Thursday, March 30, 2006

Priming Your Beer

Whenever I first started homebrewing, the toughest thing for me get right was priming my beer. My first batches were either under carbonated or over carbonated. A few tweaks here and there and now I have a basic idea. Still, I use more art than science. The following article from gives a more scientific approach and hopefully will help you from experiencing what I did.

by Mark Hibberd (Bayside Brewers Club, Melbourne, Australia)
Most homebrewers carbonate their beer by adding priming sugar at bottling time. Usual instructions call for about a teaspoon of sugar per bottle. But exactly how much sugar is needed and what types of sugar are suitable? And what can you do if a beer is over- or under- carbonated?

Carbonation levels

The amount of carbon dioxide in a beer can usefully be described in terms of the volumes of CO2, i.e. how many volumes of CO2 (at atmospheric pressure) are dissolved in one volume of beer. This terminology is familiar to those who keg. Charts for kegging systems show the gas pressure to apply at each temperature to achieve a particular carbonation level. If this pressure is held for several days, the carbonation reaches its equilibrium value, i.e. the beer will absorb all the CO2 it can at that temperature. In bottle conditioning, the CO2 is produced by the fermentation of an accurate dosing of priming sugar.
If you are not into reading the article, check out this Priming Calculator at
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Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Fat Tire Amber Ale Clone Recipe


Fat Tire Amber Ale
(5 gallons, extract with grains)


o 5 lbs. Laaglander plain extra-light
o 0.50 lb. crystal malt (20° Lovibond)
o 0.50 lb. crystal malt (40° Lovibond)
o 0.50 lb. carapils malt
o 0.50 lb. Munich malt
o 0.50 lb. biscuit malt
o 0.50 lb. chocolate malt
o 3 AAUs Willamette pellet hops (0.66 oz. at 4.5% alpha acid)
o 1.33 AAUs Fuggle pellet hops (0.33 oz. at 4% alpha acid)
o 2 AAUs Fuggle pellet hops (0.50 oz. at 4% alpha acid)
o 1 tsp. Irish moss
o 2/3 to 3/4 cup corn sugar to prime
o Wyeast 1056 or BrewTek CL-10

Step by step:

Steep specialty grains in 3 gallons of water at 154° F for 45 minutes. Remove grains and add dried malt extract. Bring to boil and add 0.66 oz. Willamette pellet hops. Boil for 60 minutes and add Irish moss. Boil 10 minutes and then add 0.50 oz. Fuggle hops. Boil another 20 minutes, add remaining Fuggles and remove from heat. Cool to about 70° F and transfer to fermenting vessel with yeast. Ferment at 64° to 68° F until complete (7 to 10 days), then transfer to a secondary vessel, or rack into bottles or keg with corn sugar. (Try lowering the amount of priming sugar to mimic the low carbonation level of
Fat Tire.) Lay the beer down for at least a few months to mellow and mature for best results.
All-grain option: Omit extract and mash 6 lbs. pale malt with specialty malts in 9 quarts of water to get a single infusion mash temperature of 154° F for 45 minutes. Sparge with hot water of 170° F or more to get 5.5 gallons of wort. Bring to boil and use above hopping and fermentation schedule.
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Monday, March 20, 2006

Newcastle Clone Recipe

Simple little recipe that tastes similar to Newcastle Brown Ale. Personally, I like to add an ounce or two of biscuit malt to add a little more complexity.


  • 2 oz 60L Crystal Malt
  • 2 oz Chocolate Malt
  • 1 oz Black Malt

  • Extracts:
  • 6 lbs Light DME

  • Hops:
  • 6.5 HBUs Target Hops (Bittering) I usually use 1 oz of Fuggles Hops
  • 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings (Flavor)

  • Yeast:
  • British Ale Yeast
  • Instructions:

    Put the specialty grains into the muslin bag and steep in 150 degree water for 20 minutes. Pull the bag out, allowing it to drain freely into the brew kettle. There is no need to "squeeze" the bag. Squeezing the bag will only release tannins that will harm your beer.

    Add 170 degree water to the brew kettle to bring the total volume to 2.5 gallons. As you add this water, run it over your bag of grains to sparge ("rinse") the rest of the grain water out of the bag.

    Bring kettle to a boil, then remove it from the burner. Stir in the Dry Malt Extract (DME), and put Target (Bittering) hops in a muslin bag (tied closed) and add into the kettle.

    Return to heat and boil for 45 minutes. Add the 1/2 oz East Kent Goldings to the muslin bag and boil for 15 minutes.

    Cool to room temperature, add water to bring total volume to 5 gallons. Stir vigorously to incorporate air into the wort. Pitch (add) your yeast.

