Category Archives: Home-brew recipe

Homebrew Recipe: Hoppy Fall Take 2

Two years ago I brewed a hoppy amber ale that I named Hoppy Boston Hoppy Fall. The final beer was good, but I am a relentless tinkerer and there were a few things that I thought could be better, so I started working on a new version. The beer was designed to smell like an IPA and have good hop flavor, but also have a full caramel malt body and mild bitterness. I was hoping for a little more body and a little more hop flavor and aroma in the second generation brew. You can find the original recipe and tasting notes HERE. For the additional body I used Crystal 75 instead of 40 and added some CaraPils. I also made the beer a little lighter alcohol-wise. Instead of focusing exclusively on Simcoe hops in my late/dry additions I added some Citra and Cascade to diversify the hop profile. My new recipe is as follows:

Malts: 1 lb. Victory, 1 lb. CaraMunich I (40 L), 1 lbs. Crystal 75 L, 0.5 lb. Carapils, 3.3 lbs. Briess Light LME, 1 lb. Breiss Light DME

Hops: 1 oz. Columbus hops (60 min), 1.0 oz. Simcoe hops (20 min), 1.0 oz. Simcoe hops (1 min), 1.0 oz. Citra hops (1 min), 1.0 oz. Simcoe hops (Dry hop in the secondary), 1.0 oz. Citra hops (Dry hop in the secondary), 1.0 oz. Cascade hops (Dry hop in the secondary)

GigaYeast (GY011) British Ale #1 yeast

Primary fermentation was 7 days followed by a 14 day secondary fermentation. I went a little light on the bottling sugar to keep the carbonation moderate in the final beer.

Hoppy Boston Hoppy Fall take 2Hoppy Boston Hoppy Fall Take 2 pours a deep amber with a solid off-white head. The scent is a huge burst of hops, citrus and tropical fruit. While the beer smells like an IPA, the taste is much more balanced. There is plenty of hop flavor, notes of orange, grapefruit, mango and papaya but very mild bitterness. This is complemented by a full dose of malt, touches of caramel, fresh bread and honey. The beer is medium bodied and very easy to drink. The finish is clean with some lingering hop and malt flavors. This is one of the best beers I’ve brewed at home. My company has Friday socials and I shared a few of my recent homebrew batches this week, this beer got rave reviews. I will definitely brew it again next fall!



Homebrew Recipe: Hoppy Boston Mosaic Saison

I took a little bit of a break from homebrewing, but I am happy to say I finally jumped back on the wagon. I did brew two batches of beer at Hopster’s relatively recently, but it’s been over a year since I brewed beer at home. The major reason for the break was that my wife was pregnant, and then we had our baby. We were busy and with her not drinking at all I cut back on my beer consumption a bit. Even under normal circumstances it takes me a while to go through two cases of homebrewed beer, especially with all the commercial beers I drink for reviews and other blog related activities. A style of beer I have really enjoyed recently are well-hopped saisons, I love the interplay of expressive Belgian yeast with the citrus and tropical fruit flavors of new world hops. I am hoping to brew a few different hoppy saisons over the next year or so, keeping the malts and yeast the same but late/dry hopping with a different variety each time. My first attempt at this recipe was a Mosaic Saison, I love the light fruity notes of Mosaic hops and thought it would be a good place to start. On a side note, I purchased my ingredients at Boston Homebrew Supply, the relatively new homebrewing store on Beacon St. in Brookline. I came away very impressed, the place was clean and well stocked and the staff was extremely helpful and interested in chatting with me about my vision for the beer. I would definitely recommend checking them out! Without further ado, here is my recipe (5 gallon batch, 3.5 gallon boil for 60 minutes):

Malts: 1 lb. Rye, 1 lb. White Wheat, 2 lbs. Vienna, 1 lb. CaraPils.

Extract: 3.3 lbs Pilsen Light LME, 1 lb. Golden Light DME.

Hops: 1 oz. Columbus (60 min), 1 oz. East Kent Goldings (20 minutes), 1 oz. Mosaic (1 minute), 3 oz. Mosaic (dry hop in the secondary).

Yeast: GigaYeast (GY018) Saison #1

Other: Irish Moss (1 tsp., 15 minutes).

