Brewing Burnout

This past summer I experienced something that I never thought I would experience – I did not feel like brewing anymore.

Let’s back up a bit – once the weather warmed up in the spring, I started off brewing 40L batches of brew fairly regularly, stockpiling beer for various upcoming events and some for personal consumption. Fruit beers, wheat beers, cream ales – I think what really happened was that I got away from brewing what I wanted, and started trying to please everyone else, brewing good beer, but lacking some character that I was looking for. By the end of an 8 hour double 80L brew day on July 2, I felt spent and for the first time, brewing felt more like a chore than the fun hobby it was supposed to be. A brewing hiatus was in order.

After a summer away from brewing, I started to get that itch to brew again. Big Spruce had announced their brewing competition, listing three separate styles to choose from, or brew all three – Red IPA, Altbier and a Czech Dark Lager. All three styles were new to me, but each intrigued me enough to decide to get the three of them ready. I brewed 20L of each over a 6 week period, enjoying the process each time. I was happy with two of the three beer, but decided to enter all three anyway – good thing since the beer I wasn’t particularly happy with pleased the judges the most!

I have figured out that the key to my brewing is making small batches of something that I want for myself – sounds selfish, but I do share what I have. Friends and family know where I am and are always welcome to drop by for a pint or a bottle to take away. English bitters, pale ales, IPA’s, Kolsch and Altbier are planned, with an experimental IPA in the works for the upcoming Garrison homebrew competition.

Happy Brewing!


The Fallen Pale Ale

Over the past year or so, I’ve found my taste in beer has changed. Where I used to prefer the English Pale Ales, I now find myself leaning toward its hoppier cousin, American Pale Ale. Welcome The Fallen Pale Ale. A simple combination of 2-row, melanoiden and crystal malts coupled with generous amounts of both Amarillo® and Simcoe® hops.

Brew day was an enjoyable experience, with outdoor temperatures between 5 and 10 degrees Celsius. Mash temperature was slightly lower than my target, but at 148.5 F it was still acceptable.  I did realize that it’s time to re-calibrate my refractometer – readings were 4 to 5 points higher than expected. A hydrometer sample confirmed I was only 2 points high.  Looking forward to tasting this brew in a few weeks.

Recipe: #75 The Fallen Pale Ale
Style: American Pale Ale
Batch Size (fermenter): 40.00 l 
Estimated OG: 1.048 SG
Measured OG:  1.050 SG
Estimated Color: 6.1 SRM
Estimated IBU: 45.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 82.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


7.60 kg  Pale Malt (2 Row)      - 89.8 % 
0.43 kg  Caramel/Crystal Malt   -  5.1 % 
0.43 kg  Melanoiden Malt        -  5.1 % 
25.00 g  Simcoe [11.80 %]       - Boil 60.0 min
15.00 g  Amarillo Gold [8.30 %] - Boil 15.0 min
15.00 g  Simcoe [11.80 %]       - Boil 15.0 min
25.00 g  Amarillo Gold [8.30 %] - Boil  5.0 min 
25.00 g  Simcoe [11.80 %]       - Boil  5.0 min 
50.00 g  Amarillo Gold [8.30 %] - Steep/Whirlpool 
50.00 g  Simcoe [11.80 %]       - Steep/Whirlpool

5.00 g   Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient (Boil 10.0 mins)

Mash 149.0 F 75 min 
Batch Sparge, 168.0 F
Made a slurry with the yeast nutrient and some warm water - 
made it easier to incorporate. Pitched re-hydrated US-05 yeast 
into 68.0 F wort.