Altar of Light Summer Ale

Altar of LightI wanted to brew something light and refreshing for the long hot summer we’ve been experiencing here in Seattle, and I wanted to brew it on the longest day of the year: summer solstice.  Attempting to make something similar to Boulevard Brewing’s Ginger Lemon Radler without actually blending a beer with soda, I decided to add lemon flesh, lemon zest, coriander, and fresh ginger to an otherwise basic American wheat ale recipe I wrote.  I was originally going to sour it with wild bacteria that I’ve been culturing, but decided I would make a clean version first and sour a second batch if I liked the resulting beer.

Conflicts in scheduling presented themselves so I ended up missing the solstice by a day and brewed it on 22 June 2015.  The beer turned out well but I have some tweaks in mind for a future version, namely, less lemon zest, more ginger, and perhaps the addition of fresh lemon juice in secondary.

Altar of Light Summer Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 11.10
Anticipated OG: 1.056
Anticipated SRM: 5.0
Anticipated IBU: 26.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes


36% — 4.00 Lbs. US 2-Row
34% — 3.80 Lbs. Wheat Malt
09% — 1.00 Lbs. Carapils
09% — 1.00 Lbs. Honey Malt
07% — 0.80 Lbs. White Wheat
4.5% — 0.50 Lbs. Flaked Wheat


1.00 oz. Mount Hood (Pellet, 6.5% AA) @ 45 min.
1.00 oz. Cascade (Pellet, 7.0% AA) @ 10 min.
1.00 oz. Amarillo (Pellet, 9.3% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Azacca (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop).


1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 10 min.
0.50 each Lemon Flesh @ 5 min.
1.00 tbs Coriander Seed @ 5 min.
0.85 oz. Lemon Zest @ 5 min.
1.35 oz. Lemon Zest @ 5 days (secondary).
2.00 oz. Fresh Ginger Tea @ 5 days (secondary).
1.00 oz. Fresh Ginger Root @ 5 days (secondary).


Wyeast 1010 – American Wheat

Water Profile

1.00 g Calcium Chloride
1.50 g Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 90 min @ 153F


06.20.15 — Made a 1L starter with 1 Wyeast 1010 packet.  Brewtoad suggests 215 billion cells to ferment 5.5 gal.  Cold crashed and decanted morning of brew day.

Brewed on 06.22.15

06.22.15 — Chilled wort to 65F and pitched the American Wheat yeast

06.24.15 — Signs of vigorous fermentation activity

07.02.15 — Transferred into secondary after 10 day primary fermentation, added 2.00 oz. fresh ginger as a tea and 1.00 oz. chopped fresh ginger root

07.07.15 — Kegged most of batch and began carbonating; bottled 1 gallon with 1.20 oz. corn sugar for 3.5 volumes of CO2

Tasting Notes — 09. 06.15 (poured off tap)

I didn’t use any Whirfloc with this beer to maintain the classic cloudiness that wheat beer is renowned for.  Generous white fluffy head.  The lemon zest dominates the nose with light floral notes from the coriander melding nicely with the tropical and citrus, mango-like Azacca aromatics.  Subtle hints of ginger spice are present as well.  Palate follows the nose but I don’t get much ginger out of the beer.  Body is crisp and dry but not overly thin.  Lemon and wheat acidity linger on a long dry finish that has a wonderfully balanced bitterness.  If I let this beer sit on my tongue and warm in my mouth I get more of the lush lemon juice quality I want this beer to present (hence my idea to add some lemon juice in secondary in an attempt to capture that sensation).  Good summer beer.

Calculated OG: 1.047
Calculated FG: 1.004
Approx. ABV: 5.6%


Spruce Springsteen — Spruce Tip Session Ale

Spruce TipsFor this beer I again enlisted the help of Eric The Barter (who may also be referred to as Eric The Forager) to scare up some fresh Pacific Northwest spruce tips.  Not only did he come through for this beer, but Eric found enough spruce for Gregory and I to brew a second spruce tip beer in the near future (we intend to make the second one without any hops).

For this beer though, I decided on a light pale ale frame with some flaked oats for body and some crystal 120 for color adjustment.  I decided to focus on Simcoe hops late in the boil and as a dry-hop for their notes of pine, citrus, and earth, which satisfyingly compliments the spruce.

According to Brewtoad I should have hit a target original gravity of 1.053 for a beer of about 5.0% ABV; however, I only hit 1.034 and finished with a beer of about 4.1% ABV.  This isn’t the first time I’ve missed my gravity using Brewtoad’s estimates for recipes with flaked grains; I think they might anticipate more fermentables from these types of grains than what is actually produced because I usually hit or overshoot my gravities otherwise.  That being the case, I now have a delicious session ale with spruce tips!

Spruce Springsteen — Spruce Tip Session Ale

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 10.50
Anticipated OG: 1.053
Anticipated SRM: 8.0
Anticipated IBU: 32.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


80% – 8.50 Lbs. American 2-Row Pale Ale
09% – 1.00 Lb. White Wheat
04% – 0.50 Lbs. Flaked Oats
04% – 0.50 Lbs. Crystal 120L


0.50 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 90 min (first wort).
0.50 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 20 min.
1.00 oz. Simcoe (Pellet, 13.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Simcoe (Pellet, 13.0% AA) @ 5 days (dry hop).


1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.
6.00 oz. Spruce Tips @ 15 min.
2.00 oz. Spruce Tips @ 5 days (dry hop).


