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Partial Mash Blonde

The Recipe

Name: Partial Mash Blonde
Batch size: 4.75 gallons (partial mash)
Expected OG: 1.048
Expected IBU: 37
Mash: 45 minutes @ 150°F

 3.0 lbs Briess Pilsen DME
 2.5 lbs Warminster floor-malted Maris Otter
 0.375 lbs Carapils

 1.0 oz Cascade  6.9%AA @ 60m
 2.0 oz Ahtanum  3.9%AA @  5m

 1 pack Safale S-05


Had some 3 lb bags of Pils DME originally bought for starters that needed to be used up. Since two bags is way too much for a smal batch of low-gravity beer we partial mashed.

From the mash we got 4 gallons of 1.020 wort for about 80% efficiency. After adding the DME and sparging the grain we started the boil with 4.75 gallons of 1.050 wort. When that was done we had 4.5 gallons of 1.055 wort, which we kegged and topped up with some boiled water to a bit under 5 gallons at 1.051.

Stuffed the keg into the fermentation fridge to chill down to 66°F before pitching a pack of Safale S-05 the next day.

Mangrove Jack’s IPA Barrel Brown

The Recipe

Name: Mangrove Jack's IPA Barrel Brown
Batch size: 5 gallons (partial mash)
Expected OG: 1.076
Expected IBU: 58
Mash: 2 hours @ 148°F

 3.0 lbs Pilsen LME
 4.7 lbs Mangrove Jack's IPA pouch kit (LME)
 1.0 lbs Maris Otter
12.0 oz  UK Pale Chocolate 350L
12.0 oz  Briess C40L
 8.0 oz  Briess Goldpils Vienna
 4.0 oz  UK Dark Crystal 150L
 2.0 oz  Special B
 2.0 oz  Roast Barley

   Whatever the IBU of Mangrove Jack's IPA was in 5 gallons
   2.0 oz Cascade  5.5%AA @ 5m

1 pack Safale S-04
1 pack Mangrove Jack's M07 (British Ale)


This was a clean-the-house brew.  The Pilsen LME had been sitting around (albeit refrigerated) for at least 8 months.  The Mangrove Jack’s IPA pouch kit was “Best Before End 03/2017”.  The C40, Special B, and Roast Barley came from a Midwest Supplies Irish Red Ale kit’s steeping grains, also at least 8 months old.  Finally, the Briess Goldpils malt was also at least 8 months old and didn’t taste very fresh.

Why the hell not?  To make it even better, we’re going to barrel this for a month or two and have a strong barreled brown ale.

We got 1.25 gallons of partial mash wort at 17° Plato wort (1.070, or 1.018 in 5 gallons).  We then added the Mangrove Jack’s and Pils extracts and topped up to 1.8 gallons for our short boil.  Topping up to 5 gallons we achieved an original gravity of 1.076, right on target.  After minor oxygenation we pitched two packs of rehydrated yeast, Safale S-04 and Mangrove Jack’s M07.  Both are apparently Whitbread-derived strains so the profile should be similar.

Unfortunately, after two weeks at 67°F fermentation stopped at 1.023, or about 7.4% ABV.  That’s not good enough, so we made a large starter of Wyeast 3711 French Saison (which is recommended for stuck fermentations) and pitched that.  Fermentation started up again and is still going after a week.  The yeast combination should be interesting, especially after it’s been in the barrel for a while.

Mangrove Jack’s

There are a few Mangrove Jack’s pouch kit Youtube reviews from New Zealand (where Mangrove Jack’s is based) but nothing from the northern hemisphere.  They seem like a step up from Munton’s or Cooper’s pre-hopped kits.  Plus Adventures in Homebrewing keeps having $16 sales on them.

We also picked up the London Bitter and American Pale Ale with Dry Hops pouch kits, which we’re going to brew straight-up, though with Briess Pale Ale DME instead of the included 2.2lbs of corn sugar.  We’ll review each of them in their own right, so you have some clue whether they’re the king of the pre-hopped mountain.

