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All About Hops

 

For those interested in a more in depth view or for those who are just starting out in the homebrew world, we wanted to share some background and information on those wonderful, sticky little cones called hops.

Hops are the delicate female flower of the Humulus Lupulus plant, or hop vine. Considered the spice of beer, hops contribute flavor, aroma and bitterness. The bitterness is there to balance beer’s malty sweetness. Without the bitterness you would have a cloying, overly-sweet drink.

The first solid evidence of hops being used was in northern Italy. They also showed up in medieval records (around 800 C.E.) as being used in beer. They seemed to really become popular in Germany and quickly spread to cities around the country. Only a few places in the world have just the right conditions to produce truly delicious hops.

Once dried, hop cones are wither packed “whole” without further processing or formed into pellets. Dried hops are finely ground into smaller pellets and held together by resins. Some people think using whole hops gives a richer flavor over using smaller pellets but that can be a trial and error exercise or just based on your taste. The “whole” hops aren’t very compact and they don’t store as well and only a few varieties are available to homebrewers. The pellets also dissolve into the boil faster, making them the preferred choice for additions at the end of the boil. Whichever type you select, we strongly recommend using fine mesh, nylon Hop Bags to minimize the amount of the leftover hops that enter your fermenter.

Hops are vital to beer and contribute many things. They provide pleasant aromas and bitterness as stated above, but also provide some antibiotic affect against bacteria that can spoil beer. They also contain tannins that are attracted to proteins in the boil, helping clear the wort of unwanted, long-chain proteins. The result of this process is a clearer beer in the end.

Alpha acid is the chemical component in hops that creates bitterness. The higher the alpha percentage the more bitter the hops. But don’t be afraid to use hops with higher AA ratings; simply use less per batch. For example, when added at the beginning of the boil, 2 oz of, say, Northern Brewer hops with a 7.5% AA will yield the same bitterness as 1 oz of Magnum hops with a rating of 15%AA.
Brewers divide hops into three categories:
1. Those used for bittering and bought on the basis of the quantity of alpha acid
2. Premium low-alpha hops used exclusively for aroma
3. Hope that are considered dual-use meaning used for aroma and have moderate alpha levels

For a more advanced look at the types of hops, you can visit here:

 

 

Holiday Beer Brewing and a Festive Brown Ale Recipe

With the holidays approaching, it’s a great opportunity to experiment with a festive beer. Spices, fruits and hop additions can all be combined to brew the perfect holiday ale or lager. It’s important to choose your base beer before moving forward. For a spiced beer, it is often moderately dark and is well hopped to provide warmth and some complex flavoring. In contrast, fruit based winter beers often use a light wheat base and low hop rates so the flavor of the fruit comes through to be properly accented. You really want to choose a beer that complements the other ingredients.

 

Have a goal in mind in terms of what flavoring you are trying to achieve. For example, if you want to brew a beer reflecting flavors of a sugar cookie, you might start with a robust body ale and then add sugar or even a small amount of lactic acid or maple sugar to provide warmth and sweetness. Adding a bit of nutmeg would also help in highlighting the flavor of a cookie.

 

It’s also important to keep things simple and moderate when using adjuncts. Some first-time homebrewers tend to go overboard on the spices and that makes for an overwhelming outcome of taste. You want to accent your beer with these festive flavors without bogging it down.

 

One of the holiday recipes we enjoy comes from the American Homebrewers Association and we’ve included it below. Happy Brewing this holiday season and stay tuned for more seasonal recipes!

 

Christmas Cinderella Double Brown Ale:

Not quite your classic English brown ale, this Christmas Cinderella double comes in at about 6.2% ABV. It has the smooth, sweet caramel malt character of an English-style brown that is perfectly balanced with the flavor and aromatic character of chocolate malt. Wheat, special roast, and Belgian aromatic malts combine to contribute a rich, toasty, biscuit-like aroma and flavor, while the small addition of black malt adds color and assertiveness to balance the higher profile of alcohol.