Steep the malts for 30 minutes at 120-150 C, add extract and bring to a boil. Add hops at the times shown. Ferment for 6 days (primary) then 14 days (secondary). Bottled and sampled after ~2 weeks to carbonate with priming sugar.

Hoppy Boston Mosaic SaisonHoppy Boston Mosaic Saison pours a clear light orange with a mild white head. The scent is a mixture of fruity and spicy yeast along with some mild tropical fruit from the hops. To be honest it’s not quite as pungent as I hoped for. The yeast leads the flavor, notes of pear, apricot, pepper and clove. The hops come through stronger on the tongue, touches of mango, lemon and passion fruit along with some crisp bitterness. The malt backbone is present but subdued, the yeast really dried the beer out, but you get some bready grin and just a little spicy rye. The finish is crisp with some lingering spice and fruit flavors. I really enjoy drinking this beer, it is light goes down smooth but still flavorful, perfect for the porch in the summer. The only thing that disappoints me is the aroma, I though three ounces of Mosaic hops would give me a big pungent hop kick, but it ended up being pretty mild. Any ideas what might have happened here? Issue with the hops or with my fermenter? I would be happy to hear any suggestions, and I am definitely going to try this beer again with another variety of hops (Citra and Cascade are the top of my list right now). Cheers!


Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s DIPA

My friend Tom is a fellow craft beer fan and frequent reader of this blog. He read about my two previous experiences brewing beer at Hopster’s Brew and Boards in Newton and wanted to try it out, so we booked a brewing session together. After some back and forth on style we landed on a big hop-forward DIPA. I had a homebrew IPA recipe that had produced a great beer, and the Hopster’s staff had no problem helping me modify it for their equipment and available malts/hops. Special thanks to my wife Kristin for helping bottle the beer, Tom couldn’t make it due to one of the blizzards so she stepped up and it’s a much easier job with two people working together. The Hopster’s concept has really caught on, we brewed on a Saturday afternoon and I went back to bottle 3 weeks later. On both days the place was packed full with people brewing, eating and enjoying some delicious beer.  Hopster’s is so popular that they are in the process of setting up a second location, rumored to be in the South Boston area, with an even larger capacity. Here is what we brewed and how it turned out:

Recipe: 7.5 gallon batch, sparge the specialty grains then add extract and boil for 60 minutes, adding the hops at the times shown.

Fermentables: 16 lbs. Pilsner Light Liquid Malt Extract, 1.0 lbs. Crystal 120, 1.0 lbs. White Wheat, 0.5 lbs. CaraPils, 1.0 lbs. Dextrose.

Hops: 2.0 oz. Magnum (60 min.), 2.0 oz. Hallertau (30 min.),  1.0 oz. Citra (flame out), 4.0 oz. Columbus (dry hopped).

Fermented with American Ale yeast.

Hopster's DIPAHoppy Boston/Hopster’s Double IPA pours a deep orange with a moderate off-white head. The first whiff is pungent hop aromas, pine and citrus fruit. The taste is very hop-forward with notes of lemon, resin, orange, mango and grapefruit. Citra and Columbus are amongst my favorite hop varieties, so adding them late resulted in a beautiful mixture of hop scents and flavors. There is just enough malt to provide a little balance, a touch of cereal grain and caramel. You get a noticeable hit of bitterness from the high alpha acid Magnum hops, but it isn’t tongue numbing. This beer drinks clean and easy for a bigger beer, we didn’t take an official gravity reading but I estimate the ABV to be nearly 8%. The finish is clean with a nice little hop kick at the end. Overall this is one of the best home brews that I have made, tons of hops and very drinkable. If it sounds good to you book an appointment at Hopster’s and tell them you want to make some Hoppy Boston IPA!

