Jeff Longland

Relax, don't worry – have a home brew!

Posts Tagged ‘homebrew

Hoppy American Wheat Ale

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My earliest forays into the world of craft beer were likely American Wheat Ales, followed closely by massively hopped IPAs. Last summer, I decided to brew a wheat ale to bring together the two styles. I wanted something crisp with citrusy hop notes – something to enjoy on a warm, sunny day. Given how much I enjoyed the Amarillo/Citra combo in my Wookey Jack clone and the Summer Golden Ale – it was clearly the right choice for the recipe. As usual, my desire to write about beer isn’t quite as strong as my desire to sit around drinking beer – so I never got around to writing a post about it (though, I do have some great photos of it in a Muskoka Brewery Weizen glass). My brief tasting notes at the time were: “Light. Golden Promise shines through. Bit of Amarillo/Citra fruitiness on finish, slight tartness from wheat. Delightfully easy drinker!

As our “winter” transitioned to spring (this is Vancouver after all), I decided that I needed to revisit the recipe… and add more hops! MOAR HOPS! Drawing upon recipes from Bertus Brewery and The Mad Fermentationist, I substantially increased the hops from last year’s recipe. Similar to last batch, all hop additions are after 15 minutes in the boil – employing yet again, the hop burst technique. As Mike described his beer, this is “a real beer-nerd session beer. Layers of hop flavor in a package you could drink a few of.” Exactly what I wanted and exactly what I got, as scrawled in my notes from the first taste of the beer: “Nailed it with this year’s batch. It just got carb’d and it’s great. More IPA than wheat ale, fine by me!” It lasted a few weeks and was my go-to beer when the sun was shining. This has the makings of an annual beer…

Hoppy American Wheat Ale Recipe

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.00 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.10 US gals
Volume Transferred: 6.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 6.00 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.02 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.045 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.044 SG
Expected OG: 1.052 SG
Actual OG: 1.051
Expected FG: 1.013 SG
Actual FG: 1.010 SG
Expected Efficiency: 60.0 %
Actual Efficiency: 58.1 %
Expected ABV: 5.2 %
Actual ABV: 5.4 %
Expected IBU (using Tinseth): 36.4
Expected Color: 6.5 SRM
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins

Wheat Malt 7.00 lb (48.3 %)
Golden Promise 7.00 lb (48.3 %)
Carastan Malt 0.50 lb (3.4 %)

Amarillo (8.8 % alpha) 28 g Loose Pellet Hops used 15 Min From End
Citra (14.1 % alpha) 28 g Loose Pellet Hops used 15 Min From End
Citra (14.1 % alpha) 113 g Loose Pellet Hops used At turn off
Amarillo (8.8 % alpha) 57 g Loose Pellet Hops used At turn off
Citra (12.5 % alpha) 70 g Loose Pellet Hops used Dry-Hopped
Amarillo (8.8 % alpha) 23 g Loose Pellet Hops used Dry-Hopped

Other Ingredients
Yeast: DCL US-05
Mashed at 67C/152F


Written by jlongland

November 23, 2014 at 11:17 pm

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Summer Golden Ale

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Sitting here in the midst of a west coast winter, thinking about this beer brings memories of summer flooding back. Admittedly, it’s been a very easy winter – hardly any rain and plenty of sunshine. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to summer and reflecting on this beer is a great way to prepare for the summer ahead.

Being a fan of the golden ales brewed by Conrad and Tak at Steamworks (apologies for such a crappy link), I wanted to brew something similar, albeit more citrusy, without becoming an India Session Ale. I kept the malt bill simple and decided to forgo bittering hops in lieu of a hop burst at 10 minutes.

The result was a very quaffable golden ale that I enjoyed through June and July. I was particularly happy with this beer because drinking it back to back with a pro golden ale showed that I can produce something of comparable quality on the homebrew scale. It might seem like a small achievement, but it’s taken a lot of work to get to this point.

I’m going to forgo the usual BJCP-esque tasting notes since I didn’t take any back in the summer. Instead, here are a couple of check-ins from Untappd that will need to do. Rest assured, I’ll be doing another batch of this beer again this summer. Maybe with a touch of Simcoe?




