Get your beer on!Get your beer on!

Cleveland Beer Week is upon us, with dozens of great breweries descending upon Cleveland in a host of locations throughout the city. Jammin’ brews will be available from East to West in our fair City of Cle, from XYZ Tavern to the Cedar Lee–and from North to South.

Love Stone Brewing Co? Great Lakes? Hoppin Frog? Fat Heads? They’re here. 21st Amendment? Dogfish Head? Smuttynose? Sierra Nevada? They’re here. Beer will be flowing and locations will be hoppin–literally in a whole slush of senses.

If you love beer, this coming week is a GREAT week to be in Cleveland. I’m definitely going to find a way to get away from the children, out of the house, and hit a few locations for some frosty pints!

For more information including events, breweries, and locations check out http://www.clevelandbeerweek.org/

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Great Lakes Christmas Ale

Great Lakes Xmas Ale CloneGreat Lakes Xmas Ale Clone

I got my recipe from Brewer’s Friend, and it was a recipe posted by Cameron. He also has a YouTube video showing how he went about it.

Well it was that time of year again for the Christmas Ale to come rolling out, and I had my fill of it over the holidays. I’ve never tried brewing a clone of the beer, so this year I thought that I would. I got to it a bit later than I would have liked, but the five gallons I got will carry me through the snowy months as I brew Stout and then, in March, and Oktoberfest.

 Amt Name Type # %/IBU Volume
 12 lbs Pale Malt Grain 1 78.0 % 0.94 gal
 1 lbs 3.2 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (53.4 SRM) Grain  2  7.8 % 0.09 gal
 12.8 oz Wheat, Flaked (1.6 SRM) Grain 3 5.2 % 0.06 gal
 5.1 oz Special Roast (50.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.1 % 0.03 gal
 1.0 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 5 0.4% 0.00 gal
 1.0 oz Liberty [4.30 %] – Boil 60.0 min  Hop 6 11.6 IBUs  —
 1.0 oz Liberty [4.30 %] – Boil 15.0 min  Hop 7  5.7 IBUs  —
 1.0 oz Ginger Root (Boil 12.0 mins)  Herb 8  —  —
 1.0 oz Cascade [5.50 %] – Boil 11.0 min Hop 9  5. IBUs  —
 4.0 oz Cinnamon Stick (Boil 5.0 mins) Spice 10  —  —
 1 lb Honey [Primary] Honey 11 6.5% 0.08 gal

I had to make some modifications based on the ingredients I had on hand, but this is the recipe I ended up with:

My mash volume was 6.52 gallons with a pH of 5.3 and my sparge volume was 3.73 gallons with a pH of 5.2. My pre-boil volume was 8 gallons (I overshot the 7.4 recommended), but boiled it 75 minutes instead of 60 minutes. I mashed at between 154 degrees and 156 degrees for 60 minutes, the sparge took around the same amount of time at 168 degrees. (I donated my spent grains to a neighbor who has chickens.) My measured pre-boil gravity was 1.056, and my measured original gravity was 1.070. I brew using a Grainfather, so the mash was continually re-circulating. I pitched a California Ale yeast (WLP001), for which I created a starter. The yeast was old (September 2021 expiration), so I hedged my bet and also pitched Safale US-05 into the fermenter. The wort went into the fermenter at 68 degrees, I oxygenated it via O2 and a stone prior to pitching the yeast. The beer finished fermenting three days ago, January 3, 2022, and started fermenting within 24 hours. It was a long fermentation as I brewed the beer on December 23, 2021. I’ll move it into a corny keg tomorrow and take final gravity readings at that time.

Ohio breweries win at Great American Beer FestivalOhio breweries win at Great American Beer Festival

Just got an email announcing the results from the Great American Beer Festival for 2011. There is some credit to go around for Northeast Ohio. Check out the results at Beernews.org.

Category: 21 Wood- and Barrel-Aged Strong Beer – 118 Entries
Gold: Melange a Trois, Nebraska Brewing Co., Papillion, NE
Silver: BBJ (Bourbon Barrel Johan), Sun King Brewing Co., Indianapolis, IN
Bronze: Barrel Aged Naked Evil BBW, Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co., Akron, OH

In particular, let’s point out both Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co. and Fat Head’s Brewery, both of which received a gold medal in one of the categories they entered.

Category: 42 Baltic-Style Porter – 19 Entries
Gold: Battle Axe Baltic Porter, Fat Head’s Brewery, North Olmsted, OH
Silver: White Eagle Baltic Porter, Montana Brewing Co., Billings, MT
Bronze: Puddy Porter, Triple Rock Brewery and Alehouse, Berkeley, CA

Category: 51 American-Style India Pale Ale – 176 Entries
Gold: Elevated IPA, La Cumbre Brewing Co., Albuquerque, NM
Silver: Deviant Dale’s, Oskar Blues Brewery, Longmont, CO
Bronze: Head Hunter IPA, Fat Head’s Brewery, North Olmsted, OH

Category: 80 Imperial Stout – 56 Entries
Gold: BORIS The Crusher Oatmeal-Imperial Stout, Hoppin’ Frog Brewing Co., Akron, OH
Silver: Russian Imperial Stout, Iron Hill Brewery & Restaurant, Wilmington, DE
Bronze: IMOS, Max Lager’s Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery, Atlanta, GA

Congratulations! Let’s all go and grab some of these tasty beers!

Conway CloneConway Clone

conway

My last brew session was a Conway’s Irish Ale clone of the Great Lakes Brewery beer. I chose this one at my wife’s behest and the thought that my dad would enjoy this one as well.

The clone is not precise for a few reasons, the first being that I don’t have a whole lot of money to throw around right now and I had a backlog of ingredients on hand. As I pursued a clone recipe for Conway I learned that Great Lakes uses Harrington 2-row as the base for most of its brews. This is good to know, as I have a desire to try a few clones: for instance, my Christmas ale this year used a Nosferatu clone as the base–again, however, I didn’t know about the Harrington 2-row. I learned about the base characteristics of Great Lakes brews from a nice post on The Beerists blog site.

In looking around, the only places I’ve seen that carry Harrington are Midwest Supplies and Northern Brewer.

Additionally, Great Lakes uses quite a bit of Cascade.

Regardless, here is the clone that I used:

  • 11 lb Maris Otter
  • .75 lb Crystal 80
  • .10 lb Crystal 40
  • 1 oz Northern Brewer (30 min)
  • 1 oz Hallertauer (10 min)
  • .75 oz Fuggle (5 min)
  • WLP002 British Ale yeast

We’ll see how this compares, although I expect significant differences. In the future, I aim to try this again with a more precise version that uses Harrington 2-row, Cascade, and Wyeast London Ale 1028.