Merry Christmas 2013 from the Lazy Brewer!

On December 25, 2013, in Family and Friends, General, by Mark Ranes
Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

So another year has gone by.  Life is still good!  Life at work this last year has been trying. The school district Brenda and I work at is financially challenged and on the brink of collapse. The struggle has put friends at odds with each other and we’ve seen some really amazing people flee the district. Change is coming like a freight train, so hopefully we’ll get back on track this spring, and next Christmas will see our district refocused on what we do best – educating children. My contract at work was extended by six weeks each year, so that has helped offset the cut that is inevitibale to Brenda’s salary. I’ll miss the time off in the summer immensely, and as I get older, I appreciate my time away from work more and more, but the extended work year will help boost my qualifying salary as I get closer to retirement.

Life has been busy lately.  I’ve brewed a several times recently, and I have a brew planned for next week. Brewing has become a simple, relaxing process in the last couple years where I rarely screw something up. I’ve become more of a solitary brewer and that’s OK. I still enjoy brewing with others, but life lately sees me sneaking in time to brew, so planning out the social aspect of brewing is a challenge.

Today I’m surrounded by family and friends, and we’re relaxing and sharing what life has offered us. Our health is good, we have wonderful friends who share our passions, and in general we celebrate how well off we really are. In the words of Dave Matthews, “Eat, drink, and be merry. For tomorrow we die.” I’m approaching life this way:)

In honor of the season, share a quality ale with someone you love!  Merry Christmas from the Lazy Brewer!

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Carnival IPA

On November 25, 2013, in Homebrewing, Recipes, by Mark Ranes

CarnivalIPAFor me, the release of Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale signals the start of the annual holiday season. When I see the bright, cheery red Celebration Ale packaging, I know it’s time to bust out the credit cards and go in debt for the next six months! But at least I get to drown my sorrows in one of my favorite ales for a couple months.

There have been many recipes floating around the Internet for Celebration Ale, but if I remember correctly, I found the basis for this clone recipe in a recent Brew Your Own magazine. I brewed it last winter and the flavor was spot-on for Celebration Ale, but the nose on my version was much better than Sierra Nevada’s original rendition. Ten gallons of this ale disappeared in a matter of a month, and I rebrewed it again in the spring. The final keg blew just last month. It’s time to brew it yet again, but I have two brew days lined up in the next month – one for a Belgian Wit and another for my elusive blue fairy Imperial IPA.

Here’s the recipe.

Carnival IPA
14-B American IPA

Date: 1/19/13

Size: 9.96 gal @ 68 °F
Efficiency: 70.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 223.55 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.067 (1.056 – 1.075)
Terminal Gravity: 1.017 (1.010 – 1.018)
Color: 12.57 (6.0 – 15.0)
Alcohol: 6.61% (5.5% – 7.5%)
Bitterness: 64.4 (40.0 – 70.0)

25.0 lb (91.7%) 2-Row Brewers Malt – added during mash
1.75 lb (6.4%) Caramel Malt 60L – added during mash
0.5 lb (1.8%) Cara-Pils® Malt – added during mash
1.25 oz (9.3%) Chinook (13.1%) – added during boil, boiled 100.0 m
0.75 oz (5.6%) Centennial (11.5%) – added during boil, boiled 100.0 m
3.5 oz (25.9%) Cascade (6.6%) – added during boil, boiled 10.0 m
2.0 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil
1.0 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil
1.5 oz (11.1%) Centennial (11.5%) – added during boil, at knockout
2.5 oz (18.5%) Cascade (6.6%) – added during boil, at knockout
1.5 oz (11.1%) Centennial (11.5%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
2.5 oz (18.5%) Cascade (6.6%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
2000.0 mL Starter White Labs WLP001 California Ale


Here’s a comparison photo. Sierra Nevada’s Celebration Ale is on the left, my version is on the right.


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Red EyePA

On September 30, 2013, in Homebrewing, Recipes, by Mark Ranes

Red EyePa Tap HandleThis is a good year! Later in October our good neighbors, the Fitzgeralds, are hosting their semi-annual Halloween party. Robyn always has the house incredibly decked out with Halloween decor and we always plan costumes several months in advance. So far I’ve been a beer keg, Captain Condom, Fat Bastard, Nacho Libre and a couple more I can’t seem to remember at the moment. This year’s costume will remain a mystery until October 26th! I always brew for the event and this year I brewed a Red IPA and a Pumpkin Amber Ale. The Red IPA is currently conditioning to get all the yeast to drop out, and the Pumpkin Amber Ale is still in the fermentor, but I’m sure it will be ready.

This Red IPA has a lovely, smooth bittering that is nicely set off by a big malty backbone. It’s a beer that is worthy of the event!   A Facebook buddy told me he was looking for a decent Red IPA recipe, so I offer this up to fit that need. Here ya go, John!


Red EyePA
14-B American IPA
Author: Mark Ranes
Date: 9/7/13

Size: 10.08 gal @ 68 °F
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 287.06 kcal per 16.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.064 (1.056 – 1.075)
Terminal Gravity: 1.016 (1.010 – 1.018)
Color: 20.2 (6.0 – 15.0)
Alcohol: 6.36% (5.5% – 7.5%)
Bitterness: 47.8 (40.0 – 70.0)

10.0 lb (39.8%) Pale Ale Malt – added during mash
8.0 lb (31.8%) Golden Promise Malt – added during mash
2.0 lb (8.0%) Crystal Malt 120°L – added during mash
0.5 lb (2.0%) British Dark Crystal – added during mash
4.0 lb (15.9%) American Munich – added during mash
1.0 oz (0.2%) 2-Row Chocolate Malt – added during mash
1.0 oz (0.2%) German Carafa III – added during mash
0.5 lb (2.0%) 2-Row Carapils® Malt – added during mash
1.5 oz (14.3%) Chinook (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 30.0 m
1.0 oz (9.5%) Nugget (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
1.0 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10.0 m
2.0 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10.0 m
4.0 oz (38.1%) Amarillo (8.5%) – added during boil, boiled 4.0 m
2.0 oz (19.0%) Cascade (5.5%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
2.0 oz (19.0%) Amarillo (8.5%) – added dry to secondary fermenter
2000.0 mL White Labs WLP001 California Ale

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Recipe Formulation Links

On August 28, 2013, in Homebrewing, Recipes, by Mark Ranes

BarleyAndWineListed below are some links mentioned during the session Stephen and I gave at Barley & Wine, on August 28, on recipe formulation. I’ve broken them up into five main areas, hops, malt, yeast and recipe aggregation sites and other resources.  This is by no means a comprehensive list, but should serve as a starting point for your recipe formulation adventures .





BYO’s Hop Chart

Hop Union’s Aroma Wheel

Hop Union’s Hop List

USA Hops Variety Manual



BYO’s Grain and Adjunct Chart

BeerTools Base Malts and Speciality Grains

Beersmith’s Grain, Sugar and Extract List

Old Republic Brewing’s Malt and Grain Guide



BYO’s Yeast Chart

White Labs Yeast List

Wyeast Yeast List

Mr. Malty’s Yeast Comparison Chart


Recipe Collections

 Lazy Brewer’s Recipes

BeerTools Recipes

BeerSmith Recipes and More

Brewtoad Recipes


Other Resources

Brewer’s Friend Recipe Calculator

Brewgr Recipe Calculator

BeerTools Pro Software

Beersmith Software

Designing Great Beers – Book

Brewing Classic Styles – Book



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