29C - Specialty Fruit Beer (Berry Stout)

BJCP Style: 29C - Specialty Fruit Beer

Specialty Fruit is a fruit beer with an alternate sugar. For this one I'm doing molasses in the late boil and a berry blend after primary fermentation is mostly finished. 

Full recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR

  • 2022-5-17: Brewday
  • Malts: Pilsner base, Black barley, c120
  • Other fermentables: Molasses, berry blend (black/blue/straw)
  • Hop: Nugget
  • Yeast: Verdant (London III/Boddington's)
  • OG: 14.2 (pre fruit)
Crystal 120 and Black barley on a pilsner (Weyermann) base 

Heated up for mash

Mash temp

Floor Manager Steve

Rolling boil...

Wort sample

OG higher than expected but still in range for the base American Stout style

Away we go..

2022-5-19 (+2): Berry mix going in

I decided to omit the strawberries. Not what I was going for and they would add extra bulk. Turned out just the blackberries and blueberries were just about what I had intended which was 1kg of berries. 

Bringing to a boil


What was left after straining the seeds and other gunk: 1.1L of fruit puree 

Brought the fermenter volume up to 26L

Really weird doing a refractometer reading on t h i c c c fruit goop but after tasting it's probably pretty close; I was surprised there was not a lot of sweetness, but hopefully the berry goop will add some nice flavor to the final product. 


32B - Specialty Smoked Beer

BJCP Style: 32B - Specialty Smoked Beer

From the style guidelines: A Specialty Smoked Beer is either a smoked beer based on something other than a Classic Style, or any type of smoked beer with additional ingredients (fruits, vegetables, spices) or processes employed that transform the beer into something more unique.

In this case I'm doing the 2nd option: "...smoked beer with additional ingredients..." And to carry the smoky theme one step further I'll be adding smoked peppers to the keg in the form of a tincture. 

The base beer is a British Strong Bitter made with 15% Weyermann Beech smoked barley to which I'll add the pepper juice in the keg/secondary. 

Full Recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR:

  • 2021-12-24: brew day
  • Malts: Maris Otter, Weyermann Beech Smoked, c120
  • Hops: [Nugget] (Centennial)
  • Yeast: London III (Verdant)
  • Other stuff: Smoked Poblano/Serrano/Habanero pepper tincture
  • OG: 14.2°P; FG: 2.8°P; ABV: 6%
  • 2022-1-5 (+12): moved to keg secondary, added pepper tincture
  • 2022-1-6 (+13): tapped
Used up the last of my smoked malt which was about 1kg making up 15% of the grains

I refuse to purchase a hopper extender 

Basic house hops for the base beer: Nugget at FWH and Centennial late boil

Habaneros and Serranos on the smoker. These went for 2hrs at low smoke which is around 71°C (160°F)

Peppers fully smoked

Chilled, cut up and vodka added

Floor Manager Steve and Princess Fussybutt

Mash, boil, chill, yada-yada, here's the wort in the fermenter

2022-1-5 (+12): Keg time and I poured out about 2/3 poblano (decided to make another smoked batch with mild peppers this time to blend - the habanero/serrano mix was a bit too angry) with 1/3 of the hot stuff. This was added to the keg with the beer. 

2022-1-12 (+19): Tapped a few days ago and getting some carbonation and clarity on it. Aroma is peppery with slight bit of smoke. Taste is peppers, smoked malt (not too much!), with a slight burn in the finish. The heat is nice and reminds me that it's a pepper beer, but not so hot to make it unpleasant. 

2022-1-28 (+35): clearing up and getting clean pepper and slight heat in the finish. the sweetness of the base beer is coming through better and doing a nice balancing act. Unfortunately there's almost no smoke flavor and if I did this again I think it would need upwards of 25% smoked malt to come through. 


28A - Brett Beer (Belgian Pale Ale)

BJCP Styles: 28A - Brett Beer, 24B - Belgian Pale Ale (base beer)

When I did the Belgian Pale Ale earlier in this project I had wanted to do a full on Orval clone, or as close as possible, but decided to put off the conditioned on brett part for a later brew. And at the same time knock out the "American Wild" section (even though it's a Belgian style and there's a damn good commercial example but whatever). 

I did this as a double batch. One will go straight to the keezer as a standard Belgian pale ale, and the other will go in a keg with brett yeast for a couple of months. 

I'm keeping the grain bill about the same as last time: pilsner base with a bit of Special B. Though this time I'm adding a touch of chocolate malt for color. 

Yeast is different however, and hopefully not too expressive for the style: Lallemand's Abbaye Ale. I have used this for the entire trappist series and was very happy with the results. 

