Topic Archives: Home Brewing

Posted in Beer News

Homebrewing Officially on the Rise in the US

The American Homebrewers Association reports that after a recent survey homebrewing is seeing huge growth throughout the United States. The main results from the survey are as follows:

  • Homebrew Beginners: 80% of shops surveyed experienced increased sales of beginner homebrew equipment kits, signifying a considerable boost in interest in the hobby.
  • New Lease on Brewing: In 2013, 43% of responding shops said they have been open for three years or less, up from 34% in 2012, indicating considerable growth in new shop openings.
  • Beer vs. Wine: Sales of beer ingredients outpaced wine ingredients among home beverage supply retailers, with an average of 35% of retail revenue coming from beer ingredients versus 21% from wine ingredients.


Posted in Beer News

It’s 2013 and Home Brewing is Finally Legal in All 50

If you asked someone on the the street about home brewing, he or she might say – yeah, that’s legal in America. Ironically, it wasn’t. Not everywhere. Until last night.

Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley signed the home brewing bill into law, immediately allowing Alabamians to brew their own beer. Mississippi was the 49th state to allow home brewing earlier this year (goes into effect on 7/1/2013). This is great news, and huge win for organizations pushing this legislation in their home states, like  Free the Hops & Raise Your Pints. It is also a big win for the drinkers of America. Restrictive, antiquated laws like this stifle creativity, and knowledge of the brewing process. It hurts the beer industry. Home brewers are the future brew masters, brewery owners, and small business owners. Freedom to brew, stimulates creativity, dreams, and most of all jobs.

It’s Friday, and that deserves a beer toast today. Especially if you brew your own. Today do both if you can. Especially if you are in Alabama.

Posted in Beer News

It is Now Up To The Alabama Governor To Make Alabama Home Brewing Legal

Gov. Robert Bentley holds the future of Alabama home brewing. The Alabama senate gave final passage last night on the bill that would allow citizens of Alabama the right to brew, literally being the last state to do so. Mississippi just lifted the ban this year.

If Bentley signs, the bill will have a 90 day waiting period. Then it will be law. We have our fingers crossed for you Alabama…

Posted in Stone Brewing Co.

Stone Vertical Epic 12.12.12 Home Brew Recipe

Stone Brewing Co’s Vertical Epic 12.12.12 marks the end of an era. The series, spanning more than a decade, was quite a game changer if you think about it. They were cellaring beer before it became popular. This edition of VE was pilot batched 8 times before getting to the recipe below. Homebrewers, take a crack at it. This is the all grain recipe. With musical numbers to go along with it.

Grain Bill

Pale Malt — 58%
Light Crystal (15°L) — 13.5%
Medium Crystal (60°L) — 11.5%
Vienna Malt — 9.5%
Midnight Wheat Malt — 7.5%
Dark Candi Sugar — 3.5% of total grain weight

NOTE: As always, I am only providing the all grain version of the recipe, and just percentages so that you can figure out the weights based on the size of your brewing system and your normal efficiencies.

Spices added to mash:
Cinnamon Stick, broken/ground — 0.025 oz per gallon (0.71 grams/gallon)
Ground Allspice — 0.025 oz per gallon (0.71 grams/gallon)
Ground Cloves — 0.0125 oz per gallon (0.36 grams/gallon)
Sweet Orange Peel — 0.025 oz per gallon (0.71 grams/gallon)
Rosehips — 0.025 oz per gallon (0.71 grams/gallon)

Make the spice additions on the basis of brew length (gallons wort recovered). Note that the orange peel is sweet orange peel, not Curacao or bitter orange peel. Rosehips should be purchased ground, not whole, as whole rosehips are very difficult to crush (we had to use a fork-truck to do it)!

Target OG: 22°P (1.088 SG).

Musical Selection: First up are some classics from the box set Nuggets: Original Artyfacts from the First Psychedelic Era, 1965-1968: “Sugar and Spice” by The Cryin’ Shames. Follow that with “Maid of Sugar, Maid of Spice” by Mouse and The Traps, “Falling Sugar” by The Palace Guard and, finally, “Double Shot of My Baby’s Love” by The Swingin’ Medallions. These songs just seem to fit, given the ingredients we are using in this beer!

If you haven’t listened to this 4 disc box set, keep it playing. It’s amazing. Let it all hang out, man. Groovy.


Use a 60-minute conversion rest at 154°F. This is a fairly high conversion rest temperature that should provide enough body to balance the spices, hops and roasted malt characters in the finished beer.

