Category Archives: Beers Brewed

Brewing: Great Fermentations Dark Side Robust Porter


Great Fermentations Dark Side Robust Porter is a rich, roasty and robust traditional English style porter.  It is available in both all grain and extract versions.  The all grain version features Maris Otter for the base malt, a generous amount of brown malt and Simpson’s Medium Crystal and Chocolate Malt.  It receives two charges of Fuggle hops.  Yeast Suggestions are Wyeast #1098 British Ale, Wyeast #1275 Thames Valley, Wyeast #1099 Whitbread Ale, Imperial Yeast A01 House or Safale-04 dry yeast.


“A true English style robust porter, straight out of the pages of history! The Dark Side Robust Porter uses a healthy dose of Brown malt, a malt that porters traditionally used as their base, to add a heavy robust character to the beer. Notes of coffee flow forth in the flavor profile, aided by some chocolate malt and balanced by some crystal malts from the U.K. Add some English Fuggle hops on top, and you’ve got a robust porter that finishes big with a hint of sweetness. Once you go to the dark side, you may never go back!”

Here’s a look at brewing the all grain version of Dark Side Robust Porter…

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Brewing Great Fermentations “Big Little Guy” Session IPA

great fermentations big little guy ipa

Great Fermentations Big Little Guy Session IPA is inspired by Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA.  I brewed the extract version of this recipe.  It features Crystal 20L, Crystal 60L, Dark Wheat Malt, Flaked Oats, 2 Row, and Light Dried Malt Extract.  For hops it features Amarillo, Simcoe and Crystal.  All hops are added at the 15 minute mark or later.

About Session IPAs.  Session IPAs are lower gravity versions (Big LIttle Guy has a projected ABV of under 5%) of IPAs with the same level of hopping.  Great if you love hops and hop flavor but want an easier drinking beer that you can have a couple more of.

This recipe is available in both all grain and extract versions.

cln_img_9787A look at the recipe, excluding the hop additions.  A grain bag is included.cln_img_9793For this one, I left my Blichmann TopTier sitting alone by itself, awkwardly in the corner.  I used my newer KAB4 for this brew.  I did use my Blichmann G2 Kettle.  I’m filling up the brew kettle here.cln_img_9789Here’s a look at the boil hop additions in order.  Crystal, Amarillo, and Simcoe are all joining the festivities.  One once each of Amarillo and Simcoe (not pictured) are used for dry hopping.cln_img_9797Just starting to heat up.cln_img_9798Steeping grains are, well… steeping.  This recipe only calls for a 20 minute boil.  All the hops are late additions, so a full 60 minutes isn’t required.  That time savings offsets the 30 minutes used for steeping grains.  The recipe includes both Oats and 2 Row.  That means this is essentially a mini mash kit.cln_img_9801This is after the steeping/mini mash is done.  I put the grain bag in a strainer to let most of the wort drip off.

cln_img_9805That’s a boil guys!

Brewing this beer was straightforward.  As mentioned previously this has a shortened boil along with a mini mash making this about the same as a regular extract boil.  The mini mash is easy and explained in the directions.  Fermentation calls for the chico strain.  I used US-05.  Yeast options also include WLP01, Wyeast 1056 and… A07 Flagship one of the new Imperial Organic Canned Yeast Strains.cln_img_9851Kegging

cln_img_0248Pouring a Big Little Guy Session IPA from my kegerator.  Pictured: Mashed In Beer Gear Tap Handlescln_img_0263The finished beer in a Spiegelau IPA Glasscln_img_0258A closer look.  After a week or two in the keg, this beer has good clarity.  This picture is with a bit of condensation on the glass.


This is an apt tribute to All Day IPA.  Easy to brew and easy to drink.  Great hop flavor and an easy to drink lower ABV.  This was one of those beers that I was afraid I’d run out of before getting the in-the-glass picture.  This recipe makes a great beer.

Check it out: Big LIttle Guy IPA – Extract and Big LIttle Guy IPA – All Grain

AlsoBrewing “1 Hour” IPABrain Eater Pale Ale | Recipe Kits at Great Fermentations


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Brewing Great Fermentation’s Brain Eater Pale Ale – modeled after Zombie Dust

Zombie Dust Clone

Great Fermentations “Brain Eater” Pale Ale (ExtractAll Grain) is modeled after 3 Floyds Zombie Dust.  It features Citra, Citra, Citra and more… Citra.  Most of those hops come at the end through hop-bursting and as dry hops.  In all Brain Eater uses nearly a half pound of Citra.