Summer Golden Ale Recipe

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.00 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.10 US gals
Volume Transferred: 6.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 6.00 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.00 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.033 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.036 SG
Expected OG: 1.038 SG
Actual OG: 1.041 SG
Expected FG: 1.009 SG
Actual FG: 1.010 SG
Expected Efficiency: 60.0%
Actual Efficiency: 65.3%
Expected ABV: 3.8%
Actual ABV: 4.1%
Expected IBU: 30
Expected Color: 4.4 SRM
Boil Duration: 60 mins

Gambrinus Pale Malt 10.00 lb – 90.9%
Munich Malt – 1.00 lb – 9.1%

Amarillo (10.4% alpha) 28 g – 10 mins
Citra (14.1% alpha) 28 g – 10 mins

Other Ingredients
Yeast: Wyeast 1056 American Ale
Mashed at 152F

Written by jlongland

February 10, 2014 at 7:31 pm

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2013 Homebrew Tally

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A quick tally of the beers that I brewed in 2013. I’ll admit two batches eventually found their way down the drain, but otherwise it was a pretty successful year for homebrewing. With some volume variations from batch to batch, I brewed approximately 400 litres in total.

Amarillo/Citra/Simcoe Pale Ale – 6.2%
Amarillo/Citra Wheat Ale – 5.2%
Apollo/Cascade Amber Ale – 6.4% (dumped)
American Barleywine Jan 12th – 11.9%
American Barleywine Nov 27th – 9.6%
Blue Dog DIPA – 9.2%
Cascade Fresh Hop Ale – 6.7%
Centennial Pale Ale – 3.6%
Dan’s Strathcona Pale Ale – 6.5%
HBC 342 American Wheat Ale – 5.3%
Historical Porter – 8.2%
Kitchen Sink IPA – 8.2%
Kitchen Sink IPA Redux – 6.9%
Milk Stout – 5.9%
Rye Mild – 3.8% X3
Summer Golden Ale – 4.1%
Vista IPA – 7.7%
Zeus IPA – 5.3% (dumped)

Written by jlongland

January 16, 2014 at 8:11 pm

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Blue Dog IPA: A Blue Dot Clone Attempt

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Continuing to catch-up on brews from earlier this year…

In the summer of 2012, I attended OSCON – which was one of the best conferences that I have ever attended (with the exception of the National Homebrewers Conference). Conveniently, the Portland Convention Center and our hotel were within walking distance of Hair of the Dog Brewing Company. For those of you who aren’t beer geeks, Hair of the Dog is a brewery you’ll find on many beer geeks’ bucket lists – this is evidenced by the high ratings on Beer Advocate.

While there, I got to try to their Blue Dot IPA. It was dank, resinous and citrusy, but not overly bitter. Speaking with the server, he indicated the current recipe was hopped with Amarillo and Simcoe – which explained why I enjoyed it so much. I brought a few bottles home and quickly added it to my list of beers to try to clone on my homebrew rig. Subsequent research suggested that the hop schedule varies with availability, but the key message from brewer Alan Sprints is “I like strong hops, any will do”.

So I put together a recipe and I was ready to go…  until I woke up on brew day and realized I only had 10 pounds of pilsner malt, not the 20 pounds I needed. Given that the closest homebrew shop didn’t open until 11am, I had to improvise and add some pale malt. Given that I had already made one change, I decided to throw in a bit of Cascade to use up what I had in my inventory.

Appearance – Regardless of keg or bottle, fresh or old, this beer had a lot of haze. See the picture if you want to know more about the appearance. Feel free to admire my awesome White Labs stein.

Aroma – Citrus, pine, and a little bit of apple (uh-oh).

Taste  Resinous, dank and some citrus. Some vegetal hop flavours. But as the aroma suggested, there’s green apple flavour – acetaldehyde – which became more pronounced as hop flavour subsided. There’s a bit of spiciness that can be attributed to the rye – it plays well with the Simcoe hops. A bitter finish, perhaps more bitter than I remember Blue Dot being. I get a little bit of alcohol warmth as it goes down my throat.

Mouthfeel  The lower mash temp definitely worked out well. It finishes dry, but still has some body, which can likely be attributed to the rye.

Drinkability/Notes  I was really looking forward to this beer…  and while I enjoyed it fresh, I was let down longer term. Obviously, there’s some acetaldehyde, which I haven’t quite figured out why. Then there’s the vegetal hop flavour from leaving it in-contact with dry hops for an extended period of time. My biggest lesson from this beer is to avoid keg-hopping when the beer will be in contact with hops for more than a week or two. I know plenty of people who put a stainless steel screen on the dip tube in their keg and leave dry hops for the entire duration of the keg…  well, that’s not for me.

