Happy Saint Patrick’s Day

I’m not going to pretend to understand all the politics related to St. Patty’s day. For me it’s an excuse to brew and drink what most would consider to be traditional Irish brews. So I present my version of an Irish Stout and Red.

Irish Stout Malt bill is pretty simple:

  • 6lb – Marris Otter – Pale Ale
  • 2lb – Flaked Barley
  • 1lb – Roasted Barley

The only hop addition is at 60 minutes:

  • 1.5oz Cluster Hops (7% alpha acid)

My brewing water goes through a softener. The only adjustment I made to the water profile was for PH:

  • 4ml lactic acid in mash water
  • 1ml lactic acid in sparge water

Mash profile include two steps:

  • 152F for 60 minutes
  • 168F for 10 minutes

Yeast used:

  • Lallemand Nottingham

The Irish Red Malt bill:

  • 7.5 lbs Briess Brewer’s malt
  • 12 oz Briess Carapils
  • 4 oz Special Roast
  • 2 oz Biscuit Malt
  • 2 oz Chocolate Malt


  • .75oz Willamette (5.5 % alpha acid) T-60 mins
  • .75oz East Kent Goldings (4.4% alpha acid) T-30 mins
  • .25oz East keng Goldings T-10 mins
  • .25oz Willamette hopstand for 10 mins

I used the same yeast. However, this brew is still pretty young. I hasn’t cleared up yet but this pic will give you an idea of what it looks like.


Karaoke Machine

I haven’t posted in a while. Honestly not much new to post since I’ve been continuing to iterate on brews I’ve already posted.

I’m up to Hop Therapy #9 now. Not much is going to change in this series except the two hops I choose. I’m not going to post an article for each pairing. If one of the pairings turns out fantastic I’ll post an article. Otherwise just search my brewery’s page on Untapp’d and you’ll be to find all my Hop Therapy brews and more.

I think I’ve gone as far as I can with the El Hefe series. This was my Hefeweizen series which used White Labs WLP300. Last year I started a new Hefeweizen series called GWEN which uses Weihenstephan Yeast I harvested from their Hefeweizen bottles. I’m up to GWEN #3 and I’m really happy with it. I’ll just be tweaking the water profile, yeast pitch rate, fermentation profile (time and temp), and keeping the yeast healthy going forward.

I’ve posted articles about Scotch Ales in the past but I’ve been working on a Wee Heavy series I call Karaoke Machine. This is not a beer I brew often as it’s 8% and rather tasty. That’s a dangerous combo to have on tap. I’m not going to spill the beans on the recipe just yet as I’m still refining it. My goto yeast for this brew is WLP028. I keep a fresh culture in my beer fridge at all times. I make a large starter before each brew which is critical to a good Wee Heavy. Here is what Karaoake Machine II looks like:

What’s next on the brew schedule? It currently looks like this:

  • Irish Stout
  • Irish Red
  • Gwen #4
  • West Coast DIPA
  • Hop Therpay #10

That should kept me busy for the next couple months.

Oh… That reminds me. I do have a my first serious German inspired Lager in progress. It’s currently on Week 3 of lagering. Not sure when I’m going to keg that one. The idea is to lager it long enough so that it’s nearly crystal clear before transferring to keg. This one will be called “Bottoms Up”. So look for it on Untapp’d or here on my blog.

Orange White

On a recent trip to Florida I picked up a large bag of Navel Oranges. I made delicious organce juice from them, but before doing so I zested each one. I saved the zest in a zip lock bag and froze them.

I decided to make a Witbier. This isn’t your typical recipe, I skipped the usual coriander so I can see just how much the orange zest contributes.

  • Grist:
    • Weyermann Pale Ale Malt – 48%
    • Avangard Wheat Malt – 38%
    • Flaked Oats – 10%
    • Briess Carapils – 4%
  • Hops
    • East Kent Goldings – 3.5 IBU – T-60
    • Saaz – 4.7 IBU – T-30
    • Saaz – 3.2 IBU – T-15
    • Lemondrop – 1 IBU ? – Whirlpool below 180F
  • Misc
    • 260 grams of orange zest at flameout

This was for a 5 gallon batch. It turned out to be nice light, refreshing, and at 4.6% very session-able. I was hoping for more of an orange flavor and aroma. It’s there is a hint of it on the finish.

