Blood Orange Hefeweizen

The temperatures are warming up and I am at the next recipe in my “Extreme Brewing” book. Blood Orange Hefeweizen…..perfect timing! My wife was pleased to hear I was making this as well.

This is the recipe I followed, but I made a couple of adjustments throughout the brew process. I will explain them….

Beer 1

The recipe starts out asking for 4 gallons of water. The pot I have tops out at 5 gallons and with the risk of it boiling over, I started off this recipe with 3 1/2 gallons. Once the H20 started to boil, I removed the pot from the heat and added the 6.5 lbs of light liquid wheat extract and stirred thoroughly for about 2 minutes. I then returned the pot to the heat.

The recipe calls for 1/2oz  hop additions in the boil. It said to add Hallertau hops 5 minutes into the boil, but I had 1oz of German Hallertau Blanc left over from a previous batch that needed to be used so I added 1 oz at the 5 minute mark. I figured since I like hoppy beers, it wouldn’t hurt to add more hops to this hefeweizen. It should not alter the flavor of the beer that much. Here are the hops I used for this batch….

Beer 2

At the 40 minute mark of the boil, I added 1oz of the Saaz hops. There was about a 1/2 hour wait in between adding hops, so I cut, peeled, and removed the white piths from the blood oranges. The white part that is on the skin of the oranges would give the beer a very bitter taste, so I removed it as best I could. The recipe called for 4 blood oranges. I went to Giant to get 4, but they said they were out of them. Supposedly, the blood orange season is in winter, primarily in December. Luckily we had 3 blood oranges at home, so I used them. Here they are cut up….

Beer 4

I then added the oranges/peels to 1 1/2 liters of water and heated on the stove until it reached 160 degrees. I then removed them from the heat and put them into a cheese cloth bag. I would have to add that to the fermenter bucket at the end.

With 15 minutes left in the boil, I added a teaspoon of Irish Moss to the boil. I like to add Irish Moss to every batch of beer. It is supposed to give clarity to the beer, and with all the hops and blood orange/peel sediment, I definitely would need to use it….

Beer 3

With 10 minutes left in the boil, I added 1oz of the regular Hallertau hops that it asked for. Once the hour boil was finished, I stirred the wort clockwise, took it off the burner, and let sit for 10 minutes. I then put the pot in our kitchen sink that was filled with ice. I was able to cool the wort down to about 75 degrees within about a 45 minute time period.

I then transferred the cooled wort to a fermenter bucket. I added the oranges and peels in the cheese cloth to the wort, and added about 1 1/2 gallon of regular water to the bucket to make it a total of a 5 gallon batch. I added the yeast, stirred and aerated for a few minutes, and took the Starting Gravity reading. It read 1.044, which was a little under the 1.050 that the recipe says it should be. That is due to the 1/2 gallon I left out in the beginning of the boil. Adding the 1 1/2 gallons of pure water at the end also added to the lower S.G. reading.

Either way, I promised my wife this batch should be ready to drink in 1 month. We are looking forward to it!

Dogfish Head Brown Ale

My wife had gotten me a brew book last year for Christmas titled “Extreme Brewing” by Dogfish Head craft brewery owner Sam Calagione. I’m a big fan of Dogfish Head beers, especially their 60 Minute IPA and their Ta Henket Egyptian beer. I thought now was the right time to dive into their first recipe in the book…..A-Z Brown Ale. It is found on page 50 of this book…


He names it A-Z because there are 26 basic steps to making this beer and there are 26 letters in the alphabet. This recipe isn’t nearly as extreme as some of Sam’s other recipes, but could be one of my most “extreme”, or unique beers I’ve made to date. It involves brown sugar, molasses, and maple syrup. Let’s get right to it. The ingredients are as follows. Warning: you have to be drinking to be able to read it…….


I had asked my dad if he was interested in assisting me. He obliged. We first added the ½ lb. of crystal crushed grains to the pot using a filtered grain bag. The recipe says to have 4 ½ gallons of water to the pot. That would be too close to the top of the pot we have, so I had 3 ½ gallons. It will interfere with the O.G. and finished alcohol % once done, but won’t be that far off. We steeped it up and down a few times, much like a tea bag in hot water. Once the temperature got to be 170 degrees, we tossed the grains into the garbage, moved the pot off the burner, and added the 6.6 lbs. of light liquid malt extract. Here is my dad adding the liquid malt extract…


We stirred in the liquid malt, making sure none of it stuck to the bottom. We then covered the pot and put it back on the burner for a few minutes until it came to a boil. At the first 5 minute mark of the boil, we added 1 oz. of Northern Brewer hop pellets and stirred vigorously, making sure there was no boil over. Here’s my dad taking the temperature of the boiling wort. He wanted to see how hot it was, but as he quickly found out with the lack of equipment we had, it was too hot to hold the thermometer in the wort.


