Jill Scott-ch Honey Ale

“I don’t know whether to sing or to rhyme.”

We are brewing a scotch ale with honey, hoping for something malty warm, sweet, and yummy. This recipe comes from Yankee Brewer’s 90 Shilling Scotch Ale, which allegedly has a background character of peated malt. We will also add a background of honey to fill out this beer.

6lbs light malt extract

2 lbs amber dry malt

Malt grains: 1 lb Scottish pale ale, 2 oz Scottish peated, 8 oz dark UK crystal, 8 oz special roast toasted

2 oz Challenger hop pellets

Safale s-04 English ale yeast

2 lbs honey

We added 1 lb of honey at the end of the boil and will add the other pound before racking. The honey comes from Erin’s hive of 10,000 Italian lady bees who hung around for 2015 but flew the coop/hive in October for parts unknown. Thankfully, they left us several gallons to last us a long time. We’re hoping to pare down the supply through this beer!

So…Jill Scott. Her voice like honey – sweet, strong, fluid, mellow. Her song “Honey Molasses” is a sultry, sensual song of insecurity after a night of electrical magic. Bonus points for the old-school R&B method of including an answering machine message. We are feeling more and more secure about how tasty this beer will taste.



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Posted by on March 5, 2016 in Uncategorized


Sentimental Journey British Mild Ale

Today we are brewing a one-gallon batch of Ron Pattison’s Once Upon a Time: 1945 Mild. This recipe comes to us from a book given to us by the Solstice Fairy by way of our friend Kris: Make Some Beer: Small Batch Recipes from Brooklyn to Bamburg. The story about this beer is from p. 132 in the book:

We often hear stories in America of the greatest generations: our grandparents who went off to fight in World War II as well as those who held down the homestead, stretching rations just a little further. This beer, a re-creation of a British mild from 1945, is the product of six years of English war rationing. It’s low in everything, including hops, malt, and alcohol. A beer made the century prior, in 1838, by the same brewery under the same name, was more than twice as alcoholic and much hoppier. We try to keep the recipe as true to the original brew sheet as possible, with the exception of maple syrup for bottling, which is clearly an extravagance on our part.

Erin has been reading many of her grandfather’s letters to her grandmother while he was stationed in Palau and Okinawa during World War II. This recipe reflects the rationing that happened during that time.

Grandpa Gus in WWII

Cheers, Grandpa Gus!

WWII rations

Aunt Eleanor (occupation: Baby) was the child of Gus and Alice (Yiayia), in Gary IN. Alice saved this ration book while she was waiting for Gus to return home from the war.

This is our first attempt at an all-grain beer, which is possible because it’s only one gallon, which we can handle on our stove.

.25 lb English Mild malt

.25 lb English Pale malt

.25 lb American 2-row malt

.11 lb flaked barley

.10 lb Amber malt

.07 lb Crystal 55 malt

.25 oz Fuggle hops

.12 lb granulated sugar

Safale s-04 dry ale yeast

3 T maple syrup for bottling


The Billboard number 1 hit from June through August 1945 was “Sentimental Journey” by Doris Day and the Les Brown Band. My mom used to play this on the upright piano in our basement. I think it might have been the only song she knew on the piano, so my brother and I got an earful of this song back in the day. It’s nice to hear now, I guess. We are like children “in wild anticipation” and our hearts are so “yearny” for this beer 😉

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Posted by on January 3, 2016 in Uncategorized



Today we are brewing Mocktoberfest – our answer to the raft of fall beers coming out right now. Most Oktober beers are lagers and we are only set up for ales, hence we are making a mockery of traditional lagers. But we hope there will be nothing fake about the deliciousness!

We’re using our Mt. Hood hops that grew on our porch all summer. The general guideline for using whole hops instead of pellets is to increase whole hops by about 10%.

  • 3.3 lbs pale malt extract + 3 lbs DME
  • 16 oz German Munich malt grain (cracked)
  • 8 oz. dark German crystal (cracked)
  • 8 oz. light German crystal (cracked)
  • 4 oz. flaked wheat malt (cracked)
  • 2 oz 100% dextrin powder for added body
  • German ale/kolsch yeast (WLP029)

What music mocks? The Beastie Boys’ “Fight for Your Right to Party” sure did. Now, I can’t diss this song too much because it was my gateway to their other music and the start of a lifetime of love for them, but man, this song sucks. It turns out it was a joke song. The Beastie Boys wrote the lyrics to make fun of dumb rock songs, Rick Rubin added the music, then they made a silly video (which mocked Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Animal House). All the fratboys this song and video parodied didn’t get that this was a joke on them, and frankly I didn’t either until I listened to Paul’s Boutique and realized the fantastic talent of the Beastie Boys. For more good background about this song, see here.

So, in the spirit of mockery, we’re going to fight for our right to drink Oktoberfest beers.

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Posted by on September 14, 2015 in Uncategorized


Parliament Oud Bruin

Also known as Flanders brown, here is our first attempt at a sour beer! A few weeks ago, we went to brunch at The Dirty Truth where Pavlovian instincts won out at 11:30am and we decided to order a beer – Ichtegem’s Grand Cru. It was a delicious brunch beer and the sourness didn’t bother us because we’re not used to drinking beer so early, so it was like drinking a different type of beverage that was just so tasty (and went well with eggs florentine). What we are brewing today is not an exact replica, but it’s a similar style.