Maybe adding the zest at flameout drove off a lot of aroma/flavor I was looking for? Not sure, but I did that to kill off any bacteria/yeast. Next time I do this I’ll probably go back to soaking zest in vodka and adding the mixture during fermentation. It will be interesting to see whether that contributes more aroma/flavor.

Here’s a look at the beer (click caption for untapp’d entry)

Hop Therapy Update (5 & 6)

I’ve cranked out two more in the Hop Therapy series.

Hop Therapy #5 has the same malt bill as #4 and features Citra & Simcoe. I got crazy efficiency out this batch for some reason. This one finished out at 5.9% abv.

Apparently I don’t have a photo of Hop Therapy #5… Hmm… It’s still on tap so I’ll fix that issue soon 😉

Hop Therapy #6 I dropped the golden naked oats in favor of 2 lbs of German Wheat Malt and used Apollo & Citra hops. This is my first time using Apollo. I also used Verdant IPA yeast (really liking this yeast). This batch finished closer to what I was expecting at 5.6% abv.

Hop Therapy #6 (5.6% ABV)


A few weeks ago I decided to harvest yeast from two bottles of Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier

I used the same recipe as my El Hefe XIII:

  • Wheat Malt Pale (Weyermann) – 54%
  • Pilsner Malt (Weyermann) – 40 %
  • Carapils (Briess) – 4 %
  • Melanoidin (Weyermann) – 2%

The big difference being the yeast used (Weihenstephaner harvested yeast .vs. WLP300) and the fermentation temperature.

I fermented this batch at 62ºF for 7 days and then raise the temp to 72ºF for another 7 days

The result?

GWEN 5.5%

This batch pretty much nails the flavor profile and body I’m looking for in a Hefe.

What’s with the name you ask? Well my friends can’t pronounce Weihenstephan correctly so we often refer to it as Gwen Stephanie… Hence…. GWEN….

Hop Therapy #4

Another in the Hop Therapy series. The grain bill is typical of the series:

  • Briess Brewer’s 2-Row – 84%
  • Flaked Oats – 8%
  • Golden Naked Oats – 8%

I mashed at 149ºF for 60 minutes. Raised the mash to 168ºF for mash out.

Hops at flame out:

  • 1.25 oz Galaxy 17% Alpha Acid
  • 1.25 oz Mosaic 12% Alpha Acid

The hops went into a hop spider and I recirculated the wort into it for about 20 minutes.

I chilled and transferred the wort to my Fermentasaurus Snub Nose fermenter. I pitched a fresh pack of Lallemand Verdant IPA yeast.

Fermentation took off really quick. Maybe my Tilt was acting up but it showed a 20 point drop in about 24 hours. It sure looked like it was at high krausen. So I harvested a little yeast and performed the first and only dry hop:

  • 1.5 oz Galaxy
  • 1.5 oz Mosaic

Four days later the gravity stabilized so I moved the Snub Nose to the fridge to chill. The Snub Nose allows me to ferment under pressure so it was ready to drink after the two day chill.

So from grain to glass in about 10 days. Good thing because I really like my Hop Therapy series, especially this one:

Hop Therapy #4 (Galaxy & Mosaic)

Let’s Harvest Yeast

I’ve brewed 13 batches of Hefeweizens. It’s one of my favorite styles, but I’ve been chasing a specific flavor profile (hence 13 versions). I’ve played with mash schedules, water chemistry, malt bill, yeast, etc…

I’ve settled on White Labs WLP300 as by goto yeast for Hefeweizen. I find if I under pitch it and I can come close to what I’m looking for. I’m still not sure about fermentation temperature. I’ve tried fermenting at 62ºF and higher than 70ºF but my results aren’t haven’t been consistent.

