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Home Brewing

peter preachesx465My Home Brewing Philosophy

I believe that brewing your own beer really helps you appreciate beer better. Even though I do use the extract brewing process (as opposed to the authentic but more complex and time consuming – all grain process) home brewing beer has increased my understanding of the affects of the various ingredients and their varieties on the characteristics of beer. In some brew pubs they list relevant information like the types of hops, grains and spices used in their beers, and sometimes list the original and final gravity. When you brew your own, you learn what these things mean in real practice, and you become a more educated and discerning beer consumer.

Probably the best thing about home brewing is the fact that you get to brew and drink exactly the type of beer you like (with a little practice). Many people think that home brew is better for you than commercially available beer, and while I am not completely sure, I do know that the presence of active brewers yeast in the brew is a health benefit. Beer with no adjuncts and additives and that not pasteurized is also better for you. Needless to say, you also get the freshest possible beer – sometimes too fresh if you can’t wait to try it! On the other hand I rarely brew beer that are in a readily available style… Why brew a Pilsner if you can just go out and buy the best around – Victory Prima Pils?

From a cost standpoint, even labor aside, it’s not really much cheaper to drink home brew than average beer, but it’s definitely not much more expensive than buying good micro brews. For example, an average batch of ingredients (from Brew Your Own Beer on Darby Road in Havertown) for one of the recipes that follow costs you about $65 – $70. The yield is about 5 gallons of beer which is about 53 12 ounce bottles – slightly more than 2 commercial cases. Last time I checked, good craft beer was going for around $40 a case. So, if you make good quality beer you are definitely making out, but if you make average or worse beer, well, you can do the math.

One last thought for those of you considering home brewing – it really is best to brew on a regular basis. As you repeatedly brew, the mechanisms and processes become routine, and you really begin to concentrate on the recipes and ingredients. You also get to build up a stock of your own beer – which helps a lot if you are like me and don’t want to wait the two weeks after the second fermentation, and there’s no other home brew around.

I have not entered any of my recipes in competition, nor do I claim to be an expert home brewer. I share my beer with my wife (once a reluctant guinea pig, but now a beer tasting expert), my friends and other home brewers. All of the recipes here are for ales, as my experience in lagers is not as thorough. I hope you find some of these recipes interesting. I can’t guarantee that you’ll have exactly the same success with them that I have, but if you follow the process carefully and “keep it clean” you should have some great beer at the end. Some of you may find some of these beers “extreme”. I think that’s OK.

My Home Brewing General Guidelines

My two primary resources for these home brewing recipes are John Reynolds of Brew Your Own Beer (see “Supporters” page) and the book “Clone Brews” by Tess and Mark Szamatulski. John is more than happy to answer any brewing related question – including over the phone if you are in a pinch. His opinions, resources and knowledge are unquestionably valuable and important to any home brewer. “Clone Brews” is a great guide to recipes (extract and all grain) that are meant to end up tasting like some of your favorites. I have based many recipes on theirs, and modified them to meet my desires. (John sells this book at his shop as well).

I always start with 2.5 gallons of water in a six gallon pot, and then soak the specialty grains for 25 minutes in the hot but not boiling water. I add an additional gallon of water before I bring it all to a boil and add the extract and initial hops. Total boil time is always an hour. After a week in the primary fermenter, I siphon the beer to a glass car boy for the second week of fermentation before bottling. I have been using the White Labs “Servomyces” yeast nutrient additive in the last 15 min of the boil, and it really helps get fermentation going.

Good luck and good beer.

1. Standards

These recipes are the basic ones that I continue to return to, and once and a while tweak a bit. You’ll note that at the end of some of these recipes, there are some alternative formulations and additions you can try.

California Pale Ale Plus

I never tire of this one, and it’s always popular with beer appreciators. Based loosely on the Sierra Nevada Clone Brew recipe, it’s nice and hoppy – with a bit of malty body. Easy to make.

* Specialty Grain

4oz  crushed 60 Crystal

* Malt Extract:

7 lb Light Dry Malt

4 oz Malto Dextrin

* Hops:

@ Boil

1.25 oz Nugget 12.5

@ 45 Minutes

1 oz Cascade 6.6 @ 45 min

@ End

1 oz Cascade

Dry Hop (After One Week)

1 oz Perle

* Yeast:

American Ale

Original Gravity – Approx 1.060

Final Gravity – Approx 1.030

Real Chocolate Stout

This is a great stout in itself – rich, strong but not really too chewy. Best if laid down for a month or two due to the high gravity. You can use Bakers semi sweet chocolate, as the less fat/oil in the chocolate the better. I also use this recipe for a base for additional flavoring alternatives. I had success with adding raspberry puree to the second fermentation, and another successful alternative that resulted in very interesting flavor was created by adding some dried chipolte peppers and raisons to the second fermentation. See below.

