Harvest Lager Recipe

What do you do when you have nearly a pound of fresh, homegrown whole hop cones in your possession?  Well, you try to figure out how to brew with them.

These photos are of one of the bags at weigh in. I have three more just like it and more on the way:


I have brewed several beers with the hops I have grown in my back yard, both ales and lagers.  This year, I am going to try to brew a well hopped lager with a simple grain bill.

I am trying to showcase the hops this time around.  Since my harvest consists of German-like varieties (with a USA twist!), the idea of a Sam Adams Boston Lager clone came to mind. If this beer turns out the way I think it will, it should be hoppier than what you can get in stores.  A good portion of the cones will be used in a dry hopping, which I hope will bring out the aroma in the lager.


10 lbs Pale Ale Malt
1 lbs 2-Row Caramel Malt 60°L
1 oz Magnum hops (%AA unknown)  boiled 60 mins.
1 oz Mt. Hood hops (%AA unknown)boiled 30 mins.
1 oz Mt. Hood hops (%AA unknown) boiled 10 mins.
1 oz Mt. Hood hops (%AA unknown) boiled 1 mins.
3 oz Mt. Hood hops (%AA unknown) dry hopped
Yeast :White Labs WLP830 German Lager


Original Gravity: 1.054
Terminal Gravity: 1.013
Color: 13.68 °SRM
Bitterness: No idea
Alcohol % by volume: 5.4%


Mash grains at 150°F for 60 minutes. Sparge and collect enough wort for a starting volume of 7.5 gallons. Those whole hop cones are going to absorb a lot of wort as the boil goes on so you will need to get as much as you kettle can handle. Watch for boilovers, naturally. Add the hops according to the schedule. Chill to 44°F and pitch your mighty yeast starter. Let the fermenter rise in temperature to 50° F and hold the beer there for at least two weeks. During that time, you will want to check on the fermentation activity. Once it is about to slow, add your hops for dry hopping. When fermentation activity appears to be done, take a gravity reading to ensure terminal gravity has been reached. Once that happens, rack to a clean carboy for some cold conditioning at refrigerator temperatures for a least a month. Bottle or keg as usual after the conditioning phase is over.

I will be brewing this soon since I want it to be done before Thanksgiving. Watch for updates and brew on.

Black IPA Recipe

Did everybody decide we were going to start calling these beers black IPAs?  I know there were a few different names for the India pale ale with the dark roast backbones.  Cascadian Dark Ale and India Black Ale were the other names that I know.  There may be a few more.  Anyway, the BJCP is, or at least close to, naming these beers as black IPAs officially.  If they say so, then we all should fall in line, right?

To be honest, I am not in love with the style.  If you follow us on Twitter, we got into a discussion about how dark roasted malts and strong hops don’t really mesh all that well.  Just because that’s true, it doesn’t mean that the style needs to be avoided.  Rather, I think you can pull off a good example of the style with some grains to get the color but are restrained in their roastiness.

The way I see it – a Black IPA should have more to do with a black lager than a stout.  If you catch my drift, follow my recipe and I think you will be able to crack the case of how to make this style right.

Try this Black IPA Recipe:

Boil size: 7.0 gallons
Final batch size: 5.5 gallons
Volume for fermentation: 5.25 gallons


12.0 lbs. American 2 Row Malt
1.5 lbs Caramel Malt 60°L
1 lbs Blackprinz Malt from Briess or some kind of debittered black malt 500°L
1 oz Nugget hops 13% AA – boiled for 60 minutes
0.5 oz Centennial hops 10% AA – boiled 15 minutes
0.5 oz Amarillo hops 8.5 %AA – boiled 1 minutes
0.5 oz Amarillo hops 8.5 %AA – dry hopping
Yeast: White Labs WLP001 California Ale


Mash your grains for 60 minutes at 150°F. Run off enough wort for a 7 gallon boil and boil it for 60 minutes. Add the hops when you are supposed to add them. See the times above. Cool to room temperature and rack the wort to a fermentation vessel and pitch your yeast. Ferment at 72°F for at least two weeks. Rack to a secondary vessel and add your last half ounce of hops. Bottle or rack after 3 days.