So the next step is to try a yeast from one of my favorite Hefe’s. I gently poured two bottles of Weinhenstephaner Hefe Weissbier so as to not disturb the yeast settled in the bottles. Note how clear the beer is in the glass that’s a good clue that the yeast is still in the bottles.

I made a starter with 50 grams of Light Pilsen Malt extract. I poured some the starter in each bottle, stirred them up, and poured them back into the starter. We’ll see what happens in a few days.

Very Dark Brown

Very Dark Brown (VDB) 5%

I’m generally not a huge fan of the Brown Ale style. I feel like I’ve said that more than once before. See my Uptown Coffee Brown

So for this brew I decided to try and make a Brown Ale with no adjuncts (i.e. Coffee & Vanilla). I chose a water profile (getting better at that), malt bill, and mash schedule to address one of biggest issues with most Brown Ale’s I’ve had. Normally I find them to have a thin body and lacking in flavor.


  • Pale Malt, Golden Promise – 84%
  • Brown Malt, Crisp – 4%
  • Carafa III, Weyermann – 4%
  • Caramel Malt 40L, Briess – 4%
  • Pale Chocolate, Thomas Fawcett – 4%


  • .5 oz Columbus 14.2% AA at T-60 in boil
  • .5 oz Cascade 6.9% AA at T-5 in boil

Yeast: I forgot to write down what I used, but I’m pretty sure it was SafAle US-04.

The end result is a 5% 25 IBU full bodied very dark Brown Ale. The variety of malts used definitely add a depth of character/flavor. I’m really digging this brew. Maybe I’ve under carbonated it, but one strike against this beer so far is the foam recedes fairly rapidly. Maybe the dark malts inhibit foam retention? Either way I need to work on that.

UPDATE (4-15-2021)

I really liked this brew. It kicked this past past weekend. I decided to send this beer to the National Homebrew Competition. It will be interesting to see what they think of it.



One of the beers any craft beer nut aspires to try is Heady Topper from the Alchemist Brewery in Vermont.    This homebrew is “inspired” by that brew.   It’s meant to be in intensely hoppy 8% brew that’s has a moderate bitterness but tons of hop flavor and aroma.  I’d consider it a successful brew from that standpoint, but Heady Toppper it is not….

This brew was tweaked version of the Northern Brewer “Off The Topper” recipe.   I changed the water profile and hop schedule a wee bit.   But otherwise it has the same ingredients.   You can check out their all grain recipe here:  Off The Topper 

Given the amount of hops that went into this brew it was definitely one of the more challenging brews I’ve done.   Yield was down to about 4 gallons (.vs. the normal 5 gallons).  However, I’m happy to report that the end result  is DELICIOUS.    Again…  it’s no Heady Topper…   But it’s good…

Peanut Chocolate Stout

A while ago I picked up a couple PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter and Peanut Powder with Cocoa (6.5oz each).   So I made a stout with it.

Malt Bill

  • 69% – Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise Pale Malt
  • 14% – Briess Crystal 40L
  •   7% – Wyeremann Chocolate Rye Malt
  •   7% – Flaked Oats
  •   3% – Bairds Roasted Barley

This brew is all about the malt and PB2 so the only hops in this brew is 1oz of Hallertau Magnum (14% AA) at T-60

At T-10 I removed some wort from the kettle and dissolved the two PB2 containers in a separate pot.  The boil timer was paused during this time.  Once dissolved the wort/PB2 was added back to the kettle and I resumed the timer.

This is not only my first time using PB2 but it’s also my first time using my new Grainfather Concial Fermenter and Glycol Chiller.   This setup allows me to control fermentation temperature accurately.  

Looks like I forgot note which yeast I used.  I believe it was Fermentis SafeAle S-04.   I fermented at 68ºF for six days and then cold crashed for two days at 39ºF.   It was then transferred to keg and conditioned for two weeks before going on tap.

Peanut Chocolate Stout – 6%

End result is pretty much what you would expect.  I definitely get plenty of peanut/chocolate aroma & flavor.   The body is full and smooth.   I really like this brew.   I just shutter to think how caloric it may be 😉