Tag Archives: Beer

Rip City Rye {Extract}.

Written by the hubs,

With this recipe I set out to make a hoppy rye ale similar to an IPA or a heavily hopped pale ale. I used 2 pounds of rye malt in the steeping grains for this extract batch because I really wanted to get that sharp edge that rye can give a beer. The color turned out to be a nice clear amber and the beer was quite effervescent at bottling. This was also the first time I used the Whitelabs California V ale yeast. When I created the recipe I originally wanted to use the classic Whitelabs California Ale yeast, but the local home brew store was out so I went with the California V. It turned out really well as the California V imparts a sweet tangy flavor that went well with the sharpness of the rye malt and the fruity/citrus flavor form the Centennial hops. Two other interesting things I learned about the yeast is that it puts off an almost sulfur type odor during fermentation. The wife kept thinking I was crop dusting (farting) in the closest where the beer was fermenting. I blamed it on the beer. Not sure she believed me until I had her put her nose up to the ferm lock. Don’t worry though, the odor does not make it into the actual flavor of the beer. The other interesting thing about this yeast was that it fermented for a pretty long time. It had a few days of furious bubbling then it settled in for the long haul and was still active going into the third week. All said and done the beer turned out great. Wife’s happy with it and she wants to replicate it using our new all grain set up.

Steeping Grains & Extract

6 lbs Light Malt Extract

2 lbs Rye Malt

1 lb Crystal 15L

5 oz CaraPils/Dextrine

5 oz Flaked Wheat

Hop & Adjunct Schedule

1 oz Centennial @ 60 min

1 oz Centennial @ 30 min

.5 oz Centennial @ 15 min + 1 tsp Irish Moss

.5 oz Centennial @ 5 min


Whitelabs California V Ale – Pitched at 68 to 70 degree

Fermented in the primary for 20 days at around 66 degrees. Transferred to secondary for another 10 days to clear

Drink it up!

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2012 Malt Vinegar Project – Home Brew.

As promised I am continuing my experimentation with making vinegar and open/wild fermentation. I started my second batch of malt vinegar on January 21, this time using home brewed stout. I used a 22 ounce bottle of stout and included the yeasty sediment at the bottom of the bottle and one tablespoon of cider vinegar mother that we made at the end of last year by fermenting unpasturized cider into vinegar. I will keep you all updated as this progresses.

Here is the promised update on the first batch, made with Guinness. You can read more about this here.

The beer has not really done much at this time. You can see a scum on the surface that looks different from the mother of the cider vinegar, but still has that similar pearly look that I think it should between the scum. Also, my thought is that the scum is coming from one of two things, left over carbonation from the beer creating foam or that it is simply supposed to look that way.

One last note, I am purposefully not being scientific when I talk about my vinegar. I prefer to know less so as to be more in tune with the wild side of the fermemntation. I know this can sound stupid or crazy to some, but back before there were books, this all happened by chance, and that is what intrigues me about wild fermentation.

There is one book I use, though, Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. I love this book. It is insightful, educational and it possesses a similar passion for the wild that I have myself. A favorite excerpt from the introduction states, “Fermentation is everywhere, always. It is an everyday miracle, the path of least resistance. Microscopic bacteria and fungi (encompassing yeasts and molds) are in every breath we take and every bite we eat. Try-as many do-to eradicate them with antibacterial soaps, antifungal creams, and antibiotic drugs, there is no escaping them. They are ubiquitous agents of transformation, feasting upon decaying matter, constantly shifting dynamic life forces from one miraculous and horrible creation to the next.”

Happy fermenting!

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The Dark Passenger Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA) {Extract}.

