Mayfair Court Brewhouse

You want homebrewing? I got your homebrewing right here!

On this page, I am including some of the recipes that have worked well for me over the past 10 years.  All of these recipes are all-grain and include mash information, yeast strain, original & final gravity, IBUs, SRM and ABV numbers.  As they say on, it takes more than a recipe to make a tasty brew.  So take the time to do everything you can to make your beer as good as it can be.  Some of these recipes are my own and some of them originated as a  recipe from a book like Beer Captured, Clonebrews, The Brewmaster's Bible, etc. and then were tweaked to fit my preferences.  All of these recipes have been brewed mutliple times and slightly adjusted to accomplish what I wanted from the beer.  There are pictures of many of these beers in the Beer Gallery and I will continue to add more as I get them.  All of the recipes below are for 5-gallons of all-grain beer. 

A quick word on recipe conversion...

All of the recipes on this page are for all-grain beer.  But converting them to extract is relatively straightforward.  The key to converting a recipe is being able to tell the original gravity for a beer.  All of the OGs for my recipes are given at the end of the recipe.  In most cases, the specialty grains shown in the recipe can be steeped and the rest of the original gravity (usually made up with pilsner or american pale malt) can be subbed with light dry extract.  The hop schedule can be followed as shown in the all-grain recipe.  For example, the recipe for Memory Lapse Pale Ale can be made as extract by steeping 1 pound of Crystal 60°L and 12 oz of Malted Wheat at 150° for 30 minutes.  Then the grains can be removed, the water can be brought to a boil and 5 lbs of light DME can be added and the hops can be added at the beginning of the boil.  The combination of the specialty grains being steeped and the 5 lbs of DME will result in the same (or close...) original gravity as the all-grain version.  To play with this further, you can use a piece of software like Promash or Beersmith and punch the recipe in as all-grain or extract.  I like to use a simple online calculator on that allows you to enter an entire recipe including beer style, batch size, starting wort amount, grains, hops, brewhouse efficiency, etc.  When a recipe is ready to go, you can print it out and keep it in your notes.  There are some grains that MUST be mashed and cannot be steeped.  There are different opinions on whether some grains can be steeped so check these out on your favorite forum if you have a concern.  Some brewers do not like to steep anything "flaked" such as barley, corn, rice or rye.  All base malts (2-row, pilsner, vienna, munich, wheat) can be steeped as well as ALL crystal malts.  Grains such as Chocolate, Roasted Barley, Special B, Torrified Wheat, Aromatic, Biscuit and melanoidin can also be successfully steeped.  Also, if you see an all-grain recipe that has wheat, you can either steep the wheat or you can make up the same percentage of wheat by using Wheat DME along with regular DME that is derived from barley.  If you're interested in any of the recipes below, try converting it based on what you see here.  If you hit a roadblock or you have a question or concern, just email me. 

As I have mentioned before, I don't have Godzilla recipes on my site.  I don't brew high-ABV beers, giant Belgians, overly-hoppy IPAs or Russian Imperial Stouts.  I like satisfying & balanced beers that you can consume for hours and easily maintain a pleasant buzz.  Some might call me a blow-dried, blouse-wearing poodle walker, but it's all good.  Take a look at these recipes and try a few.  Cheers.


Pub Lager

This is an amber-colored lager that I first made in 2006.  I wanted something along the lines of a Sam Adams Light that would be easy drinking and have a small amount of bitterness, hop flavor and aroma.  I have made it with a couple of different strains of yeast including 2124, 2206, 2308, WLP830 and a few others, but the White Labs 840 American Lager seems to produce the best version of this beer.  I was using the WLP840 for some gold lagers that I made during the spring and summer and I envisioned this beer.  I almost didn't make it because I was about to rack one of the gold lagers out of primary and dump the yeast.  But since I had all of the ingredients I made it anyway... Glad I did. 

5 lbs American Pale Malt

2 lbs Wheat

1 lb Munich Light

4 oz Belgian CaraMunich

4 oz Crystal 120°L      (mash temp 150°)

3 AAU Tettnanger pellets for 60 minutes

3 AAU Tettnanger pellets for 15 minutes

1 oz Tettnanger pellets steeped in the brewpot (lid on) for 15 minutes after flameout

White Labs 840 American Lager yeast

OG: 1.049, FG: 1.012, IBU: 24, SRM: 9, ABV: 4.8%



Memory Lapse

This is a malty version of an American Pale Ale.  There is American malt, American hops, American yeast and presumably American water in this recipe.  Most brewers and beer geeks... ahem... beer enthusiasts may envision an American Pale Ale having more hop presence, but this is a smoother, maltier beer that is great any time of year and it compliments foods well.  Anyone from newbies to seasoned beer-heads can enjoy this refreshing, amber-colored ale.  It also works well as a springboard for just about any beer... the recipe can be tweaked to darken the color, boost the bitterness or change the profile by using different yeasts.  This is a beer I try to keep on tap or in bottles at all times.  CarlosM from the Brewboard is quoted as saying, "It's a sexy-ass looking recipe, Ken".  How many beers can say that?  Also, Earthtone from the Brewboard made this beer and said, "What a delicious bottle of beer! " Thanks Carlos & Earthtone... Cheers to you guys.

7.25 lbs American Pale Malt

1 lb Crystal 60°L

12 oz Malted Wheat         (mash temp 152°)

5 to 5.5 AAU Mt. Hood pellets for 60 minutes

White Labs 01 California Ale yeast

OG: 1.048, FG: 1.012, IBU: 24, SRM: 10, ABV: 4.8%

 The last few batches I have made of this beer used one ounce of Mt. Hood pellets at 5.2% and I think this is the perfect hopping rate for this beer.  I consider this to be the "flagship" beer of my brewery and it's the beer I have probably brewed the most times and tweaked to my tastebuds more than any other.  In my extract days, I entered this beer into a small competition in Colorado and took a 1st.  It's the kind of beer where I will have it on tap and drink a few glasses then say to myself, "I need to make this beer again, right now". 


Home Run Red

This beer has been brewed as an ale, a lager and a hybrid using Wyeast 2112 West Coast Lager (steam) yeast.  The trick to getting a good red color on a beer is using Crystal 120°L which will lend an amber color and then using Belgian Special B to redden the beer.  On my first few attempts at an all-grain red beer, I ended up with an amber-red or pale-red color.  Roasted Barley can also be used, but it will add a bit of roastiness to your beer.  While the color should not necessarily dictate the recipe, this grain bill does produce a great malt base that can be  used with various hopping schedules to create  a brilliant red beer with some great character.  If I make it as a lager, I may use Hallertau, Tettnanger or other mild hop.  If I make it as an ale, I will use Mt. Hood, Willamette or other American ale hop.

6.5 lbs American Pale Malt

1.5 lbs Vienna

1 lb White Wheat

8 oz Crystal 120°L

8 oz Belgian Special B        (mash temp 152°)

3.5 to 4 AAU of Mt. Hood (ale) or Hallertau (lager) for 60 minutes

3.5 to 4 AAU of Mt. Hood (ale) or Hallertau (lager) for 15 minutes

1 to 1.5 oz of Mt. Hood (ale) or Hallertau (lager)  for 1 minute

White Labs 01 California Ale (ale) or White Labs 830 German Lager (lager)

OG: 1.050, FG: 1.013, IBU: 27, SRM: 18, ABV: 4.8%


Cabana Lager

I know what you're thinking.  Bear with me on this.  I like to have my own version of a light, refreshing lager for the spring and summer or for friends and family who just don't appreciate homebrew.  But of course, this is homebrew.  Picture this... you're having a backyard gathering in the sweltering heat.  Friends, family and/or neighbors are there and the grill is going, the tunes are on and the beer is flowing.  You're holding a tall pilsner glass in your hand filled with a refreshing, pale gold lager.  The beer is cold in your hand and the outside of the glass is beading with sweat.  A drip runs down the side of the glass allowing you to see the gold beer a little bit clearer.... this is the beer we have here.  A beer that looks like this.  With all-grain brewing, you can create a very pale beer and use the right combination of pale malts, hops and yeast to make it light but satisfying at the same time.  Using a good amount of healthy yeast, pitching into wort that is 45° to 50° and keeping the primary temps cool and consistent are critical for a beer that has very little capacity to hide flaws.  To make the best possible lager, head to the MAKING LAGERS page for more information.

