Blending Beer for Black IPA

Screen Shot 2015-07-30 at 3.50.19 PMLast week, I posted an article on making extra dark beers with the intention of blending them into lighter beers for added color and perhaps flavor. This way, you could enjoy both the pale beer and a darkened version of it. In this post, I’ll give a specific example of brewing a dark beer that, when blended into an IPA, makes a black IPA.

The recipes given here are for 5.0 gallons (19 L) of the dark blending beer, but you can scale them to any volume desired. Frequently, you will only need 1 or 2 gallons (4–8 L) of the dark beer per 5.0 gallon (19-L) batch of the lighter beer. To scale these 5.0-gallon (19-L) recipes, multiply all the ingredients by your intended volume of dark beer (in gallons) divided by five (gallons). [Or divide your intended volume of dark beer (in liters) by 19 (L).] [Read more…]

None More Black Dry Stout (Partial Mash)

NoneMoreBlackLast month, I posted the all-grain recipe for my “other” dry stout. When I make dry stout, I usually brew my Murphy’s clone. However, occasionally I’ll brew this one, which is closer to Guinness (although not an attempt to be a clone). This is a partial mash formulation of that recipe. As partial mash recipes go, the grain to malt extract ratio is high because of its low original gravity and the fact that the pale grains are mashed and the dark grains are steeped separately. The mash actually uses a starchy adjunct — flaked barley — so you can’t do a true “extract and steeped grains” version of this. 

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None More Black Dry Stout

NoneMoreBlackI like a wide variety of beers, but one style of beer I always come back to is dry stout. Dry stout is a great session beer. It can also be a great “sobering up” beer. If you’re at the end of a long night of beer drinking, but still want one more beer, sipping a dry stout can be a great closer. It’s lower in alcohol than most beers, so you can enjoy it and also slow down a bit. It’s also a great “I could stand to lose a few pounds” beer, as the Calorie count is lower than most beers. But mostly, it’s a dark, roasty, delicious beer that is always flavorful and smells wonderful. [Read more…]

JM “Big Pig” Ale (a 14% ABV Barleywine)


Drawing by Nobu Tamura, from Wikipedia, used under GNU Free License.

This is a big barleywine — with a projected ABV of 14% — that uses “feeding” to reach its high alcoholic content. I am presenting this recipe as an example to go with the article on “feeding” that I posted at the end of April. I should point out that this is an example recipe — I haven’t actually brewed it. However, I have used the technique — exactly as described in the recipe — to boost a 12% ABV lager to a 14% ABV lager. (The lager, which I brewed once, was similar to Krampus Claws, which I’ve brewed three times.) This recipe is basically a higher alcohol version of my American barleywine recipe, which I’ve brewed a couple times. [Read more…]

Partial Mash Option (and ESB Recipe)

British_Sherman_Firefly_NamurPartial mashing is a method of wort production in which the brewer produces some of his wort from a mash — as an all-grain brewer would do — but supplements it with malt extract. In practice, it is usually used in conjunction with a partial wort boil, so that it is similar to the common malt-extract-plus-steeping-grains method. For extract brewers who don’t have the space for a full all-grain set-up, or outdoor all-grain brewers who occasionally wish to come in from the heat or cold, it is method of brewing that is more flexible — and I would argue produces higher quality beer — than the normal malt-extract-plus-steeping-grains methods.  [Read more…]

Firefly ESB

British_Sherman_Firefly_NamurSometimes it’s good to revisit your former homebrewing interests. My interest in types of beer has bounced around a bit throughout the years. Like many homebrewers, I’ve gone through some phases — big beer phases, session beer phases, hoppy beer phases, sour beer phases, etc.

Around the time I started homebrewing — back in Boston in 1991 — I was interested in “regular” English ales, and especially pale ales. The full impact of the craft beer revolution hadn’t hit yet, and English ales such as Bass and Fuller’s ESB were still new, flavorful, and interesting. Plus, there was a brewpub there called Commonwealth Brewing that brewed excellent English-style ales. And additionally, the ingredients and information needed to brew decent renditions of English pale ales were available. So, it wasn’t really surprising that I brewed quite a few English pale ales, ESBs, and the like early on — to me they were “just plain beer” and I enjoyed them alongside the newer, hoppier American pale ales that were emerging. [Read more…]

Pumpkin Peach Tripel

Screen Shot 2015-02-04 at 6.08.25 PM

My ‘homebrewed” recipe formulation spreadsheet.

So, as I related in the most recent Beer News, Bud released an ad that got some craft beer enthusiasts hot under the collar. Near the end of that ad, we’re told that hipster nancy boys can go ahead and sip their pumpkin peach ales, the real bros will be out there pounding down some golden suds (i.e. Budweiser). Of course, this immediately sent tens of thousands of homebrewers to their recipe formulation software to try to come up with a recipe for pumpkin peach ale. Here’s my stab at it.  [Read more…]

Edge of Seventeen Maibock

Beauty of Spring 5

This will arrive some day. When it does, have a Maibock in your hand.

Here is a recipe for a kräusened Maibock. The kräusening aids with finishing the beer and conditioning it. This is a light-colored (9 SRM) beer, fairly strong (7.0% ABV), with more hop bitterness (33 IBU) than a traditional bock. The malt, bitterness, and body are well balanced. The key to success in brewing this beer is to pitch an adequate amount of healthy yeast to the main batch and add some vigorously fermenting kräusen beer to the main batch as fermentation winds to a halt. This should take about 4 months to condition (lager) appropriately, but will be well worth the wait.


Edge of Seventeen Maibock

by Chris Colby

All-grain; English units



Edge of Seventeen is a 7% ABV, roughly 17 °Plato bockbier brewed for spring. Lighter in color and more attenuated than a traditional bock, this beer is malty, but balanced by a firm hop bitterness. This recipe employs kräusening to condition the beer. The initial batch of beer is 4.5 gallons, and slightly more bitter than the target; the 2 qt. of kräusen beer added after primary fermentation brings the beer down to its target bitterness, cleans the beer up, and helps the yeast hit the appropriate level of attenuation.

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Top 10 Homebrewing Recipes of 2014

BWJlogoWe post a fair amount of recipes on Beer and Wine Journal. Here are the ten that got the most traffic in 2014.

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Fortified Winter Warmer (3-gallon/11-L partial mash version)

905702_4643927971453_530286809_oWinter isn’t over yet, and winter warmers can — and should, if you ask me — be enjoyed throughout the winter, not just over the holidays. Here’s a 3.0-gallon (11-L) partial mash version of my spiced winter ale that could be ready by mid-February if you brew it around the New Year. [The 5.0-gallon (19-L) version was posted earlier.]

If you make the specified-sized yeast starter, the 8% ABV base beer should ferment and condition in about 6 weeks. Adding the “spice” — the Scandinavian liquor aquavit — bumps the beer up to 9% ABV and adds a hint of the anise-like character of caraway. Because the spicing of aquavit is consistent, you can be assured of hitting a reasonable level of spicing every time. [And since I only like a hint of spice, you can add more aquavit if you’d like more “licorice” character (and alcohol).]

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