Then there's the Brettanomyces. For that I'm using White Labs WLP650 and in the description it says: A historic brewery in Belgium uses this yeast in secondary fermentation and bottling to produce the signature flavor of its beer. Wonder what that historic brewery is? I guess we'll never know

Full recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR:

  • Brew day: 2021-11-9
  • Malts: Rahr Premium Pilsner, Special B, Chocolate
  • Hops: [Magnum] (Styrian Goldings)
  • Yeasts: Lallemand Abbaye, WLP650 Brettanomyces bruxellensis
  • OG: 12.2°P, FG: 2.8°P; ABV: 5% (base beer, pre-brett)
  • 2021-11-13 (+4): transferred to keg secondary with brett (Batch 2)
  • 2021-11-20 (+11): base beer to keezer (Batch 1)
  • 2022-1-28 (+80): brett tapped
Chocolate, Pils, Special B 

Floor Manager Steve: stop messing around in here I need DINNER

Mash temp

Recirculating wort in a full mash tun

Brew session beer and Mash Timer Cigar™

Mash complete

Yada-yada, boil/hops/chill and into the fermenter...

OG looking good at 12.2°P

Old packaging, same yeast (old pic). I used the packet for a Belgian Blond ale last week and the yeast cake got split for this double batch. 

Away we go

After a week in primary one of the lucky batches will get to spend a couple of months in a keg with this stuff:

2021-11-13 (+4): Fermentation on these finished fast and final - actually started to get negative pressure in the airlock. FG came out to 1.011/2.8°P which puts the base beer at 5% ABV. Batch 2 was transferred to keg secondary with the brett. 

Just going to park this here for a while...

2021-11-27 (+18): Base beer tapped a week ago (11/20) and is tasting good. It's surprisingly clean for trappist yeast. Still a bit cloudy but shaping up. Brett version is... doing things. It has had airlock activity the whole time. Batch 2/base beer:

Batch 1/brett:

2021-12-15 (+36): Non-brett version cleared up. Tasting clean with slight Belgiany yeast notes. The brett version is consistently bubbling away; there has been constant activity in there according to the airlock. 

2022-1-27 (+79): Very little activity in the airlock so I reassembled the post and grabbed a sample. Big difference in FG: went from 2.8°P to 1.4°P taking the final ABV from 5 to 5.7%. Sample is tasting dry with a little brett character. It certainly has done things in there. With more time it could develop more character I believe but I'm liking where this is now and it's headed for the keezer and conditioning.   

2022-2-8 (+91): Clear and carbed full pour. I have yet to get a bottle of Orval for comparison but it'll happen! This is everything I hoped it could be. The base beer is a great match for the brett "funk." It's very dry with a slight fruity finish and a great drinker. I have no problem doing a full pour - it's delicious!

2022-3-12 (+123): Pretty close to the last pour before the keg kicked. 


30B - Autumn Seasonal: PSB

I've been putting off the Pumpkin Spice Beer (PSB) but now's the time. Chill is in the air, the Halloween gear is showing up in grocery stores and the pumpkins are ripening up. 

This is a British Strong Ale base made with 1L of maple syrup and 1.8kg of pumpkin goop from cans in the boil. Really getting fancy over here. I'll finish it with spices and an oak spiral soaked in bourbon because why not?  

Full recipe is on BrewersFriend but here's the TL;DR

  • 2021-9-29: brew day
  • Malts/Fermentables: Rahr Pils, c60 and 120, maple syrup, pumpkin
  • Hops: [Apollo] (Centennial)
  • Yeast: Verdant IPA (London III) 
  • OG: 14°P; FG: 1.8°P; ABV: 6.5%
  • 2021-10-5 (+6): kegged
  • 2021-10-10 (+11): tapped
I used up the last of 2 bags of c60 and c120. About 250g of 120 and the rest is c60 

Mash complete

Bag out

Floor Manager Steve having some outside time

3g/L (72g) Centennial for the late addition

Pumpkin goop and maple syrup

All combined in a bucket for the late boil

This was actually super tasty!

Brew session beer: Station 26 Fresh Hop Juicy Banger. This is the best time of year. I realize I'm making a pumpkin spice beer but my favorite Fall beers are fresh hopped and German Festbier and Märzen. 

Boil calming down after going a bit bonkers (I got distracted and it went full blast for a bit once it hit temp before I turned down the heat)

All chilled and into the fermenter

Away we go. Starting this with a blowoff because the last batch exploded out the airlock like Ripley's Alien... 

2021-9-30 (+1): Oak spirals and spices added to some bourbon for a fancy tincture

2021-10-5 (+6): kegged with the oak and bourbon, strained out the spices. FG looking like 1.007 or 1.8°P putting this at 6.5% ABV.

2021-10-10 (+11): tapped. still pretty orange and murky. Tasting like it should at this point though lots of spice coming through and a sharp cider character from the pumpkin puree. 

2021-10-19 (+20): Clearing up but still a bit cloudy. The weird cider taste from the pumpkin is all but gone and this is cleaning up nicely. Still spicy but there's some c-malt sweetness coming through to balance. Not the worst pumpkin spice beer I've had... 

2021-11-18 (+51): This came out way better than expected. The spices dropped off a bit, in a good way. The pumpkin actually came through adding body and mouthfeel to an otherwise dry beer. The bourbon and oak provided a subtle background layer. All of these things worked together and I actually found myself saying something I never thought I would: "That's a rather tasty pumpkin spice beer!"