Previous Hopster’s Articles:

Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s Fuggles PorterHoppy Boston/Hopster’s Belgian IPA, Hopster’s Brew and Boards


Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s Fuggles Porter

My brother and I recently brewed another batch of beer at Hopster’s Brew and Boards in Newton, MA. Our first brewing experience at Hopster’s was over a year ago (I’ve been back since, just not to brew), and so much has changed in that time. First, Hopster’s received a liquor license to become a fully functional bar in addition to a brew-on-premises. Then they obtained a brewery license, allowing them to brew and serve their own beers. Now Hopster’s is a fully functional brewery, you can sample a wide variety of their beers on draft and take home a growler. They even bottle three of their releases for limited distribution. I’ve been impressed with some of the beers I’ve tried at the bar and I’m sure I’ll review some of their beers on this site in the near future. My brother treated me to a brewing session as a birthday present (you might have noticed that I had a number of birthday gifts that revolved around beer, not a coincidence). I got to choose a style, and after considerable thought I went with a lower alcohol porter with a little hop bite (we aimed for about 5% ABV). Porter is one of my favorite styles, especially during colder weather, and I prefer a beer with a rich malt body followed by a crisp hop bite to finish. We selected Fuggles hops for their clean bitterness and traditional British flavor profile. Here is the recipe I used (7.5 gallon batch, sparge grains followed by 60 minute boil):

10 lbs dark liquid malt extract

1.5 lbs. Crystal 60, 1 lb. chocolate malt, 0.5 lbs biscuit malt.

2.5 oz. Fuggles (60 minutes), 1.5 oz. Fuggles (15 minutes), 1 tablespoon Irish Moss (15 minutes)

British Ale yeast (2 packets dry yeast).

Hoppy Boston Fuggles PorterThe beer fermented just under 3 weeks and then we bottled it using forced carbonation. I tasted it right away and again after a couple weeks. Some of the residual sweetness died down from the extract, and the hops were more prevalent, I imagine as it ages it will get more malty again. Hoppy Boston Fuggles Porter pours nearly black with a mild tan head. The smell is mostly dark malts with a touch of earthy hops. The taste starts with the malt, notes of chocolate and coffee plus some mild nuttiness. This is followed by some hop character, touches of grass and pine and a mild bitterness at the end. The beer is easy drinking, crisp and clean with a dry finish. The body is a touch lighter than I would like, but outside of that I am really happy with how this came out. It will be great to have a bunch of this porter around for the upcoming cold weather. Looking forward to my next brewing adventure at Hopster’s!

Previous Hopster’s Articles:

Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s Belgian IPA, Hopster’s Brew and Boards


Homebrew Recipe: Hoppy Boston Witbier

The weather is getting warmer (finally) and lighter beers seem to go well with sitting on the porch, going to the beach, and backyard BBQs. My brother and I recently brewed a Belgian witbier together with the idea of having it ready to drink in time for the warm weather. The recipe is pretty straight forward, mixing barley malt with wheat and adding lemon and orange zest to give a subtle citrus fruit flavor to the final beer. Here is the recipe:

1.25 lb. CaraPils malt

1lb. Flaked Wheat

3.3 lbs. Breiss Pilsen light liquid malt extract

2 lb. Wheat dry malt extract

1 oz. East Kent Goldings hops (60 min)

0.5 oz. Saaz (15 min)

Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon (10 min)

0.5 oz. Saaz (5 min)

White Labs 400: Belgian Witbier yeast

Steep malts 30 min at 120-150 F. Add extracts and bring to a boil. Add hops at times shown. Ferment for 7 days, then rack into the secondary container and ferment for 7 more days. One note: the temperature was a little cooler than I would have liked for fermenting an ale, I think the yeast contributions would have been a little stronger with higher fermentation temperatures.

Hoppy Boston WitbierHoppy Boston Witbier pours a deep orange, cloudy with a large white head (the beer is slightly overcarbonated). The smell starts with some citrus fruit, along with notes of wheat and some esters from the yeast. The beer is light, crisp and easy to drink. The wheat malts add some spicy flavors while the hops give a touch of woodsy pine. The Belgian yeast is present, contributing some mild fruit and pepper . The lemon and orange are also mild, adding some complexity to the overall flavor. The finish is clean with a little lingering spiciness and citrus flavor in the tongue. The beer is perfect for spring and summer, light bodied and easy to drink but still flavorful.     

Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s Belgian IPA

Last month my brother and I brewed a batch of beer at Hopster’s Brew and Boards, the new brew-on-premises and bar in Newton Corner (for my earlier write-up see: We brewed a Belgian style IPA, which I have finally been able to taste, so I thought I would share the recipe and review the beer. Before we get into the review, a few things have changed at Hopster’s since my last visit. First, they finally got a liquor license, and built a bar. The selection is great, all New England craft beers. The selection rotates pretty frequently, but on our bottling day they had Pretty Things, Jack’s Abby, Idle Hands, Mystic, Wormtown, Atlantic Brewing Co., Maine Brewing Co., Notch, Slumbrew, Allagash and some others I’m forgetting. Basically a who’s-who of local craft beer. The open bar has led to a larger crowd at Hopster’s, so the kitchen is now open daily, serving locally sourced cheese, charcuterie, and flat breads. We had a plowman’s board and everything was well made and delicious. So, if you want to check Hopster’s out and have a beer before you commit to brewing a batch of your own, they are ready and open for business. So, onto the recipe: Hoppy Boston/Hopster’s Belgian IPA: 7.5 Gallon batch (One kettle) 12 lbs. Pilsen light liquid malt extract 1 lb. CaraPils 1 lb. Aromatic malt 1 lb. Vienna malt 0.5 lbs. Crystal 15L 2 lbs. Belgian light candi sugar 1 oz. Nugget hops (pellet)-60 min 1.5 oz. Amarillo hops (leaf)-30 min 2.0 oz. Chinook hops (leaf)-20 min 3.0 oz. Simcoe hops (leaf)-10 min Dry hop with Citra hops Yeast: Wyeast Belgian Abbey 2 The idea with this beer was to make a Belgian tripel that is hopped like an American IPA, with a target of ~7% ABV. The light specialty malts add character and body. The copious late addition of American hops supply the citrus hop flavors that should complement the fruity esters from the Belgian yeast. Hoppy Boston Hopsters Belgian IPAHoppy Boston/Hopster’s Belgian IPA pours a slightly cloudy amber with a small white head. The first smell is all American hops, like a burst of fresh citrus in your nose. This is followed by the Belgian yeast, providing notes of bubblegum and light fruity esters. The first taste is very hop-forward, grapefruit, lemon, tangerine and pine. The yeast forms a nice complement, adding green apple, bubblegum and a touch of must. There is some light malt flavors in the backbone, but the beer is all about the hops and yeast. The bitterness is present but not overbearing, and you get a nice tart aftertaste. The beer goes down very easy, the alcohol isn’t really present in the flavor. This Belgian IPA is a good beer for all seasons, it is full flavored enough to keep you warm in the winter, but light enough in body to sip on a warm summer day. I highly recommend heading down to Hopster’s and brewing your own batch!

Home-brew Recipe: Hoppy Boston Porter

One of my favorite beers to drink once the weather gets cold is porter. I love the thick mouthfeel, dark malts and balanced bitterness. Last winter I brewed a big and boozy porter. It was great then and I let some of it age in the bottle for a year, and it’s even better with the added time. Here is the recipe I used:

5 Gallon batch (~3.5 gallon boil)
8 oz. Black Patent malt
8 oz. Chocolate malt
1 lb. Crystal 60L malt
1 lb. CaraPils malt
8 oz. Flaked Barley
6.6 lbs. Briess pilsen light LME
3 lb. Breiss pilsen light DME
2 oz. UK Kent Goldings hops (60 min)
1.0 oz. US Northern Brewer hops (20 min)
1 tsp. Irish moss (15 min)
1.0 oz. Fuggles hops (1 min)
White Labs (WY004) Irish Ale yeast
Steep malts 30 min at 120-150 F. Add extracts and bring to a boil. Add hops at times shown.
Primary: 8 days in the bucket
Secondary: 22 days in the glass carboy
After bottling I gave it ~3 weeks to bottle condition before I started drinking.

Hoppy Boston PorterHoppy Boston Porter pours pitch black with a substantial and sustained mocha colored head. The smell starts with some coffee and finishes with some dark fruit, cherry and a touch of plum. The taste is classic for a porter, dark chocolate and espresso, again followed by touches of currant and raisin. There is enough hop bitterness to balance the beer, it isn’t sweet but it isn’t overly bitter either. There is also a noticeable flavor of warming alcohol, perfect for the cold winter nights. The beer has a full mouthfeel and finishes balanced with a touch of tartness. Overall a dark, flavorful and balanced beer, perfect for the cold months ahead.