6 lbs Pilsner Malt or American 2-row

2 lbs Vienna

1½ lbs Flaked Corn     (mash temp 150°)

4.5 AAU of mild, German hops like Tettnanger or Hallertau

½ oz Tettnanger pellets for 5 minutes

White Labs 940 Mexican Lager Yeast

To make the beer more "American", use Wyeast 2007, White Labs 840, Wyeast 2105 Rocky Mountain or 2035 American Lager.  The beer can be made German, Bohemian, Danish, Mexican (or a variety of others) by using whichever lager strain you decide to use.  You can also use any combination of Hallertau, Tettnanger, Styrian Goldings, Mt. Hood, Spalt, Saaz, Sterling, Vanguard, Hersbrucker, Tradition and any other mild hop you like.

OG: 1.049, FG: 1.012, IBU: 21, SRM:4, ABV: 4.8%

This is not necessarily an attempt to make any certain brand of lager beer.  This is just my stab at a Mexican/Pan American/Caribbean-style lager beer that is produced to quench thirsts in a hot climate.  This is beer meant to be enjoyed at the pool, beach, out in the backyard, wherever.  Envision sitting in one of those straw-canopied restaurants on a Mexican beach drinking this beer with shrimp soup or fish tacos.  Want to put a lime into it?  Go ahead.  Want to adjust it or add more hops?  Giddy up.  Personally, I think the WLP940 really makes this beer  But if you can't find the WLP940 yeast (only available from White Labs in March & April as a platinum strain), use Wyeast 2124 or White Labs 830 as a substitute.  The last time I made this beer, I used a combination of Hallertau Tradition, Hallertau Mittelfrüh and Tettnanger to make up the 4.5 AAU of bittering hops.  Also, most of these beers are probably made with water that is on the softer side.  This makes the beer smoother and easier to drink which is consistent with the rest of the beer's profile.  If you know that your water is hard or even moderately hard, use some amount of distilled water along with your normal water.  When I make this beer, I use 50% distilled water and 50% filtered tap water in my mash and then I use the same 50/50 combination in my sparge water.  Cheers.



When I first started brewing, one of my goals was to make a gold lager that had character.  I concluded that many of the great examples of German Pilsner have a certain flavor profile to them that makes them unique.  If you get a good, fresh example, you can smell a sort of spicy, fresh-cut grass aroma.  The color is a medium-to-dark gold and the head is usually thick, white and substantial.  I checked around on some of the forums and was surprised to find some people doing some very off-the-map things (at least to me) to achieve this sort of beer character in a German Pilsner.  The conversation that took place is located HERE.  In the Spring of 2011, I attempted to make this beer based on the information in that thread.  I would like to thank the NB member dr.bob for sharing some insightful information on this topic.  The information in that thread has been boiled down here to keep things simple.  First off, there is a bit more to this beer than most of my recipes and the water profile has been made very specific.  I used all distilled water for this beer to cut my alkalinity and I used calcium chloride and small amounts of gypsum and magnesium sulfate (epsom salt) along with some lactic acid.  The mash schedule is different as well and you can skip the decoction if you wish and just use a Hochkurz mash schedule (142x60 and then 158x30).  The thread discusses that the grainy flavor that some of these beers have comes from a German product called "chit malt' which is a grain that is just barely malted (to stay within the German Purity Law) so the flavor is "grainier" than you might ordinarily see.  The use of flaked barley in this recipe is to take the place of the chit malt because they are pretty similar.  In doing some checking, I found that various suppliers actually carry the German chit malt so if you want to try to use it in YOUR German Pilsner, check it out.  Also, the traditional method of keeping the mash pH in check was/is to use some amount of acid malt/acidulated malt/sauermalt in the mash.  I sampled my first batch of this beer after carbing it in July 2011 and I have to say... it's dynamite.  Check out the MAKING LAGERS page so you make the best possible lager.

8.5 lbs Global Malt or Best Malz Pilsner Malt

1 lb flaked barley 

4 oz acidulated malt   

* For the mash, start with 4½ gallons of distilled water, the grains and ½ gram of gypsum, 3 grams calcium chloride and 3 grams of magnesium sulfate and start at a temp of 142.  After 40 minutes, take 8-10 quarts of the thick mash and heat it to boiling (stirring constantly) for 10 minutes.  This process usually takes about 45 minutes.  Add the decoction back to the main mash to reach approximately 158° and leave that for 30 minutes.  Have ice or boiling water nearby to adjust if necessary.  Collect the runnings and add the FWH addition and then sparge with another 4 to 4½ gallons of distilled water with ½ gram gypsum, 3 grams of calcium chloride and .4ml of lactic acid.  Rest for 10 minutes and collect the runnings.  Use a 90-minute boil.

1.25 ounces Hallertau Tradition 5.3% FWH addition (6.25 AAU)

1.50 ounces Hallertau Mittelfruh 4.3% for 10 minutes

.50 ounces Hallertau Mittelfruh 4.3% for 5 minutes.

Wyeast 830 German Lager yeast

OG: 1.055, FG: 1.014, IBU: 30, SRM: 3-4, ABV: 5.3%

Final water numbers:  Ca: 56, Mg: 8, Na: 0, Cl: 87, S04: 52, Alkalinity: 0

There are some "firsts" in this recipe... at least for me.  I had never done a mash schedule like this and I was new to using 100% distilled water.  It's the first time I had used flaked barley in a beer like this and it was also the first time I had used acid malt.  I had never done a beer without a bittering addition.  I wasn't sure how the FWH + late additions would come out but my tastebuds tell me that it makes the beer smoother without adding that initial bitter flavor that you ordinarily might encounter.  That first bitter burst is great for an IPA but this hop schedule seems perfect for a German Pils.  I plan to make a few similar beers with the same grain bill, possibly slightly different hops and yeast.  I have Wyeast 2001 Pilsner Urquell lager yeast up & running now and plan to make something similar using all Saaz hops and possibly doing the step mash (142x60, 158x30) but without the decoction and just using boiling water to raise the temp.  I would start with less water in the original mash and then thin it out with the boiling water to reach 4½ gallons or so.  I also plan to pick up some Wyeast 2782 Staro-Prague lager yeast and make a few batches with that yeast and maybe Tettnanger.  It also occurs to me that Tettnanger may be one of those pieces of the puzzle... that spicy, fresh-cut grass flavor could be coming (in part) from these beautiful Noble hops.  My guess is that this mash schedule and hop schedule could also be very nice for other lager styles such as Oktoberfest & Marzen, Vienna, Helles and other types of amber or red lagers.  If you have questions about this beer or anything in the process, please check out the link to the conversation posted above.  If you still have questions, shoot me an email and I'll try to help if I can.  If you can make a good, fresh batch of this beer, I think you'll be in Beer Heaven... I know I will!



In an attempt to make an authentic German-inspired Festbier, I went with Wyeast 2206 Bavarian lager yeast with its rich, malty charcter.  This is not necessarily an Oktober or a Vienna but it does fit nicely into the Marzenbier category and this beer works well as a rich, fall beer.  It could be made slightly less malty-tasting by using something like Wyeast 2124 or White Labs 830, but the 2206 seems to make the best version of this beer... don't be surprised if you make this beer, take a sip and hear the Oompah music.

7 lbs Durst Pils

1.75 lbs Munich Light

8 oz Vienna

8 oz Crystal 60°L              (mash temp 152°)

1 oz Styrian Goldings pellets @ 3.5% for 60 minutes

3/4 oz Mt. Hood pellets @ 4.2% for 30 minutes

3/4 oz Hallertau pellets @ 4.2% for 10 minutes

Wyeast 2206 Bavarian Lager yeast

OG: 1.053, FG: 1.013, IBU: 32, SRM: 9, ABV: 5.2%

This beer would probably come out well with White Labs 833, 820 or 830, Wyeast 2308, 2124 or 2633 Oktober blend.