Blue Dog IPA Recipe

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.00 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.10 US gals
Volume Transferred: 6.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 6.00 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.00 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.076 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.058 SG
Expected OG: 1.087 SG
Actual OG: 1.078 SG
Expected FG: 1.024 SG
Actual FG: 1.009 SG
Expected Efficiency: 62.0%
Actual Efficiency: 47.5%
Expected ABV: 8.5 %
Actual ABV: 9.2 %
Expected IBU: 140?
Expected Color: 7.0 SRM
Boil Duration: 120.0 mins

Gambrinus ESB Pale Malt 10.25 lb – 44.9%
German Pilsner – 10.00 lb – 43.8%
UK Rye Malt – 2.56 lb – 11.2%

Apollo (18% alpha) 40 g – First wort hopped
Amarillo (9.5% alpha) 57 g – 20 mins
Simcoe (14.1% alpha) 57 g – 20 mins
Cascade (6.2% alpha) 57 g – 10 mins
Amarillo (9.5% alpha) 57 g – 0 mins
Simcoe (14.1% alpha) 85 g – 0 mins
Cascade (6.2% alpha) 57 g – 0 mins
Amarillo (9.5% alpha) 57 g – Dry-hop
Simcoe (14.1% alpha) 57 g – Dry-hop

Other Ingredients
Yeast: Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale
Mashed at 148F

Written by jlongland

December 1, 2013 at 8:05 pm

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Homebrew Milestone: First Place with JLo’s Rye Mild

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Rye MildI am really proud of this beer. It took first place in the English Brown Ale category of the 2013 VanBrewer Awards.  But like every beer, it has a story. To start, this isn’t my recipe and it was actually the first mild I brewed! While it could be written off as a fluke, I think this beer reflects my growth as a brewer.  But more importantly, I think it shows how the homebrewing community has cultivated my passion for this hobby and given me enough knowledge to brew a decent beer, even a style I have never brewed.

The first contributor is VanBrewers – one of the largest homebrew clubs in Canada.  Every month there’s a meeting where folks talk about their beers, equipment, ingredients, process, recipes and more. There’s a good deal of tasting and you can submit beers to be reviewed by BJCP judges. I have gotten a tonne of feedback about my beers and while tasting such a wide-range of styles, I get ideas for my recipes. On the topic of milds, a few guys in the club are very knowledgeable about English ales and specifically milds. This allowed me to try more milds than I could ever access commercially and generally, discover it as a style. Turns out, I quite like milds and I’ve been able to learn a great deal from the English ale ‘experts’.  I always learn something at a VanBrewers meeting – great people and great beers.  I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who wants to get into homebrewing.

The next contributor is the broader homebrewing community, much of it online.  The amount of available knowledge is astounding.  Much of it exists  in forums: HomeBrewTalk, Beer Advocate, Northern Brewer, and Homebrewers Association.  Or in a number of blogs. I most keenly follow: Bertus Brewery, The Mad Fermentationist, The Perfect Pint, and Brew Science.  Lest I forget podcasts: BeerSmith and Basic Brewing. Or magazines: BYO and Zymurgy.  The online community and countless homebrew clubs convene every year at the penultimate gathering for homebrewers: The National Homebrewers Conference (NHC). I still need to write a proper summary of my time at the 2012 conference, but getting back to milds – it was at NHC where I attended Drew Beechum’s session on Brewing On The Ones. One of the recipes that Drew presented was his Rye Mild, of which I was lucky to have a sample.  For a mild it had a great mouthfeel and a touch of caramel-y sweetness, something I’ve found missing in some milds that I’ve tasted.  Drew describes the beer best:

I was going to brew Drew’s recipe, but made a few adjustments: I added a little Briess Blackprinz to darken the beer and add a wee bit of roast flavour.  I also hopped a little more aggressively than the original recipe, which added a stronger earthy spice flavour.  I thought this complimented the spice from the rye nicely.  Small adjustments to a simple recipe.

Instead of my tasting notes, I’ve included notes from the judging sheets (as I said, I’m rather proud of this beer).


  •  Judge A0830 – 2/3 – Great clarity. Rich amber. Thin white head. Low retention.
  • Judge A0969 – 3/3 – Dark coppery colour. Decent head retention. Crystal clear colour. White head.
  • Steward – 3/3 – Super clear, copper amber colour. Ivory coloured head with some retention.


  • Judge A0830 – 8/12 – Fruity, apple like aroma. Light caramel toffee notes (diacetyl?). Low hop character.
  • Judge A0969 – 9/12 – Some caramel coffee toffee notes, hints of fruit with mid subtle hop notes.
  • Steward – 7/12 – Light caramel, chocolate malt aroma. Slight spicy hop background, some fruity esters present.