Original Gravity: 1.068
Final Gravity: 1.014
Color: 28.97 °SRM
Bitterness: 63.5 IBUs
Alcohol % of volume: 7.1 %

The key is to ferment it cleanly enough so the resiny, dank hops come through and the roastiness in the background. I think with some refined malt flavor, this style can break through the specialty label and become more common.

Brew on!

Belgian IPA Recipe

International India Pale Ale Day up in a few days.  This year, it’s on August 7th.  It seems to move around from year to year, but in 2014 – it’s this coming Thursday.

Though we could wait for the powers that be to pick a date for IPA Day and stick with it every year, let’s turn our attention to the present and think about Belgian IPA.

A true international style, taking the roots of a British beer with the American take of hoppiness and fermented using a classic Belgian beer yeast strain, this recipe will take you on a world tour in a pint glass.

Some notes on this type of IPA: It’s going to be a challenge to keep all the flavors in balance. To accomplish your goal, you will need to keep the malts light and use hops that have citrusy- floral notes.  With these two guidelines in mind, you can make an IPA that flavors will be balanced with what the Belgian yeast brings to the party.

Here is my recipe for a Belgian IPA recipe:

Boil size: 7.5 gallons
Final batch size: 5.5 gallons
Volume for fermentation: 5 gallons


12.0 lbs. Belgian Pilsner Malt
2.0 lbs. Belgian Pale Malt
.5 lbs Caramel Malt 60°L
0.75 oz Warrior Hops (16% AA) boiled 60 minutes
.5 oz Ahtanum Hops (6% AA) boiled 10 minutes
.5 oz Willamette Hops (5% AA) boiled 5 minutes
.5 oz Ahtanum Hops (6% AA) boiled 0 minutes
.5 oz Willamette Hops (5% AA) boiled 5 minutes

Yeast: White Labs WLP530 Abbey Ale


You want to make as fermentable a wort as you can so mash your grains at 149°F for 90 minutes. Go ahead, add that extra half hour to your mash to ensure you’re getting all those starches converted.  After that is over, collect 7.5 gallons of wort and and boil for 90 minutes.  Yes, this beer will take a bit longer to brew but that’s ok.  Use a timer and toss the hops in following the times in the recipe.  At the end of the 90 minutes, turn off your burner and chill the wort to 66° F and aerate. Pitch a large amount of yeast and ferment between 66° and 72° F for three weeks. Check to make sure you have met your target final or terminal gravity. Bottle or rack as usual.


Original Gravity: 1.066
Terminal Gravity: 1.013
Color: 10.81 °SRM
Bitterness: 54.5 IBUs
Alcohol % of volume: 6.9 %

You’re looking for balance in this beer so it should be a bit tamer than the other IPAs that you have come across.  The yeast flavor will bring an interesting twist to the hop fest you are used to enjoying.

Down Under IPA

My collection of Australian and New Zealand hops is to the point where I need to brew something or it’s going to start to look like that I am building a museum for these varieties in my fridge.

I started to examine the hop profiles and began to put a plan together to hopefully meld all the flavors from each hop into a pleasing blend. Without real brewing experience with any of these hops, any plan I put together will only be theoretical.

So this India pale ale will be using hop varieties from AU and NZ to support the flavor and aroma of this beer. We’re going to be using a large amount of hops, or at least compared to the typical amounts that I use when I brew.

So let’s get into it. Let’s turn the malt up a bit so we can have a good delivery system for the hops.