Kolsch is a German ale that originated in the city of Cologne.  It is typically served in a narrow, straight-sided glass that is ordinarily about 0.2 liters in size.  The beer is typically well-hopped and slightly spicy from the complex yeast that is used to brew it.  The yeast produces a mild fruitiness that is more pronounced when the beer is fermented warmer.  There are also various rules in place in Cologne about the production of Kolsch beer among the city's local breweries.  The beer must be fermented with top-fermenting (ale) yeast and the breweries must be in view of the Kolner Dom (or Cologne Catherdral) to brew the beer.  Kolsch is typically filtered to a bright, gold beer.

7.5 lbs Pilsner Malt

8 oz Malted Wheat

4 oz CaraFoam            (mash temp 150°)

1.25 oz Spalt pellets @ 5% for 60 minutes

.75 oz Spalt pellets for 20 minutes

Wyeast 2565 Kolsch Ale yeast

OG: 1.046, FG: 1.012, IBU: 30, SRM: 3, ABV: 4.4%

I typically ferment this beer a little lower (~58°) to get a cleaner flavor.  The fruitiness is still present, but subdued.  This yeast is a low floccing yeast which means it will produce a cloudy beer, but with the proper treatment (Whirfloc, gel solution, cold-conditioning) the yeast will drop and produce a bright gold beer.  Big ups to BryanH on the Milwaukee & Chicago Area board for this recipe.  He posted a beautiful-looking Kolsch recipe for 10 gallons and I simply cut it in half and changed the hops from Mt. Hood to Spalt.  I like Mt. Hoods but I have a ton of Spalts and thought they would be very nice too.  Cheers to BryanH.



I wanted an authentic English Bitter that was somewhere around an "Orindary Bitter" (low alcohol content) and a Best or Special Bitter (medium content) that had all traditional English Ale ingredients.  From the UK Pale Malt to the British Crystal, the Torrified Wheat, the hops and the yeast, everything here is authentic.  This is supposed to be a beer with a flavor that you do not tire of after having a few.  You should also be able to drink a number of these without sounding like a blithering idiot.  This less-often-used British ale yeast produces a beer that has a bready & crackery profile that is absolutely delicious.  Enjoy!

7.5 lbs UK Pale Malt

14 oz British Crystal 55°L

4 oz Torrified Wheat          (mash temp 151-152°)

1 oz Styrian Goldings 3.5% plus ½ oz Kent Goldings 5% for 60 minutes

¾ oz Stryian Goldings 3.5% for 15 minutes

¼ oz Styian Goldings 3.5% plus ½ oz Kent Goldings 5% for 1 minute

Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale Yeast 

OG: 1.049, FG: 1.012, IBU: 31, SRM: 9, ABV: 4.8%

I noticed that this beer had a bit of diacetyl when I first tapped the keg.  The Wyeast description for 1099 does not indicate diacetyl production, but after making this beer the first time, I allow it to warm up a bit so I can eliminate the diacetyl earlier in the process.  It's possible that a small amount of diacetyl is acceptable in this style, but I would prefer it to be gone or at least reduced.  You can make this beer with any of the beautiful English Ale yeasts out there... 1028, 1968, 1098, White Labs 02, White Labs Burton, etc.  Even S-04 would be good.  But I happen to like this 1099 yeast.  If you make this beer and you happen to have a glass of it in front of you, dip your finger into it and rub the beer on the back of your hand and inhale the aroma... it smells just like Saltine crackers!  Very unusual aroma in a beer. 


British Blonde

On the Greenboard, there was a conversation about "English Summer Ales" which were basically just a British version of a Blonde Ale.  I have made this with Wyeast 1028 London Ale Yeast and fermented it low (~60°) for a very smooth and satisfying beer with character.  This recipe is the exact same recipe as the Aviator's English Ale above with the British Crystal 55°L taken out and subbed with Vienna and Crystal 10°L.  Again, fermenting low will create an ultra-smooth, yet satisfying gold beer that tastes a little more substantial than your typical American Blonde Ale.  The English hops create a unique beer-drinking experience and the English Ale yeast with its bready, crackery profile compliment this beer.

7.5 lbs UK Pale Malt

7 oz Vienna

7 oz Crystal 10°L

4 oz Torrified Wheat  (mash temp 151°)

1 oz Styrian Goldings 3.5% plus ½ oz Kent Goldings 5% for 60 minutes

¾ oz Stryian Goldings 3.5% for 15 minutes

¼ oz Styian Goldings 3.5% plus ½ oz Kent Goldings 5% for 1 minute

Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale Yeast 

OG: 1.049, FG: 1.012, IBU: 31, SRM: 5, ABV: 4.8%



Fritz Maytag took over San Francisco's Anchor Brewing Company in 1965, transformed the company and started a craft beer revolution that continues to this day.  The flagship of his brewery, Anchor Steam, is a refreshingly hoppy, amber beer that is brewed with an unusual yeast that allows for clean, lager-like profiles at warmer temperatures.  Maytag describes Anchor Steam as a "beery beer" and I have to agree... it is beery!  The combination of the various malts, the Northern Brewer hops and this particular strain of yeast produces a beer unlike any other.

8 lbs American Pale Malt

1 lb Wheat Malt

12 oz American Crystal 80°L

4 oz Belgian Special B               (mash temp 152°)

1 oz Northern Brewer pellets @ 6.5% for 60 minutes

½ oz Northern Brewer pellets for 15 minutes

½ oz Northern Brewer pellets for 1 minute

Wyeast 2112 West Coast Lager yeast 

OG: 1.055, FG: 1.014, IBU: 36, SRM: 14, ABV: 5.3%

This beer can be fermented as low as 55° for a very clean profile.  At 60°, you get a few more esters and complex flavors and at 65° or higher, it becomes more ale-like.  The profile contributed by the yeast is very nice no matter what temp you ferment the beer at (within reason), but I prefer it lower.


Bases Loaded

Here's a light-colored, slightly hoppy ale that many different beer drinkers can appreciate.  I took advantage of the hop shortage and used a hop that was new to me, Sterling.  I had heard that it is slightly spicy like Saaz, but with a higher alpha rating.  The crystal and carafoam should add some head stability and the neutral yeast should allow the hops to come through.  I have some of this beer in bottles right now and I also have a keg of it that is ready to be served.  Fermenting this beer very low for the strain (~60° or even a little lower) creates an ultra-smooth beer that allows the grains and hops to take center stage.

7 lbs Pilsner Malt

1 lb Munich

8 oz Crystal 10°L

8 oz Vienna

8 oz Carafoam            (mash temp 151°)

1 oz Sterling pellets @ 5.3% for 60 minutes

½ oz Hallertau Tradition pellets 5.7% for 10 minutes

White Labs 01 California Ale yeast

OG: 1.049, FG: 1.012, IBU: 25, SRM: 4, ABV: 4.8% 


Prague Pilsner

To make a nice Czech Lager in the spirit of something like Pilsner Urquell, your grain and hop bill is pretty straight- forward.  Some pilsner malt, maybe some small amount of Munich or Vienna along with an even smaller amount of something along the lines of Carapils or Carafoam.  The hops are all Saaz.  If you had to use something else in a pinch, I could see Hallertau Mittelfrüh, Sterling or Vanguard.  The only real tricky part is selecting the lager yeast because there are so many nice yeasts that produce pilsner beer.  I have made some nice Czech Lagers with Wyeast 2124, 2001, 2278 and 2782.  I have also used White Labs 800, 802 and 830.  I had the VSS strain 2782 Staro-Prague lager yeast and I wanted to give it a try.  It has a bright profile but it still keeps a malty base like a good Czech Lager should have.  A beer like Pilsner Urquell is brewed with very soft water so recipes for these beers may suggest more hops because softer water may mute the hops a bit.  Here, I used 2 ounces of higher-than-average AA% Saaz hops and I think it was plenty because my water is on the hard side.  The beer came out crisp, balanced and smooth.  This yeast can be used in a variety of styles so plan some other beers to make next... Viennas, Bocks, Doppels, Munich Lagers, Helles, etc.