Brain Eater Pale Ale
A look at part of the grain bill.  I brewed the all grain version.  That grain bill features 2 row malt, Munich, Crystal 60, Melanoidin and Carapils.  In all it’s a 13.5 lb malt bill.Brain Eater Milled GrainHere’s a closer look at the milled grain.Brain Eater Pale Ale MashI brewed this BIAB style using The Brew Bag.  With that, I heat up the total volume of my strike and sparge water to nearly the mash temp I’m going for, add the grain bill and bring it up the last couple degrees with direct heat, while stirring.All Grain Brain EaterAfter thoroughly mixing the grainBrain Eater Zombie Dust Hop AdditionsHop additions measured out.  From top to bottom – Citra, Citra, Citra, Citra and CitraBoilerMaker G2 Brew KettleA took this kind of a hero-pose photo of the Blichmann G2 boil kettle while waiting for things to come to a boil.  The G2 is a great kettle – check out my review.  Grab one of these at GF when you pick up a Brain Eater kit.  Great Fermentations offers same day shipping (vs longer drop ship from most sources) on most sizes of BoilerMaker kettles.  They also have a full line of Blichmann replacement parts.Brain Eater Zombie Dust Homebrew BoilThe boil is up and going with the first of 5 Citra additions.  A 6th (3 oz) portion of Citra is used for dry hopping.  In all nearly a half lb (7.5 ounces) of Citra is used to make Brain Eater.Chilling Brain Eater Zombie Dust HomebrewNear the end of the boil.  I have my 24″ whisk sitting in the boil kettle to sanitize.  I use this to stir while chilling and to whirlpool after chilling is complete.Kegging HomebrewI fermented Brain Eater Pale Ale for about two weeks including 6 or 7 days of dry hopping.  Here it is getting kegged.Zombie Dust CloneFinished beer

Of Citra, Hop Union says “Strong citrus and tropical tones of grapefruit, melon, lime, gooseberry, passion fruit and lychee”  I don’t know what gooseberry tastes like, but most of the rest of these flavors came through strongly.  After warming up a couple degrees out of my kegerator I get lots of tropical fruit, passion fruit and citrus flavors.  Mild bitterness, a firm malt backbone, but dry and drinkable.  The star of this beer is Citra.  If you like Citra, this recipe is for you.  If you haven’t tried Citra… I think you should.

I can’t get the commercial example, but if it’s close to Brain Eater, Zombie Dust is a delicious beer.

One great thing about Great Fermentations kits is that they offer a rundown of the recipe including step by step directions on the additional information tab of each recipe.

Brain Eater is available in both Extract and All Grain versions.  Both are eligible for GF’s $8.99 Flat Rate Shipping.

Brain Eater Pale Ale All-Grain Kit – $38.99

Brain Eater Pale Ale Extract Kit – $54.99

Related: Recipe Kits at Great Fermentations · Blichmann BoilerMaker Kettle


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Big Little Guy IPA, Inspired by Founder’s All Day IPA

Big Little Guy Session IPA

Big Little Guy Session IPA is available in both Extract and All Grain.  It is a session IPA inspired by Founder’s All Day IPA.

Session IPAs are generally lower gravity beers that are hopped to the same level as a typical IPA.  I’m particularly fond of All Day IPA and I thought it would be great to brew something similar as nicer weather has arrived in my area.  The extract version of this beer is on the docket!

Description: “Inspired by Founder’s All Day IPA, Big Little Guy has all the hop flavor of a big IPA, with the low alcohol and smoothness of a session beer. With a short 20 minute boil and loads of pine and citrus notes from Amarillo, Simcoe and Crystal hops, this beer is a breeze to make!”

Features – Pale Malt, Crystal 20L and 60L, Dark wheat malt, flaked oats along wit Amarillo, Simcoe and Crystal Hops.

Check it out: Extract and All Grain

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Juno Choi’s Patagonia IPA + Two Brew Day Pictures

patagoniaipaMash on the left (BIAB) – Close up of the Grain Bill on the right

I recently brewed a Patagonia IPA/Amber that I had a chance to try at NHC this past summer.  The recipe is below with thanks to homebrewing legend Juno Choi  I got my first taste of the finished product last night.  Delicious.  The roastiness provided by the Patagonia Malts melds seamlessly with the hops.  The finished beer is a beautiful dark amber color.