Down Under IPA All Grain Recipe

Boil size: 7 gallons
Final batch size: 5.5 gallons
Volume for fermentation: 5 gallons


13.0 lbs. American 2 Row Malt
1.50 lbs. Pilsner Malt
.5 lbs Caramel Malt 60°L
0.75 oz Warrior hop pellets (16% AA) boiled 60 minutes
1 oz Pacific Jade hop pellets (13% AA) boiled 10 minutes
1 oz AU Topaz hop pellets (12.5% AA) boiled 0 minutes
1 oz Nelson Sauvin hop pellets (11.5% AA) boiled 0 minutes
1 oz Galaxy hop pellets (13% AA) dry hopping
Yeast: White Labs WLP001 California Ale


Mash grains at 149°F for 60 minutes. You can extend the duration of the mash to 90 minutes if you feel like you haven’t gotten full starch conversion after an hour. Start the boil with 7 gallons of wort and add the hops when indicated. After the boil, chill the wort to 67° F and aerate it well. Pitch a mighty amount of yeast and ferment at 67° F for two weeks. Rack to a secondary vessel and add half of the Galaxy hops to the beer. After three days, add the second half of the Galaxy hops. Bottle or rack as usual.


Original Gravity: 1.069
Terminal Gravity: 1.014
Color: 10.69 °SRM
Bitterness: 58.0 IBUs
Alcohol % of volume: 7.2 %

I have read a few tips on dry hopping IPA with a couple of charges. I have dry hopped in the past and have had good success in getting aroma out of the finished beer. I am looking to get some clean bittering from the Warrior hops to support the herbal, spiciness from the Pacific Jade, and fruitiness from the Topaz, Nelson Sauvin, and Galaxy.

Red IPA Recipe

Brew Your Own magazine has an article in the latest issue about different sub-styles of IPAs.  The big one being black IPAs where I think there are a good number of commercial examples available.  The one variation that caught my imagination was the Red IPA. I like the idea of having a red ale with a smooth hop burst balanced with a soft, malty foundation.

The challenges I found with formulating this recipe was finding the right specialty malts to get the red color (we’ve written about this issue before) and determining the right balance of crystal malts so the beer didn’t end up too sweet and detracted from the hoppiness.

I kept the crystal malts to a minimum, only adding one caramel malt.  I am unsure if this is enough or not, but I am betting the Munich malt I put in the recipe will help with some of the perceived maltiness.

As an insurance policy, I added some sugar to the recipe to help dry the beer out.  Again, I don’t if it is necessary but I am trying a few things to strike the right balance.

The hop schedule is where the real magic is.  I picked non-piney varieties to blend well with the light caramel flavors.  Here is my Red IPA recipe:

Boil size: 7 gallons
Final batch size: 5.5 gallons
Volume for fermentation: 5 gallons


11 lbs American 2-row
0.5 lbs Crystal Malt 90°L
3 oz De-Bittered Black Malt
0.5 lbs Munich 10°L Malt
0.5 lbs White Table Sugar
0.75 oz Warrior Hop Pellets (16.00 %AA) boiled 60 mins.
0.5 oz Nelson Sauvin Hop Pellets (14.00 %AA) boiled 10 mins.
0.5 oz Citra Hop Pellets (12.00 %AA) boiled 1 mins.
Yeast: White Labs WLP001 California Ale
1 oz Nelson Sauvin Hop Pellets (14.00 %AA) dry hopped
1 oz Citra Hop Pellets (12.00 %AA) boiled dry hopped


Mash the grains at 152° F for an hour. Sparge until you have 7 gallons of wort for the boil. Boil for 60 minutes and add the hops when indicated in the ingredient list. The table sugar can be added with 15 minutes to go.
Cool the wort to 70° F and ferment for 2 weeks at that temperature. Rack the beer to a clean and sanitized carboy and add the remainder of the hops. Dry hop for a week. Bottle or keg as usual.


Original Gravity: 1.058
Terminal Gravity: 1.012
Color: 17.35° SRM
Bitterness: 63.0 IBUs
Alcohol % by volume: 6.0 %

If you are looking for a new look, different take on an IPA, take this recipe for a spin and let me know what you think.

Brew on!