8½ lbs Castle Pils (any brand will do)

1 lb Vienna

4 oz CaraFoam  (mash temp 150°)

1 oz Saaz pellets 5.9% for 60 minutes

½ oz Saaz pellets 5.9% for 15 minutes

½ oz Saaz pellets 5.9% for 3 minutes

Wyeast 2782 Staro-Prague lager yeast

OG: 1.050, FG: 1.013, IBU: 33, SRM: 4, ABV: 4.8%



I was at the Hofbrauhaus down the street from Wrigley Field with some of my buds for a bachelor party.  The waitress came out with the obligatory dimpled steins of gold Hofbrau Original.  This is a delicious, malty gold beer with a stark white head.  It seems to come in sizes Large, Larger and Undertow.  We had pretty large steins of beer but some people had steins that you could dock a boat in.  Anyway, this beer is brewed in the style of a German Helles and I named my version "Original Helles" after the Hofbrau Original with the blue HB logo.  I will not say that this is truly the recipe for this beer, but it's pretty darn close. 

8.5 lbs Pilsner Malt

12 oz Vienna

12 oz Munich Light

4 oz Belgian Aromatic             (mash temp 152°)

3 AAU Spalt pellets plus 2 AAU Hallertau pellets for 60 minutes

Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager yeast

OG: 1.053, FG: 1.013, IBU: 22, SRM: 5, ABV: 5.2%

It seems to me that 2124 really makes this beer.  I think that White Labs 830 German Lager could also work and some people claim it's the same yeast.  I read someplace that the original is only 17 IBU which seems a little low to me.


Golden Ale

Okay, so here's a weird one.  A bud of mine brought me a sampler 12-pack from New Glarus in Wisconsin.  New Glarus beers are not available in Illinois.  Among the beers in the pack was Spotted Cow which NG describes as an American Farmhouse Ale.  It does not taste like a Farmhouse Ale or Saison at all.  It did seem to have a bit of a sour or tart taste to me, but as I asked around, most people said they thought it tasted like a cream or blonde ale.  After doing some homework, I found that the beer used corn, flaked barley and other American ingredients and someone suggested that the flavor I detected may have come from something like a Kolsch yeast (see Cobblestone Kolsch for a better description).  Of course, I did not have flaked corn when I made this beer so I made a lazy substitution with flaked rice.  I was also low on flaked barley, but I will say that this beer came out very, very nicely.  Also, even though the Kolsch yeast produces a cloudy beer due to its low flocculation, eventually the yeast did drop to create a beautiful, bright beer. 

4 lbs American Pale Malt

2 lbs Wheat

1.5 lbs Vienna

12 oz Flaked Rice

8 oz Belgian CaraMunich

3 oz Flaked Barley                  (mash temp 152°)

1 oz Mt. Hood pellets @ 4.2% for 60 minutes

1 oz Willamette pellets @ 3.8% for 10 minutes

Wyeast 2565 Kolsch Ale yeast

OG: 1.049, FG: 1.012, IBU: 24, SRM: 7, ABV: 4.8%


Spiced Pumpkin Ale

I have made this beer 3 or 4 times now and I seem to be able to recreate it pretty well.  Buffalo Bill's Pumkpin Ale was the inspiration for this beer with it's dark color and sweet, spicy flavor.  This is not a beer where hops or the yeast should lend much of anything.  You want to create a nice, malty beer that is just barely balanced with hops and create a base for the spice to do its thing.  The addition of pumpkin is an option as the pumpkin may not lend much flavor.  But I do think that the mashed pumpkin adds a small amount of fermentables and also gives the beer a bit of an orangy color.  Some brewers will cut a pumpkin (no skin) into small chunks and roast them in the oven.  To get around that, I used some roasted grain in the recipe along with canned pumpkin from the grocery store which simply gets added to the mash.  The pumpkin can cause some runoff issues (slowly the draining of the mash vessel) so you might consider adding rice hulls to your mash.

8 lbs American Pale Malt

8 oz Crystal 120°L

4 oz Brown Sugar (added to the boil, not mash)

1.5 oz Chocolate

1.5 oz Roasted Barley               (mash temp 152°)

30 ounces of canned pumpkin added to the mash  (mash everything at 152-154°)

1 oz of mild hops like Mt. Hood, Tettnanger, Hallertau, Willamette, etc. at 4.0 to 4.5% for 60 minutes

1½ tablespoons of pumpkin pie spice added to the brewpot and steeped for 15 minutes (lid on) after flameout

White Labs 01 California Ale yeast, 1056 or dry US-05

1½ teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice added to something like Captain Morgan's, Barardi Spice or anything that will keep the spice sanitary.  Combine spice and rum in a container with a tight-fitting lid a few days before racking the beer to secondary.  Add the spice & rum mixture to the secondary and rack the beer on top to mix it well 

OG: 1.049, FG: 1.012, IBU: 19, SRM: 15, ABV: 4.8%

Again, this is all about personal preference.  I like the hops to balance the sweetness of the wort and that's it.  I also like a neutral yeast because I don't want hops, spice and complex yeast profiles battling for attention with my tastebuds.  The amount of spice in the beer is also a personal preference and this may be more than people want.  This recipe will place the spice in the front and make it VERY detectable.  I don't consider it to be too much for a beer that you will not necessarily be drinking all day.  The spice that is added to the brewpot will be mellowed by the heat and the activity of the primary.  The spice that is added into secondary will be more up front, creating layers of spice flavor.  Another piece of experience I have picked up with this beer is that beers with any type of flavor added (spices, vanilla, fruit, etc.) require a little extra time to mellow and blend.  If you want to be drinking your spiced pumpkin ale from mid-October up until Halloween, it's best to brew it sometime in August to allow the beer to sit awhile.  If it doesn't have enough time to age, the spice flavor will be a little sharper and less smooth than you might like. 


Ansbach   Bavarian Lager

This may be the maltiest beer I have in my lineup.  The grain bill has more Munich malt than any other recipe I have made and the Wyeast 2206 Bavarian lager yeast produces a beer where a very malty profile comes through.  This is a beer that is not really true to any style, German or otherwise.  In fact, I simply made this beer as a way to clean my brew bunker of the remaining Munich, Wheat and Pale malt I had and I just so happened to have 2206 up & running.  I brought some of this to a local beer gathering and many of the area brewers enjoyed it.  The addition of Black malt gives little in the way of flavor, but it darkens the orange-amber color to create a very nice dark amber beer that is malty, but balanced and refreshing. 

5 lbs Munich Malt

3 lbs Wheat

2 lbs Pale Malt

12 oz Belgian Caraveinne

1 oz Black Malt          (mash temp 152°)

1/2 oz Northern Brewer pellets 7.5% for 60 minutes (3.75 AAUs)

1 oz Hallertau pellets 4.2% for 20 minutes

Wyeast 2206 Bavarian lager yeast

OG: 1.057, FG: 1.014, IBU: 27, SRM: 11, ABV: 5.5%


Main Street Wheat

I have always liked the soft & refreshing character that wheat adds to a beer.  I also like the head stability that comes from using wheat.  I set out to make a wheat beer but I don't really care for the banana & clove profile that comes from using an authentic German hefe strain and I thought that using a neutral American yeast would be a little boring.  So I settled on Wyeast 1007 German Ale which is still neutral but with a slight German tilt.  It does not produce the banana & clove profile but it's got a little more happening than a normal neutral yeast would have.  This beer came out very nicely and I drank most of it with a slice of lemon in it during the warmer months.  It's really a clean slate... you could add orange peel and coriander and come close to Blue Moon.  You could add a lemon or orange wedge to the glass when the beer is served or just drink it by itself.  It's Main Street Wheat... just brew it.