INGREDIENTS

  • For 6 gallons (23 L)
  • 3 lb. (3 kg) cans EDME Maris Otter malt extract
  • 5 lb. (1.13 kg) Maris Otter pale malt
  • 1 lb. (0.45 kg) 75° L English crystal malt
  • 75 lb. (340 g) wheat malt
  • 5 lb. (225 g) special roast malt
  • 33 lb. (150 g) black patent malt
  • 33 lb. (150 g) Belgian aromatic malt
  • 5 oz. (14 g) English Kent Golding whole hops, 2.5 HBU (60 min.)
  • 1 oz. American Willamette hop pellets, 5 HBU (60 min.)
  • 6 oz. (17 g) American Cascade whole hops, 3 HBU (20 min.)
  • 25 tsp. (1.2 mL) powdered Irish moss (10 min.)
  • 1 oz. (28 g) American Cascade whole hops, 5 HBU (steep after boiling for 3 min.)
  • Wyeast 1275 Thames Valley ale yeast
  • 1 cup (237 mL) corn sugar/glucose (to prime)

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Original Gravity:060–1.064
  • Final Gravity:013–1.017
  • ABV:2%
  • IBU:25
  • SRM:32
  • Boil Time:75 minutes

DIRECTIONS

Use a single-step infusion mash for the 3 3/4 lb. (2.6 kg) of grain. Add 6 quarts (5.7 L) of 172° F (78° C) water to the crushed grain, stir, stabilize, and hold the temperature at 156° F (69° C) for 60 minutes.

After conversion, raise temperature to 167° F (75° C) and sparge with 2.5 gallons (9.5 L) of 170° F (77°C) water. You should have about 3.5 gallons (13.3 L) of sweet wort. Add malt extract, English Kent Golding and Willamette hops, then bring to a full and vigorous boil. Boil for 75 minutes. Ferment between 63 and 65° F (17 to 18° C) for 10 to 14 days. For best results, cellar at 50° F (10° C) for 2 to 5 weeks.

 

 

 

Three Basic Tips for Brewing Beer At Home

Brewing craft beer at home is an enjoyable pastime shared by over a million Americans. Homebrewing not only serves as a fun hobby to enjoy on the side, but it provides you with a tasty beverage to enjoy when the process is over. Even the White House joined in on the homebrewing movement in 2012!

 

Whether you have just started making a beer brew at home and are on the search for some more helpful tips to take your brew to the next level, or you are wanting to start brewing your first batch, we’re going to provide you with a few homebrewing tips today. Brewing delicious beer at home comes with practice and we want to help you as you start your homebrewing journey. Read along to learn a few important tips that will take your homebrewing skills to the next level.

 

Invest In Fresh Ingredients, Especially Malt

You want to make good beer, right? Then you’re going to want to invest in the best ingredients possible. Brewing beer requires only a few ingredients, so there’s no reason why you shouldn’t choose quality ones.

 

Malt

Malt, which is grain that is used to make beer, is an especially important ingredient to pay close attention to. Make it a point to find the freshest possible malt extract you can. You don’t want malt that has passed its prime. Avoid brown hop pellets and yeast.

 

Hops

These small, green buds is what provides your beer with those sweet and malty flavors. Selecting fresh hops is going to make a big difference in the taste and aromas of your beer, so make sure you purchase quality hops. Plus, you can store hops in your freezer for about six months for reuse.

 

Water

Without water, you can’t make beer. This ingredient isn’t as important as the others. However, if you are wanting to fine-tune the taste of your brew, you might consider using bottled water instead of tap water. Tap water contains chlorine, which can affect the taste of the beer in the long-run. Ensure a clean taste to your beer by using purified bottled water.

 

Yeast

Yeast is the magic ingredient in the wort that turns into the beer you’ve been dreaming of. There are different kinds of yeast available, depending on which beer you are homebrewing, like ales or lagers. Be mindful of this as your collect your beer brewing ingredients. With fresh ingredients, your beer is going to taste that much better.