Written by the hubs,

The Dark Passenger was made at the recommendation of the RootCellar. What we discovered about this particular batch is that it would also a beer that can sit in a root cellar for some time and get better with age. As with many very dark and robust beers their flavors tend to become more discerning and complex as they age. This beer was brewed with a good amount of Caraffa II and Chocolate malts. There was also some black patent malt that added to the extra dark color of this beer. The Cascadian Dark Ale is not a style of beer that has been around long. Some like to call it at Black IPA, but this beer style and the people who have championed its rise to fame hail from Cascadia. Also, the fact that this beer utilized some of our home grown citrusy NW Centennial & Cascade hops, lends even more credence to it receiving the moniker of CDA versus Black IPA.  Semantics aside it has been a good beer so far and continues to taste better with each bottle that we open. So far it has spent over a month in bottles and it continues to get better with age. Just like the RootCellar herself.

Hat tip to Peter Reed at Serious Eats-Homebrewing for the recipe.

Extract & Grains: 

7 lbs Pilsner Liquid Malt Extract

1 lb 4 oz Chocolate Malt

1 lb Caraffa II

12 oz Crystal 80L

12 oz Crystal 40L

2 oz Black Patent

Hop & Adjunct Schedule:

1 oz Centennial @ 60 min

1 oz Centennial @ 45 min

1 oz Cascade @ 30 min

.5 oz Cascade @ 15 min

.5 oz Cascade @ 5 min

1 oz Cascade dry hop addition for 7 days in secondary

Pitch Wyeast 1056 American Ale yeast with wort at 70 to 68 degrees. Ferment for 14 days then move to secondary for 7 days with dry hops.

Drink it up…but don’t drink em’ all. Keep a few of for aging.


Filed under Beer, Dairy Free, Edible Plants, From the Garden, Vegetarian

2012 Malt Vinegar Project – Store Bought.

In 2011 the hubs and I started down a path of interest in wild yeast and open fermentation. We have started several activities that are directly interconnected to these things. We have been brewing our own beer, which you can read about here, if you have not already. I also started some cider vinegar in October with unpasteurized cider from the farm. I also tried starting sourdough, three times, from wild yeast. All three ultimately failed, but I believe this was due to the cold temperatures in my house during the cold fall that we had. In November I started some cranberry vinegar with leftover cranberries from this amazing stuffing.

At the end of 2011, even more smitten with wild yeast and open fermentation I added some goals to my bucket list for 2012. One of these goals was to continue my vinegar project, but to make sure I blog about it so that everyone can get as motivated about yeast and bacteria as I am! Weird, right!

In any case, we wasted no time. On January 1 we started our first malt vinegar. This is a trial run and we hope to someday use our own beer to make this product. For this batch we used Guinness. We used the “mother” from the cider vinegar that has been fermenting since October. In one of the jars, the vinegar is almost completely evaporated at this point and the mother is quite large and in the other jar, there is still a significant amount of vinegar and another large mother. Our goal is to use this throughout the next several months to start more batches of vinegar, that we are actually going to use. This first batch really just turned into a mother growing endeavor, which is a great money saver as I have seen the stuff for quite a bit on the internet. Now we can use it to grow any vinegar we want. You can read about vinegar mother, here.

Malt Vinegar.


16 ounces of Guinness draught

1 large spoonful of cider vinegar “mother”


Open beer and leave it to sit on the counter for 24 hours. This takes the carbonation out of it. The next day pour it into your container of choice, make sure it has a wide mouth and is not metal. I use a glass jar. Add the “mother” and affix cheese cloth over the top of the container to keep the fruit flies out of it (This is a true reality of making vinegar, the fruit flies love it. I have found that 2 tablespoons of store bought cider vinegar with 3 drops of dish soap in it will catch all of the flies you can find. Just set it near the fermenting vinegar). Do not seal this, it needs oxygen and access to wild yeast and bacteria that will be in the air.

Place the container in a warm, dark place, like the pantry and allow it to sit for 6-8 weeks.

Stay tuned. I will be back with updates as this ages.


Filed under Beer, DIY, Fermentation and Yeast, Test Items

The LisaWeizen Wheat Ale {Extract}.

Written by the hubs,

This beer was made in honor of my mother-in-law’s (Lisa) trip to the NW for the Holidays this year. The NW and Portland, in general, are known for it’s hoppy beers and it always seems like when family from less hop forward beer regions come to town their pallets are challenged to find a beer that they are accustomed to drinking. To steer them away from their more ‘domestic’ ways I decided to make a light American Wheat beer. It turned out pretty good and should be at peak freshness when the Root Cellers’ Mother arrives tomorrow.