5 lbs Pale Malt

4.25 lbs White Wheat

10 oz Munich Malt

2 oz Honey Malt       (mash temp 150-151°)

1 oz Hallertau pellets 4.6% for 60 minutes

Wyeast 1007 German Ale yeast

OG: 1.054, FG: 1.012, IBU: 24, SRM: 5-6, ABV: 5.2%

There's a shot of this beer in the Beer Gallery and it's one of the few times I was not able to get the 1007 to drop and produce a clear beer.  But as a wheat beer, I supposed it's not an issue.  Also, I could see 4½ to 5 AAU of any clean hop being used here.  If you don't have Hallertau, you could use Tettnanger, Liberty, Vanguard, Styrian Goldings, Perle, Mt. Hood, Crystal, Sterling, possibly Saaz or Spalt and even Kent.  


American Bock

The inspiration for this beer was Shiner Bock.  I have a weakness for beers in this style and there are a few commercial versions that fall under my hazy guidelines.  Beers that are dark, malty, not necessarily any style, refreshing, well-balanced and satisfying.  Beers like Gila Monster Amber Lager, Negro Modelo, Dos Equis Amber Lager, Abita Amber, Shiner Bock and a few others.  Some suggest that they are Vienna lagers and that is possible... but these are probably lighter than a true Vienna.  I played with the recipe a bit and ended up with a decent American-style bock beer (meaning lighter than a traditional German bock) but I may change the yeast next time I make it.  Look the recipe over and choose a yeast that you can see making a good bock beer.  The grain bill, color and hop schedule are close to that of Shiner Bock although I have more hop presense (Shiner only has about 17 IBU) and I probably should have mashed around 150° or lower to get the thin consistency that Shiner has.  I also thought that there might be an outside chance that this beer was made with corn since it's a thin, American beer... I could be wrong there.   I first tried Shiner during a warm summer and thought it was a nice "Summer Bock" so take it for what it's worth.

6 lbs American 2-row pale malt

2 lbs Munich malt

1 lb Flaked Corn

8 oz Crystal 120°L

1 oz Black Malt

1 oz Tettnanger pellets 4% for 60 minutes

½ oz Hallertau pellets 4.2% for 20 minutes

White Labs 833 German Bock yeast

OG: 1.050, FG: 1.013, IBU: 23, SRM: 13, ABV: 4.8%

I thought I read somewhere that Shiner uses some type of "corn grits" in this beer and I also remember reading (possibly on the Shiner site) that the beer is all-malt.  I also remember seeing something that suggested that they use Sinamar or a similar product to darken the beer without making the beer "roasty".  It may prove to be a tough beer for homebrewers to reproduce.  Also, even though I use a German yeast and German hops, I consider this version to be "Americanized" because it is lighter than a true-to-style bock beer.  Also, I had this yeast available to me and used it even though my first thought was that Wyeast 2308 Munich Lager yeast would be the best bet.  The next time I make this beer I will try it with 2308 and I could also see it being good (but not like Shiner) with 2206, 2124, 2633, WLP830 or WLP820 among others.  One thing I know about 2308 is that it makes a malty beer so having a bit more hop presense is a good thing to keep it interesting.  Cheers.



In 1810, beloved Princess Therese married Prince Ludwig in a 100-acre meadow in Bavaria.  It must have been quite a party because the reception lasted for 2 weeks.  Every year since, people have gathered in the same meadow (wiesn, pronouced VEE-zen) for 2 weeks in mid-September and early October to celebrate the anniversary of the wedding.  Oh, and there's a lot of beer drinking going on.  I saw an interesting stat:  Of the 6 big Munich breweries, 30% of their annual beer production is consumed during the 2 weeks of the Oktoberfest celebration.  Got that?  In 1/26th of the year, 1/3rd of their beer is put away.  Wow, good stuff.  I made this beer in 2008 and I decided that I would try to do it as authentically as possible.  So I brewed the beer in early March, let it sit for about a month in cool secondary and then got it cold, kegged and carbed and let it sit in a 35° fridge for the remaining 5 months or so before I busted it out in mid-September.  It came out very nice.  If you can't see a keg taking up valuable real estate in your cold-storage area, feel free to lager it for as long as you can stand.  I plan to make this beer again but I may not make it so far in advance.  I did a single-infusion mash on this beer but I'm sure it would be much better (and more authentic) with a decoction mash.

5 lbs Pilsner Malt

5 lbs Munich Malt

6 oz Belgian CaraMunich

2 oz Belgian Aromatic

2 oz Belgian Biscuit            (mash temp 152°)

1 oz Hersbrucker 3% plus 1 oz Tettnanger 3.2% for 60 minutes (6.2 AAU)

Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager Yeast

OG: 1.054, FG: 1.014, IBU: 26, SRM: 10, ABV: 5.2%

On the hops, any noble hop combination could work well here.  Hallertau, Spalt, Tettnanger, Hersbrucker, etc.  Try to get the AAUs around 6-6.5 and feel free to adjust for your personal tastes.  You could also use any lager yeast you like.  The 2124 makes this a nice beer, but 2206 would make it a little maltier and heavier-tasting.  I could also see 2308, WL820 and WL830 being used here.  There is a picture of this beer in the beer gallery.  That picture is from my 2008 batch where I accidentally used 12 oz of CaraMunich which made the beer a little darker and maltier than I intended.  I think it will be a little more balanced with the 6 oz instead.  If you want to throw an authentic Oktober celebration at your home brewery, make a batch of this Oktoberfest Lager and another batch of the Brauhaus Original Helles (a lighter colored beer that is also served at Oktober celebrations), fire up some sausages (I think that any variety would work) served with sweet or spicy mustard and bake up a batch of the Bavarian Bier Pretzels I have on my OTHER STUFF  page.  Prost!


Hacienda Lager

My wife and I went to Mexico on our honeymoon in 1992.  At the time, we drank whatever beer we could find and were happy to have it.  10 years later, we went back for our anniversary and before we left I did a little research and found a number of beers that are brewed in Mexico and not sold elsewhere.  One was Victoria Lager which is produced by Grupo Modelo.  They also make Corona, Negro Modelo, Modelo Especial, Estrella, Pacifico and a number of others.  Victoria has been brewed in Mexico since 1865.  It is referred to as a Vienna by Grupo Modelo but you can assume that it has been modified for the local market because it's not as hoppy or strong as a Vienna from Germany or Austria.  This is not an authentic Vienna, it's a Mexican Vienna.  Nonetheless, this is a very satisfying beer that is still refreshing and thirst-quenching.  It's got a light amber color and moderate bitterness and my opinion is that it's the best beer in Mexico by far.  The problem is that it's not sold in the US so researching the beer is difficult.  I took home one of the painted bottles from our trip in 2002 and on the back it says, "4.0% Alc Vol" so that gives you one clue.  One guess that I have is that the beer is made with Vienna malt, probably has some amount of corn in it and probably uses a mild hop like Hallertau or Tettnanger.  Another guess is that it only has 1 hop addition at 60 minutes.  These are all guesses.  I also had an email conversation with Chris White of White Labs who didn't necessarily confirm my suspicion that White Labs 940 Mexican Lager yeast is actually Modelo's yeast.  I found a few websites that claim that this is true... you be the judge.  Chris told me that 940 would get me "very close" to Victoria and he also told me that 830 would be his second choice.  With that, I set out to make this beer and since 940 is a platinum strain and only available in March & April, I made a version with 830 which is darn close to this beer.  The recipe I show here calls for 940 and when I get some in March 2009, I will make the beer again with that yeast.  Refer to the lager hints on the MAKING LAGERS page so you make the best beer possible.

