Celebrate Oktoberfest digitally with new homebrew recipes

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making beer

Many places in the US — and abroad — celebrate Oktoberfest this week, bringing brews to thirsty beer lovers around the world. It’s kind of an “International Beer Appreciation Days.”

In view of this, I wanna talk about homebrewing ciders and beers. I know we’ve got brewers in the Homie audience, so let’s talk recipes. Let’s have…a recipe swap!

So tell us, brewers: what beer and cider recipes have done you good? Don’t be afraid to go beyond beer to breads, biscuits, and cakes, too! I’ll consolidate tested recipes in this space so we can all share them easily.

Kisså’s holiday ale:

I buy whole spices and hand-grind them, but you can use pre-ground as well. We call it “Thank Goodness”. My favorite thing about this beer is that it smells like amazing spices, but doesn’t taste overwhelmingly of spices. You’re definitely still drinking a beer.

For a 5 gallon all grain batch:
Malt:

  • 8lbs 2 row
  • 3lbs Munich
  • 1lb 40L Crystal
  • 8oz Vienna
  • 8oz Caramunich I
  • 2oz Carafa II (dehusked)

Mash in 4 gallons of water at 153F

Hops:

  • 1.5 oz. Cluster, added 60 minutes from end of boil
  • .5 oz Ahtanum, added at end of boil

Spice:

  • 6 grams cinnamon 10 minutes from end of boil
  • 2 grams clove at end of boil
  • 3 grams ginger at end of boil
  • 6 grams nutmeg at end of boil

Yeast:

  • US-05 (dry), Wyeast 1056 or White Labs 001

If all goes well you end up with 5.2% (or thereabouts) ABV beer of a copperish/brownish hue. Medium/Full body, flavor balancing to malty with a hint of spice. The spices dominate the aroma.

Amanda’s ginger ale:

  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 4 oz fresh ginger, sliced (I grated mine)
  • 4 1/2 quarts of water ( plus 1/2 quart set aside)
  • 1/8 tsp of brewer’s yeast (I recommend Wyeast, a liquid yeast)
  1. Bring water, sugar, ginger and lemon to a boil in large pot.
  2. Once at a rolling boil cover and let simmer for 25 minutes.
  3. As this is happening, prep your bottles and your bottlecaps (you will need a capper for this as well.)
  4. Remove from heat. Let cool to aprox 70 degrees, then add your yeast. If you need to cool it more quickly I like to add ice cubes.
  5. Once added and stirred, bottle your brew right away and cap it, leaving about 2 inches of air at the top. This will help the yeast to carbonate as it ferments.
  6. Place your bottles in a cool, dark place in your basement for about 10 days, then throw them in the fridge. You must drink them!!! The carbonation process never stops even while it is slowed by the fridge temps…and if you have enough carbonation, you’ll make your bottles burst.
  7. Enjoy a crisp, refreshing drink and the fruits of your labour!

If you take on homebrewing or are already a master brewer, I’d love to hear your stories. Especially as they relate to unusual brewing set-ups, recipes, interesting photos, and maybe some disasters. You know where to submit your story.

Comments on Celebrate Oktoberfest digitally with new homebrew recipes

  1. The mister and I love to homebrew – in fact, we do so nearly every fortnight and enjoy the heck out of our creations.
    Our beers are a grain/malt split derived mainly from “Brewer’s Best” kits which can be found at your local liquor store. These kits range from $25 +, depending on the type of beer you want to brew as well as any additions you choose to purchase. We also go to a local brewery nearby called The Grape and Granary which is our source for products, fresh grains and equipment. If you’re a newbie to brewing, never fear: you seriously can’t fuck anything up. Follow the instructions and feel free to experiment!!! We just brewed our own version of Oktoberfest beer with PLENTY of pumpkin and ginger notes, which we added with pumpkin powder, fresh sliced ginger, etc….the idea is to play and have fun with the process.
    I also have taken to brewing my own sodas, and recently finished my first batch of old fashioned ginger ale. We love to homebrew because we know exactly what’s going into what we are drinking and there’s an extreme amount of satisfaction to giving someone a bottle and saying “Drink that…I made it!!”
    Anywhoo, my recipe for the ginger ale:
    1/2 lemon, sliced
    3/4 cup sugar
    4 oz fresh ginger, sliced (I grated mine)
    4 1/2 quarts of water ( plus 1/2 quart set aside)
    1/8 tsp of brewer’s yeast (I recommend Wyeast, a liquid yeast)

