Tag Archives: pale ale

Fresh Hops are in!!

Just picked up three bags of fresh hops, 8 oz each:

  • cascade
  • citra
  • simcoe

Gonna make a fresh hop pale ale today!  No idea what the IBUs will be, not even sure what the OG is going to be either.  I’m going to use 17 lbs of Golden Promise as the grist, so basically it’s a smash (one grain, fresh hops, a loose definition, lol).  OG should be about 1.060, but I’m making seven gallons, not my usual five, so not sure what the exact efficiency is going to be.

All the fresh hops will be added at flameout and hopstand.  A tiny bittering charge of pellet hops will be added at 60 minutes to ensure enough bitterness.

I’ll dry hop with something.  Probably cascade, but I’ll decide when the time comes.

Can’t wait to see how it comes out!!

Vienna Cascade SMaSH

Slapped together a quick one last saturday, a SMaSH beer with only Vienna and Cascade.

  • 12 lbs Vienna malt
  • US-05 yeast
  • 1 oz cascade at 60
  • 1 oz cascade at 10
  • 1 oz cascade at 5
  • 2 oz cascade at FO
  • about 2.5 oz of cascade dry hop (the rest of the bag, whatever it weighs)

Mashed at 153 for an hour.


  • OG 1.058
  • IBUs 38
  • SRM 6.4
  • ABV 6.2

Real Ale Brewing Company, Blanco Texas

I’ve been steadily trying different beers from Real Ale Brewing Company (often referred to by beer geeks as RABC).   So far, I’ve found they make great beer!  In fact I’ve liked every beer I’ve tried from them, and hope to try more!

This brewery is right up there with America’s top craft breweries in their quality of beer.  They make flavorful beers, often plentifully hopped, and even seem to be setting a few trends (like with their four-squared, a blonde ale ramped up with lots of extra hops and more malts).

Their Brewer’s Cut series has been interesting.  The latest two are Altbier and Blonde Barleywine.  I really like the Altbier, it’s plentifully malty with enough hops for balance, making a really enjoyable Altbier (not a style we see a lot of). The blonde barleywine is a strange one, but it’s quite enjoyable if you’re a barleywine drinker (don’t think it’s a blonde ale, it’s over 9%!).  Kind of like a barleywine mixed with a blonde ale, but mostly it’s still a barleywine.  I applaud them for trying new and different things!

Here are some other of their past Brewer’s Cut projects:

I particularly liked the Signature Hop Pale Ale, and the Imperial Red.  I wish they’d just make the Signature Hop Pale Ale a regular offering, or at the very least, a seasonal.  Can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Value-wise I’ve found their beers to be spot-on.  The prices are reasonable and the quality high.  This is real American craft beer, not some Podunk bunch of amateurs.

Their annual anniversary party was quite large, and I appreciate the free beers I got from them!  More importantly, I appreciate being able to get high quality, reasonably priced craft beer that’s made locally.

Stuff I’d like to see from them, should they be so inclined to brew it…

  • Double IPA
  • American Stout or Milk Stout (about 6% ABV)
  • Sessionable “Bitter” or “ESB”
  • Anything fruity

Anyway, don’t be afraid to try some RABC brews, they’re delicious!



Just wingin’ it CCC APA

An odd one here.  A couple weeks ago there was a small accident regarding a computer keyboard.  Well, it’s in the shop getting fixed ($46 installed, but it’ll take about a week to get the part).  Well, this is where I had the copy of beersmith that had today’s homebrew recipe on it.  Thus, today didn’t exactly start out with 100% efficiency on perfection.

But alas, if you’re gonna do something, do it right.  OR if you’re not gonna do something the right way, don’t skimp on it.  Go for broke!  Well that was today, go for broke!