  • Judge A0830 – 12/20 – Rich crystal flavours and tobacco hop character in support. Balance is slightly bitter (too much for style). Low esters. No acetaldehyde. Finish is roasty and bitter.
  • Judge A0969 – 13/20 – Slight hop bitterness dominates the flavour. Some roasty notes. Would prefer more malts in the balance. Slight metallic notes.
  • Steward – 15/20 – Malty, caramel and chocolate. Some hop bitterness balanced towards bitter, not appropriate to style, but tastes great.


  • Judge A0830 – 4/5 – Mod to mod/low body. Mod-low CO2. Low creaminess. No astringency or alcohol.
  • Judge A0969 – Nice light medium body. Decent carbonation. No slickness. Nice creaminess.
  • Steward – Medium body with low carbonation, some creaminess.

Overall Impression

  • Judge A0830 – 8/10 – Wonderful beer. A bit too bitter for style and balance of the beer. Roast and yeast character is really nice. A touch more CO2 (would be fine as is in a full pint) would balance the creaminess of the already fantastic mouthfeel. Well done!
  • Judge A0969 – 7/10 – The roasted malts have detracted from the sweetness, throwing the hop balance out. Try reducing either the bittering hops or roasted malts.
  • Steward  – 8/10 – Very good beer. Slightly too much hop bitterness for the style. I would drink a lot of this one! Great job!

Rye Mild Recipe

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.00 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.10 US gals
Volume Transferred: 6.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 6.00 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.00 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.038 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.040 SG
Expected OG: 1.044 SG
Actual OG: 1.048 SG
Expected FG: 1.013 SG
Actual FG: 1.019 SG
Expected Efficiency: 60.0%
Actual Efficiency: 62.8%
Expected ABV: 4.0 %
Actual ABV: 3.8 %
Expected IBU: 31
Expected Color: 17.9 SRM
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins

Gambrinus ESB Malt 10.00 lb – 84.2%
UK Rye Malt – 1.50 lb – 12.6%
UK Briess Blackprinz – 0.38 lb – 3.2%

East Kent Goldings (6.1% alpha) 43 g – First wort hopped

Other Ingredients
Yeast: Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale
Mashed at 157F

Written by jlongland

August 13, 2013 at 4:59 pm

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Apollo Pale Ale

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Apollo Pale AleContinuing with my effort to catch-up on recipes and tasting notes. Going back to January 5, 2013 with this beer. I was planning on brewing a barley wine, but rather than making a huge starter, I decided to make a pale ale. For a simple beer that started out as a means to another, bigger, maltier beer – I was shocked by the result. Keeping the recipe simple was definitely the way to go:  Golden Promise + Crystal 70-80 + Apollo + Wyeast 1968 = an easy going pale ale. It was so tasty that I don’t seem to have any tasting notes. I do have 21 checkins on Untappd, thankfully, to inform the tasting notes below.

Appearance – Copper colour and clear, clear, clear!  Between the highly flocculant Wyeast 1968 and my transition to kegs, this beer cleared spectacularly well after ~2 weeks of cold-conditioning.

Aroma – It’s been a few months, but I can still recall the smell of this beer: clean malts, some citrus, and that English ale yeast aroma.

Taste  Slight English esters w/ light, clean bitterness from Apollo hops on finish. Can easily identify the sweetness from the Golden Promise malt.  Malt tastes very fresh.  Hops flavours are earthy, spicy with slight citrus.

Mouthfeel  Light and easy-drinking.  At 4.4% ABV that’s to be expected.  Tasted back-to-back with Powell Street’s Old Jalopy Pale Ale, I found this beer to be much thinner.  The next batch could use a little more mouthfeel.

Drinkability/Notes  Very pleasant English Pale Ale.  I wish I had saved a few bottles to enter in competitions, but it was too tasty and far too tempting when I got home from work in the evening.  A refreshing, low ABV pale ale.  Will definitely brew again, but with some adjustments to get better mouthfeel.

