Silver Lining Dubbel

Today we are brewing a dubbel, which is a strong brown ale in the Trappist style. We started with about three pounds of grain malts, mostly Pilsner 2 Row, with some Caramel Munich and Special B as well. After steeping and sparging, we added Pilsen light liquid extract, an ounce of fuggle hops, some yeast nutrient, Irish moss, and dark candi syrup. Yeast is Safebrew abbey ale.

We are looking forward to enjoying this beer in the spring, should it ever arrive. We will drink them on the porch. We will drink them on the river. We will drink them near the softball field. We will drink them with grilled asparagus. But first, it must stop snowing!

We call this beer Silver Lining as a tribute to First Aid Kit, a folk duo from Sweden. (Did you know they chose their band name by randomly pointing to the dictionary?) We love their song My Silver Lining and think the sisters’ two-part harmony pairs well with the “dubbel” style. The lyric that’s giving us life right now is, “I won’t take the easy road,” which is Ann’s motto for dealing with her vision. Given the choice between continuing to wear glasses, or electing Lasik surgery and its easy recovery, or chosing PRK surgery and its difficult recovery — well, you can guess where Ann stands. We thought it was a good omen, though, when we encountered in the eye doctor’s waiting room our favorite clerk from the brew supply store. Rachel and her partner Mike (who was getting vision surgery as well) distracting us with conversation about beer is probably what kept Ann from changing her mind at the last minute. So now that Ann is one day post-op, we thought brewing would be a great way to celebrate and relax. (Well, some of us are relaxing more than others.)

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Posted by on April 13, 2018 in Uncategorized


Carbon Glacier Scotch Ale

In September 2016, Erin and I traveled to Montana. In preparation for our trip, I asked a colleague who used to live in Missoula for her favorite food spots and any brewery recommendations. In this conversation I found out she was gluten free but would drink one beer and one beer only (consequences be damned). That beer is Cold Smoke Scotch Ale by KettleHouse Brewing Co. When we arrived in Montana, we found Cold Smoke in every reputable establishment. Erin was apprehensive because she doesn’t like smoky flavors in her beer (I sure do). But it wasn’t smoky – it was delightfully dark and smooth with a slightly coffee finish. We drank it everywhere we could, which was not our usual beer tourism way of finding diversity in new places. We couldn’t imagine that any other beer would quench our thirsts after sublime days spent hiking in jagged mountains.

Glacier NP Sept 2016

Now that winter is approaching, our thoughts turn to one of our favorite beer styles for the season: scotch ale. And every time I think of scotch ale, I think of Cold Smoke (sorry Chubb’s!). So we found a clone recipe online and brought it to our pal Mike at Beerology. Of course, now at home we see that our clone recipe is um, a little different from how KettleHouse describes it. Clone recipe says it’s 8.8% abv and Kettlehouse says it’s 6.5% abv (which corresponds to our memories of NOT being wasted after drinking these). Our recipe says it will be 25 ibu and KettleHouse says it’s 11 ibu. Mike says we should err on the high side to balance things out. Nevertheless, we persist in brewing our adapted recipe.

  • 2 lbs Caramel/Crystal Malt 120
  • 1 lb roasted barley
  • .5 oz Cascade hops (60 min)
  • 1 oz East Kent Goldings (5 oz)
  • 2 packages of Safale American US-05 yeast
  • 3 lbs golden light dry extract
  • 9 lbs Munich liquid malt extract LME
  • 4 oz light brown sugar

On to the music…

So, there aren’t many bands we have heard of who come from Montana. In fact, there are none. Some members of the Decemberists and the bassist for Pearl Jam come from Montana, and so does Steve Albini. But none of this music was calling us. I thought of other songs or bands or albums that included the idea of glaciers and into my head popped Laura Veirs’ album Carbon Glaciers. This makes sense because carbon is black like this beer, and glaciers.

Here is my favorite song from the album: The Cloud Room.

Topographic lines
Come close together
Imagine the peaks
And the stormy weather
Trees fade to white
And boulders just might
Make an appearance
If the sun shines just right
Up in the air?

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Posted by on November 5, 2017 in Uncategorized


Keep It Rockin’ IPA

On this Labor Day, we are harvesting our Cascade hops and brewing an IPA with them. In previous years we waited to harvest them and dried them first, with disappointing results. Trying something new this year, and the hops will likely taste more grassy than before. We’re also using Poland Spring water, which should affect the taste in a good way. Had some water left over from camping this weekend.

We’re grateful to our pal at Beerology who helped us make up this recipe with West Coast features.