4 lbs Vienna

3.25 lbs Pilsner Malt or American 2-row

1 lb Flaked Corn

4 oz Belgian Caramunich

¼ oz Black Malt      (Mash temp 151°)

4.5 to 4.7 AAU Hersbrucker or Hallertau pellets for 60 minutes

¼ oz of the same hop for 20 minutes

White Labs 940 Mexican Lager yeast

OG: 1.043, FG: 1.011, IBU: 20, SRM: 7-8, ABV: 4.1%

We were sightseeing our first morning in Acapulco and eventually found ourselves walking along the street that lined the beach.  By lunchtime, we found a great, straw-canopied open air restaurant that looked like the perfect place to stop for lunch and a few beers.  We sat in the shade overlooking the beach and Acapulco Bay.  When the waiter came, I asked for 2 Victorias and he looked at me kind of funny... as if he expected me to ask for American beer or something like Corona.  He smiled and came back a few minutes later with 2 glasses and 2 bottles of Victoria.  It pours into the glass with a crystal clear, dark-gold to light-amber color and a white head.  As you hold the glass up, you get that dark gold color with glints of amber in it.   Really nice on a beautiful, sunny afternoon in December when it's probably 10° back home in Chicago.  We sat there with chips & salsa, seafood soup and shrimp tacos and many bottles of Victoria.  I will say that almost everywhere I went and asked for Victoria, I was looked at a little differently.  As if they were thinking, "Why are these Americans drinking our prized Victoria?".  We stayed at a resort which consists of "casitas" on a hillside overlooking the bay.  Each day around 3 or 4pm, I would call the desk and ask them to bring a bucket of ice and 12 bottles of Victoria.  "Right away, Se­ñor Ken!"  A jeep would drive up the hillside road and bring us Victoria.  If I were to walk into a convenient store and ask the clerk, "Do you have Victoria?", they would tilt their head a little and say, "Victoria?  Yes, I keep it in the back".  I don't know if they try to keep it away from tourists or if the locals don't ordinarily drink it or what.  Maybe the older people drink it and the younger crowd doesn't like it.  Either way, make this recipe to see what I'm talking about.  Cheers.


Street Fest

For this beer, I envisioned a dark gold to pale amber lager that had some hopiness to it.  In one of the neighboring towns, they hold a cool street fest in August each year and there is usually some good beer there too.  We have seen Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Smashmouth, Cracker and a few other decent bands playing there.  The crowd is usually large and the weather is usually perfect.  One year they had some craft beer from a local brewery that I did not recognize and one of their offerings was a hoppy lager.  It was very good and after that one year, I didn't see it again.  I had some White Labs 830 German Lager yeast up & running and made this beer.

8.25 lbs American 2-row Pale Malt

1.25 Wheat

3 oz Crystal 120°L         (mash temp 150°)

1 oz Hallertau Tradition 5.7% for 60 minutes

1 oz  Saaz 2.4% for 10 minutes

1 oz Saaz 2.4% for 1 minute

White Labs 830 German Lager yeast

OG: 1.054, FG: 1.014, IBU: 28, SRM: 7, ABV: 5.2%

Before putting this recipe together, I was flipping through a catalog for The Home Brewery in Missouri and I saw their Yellow Dog Malt Extract.  The owner of the company put it together 20+ years ago and it's 87% pale malt, 12% wheat and 1% chocolate.  I had seen many recipes in my extract days calling for this great extract.  I subbed out the chocolate and added crystal instead because I thought it would work better in this beer, but the percentages are about the same.  Hopheads may not see this as hoppy, but I thought the hop schedule would work very nicely with the German strain of yeast. 


Old Havana

I know... I have a lot of gold beers on this page.  But I made this lager in the Spring of 2009 and it was so good that I felt compelled to make it again.  3 times.  The beer is loosely based on a gold lager from Cuba and the combination of ingredients make for a very clean, smooth and satisfying warm-weather beer.  It's my personal opinion that the traditional, gold-lagery profile comes from the Wyeast 2124 Bohemian lager yeast, which is one of my favorites.  If you happen to make this beer, tap a glass and take a look at that white head on the beer.  Now take a sniff and you'll see what I mean.  Although I have made a number of refreshing gold lagers over the years, I found that this particular combination of malts, hops and yeast work very nicely together.  This will appeal to all who drink it... friends, neighbors, grandmas, little kids, dogs, you name it. 

6.75 lbs Durst Pils or American 2-row

1.5 lbs White Wheat

12 oz Flaked Corn

4 oz Carafoam     (mash temp 150°)

1 oz Tettnanger pellets @ 4.4% for 60 minutes

½ oz Hallertau Mittelfruh pellets for 15 minutes

½ oz Hallertau Mittelfruh pellets for 5 minutes

Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager Yeast

OG: 1.052, FG: 1.012, IBU: 23, SRM: 3, ABV: 5.0%

I will ordinarily use some amount of distilled water to make the beer a little smoother and a teaspoon of calcium chloride but that has more to do with my water to take it for what it's worth.  Because I have friends, family and neighbors that enjoy beers in this style, I will make these beers regularly.  When I feel I need to make one, I'll use whatever suitable ingredients I happen to have.  2-row?  Check.  Vienna?  Fine.  Carapils?  Why not?  Corn?  Good.  Hallertau or Tettnanger hops?  Check.  Lager yeast?  Okay, good.  That means that I have made MANY beers like this with many varying ingredients with varying results.  But this one is worthy of a name, a label and a spot on the recipe page because it's that good.  If you're not a fan of beers in this style, look away. 


Otto's Altbier

Altbier is a German Ale that translates to "Old Beer".  Its hub of popularity is Dusseldorf, along the Rhine River, just north of Cologne where Kölsch (another German ale) enjoys popularity.  Altbier comes in a few different varieties including Sticke, Dusseldorf, Münster and Northern German Altbier.  Münster is lighter in color, Sticke is stronger and Dusseldorf (the most common) is hoppier.  Otto's Altbier is in the style of a Northern German Altbier which leans toward the maltier side.  My recipe page features German beers in the Kölsch, Helles, Oktober, Marzen, Bock and Bavarian Lager styles.  I even have a German-inspired Red Lager here.  I wanted to have a great, authentic Altbier recipe to go with the rest.  The label features a picture of my Grandfather Otto who was born in Germany in 1888.  In the picture, he is holding a glass of beer.  Is it Altbier?  We may never know.

6 lbs Pilsner Malt

3 lbs Munich Malt

8 oz Crystal 80°L

8 oz Wheat 

4 oz Melanoidin Malt       (mash temp 148°)

7.2 AAU of Magnum pellets for 60 minutes

½ oz Hallertau pellets for 20 minutes 

Wyeast 1007 German Ale yeast

OG: 1.054, FG: 1.012, IBU: 35,  SRM: 11, ABV: 5.2%

Any clean hop will work in this beer... Spalt, Hallertau, Tettnanger, Perle and even Saaz or Mt. Hood.  Northern German Alts are often hopped at 60 minutes and that's it, but they can have a low hop flavor.  They should not have heavy hop flavor or aroma, but they should have a firm bitterness to combat the maltiness of the Munich and Melanoidin malt in the beer.  They should be relatively dry which explains the lower mash temp.  The 1007 is a low-floccing yeast which may result in cloudy beer but should also result in high attenuation.  The gravity on this style should get down into the 1.010-1.012 range for it to be as authentic as possible.  As far as the clarity, check out the section on clear beer on the GENERAL BREWING TECHNIQUES page.



Anton Dreher first brewed Vienna Lager in 1841.  It has a reddish-brown or copper color and a medium body with a malt character.  Noble hops should be used for an authentic Vienna Lager.  There should be firm bitterness and some amount of hop flavor is allowed.  The beer should have a very clean profile so the presense of esters or diacetyl are considered defects.  Austria has a rich history in brewing due to their outstanding Alpine water and geographic proximity to Germany.  Currently, 73 Austrian breweries exist but much of their beer is consumed within Austria... it's rarely exported.  A large Austrian relocation to Mexico in the early 1900s brought the style there and Dos Equis Amber Lager, Negra Modelo and Victoria are some of the examples of Vienna Lager that you might find there.  There are some American versions such as Elliot Ness Amber.  In keeping with the large collection of German styles on this page (I realize this beer is Austrian, but hey!), I present this traditional Vienna Lager.  I really had to restrain myself and keep from using some Crystal or Special B to add some color.  I knocked this recipe around with BryanH and some others on the forums and was told that it wasn't necessary.  Some of the American versions of this style ar far darker, but this recipe will produce a very light amber-colored Vienna.    If you want to make the beer even more authentic, look into a decoction mash and clear your calendar... it takes awhile.  Otherwise, go with the single infusion mash.

