Table Golden Ale

So, its been a couple of weeks since my last brewday, and the kegs are running a little low as I’ve managed to find some time in my busy schedule to visit the shed on a couple of occasions for a pint or 2 and a video chat with friends and relatives. As such, its time for something a little different…

I’ve been loving lower ABV beers recently, something I can sit and have 3 or 4 pints of and not feel like I’ve been on a session. Todays recipe is as below….

If you listen to the podcast, you’ll know that I’ve moved back to a very simple BIAB setup for my brewing, and I’ve found that with a few stirs I can hit 70% efficiency easily, a value I’m very happy and content with. I’ve been wanting to use up my leaf hops so this is an opportunity to do just that with this brew.

Lets hope that everything comes together and the wife drags herself out of her pit early enough for me to do this brew before the weather closes in and it ends up not happening.

So, first update, I’m out of Jester, so that’s gotta be changed and I’m also low on First Gold so they are gonna be saved for a Boondoggle Clone later on this month. I’m gonna use Challenger to bitter and then use up my Olicana leaf hops. In the meantime here’s a picture of my brew buddy helping me just after mash in lol

Ozzy about to Mash in, love my little brew buddy!
The brewing setup…

What are they?

A closed transfer is a transfer of beer from the fermenter (primary or secondary) to the serving or aging vessel via a closed circuit avoiding oxygen during the transfer. Closed transfers are used as oxygenated beer isnt nice. It takes on an overly sweet and darker character which isnt great in all beers.

My closed transfer system is pretty standard, check the video below.

Apologies for the poor camera work, but you’ll get the idea.

One important thing to remember when using this system is to monitor the volume transferred, especially if using the spunding valve, as they really don’t like having liquid in them. With a standard Cornelius keg, I tend to stop after 18.5L to be safe, but if you get one of the newer valves from kegland, they can be used for liquid or gas, so if you mess up its not the end of the world, a quick rinse and you should be good.

Lemme know any comments below, any tips to improve or anything you think I could do differently.

So December just gone myself and the (much) better half celebrated our first wedding anniversary and being the romantic sort I decided to spend half the day hiding in the shed brewing! Not to worry I’m not a complete bastard she was at work during this time and the beer being brewed was her favourite style, a Hefeweizen, so it actually was a romantic gesture! Anyway my aim was a fairly traditional hefe with a slight twist in the form of some Summer hops from Australia to add a little fruity lift to the aroma and flavour. Summer seemed like a good option as they are quite mild compared to more pungent new world hops like Galaxy or Nelson and also have Noble heritage being a derivative of Czech Saaz so in theory would work well blended with the more traditional Tettnang hops that I was using without overpowering them and turning it into an American Wheat.

I like my wheat beers to have a decent body to them so in the grain bill I used some Pale Ale Malt, Munich and a dash of Melanoidin in addition to roughly 50% Pale Wheat, this also helped bring the colour up to a slightly more golden yellow hue. Yeast was an easy choice with the Mangrove Jacks M20 being my go to, I haven’t tried many different hefe yeasts and would like to explore the liquid options but out of the dry ones I have used this one has never failed me so in it went. The finished beer came out really well and the wife is happily ploughing through it! I also got some good feedback from Chris whose review I have included below (just incase you’re not convinced by Mrs Dudes endorsement!). So heres the full recipe and video…

Anniversary Wheat (Summer Hefeweizen)

Batch size: 20 Litres
Brewhouse efficiency: 78%
OG: 1.056
FG: 1.015
IBUs: 21
EBC: 11
ABV: 5.4%


2.25 kg Pale Wheat Malt
1.74 kg Pale Ale Malt
0.47 kg Munich Malt
0.15 kg Melanoidin


15g Tettnang FWH
15g Summer at 30 minutes
25g Summer at 5 minutes
10g Tettnang at 5 minutes


Mangrove Jacks M20

Mash at 66c

Ferment at 24c

A few months back I was kindly sent a sample of Vermont Ale yeast by a fellow brewer (Cheers Timmi!) and was keen to try it in a big hoppy ale. For those that aren’t familiar with this yeast it is reputed to be the yeast strain used in ‘Heady Topper’ one of the commercial American beers that helped start the trend for juicy hazy New England IPAs (NEIPAs), now I am not particularly excited by this style of beer for various reasons but I am excited about yeast strains that enhance the fruity flavours from hops and bring their own specific flavour profiles and from what I had heard about Vermont it is a real ‘character’ yeast in this sense.