Here’s the recipe:

Grains & Extracts

3 lbs Pilsner Liquid Malt Extract

1 lb Briees CBW Bavarian Wheat Dried Malt Extract (DME)

1 lb Pilsner Malt

1 lb Wheat Malt

8 oz Crystal 40

4 oz Cara-Pils/Dextrine

Hop Schedule
.5 oz Mt. Hood @ 60 minutes

.5 oz Mt. Hood @ 30 minutes

1 tsp Irish Moss @ 15 minutes

1 oz. Cascade @  5 minutes


1010 Wyeast American Wheat

OG: 1.050

FG: 1.012

Fermented at around 66 to 68 for 14 days in the primary. No secondary.

Drink it up!

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Spent Grain No-Knead Bread.

I am quickly expanding the foods I am making with the plethora of spent grains that brewing beer every week produces. I added it to my first bread this past weekend and the result was great! I love the staple no-knead recipe and I love to alter it. The spent grains fit in quite well here, as did the replacement of most of the all purpose flour with spelt flour. It was so pretty as dough because of the chocolate grians.

Spent Grain No-Knead Bread. Adapted from the New York Times.


2 1/2 C spelt flour

1 1/4 t kosher salt

1/4 t yeast

1 C wet spent grains (I used crystal 60, chocolate, and carafa)

1 1/2 C water, room temperature

1-2 C all purpose flour (for later!)


Combine spelt flour, salt and yeast. Add spent grains and combine. Add water and combine with a spatula. Place in a warm location for 12-24 hours.

Put a liberal amount of all purpose flour on the counter and turn dough out onto it. You will want to continue adding flour as the dough is going to be quite liquidy and thick. Fold the dough over itself over and over until you are able to contain it in a single location. Do not be afraid to continue to add flour, it will likely take quite a bit. Once you have a the dough contained, make sure there is a good amount of flour under and around it and cover with a towel (not terrycloth).

Allow the dough to set for two hours. After 90 minutes put a dutch oven with a lid on it into the oven and preheat to 450 degrees. After 30 minutes, open oven, remove lid, and add dough. Cut top if you want to control the shape of the top of the load. Settle the pot a little to spread the dough and replace the lid. Bake 30 minutes. Remove lid and bake 15 minutes longer.

Remove from oven and pot and place on a cooling rack for at least an hour. I strongly suggest eating this warm with butter!

Related: 10 Grain No-Knead Bread.



Filed under Beer, Bread, Dairy Free, Grains/Rice, Spent Grain, Vegan, Vegetarian

Yard Dog Bitter Brown Ale {Extract}.

This is by the hubs (just a note, I tried to get him his own user name…nope!),

Don't break the bottle top while bottling...whoops!

This beer recipe marks the first in a series of single hop beers using the prolific Mt. Hood hops that grow in our yard. The Mt Hoods are the first to rise out of the ground every spring and the first the reach their ultimate heights in the summer. Some of their growth is even curtailed to keep them from crawling onto the telephone and cable lines. The Mt. Hood hop was bred to grow well in the Pacific Northwest and is a cross breed of the German Hop Hallertau Mittelfrueh. Characterized by a slightly spicy yet clean flavor and aroma these hops are commonly used as a substitute to Hallertau Mittelfrueh, however the alpha acid range is a little bit higher at 4-6%. Although Mt. Hoods are commonly used in European style lagers I have used them in several of my beers such as pale ales, IPA’s and a wheat.

