leven India Pale Ale


This beer was fantastic the last time I brewed it, but I did think it was a little too sweet and cloying. I’ve taken the drastic step of removing all of the crystal malt in an effort to dry out the beer to make it more quaffable. It might also allow those hop flavours to come out even more. I’ve included a small portion of CaraPils, which together with the wheat malt will give the beer great head retention and lacing down the glass. The hopping schedule is exactly the same as the last recipe – some things you just don’t mess with!

Recipe Specification

Boil Size: 26.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.066 SG
Estimated Color: 11.7 EBC
Estimated IBU: 57.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.300 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 79.1 %
1.000 kg Vienna Malt (6.9 EBC), 14.9 %
0.200 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC), 3.0 %
0.200 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 3.0 %
18 g Magnum [10.70 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 27.4 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
50 g Amarillo [8.80 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 11.4 IBUs
50 g Citra [14.40 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 18.6 IBUs
50 g Amarillo [8.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
50 g Centennial [11.00 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
50 g Citra [14.40 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American  (DCL/Fermentis #US-05) (400ml yeast slurry from Thirsty Dog)
60 g Citra [14.80 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days       Hop           13       0.0 IBUs
40 g Amarillo [10.90 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days    Hop           14       0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 6.700 kg
Mash In           Add 18.76 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 15.35l) of 77.0 C water


29/12/2014 – Dry hopped with 40g of Amarillo pellets. Plan on leaving them in for no longer than 5 days before racking to secondary and dry hopping again with lots of Citra.

02/01/2015 – Racked to secondary and dry hopped with 60g of freshly opened Citra pellets. Lot of what appears to be off-gassing of CO2 going on.

06/01/2015 – Removed the hop bag from the fermenter. Great aroma. Will let the sediment settle before bottling tomorrow night.

07/01/2015 – Did three bottles and primed with 1.5 carb drops per bottle. Kegged the rest, even though I only got about 15 litres into the keg. Didn’t bother sanitising the keg, just scalded the inside with a couple of kettles of boiling water.

10/01/2015 – I’ve a horrible feeling the bottles aren’t carbonating…

12/01/2015 – I think it’s okay, bit of life showing in the bottles.

17/01/2015 – Astounded to discover that this is tasting pretty dreadful out of the keg. Can’t figure it out. I thought that maybe it was just the first glass, but I drew three glasses off the keg and it still tasted rubbish, overly sweet and not very hoppy. It was also under carbonated, which is completely bonkers as it’s had a week to chill and carbonate in the fridge. I suppose I can’t do anything else expect wait another week or two before trying again.

15/02/2015 – This has actually come good in the keg, though not as nice as last years attempt. I suspected that the funny sweetness I was tasting was down to the CaraPils, because I got the same taste in the kegged Little Dawg. But interestingly, I didn’t get it in the bottled Little Dawg. Maybe it’s because the bottled beers are getting more conditioning time, whereas the kegged beer is going straight out in the cold shed after it’s finished fermenting. Anyway, the sweetness has subsided, revealing a pretty sharp bitterness. The hop flavour and aroma is a bit disappointing though, nowhere near as intense as last years. It could be just the keg version – I do have one bottle conditioned example of Yo-leven though, which I plan on opening tomorrow evening.

02/03/2015 – Tasted the bottled version. Nice, but not a patch on last years. Not enough bitterness and hop flavour is a little disappointing. Not the worst IPA I’ve ever had, however. The most troublesome thing about this sampling was how inferior the kegged version is compared to the bottle conditioned version. By comparison, the kegged IPA seems creamier, much sweeter and lacking in both aroma and flavour.

AG#25 – Union Square Steam Beer


I’ve wanted to do a steam beer for a long time, even going as far as buying the WLP810 yeast a year ago. Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit it into my schedule and the yeast languished at the bottom of my fridge for a year before being thrown out.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 26.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.054 SG
Estimated Color: 21.8 EBC
Estimated IBU: 45.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 71.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


4.200 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 75.8 %
0.500 kg Munich Malt (17.7 EBC), 9.0 %
0.400 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 7.2 %
0.200 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC), 3.6 %
0.200 kg Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC), 3.6 %
0.040 kg Pale Chocolate Malt (591.0 EBC), 0.7 %
24 g Northern Brewer [9.70 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 30.9 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
30 g Northern Brewer [9.70 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 7.7 IBUs
30 g Northern Brewer [9.70 %] – Boil 1.0 min, 6.4 IBUs
1.0 pkg San Francisco Lager (White Labs #WLP810) (starter)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 5.540 kg
Mash In           Add 15.51 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 17.44l) of 77.0 C water

08/12/2014 – Made a 1.2 litre starter with a vial of WLP810 California Lager yeast and 120g of light dry malt extract. Transferred to growler and shook to aerate.

