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Showing posts from April, 2015

Recipe: Stone Brewing Co. Levitation Amber Ale

I recently read that Stone Brewing Co. of California publicly shared the recipe for their discontinued Levitation Amber Ale.  Stone's official description of the beer is:
We're best known for brewing aggressive, big-character beers, but we love a great sessionable ale as much as anyone. Most beers at the less-weighty end of the spectrum lack flavor and depth as much as they lack high ABVs, but not Stone Levitation Ale!  This deep amber brew has a rich maltiness, big hoppy character, citrus overtones, and an impressively modest alcohol content for a beer with so much flavor packed into it. The beer was first released in September 2002.  It's listed at 4.4% alcohol by volume and 45 IBUs.

The official recipe works out to the following for a 5-gallon batch.

Stone Levitation Amber Ale

Starting Gravity: 1.048 (12 Plato)
Final Gravity: 1.013 (3.2 Plato)
Fermentation Temperature: 72 Degrees Fahrenheit

8.5 pounds of crushed American two-row pale malt
14.4 ounces of crushed Crystal m…

How to Remove Beer Bottle Labels

When you've finished a batch of homebrew, you'll either bottle it or put it in a keg.  Although they are more work, I prefer bottles because they're easier for me to store and share with friends.  Buying bottles to use for homebrew can get costly - especially if your friends don't return them after they finish drinking the contents.  That's why many home brewers like me use bottles recycled from micro brews and craft brews we've purchased in the store.

In order to give your home brew a nicer look, you'll want to remove the original labels first.  That will allow you to add your own labels later on.

For Belgian and German beers, I'll often use just hot water.  For most others, I'll use the method described below.

I've found that one of the easiest ways to remove labels from craft beer bottles is:

Get a half-scoop of Oxi-Clean laundry stain remover (which is food safe) or a generic brand of the same material.Turn on your kitchen faucet's hot wa…

How To Select and Toast Wood for Better Homebrew

A recent guest post on Homebrew Finds (a great site for picking up the occasional home brewing deal) discussed how to toast and use wood chips in a beer.

The author of the post, Matt Del Fiacco, not only talks about how to toast the wood, but a number of other related topics like the different "toast levels" of wood and how they impact the flavors, and the kinds of flavors you can expect from using different types of wood in your brewing.

If you don't feel like reading the entire post (but I recommend it), here's the important detail:

Lightly toasted woods have fewer tannins and impart more of a vanilla and wood flavorMedium toasted woods produce toasty, sweet, caramel, maple, and vanilla flavorsHeavily toasted wood tends to provide smoky, roasty, coffee like flavors balanced with some of the flavors seen in a medium toast The temperature used to toast wood chips tends to affect the flavor as well.  With oak, for example, here's how the roasting temperature affect…

6 Easy Ways To Make Your Homebrew Clear

During the creation of a wort, a group of proteins is formed that will show up when the beer is chilled to drinking temperatures.  This "chill haze" does not affect the flavor of the beer, but does make the beer appear cloudy or hazy.  For darker beer styles like a porter or stout, the haze might not be visible.  For lighter styles like pilsners, this haze might be undesirable.  Fortunately, it's easy to remove chill haze from a beer.

1. The Hot Break
During the boil of your wort, it's important to boil vigorously.  This will help to coagulate many of the proteins that form chill haze.  This is what is known as the Hot Break.  When you're finished boiling the wort, gently stirring it in a "whirlpool" fashion with a sanitized spoon will cause the coagulated proteins and other particles of trub to collect in the middle of the kettle.  If you carefully remove the wort from the kettle, you can leave these undesirable proteins behind, resulting in a clearer b…