8 lbs Vienna Malt

2 lbs Belgian or German Pilsner malt

4 oz Carafoam            (mash temp 150-151°)

4.1 AAU Hallertau Mittelfruh pellets for 60 minutes

4.1 AAU Hallertau Mittelfruh pellets for 30 minutes

Wyeast 2782 Staro-Prague Lager yeast 

OG: 1.049, FG: 1.012, IBU: 32, SRM: 9, ABV: 4.6%

Any noble hop will work here including anything in the Hallertau family, Tettnanger, Spalt or Saaz. I could also see Styrian Goldings, Mt. Hood, Magnum and Perle working well.  I chose this yeast because it appears to be very versatile and has gained favor with many American homebrewers and commercial brewers alike.  It can be used in a variety of styles, has medium flocculation attenuation of 70-76%.  The ideal temp range is a little short... 50° to 58°, so be careful to keep it in that range, preferably on the low end.  I could see the beer being made with 2206, 2308, 2124, 2633, WLP820, WLP830 and possibly WLP838.


Amber Ale

This is the only beer in my lineup that has a dry hop addition.  I was not a big fan of dry hopping until I had a keg of an experimental beer that seemed a little underhopped.  I dropped a muslin bag of Sterling hops (also filled with some sanitized marbles so it would sink) into the keg and it transformed the beer from drinkable to stellar.  At one of the local brewpubs, they used to serve a great light-colored amber ale.  It had a big hop flavor and aroma and was hoppy enough that your eyes would water when you burped.  I'm not a hophead, but here we have a beer that uses four (count 'em, 4!) ounces of hops.  I know some brewers who use POUNDS of hops in a 5-gallon batch so I'll calm down now.  This is a light-colored amber ale that should have a nice burst of hops late in the finish.  I added some Munich to produce a small amount of maltiness and I like the combination of these hops which have a similar, but not-quite-the-same profile.  Add an off-the-map yeast and you have a unique beer.  I call it Village Taphouse Amber Ale.

8½ lbs American Pale Malt

1 lb Munich Malt

6 oz Crystal 60°L

1 oz Sterling pellets 6% for 60 minutes

1 oz Vanguard pellets 4.4%  for 10 minutes

1 oz Vanguard pellets 4.4% for 1 minute

1 oz Sterling pellets 6% dry hopped for 2 weeks in the secondary (or in the keg)

Wyeast 2450 Denny's Favorite Ale yeast

OG: 1.054, FG: 1.014, IBU: 34, SRM: 7, ABV: 5.2%

I envision the local village taphouse serving this amber ale.  In the winter, there may be a fireplace going and some holiday lights and in the summer there may be tables & umbrellas out on the back patio.  Maybe there's a band playing.  Tackle the waitress and order another round.  Cheers!


Christmas Beer

I had this recipe bouncing around in my head for awhile.  Someone on the Blueboard mentioned making a holiday beer and I just so happened to have a good yeast candidate up & running.  I made a beer called Dubbelfest at a Brew-On-Premise years ago and there were cinnamon sticks added to the boil in that recipe.  The cinnamon flavor comes through very nicely in a Christmas beer and you could also add ginger, nutmeg, etc.  I decided to make this as simple as possible by adding some vanilla to the cinnamon.  A nice combination, but still a drinkable beer that you could enjoy throughout the holidays.  I went with a good vanilla extract (added to the secondary) but you could always use real beans for that authentic flavor.  I also considered using cinnamon extract, but eventually just used ground cinnamon.  In a beer where spice should be apparent, it's important not to overdo the hops.  It's also a good idea to have a yeast that doesn't attenuate much, leaving the beer a little sweeter.  This English yeast seems like the perfect choice.  The spice process is similar to the Summoned Spirits Pumkpin Ale, above.  Give this beer a try and see what you think. 

6.5 lbs American Pale Malt

1 lb White Wheat

1 lb Vienna

8 oz Belgian Special B

¼ oz Black Malt           (mash temp ~150°) 

1 oz mild hop like Hallertau, Tettnanger, Styrian Golding, Mt. Hood, Willamette, Kent, etc. anywhere from 4% to 5% for 60 minutes... I used Hallertau 4.3%

1 tbsp ground cinnamon added to the brewpot and allowed to steep for 15 minutes with the lid on and the heat off

Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale yeast

1 tsp ground cinnamon added to 2 oz premium vanilla extract 1 day before moving the beer to secondary... add mixture to sanitized secondary and rack the beer on top

OG: 1.050, FG: 1.012, IBU: 19, SRM: 16, ABV: 4.8%

I used the Special B to give the beer a red color, but you may have to play with the grain bill to get it right.  Adding some additional crystal, some roasted barley, more black malt or chocolate may be necessary.  The hop selection is pretty irrelevant here because you're just offsetting the sweetness of the malt here.  Use whatever hop you envision working in this situation.  The yeast could really be anything that sounds good to the brewer.  I could easily see 1056, White Labs 01, almost any English Ale yeast and just about anything besides a Belgian or Hefeweizen yeast... and if those two sounds good to you, giddy-up.  I would avoid something that attenuates very high (2565, 1007, US-05) because it may dry out the beer and that's not what this style is about.  Bottom line, there aren't a lot of rules in this category. 

The name of this beer is on honor of the captain of my bowling team.  Each year, his wife asks him to stay home (not bowl!) if the weekly bowling night falls anywhere near one of the big Jewish holidays.  He says that he would absolutely bowl on those nights, but his wife insists that he not take part.  As soon as he starts the conversation with something like, "Okay, on the 19th I won't be able to bowl because..."  and then the rest of the team waves him off and says, "HOLIDAY SCHMOLIDAY!" and we razz him relentlessly for the rest of the night.  Ernie, we do it because we know you like it.  I don't care what your beliefs are... if you like the sound of a holiday ale made with cinnamon and vanilla, Holiday Schmoliday is for you.  Cheers, L'Chaim, Na Zdravi, Mabuhay, Slainté, Salud, Kampai, Prost, Zum Wohl, Saude, Gan Bei, Skål and Choc-tee!



Here we have a beer in the style of an American Dark Lager.  That is, if you must categorize it.  I have mentioned my fondness for amber lagers and dark lagers all over this site and this is one of those beers.  I have a nice Bohemian lager yeast (2124) up and running with some light lagers over this past summer.  At some point I envisioned a beer like this that would be mildly hopped and have a smooth, velvety flavor and a dark color.  I had some family over and one of my nephews told me that this was one of the best beers I had made.  He must have really liked it because he helped me drain the keg.  Here we go:

5 lbs Pilsner Malt or American 2-row Pale Malt

3 lbs Munich Light

1 lb Flaked Corn

6 oz Belgian Caramunich

2 oz Debittered Black Malt  (mash temp 150-151°)

5.2 AAU German Magnum pellets for 60 minutes

½ oz Hallertau pellets 4.3% for 20 minutes

Wyeast 2124 Bohemian Lager yeast

OG: 1.051, FG: 1.013, IBU: 20, SRM: 14, ABV: 4.9%

As with a lot of my recipes, I see the yeast pushing it in various directions.  If you want YOUR Bordertown to be south of the border, use White Labs 940 Mexican Lager yeast.  If you want to make it north of the border, use an American yeast like 2007, 2035 or White Labs 840.  If you want to inject some European flavor to the mix, 2124, 830 and a bunch of others including the platinum strain 2782.  The hops are also interchangeable as long as you keep them clean.  I had German Magnum and they really worked nicely in this beer.  I will make this beer again and possibly add a small amount of gypsum to the mash to give it a slightly crisper profile.


Dancing Bear

Okay, first things first.  I lifted the graphic from the New Holland Brewery and their Paleooza Pale Ale.  According to their website, they no longer make this beer so I'm not overly ashamed of taking their picture of bears dancing around a barrel.  Now that we have that out of the way, this is a first-wort-hopped, pale-colored pale ale.  It's a very light orange color from the addition of a very small amount of Crystal 60°L and some Munich malt.  I have heard that a FWH'd addition is similar to a 20-minute flavor addition of hops.  That seems strange considering that this addition is supposed to be added to the brewpot as you're collecting your first runnings from the MT.  That said, I find that a FWH addition adds something to the beer that you just can't get any other way.  There is a unique flavor and aroma that comes from adding hops this way and I have become quite a fan of it.  Again, use the hops that you can see making this a great American Pale Ale.  All of this is meant to be modified if that's what you envision.  I happen to like this beer clean so I went with Mt. Hood hops and Wyeast 1056.  Brew up a batch of this beer and dance around the brewpot, keg, glass or bottles of it.  Cheers.