The recipe at one point was clear and I had a specific plan (at least that was before I ordered the grain!).  That’s out the window, obviously.  All I had was a bag of grain of around 12 lbs that I wasn’t sure exactly what was in it, but there was approximately…

  • A decent amount of 2-row
  • some munich malt (or some other non-2-row base malt, I can’t remember what it was)
  • some crystal malt (I am sure it was eight ounces of crystal malt total, there wasn’t a lot of crystal)
  • 3 oz honey malt (I am positive there was 3 oz honey malt in there)

I am guessing 12 or so lbs total grains, OG in the 1.055-1.060 range.  I didn’t measure.  Why bother!

Might as well guess on the hops too (though I did use a scale to weight them)…

  • 0.5 oz cascade FWH
  • 0.5 oz each cascade/centennial/citra at 7 minutes
  • 0.5 oz each cascade/centennial/citra at flameout

Dry hops (pre-weighed and bagged for when the time comes):

  • 0.5 oz each centennial/citra dry hop
  • 0.75 oz cascade dry hop

The yeast was a proper starter of NW ale yeast, WY1332.  That much we couldn’t possibly slack off on!

Then the thermometer took a dump during brewing.  We’re about a 60 mile round trip from anywhere that we could get a thermometer (or even a battery for the one that took a dump), so we used the one that came with the turkey fryer.  Prolly not as accurate, LOL, but it went from 50-300 and read just over 210 at boiling.  Good enough.  Mashed at 165-ish strike water (which probably left me at around 152-155 mash temp) and stirred once during the 1+ hour mash.  No point in using a timer either, eh?  Well I timed it on my phone to “close enough.”

So all during this brew-stravaganza, we continued work on the “man-cave” / brewhaus.  Today we framed the roof and added two of the skylights and some of the roof panels.  Then it started raining!  When it rains, it pours!!  It’s gonna be totally badass though, a big, nice sheddy kinda shed with plenty of room to brew, and several “add-ons” to the outside, including two built in, covered, insulated freezer/controller boxes (will eventually be enough for 30 gallons of fermenting beer in three different temperature controlled freezers with controllers, 5 gallons times 2 buckets per freezer).  Also the new 10+ gallon system (burners and all) will be on the outside, with a tiled sink and floor on the inside and storage for everything on the inside.  It’s gonna kick total ass man!  We’ll be on the man show for sure!  More on this in the future!

Well, when I get my other computer back, I can find out what exactly were the grains that were in there.  Will my hops schedule work?  I bet it will!

We shall find out soon!

Upcoming Beers on the Homebrew Front

Well I’ve got a number of things in the queue that I’m real excited about, including several SMaSH beers:

  • Maris Otter / Simcoe SMaSH with WY1968 London ESB Ale Yeast
  • 2-row / Fuggles SMaSH with an extra-long boil to increase malliard reactions
  • Vienna / Cascade SMaSH (yeast?)
  • Another Petite Saison SMaSH fermented at 64-66F (with different base malt/hops this time, TBD)
  • Bleach Blonde Ale IV (it still hasn’t been made, lol, even tho I already blogged it)
  • Elderberry Wheat III (identical recipe, possibly a slightly different yeast)
  • An American Pale Ale with 2-row, munich, vienna, cara-amber, and honey malt, hops schedule TBD, probably an ounce each Cascade/Centennial at 5 minutes with magnum bittering and serebrianka dry hops
  • An American / Oatmeal Stout – I haven’t made a stout in a while and my last one came out GREAT!  (I might just make that one again, or something close to it).
  • “Election Stout” a rather complex but tasty looking pseudo-session beer, recipe by GreenKrusty101
  • Something “session” or “mild,”  Preferably English.
  • A Rye beer, fairly hoppy

Note that I’ve done enough American IPAs and hoppy APAs for the moment.  We’re in different territory now.  Not everything has to be super-hopped.  In fact I’ve had trouble finding commercial beers lately that aren’t IPAs or hoppy APAs.

Juniper Pale Ale II Project

Well my original Juniper Pale Ale was a big success, so I’ve decided to brew it again, this time all-grain.  Gee, this is starting to sound familiar!  This time however, I’m not only revisiting an old recipe, I’m co-brewing it with another brewer, MrOH as he is known on beeradvocate.com.  You can read the entire thread here.

