All posts by Tony

Euforia (Duclaw Brewing Company) Well, being in Florida we were spared the widespread panic of a blizzard this weekend and we were left with a couple strong thunderstorms and colder weather.  Never fear, 40 degree temps won’t keep me from setting up in the garage for today’s brew.

Today’s recipe is a clone from Duclaw Brewing Company in Maryland called Euforia.  The company lists it as a Toffee Nut Brown Ale with notes of toffee, caramel and almond.  with creativity on the part of this homebrewer, it’s not as sweet as the original, but still maintains the toffee-like notes.

For those who haven’t followed this blog, and don’t want to poke around and read my prior posts, I use a very basic setup consisting of a “re-purposed” half barrel keg for a Hot Liquor Tank (HLT), a 36 quart igloo cooler for a mash tun with a manifold for extracting the wort, and finally, a 15 gallon Bayou Classic kettle.  I have fought many urges to tinker, upgrade, acquire as much gadgetry as possible.  Most of this is due to financial concerns, but hell, this system is easy to clean, it makes good beer, and it’s mine!

As I near the end of the third runnings of my batch sparge, I realize how much I miss this beer from it’s creators.  Living on the Florida Panhandle, the craft beer and brew pub revolution hasn’t really made the scene.

Third runnings are complete and I have 12.7 gallons of sweet wort ready for boiling and hop additions.  This beer is very much too my liking in regards to hops.  There is only one 2oz addition of US Fuggles (AA: 4.5%) at the beginning of the boil.  If I could go the rest of my life without drinking excessive “Murican” IPAs, I would be ok with that.  I won’t put down the style, but it’s just not for me.

Well, time to get this wort boiling and start the cleaning regime that curses all homebrewers.  See you for the taste test!


Until next brew day!


Prarie Doggin' Stout

Chocolate Oatmeal Stout with a roasted mildly bitter profile.

Brew day was a busy affair to say the least.  At some point basic knowledge of one’s own brewing system takes over after a year off from the craft.  With all equipment set up, and grains crushed, it was off to make some delicious chocolate oatmeal stout, which has become to be known as Prairie Doggin’ Stout.

Everything seemed to be running smoothly until checking the original gravity just prior to boiling.  I was using 2-row pale malt that was over a year old, but to my surprise, the wort was a full 12 points below original gravity!  The barley was stored in air-tight containers and seemed to smell and taste just fine.  I’m not one to just dump a batch, so I preceded to move on with the boil and keep the recipe as intended.  A week later, after tearing down the malt mill, it was discovered that over the course of our move, the mill was offset, which in turn didn’t crush the grain properly.

Fast forward to today, and checking final gravity, the beer came out at a beautiful 5.4% ABV.  Apart from a slight increase in bitterness, it still has all the qualities of the intended recipe.  It is now on CO2 and will be ready for consumption within a week or so.

In closing, I may have found an alternative recipe that could lead to a Turtle Head Stout.  It just goes to show that even when a recipe doesn’t seem to hit all the numbers during the brew process, or something seemingly catastrophic takes place, you may find great quality beer on accident.

Until next brew day!


empty kegerator

After a very busy 2015, things have finally settled down around the hacienda.  With the unexpected move, kids’ sports, work, and all other life events that came up, I wasn’t able to devote anytime to brewing at all.  And, since this is a home brewing blog, my activity on this site has been limited to checking for messages and comments and general up keep.

Now that we are in a new year, and life has settled, there is time for making more of the sweet nectar that we all cherish.  I started with a diagnostic check of the equipment to ensure everything was still in working order.  Aside from some minor slow leaks, everything checked out.

My first beer for the new year is a standard winter beer that I have favored over the years.  It’s a Chocolate Oatmeal Stout which I have affectionately name “Prairie Dog Stout”.  Since my brewing throw-together rig is highly portable, the process I use doesn’t change much, if any.  I did take a risk using American Pale 2-Row that has been sealed in buckets for over year knowing my efficiency would suffer.  But, I figured that since the malt passed the smell and taste tests without any alarms that I could compensate and add a couple extra pounds of malt to overcome any losses.  Things went well enough, and as expected, I was a couple points off of my starting gravity.  I decided to go forward with fermentation and, who knows, I may have found a new and interesting flavor profile for a great session stout.