    Bring water, sugar, ginger and lemon to a boil in large pot. Once at a rolling boil cover and let simmer for 25 minutes. As this is happening, prep your bottles and your bottlecaps (you will need a capper for this as well) Remove from heat. Let cool to aprox 70 degrees, then add your yeast. If you need to cool it more quickly I like to add ice cubes. Once added and stirred, bottle your brew right away and cap it, leaving about 2 inches of air at the top. This will help the yeast to carbonate as it ferments. Place your bottles in a cool, dark place in your basement for about 10 days, then throw them in the fridge. You must drink them!!! The carbonation process never stops even while it is slowed by the fridge temps…and if you have enough carbonation, you’ll make your bottles burst. Enjoy a crisp, refreshing drink and the fruits of your labour!

    Hope this helped….sorry it was long.

    • We’re planting some hop rhizomes in the spring. I have some friends who grow their own, and from what I’ve learned through them and my own research, they’re quite hardy. They prefer lots of sunlight, but can deal with less. I’ve read that it’s possible to grow them in containers, but you’ll have shorter vines and they’ll need more care and watering. Once planted, hops can be hard to eradicate because of the way they grow (rhizome) so apparently it’s recommended that every couple of years you dig up the rhizome and trim it to keep it from getting out of hand. I may or may not turn out to be too lazy to do this. My main concern was if we plant them close to the house to train them up the side, they might mess with the foundation. But several folks have assured me that hop rhizomes won’t entangle in a foundation like vines do. Here’s hoping!

      Right now I have four gallon-size zip lock bags of Cascade and Kent Goldings in my freezer that were gifted from a friends and we’re working on a recipe for an IPA using those and the lemon grass my neighbor grows.

      This is one of the books we have in our brewing library that might answer more specific questions for ya.

  2. My mom has this old hippie cookbook. There is a beer recipe in it. The side note says “you can replace hops with marijuana” hahaha

    • I’ve known a couple folks who’ve used that special additive in a beer. Some homebrewers call marijuana “Cousin” because it’s closely related to hops. It’s important to note, however, that smoking hops DOES NOT provide the same sort of pleasant side effects as its cousin. Smoking hops can induce vomiting and other generally unpleasant side effects.

        • Sources (my husband) tell me that you’d need to make some sort of tincture to get the effects, otherwise the THC would dissolve in the boil and you’d be left with an aromatic but very expensive regular beer. There are people out there who know how to do it, but I’m not one of them. One of my favorite Philly beer bloggers has some words on the subject, however: http://www.joesixpack.net/columnArchives/2011/092211.htm

    • Someone makes a “Hempen Ale”. I didn’t think it was that great. Ever try the Brownies?

  3. I’ve been wanting to make beer or wine for YEARS now! Now that my boyfriend is gluten-intolerant, I started looking into hard ciders instead. Anyone made ciders before????? I would love to learn more about that!

  4. Does homebrewing stink up the house? My friend worked in the brewing section of Anheuser-Busch and said that she was completely sick of the smell of hops and yeast in her clothes, hair, car, etc… Does it stink up your house on brew day?

    • I look forward to brew days because of the wonderful smells. I think it’s a bit different when you’re the one choosing the wonderful aromatic grains and floral hops and spices yourself. To me it’s kind of like asking, “Does baking bread stink up your house?” I’d recommend heading to a homebrew store and smelling hops and grains and asking lots of questions. Or if you’re lucky enough to have a brew pup or nano brewery in your area, dropping in for a pint.

      • Good point… I never thought I’d get sick of the smell of coffee, but I did after I worked at the campus coffee shop in college. I’ll check out my local brew options. Thanks!

        • My husband works for a local brewery and I love going there on brew days (which is now everyday – we’re super grateful for their crazy growth!) and I think it smells AWESOME. It reminds be of a horse barn — I can see how some people might not like that. 🙂

  5. We’ve switched from extract brewing to all grain, so most of our recipes have a huge amount of grain leftover. The dogs love to eat the warm mash, but they can’t eat 20 lbs of it (several times a month). I also live in a city apartment, and as much as I’d love to compost it or use it as pig/chicken feed, that’s out of question.
    Anyone have an idea of ways I can use it to make bread or something for people?