 

Chill The Wort

Pouring hot wort into cold water in a fermenter is often the brewing practice of choice to chill the wort down. However, there is a better method for chilling wort that will not compromise the flavor of the final product. Instead of mixing the hot wort with the cold water, place the hot wort in a pile of ice to cool it down. Once the temperature decreases to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, you can transfer it to the cool water in the fermenter. This way of chilling the wort decreases the chance of oxidation, which will produce a tastier beer in the long-run.

 

Stay Clean And Sanitized

While this may seem like a no-brainer, sanitizing your homebrew systems and beer equipment, especially during the wort cooling process, is an important tip for creating a clean tasting, delicious beer. The last thing you want is to contaminate your brews, so be sure to soak the equipment in a no-rinse sanitizer.

 

Hopefully these three simple tips will assist you in your homebrewing endeavors. Focusing on fresh ingredients and sanitizing your equipment, as well as properly chilling the wort, will ensure that your final product is a delectable beer that you and your friends and family will enjoy. Check out our homebrewing systems at Brew Perfect today.

Homebrew Recipe For Postdoc Brewing Demon Star Imperial Stout

In a previous post, we shared a recipe for a milk stout that you can brew at home. Stouts are delicious dark beers made with roasted malt or barley, and if it’s a milk stout, the included milk evens out the hoppiness. The rich chocolate and caramel flavors in stouts make them an excellent beer for sipping on a cold winter’s night. If you tried the Left Hand Brewery milk stout that we posted before and loved it, then you’re going to want to pull out your homebrewing systems and equipment out again because we have another stout recipe for you.

While not a milk stout, this imperial stout is packed with coffee and dark chocolate flavors that you’ll definitely love if you’re a routine morning coffee drinker. With a high alcohol content, 9.8 percent, this is a homebrew you’ll want to drink at home on a chilly evening with friends and family.

This recipe is a clone beer of the Postdoc Brewing Demon Star Imperial Stout from Redmond, Washington. With a rich and malty flavor, due to the black and chocolate hops, and a full and sweet aroma, there’s no doubt that you’re going to love drinking this stout as much as you enjoy homebrewing it. So continue on to find the recipe you’ve been waiting for!

Size of Batch

  • Five gallons/19 liters
  • Original gravity: 1.100
  • ABV: 9.8 percent
  • IBU: 63
  • Boil time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

  • Maris Otter – 14 lb.
  • 120L Crystal – 1.2 lb
  • Roasted barley – 0.6 lb
  • Black malt – 0.6 lb.
  • Chocolate malt – 0.6 lb.
  • 65L Crystal – 0.6 lb.
  • Pale chocolate – 0.3 lb.
  • CTZ, 15.5% a.a. – 38 g. (60 minutes)
  • Willamette, 5.5% a.a. – 28 g. (10 minutes
  • Willamette, 5.5% a.a. – 28 g. (0 minutes)
  • Wyeast 1056

Brewing Directions

  • For 60 minutes, mash at 152° F. The target OG is 1.100.
  • To minimize wort losses in the kettle, use a high-alpha hop or any other bittering addition.
  • At 65° F, pitch yeast, raising the temperature to 67 ° F by the end of the fermentation.

Before you can brew this beer at home, you’re going to want to have the proper equipment and homebrewing systems at the ready. If you are looking for quality homebrew beer equipment, like digital hydrometers, take a look at BrewPerfect and shop today. Happy brewing!

How To Homebrew Hard Cider

When you think of cider, chances are you are thinking of a non-alcoholic apple juice beverage from a farm or farmer’s market that you often drink on crisp fall days in the autumnal seasons. However, the game changes when you put “hard” in front of it. In America, “sweet” cider is considered to be non-alcoholic.  Hard cider is, in fact, fermented and does contains alcohol, and you might not be able to find this kind being sold on the side of the road or at pumpkin patches. That being said, if you are craving a hard cider, you can take to your own devices and brew at home.