One of the homebrews that stood out to me while attending the National Homebrewer’s Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan was an IPA that was served by Brewer’s Supply Group (BSG) at their booth at the Conference.  It was… delicious.  Roasty, great hop character and easy to drink.  I swung by for two samples and shortly returned… for a third and it was gone.  After the conference, I got a hold of BSG to ask about the beer.  I learned that it was formulated and brewed by Juno Choi.  Juno kindly shared the recipe with me and I’d like to share it with you.  Thank you Juno!

The recipe features 100% Patagonia Malts from Chile.  Those were new to me and I think relatively new to the homebrew market here in the US, because… I had a very difficult time sourcing the grain for this recipe.  After looking around a bit, I contacted Bryan at Great Fermentations.  They already carried Patagonia, just not not all three varieties that this recipe calls for.  Bryan kindly sourced the remaining grains and has stocked them at Great Fermentations.  Thank you so much Bryan!

Grab the recipe: Juno Choi’s Patagonia IPA

Bundles With: $8.99 Flat Rate Shipping

RelatedExpert Q and A – Juno Choi from BSG HandCraft


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Brewing “1 Hour” IPA – from grain to glass


Great Fermentations has a number of great Recipe Kit Offerings.  Included in the bunch is their continuously hopped “1 Hour IPA”.  I was excited to see that as I am a huge fan of Dogfish Head’s 60 Minute IPA and generally cannot get that beer where I live.  The recipe features Simpsons Crystal Malt, Carapils, Amber Malt and Warrior, Amarillo and Simcoe Hops.  It’s available in both all grain and extract versions.  Here’s a overview of the beer from grain to glass.

cln_img_2660Taking the temperature of the recently crushed malt bill.

cln_img_2770I brewed this beer BIAB style.  Here’s a look at the mash.

cln_img_2778Stirring to get everything mixed up well.

cln_img_2785The mash is settling in at around 152 deg F.

cln_img_2827Here we are at the end of the mash.  If you take a look at the thermometer on my BoilerMaker G1 kettle (GF has a great deal on some slight cosmetic damage G1s right now) you’ll notice I’m up in the 170 deg F range doing a direct fired mash out.  That’s one of the dandy parts about BIAB.  Easy step mashes and mash outs.

cln_img_3050Hey that’s wort!!

cln_img_3061This recipe features 5 total kettle hop editions.  A 60 minute Warrior bittering addition starts it off followed by 4 Amarillo/Simcoe blend additions.  Those start at 15 minutes and happen every 5 minutes up until and including knock out.  There is one dry hop addition of the hop blend.

cln_img_3102After an early hop addition

cln_img_3143After a late hop addition

cln_img_4323It’s kegging time.  Beautiful clear beer going into one of my kegs.

cln_img_5312The finished product.  Of course, in a Spiegelau IPA Glass.

I wish that I could have done a side by side comparison of 60 minute vs 1 hour.  I did some searching, even out of state, and didn’t come up with any.

This beer, much like 60 minute, is a tasty and drinkable IPA.  IBU and alcohol-wise it’s on the lighter end of the scale for current push-the-limit American IPAs (that I also enjoy).  The keg went quickly, I almost did not get the finished in-the-glass picture at the end.  I think this was the second to last pint.  I enjoyed it very much and the speed at which the keg was depleted is a testament to that.

The taste that I walk away with, from 60 minute, more than hops is the great nutty, roasty flavor of the British Amber Malts.  I do get that in 1 Hr IPA.  As I said, I like that flavor, so, next time I would add another quarter lb or so.  Not that this beer needs it to be more like 60 minute.  It’s been a while since I’ve had one of those, so I can’t tell you that for certain.  I just like the flavors that that malt adds.

Check it out – All Grain and Extract


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A First Look at M-80 IPA


I received a recent More Beer order yesterday afternoon.  That order included the all grain version of More Beer’s newer M-80 IPA.  That recipe features American Pale Malt, Crystal 15, Columbus for bittering, followed by Simcoe, more Columbus, more Simcoe and a generous dose of Centennial for dry hopping.  I’m using WLP-001.  More Beer’s recipes also come with Priming Sugar, and a Whirlfloc tablet.

The directions call for three medium sizes oranges to be added a couple of days into fermentation.  That’s both the zest and the fruit (discarding as much of the pith as possible).  Sounds delicious to me.

From the beer description: “… Because of the similarity of hops, one MoreBeer! staffer dubbed it a mini “Pliny The Elder... but with orange”. High praise indeed.”

M-80 was designed by fellow homebrewer Carlos Musquez.  Carlos is also a graphic designer and designed matching labels to go along with M-80.

M-80 is available in both All Grain and Extract Versions

Also Consider… All Sale and Clearanc53_1449191776e Items

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