Apollo Pale Ale Recipe

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.00 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.10 US gals
Volume Transferred: 6.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 6.00 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.00 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.045 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.045 SG
Expected OG: 1.051 SG
Actual OG: 1.048 SG
Expected FG: 1.015 SG
Actual FG: 1.015 SG
Expected Efficiency: 65.0%
Actual Efficiency: 65.7%
Expected ABV: 4.7 %
Actual ABV: 4.4 %
Expected IBU: 75
Expected Color: 11.1 SRM
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins

UK Golden Promise 12.00 lb – 92.3%
UK Dark Crystal (70-80L) – 1.00 lb – 7.7%

Apollo (18% alpha) 14 g – First wort hopped
Apollo (18% alpha) 14 g – 15 mins
Apollo (18% alpha) 28 g – 0 mins

Other Ingredients
Yeast: Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale
Mashed at 152F

Written by jlongland

August 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm

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West Coast Amber Ale

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West Coast Amber AleGenerally, I don’t brew much in the summer.  That’s largely because I have no fermentation temperature control and while it isn’t particularly hot in the summer in Vancouver, a few 24C days will create a lot more esters than I like.  So it’s weird that I wanted to brew in early July (2012).  But the weather was great and I was out of homebrew.  A few weeks earlier, I attended the National Homebrewers Conference and sampled some awesome amber ales (not to mention, every other style).  Having never brewed an amber, I figured a good place to start would be the West Coast Blaster in Brewing Classic Styles.  To keep fermentation temperatures in some semblance of control, I used a swamp cooler for the first time.  It worked relatively well and didn’t require much effort, so I may give it a try this summer.  Though, I recently re-purposed my ‘keezer’ as a fermentation chamber and I think I could be convinced to invest in a mini-fridge for fermentation.  The alternate plan is to brew Saisons until cooler weather returns.

The brew day didn’t go particularly well – efficiency was terrible!  It was the first batch where I used my Monster Mill to crush the grains.  I didn’t crush the grains enough and efficiency suffered.  I decided to boil for an extended time, acknowledging that I would undershoot my target volume.  The only problem was that I made the decision after adding the 60 min hops – so they were more like 120 min hops, which made this beer quite bitter.  But it was a gorgeous sunny day, so I didn’t really care at the time.

Fermentation went well.  The swamp cooler kept temperatures around 18 C.   But getting it to carbonate (in bottles) took a long, long time.  There was some carbonation after a month, but it was 3-4 months before it was carbonated to style.  Which worked out in the end, because this beer was far too bitter until it was at least 6 months old.  Age also rounded out a tartness that I noticed in this beer.  Some tasters noticed it, but others didn’t.  I found a message board thread discussing tartness when using Wyeast 1322, but I know that Will from The Perfect Pint uses this yeast regularly and I’ve never seen him mention tartness in his tasting notes.  Personally, I wasn’t a fan of the tartness.  It will be a while before I try this yeast again.

Appearance – Nice and clear, can see through it and read newsprint.  One of the clearest bottle-conditioned beers that I’ve made.  Colour is a nice amber.

Aroma – Light malt aroma, some sweetness and a slight tart smell.

Taste  Toasted malt at start. Tartness, presumably from the yeast, blending into a strong bitterness from the Magnum hops. Light malt sweetness on finish with dryness from the bitter.

Mouthfeel  Kind of thin.  Carbonation has always been a little lacking, it never carbonated quite right.

Drinkability/Notes  I wasn’t fond of this beer until it began to carbonate around 3-4 months.  Even then, I wasn’t a big fan.  But at 8 months, the last bottle of this beer was rather tasty. I felt dumb for having wasted so many bottles in the first 3-4 months.  I’ll definitely brew this beer again, but I think I’ll use a different yeast.

West Coast Amber Ale Recipe

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.00 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.10 US gals
Volume Transferred: 6.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 6.00 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.00 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.057 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.042 SG
Expected OG: 1.066 SG
Actual OG: 1.052 SG
Expected FG: 1.020 SG
Actual FG: 1.014 SG
Expected Efficiency: 70.0%
Actual Efficiency: 51.9%
Expected ABV: 6.2 %
Actual ABV: 5.0 %
Expected IBU: 49.2
Expected Color: 12.2 SRM
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins (but boiled much longer to offset poor mash efficiency)

Maris Otter 12.75 lb – 83.1%
Munich 1.00 l.00 lb – 6.5%
Carastan 1.00 lb – 6.5%
Victory 0.50 lb – 3.3%
Chocolate 0.10 lb – 0.7%

Magnum (14.2% alpha) 28 g – 60 mins
Cascade (6.5% alpha) 28 g – 10 mins
Simcoe (14.1% alpha) 21 g – 10 mins
Cascade (6.5% alpha) 28 g – 0 mins
Simcoe (14.1% alpha) 21 g – 0 mins

Other Ingredients
Yeast: Wyeast 1322 Northwest Ale
Mashed at 152F

Written by jlongland

June 8, 2013 at 2:28 pm

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