If you’ve been wanting to try your hand at homebrewing a hard cider, today’s blog post is for you. We’re going to be sharing the simple steps of making a hard cider and providing directions for brewing it in your own home. The process is simple and easy, so you can get to sipping the hard cider quickly. So set up your homebrewing systems and equipment — shop BrewPerfect for homebrewing hydrometers and more — and get ready to enjoy a delicious and flavorful brew, perfect for a chilly autumn evening.

Step 1: Select Your Juice

You can make a hard cider straight from a nonalcoholic cider, also known as “sweet cider.” So when you select the juice for your alcoholic cider, you’re going to want to find a sweet one. You can either get some from a local cider mill, the farmer’s market, or your own, or you can purchase a sweet cider at the store. If you decide to go the store-bought route, make sure that the cider is free from chemical preservatives, including sodium benzoate or potassium sorbate. This is especially important because these added chemical preservatives will actually kill your yeast, preventing your cider from fermenting. Also, you will want to make sure that whatever sweet cider you get is “cold pasteurized.” Certain pasteurization processes can actually affect the flavor of your cider.

The best way to avoid this is to purchase a sweet, preservative-free cider from a local orchard or farm. If you’re confused about their pasteurization processes, just ask. This way, you’re ensuring the quality of your homebrewed cider, and you’re supporting local farms.

Step 2: Select The Yeast

Yeast is fairly easy to select for brewing ciders at home. Both dry and liquid ciders will work excellently. There are liquid yeast options available specifically for ciders, but dry wine yeasts work just as well and are less expensive.

Optional Step: Make A Starter For Your Cider

You don’t have to do this, but making a starter ensures that your yeast is fermenting correctly and quickly. In order to do this, take your bottle of sweet cider, pour a little bit out, and put one packet of yeast into the bottle. Shake it for a few seconds. If the yeast is proofed (meaning that it is alive), the cider should start bubbling in the bottle within a five or six hours. If this is the case, open the bottle to release the pressure, reseal it, and refrigerate it until a few hours before you start your brew the next day.

Brewing Process

Step 1: Start With A Starter

It’s time to brew! To start, pour the cider (if it is unpasteurized) into a brewing pot and let it simmer over medium heat for about 45 minutes at 185º, but don’t let it boil. This process actually kills the bacteria in the unpasteurized juice. If you want to sidestep this part, you can start by pouring the sweet cider into a plastic bucket and directly pitching the yeast.

If you do choose to simmer the cider over heat initially, you then have the option of adding in 2 pounds of brown sugar or honey. This increases the fermentable sugar, which boosts the alcohol content.

Step 2: Begin The Fermentation Process

Next, you’re going to pour the cider into your sanitized fermentation bucket. Make sure it’s sanitized because you don’t want to spoil the cider. Cool the cider in the bucket until it’s at room temperature. Then you’ll add your yeast, or the starter, if you had made on the day before. Stir the mixture together for about a minute or two before you seal the lid on the bucket and affix the airlock. Store the bucket in room at a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees.

Step 3: Let It Sit

The third step is to let the cider ferment. After a couple of days, you should notice some bubbling. This process takes about two weeks. After the bubbling stops, let the cider sit for another week so the yeast settles.

Step 4: Bottle It Up

It is now time to bottle your hard cider! Once you bottle it, let it sit for an additional two weeks until it is ready to drink. The longer you let it sit, the more still and less fizzy it will be. If you let the hard cider sit for a few months, the flavor will improve, similar to wine.

Step 5: Enjoy!

The last step is to drink the hard cider! You’ve just homebrewed a delicious alcoholic beverage that can be shared with friends and family. The process of brewing a hard cider at home is pretty simple, so you can get started on your next batch whenever you’d like.

We hope you enjoying brewing your own hard cider as much as you’ll enjoy drinking it. If you’re looking for homebrewing systems and equipment, including hydrometers, shop BrewPerfect today. Happy cider drinking!