15/12/2014 – Mashed at 66C, but couldn’t seem to get a consistent temperature reading, even at the end of the mash. Put the late addition leaf hops in bags, used perhaps a little more Whirlfloc than usual, started the chiller as soon as boil finished and subsequently got a great cold break and runoff from the boiler. Had a lower post boil gravity than intended but I did start out with slightly less in the boiler this time. Got an OG of 1.055 which is spot on. Also blocked the Insinkerator with the leaf hops but that’s another story. Just realised that I misread the recipe and used too much hops so ended up with a few more IBUs than intended. The hops weren’t particularly fresh though, so it’ll probably be fine.

16/12/2014 – First time using a lager yeast strain so a bit nervous about this one taking off, but it seems to be doing fine. No action from the airlock as yet. Will need to take a temperature reading this evening, as there’s a chance that I’m actually fermenting this too cold.

11/01/2015 – Bottled with 120g of corn sugar (17 litres at 2.6 vol). Got 6 x 750ml and 23 x 500ml bottles. Tastes fantastic, the biscuit malt and pale chocolate malt giving a wonderful toasty flavour.

01/02/2015 – I was very disappointed with this when I opened. Instantly I knew it was under-carbonated. Not hugely so, but the head formation is not good enough and not quite enough carbonation for the style. I think another 10-20g would have been perfect. On the upside, beautiful flavour. Nice bit of caramel, great “lager” flavour, dry and toasty on the finish. I was concerned there would be too much roast flavours from the pale chocolate malt, but it doesn’t come through. Instead it gives the beer a beautiful dark amber colour. One other disappointing thing is the hazy appearance, which I wouldn’t have expected in a beer that isn’t particularly well hopped.

AG#24 – Big Dawg Imperial Amber Ale


This is, without a doubt, one of the best beers I’ve done to date. The recipe was a little bit of accident. It was originally intended to be an amber IPA, but it came out darker than I intended and with a lot more dark crystal character than I wanted. It also had far too much residual sweetness to be considered an IPA, a style of beer which is supposed to be reasonably dry and easy to drink. However, the residual sweetness was perfectly balanced by the 70 IBU and beer turned out to be a delicious hoppy monster. I did a re-brew of it last year and it turned out well, but not quite as good as the original. This is my third attempt and my first all-grain version of the recipe, so I have high hopes for it. I hope to get as close to the original by closely watching my mash temperatures and volumes.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 26.90 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.072 SG
Estimated Color: 25.9 EBC
Estimated IBU: 70.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5.800 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 82.9 %
0.450 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (78.8 EBC), 6.4 %
0.200 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC), 2.9 %
0.150 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC), 2.1 %
0.050 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -100L (197.0 EBC), 0.7 %
0.050 kg Chocolate Malt (886.5 EBC), 0.6 %
32 g Magnum [10.70 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 47.5 IBUs
0.300 kg Corn Sugar (Dextrose) [Boil for 20 min], 4.3 %
30 g Cascade [7.80 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 7.9 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 10.0 mins)
30 g Summit [17.70 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 14.7 IBUs
60 g Cascade [7.80 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
60 g Citra [14.40 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
30 g Summit [17.70 %] – Boil 0.0 min, 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Safale American (DCL/Fermentis #US-05)  (500ml slurry from Little Dawg)
50 g Centennial [8.0 %] – Dry Hop 5.0 Days, 0.0 IBUs

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge

Total Grain Weight: 6.995 kg
Mash In           Add 18.75 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 15.36l) of 77.0 C water

07/12/2014 – Good brew day, all additions made at the right times. Mashed at 66-67C. Pitched yeast pretty cold as it was so cold outside. The yeast slurry I pitched was pretty rank looking (lots of pellet hops and trub) but I’ve done this before and had no issues. Likewise, I had the same trouble I always have separating the boiled wort from all the hops and break material. But I’ve always had the same problem with this beer and had no problems. Finished just after lunch but seeing fermentation before night fall. Got an OG of 1.070, so 2 points under target.

08/12/2014 – Impressive kreusen on the beer.

15/12/2014 – Fermentation has completely finished and cleared so I started sanitising siphon etc. in order to do racking and dry-hopping – then I realised it’s only been in the fermenter a week!! Will leave it on the yeast for another week. Might do a first dry-hop in the primary.

23/12/2014 – Dry-hopped with 48g of Centennial pellet hops, just because I had them open. Unfortunately I gad some problems with the siphon and I was forced to give up after getting only 15 litres into the secondary fermenter. Great nose off the beer.

28/12/2014 – Bottled with 99g of corn sugar (15 litres at 2.5 vol). Got 9 x 500ml and 12 x 750ml bottles from the batch.

25/01/2015 – I’d better post a tasting update on this before it’s all gone! Really delicious, as always. There’s little roasted flavour coming through, but it’s a little bit darker than I want it. I think I’ll cut the chocolate malt down by 25% next time. It’s currently more brown than amber. The hop flavour is a tiny bit grassy still, but that will dissipate. Great aroma and very good head retention. The topical flavours of the Citra are definitely poking through on both aroma and flavour. Might a little more carbonation.

11/02/2015 – Down to the last few bottles of this and it tastes amazing. Definitely a shade too dark. Will use a bit less chocolate malt next time. Hopping is great, but might substitute Citra with something different next time too, like Amarillo or Centennial.

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