We were entering the fall when we brewed this beer and I was sipping a nicely hoped, fall spirited, Sierra Nevada Tumbler. With that flavor in mind I set out to devise a fairly hoppy brown ale. I found a relatively simple malt profile for a brown ale online and concocted a single hop schedule that was a bit bolder than the common brown ale recipe. I also found that a lot of browns utilized a Whitbread yeast, so I went with it. The interesting part of this recipe was the pound of flaked corn. I had no idea what this would do for the beer and had never used flaked corn in a beer before. However after looking a countless brown ale recipes I decided to roll with it. Here’s the recipe:

Grains & Extract:

6 lbs Light/Pale liquid malt extract

1 lb Flaked Corn

8 oz Crystal 80

8 oz Crystal 60

8 oz Crystal 15

8 oz Cara-Pils / Dextrine

5 oz Chocolate Malt

3 oz Special B Malt

Hop Schedule:

1 oz Mt. Hood @60 min

1 oz Mt. Hood @30 min

.5 oz Mt. Hood @ 15 min w/ 1 tsp Irish Moss

.5 oz Mt. Hood @ 1 min


Wyeast Whitbread Ale (1099)

Ferment at 68 degrees for 10 to 14 days. Rack to a secondary if you want to clear out some sediment, but I bottled straight from the primary on this one.

My standard operating procedure for the extract brew process:

In 4-5 gallons of water I steeped all of the milled specialty grains and flaked corn in a grain bag at 165-170 degrees for 30 minutes. Re-lit the burner and after the initial boil up I turned off the burner again and added all of the liquid malt extract, ensuring that it fully dissolves without scorching to the bottom of the brew kettle. Then I brought the wort back to a boil and began the 60 minute boil/hop schedule. Once the boil was completed I chilled with wort with the wort chiller down to 80 degrees. Strained out the hops while adding the wort to my sanitized carboy and toped the carboy off to around 5 gallons total. Aerated the wort a little and took a gravity reading. Then I aerated the wort more and pitched the yeast when the temperature was around 70 degrees.  Stuck the ferm lock on and let’er rip. Bottled with 5 oz of priming sugar after 10 to 14 days in the primary.

Drink up!

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The 3 Points NW Oatmeal Pale Ale {Extract}.

By, the Hubs.

Northwest Pale Ale’s are usually a more heavily hoped pale ale that commonly use the citrusy flavored NW-bred hop varieties.  So that is what I was going for with this recipe. The pound of flaked oats added body and a great mouth feel to the beer and helped contribute to a lighter color. For some reason this beer also carbonated like crazy and will foam over your glass quickly if you heavy hand the pour.

My inspiration for this beer is a fantastic Oatmeal Pale Ale that is brewed by local Portland, OR brewery Burnside Brewing. I researched around the internet and found a simple pale ale extract recipe that was light in color and even found a few that used oats as well. Once I had the grain/extract portion identified I put together a hop schedule similar to an IPA using the hops I have harvested from the yard. This is where the benefit of growing three varieties of hops comes in handy as I have a fairly good utility hop such as the Centennial that has a good alpha acid content and great aroma but it is also is fairly bitter when use in the early hop additions. However, one of the good things about the Centennial is that is has a very citrusy flavor and aroma as well so they end result is a really nice citrusy yet bitter flavor. My second flavoring hop addition was a Cascade which is well renowned for its citrus/floral notes. The Cascades from our yard are a little more grassy than others I have sampled so I think the alphas are lower than usual. The third hop I used was a Mt. Hood. Which is an Oregon bread hop derived from the noble German hop Hallertau.

So here is the recipe and some notes about the brew process and how it turned out.

Grain & Extract.

7 lbs Pilsner Liquid Malt Extract (LME)

3 lbs Crystal 15L

1 lb Flaked Oats or Rolled Oats

Hop & Adjunct Schedule.

2 oz Centennial @ 60

1 oz Cascade @ 30

1 oz Cascade @ 15  with 1 tsp Irish Moss

1 oz Mt. Hood @ 1

Dry Hop with 1 oz Mt. Hood for 7 days in the secondary after initial fermentation subsides.

