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With a Vengeance

So, it’s been a while. A long while. Who cares? Lets talk mead!

There are things I do and do not like in a mead, and those lines are pretty sharp for me. I don’t like alcoholic messes, I don’t like syrupy insulin inducing monstrosities, and I don’t like weird young yeasty mead. Yours truly has been guilty of such atrocities, but I’m getting better.

So, here’s the idea- medium strength, flavored, served cold and carbonated. Why not right? Recipe tine!

Hibiscus Berry Mead

OG – 1.072

FG – 1.001

ABV – 9.3

For this mead I’m going for only about 4 gallons. That means-

8 lbs Clover Honey 

For this I’m using humble Western Family Clover honey. Not too complex, but really not too bad either. I don’t expect much character of the honey will make it through anyhow after the tea is added. Tea? Oh yeah, lets talk about that.

4 ounces “Red Berry” Tea

I am using Tea Source Red Berry tea, it’s really good. It has Dried apple, rose hip peels, elderberries, currants, blackberries, raspberries, sour cherries and hibiscus. It’s really good.

The Process

I don’t want to boil the honey, so I’ll just pasteurize everything at about 170° for 15 minutes, during which I will add 2 oz of the tea mix to steep. The rest I will brew into a concentrated tea (2 oz in a pint of water), and add it to the mead at kegging. And for the yeast, yeah. Funny story, I don’t have any wine yeast, which I don’t mind. I really like mead brewed with British or Belgian yeast, so why not both?

S-04 is a standard British ale yeast for me, but I haven’t used T-58. It is supposed to be a standard spicy Belgian, which should be good right?

Now to finish drinking this imperial stout and watch my millions of little beasties do their work.

as bing said, its been a long….. long time


I find that if I have a hankerin’ to brew more than one style of beer in a short amount of time then I usually brew a mixed style, this time is no different. Case in point: Rye Porter. I cant say I have had more then one example of this style, but Tommyknocker brews an excellent example (do not listen to Beer-Advocate on this one, they have no idea).


Before I think of a recipe, I think of what I want, and what attributes of this type of beer I really liked. First, I love the roast profile of the beer from Tommyknocker. Second, it was lighter in mouth-feel which I thought was a refreshing take on the style. Third, the rye. The rye is subtle, and doesn’t give too much of that high beta-glucan oiliness that tends to make me gag a little, instead it just adds a nice cushion for the roastiness to mingle with, and of course, nice spiciness.

The plan is to hash out the three things I mentioned before-

Roast: I bet they probably use some form of roasted rye in the recipe from Tommyknocker, I want to do something different but hopefully get similar results in my recipe. For the porter aspect I’ll use a light-handed (for me) addition of Black Patent. I like black patent in porters because it has that coarser ashy roastiness that makes me think porter, also I believe it to be a little more authentic. Less authentic though, I want to use some Franco-Belges kiln coffee malt. I just love this malt. That is all. No more to say.

Mouthfeel: Not that difficult to manipulate. I omitted crystal malts, I believe they would add a muddiness to the roast profile by complicating the flavor. Also I mashed low, real low. A 148° single sacc rest will create alot of easilly fermentable sugars, but I’m hoping the beta-glucans in the rye will keep it from being watery.

The Rye: Another easy one. I don’t like super strongly flavored rye beer, just a thing I have. So I kept the rye at %24 of the grist.



Good photo ops are often messy.



Mashed at 148° for 75 minutes-

  • %24 Malted Rye
  • %59 10°L Munich (Great Western Malting)
  • %7 Black Malt 500°L
  • %10 Kiln Coffee Malt 150°L


  • East Kent Golding @ 60 Minutes to 25 IBUs


  • 2 Sachets of Danstar Nottingham

OG: 1.050 FG:1.011 ABV: %4.9

It fermented strong @ 64° for 3 days and was almost terminal gravity so I bumped it up to 68° for the last few degrees to ensure a clean, impurity free fermentation. Today, one week from brewday, I gently moved it into the fridge @ 32° to ensure yeast free racking to the keg in a few days. It wont be a long, long time before I post some tastings.



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Lupuloweizen Mk I

I tried Philipsburg Brewings’ “Haybag Hefeweizen” about a year and a half ago, and ever since I have had the notion to brew an American Hefe. Haybag was light, grassy/citrusy, but most strikingly it was all but opaque, like yellow milk. I put off brewing a hefe because my friends have limited interest in the style, and because I’m kinda lazy like that… But then I got an idea: overhopped American Hefe with Citra and Mosaic! Well, I may be the last homebrewer who has come to the conclusion of a hoppy wheat beer, but I dont care, I have a twist. Make it extra turbid like I remember Haybag being,and unlike any of the shimmering crystal clear hoppy wheat beers I’ve ever had, aaaaaand ferment it with (dun dun duuuuuuun) some Saflager S-23. Thats right! India Pale Lager Hefeweizen vom Kellar! So many adjectives it’s hard for a homebrewer not to get excited. Anyhow, the plan!


Lupuloqeizen (petite)


%50 Vienna 4°L

%30 Wheat Malt (maybe a little low for the style…. wait, this isnt a style…. move along, nothing to see)

%20 Munich 10°L

……….So it’s gonna be malty, OK?


2 Ounces: Mosaic (Flameout)

4 Ounces: Citra (Flameout)

2 Ounces: Mosaic (Dry Hop in Keg)

…………So it’s gonna be hoppy, OK?  Also note that I used no real bittering addition, so it’s really impossible to even estimate the bitterness contribution of those hops. I tossed in a few pellets of both Mosaic and Citra all throughout the boil because I was bored, but not enough to even calculate, the rest was dumped in at flameout and allowed to “Pseudo Whirlpool” for 20 minutes.