Homebrew Recipe For Vanilla Cinnamon Mead

Mead is a little different than beer. The sugars in mead come from honey, whereas the sugars in beer come from grain starch. This makes this alcoholic beverage available for those who are gluten-free! That being said, the way to brew mead is fairly similar to all grain home brewing. So today, we’re going to dive right in and provide you with a mead homebrewing recipe, a cloned version of the Vanilla Cinnamon Mead from Prairie Rose Meadery in Fargo, North Dakota. Yes, it sounds as delicious as it sounds. The cinnamon and Madagascar vanilla bean that is incorporated into the recipes makes for a tasty drink you’ll want to sip as you nibble on a sweet dessert.

This recipe comes from The American Homebrewers Association. Read along to learn how to homebrew this mouthwatering beverage in a home microbrewery. And as always, you’re going to need the proper equipment and homebrewing systems to brew at home. So be sure to check out Brew Perfect for quality digital hydrometers for your brewing process.

Size Of Batch

  • Six gallons
  • Original gravity: 1.128
  • ABV: ~14 percent

Mead Homebrewing Ingredients

  • Clover honey – 20 lbs.
  • Water (charcoal filtered) – 3 Gallons
  • Lalvin, 71B-1122 yeast – 2 packages
  • GoFerm – 12.5 grams
  • Fermaid O – 10 grams
  • Fermaid K – 10 grams
  • Diammonium phosphate (DAP) – 6.6 grams
  • One Madagascar vanilla bean
  • Three Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon sticks
  • Fining/clarifying agent

Homebrewing Directions

  • The first step is to heat the three gallons of water to 110° F. At this heat, the honey will mix in well. Add in as much honey as you can in order to reach a gravity of 1.128. Cool the unfermented mead, called “must,” to 67° F.
  • In water heated at 115° F with the 12.5 grams of GoFerm, rehydrate two packages of Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast. Then, you’re going to let this sit for 20 minutes until it becomes foamy. After this, add it into the must — the unfermented mead.
  • The next step is to oxygenate the word. You can do this one of two ways — either by stirring it quickly, or adding O2 for a few minutes so the must becomes foamy.

Now it is time to add in the dry nutrient ingredients. Before you do this, be sure to gently mix the must to get rid of any CO2. Do this every time before you add in a nutrient ingredient.

You add the following dry ingredients based on an hourly schedule. The hours on this schedule are the hours after the yeast was pitched.

  • After 12 hours: Oxygenate the must once more.
  • After 24 hours: Add the Fermaid O — five grams.
  • After 48 hours: Add another five grams of Fermaid O.
  • After 72 hours: Add in the Fermaid K — five grams; and the DAP — 3.3 grams.
  • Watch for the gravity to drop around 1.086. When this has happened, you will add another five grams of Fermaid K and another 3.3 grams of DAP.

You homebrewed mead should be done fermenting in about three weeks. Be sure to check the pH. If it drops below 3.3, add a quarter to a half teaspoon of potassium carbonate. You want to bring the pH up to about 3.45.

After the fermentation is completed, it’s time for the best part — the vanilla and cinnamon! Add in one Madagascar vanilla bean and the three Saigon or Vietnamese cinnamon sticks. Let the vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks sit in there for about a week, and be sure to taste it throughout. Once you find the perfect taste, you can remove the vanilla bean and cinnamon sticks.

The last part of this homebrewing process is to rack it, and you can do this in a carboy. Use a fining agent during this step, as well.

As you can see, the process of homebrewing this Vanilla Cinnamon Mead recipe is simple and requires few pieces of homebrewing systems and equipment. We hope that you can sit back, snack on a delicious treat, and enjoy this semi-sweet beverage.

Be sure to visit Brew Perfect for digital hydrometers and further information on equipment and homebrewing systems if you brew at home. Happy, hoppy brewing!