Here is the most important part of the original post:

My original Juniper Pale Ale was an extract/partial mash ale. MrOH got his hands on some, and apparently he liked it enough to want to try a version of it himself! Admittedly, it was pretty good, one of my better extract beers. I liked it, other people liked it, and I thought it was worthy of trying again, this time all-grain.

The premise of our project is that we’re both going to brew the same basic spiced beer / APA using these parameters…

9 lbs base malt, any combination
1 lb crystal malt, any combination
1 oz juniper berries

Essentially, that’s the beer (5 gallons). The addition of juniper isn’t specified exactly as to how, but from our conversations we both intended to crush the berries and add late in the boil.

Hops wise we hadn’t come up with an exact criteria, but MrOH suggested:

1.5 oz hops @ 10
2.5 oz hops @ FO
1 oz DH
bittering addition to bring it up to 40 IBUs (max)

I will probably change the hops parameters a little, but essentially it won’t make much difference.

We are looking for a beer that’s a good APA/spiced beer, has a light to moderate juniper taste (I don’t want “gin beer”), is neither too bitter nor dominated by hops (i.e. let the juniper have a little sunlight), and is refreshing and tasty. Mostly the last one though, tasty is what matters. But I guess there’s no point in making a “juniper” beer if you don’t show off the juniper a little.

My actual recipe’s  grain bill:

  • 7 lbs pale ale malt
  • 2 lbs maris otter
  • 12 oz caramel malt 20L
  • 4 oz caramel malt 60L
  • 2 oz carafoam

Hops wise, I bounced around a lot, but finally decided on the following schedule:

  • 14 g columbus 60 minutes
  • 35g chinook 10 minutes
  • 14g willamette at 10 minutes
  • 21 g Northern brewer flameout
  • 14g  columbus flameout

Yeast: US-05


  • IBUs 39.5
  • OG 1.053
  • FG 1.012
  • SRM 6.6
  • ABV 5.4%


  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. reconstitute dry yeast using 95F boiled spring water and allow to cool to room temperature
  4. Add grains to mash tun
  5. bring 3 gallon spring water to 166 F
  6. Add 3.5 gallons of 166F spring water to mash tun on top of grains, then stir well
  7. add more water to boil pot, bring to near 172F and hold for sparging
  8. measure temperature after temperature equalizes in mash.  Once again, this has been pretty spot-on the last few batches, so I don’t anticipate having to boil extra water, but I will be ready just in case
  9. adjust mash temperature using either heated mash water or cool spring water as needed to reach 152F, if necessary
  10. mash for 75 minutes at 151F
  11. during mash, stir about every 15 minutes or so, checking temperature and adjusting if needed
  12. at end of mash, begin draining wort into pitcher
  13. allow first runnings to drain into a pitcher until clear
  14. pour first runnings back on top of mash
  15. drain remaining wort into boil pot until mash tun is near empty
  16. add 2.4 gallons 172F water (adjusted as needed)
  17. stir well
  18. drain first runnings of first batch sparge into pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  19. pour first runnings of first batch sparge back on top of mash
  20. drain wort into main boil pot until near empty
  21. add another 2.4 gallons 172F water to mash tun (adjusted as needed)
  22. stir well
  23. drain first runnings of second batch sparge to pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  24. add first runnings back into mash tun
  25. drain wort into main boil pot
  26. add wort chiller to boil pot, filled with hot water
  27. bring main boil pot to a boil
  28. when boil is reached, boil 60 minutes total
  29. at 60 minutes, add 14g Columbus Hops
  30. at 25 minutes, add about 1/4 tsp Wyeast nutrient blend to a small amount of spring water and dissolve
  31. add nutrient blend at 20 minute mark
  32. add 1/8 tsp Irish moss powder at 20 minute mark
  33. add 1.25 oz chinook at 10 minutes
  34. add 0.5 oz willamette at 10 minutes
  35. add .75 oz chinook at flameout
  36. add 0.5 oz columbus at flameout
  37. at flameout, turn on water for wort chiller and chill to 170 F
  38. let stand about 15 minutes hop rest, then turn wort chiller back on
  39. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  40. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  41. ensure bucket, wine thief, thermometer, strainer, spoon are sanitized
  42. when wort gets to about 70F, add to fermentation bucket, pouring through sanitized strainer to catch any extra solids and to help aerate.  If necessary, clean strainer during process and re-sanitize to remove most of the hop trub before fermentation
  43. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  44. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon again
  45. ensure wort is 68F or a little less before pitching yeast
  46. ensure yeast is a little cooler than wort before pitching
  47. pitch yeast
  48. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  49. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  50. ferment in freezer chest w/Johnson controller for 14+ days at 66F
  51. after 14+ days, add dry hops, 1 oz chinook, 0.5 oz willamette
  52. ferment a total of 21+ days
  53. take FG sample and bottle
  54. use 5 oz corn sugar at bottling

