Category Archives: Recipe

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…

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.



Garland Orange “African” marigold (Tagetes erecta)

We’ve got a ton of these tall, prolific, orange marigolds growing in our garden, they’re shading out the other plants, and they need some pruning.  But why waste the beautiful flowers?  They are edible, and apparently “some cultivars are strong and bitter” which sounds a lot like how you’d describe hops.  Let’s put them in beer!

Since this is an experiment, and our inspiration came to us two hours before we had to be somewhere else, we took some shortcuts.


The Recipe

Name: Marigold Imperial Pils
Batch size: 2.5 liters
Boil size: 3 liters
Expected OG: 1.065 (75% efficiency)
Expected FG: 1.014
Expected IBU: ??

  1 lb Briess Pilsen Light DME

  0.25 oz Kent Goldings 6.47%AA @ 30m
  0.5  oz Garland Orange marigold petals @ 30m
  1.0  oz Garland Orange marigold petals @ 20m
  1.0  oz Garland Orange marigold petals @ 10m
  1.0  oz Garland Orange marigold petals @  0m
          Steep hops & petals 1 hour after boil

  2/3 pack Safale S-05 dry yeast (66F for two weeks)

The Brew

marigold-petalsFirst, about the liters…  this time we’re fermenting in old 3-liter wine jugs, so obviously we don’t want to end up with more than 2.75 or so liters of wort, or we’d have blowoff.  So we settled on 2.5.

Then, instead of tossing whole marigold heads into the boil, we pulled and used only the petals to avoid off-flavors from the stem and other flower parts.  We did an hour-long “marigold-stand” at the end of the brew to extract maximum marigold flavor and aroma from the star ingredient.

marigold-fermentingWe abbreviated the boil to 30 minutes because we really wanted to see what the marigolds would contribute, not the hops.  But we did add a small amount of Kent Golding hops to provide initial bitterness to the beer.  We did not re-hydrate the yeast because we pitched 2/3 pack of yeast into 2.5 liters of wort, plenty to counteract any that might die, and hugely over-pitching for this small of a batch.

Not surprisingly due to the amount of yeast, fermentation was vigorous and the smell was quite floral.  Since we used DME, had a well-controlled temperature, and over-pitched yeast, the beer fermented out fully and ended at 1.014 for 7% ABV.

The Result

You definitely get floral smell and taste from this beer.  While it doesn’t quite taste like marigolds, it certainly smells and tastes like some kind of flower.  There’s a slight hint of bitterness too, but not as much orange color as we had expected.  Unfortunately, the beer is way too sweet due to the high amount of malt extract used for the small batch.  Next time we’d use two-thirds of a pound of Pilsen Light DME for an expected OG of 1.043, but keep the hopping and marigold rates the same, leading to a light, slightly-malty beer that would let the taste and aroma of the marigolds shine.

Small-batch Session IPA

small-batch-session-ipaNow that it’s summer and the days get hot, we want a drinkable beer without a ton of alcohol but no lack of hoppiness.  That means a session IPA.  We’ve had some bad ones, and we’ve had some good ones, so what makes a good one?  Can we make a good one?

The generally accepted definition of a session IPA seems to be a hoppy pale ale that is 5% ABV or less.  Even 5% seems pretty high ABV to us, since we want to drink a lot of it and not fall off the bench.  The term “session” originally came from the UK where most of the “milds” that pub patrons drank were between 3% and 4% ABV.  To us 3% or 4% seems just about right; but a 5% “session IPA” is really just a hoppy American Pale Ale and no challenge whatsoever…

The Challenge

Since we enjoy difficult things, our goal was to create a 3.5% ABV beer with the hop character of an IPA and enough maltiness and body that nobody would confuse it with Bud Light.  It’s supposedly difficult to get the right balance of maltiness, body, and hoppiness with very low alcohol beers, since the low original gravity often means lower body and thinner taste.  That implies fewer hops since the lack of malt flavor won’t be able to balance the bitterness as well.  But since IPAs are known for the buckets of hops brewers throw in, how could we bridge the gap?