30 minutes into the boil, we added 1 lb. of Belgium candy sugar and 1 oz. of Cluster hop pellets.


With 20 minutes left in the boil, we added 1 teaspoon of Irish Moss. This was a recipe where Irish Moss would be needed to clarify the brew. The crushed grains, hops, molasses, and brown sugar would definitely add sediment to this brew. 5 minutes after adding the Irish Moss, we added both the 8 oz. of brown sugar and 8 oz. of molasses. Here I am adding both of these to the wort……


By this time, our house smelled like a brewery and also had a sweet/candy smell to it. With beer, I prefer bitter and hops over sweet, but I am still excited to try this one.

With 10 minutes remaining in the boil, I added the 1 oz. of whole leaf Golding hops(within a filtered bag). They say you can get more hop bitterness, flavor, and aroma out of whole leaf hops as opposed to the hop pellets. I really don’t think there is much of a difference between the two. At least I haven’t noticed a difference in the beers I have made so far. This recipe called for whole leaves, so I followed it. Once the last 10 minutes finished up, I removed the pot from the burner. I am about ready to do just that in the picture below….


The idea is to get the finished wort cooled to around 75-80 degrees as fast as possible. This can take some time. I filled the sink with cold water and ice and let the pot sit in there for about 20 minutes. I then transferred the pot outside, since it was about 35 degrees outside. It is important not to get any dirt or debris in the wort during this time due to risk of contaminating the brew. I covered the lid when I took it outside, but in order to get the wort cooled in a timely manner, I tilted the lid a bit.

About an hour and a half after taking the pot off the burner, it was within the 75-80 degree range. I poured the wort into the fermenting bucket and I took the O.G. reading, which showed 1.062…down from the 1.072 expected for this beer. This was due to me adding 3 ½ gallons of water to the pot, not the 4 ½ gallon recommendation. That’s fine, it won’t mess with the quality at tasting time. I added water to make it a 5 gallon batch. I then pitched the yeast and stirred thoroughly, activated the yeast with all the sugars that had been added to the wort. Within 24 hours, there should be some awesome fermenting action taking place….I can’t wait!

Once the fermenting starts to slow(after 2 or 3 days), we are to add 8 to 10 oz. of maple syrup. That will re-activate the yeast that is still in the bucket with the new sugars of the maple syrup. The book warns the brewer that major fermenting should take place and be prepared for possible bubbling out of the airlock. I can’t wait to see that!

After 2 weeks in the fermenting bucket, I’ll transfer it to a secondary bucket for a week to settle more of the condensation and clarify the beer even more. I’ll then transfer it to a bottling bucket, adding the 5 oz of priming sugar, will bottle the beer, and 1-2 weeks after being in the bottle, should be ready to drink. It’ll be a New Year’s celebratory beer for sure!

It’s cold? It’s Pale Ale brew time!

For some reason, I always get in the beer making mood when the weather turns cold. This brew day was the coldest day of the year with temperatures at a high of 28 degrees. The last time I brewed was this past April. It was my scheduled day off of work this time around, so I thought I’d venture back into it.



I had gotten the ingredients months ago to make a basic pale ale, so everything was in place. The ingredients are as follows:

-6.6 lbs. Golden Light Liquid Malt Extract (LME)- Add at boil

-1.0 lbs.  Plain Light Dry Malt Extract (DME)- Add at boil

-1.0 oz. Citra hops- Add at 60 minutes

-1.0 oz. Tettnang hops- Add at 30 minutes

-1.0 oz. German Mandarina Bavaria- Add at 15 minutes

-1.0 oz. German Hull Melon- Add at 5 minutes

– ¼ oz. Crushed Coriander seeds- Add at 10 minutes

-1 tsp. Gypsum- Add at boil

-1 tsp. Irish Moss- Add at 15 minutes

– 1 pack of Danstar Nottingham yeast

All of these ingredients can be found at a wine and brew product store or can be ordered online. I do all of my shopping at Scotzin Brothers. They have lots of ingredients, equipment, books, etc. for both wine and beer and also normally have a beer on tap they allow you to sample when shopping there. You can visit them at .