  • 4lbs pale malt 2-row
  • 1lb caramel crystal malt
  • 3lbs golden light dry extract
  • 1lb pilsen light dry extract
  • 2oz Willamette hops
  • Some number of oz of Cascade hops put in at the last 20 min. of boil and again at last 5 min.
  • .15tsp Irish moss
  • NorCal Ale One: Giga Yeast #GY001

This should be a 4.7% abv with 78 IBU, but with our hops, who knows?


With Cascade hops and NorCal yeast, we thought about music from the area. “California Love” came right up in our heads.

Also, how awesome is this Mad Max-ish video? And how great is the line “since honeys was wearing Sassoons”?

RIP 2Pac.

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Posted by on September 4, 2017 in Uncategorized


Here Comes the Sun Belgian Wit

Today we are brewing a Belgian Wit that will be heavy on the coriander (i.e., 1 tsp). We’re looking forward to drinking this beer around the summer solstice. Wit beer seems just right for porch drinking, right?

  • 3 lbs pilsner
  • 1 lb torrified wheat
  • 4 oz white wheat malt
  • 3 lbs 4.8 oz wheat liquid extract
  • 1 oz Celeia hops (2.8%)
  • .4 oz bitter orange peel
  • 1 pkg Belgian Wit ale yeast (WLP400)

We are using distilled water and a new aerator for the wort. Should be about 4.6% abv.

Our friends at Beerology helped us with the recipe.

Since the last time we made beer, Erin and I have traveled to: Israel, Jordan, Russia, Florida, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, and Cuba, and Erin also went to work for 3 weeks in the Netherlands and to Austria.

This beer was partly inspired by an homage to the Beatles we saw from the bus in Santa Clara, Cuba. We missed the John Lennon statue in Havana, but caught a glimpse of the street corner below.

Image result for Santa Clara Cuba beatles

Additionally, in thinking about how this beer will be ready on the summer solstice, we figured “Here Comes the Sun” was an apt name for this beer, to be infused with sunshine and yellow happiness.

My friend Dana Allen once asked my favorite Indigo Girls album. I decided that my favorite wasn’t their best, and feel the same about Abbey Road. Although my favorite Beatles album is Revolver, I think Abbey Road is their best. And on some days this is my favorite album. Fun fact: The entirety of the lyrics of “Octopus’s Garden” are in my dissertation, to highlight a theme about sense of belonging at a camp for kids with HIV/AIDS.

Boy, I am all over the place on this blog post. Thanks for hanging in there.

“Here Comes the Sun” is a brilliant piece by George Harrison and was recorded in 1969. John Lennon (my favorite Beatle) did not play on this one.

Harrison states in his autobiography, I, Me, Mine:

“Here Comes the Sun” was written at the time when Apple was getting like school, where we had to go and be businessmen: ‘Sign this’ and ‘sign that.’ Anyway, it seems as if winter in England goes on forever, by the time spring comes you really deserve it. So one day I decided I was going to sag off Apple and I went over to Eric Clapton‘s house. The relief of not having to go see all those dopey accountants was wonderful, and I walked around the garden with one of Eric’s acoustic guitars and wrote “Here Comes the Sun”.

More facts from Wikipedia:

When interviewed in the Martin Scorsese documentary George Harrison: Living in the Material World, Clapton said he believed the month was April. Data from two meteorological stations in the London area show that April 1969 set a record for sunlight hours for the 1960s. The Greenwich station recorded 189 hours for April, a high that was not beaten until 1984. The Greenwich data also show that February and March were much colder than the norm for the 1960s, which would account for Harrison’s reference to a “long, cold, lonely winter”.

Here is George performing the song acoustically and with Spanish subtitles. RIP, George Harrison.

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Posted by on May 14, 2017 in Uncategorized


Cure For Pain Dry Black Stout

This cold breezy day we are brewing a dry black stout. When we were in Oslo, Norway in June, we visited the Schouskjelleren Mikrobryggeri where I had All Black. I gave it a 4.75 on Untappd, and it’s one of 3 beers I’ve given that score to (others were Pliny the Elder and Heady Topper). In my notes, I wrote “Dry. My favorite stout ever. Must clone.” We’re finally getting around to that today.

Today is also the first day that we went to Beerology to get our supplies. Beerology is a new store in Northampton that has beer making supplies, classes, and a super fun software program where one can choose different ingredients and see what difference that makes to bitterness, color, etc. So fun! We based our recipe on an Irish stout.

  • Chocolate malt – 12oz
  • Roasted barley – 8oz
  • Pilsen light liquid extract – 6 lbs
  • Fuggle hops – 3 oz, split
  • English ale yeast WLP002


As Erin and I were discussing the music to go along with this beer, inspiration bubbled up from deep in my brain. At first I could only think: “Bass. Drums. Sax. Band name begins with an M and has 2 syllables.” You guessed it: Morphine. I don’t believe I’ve thought of Morphine in many years, but there they emerged to guide the taste of this beer. Perfect, perfect.