Yeast: Wyeast 1056 American Ale

Per my usually extract process I brought 4 gallons of water up to 165 to 170 degrees, turned off the burner and steeped the Crystal 15L and Flaked Oats for 30 minutes. Then I sparged with 2 quarts of 170 degree water and squeezed as much liquid out of the grain bag as I could. During this process the amount of starchy liquid from the oats was quite noticeable. It was basically oatmeal mixed with grains. I brought the full liquid to a boil turned off the heat and added all 7 lbs of the Pilsner LME. After the LME was dissolved I brought the wort back to a boil and continued onto the 60 minute hop schedule. After the full 60 minute boil I chilled the wort to 80 degrees, added it to the sanitized primary fermenter and toped off the carboy volume to 5 gallons. Aerated. Took a gravity reading. Pitched yeast at round 70 to 68  degrees and aerated a bit more. After 10 days in the primary fermenter I transferred this to the secondary and dry hopped for another 7 days. These tasted best after 14 days in the bottle, but were fairly carbonated by 7 days.

What’s in a name:

This beer was named the 3 Points NW Pale because it was brewed the day after a dominating Portland Timbers home win over t he New England Revolution.

Drink it up!

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A Grand Hopportunity – Chapter 5 – The Yard Dog Fresh Hop Amber {Extract}.

This recipe is the last chapter in the hubs hop posts, but it will not be the last brew we post. We will share several more successful extract brews before we switch to all grain brewing in the new year. Then we will start the adventure of sharing those recipes too! Enjoy.

Fresh Hop Amber.

This fresh hop recipe was very simple because I wanted to really get the flavor and aroma of this years hop harvest. Next year I plan on brewing a single hop beer with wet hops from each plant. This year I used both the Centennial and the Mt Hood (both of which were on their second year) in the same batch.

Since fresh or, wet hops, straight off the bine can lose around 80% of their moisture during the drying process it is important to use significantly more ounces of hops when you brew a fresh hop beer. I read on various sites to use anywhere from 3 to 6 times the amount of hops (in ounces) that you normally would for the recipe. The range varies so significantly because some hops will have a higher lupulin content then others depending on their vintage and their growing conditions. Since the hops I harvested were only on their second year I erred on the high side and went with the 6 to 1 ratio. (6 ounces of wet to equal what would normally be 1 ounce of dry). This beer turned out hoppy, and I like that.

Extract & Grains:

6 lbs of Light/Pale liquid malt extract

1 lb of Crystal 80

Bring 4 gallons of water up to 165 to 170 degrees. Turn off the burner and steep 1 lb of  the crushed Crystal 80 in a grain bag for 30 minutes. Keep the lid on during the steep to help hold the heat.

With 10 minutes left on your 30 minute steep begin bringing 2 quarts of water up to 170 degrees in a separate pot. Once the 30 minute steep is completed, pull up your grain bag and let gravity drain the liquid out of the grains for a moment. If you have a helper have them pour the 2 quarts of   170 degree water (sparge water) over the open grain bag as you hold it. If you don’t have a helper you can set the open grain bag in a colander and pour the sparge water over the grain into another pot or straight into your brew kettle. I try to press as much liquid out of the grain bag as possible at this point before setting the spent aside.

Now that you have steeped your specialty grains bring the liquid (wort) to a boil in your brew kettle. Once you reach your initial boil turn off your burner and add half of the liquid malt extract (about 3 lbs). Stir constantly as you add the extract to ensure that it all dissolves and does not scorch to the bottom of the kettle. Bring you wort back up to a rolling boil. Right as your rolling boil begins add your first hop addition and start you 60 minute timer. Here is the hop and adjunct schedule I used for the 60 minute boil (minutes count down):

6 oz of wet Centennials @ 60 minutes

4 ounces of Centennials @ 30 minutes (remove from heat and add remaining liquid malt extract here)

1 tsp Irish moss @ 15 minutes

6 ounces of Mt. Hoods at @ 5 minutes

I also used 1 oz of dried Mt. Hoods to dry hop the beer in a secondary fermentation carboy for 7 days.

Once you’ve finished your full 60 minute boil, chill your wort with a wort chiller or submerge in an ice bath. Cool wort to around 80 degrees and transfer to your sanitized primary fermentation vessel (I use glass carboys). Top off the fermenter to reach a full 5 gallon volume. Aerate  your wort by shaking it vigorously for minute or two and then thief enough liquid to take a gravity reading (be carful to keep everything sanitized during this process). Document your original gravity reading and either add the thiefed wort back to the fermenter or discard. At this point the wort should be at around 68 to 70 degrees.