So I decided to try it in pretty simple Pale Ale recipe with a big dose of Mosaic hops, their big tropical flavours and aroma seemed a natural fit for the Vermont not to mention the fact that they are featured heavily in many NEIPA recipes that use this yeast. I wasn’t interested in trying to create haze or anything like that so steered clear of any use of wheat or oats and started with a pretty standard mix of pale malt and crystals totalling about 7% of the grist. I had read that Vermont likes a bit of sugar in the grist to help it attenuate fully so I added a small amount of Dextrose and finally on a bit of a whim decided to chuck in a little Biscuit Malt to hopefully add a bit of depth to the malt bill so it might have some chance of being noticed underneath the big flavour of Mosaic. The final recipe came out as follows, as you may have noticed it also includes some Falconers Flight in the dry hop, this wasn’t originally in the recipe but when I weighed out the dry hops I realised some of the Mosaic I thought I had was AWOL so I subbed in some FF. This was a quick experimental brew so I was also using the 30 minute mash and boil method so I could get the batch done quickly.

Batch size: 10 Litres (Stovetop BIAB 30/30 Method)
Brewhouse efficiency: 70%
OG: 1.052
FG: 1.009
IBUs: 37
EBC: 14.6
ABV: 5.8%


2 kg Pale Malt
0.1 kg Biscuit Malt
0.1 kg CaraHell
0.06 kg Crystal 60L

0.08 kg Dextrose (Added at 10 minute in boil)


5g Apollo at 30 minutes
10g Mosaic at 10 minutes
15g Mosaic at 5 minutes
15g Mosaic at 0 minutes

20g Falconers Flight Dry Hop 3 days
17g Mosaic Dry Hop 3 days


Vermont Ale

Mash at 67c

Ferment at 20c

The result well it is probably one of the best beers I have made, hop flavour and aroma was fruitier than anything I have done before and the Mosaic was absolutely screaming out of the glass! Now Mosaic will make a great pale ale with most yeasts but the Vermont compliments it so well and really brought out the Mango character in this hop, the yeast has a lovely soft fruity ester character which really emphasises the ‘juicy’ qualities of a hop like Mosaic, I’m looking forward to using it with other ‘tropical’ hops like Galaxy etc. Vermont is definitely a unique strain and in my opinion you cant really substitute it and get a similar result, I highly recommend you try it out.

So during our post Christmas discussions of what 2018 held for our respective brewing myself, Chris and Jamie all agreed that it was time to stop dicking about with extravagant recipes and crazy experiments (mostly anyway!) and to try and nail down some rock solid house recipes. While we have all knocked out some great brews I think the general consensus was that we wanted to try and establish some baseline recipes and lock down our processes so that consistency and repeatability can become more than just an abstract concept when it comes to our brewing!

I know from my own experience recently that trying to repeat brews and get the same result or even just a similar result is bloody hard which isn’t much of a concern when you are brewing something new almost every time but what about when you get a beer just where you want it and would like to brew it again? This is where the idea for the ‘house’ recipes came from.

So what is it that gets in the way of being able to consistently repeat a brew, well for me at least it probably comes down to the following:

  • Tinkering – In order to develop a recipe you need to change things but if you are changing several things at once it becomes very difficult to keep track of whether you are improving a recipe or not and if so what changes were actually a benefit. I find it very difficult to make minor changes and leave it at that when repeating a brew and will often change several variables at once not always to good effect!
  • Insufficient data – Software like beersmith makes it very easy to keep detailed and extensive notes on all aspects of a brew but do I make use of it, do I fuck! So inevitably many brews where I look back and try and find key information it just isn’t there, probably because I was too pissed at the end of the brew to remember to log it! When I first started all grain brewing I kept loads of written notes on everything and was able to develop my technique and ideas fairly rapidly as a result but once you become comfortable with the process and start relying on software to direct you its easy to neglect recording this information which is really going to be key for repeating brews consistently.
  • Inconsistent process – This follows on from the previous point, did I rehydrate my yeast last time, what temp did I ferment at, what was the actual mash temp versus the target, did I do a hop steep or just chill immediately etc etc. Without the full information you are bound to do things slightly differently and when lots of small changes are added together you can have a very different end result.
  • KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid! Its easy to get carried away with concocting recipes and often I will throw in odds and ends that need using up but this creates very difficult brews to repeat, nobody wants to buy whole bags of grain or hops for tiny additions and the more ingredients you have the more you are at the mercy of variations in the ingredients themselves. This cant be avoided but if you have a hugely complex grain and hop bill it makes it much harder to isolate where these changes are coming from and make considered changes to repeat brews.
  • Yeast – As an ingredient this is already covered by several of the points above BUT a saying that I like to remember is that ‘yeast makes beer, brewers make wort’. The point is even if you use the same yeast, in the same recipe, with the same process if it isn’t delivered in the correct state for fermenting successfully you can have radically different outcomes, especially when using liquid yeast and starters. Yeast health and vitality is not just critical to consistency it is key to making good beer full stop, so all of the above is even more important when it comes to managing yeast and fermentation.

