Good Beer Guild Class: Homebrewing 102

Good Beer Guild Class: Homebrewing 102, is now in session.

This is where we will get into something a little more involved.  Last time, I discussed how to make beer using the easiest method there is.  Now, I will discuss how to brew beer using specialty grains and malt extract, along with hops, to allow you to make any type of beer you would like.  I will also include some of the specialty ingredients that can be used as well.

I will be using a recipe for a rather strong Christmas brew that I enjoy doing each year; it is a form of Samichlaus, though I prefer it as an ale rather than as a lager.

Additional Equipment:

In addition to the equipment listed in the Homebrewing 101 class, you will need the following:

1 small kitchen strainer, app. 6 inches across

1 large strainer, at least 10 inches across

1 extra refrigerator (if you decide to brew lagers)

The Ingredients: (for 5 gallons of beer)


12 lbs. Extra Light Dried Malt Extract

2 lbs. Vienna Malt, crushed

2 lbs. Cara-Vienne Malt, crushed

2 oz. Special B Malt, crushed


1 oz. Northern Brewer (6% aa) – 120 minutes

1 oz. Tettnanger (4.5% aa) – 90 minutes

0.5 oz. Northern Brewer – 60 minutes

0.5 oz. Tettnanger – 60 minutes

0.5 oz. Northern Brewer – 30 minutes

0.5 oz. Northern Brewer – 10 minutes


2 lbs. Dark Honey – 5 minutes

1.25 lbs. Belgian Medium Candi Sugar – 5 minutes

Spice Satchel –  1.5 tsp. Crushed Cinnamon

1.5 tsp. Whole Cloves

1 tsp. Crushed Allspice Berries

1 tsp. Dried and Crushed Ginger

Put satchel in brew at flameout.


Wyeast 1388 Belgian Strong Ale Yeast

The procedure:

This is almost as easy as making beer from a kit, the only difference is that you add in the hops and specialty grains, thus gaining more variety in your beer.

The original method I used is a bit different than the method I use now.  Since I have found the new method to work better, this is the method I will describe to you. Starting off, add the crushed grains to 2 gallons of water, and begin heating the mixture to 145 degrees F, holding the temperature there for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a thermometer, the water should be hot enough to keep you from putting your finger in it, but not hot enough to burn. After half an hour, remove the grains from the water, draining them well to get as much as the sugars out as possible.

Next, add half of the malt extract and another gallon of water to the pot and bring it to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, begin timing and add in the first hop addition.  Each one is marked in minutes left to the boil. Because this is such a big beer, we are going with a 2 hour boil. Continue through the hop additions, stirring the batch well. Be sure to keep a close eye on the brew, as it likes to boil over and make a big mess if it isn’t watched. You can believe me or not on this point, but it will only ever happen to you once, because the mess it creates will be remembered for a long time to come.

When there is 5 minutes left to the boil, add in the honey, Belgian Candi Sugar, and the remaining malt extract. Stir well to combine the final ingredients. When the last five minutes of the boil is done, turn of the heat, and add the satchel of spices. Add 3 gallons of cold, clean water to the fermenter, then add the wort (the word for unfermented beer) to the fermenter. Once the wort has cooled to below 78 degrees F (26 C), a hydrometer reading is taken, and the yeast is pitched (pitching is the term used to describe the inoculation of the wort with yeast).

From this point, you can follow steps 6-10 from the Homebrewing 101 section.  While these are fairly close, I would make some slight changes for this particular brew. First, I would allow a couple months for this brew to properly ferment.  Also, I would suggest the bigger, 22 oz. bottles for bottling and conditioning of this brew. Also, since this is a Samichlaus, it is traditionally brewed on December 6th, then aged for the year, and opened the following year, on December 6th, as you brew the next year’s batch.

Sorry I don’t have any pictures of this brew. When I get into it, I tend to forget about pictures and concentrate on the intense brewing of this powerful brew.


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