I propose a toast to my self-control.

RIP Mark Sandman (singer who died of a heart attack on stage in 1999).

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Posted by on December 3, 2016 in Uncategorized


Cascade Double IPA

Edit 12/3/16: Well, this was not so double, not so IPA. Very weak hop taste. Nice ale, but definitely not an IPA. Oh well!


This sunny autumn day we are brewing a double IPA with our Cascade hops grown all this dry summer. It’s a single hop so we can focus on the terroir of State Street, and a double IPA because we like those. A lot. We’re also using a Trappist yeast because we love that. There will be a dry hopping maneuver later in the process when we rack it.

  • 7 lbs malt extract + 2lbs DME
  • 8 oz pale malt grain
  • 8 oz amber malt grain
  • 10 oz Munich malt
  • 4 oz medium UK crystal malt
  • White Labs Abbey ale WLP530

Perhaps Erin is exhausted from canning tomatoes and I’m exhausted from kayaking, but the musical accompaniment to this beer is the song “Cascade” by the Garden Verge. Garden Verge was Girlyman before Nate joined the band, and they wrote a few good songs, including “Cascade,” which always makes me want to go hiking with someone cute, like Erin. In fact, the day Erin and I figured out we *liked* each other involved a hike! ❤

In looking up Cascade Mountain, I JUST NOW realized this is a song about Cascade Mountain near Lake Placid in NY, not the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest. Whoa! Paradigm has shifted. But of course – they are from the East coast. This is good because now this song is even more foundational to the Northeast and our beer. Yay!

Upon further research for this blog post, it turns out Girlyman broke up in 2013 but several members are doing other projects. Thanks, Indigo Girls, for having Girlyman open for you many years ago and introducing me to their music and precursor band!

And upon either further research, it turns out there is no video of this song to include in this post! Grrr! Ok then, I will transcribe the lyrics:

Let's take the path to the top of Cascade
Let the world below us fade from view
That’s all I ever wanted to do
You know the way
So I’ll take your hand
For today
We can lean on the land
Nothing is said for 2 hours or more
I forget what this walking is for
How did you even find it up here?
You’re a city girl and I was born in the south
Raised under such sheltering skies
I follow you lightly
You come and you go
I don’t know why

So let me lead you
Let’s take the path to the top of Cascade
‘Cause the view up there was made for you
This is our time, these are ours to question
We will see, we will sing for as long as we’re alive
Meet me at the bottom
Where the light of yours
Will be the coolest view on the hottest day in July



Posted by on September 25, 2016 in Uncategorized


Computer Camp Rhubarb Saison


In honor of all of the camps happening at this point in the summer, we proudly present to you Computer Camp Rhubarb Saison. We had this idea in Norway, realizing that the rhubarb season at home would soon come to an end and that it was time to make new beer.

Thanks to the good folks at Northampton Beer and Wine supply, we got a Yankee Brewer recipe for Meadow City Saison and adapted it. Here is what we did:

  1. 3.3 lbs LME + 2 lbs DME
  2. 1 oz chocolate malt
  3. 1 lb Belgian Pale Ale malt grain (cracked)
  4. 8 oz torrefied wheat
  5. 4 oz medium Belgian crystal grain (cracked)
  6. 1.5 oz. Hallertauer hops (bittering)
  7. .5 oz Goldings hops (aroma)
  8. Belgian saison I WLP 565 yeast
  9. 1 cup white sugar
  10. .5 oz coriander seeds (aroma)
  11. 2 lbs rhubarb (1 after boil and 1 during secondary fermentation)

On to the music….

We had an admittedly tough time thinking of music to go with a rhubarb saison, so if YOU think of something, please let us know 😉

But, we felt there surely must be music beyond A-ha that comes from Norway, and a quick search revealed Datarock. After hearing one of their songs in 2008, it was clear that “Computer Camp Love” would be just the right song for this beer. Did you know Datarock means computer in Norwegian? ME NEITHER! Whoa.

Also, Datarock’s thing is dressing in red track suits for performances, which makes them look like rhubarb stalks…

Also, “She’s not that kind of a girl, booger!” Hee-heee!

This is a cute song because it references the musical Grease. Erin ridiculously asked me if I got the reference. I sure did, because I live in America and have been around the block. But did Erin know that I once danced in a performance piece for a Columbia College Chicago’s art student’s senior project, dressed up in a silver bustier and fishnets to look like a paintbrush, all to “Beauty School Dropout”? I bet NOT. But now YOU do.


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Posted by on July 3, 2016 in Uncategorized