Actual OG:1.052

Actual FG: 1.010


Willamette / Cascade India Pale Ale

Well there’s a lot happening on the beer front over at my house lately!  The pumpkins are out, as are the fall beers, plus several tasty imperial treats that I just blogged about.  Thus, I’m enjoying the commercial side of things quite a bit as of late.

In addition, I’ve almost completed the construction of my first mash tun, made from a cooler.  I plan to start making all grain beer soon!  I will be starting off with 3.5 gallon batches, mostly due to the fact that I’m using a 5 gallon cooler, and I want to do a full boil without purchasing a new pot.  I will learn and improve my process with 3.5 gallon batches, then upgrade my equipment later.

I have one more extract batch to make, and that’s going to be this post: Willamette / Cascade India Pale Ale.

Also, I just picked up Beersmith II and I’m quite pleased with the software!  The stats for this beer came from Beersmith II.

Now it should be noted that I originally planned this to be a 5 gallon batch, but it’s going to come out more like 4 now, with a little bit of adjustment on the ingredients.  The ratio of grains might be a little off from my original plan, but I have gotten such good results from a full (or nearly full) boil that I’m just going with what works from here on out.

I also kind of decided on this mixture of ingredients partially to get rid of some stragglers that I had in my cupboard and freezer.   Might dry hop it, but if that happens I’m not sure what hops I’ll use (I’ll have to see what I have at the time).


  • 1 lb 2-row
  • 1 lb caramel 40
  • 0.5 lb pale wheat malt
  • 2 lbs extra light dry extract
  • 3.25 lbs pale liquid extract
  • 1 oz cascade 60 min
  • 1 oz willamette 60 min
  • 2.19 oz willamette 5 minutes
  • 2.57 oz cascade 5 minutes
  • US-05 (rehydrated)


  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. bring 0.75 gallon spring water to 165 F
  4. add grains
  5. mash for 30 minutes at 155F
  6. Sparge / strain
  7. In main boil pot, pre-boil 3 gallons spring water
  8. when grains are finished mashing, combine wort into boiling pot with pre-heated spring water and bring to boil
  9. add bittering hops, 1 oz each cascade and willamette at 60 minute mark
  10. add the wort chiller at 30 minutes.  make sure wort chiller is pre-filled with hot water
  11. add the DME and LME incrementally during the last 30 minutes of the boil
  12. add 1/4 tsp Irish moss powder at 15 minute mark
  13. add 2.19 oz willamette at 5 minute mark
  14. add 2.57 oz cascade at 5 minute mark
  15. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  16. begin cooling with wort chiller at 0 minutes
  17. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  18. ensure bucket, wine thief, thermometer, spoon are sanitized
  19. when wort gets to about 75F, add to fermentation bucket
  20. top to 4 gallons with chilled spring water (if necessary)
  21. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  22. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  23. ensure wort is 75F or a little less before pitching yeast
  24. pitch yeast
  25. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  26. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  27. ferment in closet for 7-9 days at 67F ambient air temp.
  28. after 7-9 days, add dry hops
  29. take FG sample and bottle (after a minimum of 14 days)
  30. use 4 oz corn sugar at bottling


  • OG 1.067
  • FG 1.015
  • IBU 50
  • ABV 6.9
  • Actual OG 1.062
  • Actual FG

Please note: these target figures are from Beersmith II.  If anyone who reads this has beersmith and comes up with a different set of numbers, please comment or contact me so we can discuss beersmith!