Homebrew Recipe For Coffee And Cream Stout

As tasty and versatile as stouts are, there’s something about a crisp fall evening that makes you want to sip one. Of course you can drink and homebrew stouts during any time of the year, but the chilliness of the autumnal season makes for the perfect scenario to pull out your homebrewing systems and equipment to make your own stout at home. We’ve already posted a few stout recipes to brew at home, but we’re going to add to our repertoire with this Coffee and Cream Stout recipe found on Brew Your Own. Just as the name implies, this stout is rich and creamy, with coffee and oatmeal flavors. We can already see your mouth watering! So without further ado, read along to find the recipe. Let’s get brewing so we can get to sipping.

Size of Batch

  • Five gallons/19 liters, extract with grains.
  • Original gravity: 1.061
  • Final gravity: 1.016
  • ABV: 5.9 percent
  • IBU: 28
  • Boil time: 60 minutes

Ingredients

  • Amber liquid malt extract – 6 lbs.
  • Dark dry malt extract – 1 lbs.
  • Crystal malt – 0.75 lbs.
  • Kiln coffee malt – 0.25 lbs.
  • Roasted barley – 6 oz.
  • Black malt (black patent) – 6 oz.
  • Chocolate malt – 0.75 lbs.
  • Flaked oats – 1 lbs.
  • Irish moss – ½ tsp.
  • Northern Brewer bittering hops – 5.7 AAU; (0.80 oz. of 7.1 percent alpha acid)
  • Fuggle hops (aroma) – 2.2 AAU;  (0.50 oz. of 4.30 percent alpha acid)
  • White Labs WLP004 Irish Stout yeast
  • Corn sugar for priming – ¾ cups

Directions

  • For half an hour, steep the grains in hot water at 151 °F. Then you’ll drain the tea from the grains into a boiling kettle. Rinse once or twice with hot water.
  • The next step is to add the liquid and dried malt extract into the kettle. Top it up with water and boil.
  • Add in the boiling hops, and boil for 60 minutes. After 45 minutes, add in the Irish moss. After the full hour, turn off the heat, add in the finishing hops.
  • Once this is cooled, you’ll add it to the well-aerated fermenter. Add in some cool water until it reaches 5.25 gallons. Then, pitch the yeast.
  • Once the fermentation is done, which is about one week, you’ll add in the priming sugar.

The last step is to bottle the beer, let it sit for a few weeks, and then this delicious creamy stout will be ready to enjoy! If you are needing quality homebrewing systems and equipment, for your autumnal beer brewing hobby, BrewPerfect has hydrometers for you. Shop today!

What Is The Difference Between Mead And Cider?

Mead and cider can be very similar to one another, and if you are new to the homebrewing field, it is easy to get the two mixed up. And while both mead and cider are different from traditional beer and beer brewing, it is indeed possible to brew at home both cider and mead. You can find a homebrewing recipe for mead here, and a recipe for cider here.

If you are new to brewing at home and are continuing to build up your homebrewing systems and equipment, you’re going to want to continue reading this blog post. Today we’re going to dissect the prominent differences between mead and cider, so that you have a better understanding of the two as you get started in the brewing process. While both beverages can be brewed at home, it’s beneficial to understand how the two are similar and differ, as there is some confusion around this topic. Keep on reading, so you can keep on brewing!

Mead

The easiest way to describe a mead is a mixture between wine and beer. Some meads are similar to wine — semi-sweet and fermented with water and honey. Other meads are more similar to beer. They are fruity and spicy flavored, with hops and grains. Meads can be homebrewed with many different flavors — berry, cinnamon, honey, and much more. The alcohol content of mead is around eight to 20 percent, depending

Dry, semi-dry, or even sweet, meads are a versatile beverage, to say the least. And it might even be the oldest fermented beverage in the world. Dating back to 7000 B.C. and found in the Asian, African, and European regions, the likes of Aristotle and Leo Tolstoy all were familiar with mead. Nowadays, mead is still ever popular. In fact, the number of mead producers in the United States has increased significantly over the past few years, so chances are you aren’t going to have a difficult time finding a delicious mead to sip on when you are out and about.