Quick English IPA

The Recipe

Name: Quick English IPA
Batch size: 5 gallons (partial mash)
Expected OG: 1.066
Expected IBU: 62
Mash: 30m @ 148°F

 6.0 lbs Maris Otter LME
 3.0 lbs Maris Otter malt
 3.0 oz  UK Dark Crystal 150L

   1.0 oz Target             12.5%AA @ 20m
   1.0 oz East Kent Goldings  4.6%AA @ 20m
   1.0 oz East Kent Goldings  4.6%AA @ 10m
       Yeast nutrient and Whirlfloc

1 pack Safale S-04


The goal for this batch was “can we brew it in 3 hours?”.  We started heating strike water at 8:10am and were cleaned up by 11:30am.

We saved time in a couple ways:

  1. 30 minute mash with a fine crush; our recirculating E-BIAB system can deal with finely ground grain, which speeds up conversion.  We reached full conversion (tested with iodine) with time to spare.
  2. Short boil: we used high-alpha bittering hops to increase bitterness from the 20 minute addition, which is calculated at 53 IBU between the Target and EKG.
  3. No-chill; we dump boiled wort directly into sanitized kegs for fermentation, so there is little risk of infection by not chilling.  This also increases bitterness as the hop alpha acids are still being isomerized while the boiling wort is chilling.  We left the wort in an unheated space at 35F for 24 hours before pitching yeast.

We achieved 80% efficiency on our mash, with 4 gallons of 1.028 wort, to which we added the 6lbs of Pils extract.  Our original gravity into the fermenter was right on target at 1.068.

Unfortunately, fermentation stopped at 1.019, quite a bit higher than we were hoping. Whether that’s because of the malt extract, too little pitched yeast, or oxygenation not working well at 200F, we’re not sure.  But it tastes pretty good and is currently carbonating itself with a spunding valve.


Having stopped at 1.019 it was a bit too thick of a beer.  So we grew a starter of Wyeast 3711 French Saison (which Wyeast recommends for stuck fermentations) and pitched that into the warmed keg.  Let’s see what happens…

Muntons Connoisseurs Export Pilsner

What if we took what some would consider mediocre ingredients and tried to make great beer from them?  Let’s see:

The Recipe

Name: Muntons Connoisseurs Export Pilsner
Batch size: 4.75 gallons
Expected OG: 1.050
Expected IBU: ??
Mash: none

   1 can Muntons Connoisseurs Export Pilsner hopped extract kit
 1.0 lb  Brewers Crystals
 1.0 lb  Turbinado sugar
         Yeast nutrient

2 packs Wyeast 2000 Budvar Lager


This isn’t a total slum-brew since we’re not just using 2 lbs of table sugar.  Instead, we had some Brewers Crystals lying around which we decided to use.  These look like corn sugar (dextrose) and are in fact made from corn, but mimic the fermentability profile of regular barley wort by containing mostly maltose and some unfermentable sugars.  They boost alcohol without losing body.

We’re also using Turbinado sugar because why not; maybe they’ll add some interesting flavors to an otherwise lower-gravity kit.  It might turn out that the flavor doesn’t quite work in what’s supposed to be a pretty clean beer, but we’re hopeful.

We hit 1.052 original gravity and lazy-chilled to 53°F before pitching 2 packs of Wyeast Budvar Lager.  We did not aerate, though we probably should have.  10 days after pitching we raised the temperature to 63°F for a diacetyl rest and to help the yeast finish the ferment.  11 days after pitching the gravity had dropped to 1.018, and 16 days after pitching it was still dropping at 1.016.  We haven’t checked it again yet but we’d like to end somewhere around 1.013.  Whenever it’s done, we’ll cold-crash for a few days then rack over to a serving keg for the lagering process.

3/26/2017 Update

It finished at 1.014 and tasted like Chardonnay during kegging.  We’re not sure if that’s due to lager yeast not liking Turbinado sugar or what.  It cleaned up in the keg, but it still has a wine-like taste when it gets warm.  But serve it chilled at 35 degrees and it’s kinda like Grain Belt: kinda-not-really hoppy, with a slightly sweet finish. It’s actually not bad for what it is, but we were hoping for a cleaner beer.

Next time: maybe use Pils malt extract or dextrose instead of Brewer’s Crystals and Turbinado.