* Specialty Grain:

15 oz British Chocolate

7 oz Roasted Barley

4 oz Crushed Wheat

3 oz Black Paten Malt

* Malt Extract:

9 lb Light Dry

1 lb Wheat DME

8 oz Semi Sweet Chocolate

4 oz Malto Dextrin

* Hops:

@ Boil

3 oz Syrian Goldings 5%

@ 45 Minutes

½ oz Styrian Goldings 5%

½ Cascade

@ End

1 oz Styrian Goldings 6/8

* Spices:

1 Vanilla Bean split, added with yeast after the boil

* Yeast

White Labs California Ale yeast WLP001

Original Gravity – Approx 1.10

Final Gravity – Approx 1.030

Mole Stout (that’s “Mole –ay” as in the Mexican flavor)

Same as chocolate stout recipe above but:

* Spices:

In last 15 minutes add 3 cinnamon sticks, 2 vanilla beans (split) and 10 cloves

After the wort is cool, but before adding the yeast, add:

12 oz seedless raisons

1 oz dried, seedless chipolte peppers

Peter’s Perfect Porter

A nice dry porter, with a special kick due to the addition of the candy sugar. If this is too extreme for you, you can replace the candy sugar with a pound of extract malt instead (wimp).

* Specialty Grain:

14 oz British Chocolate

16 oz 60L Crystal

* Malt Extract:

6lb Light Malt

8 oz. Amber Candy Sugar

4 oz. Malto dextrin

* Hops:

@ Boil

2oz Fuggles 4.4

@ 45 minutes

1 oz Fuggles

Dry Hop (After one week)

1 oz Fuggles

* Yeast:

British Ale

Alch: 8.5%

Original Gravity – Approx 1.070

Final Gravity – Approx 1.030

Bourbon Porter

This is an interesting twist on the porter recipe, and while it’s good, though I have had better versions done by other home brewers. Same as Perfect Porter above except:

* Spices

Add two split vanilla beans to the fermentor with the yeast

Create the bourbon addition as follows:

In a closed glass jar add the following wood chips and soak for one week:

* Sterile wood chunks: (often used for wine making)

½ oz American Oak Med Toast Plus

½ oz Hungarian Oak Med Toast Plus

* 8 oz Bourbon

Add all this to the second fermentation with the dry hopping

Filter out the chunks in the final decantation.

ESB

This recipe results in a reasonably balanced brew, nice and smooth, the maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness. My wife likes this one particularly.

* Specialty Grain:

14 oz 60 British Crystal

2 oz Aromatic

* Malt Extract:

7lb Light Malt

4 oz. Maple Syrup

4 oz. Malto dextrin

* Hops:

@ Boil

2oz Northern Brewer 7.1

@ 45 minutes

1 oz Kent Golding

@ 58 minutes

½ oz Kent Goldings

* Yeast:

British Ale

Original Gravity – Approx 1.070

Final Gravity – Approx 1.025

Peter’s Pale Ale

Based somewhat on the Clone Brew Geary’s Pale Ale, this is a bit less extreme than the “big beer IPA’s” but hoppy and refreshing.

* Specialty Grain:

10 oz British Crystal 60

3 oz  Chocolate

* Malt Extract:

6lb Light Malt

4 oz. Malto dextrin

* Hops:

@ Boil

1oz Cascade

1 oz Mt. Hood

@ 45 minutes

1/2 oz Cascade

@ 50 Minutes

1 Oz Fuggles

@ End

½ oz Fuggles

Dry Hop (After one week)

1/2 oz Cascade

* Yeast:

British Ale

Original Gravity – Approx 1.050

Final Gravity – Approx 1.020

2. Exotics

These are some more complex brews that are fun to make and drink. Not for the timid, but what’s the point of home brewing without experimentation? John Reynolds calls these recipes “real Peter Beers”.

Double Imperial “45 Minute” IPA

My extreme hoppy “Big beer”, I continue to tweak the recipe. This one is still considered “very drinkable” by beer appreciators – and a poor man’s “DogFish 60 minute”. High in everything, what’s not too like?