The Extreme Amazingness of Stone

In a word – Stone.

A single word that practically defines all that is good in the world of craft beer.  If I had to pick a single brewery for life, and I could never ever drink anyone else’s beer, “Stone” would uttered from my lips within about 0.0000001 picoseconds.

An overview of Stone’s beers reveals a wealth of fantastic beers.  I’ve had a lot of them, but not all.  My loss that I didn’t discover Stone earlier!  However, I have now seen the light, and everything about this brewery totally kicks ass!  From their absolutely outstanding Levitation to their amazingly delicious IPA to the wonderful Arrogant Bastard, Oaked Arrogant Bastard, and Double Bastard, the terrific Sublimely Self-Righteous Ale, and the palate wrecking, heavenly divine gift to all hop-heads Ruination, virtually anything produced by this brewery pretty much walks on water!

Make sure to follow Stone on Facebook and Twitter, and read their Blog!

Another really amazing thing about Stone is their bottles.  Thanks for using such great bottles, they are absolutely perfect for homebrewers like me!  I use the 12oz and 22oz bottles all the time for homebrewing.

I’ve been to the Stone Bistro and Gardens in Escondido, CA, and I can’t wait to get back there again.  What a great place, beautifully done, amazing food, amazing beer, amazing people.  I was very happy to see Pliny the Elder on tap there too, plus some other Cali beers, what a great experience.  It’s definitely a must-see for the San Diego area.

I’ve been reading The Craft Of Stone Brewing Company, and it’s really an amazing book.  Hardcover, beautifully illustrated, well written, and downright inspiring, I highly recommend it.  Complete with recipes for beer and food, plus tons of interesting stuff about their beers, business, and philosophy, it’s well worth the price (which, BTW, was pretty reasonable).  It inspired me to go buy a bunch of Stone beer today too!  I’ve got a sixer of IPA, a sixer of Oaked Arrogant Bastard, a bomber of regular Arrogant Bastard, and two bottles of 10th Anniversary Ruination chilling in the fridge right now!  I’m about to go ahead and post a review of the 10th Anniversary Ruination, can’t wait to for it to get cold!!!  …

<interlude, while beer is chilling>

…ok, it’s ready!  Here we go…

Ruination 10th Anniversary IPA

Nice looking, orange/tan and clear, nice lasting head and great lace.

Aroma is just amazing. You can smell the oily hops rising off the head. Monster pine and grapefruit. Fruity citrus notes.

Taste is an amazing hop bomb from the ninth layer of light beer hell! This is what BMC drinkers have to consume when the devil wins their soul in a poker game! Great big hop cones blast your taste buds with amazing flavors of citrus (grapefruit, oranges, tangerines), pine, pine resin, a lovely sweetness, and a great malty base.

Well carbonated with a pretty rich, full mouthfeel. Not dry at all, finishes pretty sweet for a double IPA. Lingering sweetness and bitterness.

I’ve read the reviews and I don’t really concur that there’s a noticeable alcohol presence. I don’t detect it, I think it’s pretty damn smooth stuff considering the ABV.

In a word – Stone. That’s all that really needs to be said.

Congratulation on ten years of one of the best IPAs, and best breweries on the planet!

May 5th, Big Brew Day! Al’s Cascade APA

May 5th, a perfect day to brew my 5th batch of delicious homebrew!

Well with May 5th being big brew day, I’m going to brew an APA which showcases cascade hops.  Actually, this should be fairly similar to my previous beer, Al’s Red-Eye Ale, in that both have lots of cascade hops.  This partly reflects the fact that I bought an entire pound of cascade pellets!   I’ve got some different hops on order for the near future, but cascade has done me so well so far, I don’t think I’ll go wrong here!

EDIT: After drinking some of Al’s Red-Eye Ale, I’m going to cut the hops a little for this one.  I want a pale ale, and not another IPA.

