Where Has the Time Gone?

On December 17, 2016, in Craft Beer, Family and Friends, Recipes, Stuff..., by Mark Ranes

It’s been three long years since I’ve posted to The Lazy Brewer. Why? I have no excuses, but much has passed in that time.

Probably the greatest reason for my hesitancy to post new content here is that my self-hosted WordPress site has been continually hacked by script kiddies. It’s so frustrating to see these fools continually inject code and stupid content over the top of the Lazy Brewer. I tired of continually rebuilding the site from backups, just to see a few more weeks pass and then have it maliciosly hacked again. I actually took the Lazy Brewer offline for several month after the last report from Google that my site was hosting malicious content. I had planned on bringing the Lazy Brewer back to life over the holiday break, and we’ll see how it goes this time.

Obviously, I’ve enjoyed many wonderful homebrews and commercial beers over the last 3 years. I’m still brewing regularly, but probably less frequently than in past years. I still try and keep at least eight, if not more, beers on tap at Sociables Ale House. I recently brewed a Throwback IPA, in an effort to get back to the malty, hoppy beers of my craft beer drinking past. I’m tiring of the plethora of all super pale base malt, dank, overhopped IPAs that are so widely available in the craft beer world today. They have no balance and just smack you in the face with catty hops.

In the past three years much has happened. My brother and I moved my Dad out of his home into an assisted care facility, where he still lives today. And then sadly, last spring, I lost my only brother to heart disease. My youngest child, Dawson, followed his sister to the Bay Area, and is attending Laney College, in Oakland, and doing well. I’m now within a couple years of retirement and looking forward to that new phase of life. I also took a silver medal last summer, in the 2016 National Homebrew Competition, for my Cookie Dough Brown Ale. The recipe has slightly changed from past batches, and I’ll post this info soon. I’ve entered this beer before and never made it past the regional competition, but this year I bested 255 other national entries for a second place medal. I was pleased to finally get some recognition for this amazing ale. It has a permanent handle at Sociables.

A couple years ago, my friend Eric and I brewed a spiced beer that he won an award for many years ago. Eric was the first person I ever knew that homebrewed, way back before the hobby became so popular. I converted his five gallon extract recipe to all grain, and off we went. When we brewed this three years ago, and it was well received by everyone. We decided to brew an encore batch this year, scaling back some of the spices slightly. I do like this version better with the spices a bit more subdued.

Here’s the recipe:

Holidaze Ale
American Amber Ale
Author: Eric Wade – conversion to 10 gallon all grain by Mark Ranes

Size: 10.08 gal
Efficiency: 70.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 270.74 kcal per 16.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.061 (1.045 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.015 (1.010 – 1.015)
Color: 15.45 SRM (10.0 – 17.0)
Alcohol: 6.0% (4.5% – 6.0%)
Bitterness: 39.6 (25.0 – 40.0)

20.0 lb (80.6%) Northwest Pale Ale Malt – added during mash
1.5 lb (6.0%) Crystal Malt 20°L – added during mash
2.0 oz (0.5%) Roasted Barley – added during mash
3.0 oz (0.8%) Carafa Special® TYPE III – added during mash
1.0 lb (4.0%) Cara-Pils® Malt – added during mash
2.0 oz (50.0%) Perle (8.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60.0 m
1.0 tsp Cloves (whole) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
2.0 oz (50.0%) Willamette (5.0%) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
2.0 lb (8.1%) Honey – added after boil, steeped 15.0 m
1.0 ea Cinnamon (stick) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
1.5 tsp Ginger (fresh) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
3.0 ea Orange zest – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
2.0 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10.0 m
1.0 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10.0 m
2000.0 mL Starter White Labs WLP041 Pacific Ale Yeast

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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 CondomNacho 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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