If you can, raise your mash temperature up to 165°F after conversion rest to stop the enzymatic conversion of starches to sugars before lautering. If you cannot raise the temperature in your mash, reduce the conversion rest from 60 to 30-45 minutes.


Recirculate your wort gently from the bottom over the top of the mash to deposit the fine particles of malt on the top of the grain and to “set” your bed. Avoid splashing the wort. Recirculate for 5-15 minutes, depending on your system, before diverting wort flow to your kettle/boiling vessel. You should remove almost all the malt particles from the wort flow, but some haze is OK.

Start sparging in the lauter when the wort level is about a ½-inch above the grain bed. Starting earlier will decrease your efficiency because the water will dilute your first wort. Sparge water should be between 165°F and 170°F to maximize extraction, but avoid going over 170°F or you’ll extract harsh compounds from the malt husks.

Sparge until you hit your target boil volume or until the wort gravity being drawn off reaches 3°P (1.012 SG), whichever comes first. Don’t lauter past 3°P, because when the sparged wort coming off the lauter is that low in sugar content, you risk extracting tannins and other harsh character from the malt husks.

Be careful not to rush the mashing and lautering step or your brewing efficiency will go down. These steps should be done with care. A good music selection will assist in keeping things relaxed and gentle during lautering.

Music Selection: I always like to listen to J.J. Cale during lautering. Something about his laid back vocals and front porch blues approach has always appealed to me. He’s a great songwriter and a guitar maestro. If you don’t know JJ Cale, he wrote some true classics like “After Midnight”, “Call Me The Breeze” and “Cocaine”. His style has influenced Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler and countless others. JJ Cale now lives in California, somewhat near our brewery, another reason to celebrate his great music. Recommended listening is Anyway the Wind Blows, a two disc retrospective, or The Road to Escondido, a collaboration done with Eric Clapton.


Hop Bill:

0.15 oz per gallon (4.2 grams/gallon) Simcoe Hop Pellets (13% alpha)  at the start of the boil.
0.20 oz per gallon (5.6 grams/gallon) EACH Tettnang  (4.5% Alpha acid) and Willamette (5.5% alpha acid). Added 30 minutes prior to end of boil.

Spice additions (hung in a weighted down mesh bag):

Cinnamon — 0.009 oz per gallon (0.24 grams/gallon)
Nutmeg — 0.009 oz per gallon (0.24 grams/gallon)
Clove — 0.0045 oz per gallon (0/12 grams/gallon)

Boil for 90 minutes.

Music Selection: Alright, your brewing area should now have the aromas of holiday baking wafting tantalizingly through the house (or garage, or brewery). What better way to celebrate than to throw on some Christmas music? Yes, we realize Christmas has passed, but just as good Christmas beers taste perfectly fine in July, good holiday music can be listened to any time of the year. I recommend the following albums, these are some of my holiday favorites:Christmas with the Smithereens, Season’s Greetings from Moe and A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. Hey, nothing says Christmas like The Smithereens!


Spice additions-add at the start of the whirlpool process:
Cinnamon — 0.22 oz per gallon (0.6 grams/gallon)
Clove — 0.22 oz per gallon (0.6 grams/gallon)
Sweet Orange Peel — 0.22 oz per gallon (0.6 grams/gallon)
Allspice — 0.22 oz per gallon (0.6 grams/gallon)

Admittedly somewhat unusual for Stone, we did not hop this brew in the whirlpool. With the influence of the spices, we wanted to keep the hop presence well blended. Massive flavor hopping in the whirlpool may have clashed with the aromatic spice flavors.

The whirlpool step is where you separate out your proteinaceous trub. It’s going to be a large trub pile with all these spices, though the lack of hops should help enhance your wort recovery.

Music Selection: One of my favorite new bands is The Sheepdogs from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Influenced by early 1970s classic rock, I think they creatively blend elements of The Allman Brothers Band, The Guess Who, The Grateful Dead and early Grand Funk Railroad. They groove and they rock with great guitar work, strong songwriting and fantastic vocal harmonies. Check ‘em out.


Yeast Addition

Pitch a Belgian yeast strain, enough to get 20-25 million cells per milliliter (requires a starter). We used the Wyeast High Gravity Trappist yeast for this brew, the first time we’ve ever used this yeast. This yeast produced a lot of banana character, especially at a 68°F fermentation temperature. The banana esters combined well with the dark malt and dark candy sugar flavors, giving the beer a bit of a chocolate-banana dessert flavor.