Cascade Fresh Hop

 The Recipe

Name: Cascade Fresh Hop
Batch size: 5 gallons
Expected OG: 1.057
Expected IBU: 62
Mash: 60m @ 154°F

 9.0 lbs De Swaen Pale
 1.0 lbs Briess Goldpils Vienna

   0.75 oz  Warrior     15.0%AA @ 60m
   0.25 oz  Warrior     15.0%AA @  5m
   16.0 oz  Wet Cascade         @  5m
         Whirlpool for 45 minutes

1 pack Safale S-05


Cascade hops were picked during the mash and tossed right into the boil.  Kept the grain bill simple to see what the Dutch De Swaen malt tastes like.  Though subtle, it’s good and we’d definitely use it again.  OG of 1.055 fermented down to 1.014 for a smooth 5.4% ABV.  Hop flavor was excellent.

Centennial/Simcoe/Cascade IPA

 The Recipe

Name: Centennial/Simcoe/Cascade IPA
Batch size: 15 gallons
Expected OG: 1.069
Expected IBU: 90
Mash: 70m @ 149°F
Salts: 9g gypsum

37.0  lbs Rahr 2-row
 1.5  lbs Briess C10L
 0.75 lbs Briess C40L
 0.5  lbs Briess Carapils
 2.0  oz  Black malt (for color)

   3 oz  Centennial  8.9%AA @ First Wort Hops
   3 oz  Centennial  8.9%AA @ 60m
   3 oz  Cascade     6.6%AA @ 15m
         Yeast Nutrient     @ 10m
   6 oz  Simcoe     13.0%AA @  5m
   3 oz  Centennial  8.9%AA @  0m
   3 oz  Cascade     6.6%AA @  0m
         Whirlpool for 15 minutes
   4 oz   Simcoe     (dry hop 8 days)
   2.4 oz Centennial (dry hop 8 days)
   2.9 oz Cascade    (dry hop 8 days)

6 packs Safale S-05


For whatever reason, efficiency was great on this one.  Began fermentation at 1.072 and ended at 1.012 for 7.8% ABV.  After two weeks in primary, it got kegged, dry hopped, cold conditioned for two weeks, and served.  Tasted like a great IPA, and after six to eight weeks tasted like a great double IPA without the alcohol burn.

Double IPA

 The Recipe

Name: Double IPA
Batch size: 3 gallons
Expected OG: 1.087 (65% efficiency)
Expected IBU: 100+
Mash: 90m @ 150°F

 6.25 lbs Muntons Maris Otter
 2.0  lbs Best Pils
 0.75 lbs Turbinado sugar
 0.5  lbs Briess C10L

 1.0 oz  Columbus 16.6%AA @ First Wort Hop
 0.75 oz Columbus 16.6%AA @ 60m
         Yeast Nutrient   @ 10m
 3 oz    Simcoe   12.3%AA @  0m
         Whirlpool for 20 minutes
 1 oz    Simcoe   12.3%AA (Dry Hop 5 days)

2 packs Safale S-05


Hit 1.085 and fermented down to 1.014 for 9.3% ABV.  Good after 8 days in the keg, and gets better with time.  But judged too harsh at 2016 NHC.

Imperial Barrel Aged Amber

 The Recipe

Name: Imperial Amber
Batch size: 5 gallons
Expected OG: 1.094 (65% efficiency)
Expected FG: 1.024
Expected IBU: 180
Mash: 90m @ 152°F

13.5 lbs Muntons Maris Otter
 2.3 lbs Briess Victory
 2.0 lbs Weyermann Dark Munich 10L
 2.0 lbs Thomas Fawcett Amber
 1.0 lb  Briess C40L
 1.0 lb  Briess C120L

   2 oz  Warrior    15.0%AA @ 60m
   2 oz  Cascade     6.4%AA @ 10m
         Yeast Nutrient     @ 10m
   2 oz  Cascade     6.4%AA @  5m
         Whirlpool for 15 minutes

2 packs Safale S-05


We nailed the original gravity at 1.094.  But since it was fermented at ambient temperatures during February it got down to 59°F at night it only finished around 1.035.  Regardless, we barreled it into a freshly dumped 11 Wells 6 gallon whiskey barrel.  To help reduce the gravity further we brewed up a 1 gallon batch with 3.15lbs of Amber LME and 1oz Centennial @ 8.7%AA boiled for 10 minutes and fermented it for 3 days with one pack of S-05.  At peak fermentation we added the small batch to the barrel.  One month later we kegged and got 5.5 gallons of 1.024 wort for a final ABV of 9.5%, not including any whiskey from the barrel wood.

It’s great and it keeps getting better.

