Category Archives: Beer

The Daddy of the drinks…

Black Mountain – a seriously big brew

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:

Continue reading Black Mountain – a seriously big brew

30/30 Sierra Nevada Clone Recipe and Review

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

Wacky Kolsch

A pretty standard Kolsch recipe but with Wakatu hops (which isn’t actually all that ‘wacky’ as they are a hallertau variety!). This is a lovely refreshing lager like beer that is perfect served cold on a hot day, being a Kolsch you don’t need to ferment at cold temps either so a much quicker and simpler process than traditional lager methods. It will benefit from a couple of weeks lagering in the bottle/keg though.

Batch size: 20 Litres

Brewhouse efficiency: 82%
OG: 1.047
FG: 1.009
IBUs: 30
ABV: 4.9%
EBC: 7.2


3.2 kg Pilsner Malt
0.4 kg Munich
0.1 kg CaraHell (Caramalt)


30g Wakatu at 60 minutes
30g Wakatu at 5 minutes
10g Tettnang at 5 minutes


Crossmyloof Kolsch

Mash at 65c

Ferment at 17c

This one was reviewed by Rusty Homebrew, check out the video below, he seemed to like it!

Mayday Best Bitter

I brewed this one across the May Day bank holiday weekend and have been very pleased with the result.  The guys have also given me some good feedback on it too, which is always nice.

The plan was to brew an English Bitter, using Jester hops.  I hadn’t brewed many traditional English styles before, so it was nice to brew something new to the repertoire.  I did a bit of reading up at some existing recipes to see what sort of grain bill I would need and was pleased to see that most use a fairly simple one, so I built on based on what I already had in and what I wanted out of the end product.

Continue reading Mayday Best Bitter

English Gold

I made this a few months back as a golden ale for the summer, it was a development of the Olicana recipe I did previously but with a couple of classic English hops thrown in and a slight tweak to the grain bill to add a touch more colour and depth. I also used it as a test recipe for Mangrove Jacks Liberty Bell yeast which performed very well and really helped to bring out the fruity notes in this brew.

Blending the lager and pale malt seems to work really well for keeping the beer light and crisp, I wanted a deeper golden colour than on the previous brew but without excess sweetness from caramel grains so I added a little pale chocolate malt for colour adjustment and to hopefully add some subtle depth to the grist. Hopping was classic English combinations in the boil with Target to bitter and EKG and Challenger for late additions, I decided to dry hop with Olicana to add some extra fruity aromas on the nose.

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A Riwaka Amber Rye experiment…

After jonesing for a brew day for a while, (I look after my little boy a lot of the time as the wife works 12 hour shifts, I dont get to do them often) I managed to have a brew morning yesterday, and after some careful deliberation with my brewing brother HisDudeness, I decided to push the malt envelope (for me anyways) and see if I could deal with the thin body issues Ive been having with recent beers…

Continue reading A Riwaka Amber Rye experiment…