What happened!?! Also, a wheat stout.

As any brewer will tell you sometimes things go unexpectantly well and other times things go expectantly bad. Somewhere in the middle of those two extremes in your average brewing experience. And, then, of course things go unexpectantly bad just as equally as they may go expectantly well.

Brucifer  was one of those beers where the brew day was pretty great. The temperatures were hit, the schedule was on time. The additions were exactly to plan and the ingredients were as fresh as I could get them. My one suspicion was that the yeast didn’t grow to the levels needed for a proper lager. I figured at the very least I would be at 90% of what Beersmith said I needed for proper fermentation. I guess I’ll never know now. The beer fermented for the better part of 4 weeks. I could tell though that it was never going to be what I needed or wanted. The gravity never dropped below 1.020. On top of that, I don’t like to play around with my beers and repitch. It would just be a result that was not repeatable. I did what I think I had to do. I dumped the batch. I also suspect that perhaps I needed to boil all that pilsner malt for a full 90 and I may have cut a corner there. Who me? Yeah… Read my book, its my M.O., as you’ll see.

Sayonara, as they say.


That said, the dumped beer freed some space to brew up a Chocolate Wheat Stout. I’ve been wanting to make one of these as long as I have been brewing. I have no idea why, either. I just like the idea of wheat, chocolate, and what better beer form than in a stout?



Here it is boiling. Its got a big grain bill. Many different things. Sure, I know that you can really gum up a beer(flavorwise) by overly complicating it, but if you do manage to pull it off you can also make something quite good and unique.

I have a lot of malts though. Pilsner base, wheat and chocolate wheat. Some british malts as well. I’ll also put this on chocolate for a week or two. Maybe some oak. I’ll decide soon enough.

As far as hops, I used a bit of Saaz(my favorite) as well as a few ounces of Centennial. If all goes well, it should be A-Ok. For yeast I went with American Ale II from Wyeast. It was between that or a German Ale yeast, but I decided to stay away from the Bock character for now.



The Cram Ale, “Fellowship of the Cram”, was well recieved at Cramfest this year. Would I make it again? Maybe, if it was requested. Left to my own devices, I might attempt something a bit more suitable for the summer weather here in California. CramAle was a great success in terms of flavor and profile, but drinking a brown ale when its 90+ degrees out just isn’t the ideal situation for “relaxation.”  Until next time.



First Taste: Cram Ale

My good British friend Crammond is about to celebrate his birthday again. It seemed only fitting to make a Cram-Ale for his birthday celebrations. It was designed as a blend of an English Mild and a Scottish 60 Shilling. After tasting it, the final verdict is similar to a Northern English Brown ale. Imagine cracking open a traditional Newcastle. Subtract a touch of the bitterness. Add some roastyness, and toffee as well. The finish has a nice chocolate note, probably from the special roast. It really is fantastic! I’m very selective about which ones make it to competitions, but this one will. In two weeks time I’ll submit it.

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26 IBU
4.3% ABV
OG: 1.046
FG 1.013.

Actually, this beer has a lot of things in it…
Pale Malts – 35%
Golden Promise 20%
Special Roast – 5%
Munich – 25%
The remaining 15 percent is split up between Honey Malt, Acid Malt, Black Roasted Barley, and some Cara’s. Of course, I created a 1 Liter starter of English ESB Yeast.
Traditional, all Kent Goldings hops. 2.5oz in total for a 6.5g batch.

I debated making this a traditional cask ale, but since I havent made it before I didnt want to flirt with disaster on a botched carbonation. I only had 5 weeks to make a starter, brew the beer, ferment it, carbonate it and bottle it.

Hard to beat. I think this will serve his birthday party quite well.

The official beer bottle label in his traditional Watford colors.