I haven’t quite decided for sure on the bittering addition, but I will modify this post when I’ve made up my mind.  For the moment, I’m going to say I’m bittering with Chinook.

I’ve also read a number of posts where people use a little bit of wheat to help with head retention, so I’m going to try a few ounces of wheat in this one.  I haven’t had a problem with head retention yet, but hey, it’s always nice to have a great looking brew!  I suppose it can’t hurt to give it a try.

A new addition to my equipment is a nice scale that will allow me precise control of all ingredient amounts.

Regardless of the final recipe, I’m going to add a lot of hops, so this one might really be more of an IPA, but whatever, I’m calling it Al’s Cascade APA.

This recipe is pretty close (not exact though) to another pale ale I’m going to make soon using Juniper berries.  I won’t use as much hops in the Juniper Pale Ale though, as I don’t want to choke out the Juniper!

Another thing I have noticed is that the website I’m using for the targets doesn’t match software I downloaded when it comes to the numbers.  The downloaded software gives considerably higher bitterness values.  Since I can’t see how they’re doing the calculations in either case, I’m not exactly sure which one is right.  I tend to question free software, but at least it’s fun to play with!  However, this brew should be fine either way.

  • Briess Golden Light Liquid Extract  3 lbs, 4 oz
  • Briess Golden Light Dry Extract     3 lbs, 0 oz
  • Briess 2-Row Brewer’s Malt  1 lbs, 0 oz
  • Briess 2 Row Caramel 40  1 lbs, 0 oz
  • Briess Flaked Wheat  0 lbs, 4 oz
  • Chinook Pellets  0.75 oz @ 60 mins
  • Cascade Pellets  0.5 oz @ 15 mins
  • Cascade Pellets  0.5 oz @ 5 mins
  • Cascade Pellets  0.5 oz @ 0 mins
  • Cascade Pellets  1 oz @ Dry
  • SAFALE US-05 American Ale


OG  1.054

FG  1.014

IBU  30

SRM  8.33

ABV  5.24

Volume: 5.5 gallons


  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. bring 1.75-2 gallons spring water to 165 F
  4. add grains (in mesh bag)
  5. steep for 40 minutes at 155F
  6. In separate pot, pre-boil 1 gallon spring water
  7. when grains are finished steeping, remove grain bag, add 1 gallon boiling water and bring entire pot to a boil for one hour
  8. add bittering hops, 3/4 oz chinook at 60 minute mark
  9. over the course of the last 20 minutes of the boil, add the LME and DME
  10. at 20 minute mark, add wort chiller, pre-filled with hot water
  11. begin pre-boiling of 2 cups spring water for yeast rehydration
  12. add 0.5 oz cascade at 15 minute mark
  13. add 1/4 tsp Irish moss powder
  14. add 0.5 oz cascade at 5 minute mark
  15. add 0.5 oz cascade at flameout
  16. let stand 10 minutes before beginning cooling
  17. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, siphon, hoses, wine thief
  18. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during hop rest and during cooling
  19. while wort is cooling, add 2 gallons chilled spring water to sanitized primary fermenting bucket, allowing it to fall into bucket to increase aeration
  20. add pre-boiled water to sanitized 2L flask for yeast rehydration
  21. when 2L flask reaches about 95F, pitch yeast into flask and place on stir plate for about 20 minutes
  22. when wort gets to about 75F, add to fermentation bucket using strainer
  23. top to 5.5 gallons with chilled spring water
  24. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  25. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  26. ensure wort is 70F or a little less before pitching yeast
  27. pitch yeast
  28. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  29. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  30. add bucket to large plastic container filled partially with H2O to keep fermentation from getting too warm.  add ice daily if needed to keep fermentation temperatures reasonable.
  31. ferment in closet for 7-9 days at 69F ambient air temp.
  32. after 7-9 days, add one ounce cascade hops for dry hopping
  33. take FG sample and bottle (after a minimum of 14 days)
  34. use 4 oz corn sugar at bottling

Actual OG:

Actual FG:


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