First, we can mash higher to favor the alpha amylase enzyme, producing a sweeter, less fermentable wort which will raise the finishing gravity and provide more body.  Second, we can add more specialty malts than usual to increase the malty flavor of the beer.  Third, we can add quick oats to increase the amount of beta glucans, which are not fermentable and add body to the wort.

For the hop side of things, while we’re shooting for an IPA, we still need to keep the hop rate lower than an IPA to ensure we don’t end up with hop tea.  We can use more hops than normal for a 1.040 beer since we’re increasing the body, but we’ve still got to be careful.  We’re aiming for about 70 IBU total, but only 25 of those IBU from the early bittering hops.  The rest will come from late aroma/flavor hops and a hopstand, which will contribute a much mellower bitterness.  Fourth, we’ll use an English yeast that accentuates the malt more than a clean US strain like S-05 would.

Finally, the weather is so nice right now, we’re going to brew this outside on our 3-gallon 120V electric Brew-In-A-Bag system, but we’re still going to make a 5-gallon batch.  This means we need to top up from 3 gallons to 5 after our boil, making some gravity calculations more complicated.

The Recipe

Name: Session IPA
Batch size: 5 gallons
Boil size: 3.8 gallons
Expected OG: 1.040 (75% efficiency)
Expected FG: 1.012
Expected IBU: 70 (25 early, 45 aroma/flavor/hopstand)
Mash: 90m @ 156°F

  3.3 lbs Muntons Maris Otter
  2.5 lbs Briess Vienna
 13.3 oz  Bob's Red Mill quick oats
  7.0 oz  Briess Crystal 10L
  7.0 oz  Muntons Crystal 60L

  0.6 oz Centennial 9.5%AA @ 60m
  1.0 oz Centennial 9.5%AA @ 10m
         Whirlfloc & yeast nutrient @ 10m
  2.0 oz Cascade    6.4%AA @ 5m
  2.0 oz Centennial 9.0%AA @ 5m
  1.4 oz Centennial 9.4%AA @ 0m (20m hopstand)
  2.0 oz Cascade    6.4%AA @ 0m (20m hopstand)
  1.0 oz Centennial 9.5%AA dry-hop 5 days

  1 pack Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley Ale

The Brew

We have an element protector screen on our small system, which ensures the bag containing up to 7lbs of grain does not rest on the element, which could cause scorching or put strain on the element’s gasket.  Unfortunately, this screen isn’t quite the right size for our kettle, and doesn’t have enough holes for good circulation.  This meant we spent a while playing with the pump’s output valve before finding the right flow rate that wouldn’t suck the bag down into the kettle through the gap between the protector screen and the kettle wall.  Once found we could finally leave the mash alone and not worry about getting grain into the recirculating wort.

This was also the first brew with a new 5500W Camco ULWD ripple element.  We had scorching on the previous LWD element in this system, especially with a recent Hefeweizen (though it didn’t affect the flavor).  While the old element was a 5500W/240V LWD, we ran it at 120V which quarters the wattage to 1375 and thus also quarters the watt density into ULWD territory.  But for whatever reason we still had scorching, so the element had to go.  It was quite difficult to bend the Camco ripple element to the right shape, while still ensuring it could be maneuvered into the kettle through the hole in the side.  But ultimately successful, and we had no scorching with the new, lower watt density element.

Everything went well and we ended up with between 2.5 and 3 gallons of 16°P wort, which we topped up with boiled, filtered water to 4.5 gallons for a final gravity of 1.040.  After pitching the yeast we tossed the keg into our fermentation chamber (a modified Vissani 52 bottle wine fridge) set to 67°F for a one-week primary fermentation.  We then had to move it out to make room for our partigyle IPA and Pale, which we’ll talk about next time!