I make 5 gallon batches when I brew, which comes out to be roughly fifty 12 ounce bottles, or two cases worth. The recipe starts with me boiling 2 ½ gallons of water in a stainless steel  pot. Once boiling, add the gypsum. Gypsum isn’t really necessary unless you have hard water. We have two filtration systems in our house, and I still use gypsum. They also say it adds bitterness and calcium to the beer. Once adding the gypsum, take the pot off the burner and add the two containers of Golden Light LME, stirring thoroughly.

Adding LME

Adding LME

Turn the stove down to a medium high heat and put pot back on burner. Then add the DME and continue stirring.

Adding DME

Adding DME

Adding hops to a beer is fun. I love the smell of fresh hops so I look forward to this stage in the brewing process. There are 3 stages with the hopping process during the boil. You want to add certain hops during certain times for certain reasons. Adding a hop at the beginning of the boil adds the bitterness. Adding a hop in the middle of the boil adds the flavor. Adding a hop at the end of the boil adds the aroma. During the boil, you want to leave the lid to the pot off!

With this recipe, you first want to add the Citra hops(citrus, tropical) at the beginning stage of the 60 minute boil for bitterness.  BE VERY CAREFUL THAT THE WORT DOESN’T OVERFLOW THE POT! This is why the heat needs to be turned down to medium/high,…to have a controlled boil.

Continue until you reach 30 minutes left in the boil, then add the Tettnang hops (slight spice).

Adding the hops

Adding the hops

Continue the boil with the lid off until you reach the 15 minute mark, then add the German Mandarina Bavaria hops (tangerine, citrus) and then add the Irish Moss. Irish Moss is a clarifying agent. You see the big commercial beers and see how clear of a beer they are. That is because they have expensive filtration and clarifying systems they use. We have Irish Moss. If you smell it, it takes you directly to a pier at the ocean. I can’t explain it any better than that.

With 10 minutes left in the boil, add the crushed coriander seeds. I like a pale ale with a citrus type finish. This was my own added touch.

Adding the crushed coriander

Adding the crushed coriander

At the 5 minute mark, add the German Hull Melon hops (fruit, melon, and strawberry).

Once the 60 minute boil is complete, you want to immediately cool the wort to 70-75 degrees. They sell products to help this process, but I am old-fashioned and can’t really afford the equipment at the moment, so I use ice cubes and freezer packs. Since it was 28 degrees outside, I also stuck it outside. The entire cooling process took about 1 hour.

Ice and freeze packs to cool the wort

Ice and freeze packs to cool the wort

Cooling the wort outside

Cooling the wort outside

Once assured the wort is 70-75 degrees, pour the wort into a 6.5 gallon bucket or carboy. Add the entire packet of Danstar Nottingham dry yeast. They also sell liquid yeast that may or may not start the fermenting process quicker. The yeast combines with the malt/sugar to form alcohol (the hops are strictly for taste and aroma). Stir in the yeast. Don’t be afraid to really mix it well. It will activate the yeast. Once mixed, seal the lid and put the airlock on the top lid.

Carboy ready to ferment

Carboy ready to ferment

You can fill the airlock with water or vodka. The airlock releases carbon dioxide from the beer when fermenting. It doesn’t allow air to get into the fermenter, though. You will know when CO2 is released when bubbles start coming up out of it. See the bubble below…

Airlock- with CO2 bubbles. Let the fermentation begin!

Airlock- with CO2 bubbles. Let the fermentation begin!

With this specific brew, you should see bubbles for roughly 3-4 days. If no bubbles show, mix warm water with more yeast and add to the wort and re-seal. I will let the beer sit in the carboy bucket for 2 weeks, in a darker location where the temperature is between 65-70 degrees. I will then transfer to a bottling bucket, add 2 cups of warm water to 5 ounces of priming sugar and mix into the beer thoroughly. The priming sugar adds the carbonation to the beer over time. I’ll then bottle the beer and let sit for another 2 weeks in a dark, cool spot.

This was a quick walk through. I’m looking forward to tasting this pale ale just in time for Christmas!

Do you brew beer? What’s your favor beer? Any questions about my brief brew process?