Homebrew Recipe: “Faux-kanee” Canadian Lager

Love, Food & Beer

Every year, my wife and I make a trip up to Whistler for the annual Telus Festival. This week-long celebration of snow sports features live music, big-air competitions, plenty of swag from the sponsors, and pitchers and pitchers of that golden Canadian nectar Kokanee. After our last visit, I wanted to see if I could make a comparable lager on my own… so I did.

Quite simply, I brewed this beer to make something that my wife would drink. She’s not a big fan of overly-malty or overly-hoppy  beers, and has a pension for sweeter beers that tend not to have a bitter aftertaste.

This full-extract brew was very simple, and will be something that I brew again, as it’s an easy-drinking summer brew.

Fermentables:2013-04-09 22.09.48

  • 1 lb Gold DME
  • 3 lbs Pilsner DME
  • 1/2 lb rice DME


  • 1 tbsp. gypsum pre-boil
  • 1/2 oz. cluster hops @ boil
  • 1/4 oz…

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Homebrew Recipe: IP…L?

I brewed this recipe this past January… and I’m still drinking them as it’s only grown better with age.

Truth be told, this was a screw-up. I had purchased the ingredients for a few different recipes – an IPA, an amber ale, and a Steam Beer – as I usually do, and I stored the WYEAST packets in the corner of the fridge. My intention on this particular day was to brew an IPA, but I popped the priming bag in the packet of California Lager yeast by accident. Unfortunately – at least for the integrity of my original recipe – I didn’t notice this mistake until I went to pour the primed yeast into the wort.

My original intention was to create a strongly malted IPA with a good hop backbone.

The recipe is as follows:

Fermentables –

  • 1 lb of Crystal 20
  • 1/2 lb toasted barley
  • 5 lbs Pils DME
  • 3 lbs Amber DME

Additions –

  • 2 oz Northern Brewer @ boil
  • 1 oz Saaz @ boil
  • 1 tsp Irish Moss @ t-10 min
  • 1 oz Cascade @ t-2 min
  • 1 oz Summit @ t-2 min
  • 1 oz Chinook – dry hop

Yeast –

  • California Lager WYEAST

The brewing process was pretty simple: a 30 minute steep of the grains, addition of the extract, a 60 minute boil, the yeast addition, 14 days in the primary, and 14 days in the secondary to dry-hop.

Homebrew Recipe: California-Style Steam Beer

This California-style Steam Lager was a pleasant surprise for a couple of reasons. First, I have little experience with Steam Beers, and tend to be biased against lagers. I realize that there is no reason for me to dislike lagers, the only real experience I’d had with them had been – of course – those of the mass-produced variety. As a result, I was a bit biased… but can you blame me?
Anyway, I picked up some California Lager yeast (WYEAST 2112) on a whim, and desigend a couple of brews with the cold weather in mind.
The following recipe is for a 5 gallon batch, and it has been one of my most well-recieved beers to date.

Fermentables:steam beer
1/2 lb Crystal 20 – Steep in 3 gallons of water for 30 minutes at 150 degrees
Bring to Boil
Add 7 lbs Pilsner LME
1.5 oz Perle @ boil
.5 oz Cascade @ T-2 min
Allow to Ferment for 2 weeks
2nd Stage for 3 weeks
Good to drink after 2 weeks in bottles.

2013-01-12 12.26.19

For the low amount of hops in the additions, this beer is consistantly hoppy, but enjoyable by all.

Homebrew Recipe: Apfelwine

In early October of 2012, I decided that I wanted to make a hard cider. I had grandiose dreams of pressing my own apples for about ten minutes. After poking around online for a while, I realized that pressing apples would be a shitload of work for (according to the internet) likely very little payoff, and possibly a horrible disaster. So I ditched the ideas of fresh-pressed cider, and opted instead for a tasty take on Apfelwine, which seems like a good (and safe) route to take given that it was my first foray into cider-territory.2012-10-07 13.17.18

I had purchased a brand new carboy for the occasion (Side Note: Do NOT use the same carboy to ferment beer afterwards, I ruined a batch of Pale Ale because I wasn’t thinking), and I was ready to go after picking up the following ingredients:

  • 5 Gallons of Tree Top Apple Juice
  • 2 lbs of Dextrose
  • Red Star Cotes des Blancs Yeast

I based this on the original recipe posted on winemakingtalk.com. As you can see, the type of wine yeast is different from the original, which is because the helpful people at Larry’s Homebrew advised me that they have been happier with the ciders made with the type of yeast that I bought.2012-10-07 13.22.54

2012-10-07 13.21.52As I pitched the yeast according to the package instructions, I poured some of the apple juice from each bottle into the carboy, and then divided up the dextrose into the partially full apple juice bottle, and shook them up to make the sweet sludge easy to pour into the fermenter.

After pouring the pitched yeast into the carboy, I stopped it with the bung, gave it a good shake, and placed the airlock.