OG 1.050 IBU ??? SRM 6.35

In the lager fridge, just enjoying itself

In the lager fridge, just enjoying itself

It’s been Fermenting for 4 days now and it smells really nice, no sulfer or other ill smells. Hopefully I can give it a diacetyl rest in a few days, let it mellow at a coolish temp for a bit, then rack it onto some dry hops in a keg for fresh consumption, nice and cloudy… Cheers!

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previously on lager files


The lights are playing tricks with the camera, the beer is nowhere near that dark.

That pilsener I brewed a few months back, you remember the one? Yeah? Ok. Well somebody’s had it in the lagering keg in the fridge for a month, and somebody has been taking far too frequent samples. Somebody should write a short impartial review on their own beer wouldn’t your say?

2014 Pilsner

It comes out of the keg fairly bright and a little pale despite the decoctions. Carbonation has been allowed to be higher than I usually pursue, but it works well with a pilsener. The whole thing is capped be a merengue-ish lofting head that demands to be allowed a minute to settle before it lets you top off your pint.

Aroma, this is the interesting bit. When rackiing into the keg I noticed it had a banana bread type aroma. Not the typical yeasty isoamyl acetate banana type thing, but a grandma’s kitchen banana bread…. er….. type thing. I think it is attributed to the floor malted pilsener malt and the pacific hallertau hops…. er… maybe. Anyhow those aromas have faded a little in the lagering phase, but I doubt they will dissapear.

Taste, as with most pilseners, follows the aroma pretty closely. Doughy, bready (little banana), grainy malt. It starts with a tinge of sweetness, then has the rush of continental malt, and finishes with an unusual hop character thats spicy, earthy, and has hints of lime-like tang (or at least thats how I get it, if I didnt read that as a descriptor of the hops than I doubt I would have come up with that). The mouthfeel is light, crisp and spritzy with the medium-highish level of carbonation, but it does have a small hint of fullness in the finish with a whisper of sweetness.

If I brew this again next year I think I’ll change the hopping rates for one, and give it a nice long vigorous boil in the decoction to drive those rich malliard reactions and give it a touch more color and malt complexity.

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mid-atlantic india pale ale

St. Patrick’s day = Time for a beer
24 days before St. Patrick’s day = HOLY %#&@ I FORGOT BREW A STOUT AGAIN!

So I wont brew a stout, not because I dont have the ingredients, or because I dont believe that I can push one from grain to glass in 24 days, but because I really freaking want to brew an IPA.

Here is the basic idea: Brew an IPA with the same hopbursting process as my last IPA, only change the base malt to Warminster floor-malted marris otter and blend the caramel 30L with some Special B to simulate dark english crystal malt. Change the hops to a blend of bright, critrusy american hops (amarillo and simcoe), with some dark, earthy, tobacco-ish english hops (east kent and fuggle).

And yeast….. yes yeast….. mmmmmmm…… how about a nice re-pitch of white labs yorkshire square yeast? Oh good, glad you approve.


Sorry for the lo-fi picture, in reality this wort was nice bright rusty brown, somewhere between brown and ruby red squirt.


OG  1.063 (I actually got a little more than this on brew day, that marris otter always gives me good efficiency)
FG   1.018 (calculated)

IBU  35-ish maybe, its hard to calculate post boil IBU contribution


  • 76% Floor-Malted Marris Otter
  • 16% Munich 20L
  • 5% Caramel 30L
  • 3% Special B


  • 1 oz Amarillo (whirlpool)
  • 2 oz Simcoe (whirlpool)
  • 4 oz East Kent Goldings (whirlpool)
  • 1 oz Fuggles (keg hop)
  • 1 oz Amarillo (keg hop)
  • 1 oz Centennial (keg hop)

The Deets

  • Mashed at 153°F for 75 minutes
  • Added a couple of the EKG pellets at 60 minutes
  • Added the “whirlpool” additions after chilling wort to ~150°, then let those bad boys stew for 30 minutes
  • After primary is done and the beer starts to visibly clear (basically when I think that enough yeast has dropped out to not leave a giant sludgecake in my keg) I will rack to the keg and add dry hops weighed down with marbles. They will hang out with the beer at room temp for 2 days then the whole lot will be fridged, carbed, enjoyed while fresh.

My hope with this brew (other than having something hoppy to quaff whilst celebrating a saint based holiday) is to see how well bright and dark flavored hops work together. With any luck it will taste similar to the newer English hop verieties that have the classic english earthiness, with a touch of bright citrus character. Stay tuned.

Oh yeah, I realise that its insensative to drink an English beer on an Irish holiday, but the Irish hooligan in me told me to do it just to rabble rouse.

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I come from the land of ice and snow

Hello, and welcome to the blog. I am starting this meager project for a few simple reasons, the first being something to keep me mentally occupied during this years long winter. I also just generally enjoy beer, sometime the culture and history of style and presentation more than the product…… sometimes.

In this weblog I hope to showcase and review beer, offer some homebrewing advice, and talk about the issues of Montana brewing and beyond.

I’m not the end all know all of brewing, homebrewing, political brewing news, or even writing in the english language (as you will may have already noticed) But that’s what I hope this blog will give back. I want to banter with people who are smarter than me, I want to keep informed, and I want to know the appropriate time to use a semicolon.

Anyhow, until we meet again, I lift this frosty Doublehaul IPA to you, Sláinte!