I have some plans in the works for this blog this year mostly with adding more to the DIY section.  Most of my equipment is made on a budget, so researching the best possible practices and keeping costs low is something would like to bring to a wider audience.

Take care and see you on brew day!

So after two short weeks, my first batch of Concussion Red is kegged and on it’s way to carbonated bliss.  I have to say, after some larger than usual samples of the freshly fermented goodness, this beer turned out great.  It’s a little stronger than my normal session beer at 5.8% ABV.  And with winter coming, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Of course, this winter won’t have the usual snow shoveling and random surprise ice skating episodes off the front porch.  But , the thought of a snowless winter is welcoming, and lends itself to hospitable conditions to brew throughout the season.

I have worked a little on this site and updated some long overdue recipes.  You can check out the recipes page and steal whatever you like from there.  If you have any specific questions, you can either leave a comment or email me here at the site.  Most of the recipes are self explanatory and make great use of Beersmith to reduce my coding workload.  In fact, it’s a great program to take all the boring number crunching and thought out of most of the brew process.  If you are like me, and are in it for cheap beer and don’t want to worry about math equations to figure out how much water to mash in, this program is for you.  Of course, if you are into all the science behind brewing, this program will only help you geek out even more.  So all in all, it’s a great program to have.

I thought that may have caught a few peoples attention.  Well as we all know, blumpkins are a year-round favorite, fall is for everything pumpkin.  And with that, my second brew in Florida is my annual running of Blumpkin Pumpkin Ale.  And with this mid-November day sitting at a beautiful sunny 75 degrees, who can argue that this day was meant for making homebrew.

I missed an entry with my last batch of Concussion Red.  But with the move, figuring out my new location, and how things were going to be setup, I didn’t want to get too involved with things outside of the actual brew process.  So with that, I have one brew day under my belt at the new house in Florida, and things went very well and actually turned out to be a little easier than the old house.

As I mentioned before, it’s around mid-November and well within limits of being called shorts weather.  The days of the brew-a-geddon in 20 degree weather may very well be behind me and I’m looking forward to almost all-year round brewing.  The next summer may prove to be too-much, but we’ll see how that goes when we get there.

Now on to the topic for today, my (yes, another version) version of a Pumpkin Ale.  So, for all intents and purposes, I really could care less for the pumpkin aspect of the beer.  Yes, there is pumpkin in it, and yes it does contribute to the flavor, but I am more interested in the pumpkin pie spice associated with the smells and tastes of Fall.  My reason for trying my hand at a pumpkin ale was to reduce the overbearing hops and pumpkin pie spice flavors and smells associated with commercial varieties of this style of beer.  I wanted a good ale with subtle qualities that come through as the beer warms from 50-ish degrees to the end of the glass around room temperature.  My last iteration almost nailed this profile on the mark, and I have increased the spice just a little to accomplish my goal.  I found, for my taste, 4tsp of pumpkin pie spice is the perfect balance to a nice malty stronger ale.

With this 10 gallon recipe, I decided to take a chance with two types of yeast.  This was mostly influenced by the lack of selection at my local homebrew store.  But I figured it would be a nice experiment that won’t affect the overall outcome too much.  Instead of using my usual English Ale (WLP002), I have chosen to ferment the first 5 gallons with European Ale (WLP011).  The attenuation is similar to the english ale strain, but will produce a minimal amount of esters comparatively.  The second experiment will just deviate companies using the London Ale (1028) string from Wyeast.

I guess I can’t go on and on about everything in the beer without mentioning the base of a Pumpkin Ale.  As I mentioned, using pumpkin is just simply a technicality for calling it a pumpkin ale.  But, with the addition of 2 pounds of pumpkin puree, it needs to be mentioned.  With this much puree, there will be a considerable taste associated, and more importantly, more fermentation to add to the already rising alcohol percentage.  I decided to use puree for two reasons.  First, it’s ways easier than digging several pounds of pumpkin guts out of it’s host.  And second, I think it blends into the flavor profile without being too overbearing.  Make sure you get a puree that does not have any spice or added sugar as this could lead to off flavors and higher than normal alcohol production.

All in all, this looks to be a great fall season with a nice warming ale that will leave all happy and a little redder in the cheeks.


Until next brew day,