  • 3.3 lbs amber malt extract + 2 lbs amber DME
  • 4 oz rolled oats
  • 1 lb Belgian pale ale malt grain cracked
  • 4 oz flaked wheat
  • 2 oz. dark Belgian crystal (Special B) grain cracked
  • 1.7 oz. Hallertauer hop pellets (bittering)
  • .5 oz. Saaz hop pellets (aroma)
  • Belgian sour mix I: WLP655 (includes Brettanomyces, Saccharomyces, and the bacterial strains Lactobacillus and Pediococcus)

In coming up with the name for this beer, Erin blocked me on the stairs and started dancing and shimmying up on me while singing “We want the funk! Gotta have the funk!” in her cute inimitable way. Yep, a beer of funk this is. We could keep aging it for up to a year, but we’ll probably want to drink it sooner than that. We’ll probably bottle it for 6 months, but we’re not committing to anything.

Funk it up!

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Posted by on August 7, 2015 in Uncategorized


Jubilee Tripel

This easter Sunday we are brewing a Belgian tripel. We figured this would be a tasty beer to have once we can finally go sit outside on the porch again. And we sure are fans of Belgian tripels! We were surprised that we needed so much sugar and have to go out to the store for it, but we needed a poblano for tonight’s taco dinner anyway.


6 lbs extra light dry malt extract, 16 oz cracked pale malt grain, 8 oz cracked German carafoam malt grain, 2 lbs white cane sugar, 2 oz Saaz/Tettang hop pellets, WYeast Belgian ale yeast (WLP570), etc.

What are the references for this beer? There are two sets: religious and musical. First, it’s Easter which is celebrated by many people but not us, although we can appreciate the sense of occasion. Also, the name of the recipe from Yankee Brewer is “3 Kings.” It’s a Belgian abbey style beer, and some religious men live in abbeys. The song for this beer was produced by a company called Christian Burial Music.

My Dad’s favorite joke (he told me this on the phone this morning): Knock, knock. Who’s there? Ether. Ether who? Ether bunny! Hahahahaha!

Second, the musical reference is from 10,000 Maniacs song from their album Blind Man’s Zoo. Natalie Merchant has been on our minds this last week because we received tickets through my work to see her at UConn and even got backstage passes, although we didn’t meet her (but my coworker did!). However, I met her and her daughter the next day when she toured the camp – happy happy! She has been a true supporter of camp.

When deciding on the beer name and theme, we knew we had to involve Natalie Merchant so I looked for her most religious song which is ‘Jubilee.’ One of the lyrics references “Matthew 17:15.” A long time ago (before google), I dated someone from a hellfire and brimstone sort of evangelical family so I asked her what the biblical reference was and she cheerfully pulled out one of many bibles to tell me: “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water.” Today I read the lyrics again and realized how they are about christian terrorism, which is profoundly stirring given recent years’ incidents.

Erin reminds me that Natalie Merchant and 10,000 Maniacs had other songs about the brighter side of life such as “Kind and Generous” and “Wonder” and “Circle Dream.” One of the things I love is her ability to bring forth emotions from the entire range of human feeling and experience. I hope this beer reflects the brighter side.

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Posted by on April 5, 2015 in Uncategorized


No Anthems Bourbon-Barrel Vanilla Stout

This snowy Saturday we are brewing a bourbon-barrel vanilla stout with vanilla bean and light roasted oak chips. We had some extra chips from Whiskey Girl, so today is a good day to finish them off. Erin and I decided that we are nearing the end of the season for which a stout would be welcome, and so here we are making a stout.

6.6 lbs light LME and 1 lb. dark DME
12 oz. roasted and 10 oz UK medium crystal malt
2 oz oak chips
1 oz Chinook hops
1 vanilla bean
4 oz. Jack Daniels
1 cup brown sugar
Safale s-04 dry ale yeast

The music to this beer is Sleater-Kinney. Specifically, Janet Weiss’s phenomenal drumming. Specifically, the drumming on “No Anthems” from their album that dropped on Tuesday, after nearly a decade without new S-K. Listening to this new album is like taking a breath after holding it for too long. I like the drums on this song that are strong and sturdy, like we hope the beer will be. I thought of the music accompaniment while laying in bed watching the snow this AM.

“I want an anthem/ a singular anthem/ An answer and a force/ To feel rhythm in silence/ A weapon not violence/ A power, power source.”


Posted by on January 24, 2015 in Uncategorized


Man in Black IPA

This chilly November morning we are brewing a black IPA that includes some of the hops we grew on our front porch. We chose a black IPA because that seems like a good way to drink IPA in winter.


  • 6.6 lbs malt syrup
  • 1 lb pale malt (cracked)
  • 6 oz dark UK crystal malt (cracked)
  • 6 oz de-bittered black/carafa II
  • 4 oz aromatic malt
  • 1 oz Columbus hops (bittering)
  • 1 oz OUR Cascade hops (flavor)
  • 1 oz OUR Cascade hops (aroma)
  • 1 oz Amarillo hops (dry)
  • California V ale yeast WLP051

Last week, Erin sang Folsom Prison Blues at karaoke at the World War II Club. She did this because her students won this glorious prize in an auction fundraiser for the law school. What a good sport! Also, we facetimed Erin’s mom Jeanne while we made this beer. Jeanne really likes darker beers and IPAs and homemade things, so this beer should be right up her alley.

Johnny Cash has been on our minds this week, and so have the unused hops we harvested a few weeks ago. Thus, Man in Black IPA.

Here is a video of Johnny Cash playing “Man in Black” live for the first time. This song also has special meaning given the political turn of events this week. Maybe we should just drink black IPA “’till things are brighter.”

PS: My favorite JC song is “Daddy Sang Bass.” Yes, it’s gospel, but by and by lord is it a well-done song.

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Posted by on November 8, 2014 in Uncategorized