So with all that in mind I started to think about my first ‘house’ recipe, having just done the KBS brew I fancied doing something dark that I wouldn’t have to wait the best part of a year to reach its peak so I settled on a dry stout. I have only brewed 1 dry stout before and that ended up with rye and various other unusual things in it so I went back to a basic recipe and thought about what I wanted from my brew and came up with the following:

First off its 10L, a small enough batch for repeat brews to be less of a chore and not a massive loss if its not a great first effort. A basic stout can be made with just Pale Malt, Flaked Barley and Roast Barley with a single bittering addition for the hops, now as much as I want to keep it fairly simple I also want a bit of depth to the flavour and a grist that balances the roast notes with some smoother flavour and a bit of body. So in addition to the typical trio of stout ingredients I added some pale chocolate malt hopefully to lighten the roast flavour and bring in some nutty coffee notes, munich for a bit of extra body and a bit of aromatic malt to add a touch of malty sweetness. For the hops I chose Northdown as an alternative to the more obvious options like EKG or Fuggles, its woody and berry notes should complement a dark beer well, I also brought in a small 10 minute addition for a bit of hop aroma and flavour late on. Yeast choice was Nottingham (Gervin Ale), a great attenuator with relatively clean character, I didn’t want to complicate the flavour with too much in the way of esters at this stage so this was a pretty easy choice, US05 or similar would also have been a good option.

So that will be the first edition of my house stout, it has been brewed already and is sat in the brewfridge throwing up a krausen as I type this so fingers crossed it will be close to what I had in mind and wont require too much alteration. If it does though I made sure I recorded as much information as possible and will hopefully be better prepared to make considered changes as a result! Updates will follow……Cheers 🙂


This was my take on the Founders KBS clone, it was a mighty long brewday and one of the messiest beers I have done so far but it was a good experience to dip my toe into the Imperial beer pond and hopefully the results will be worth the effort!

My recipe was fairly true to the original on the AHA website but with some substitutions for grain and hops, I also went slightly higher with the target OG at 1.096, in the end it came out at 1.098 but a touch under volume, I could have liquored back to target but I couldn’t be arsed so left it as it was. The wort tasted like a chocolate coffee pudding and was very thick and syrupy, once the bourbon is added this one should be pushing past 10% ABV! Cant wait to try it and to compare the brews from Jamie and Chris

Watch how the brew went here and see me try to give some useful info on brewing big beers as well!

Late last year, the winter nights were drawing in, tastes were moving away from those light, hoppy, BBQ slammer pale ales.  Dark beers enter the fray, winter brewing starts getting planned after 6 months away from brewing due to a nightmare-ish house purchase, then… from the timeless void of space… Beerhawk had a sale… shit.!  Beer tokens were earned from homebrew equipment, extra tokens earned from writing reviews of the aforementioned equipment… lots of beer tokens in the account to be spent on… well, beer obviously.

Much perusal and sampling later, Founder’s KBS makes its way into the glass.  A big, scary, 11%, bourbon barrel-aged, Imperial breakfast stout from probably my favourite brewery; Founder’s Brewing from Grand Rapids, Michigan.  Wow.  This beer is a revelation.  If you have shied away from beers as big as this, then KBS is the beer to change your mind.  Big, smooth chocolate and bitter coffee flavours, with those bourbon notes from the barrels and a boozy, but not burning finish.  This stuff is amazing, how can I copy it?

Luckily, Google came up with loads of information on it and the American Homebrewers Association has a recipe that apparently comes from the brewer himself, a gentleman by the name of Jeremy Kosmicki, result… cheers Jez.!

As always with American Recipes, I never stick to them exactly.  I round quantities up and down to get to the kind of quantities that I use.  After all, who wants to get stuck with 27 grams of Black Malt left or 78 grams of Munich at the end of a brew?  All daft quantities that you’d end up using, just to get rid of them.  So, 458g becomes 500g, 28g becomes 30g and so on.  I also swapped a few ingredients for ones I had in, or could easily get, or just preferred… so I swapped a portion of the roasted grains for some of the debittered/dehusked ones, as I don’t like them too burnt and acrid tasting.  After much titting about, I came up with this:

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This batch was brewed using the 30 minute mash and boil method doing a 10L BIAB on the stovetop. It worked out really well and didn’t have any of the issues that some might expect from cutting time off the mash and boil length, check out the review at the end where I compare this and Jamies brew using the same method.

Batch size: 10 Litres

Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.052
FG: 1.010
IBUs: 39
ABV: 5.6%
EBC: 13.2


2.1 kg Pale Malt
0.14 kg Crystal 40L
0.08 kg CaraPils


10g Challenger at 30 minutes
8g Magnum at 30 minutes
10g Cascade at 10 minutes
30g Cascade at 0 minutes

20g Cascade Dry Hop 5 Days


Crossmyloof US Pale Ale

Mash at 65c

Ferment at 19c