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    Monday, March 13, 2006


    I decided to go way back for a beer recipe. This style of beer was popular during the Medieval times and I thought that it would be a fun beer to make. After the recipe is a little history about this style of beer.
      3.3 pounds, wildflower honey
      3.3 pounds, amber malt extract
      2 pounds, wheat extract
      1 pound, light malt extract
      1/2 pound, 10L crystal malt
      2 ounces, Northern Brewer hops (8.0%), 30 minute boil
      2 ounces, Kent Goldings pellets (4.6%), 20 minute boil
      1/2 ounce, Kent Goldings pellets, 15 minute boil
      1/2 ounce, Kent Goldings pellets, finishing (10 minutes)
      Irish moss, last 5 minutes
      Whitbread ale yeast
      1/2 teaspoon, yeast energizer

      Step mash. Crush grains and add to 3 qts water (with gypsum dissolved) at 130F. Maintain mash temperature at 125 for 30 min (protein rest).
      Add 3 quarts of boiling water to mash and maintain temperature at 158 for 1 hour (saccharification rest).
      Drain wort and sparge grains with 5 quarts water at 170.
      Add to the wort in the brewpot the malt extract and brown sugar. Bring to a boil.
      After 30 minutes of boil, add 1/2 ounce of Northern Brewer hops and 1/2 ounce of Fuggles hops.
      After 15 more minutes, add an additional 1/2 ounce of each hop.
      Boil for a total of 1- -1/2 hours.
      Ten minutes before the end of the boil, add the Irish moss.
      Five minutes before the end of the boil, add 1 ounce of Fuggles hops (for aroma).
      Cool the wort and add to the primary fermenter with sufficient water to make 5 gallons.
      Pitch yeast when temp of wort is below 75. Ferment at 65 for 5 days. Rack to secondary and ferment for 15 more days at 65. Bulk prime with corn sugar before bottling.

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    History of Braggot

    Braggot (aka Bracket, Braket, Brackett...) is a malted beverage made with honey and barley. It is usually categorized as a type of mead, except for when hops are added - then it is usually considered a beer. The honey/barley ratio should be about 50/50, in the amounts used in the recipe and in the taste of the braggot. Both should be clearly defined, with an overall sweetness. Braggot is a very old drink, and was very popular in Medieval Europe. Chaucer wrote about it, as did several other authors.

    Modern braggot is made usually as novelty ales by micro-breweries or by wineries specializing in Honeywine. Braggot is also very popular in home brewery for the same reasons it was popular in ancient times - they were as easy to brew as beer, but due to the honey were very high in alcohol content (generally around 10-12%).

    What's Braggot?

    by George de Piro

    A long time ago, before the days of television and internet surfing, people actually had to rely on social interaction for entertainment. The local pub was a place where people would gather to discuss life, argue relevant issues, and drink a little something to make the night seem warmer.

    Mead was a popular choice for those wanting more alcohol than the average beer. A fermented beverage made from honey, meads can exceed 10% alcohol by volume (ABV). They were sometimes spiced to add complexity to their flavor.

    Braggot was made by blending mead and beer, to produce a strong drink with unique flavors. This blending was often done right at the bar, but was sometimes performed by the brewer. Today there are few modern examples of braggot produced commercially.

    From Evans Ale

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    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    Guinness Clone

    It's probably a little late to make your batch of "Guinness" for St. Patrick's day but here is a recipe for making Guinness at home. The original recipe is for an all-grain brewer, but I have listed the substitutions for the extract brewer,
      7 pounds, Crushed pale malt
      2 pounds, Flaked barley
      1 pound, crushed roast barley
      1 ounce, bullion hops
      3 ounces, northern brewer hops
      1 tsp. CaCO3 (if you are in a soft water area)
      yeast starter made from a bottle of Guinness
      OG: 1045-1053
    Extract brewers: Substitute 2 cans of a light extract for the 7 pounds of pale malt. Also, if you don't want to make a yeast starter use Whitelabs Irish Ale yeast or Wyeast Irish Ale yeast.
    I generally boil at 60 minutes, 30 minutes and 15 minutes and add my hops in at those intervals. At the 15 minute mark, I also use Irish moss to help settle the solids.
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    Wednesday, March 08, 2006

    5 Days of Pain

    5 days of Pain + 2 Days in the Hospital - 1 Gallbladder = No blogging activity.
    Yes, there have been no posts for the past week do to what ended up being an 8mm gallstone that had blocked my gale bladder. This is one pain that you do not want to wish on your worst enemy. I am at home recouping and should be back posting on Thursday the 9th.
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