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Brew Day

Red Wednesday Recap

Red Wednesday Recap


Super smooth brew day yesterday - whipped up 10 gallons of our NW Red Ale, which will be one of the staples going forward and needs a name badly. I liked Redemption Red, but it's already taken by these creepers. Any ideas? Specs: 1.065 OG, 65 IBUs, 16 SRM


  • Malts: Pale 2-Row, Munich Dark, Caramel 80 and Caramel 120
  • Hops: Bittering – Centennial.   Flavor/Aroma – Simcoe. Dry Hop - Cascade, Simcoe
  • Yeasties: Wyeast 1056 slurry

It was a busy night too; kegged some of our Christmas beer, transferred the Continuous Pale to secondary and made the chalkwall more awesome: 

Enjoy the turkey, football and family today. Gobble Gobble.

Good Beer for Good

Good Beer for Good


Perhaps my favorite brew night of my short homebrew career last night for the Brew-Night Benefit. Good turnout, Great people, *great chili from my wife, lots of beer questions which gave me my chance to impress/embarass myself,and people all showing up to support some folks who are hurting badly.


Pick Hops not Fights: Devin and Mike for pulling in about 20oz of fresh Cascade hops from my neighbor's vine despite protective spiders.

Wingman: Gregory for sticking it out when I had no true brew partner present.

Most-Excited-to-Use-a-Big-Nose-to-Smell-HOPS: ME!

Aeration Station: Ben W. for giving this carboy the business in the name of science.


Art is for Wizards: Mr. Case for leaving me this on the chalkboard.

Thanks for coming out, the word is spreading that Ex Novo will be brewing first and third Wednesdays of the month, rain or light rain. Boys and girls welcome.

Also, you people are awesome and we raised $1000 to help the Piscitellis with their expenses. If you missed it and are still wanting to give - their Paypal is

*except that it had chicken stock which could have been the silent assassin to poultry-allergic Mike. Sorry Mike.

2nd Degree CDA

We at Ex Novo Brewing labored on Labor day, bringing into the world 10 gallons of Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA) and having a mostly enjoyable afternoon in the process. This is a new style for us, and I put this recipe together based on my preferences and staying true to the style as much as possible. ImageGrains: 2-Row, Munich 10 and 20, Midnight Wheat and Chocolate Malts

Hops: Bittering with Warrior, Flavor and Aroma with Amarillo, Cascade, Columbus and Centennial.

Stats: 1.070 OG, 65 IBU, 38 SRM (just about black)

Easing into fall it's time to start asking yourself what you'd like to be drinking when the air crisps up and it gets dark earlier and earlier. Smooth brew day except the last and most sanitation-sensitive step, where we got a hop clog in our counter-flow chiller. I didn't know what the worst thing that could happen was, but turns out that is it. We had 45 minutes of panic and heavy lifting, imparting small 2nd degree burns on Dan's and my shins but I think it all turned out ok (I took pictures of the burns but they are gross and close-up (Tobias Funke style) so I will spare you).


ImageHere's Dan, often referenced yet his first photo debut. It was Dan's idea to start brewing in the first place. Dan is a NICU doctor, and should you unfortunately have your child end up there, you really want Dan to be the guy in charge. Dan doesn't believe everything he reads, and he's smarter than me so I can't argue much when he says things like "there's no way bacteria is going to thrive in such an anaerobic environment" before we pitch our yeast. Dan is an idea guy, one you need around if you are into hatching schemes. Most of our phone calls are about future recipes and the tenacity of the current fermentation, but my wife Sarah and I consider Dan and Jill among our closest friends.

Pale 31 Clone

Pale 31 Clone


I personally do not put all my stock in national or international beer contest award winners, if an IPA wins a gold medal, I'm certainly not prepared to say that it's the best IPA in the world. However, occasionally I a.) Have tried the beer under scrutiny and b.) completely agree that it's the best in that category.


The Firestone Walker Pale 31 has won gold several times at the World Beer Cup, plus countless other awards along the way to their reign at the top. We're trying to make something that will taste close.

Beer nerd specs: 62% 2-row, 24% Maris Otter, Munich and Crystal 40 for the rest. Shot for 1.049 OG, 50 IBUs, 6.5 SRM with Fuggle for bittering (that's a hop AND a strange word) and Cascade, Centennial and Chinook for Aroma and Dry Hopping.

I plan to introduce some characters at a later time - but for now - Dan's daughter Nora, our future marketing manager and event planner or perhaps yeast strain microbiologist?


Silky smooth brew day, through cleanup in 4:30 without breaking a sweat (which we didn't have to do because it was 75 outside and perfect, Northwest in the summer is pristine). We shaved substantial time off by implementing a ghetto-as-the-day-is-long brew tree for the sparge and getting the boil started.Image

OSHA approved for 3-year-olds running around too. In the end, or efficiency was too good (82%+) so we overshot our targets, even after adding water to the boil, getting 1.056 OG and our eventual ABV up ~0.6% and out of the session category. Shame.

Might need to skip the next brew day scheduled in 10-days, I have 20 gallons fermenting at various places all over my house and I'm going to have to figure out what to do with it. Cheers to you, reader.

8/16 UPDATE: Fermentation finished up in 8 days to 1.013, giving this a 5.6% ABV. I'm going to do something slightly different with each 5 gallon split: one got kegged tonight with dry hops in the keg, the other I'm going to dry hop in a carboy along with 1/2 oz french oak chips. I have been disappointed in the aroma we've been getting with dry hops and I'm suspicious that doing it in the keg may be to blame - we'll know the truth. The oak is to grab a little flavor imparted by some commercial breweries (like FW) that ferment in oak - not sure if I'll be able to taste it, but having the comparison helps.