Cider

Also a fermented beverage, cider differs from mead in the fact that it is made from unfiltered apple juice. The proper term for cider with alcohol is “hard cider,” because you can indeed drink a non-alcoholic cider beverage as well. Think about those spiced apple drinks that become very popular in the autumnal season! Carbonated or not, hard ciders come with a tang and can be either dry or sweet, depending on how it is brewed.

Cider has a much lower alcohol content than that of mead, ranging from 1.2 to 8.5 percent. Outside of the alcohol content, ciders are primarily apple juice, especially if homebrewed or brewed in small batches. Many mass brewed ciders have lots of sugar fillers.

Cider was first introduced to Americans over 1000 years ago, when the English brought the idea and recipes over the ocean. Some believe that hard cider came to be around the 10th century. However, there are some historians who believe that cider was enjoyed as a beverage during Biblical times, but was called a different name. There are close to 400 hard cider makers currently.

As you can see, cider and mead are two very different fermented beverages. Although they are similar in some regards — they can be sweet drinks, for one — they differ in more ways than not. Depending on where you get your research, it looks like mead is the older of the two beverages. Mead also has an overall higher alcohol content, and there is more variety with how it is brewed. Hard cider has a more simple approach since it is almost entirely made of unfiltered apple juice. There is not much versatility with hard cider as there is with mead, although both fermented drinks can be brewed at home.

If you like more variety when it comes to homebrewing, you will love brewing mead. If you love the taste of apple juice and want to get creative with the limited ingredients, cider is a good option to homebrew. However, with the proper homebrewing systems and quality equipment, you can homebrew with cider and mead. For more information about the homebrewing equipment you’ll need, including a digital hydrometer, shop BrewPerfect today.

Homebrew Recipe For An English Dark Mild Ale

If you’ve been following the BrewPerfect blog for the past few months, you’ll know that we love providing our readers with beer recipes that they can easily brew at home. From milk stouts to IPAs to porters to meads, we have all the recipes for different types of beer that you could need. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned homebrewer or you’re just dipping your toes into the hobby — these recipes are meant to be simple, straightforward, and foolproof, so you can get to drinking what you made. That’s the fun part!

Today, we’re going to add to our collection of recipes with this English Dark Mild ale one from Lion Bridge Brewing Co. in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. This is a simple homebrew recipe, so if you want to get to enjoying your delicious ale, then you’re going to appreciate this.

English Dark Mild Ales are what the name implies — a British session beer, mild because of its low hops and alcohol level. You’ll notice flavors of malt and caramel, as well as licorice and malt aromas. Although it is low in hops, mild ales are considered medium-bodied because they have increased dextrin malts. If you’re pairing this homebrew with dinner or a snack, consider doing so with savory foods, like wild game, mushrooms, and cheddar cheese.

Before you start brewing a beer at home, it’s important to have the correct homebrewing systems and equipment assembled. BrewPerfect can help you with that! Take a look at our selection of digital hydrometers for your homebrewing needs.

So without further ado, let’s get into this recipe!

Size Of Batch

  • 10 gallons
  • Original gravity: 1.046
  • Final gravity: 1.014
  • ABV: 4.2 percent
  • IBU: 13
  • Boil Time: 75 minutes
  • Efficiency: 75 percent

English Dark Mild Ale Homebrewing Ingredients

  • Crisp Maris Otter — 8 lbs.
  • Weyermann Munich Malt — 3 lbs.
  • Weyermann Melanoidin Malt — 1 ½  Lbs.
  • Crisp pale chocolate — 1 ¼ lbs.
  • Rahr white wheat — 1 lb.
  • Crisp amber malt — 1 lb.
  • Crisp C77 — ¾ lbs.
  • Crisp brown malt — ½ lbs.
  • German Magnum hops, 13.3 percent a.a., 60 minutes — 0.5 oz.
  • UK Fuggles hops, 5.5 percent a.a., 10 minutes — 1 oz.
  • UK Fuggles hops, 5.5 percent a.a., whirlpool — 1 oz.
  • White Labs Dusseldorf Alt yeast

Homebrewing Directions

  • The first step to homebrewing this English Dark Mild Ale is to single infusion mash at 154° F for 75 minutes.
  • Following the hop schedule listed above in the ingredients, boil for 75 minutes.
  • Ferment this beer at 68° F until it reaches the final gravity of 1.014.
  • Let sit, bottle, and enjoy!

