Introduction to the Beer Page
There’s nothing quite like brewing in your own back yard… or your friend’s back yard… and then drinking your creation on a hot summer day, or cold winter day, or really on any day for that matter! I owe my brewing knowledge to my friend Cory Clemmons, who having brewed over 300 gallons of beer in his own right knows a thing or two about what he’s doing. I tend to favor his philosophy of “brewology”… which would go something along the lines of “just relax and have fun with it.” That great home brewing classic says it best in its title “The Joy of Brewing” and then throughout the book… relax and have a home brew.
Without doubt, there are numberless pages scattered over the internet dedicated to home brewing and beer recipes. Well, here’s one more. I like making beer and I like drinking it so I thought I’d share some of my favorite recipes online for others to try out or tinker with, and if you decide to brew any of them, give me some feedback.
The recipe will then open in a new browser window in PDF format for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy!
The Garryowen Porter
The Garryowen Porter was inspired from a couple different sources; namely on one trip up to Durango at the end of last summer… I had the privilege of drinking SKA Brewing’s Ten Pin Porter… and I loved it. I loved the “dark beer taste” without the “dark beer heaviness”. So this trip occurred around the end of August 2012, then it took me awhile to spin my wheels on what I wanted to do. I thought at the same time… I need a story for this beer… its gotta come from a good story… something with as many colors as this beer will have flavors. I didn’t want to sell it short. Hence the name, the Garryowen Porter. The Garryowen was originally an Irish folk song before becoming co opted by George Custer and re-made perhaps more famously into the song of the US Seventh Cavalry. The original lyrics and song can be found here.
As soon as I heard the lyrics… I thought… this is great! And so by January I was ready to brew.
This beer is a combination of five different types of grains, three different hop varieties, plums, and raisins. It came out absolutely amazing and accomplished what I’d been hoping for. That is… a porter based on in part British Two Row grain…. resulting in a lighter character but filled with the decadence of dark fruit notes (raisins and plums) in addition to chocolate and caramel elements (the specialty grains). After it was finished, I drank some, but I aged a portion for another three months (hence part of the reason why I’m writing this now as opposed to earlier in the year). Age is an amazing thing… it helped the flavors blend even more and resulted in perfection.
This will now be my flagship winter beer. It has gained good reviews from everyone who has tried some… please find the recipe below and enjoy!
Captain “Hornpipe” Harry’s Rye Hefeweizen
This beer has been a long time in development and has been the product of trial, failure, reformulation, and then fantastic success.
It started late this spring or early summer when I happened to swing by the Blue Corn Brewery here in Santa Fe after work one day and tried their Rye Hefeweizen. I recall it being so fresh… but still being characterized by that unique hefeweizen wheat taste. But the addition of the rye stayed in my mind. Unfortunately, it didn’t seem like that beer was on tap too long and then Santa Fe Brew Company didn’t brew their hef this summer (they made a great one last summer but the rumor mill said they didn’t sell enough of it to do it again.) And there was nothing from Second Street that tickled my fancy. So I decided to undertake creating the perfect hef on my own.
My first attempt was a complete failure. I didn’t take into the account the fact that brewing with American wheat really doesn’t carry the potential alcohol content that American two row (and other grains) do… and also the fact that the wheat really solidifies after the mash and becomes a challenge to sparge. My first version of this beer suffered because I didn’t use enough grain, and I didn’t use the right combination of grains in the right proportions, and finally, I was too impatient while performing the sparge. It ended up tasting a lot like carbonated water in the end. I threw almost the whole batch away. But it was a valuable learning experience.
In the past I’ve been comfortable with brewing with around 10 pounds of grain for a five gallon batch in many cases, but I’ve largely thrown that idea out in favor of using 12 to 16 pounds of grain per five gallons of beer for several reasons… mainly to achieve more tastiness and a higher % ABV (how barbaric of me right?…. bwa hahahahaha!). Now, this retooled hefeweizen is composed of, in largest proportion, American two row grain, then American Wheat, and finally flaked rye (details in the recipe below), for a total of twelve pounds of grain. I made a couple other commitments as well. I did not add any water before, during, or after the boil. My five gallons of wort boiled down to around three by the end of the boil… but in order to maintain maximum quality, I did not add a drop of water. I also took my sweet time performing the sparge. I used a nylon painters sack in the mash-ton and lifted it slightly when needed if the wheat clumped up too badly… but let the sparge take as long as needed in order to get the most sugar from the grain as possible… even if the stream of hot wort was merely a trickle coming from the mash-ton. No hurries.
I also changed the hops around to add more aroma and bitterness to the character of the beer. Finally, I added lemon to the wort to ferment for a full week to add a character of tartness…I call this characteristic “the thirst-quench-ability” factor.
The result? Pure heaven! This beer is a golden colored hefeweizen with a clear fresh rye taste accented with the tartness of lemon and slight bitterness added from the hops used. It is a hot weather thirst quencher. It also stacks up at 9.5% ABV, so it packs a punch in a big way! This beer is loaded with taste and contrasts lame-duck “too clean and boring” hefs that I’ve seen marketed by certain brewers (not in Santa Fe). Its tart, its fresh, and its got wheat… a recipe for success!
The Kaiser’s Finest Winter Brew
I devised this brew for purely selfish reasons. I like to be outside and different functions of my job require me to be outside at different times… including very early in the mornings. This is fine during the summer, but it can get relatively cold in Santa Fe during the winter- and all New Mexicans know that when February and March roll around- so does the wind in a big way! This can make being outside downright cold and miserable. Therefore, I needed a beer to warm my belly up and light a fire in my stomach! And so, behold!… The Kaiser’s Finest Winter Brew is true to the Imperial Stout Style as it is a relatively bitter high alcohol (9.5% ABV last time I made it) heavy warm beer. In addition to its soulful warm qualities, its got a thick foamy head to go along with it… and… if left to age for at least 3 months after fermentation completes… rewards its drinker with several palatable melded flavors… subtly merged together in a warm dark beer. Its magnificent really… my favorite Imperial stout to date.
Cory Clemmon’s Reserve / an evolution of the Previously Brewed Sir Francis Bacon’s Midsummer Night’s Dream
This is my favorite hot weather beer. This is an American Pale Ale which is characterized by a refreshing tart flavor attained from the fermentation of green mangos along with the wort for a full two weeks. It is mildly hopped with Cascade and retains a light, tart, and refreshing demeanor. When I was staining my fence in 90 to 100 degree weather in the sun last summer… I put down an innumerable number of pints of this stuff to keep me cool under the sun. The recipe projects the ABV to be 5.3% but I can tell you it came out at more like 7.5% ABV… so this beer is a little misleading in that its light colored pale ale characteristic may lead the average drinker to think they’re refreshing themselves with a light weight beer… but this pale ale really does have quite a kick. Several of my neighbors were quite surprised by this after they had a pint or two!
The Big Rock Candy Mountain Cherry Red Bitter
This beer was a lot of fun to make. I originally intended it to be a bitter springtime beer… but its such an easy drinker that one could happily drink it any time. It has a deep red color, contains Belgian Candy Sugar to sweeten it up, and is hopped up with Willamette hops- giving it more of a mild woody/ earthy aroma… and not so much the bitter flavor that I once had conceived. Keeping with its “Oregonian” attributes (the Willamette hops), I threw in two cans of Oregon cherry pie filling to ferment with the wort for two weeks before bottling.
The end result was a delightfully aromatic deep red slightly sweetened beer with a big white foamy head. It came out 5.3% ABV so its not too brash or brutish by any means to hand out to the girlfriend’s parents… or something like that if that makes any sense???