White Labs WLP051 – California V Ale Yeast

Water Profile

0.20 tsp Calcium Chloride
0.30 tsp Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 60 min @ 153F


04.21.15 — Late starter made night before brewday without sufficient time to culture up

Brewed on 04.22.15

04.22.15 — Chilled wort to 60F and pitched the California V Ale Yeast

04.25.15 — Signs of moderate fermentation activity

05.03.15 — Transferred to secondary and added dry-hops and 2.00 oz. spruce tips

05.08.15 — Kegged the beer and began force carbonating

Lavender Spruce SpringsteenTasting Notes

This beer turned out great; light and crisp with body enough to seem a bit stronger ABV-wise.  The earthy, fruity spruce melds perfectly with the delicious Simcoe hops.  I’d make this one again.

Calculated OG: 1.034
Calculated FG: 1.003
Approx. ABV: 4.1%

100% Brettanomyces IPA

Brett IPAWhat do you do if you have an abundance of hops to use up and wish to make something a little more interesting than a standard IPA?  Craft a 100% Brett. IPA of course.

This brew follows a basic IPA recipe but utilizes some acidulated malt which drops the PH slightly and helps the Brett. along during fermentation.  We loaded this brew up with generous additions of Centennial, Columbus, Chinook, and Ahtanum hops for their wonderful floral and citrus notes as well as some herbal and piney undertones.

We originally pitched only Brett. Brux. Trois but had poor initial fermentation even though we had made a pretty hefty starter so we added a vial of Brett. Claussenii and fermentation picked up noticeably.  We think this will turn out to be a happy accident as (if all goes well) the Brett. C. will contribute more fruity aromatics to compliment the dry-hopping while the more aggressive Brett. Brux. Trois should add a mellow tartness and some fruity funk.  All was tasting on point at the time of transfer to secondary.

100% Brettanomyces IPA Variant 01

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 13.25
Anticipated OG: 1.065
Anticipated SRM: 7.0
Anticipated IBU: 45.0
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75%
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


75% – 10.0 Lbs. U.S. 2-Row Pale
07% – 1.0 Lbs. Carapils
07% – 1.0 Lbs. Acidulated Malt
05% – .75 Lbs. Crystal 40L
03% – .50 Lbs. Honey Malt


0.50 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 10.5% AA) @ 90 min.
0.20 0z. Columbus (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 60 min.
0.40 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 10.5% AA) @ 15 min.
0.50 0z. Columbus (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 10 min.
0.50 0z. Ahtanum (Pellet, 6.0% AA) @ 10 min.
0.25 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 10.5% AA) @ 05 min.
0.50 0z. Ahtanum (Pellet, 6.0% AA) @ 01 min.
0.50 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 01 min.
1.00 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 10.5% AA) @ 0 min.
0.50 0z. Ahtanum (Pellet, 6.0% AA) @ 0 min.
0.50 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 0 min.
1.00 oz. Chinook (Pellet, 12.0% AA) @ 5 days dry hop
1.00 oz. Centennial (Pellet, 10.5% AA) @ 5 days dry hop
0.50 0z. Columbus (Pellet, 15.0% AA) @ 5 days dry hop
0.50 0z. Ahtanum (Pellet, 6.0% AA) @ 5 days dry hop


1.00 Whirlfloc @ 15 min.
1.00 tsp Yeast Nutrient @ 15 min.


White Labs WLP644 Brettanomyces Bruxellensis Trois
White Labs WLP645 Brettanomyces Claussenii

Water Profile

1.00 tsp Calcium Chloride
1.00 tsp Gypsum

Mash Schedule

Single Infusion – 75 min @ 155F


All late hop additions of “Centennial” are a 60%/40% Centennial/Columbus blend from Fremont Brewing.

10.15.14 – Made a stir-plate 2L starter with 1 White Labs WLP644 vial.  Fed it for two weeks to build cell count but never saw much activity.

Brewed 10.29.14 with Gregory

10.29.14 – Chilled wort to 70F before pitching yeast starter.

11.03.14 –  After 5 days without much activity, we pitched a vial of White Labs WLP645 with temperature holding steady at 65-68F.

11.20.14 – Transferred to secondary fermentor after 17 day primary fermentation with noticeable uptick in activity after the addition of the Claussenii.

Currently planning to let it condition for 27 days with the addition of the dry hops 5 days before kegging.

12.12.14 – Added dry hop additions.

12.17.14 – Kegged IPA with additional dry hops and carbonated and tasted it shortly thereafter.

Tasting Notes

This beer did not turn out.  Unfortunately it presents extremely grassy vegetal notes and a bracing, unpleasant bitterness.  We’ve brewed 100% Brett. IPAs before, so in our troubleshooting we have ruled out the usual suspects (old or bad ingredients, missed targets, wrong fermentation temp., uncleanliness & poor sanitation).  We were initially convinced that is was due to the stalled primary fermentation, however, when we transferred the beer to secondary it was tasting fine.  We now believe we simply had too many hop additions and the dryness that Brett. imparts accentuated the apparent bitterness.  This is our best guess even though the beer only clocks in with approximately 45 IBUs and a ratio of 0.71 IBU/OG, which is fairly low on the range of the IPA scale.  Next time we’ll stick to a simpler hop profile.  If anyone can come up with something we didn’t think of, leave a comment!

Calculated OG: 1.066
Calculated FG: 1.012
Approx. ABV: 7.1%

Transfer Day

Three Beers 01

Three Beers 03Yesterday Gregory and I transferred three different beers that have been working for some time now — (from left to right) 100% Brettanomyces fermented IPA, Cabernet Franc grape rye saison, & Cabernet Franc grape sour pale ale.  I also transferred the Chanterelle Belgian Strong into secondary and added the mushrooms today.  I’ll get individual posts and recipes for the three brews we transferred yesterday up very soon!