    • Google “spent grain bread recipe beer” and you’ll get a bunch of recipes. I think you could probably sub spent grains for part or all of the whole grains in a whole grain bread recipe.

        • That would be awesome! We end up spending a lot of money on dog treats, so making our own with spent grain would save lots of money and waste!

  6. I’d love to see home brew set-ups from people who live in small urban apartments! We have a one bedroom and not a ton of space, but would LOVE to brew our own beer. I was also worried about the smell, so I’m glad somebody beat me to the punch on that question!

    • My brother sometimes brews in his ridiculously tiny studio apartment. He has a utility/storage closet and keeps all his equipment in there!

      The smell is okay – if you’re brewing from extract, it’s practically non-existent, and if you’re brewing from mash, it’s… pungent, but it does dissipate.

    • Turkey frying kits have become rather popular for brewing. They come with the large kettle you need, and also includes a small burner stove which you can use outside (instead of cooking inside) to prevent the smell. My friend told me it brings the 5 gallons to boil in just a few minutes,vs. the time it spends to boil it on the stove, as well.

      The other nice thing is that those kettles, unlike traditional stock type pots, have a spigot on the bottom, which allows you to rack directly into the carboy without using a cane/siphon (which can get messy if you’re clumsy with it like me).

      Haven’t tried it but a friend recommended it to me and here’s a thread about it…
      http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/fantastic-deal-turkey-fryer-boiling-wort-65124/

  7. We have a two bedroom apartment and we bought a kit from http://brooklynbrewshop.com/ which is great! You can buy the mix from them for subsequent brewing ease or you can get stuff from a homebrew shop and do it yourself. The one gallon brew kit is useful for trying stuff out without having too much. Everyone has enjoyed our beer so far.

      • We brew all grain, 5-7 gallon batches. 😉 If you’re not comfy with all-grain, you can easily do 5 gallon extract or partial-mash batches.

  8. My bf is a brewer for DogFish Head and we make copious amounts of mead in our house to the tune of 50+ carboys and 20+ fermentation buckets. We’re always brewing, making, racking, filtering, and bottling. Our chickens love the leftover grain from all-grain brewing and have a tendency to eat any of our grapes that are too close to the ground. 😀

    • That sounds amazing. That’s why I’m looking for a house in unincorporated county space- I need room to expand my brew operation and get a flock of chickens. Chickens aren’t allowed in the town.

      • We only have about an acre but we keep 15 chickens (Light Brahmas and Buff Orpingtons), have a small vineyard of Concord grapes and fox grapes grow along our fence, a batch of black and red raspberries, blackberries, and dewberries, cascade hops along a trellis, 1 bee hive (so far), and a large garden for vegetables and herbs. We’d like some goats but at the moment we aren’t set up for them.It’s a pretty awesome property, our house is 100+ yrs old and we’re in the process of building a purpose built building to start a meadery. 😀

  9. Here’s the recipe for our fall/holiday ale that’s been a hit in the past. It’s got pumpkin pie spices in it, but no pumpkin. I buy whole spices and hand-grind them, but you can use pre-ground as well. We call it “Thank Goodness”. My favorite thing about this beer is that it smells like amazing spices, but doesn’t taste overwhelmingly of spices. You’re definitely still drinking a beer.

    For a 5 gallon all grain batch:

    Malt:

    8lbs 2 row
    3lbs Munich
    1lb 40L Crystal
    8oz Vienna
    8oz Caramunich I
    2oz Carafa II (dehusked)

    Mash in 4 gallons of water at 153F

    Hops:

    1.5 oz. Cluster, added 60 minutes from end of boil
    .5 oz Ahtanum, added at end of boil

    Spice:

    6 grams cinnamon 10 minutes from end of boil
    2 grams clove at end of boil
    3 grams ginger at end of boil
    6 grams nutmeg at end of boil

    Yeast:

    US-05 (dry), Wyeast 1056 or White Labs 001

    If all goes well you end up with 5.2% (or thereabouts) ABV beer of a copperish/brownish hue. Medium/Full body, flavor balancing to malty with a hint of spice. The spices dominate the aroma.

  10. How timely! I just bottled my first beer – it’s a plain lager brewed from an extract we bought at the brew shop down the street, but we’ve all gotta start somewhere.

    My fear is that I’m NEVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO DRINK ALL THIS BEER OMG. I guess I’ll have to have a party or three so my friends can help! 😉

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