Pumpkin #2

The Recipe

Name: Pumpkin #3
Batch size: 5 gallons
Expected OG: 1.067 (75% efficiency)
Expected FG: 1.016
Expected IBU: 45
Mash: 90m @ 152°F

 8.0 lbs Rahr 2-Row
 3.5 lbs Weyermann Dark Munich 10L
   8 oz  Briess Victory
   8 oz  Muntons C60L
   8 oz  Briess C120L
   8 oz  Belgian aromatic
   3     pie pumpkins (6.5 lbs before roasting)

   1 oz  Northdown   6.2%AA @ 60m
 0.5 oz  Northdown   5.5%AA @ 60m
   1 oz  Willamette  5.5%AA @ 15m
   1 oz  Willamette  5.5%AA @ 10m
 1/2 tsp cinnamon           @ 10m
 1/4 tsp ginger             @ 10m
 1/8 tsp nutmeg             @ 10m
 1/8 tsp allspice           @ 10m
         Whirlfloc          @ 10m
         Yeast Nutrient     @ 10m
   1 oz  Willamette  5.5%AA @  5m
 0.5 oz  Northdown   5.5%AA @  5m
         Whirlpool for 15 minutes

1 pack Wyeast 1272 American Ale II


We wanted a maltier flavor so we swapped out some of the 2-row for an equal amount of dark Munich and bumped up the aromatic malt a bit.  We also wanted slightly more bitterness, so we added some hops at the 60 minute mark.

Wyeast 1272 is very active fermenter, blowing foam out the airlock both times we’ve used it even with Fermcap S.  Unfortunately that also blows out some of the spice mixture, resulting in somewhat muted pumpkin spice flavors.  We’ll probably use HDPE buckets next time instead of kegs to preserve the spices.

But this beer doesn’t quit.  We brewed it in early December and blew the keg in early April, and it was just as good at the end.

Wet Hop Pale

Last Time (2014)

halfhopOur previous Fresh Hop IPA had a flavor we can only describe as “plastic”.  We attribute that to two things.  First, we picked the hops on a Saturday and brewed with them on a Monday.  While the hops were stored in a cool, dry place during that time, they did begin to oxidize.  Second, we used almost 5 pounds of fresh hops, which may have contributed a distinct grassy flavor.  How can we do better this year?

This Time (2015)

wethop-pickedThis year we went back to the basics.  A simple pale ale of just two-row, a touch of wheat, and a pinch of the lightest crystal you can buy.  We used a good clean bittering hop at the start and all our wet hops at the end, allowing the wet hops to shine through in the flavor and aroma without too much malt interference.  Commercial bittering hops will provide a known level of IBUs that we simply couldn’t estimate if we used our own wet hops.

We also picked the hops during the mash and pre-boil and ran them 30 feet back to the kettle to toss them in at the end of the boil.  You can’t get any fresher than that.

The Recipe

Name: Wet Hop #2
Batch size: 5 gallons
Expected OG: 1.051 (75% efficiency)
Expected FG: 1.014
Expected IBU: 50
Mash: 90m @ 149°F

  8.75 lbs Rahr 2-row pale
  1.0  lbs Rahr white wheat malt
  0.25 lbs Briess Crystal 10L

  1.0 oz Warrior 14.7% AA @ 60m
  3.5 oz Fresh picked Cascade @ 5m
  3.5 oz Fresh picked Cascade @ 0m
    1 hour hopstand
  1 pack Wyeast 1272 American Ale II

The Brew

wethop-mashinThis is a 5 gallon batch, but we brewed it on our 3 gallon system to a higher gravity and diluted with filtered water up to 5 gallons.  Using the 3 gallon BIAB system meant we could brew outside, right next to the hops, enjoying the last gasps of fall before the long, cold winter.

The mash went well and we started our boil with 3.9 gallons at 1.068.  We boiled down to 3 gallons, picking our Cascade hops right off the vine during the boil and throwing them in at the 5 minute and 0 minute marks.  After a long hop-stand when the boil was done, we got a bit over 3 gallons of 1.083 wort and diluted that with 1.5 gallons of cold filtered water to a final 4.5 gallons of 1.055 wort.

After fermentation at 67°F for two weeks got the beer down to 1.008 for 6% ABV, quite a bit higher than we expected.  But the beer was excellent, well balanced, and a huge improvement over last year.