Wyeast 1056 American Ale

Pitch (add) your yeast to the fermenter and aerate the wort for another minute. Plug your fermentation vessel with your fermentation lock and let the beer ferment for around 7 days at 68 degrees. Watch your fermentation lock and once you begin to see less than one bubble per minute transfer the beer to your secondary fermenter with 1 oz of the dry Mt. Hood hops.

Let the beer continue to ferment in the secondary for another 7 days (don’t worry if you bubble activity subsides). After 7 days in the secondary fermeneter bottle and store the beer for 14 days. The beer will be fairly carbonated by 5 to 7 days but when I tried the beer after 7 days it was still a little green. This beer tasted best after 14- 20 days in the bottle.


 Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 4.

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A Grand Hopportunity – Chapter 4 – Harvesting & Storing Your Hops.

Harvesting your hops.

The harvest can take place anytime between late August and early October depending on the weather but you should begin paying attention to the moisture content in the hop cone as it gets to the later part of August. The hops will be ready to harvest when the petals of the hop cone are starting to become dry, but are still green and paper like. Also at the base of the petals there should be glands of yellow lupulin that are very fragrant. To really determine when the hops are at their peak freshness you need to smell them and touch them every day. Grab a cone on the plant and use your fingers to pull back the petals, shove you nose into the hop cone and take a big ol’ sniff. Also pay attention to the amount of lupulin present at the base of the petals. If you do this consistently beginning in late August you can notice the increase in aroma and the amount of lupulin. Once you notice the hop cone starting to dry and the fragrance has not necessarily increased in recent weeks you have good cause to harvest. If you notice cones beginning to turn brown or if they petals fall off the cone when you pry them open then it’s past the optimal time to harvest.

Harvesting the hops can be done on a ladder picking one cone at a time or you can cut the hops off of the growing structure and pick them from the vines while sitting in a lawn chair. I prefer to cut the ropes that my hops have been growing on and then put them in a large yard debris bag. I pour myself a beer and pull up a seat for the long and finger exfoliating process of removing the cones from the vine. This can take quite a long time but it can be enjoyable on a nice day. Since the hop vines have those short Velcro like hairs that help them hold while they climb, your fingers will be exposed to some wear and tear. If your hands are sensitive wear some thin gloves during this process. When we harvest our hops we place them in medium sized buckets so that we can take the initial wet weight of the product before drying them.

Yard dog helps.

Still helping.

Drying and Storing your hops.

Hops should be dried quickly at a very low dry heat. At home you can do this by building yourself an oast box using a box fan and some furnace filters or if the weather is pretty warm still you can simply set the hops in a single layer on screens to dry. To dry hops using a box fan, sandwich the hops in a single layer between two furnace filters and secure them together. Strap the furnace filter and hop sandwich to the back end of the box fan and turn it on low. This will pull air through the furnace filters and dry the hops in the process. This seems to work well but can take a long time if you have a lot of hops to dry. This last year it was fairly warm in our house when we harvested the hops so we simply put them on to the lids from some of our storage bins. We made sure the hops were in a single layer on the lids and we stirred the hops around every 12 hours for about two days. By the end of the second day most all of the hops were dry but still green in color.

Once dry we use a vacuum food saver to package the hops into one-ounce bags and put them in the freezer for storage. Packaging the hops in one-ounce increments or less is best because hops are generally added to beer recipes in similar (or smaller) increments. Sure you may have a recipe that calls for 2 oz of hops during the start of the 60 minute boil, but in that case you just have to open up two packages that you have vacuum sealed. If you package and store your hops in larger increments it is more likely that you will need to re-seal a bag, which can compromise the freshness of the hops. Once you have packaged your dried hops and sucked all of the air out of them, store them in your freezer until you need them.

To be continued…

Chapter 1.

Chapter 2.

Chapter 3.

Chapter 5.


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