After the trub has been separated from the wort, chill the wort using an immersion chiller or a heat exchanger to about 65 °F. Add enough yeast to get a cell count of about 20-25 million cells per milliliter. We like to use a higher pitching rate (yeast addition rate) here, because we wanted to ferment at a lower temperature but still ensure the beer ferments out completely. This means that you will most likely have to build up your yeast culture at home using a starter.

Music Selection: By the time you are pitching, your brew day is just about complete. I think “The Last Time” by the Rolling Stones would be a great way to cap off this final epic brew day! “May be the last time, but I don’t know!” Alternative choice: Drunken Lullabies by Flogging Molly… just because! I like them!

So there you have it — the final homebrew recipe for the final edition of the Stone Vertical Epic Ale series. I hope those of you who have been brewing these recipes have enjoyed the experience as much as we have enjoyed brewing the beers here at the brewery. It’s been my pleasure and honor to supply you, our valued fans and brewing enthusiasts, with the last seven recipes.

Posted in Coming Soon, Duclaw Brewing

Duclaw H.E.R.O. 2012: Chocolate Chipotle Stout

Meet the winning beer in Duclaw’s H.E.R.O. homebrew competition. A chocolate chipotle stout. It’s a feel good beer too. Every penny from the beers sold goes to charity. Last year’s winning entry was a chocolate peanut butter porter.

The winning entry in our 2012 H.E.R.O. homebrew competition, this silky, Chocolate Chipotle Stout is full-bodied with warm Cgaromas of chocolate and roasted malt, and a Ospicy, chipotle pepper bite perfectly balanced by silky Lim. smooth chocolate flavor making it one unique and very drinkable beer. EVERY SINGLE PENNY from the Zsale of this beer goes directly to charity, so drink up, help out, be a H.E.R.O.

Style: Chili Beer (w/ Chocolate & Chipotle)
Availability: 22 oz bombers
Arrival: TBA

7.5% ABV 

Posted in Beer News

Without Home Brew Supplies, Hop City Granted Liquor License In Alabama

Last week, armed ABC agents entered Hop City’s second location in Birmingham, Alabama. The  beer store (founded in Atlanta) is ready to open their second location. Agents entered the unopened location last Thursday and confiscated books  and materials dealing with home brewing.  Nearly $7,000 of grain, books, hops and equipment were taken.

The rest was moved back to the first store in Atlanta, Georgia. After interviewing the owner of Hop City, he tells me that they cooperated with agents the best they could. However, Torres tells BSJ that no warrant was presented to the manager on duty.

On Monday (Sept 24) Hop City was granted their liquor license and will open this week.  No home brewing supplies of course.

It is illegal to home brew in the state of Alabama.

Posted in Beer News

Free The Hops Issues Statement About Alabama Raid

Free The Hops, a grassroots Alabama based organization advocating for better beer laws in the state has issued statement about todays news story.
Hop City is opening a second location in Birmingham, and was raided by liquor board agents. Hop City was not yet open for business at the time.
Several weeks ago we made an announcement that although Free The Hops will be advocating for new legislation during the 2013 Alabama legislative session, we will not be taking on homebrewing legalization. As we pointed out then, a devoted group of homebrewers called Right To Brew has been working on that issue for several years and are on the cusp of success. We believe their efforts will very likely cross the finish line next year, so we’ll take the lead on another issue and simply lend our support to them wherever possible on the homebrew issue.

Perhaps you don’t homebrew and don’t really see what the big deal is. Well, the importance of homebrew legalization just came into focus for a lot of people when news broke that Birmingham ABC enforcement agents raided Hop City Craft Beer & Wine and confiscated $7,000 of homebrewing equipment.

This issue doesn’t just matter to homebrewers, it matters to small businesses who will lose out on revenue they could otherwise be making off equipment and ingredients for making beer and wine. And it matters to the future of local breweries in our state because most craft brewers start out homebrewing.

Free The Hops supports the efforts of Right To Brew 100% and we hope you will, too. Subscribe to their newsletter. Let your state Representative and Senator know of your support for legalizing homebrewing so Alabama can join the 48 other states where stores can sell brew kettles without fear of armed government agents raiding them. And we in FTH will do whatever we can to assist in the effort.

This ridiculous law needs to change as soon as possible. Let’s make 2013 the year. [FreeTheHops]