* Specialty Grain:

8 oz 40 Crystal

8 oz Special Roast

8 oz 80 Crystal

* Malt Extract:

10 lb Light Dry Malt

1 Lb Belgian Candy Sugar

½ Lb Malto Dextri

* Hops:

@ Boil

1 oz Yakima 15.5%

@ 15 minutes

1 oz Centennial 9.7%

@ 30 Minutes

1 oz Perle 7.2%

@ 45 Minutes

1 oz Centennial

@ 50 Minutes

¼ oz Nugget 12.5%

@ 60 Minutes

1 oz Perle 7.2% (for 2 min)

Dry Hop ( After 1 Week)

Dry Hop 1 oz Centennial

* Yeast:

California Ale Yeast

Original Gravity – Approx 1.105

Final Gravity – Approx 1.045

Belgian Abbey Ale

Loosely based on “Clone Brews” Orval recipe, this turns out a very nice, powerful, spicy Belgian Ale. Tastes best after about 4 weeks in the bottle, but very drinkable in two.

* Specialty Grain:

8oz. 40 Crystal

6oz. Belgian Vienna

* Malt Extract:

6 lb Dry Light

2 lb Candy Sugar

¼ Lb Malto Dextrin

* Hops:

@ Boil

1.5 oz Styrian Goldings 4%

1 oz Hallertau 3.5%

@ 45 Minutes

1 oz Styrian

@ End

½ oz Styrian

Dry Hop @ 1 Week

1 oz Hallertau

* Yeast:

Belgian Abbey

* Spices:

¼ oz Sweet Orange Peel

1 Tsp Ground Coriander @ 45min

¼ oz Sweet Orange Peel

½ Tsp Ground Coriander @ End

Original Gravity approx. 1.750

Final Gravity approx. 1.250

Wheat Double Bock

Refreshing wheat beer with a little kick. You can make it “Belgian” by adding some spices and using Belgian yeast instead.

* Specialty Grain:

9 oz 40 Crystal

1 oz Chocolate Malt

4 oz German Melanoidin

8 oz German Munich

* Malt Extract:

9lb Wheat DME

* Hops:

@ Boil

1 oz Perle 7.6%

* Yeast

Hefewiesen

3. Seasonals

Holidays are great excuses to try something different, and a good excuse for a tasting with friends. Some of these make nice holiday give-a-ways.

Peter’s Mild Pumpkin Ale

This is a mile autumn ale, and while I’d personally prefer more spice, most people like it. Use small “sugar pumpkins” for the meat, save the large ones for jack o’lanterns. Roast the split, deseeded pumpkins in the oven for 30 min @ 350 before brewing.

* Specialty Grain:

12 oz  Crystal 80

4oz Chocolate Malt

* Malt Extract:

8 lb Amber Dry Malt

4 oz Malto Dextrin

* Add to Boil:

3 Lb Cooked Pumpkin meat

* Hops:

1 oz  Liberty 4.1 at Boil

* Spices: (last 10 min)

½ tsp Ground Nutmeg

¼ tsp Powdered Ginger

2.5 Cinnamon Sticks

¼ tsp Ground Cloves

1.5” Split Vanilla beans

* Yeast:

California Ale Yeast

Spicy Xmas Ale

This recipe is a fun one. Comes in at close to 9% ABV, plenty of spice. Happy holidays.

* Specialty Grain:

8 oz Roasted Barley

8 oz Chocolate Malt

* Malt Extract:

8 lb Amber Malt

.75 Lb Brown Sugar

1/3 lb Malto Dextrin

* Hops:

@ Boil

1 oz Nugget 12.5%

1 oz Perle 7.2%

@ 45 Minutes

1 oz Fuggles 4.4%

@ 58 Minutes

½oz Fuggles

* Spices:

@ Boil

2 Split Vanilla Beans

¼ oz Bitter Orange Peel

1 Tsp Ground Nutmeg

1 tsp Coriander

¼oz Bitter Orange Peel

@ 45min

2 Vanilla Beans

1/4 oz ground Cloves

½ Tsp Grains of Paradise

¼ tsp Cumin

@ 58min

½ Tsp Nutmeg

½ tsp Ginger

* Yeast:

Calif Ale Yeast

Belgian Cranberry Wheat Dopplebock

This recipe is really well received and a nice holiday gift for friends. Ages out nicely after about 3 weeks in the bottle, not too strong for the average beer fan.

* Specialty Grain:

9 oz 40 Crystal

4 oz German Melonoidin

1 oz Choco Malt

8 oz German Munich

* Malt Extract:

9 lb Wheat Extract Malt

* Hops:

@ Boil

1 oz Hallertau

@ 45 Minutes

1 oz Hallertau

Dry Hop ( after one week)

½ oz Mt Hood

* Spices/Fruit:

@ 45 Minutes

1 tbls Bitter Orange Peel

@End (with yeast)

5 – 10oz bags of fresh cranberrys pureed in a food processor

@ Dry Hop (after one week)

½ Bitter Orange Peel

* Yeast:

Belgian Ale Yeast

Original Gravity approx. 1.750

Final Gravity approx. 1.030

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