As you can see, homebrewing this Dark Mild Ale is simple and straightforward. Before you get to brewing at home, make sure you have the homebrewing system and equipment that you need to ensure a successful brew. Shop BrewPerfect for hydrometers and equipment today!

This recipe was taken from the Homebrewers Association.

Lavender-Blackberry Mead Recipe

Mead is a fermented beverage, similar to beer, that is made from fermenting honey and water, and is believed to be one of the oldest alcoholic drinks. This popular alcoholic drink can be flavored with fruits, spices, grains, and hops. That being said, mead has a higher alcohol content that most beers, ranging from eight to 20 percent, so mead is typically drunk in smaller quantities. Carbonated, flavorful, or neither of the two, you have options when homebrewing a mead.

In past blogs, we’ve presented a homebrewing recipe for a vanilla cinnamon mead. The process is fairly straightforward, and all you need is proper equipment and homebrewing systems. The quality of your brew is dependent on the quality of your homebrewing and microbrewery equipment, as you can imagine, so it’s especially important to invest in quality systems and equipment before you try your hand at homebrewing. The type of equipment and hardware you are going to need to brew at home a mead are the following:

  • Non-plastic carboy, preferably glass.
  • A stopper, including a hole for the cap or airlock.
  • An airlock.
  • A funnel.
  • A thermometer.
  • A hydrometer.
  • A stock pot.
  • Something to stir it with. A large spoon not made of wood is preferable.
  • A screen, or even a cheese cloth.
  • For cleaning: a sanitizer, spray bottle, and brush.
  • For bottling: tubing, a clamp, bottles, and caps/corks.

Now that you have the homebrewing system assembled and the proper equipment for brewing, sanitizing, and bottling the mead at the ready, you can get into your recipe. Today we’re going to share a lavender-blackberry mead recipe, found on The Meadist. So, let’s get started!

Specifications

  • Original gravity — 23.5
  • ABV — 12 percent

Mead Brewing Ingredients

  • Raspberry honey — 12 lbs.
  • Yeast Energizer — 2 tbs.
  • Lavender flower tips — ½ oz.
  • Blackberries — nine to 10 pounds (yum!0
  • Yeast — Lalvin 71B-1122

Homebrewing Recipe

  • The first step in this recipe is to boil four gallons of water in a five gallon pot, for five minutes. After it boils, cool the water down to 160 F° using a copper coil chiller.
  • Next, it’s time to mix in the raspberry honey. Stir in the 12 lbs of honey until it dissolves, along with the yeast energizer (two tbs). Cool this solution down to 70 F°.
  • For the next step, you’re going to add the lavender flower tips to make a concentrated solution similar to tea. Let this sit.
  • After this is made, transfer the solution to a five gallon carboy and let it aerate. Then, add in the lavender flower tips into the carboy. Stir it all together before adding in the yeast.
  • The next step is to ferment for about three to four weeks at 70 F°. While this is in the fermentation process, you’re going to put all of the blackberries into another carboy. When the fermentation is done, add it to the new carboy with the blueberries. Then, rack it, and during the second rack, add in another lavender tea concentrate.
  • Let the second rack sit for another three to four weeks. After that, rack it again, and then let it age for about five more months.
  • Once this is done, you can bottle your mead and enjoy it!

This lavender-blueberry mead is a delicious beverage that can be enjoyed year round. Brewing mead is not much different than homebrewing beer, as the main difference is the inclusion of honey in the recipe. Again, with the proper equipment on hand, the brewing process will be made that much easier. Be sure to shop BrewPerfect for digital hydrometers for your homebrewing hobby. Happy brewing!