5 lbs American Pale Malt

3 lbs Vienna

1 lb Munich Light (6°L)

1 lb White Wheat

2 oz Crystal 60°L     (mash temp 150-151°)

1 oz Mt. Hood pellets as a FWH addition (add hops to brewpot as you're collecting the first runnings from your MT)

1 oz Mt. Hood pellets 5.5% for 60 minutes

1 oz Mt. Hood pellets (any AA% is okay here) for 1 minute

Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast

OG: 1.053, FG: 1.013, IBU: 38, SRM: 8, ABV: 5.2%

The AA rating of the hops is more critical on the 60 minute addition and the FWH addition.  For those, I used 5.5% Mt. Hoods and I used an ounce of 4% Mt. Hoods for the last addition.  The 38 IBUs is calculated from those percentages.  Feel free bumping that number any way you like.  I could also see this working well with 1272 American Ale II or any English yeast as well.  Again, use what you have and what you envision making a good beer.  The name "Extra Pale Ale" refers to the color being very light on this beer.  When the beer is ready to be served and it's crystal-clear, it's a very attractive light orange color that looks great in a beer glass.  It tastes good too.  Cheers!


Signature Ale

If my Memory Lapse Pale Ale and my Home Run Red ever collided, I think this would be the result.  The inspriration for this beer came from a beer that I had in the Spring of 2010 at the Starved Rock State Park in Utica, Illinois.  At one of the taverns at the main lodge, they serve a beer called "Signature Ale" and it is apparently brewed by Leinenkugel.  There is not a lot of information available about this beer and after multiple emails to the fine people at Leinie, I've got nothing.  Except the mental notes I took while drinking this beer.  We had gone hiking on a Saturday but the weather was cold, snowy and windy and we decided to stop at this place for lunch.  Our waitperson mentioned this beer and said it was a sort of red ale.  I just-so-happened to be mildly hungover from the previous night's activities, but this beer looked so good I just had to try it.  My wife and I agreed that it was nice and then we ordered 2 more.  Is it a cross between a pale ale and a red?  Maybe.  It's a simple recipe and it falls very much within the guidelines that I typically brew under... simple, balanced, straightforward and refreshing.  I just kegged a batch of this and the smell alone was making my mouth water.  Check it out...

9 lbs American 2-row Pale Malt

8 oz Crystal 40°L

6 oz Belgian Special B         (mash temp 151°)

6.5 AAU of Magnum pellets for 60 minutes (this happened to be ½ oz at 13%)

Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast

OG: 1.054, FG: 1.014, IBU: 27, SRM: 13, ABV: 5.2%

There are a few reviews of this beer on BeerAdvocate and it receives some lukewarm responses from most of the Beerheads there, probably due to the lack of hops.  I can't say that this is REALLY the beer I had in the tavern that day, but it's in the spirit of it.  I know that the hops were "clean" and not fruity or citrusy.  Were they Magnum?  I have no idea, but I happened to have some and knew that they would be good in this beer.  I have heard numerous stories about Leinie beers all containing Cluster hops (their site does list their ingredients and Cluster is common) and also about how all of their beers are lagers.  This beer is clearly marked SIGNATURE ALE on the tap handle so you be the judge.  We sat at a big pub table and looked through big windows out over the bluffs of the start park.  It was cloudy, windy, snowy and cold but it was just right in that tavern.  The flatscreen TVs had the NCAA basketball games on and we were right at home having lunch and drinking this beer.  Brew it up and see what you think.  Cheers.

King Of Clubs


In the fall of 2011, I had these ingredients in the brew bunker and envisioned a little darker beer with some nice, late hops added to the boil.  You guys know that I like my hops clean and I don't really like when hops push the beer towards fruity, piney, citrusy, etc.  Mt. Hood being one of my favorite hops, I looked at using them and complimenting them with something else.  The resulting beer came out so nicely that the keg lasted for a very short time (with the help of some buds that were over to watch some football on a Sunday afternoon!).  The beer is clean, balanced & quite addictive.  This was a beer where I tried to showcase a hop that I don't use very often and the aroma I got when I dropped these Liberty hops into the boil was mouth-watering.  The two hops work beautifully together.

5 lbs UK Pale Malt (MO, GP, etc.)

2 lbs American 2-row

2.5 lbs Weyermann Dark Munich 10°L

6 oz Crystal 120°L

1 oz Debittered Black Malt

1 oz Mt. Hood pellets 6.1% for 60 minutes

½ oz Liberty pellets 4.5% for 15 minutes

½ oz Liberty pellets 4.5% for 10 minutes

½ oz Liberty pellets 4.5% for 5 minutes

½ oz Liberty pellets 4.5% for 1 minute

White Labs 01 California Ale Yeast

OG: 1.054, FG: 1.014, IBU: 36, SRM: 13, ABV: 5.2%

The final beer was clear, dark, creamy and had a great hop flavor and aroma.  The original keg went so fast that a few weeks later I had Wyeast 1028 London Ale up and running and made another batch of this beer with that yeast and THAT version is on currently on tap here at Mayfair Court Brewhouse and it's very good as well.  I fermented this beer "cool" (around 60-62°) and added a gram or so of gypsum to the mash to accentuate the hops a bit as well.  Check your own water and make those mods based on your own water & experience.

Red Canoe Country Lager

This is a beer that is supposed to come close to Two Women Lager by New Glarus in Wisconsin.  I was up in the Northwoods fishing and picked up a bunch of New Glarus beer (which is only available in WI, btw) and when I grabbed a Two Women and starting walking down to the pier, I took a sip and exclaimed, "2308!".  No one else knew what I was talking about.  Go figure.  Anyway, Two Women is described by New Glarus as a German Country Lager.  The "Two Women" are Deb Carey from New Glarus and the woman who runs Weyermann malting in Germany.  These two women worked together to make a malty, amber-colored lager that is absolutely delicious.  This is not for hopheads so be warned right now.  Miraculously, the label tells you that the beer contains all Weyermann malt and Hallertau Mittelfruh hops.  That's a lot of information since this brewery holds their cards very close to their vest.  I emailed the brewery looking for more information and they kindly told me that I was on my own.  I have made this beer 3 or 4 times now and it's very nice.  I know there is no way that this is really Two Women and I'm sure some of my ingredients are incorrect.  But this is as close as I can get to creating a clone of a good commercial beer.  This beer is very much in the spirit of the commercial version so brew up a batch and see what you think.

4.5 lbs German Pilsner Malt (Durst, Best Malz, Weyermann)

4.5 lbs Weyermann Munich 10°L

4 ounces Belgian Caramunich 45°L

4 ounces Belgian Special B

Approximately 3 AAU of Hallertau Mittelfruh FWH

5 AAU Hallertau Mittelfruh pellets for 60 minutes

Wyeast 2308 Bavarian Lager Yeast

OG: 1.053, FG: 1.013, IBU: 28, SRM: 13, ABV: 5.2%

Mash between 151 and 152.  This is not a beer that would play nicely with high levels of sulfate.  If you're really interested in using the water profile I use for this beer, go over to my water page and look at my tap water numbers.  I use 50% distilled water and 50% filtered tap water for this beer and add 3g of calcium chloride and 1g of calcium sulfate (gypsum) to the mash.  On the hops, if you need to sub out the hops, go for Hallertau, Tettnanger, Spalt, Hersbrucker, etc.  On an upcoming batch, I will be using very small amounts of Tradition and Northern Brewer together with Hallertau Mittelfruh.  All the hops are FWH or 60-minute additions so it's fine to sub.  I added the Special B (assuming it was incorrect) to get a reddish color that the commercial version has.  The beer is a deep reddish amber color and has a nice, deep & malty flavor as well.  I've got some 2308 on a stirplate right now in anticipation of making this beer!  Here's a shot of it...