Category Archives: Brew Day

Chinook Pale Ale (Homegrown Hops)

Wow I haven’t posted for a while! I have been very busy remodelling our new house which is where the Chinook hops were grown just this last summer. I have heard a few times not to use the first year hops but, “hey, why not?” About a month ago I brewed up a smash beer with help from a friend. We will call him the ‘Master Stirrer’. What is a smash beer you ask? SMASH stands for Single Mash and Single Hop. And that is exactly what I made, 12 pounds of Belgium Pale Malt and 4 ounces of Chinook whole hops from my back yard. Brew day went well with only a little spilled wert.


This is the finished beer just before racking to the new sanke keg. Another friend borrowed me a keg and his Co2 bottle to give it a try. I filled up the keg and pressurized to 12 psi and let it sit in the garage for a few days. After three days or so I had to try it, I filled a glass about half full and held it up to the light. It was the clearest beer I have ever made! I’m not sure if it was the smash approach or the keg that made it so clear? The pale ale was not quite fully carbonated but it still tasted awesome. There was no corn sugar after taste like there is when bottling. I can’t wait to try this method again. Now I need to pick up a keg system!

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Mabel Pale Ale

There has been so much going on for the last few months and it was time to make another batch of homebrew. We bought a new house and are in the middle of remodelling and just haven’t had any time to make beer. I went to Northern Brewer to pick up the needed supplies and found out that Simcoe Hops are having a shortage so I picked up Simply Select instead. I also used 11 lbs of Belgian Pale Malt and added 1 lb of each Weyermann CaraFoam and Munich I.


This is the first beer brewed at our new location. We needed a break from the construction anyway. We got setup early Easter morning and started our brew day. Coincidentally it was also the first day the golf course opened so we got to watch first timers hitting balls down to hole #1.


All went well on brew day, it was a nice mellow day hanging out in the new garage making beer. Look at the awesome color of the first runnings! I performed a vorlauf and added just under 3 gallons to the kettle. I next added 4.5 gallons of 186 degree water back to the mash tun and waited 15 minutes. After all the wort was in the kettle we came up 1/2 gallon short. There was only 6.5 gallons working its way up to a boil.


I received a new refractometer for Christmas and haven’t got to use it yet. I checked the kettle and found it was 1.060. Somehow I managed to get a picture of the refractometer.


I decided not to use the hop bag this time to see how this brew turns out. I just added the hops straight to the kettle and let them do their thing. Cooling also went much better this time for some reason? Who knows why, was it not using the hop bag, or the new water, or maybe it was the temp of the water from the ground? I also had gelatin looking cold break floating in the kettle for the first time ever. I grabbed a spoon and picked them all out.

I moved the beer to a safe 70 degree place and pitched the WLP001, now I just have to wait for two months to enjoy Mabel Pale Ale.

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Brew Day – Apollo Pale Ale (1 Gallon Batch)

I’m slowly getting into all-grain brewing 1 gallon at a time. I brewed an all-grain pale ale using a 5 quart pot as a mash tun. I’m trying to learn a few flavor profiles before making the leap into all-grain.

I used Briess Pale Malt and Caracrystal for this batch. I’m hoping the Caracrystal adds maltiness and an awesome orange color. I mashed these grains for 75 minutes and only lost 1 degree in an stainless pot. I thought I would need to heat the pot a few times and stir. On Briess’ website it says that Caracrystal only adds 55 lovibond. The grains looked much darker to me than that, we will see how this turns out.

After the mash was complete I transferred the grains to my strainer above my 5 gallon kettle. I heated another gallon of water to 170 degrees and rinsed the grains until they ran fairly clear. I now have 2 gallons of wort in my kettle. I did a 60 minute boil using only Cascade hops. I used 1 ounce total for bittering, flavor, and flame out. I was left with about 1.25 gallons of wort after the boil. After the wort was cooled to 69 degrees I strained it into my 1 gallon jug.

I pitched 3 grams of re-hydrated Muntons Ale Yeast in 1/3 cup of water that cooled from 90 degrees down to room temperature. I next inserted an airlock and a few feet of 1/2″ ID hose for the blow off tube. There is no head space and this setup will be needed for sure.

Exactly 6 hours later the Krausening formed and it rose in a matter of minutes. The pitcher sitting next to the fermenter went from silent to bubbling in seconds. Seems like 5 gallon batches don’t wake up this fast for me. This is another fun experiment that I have to wait 8 weeks to taste. I’m planning a 2-3 week fermentation then 1 week cold crashing. I may get 7 or 8 bottles and then three weeks sitting on top of my kitchen cabinets. It’s funny that this is the perfect place to bottle condition. The temperature stays around 73 degrees up there.

Does anyone else make 1 gallon batches? It’s the same amount of work but it’s the only way I can make all-grain homebrew at the moment.

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Brew Day – Sunset Wheat Pale Ale

I have been thinking about the 4th of July camping trip I’m going on, and decided I needed some homebrew to take with. I stopped by my local homebrew store and picked up the ingredients for a summer wheat beer.

Sunset Wheat Pale Ale

I have made this recipe before but I changed a few things this time. I made a new hop schedule using 4 ounces of hops and I’m trying White Labs WLP007 Dry English Yeast this time. I’m hoping to get a drier beer that lets the hops shine through. I’m also planning to dry hop with 1 ounce of Amarillo hops.

Everything went well during brew day. The boil and hop additions went well, I even remembered the whirfloc tablet, though this beer will probably never clear. At the 60 minute mark I removed from the heat and gave one last stir. I let it sit with the cover on for just over 5 minutes before moving to the sink for the water bath. I have noticed since the outside temps have come up that it takes a bit longer to cool the wort down. I add ice packs at the 15 minute mark and they seem to help.

Cooling Wort

The wort was cooled down to 70 degrees. I wanted to see if the hops would settle out, so I left it sit on the counter for a while. Looks like that will take longer than I want to wait. I poured the wort through my strainer into the fermenter trying to get as much hop sediment out as possible. I then topped it off to 5.2 gallons and stirred for a few minutes, next adding the new yeast. I sealed up the fermenter and moved it to a dark place. It was bubbling just before the 24 hour mark. The krausening settled down after two more days. Now it’s up to the yeast to do the hard work.

This should be bottled and conditioned just in time for my camping trip.



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Bottled Rowdy Orc APA This Weekend

Broke during bottling

Saturday afternoon I bottled my Rowdy Orc APA . When I was transferring to the bottling bucket the hop smell was incredible. I used White Labs WLP001 California Yeast on this batch. The final gravity went all the way down to 1.010, the APV is 6.8%. This was much higher than expected, this is not a session beer. The bottles were all filled and sitting on the counter. I sanitized the capper and started with the first bottle I filled. All was going well and then I heard this sandy crunch noise. I looked at the bottle and glass was flaking off the side where the capper grabs to hold the bottle. With slight pressure the top of the bottle fell off. The next bottle did the same thing?! Did I just get some super-hero powers? No, I think I was pressing too hard on the bottle capper. The rest of them went well. This was the first time a bottle broke for me and hopefully the last.

Now I just have to wait for three weeks while they all bottle condition. Cheers!

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