The original recipe advised filling the airlock with vodka rather than water. I was glad that I followed this advice a few weeks later, as I found the corpses of nearly half a dozen flies drowned in the airlock by the time that it had finished fermenting. I can only imagine that they died happy… or at least tipsy.

2012-10-07 13.28.48After that, I waited. It was kind of a pain in the ass actually. That hefty carboy of sickly sweet smelling liquid was shifted to and fro as I brewed and bottled at least three beers, and there were a few times when I glared at the giant bottle, wishing that it was filled with IPA instead of apple juice. But still I waited.

I had read that I should bottle after about a month, but I let the concoction go for nearly 45 days before finally getting around to it. I followed my normal bottling process, using 3/4 of dextrose in a cup of water to try to ensure a little fizz.

And then… I waited longer… and longer… and longer still. In fact it took more than four full months in bottles for it to reach a drinkable state.2012-10-07 13.41.49

Here’s my timeline:

October 7 – “Brew”

November 21 – Bottle

Around Christmas – First try… disgustingly sweet

May 18 – Shared with friends… good reviews all around.

The final product has the light color of apple juice (as you would imagine), a light body with a little bit of fizz, and a crisp, dry flavor, like biting into a good apple.

Make this recipe. It’s delicious, and well worth the wait.






Homebrew Recipe: B&G Amber

Some days, you just need to brew something simple. For my brother-in-law and I, two days after Christmas was one of those days.

At the time, I had rencently brewed quite a few beers, including the Red, the WH Honey Ale, and my Holiday Beer, and when I purchased the ingredients for each brew, I had made a point of picking up additional ingredients. what’s mroe, many of the recent extract recipes had called for odd amounts of DME, which left me with a few 1/3 and 1/2 empty bags of various kids of dry extract. I also had about half a pound of Saaz left over from a 16 oz. bag that I had purchased in October or so.

Anyway, with this overstock of ingredients, and a basic need to create something simple, Grant and I set out to make an easy-drinking amber.

We used:

6 lbs DME

1 oz. Saaz @ boil

1 oz. Saaz @ 45 min

1 oz Saaz @ 30 min

1 oz Saaz @ burnout

American 1056 Yeast

Primary for 2 weeks, then bottle for 1 month before cracking the first one.

The result was exactly what we were hoping for. It was a simple ale with an amber hue and a good amount of foam after a clean pour.

Plus it only ran me about 25 bucks for the brew.

Try this one out!

Waiting for beer…

20130227_205003There’s little worse than waiting for a brew to finish. After spending all those hours planning, purchasing, brewing, racking and bottling, it’s harder still to wait for weeks to try the brew. I slowed my brewing over the winter as well. In fact, I haven’t had anyhting in the brewpot for over a month and a half now, and it’s starting to feel… well… wrong. Granted, I currently have a stock greater than what is pictured here (about 10 cases of 12 oz. bottles, and approximately 50 22 oz. bottles) but what I’m really missing is the fun of creating the beer.

I just 20130227_204944took a look back over my first few months as a brewer, and while I definitely churned out quite a few brews, I still have a lot to learn about the process, and the patience, involved in creating good beer. Luckily, I have a few friends, some work collegues, and a greater community here on the internet from which I can draw support and inspiration.

Here’s to returing to the garage and firing up the kettle! Cheers!

Homebrew Recipe: Irish Red

2013-01-20 18.23.58-1One of the first better-tasting beers that I ever tried was Killian’s Irish Red. A friend of mine bought a six-pack of them for St. Paddy’s day one year – mostly just because it has “Irish” in the name – and not only did we have the pleasing realization that beer could have more character than Natty Ice, we also came to the unfortunate conclusion that a six pack is never enough. Granted, I later realized that Killian’s is a lager, is manufactured by Coors, and is not nearly the best Irish Red out there, but there’s no way I could hold any of those things against it; unlike most of the beers I’d had up to that point, it didn’t taste like urine.

Though I usually prefer something pale with a lot of hops, I’m always on the lookout for a decent Irish Red. There’s something about the crimson hue, the heavy maltyness and the toasted flavor that makes my mouth water. So after becoming a homebrewer, it stood to reason that I would eventually brew up one of these pleasing beers. We’ve made at least one red before, but unfortunately it was from a kit, was one of our first beers, and through a number of what I’m sure were mistakes on our part, had the unpleasant aroma and flavor of bananas.

So it was about a month ago when I went back to my recent source of inspiration – Papazian’s book – and found the basis for an Irish Red recipe that is not only simple, but turned into a delicious and balanced brew.


  • 1 lb Crystal 20
  • ½ lb. Toasted Malted Barley


  • 5 lbs Amber LME


  • 1 oz N. Brewer @ boil
  • 1 oz Tettnager @ burnout


  • WYEAST 1056 (American)

Brew it… it’s good