Thirsty Mallard Brewing – The Blog

All the updates from Thirsty Mallard Brewing

Brew Day: Black Betty (Bam-ba-lam) – Black IPA

Posted by Jeff on June 7, 2011

Well, I vowed not to brew again until I completed my new brewing rig… and for the most part, I completed it.  Sort of.

Sunday was to be the day.  A quick water tight test of the HLT unfortunately failed.  My thermometer and valve were both leaking.  Given that this is an electric HLT, any leak is a huge issue.  So, no HLT would be used today.  I decided to use the boil kettle as my HLT and just pump the hot water into the Mash Tun. (Side note: I learned that you will lose 8-10 degrees of temperature that way.)

So, as alluded to, my mash temperature was low.  I was shooting for 152ºF but ended up at 148ºF.  So looks like it will be a little lighter bodied than I had anticipated.

I was pleasantly surprised and pleased with my new Banjo burner.  She pumps out some BTU’s… and quiet as a mouse.  It almost didn’t feel like I was brewing without the roar of the hurricane burner.

It also took me a while to figure out the best configuration for hoses and pump speed.  I’ll need a few more brew sessions to get it all figured out.  As soon as the HLT is repaired I will take some pictures of the final product.  Oh, also one of my GFCI outlets popped and won’t reset.  Not sure what that is about.  GFCI plugs aren’t cheap, so hopefully I don’t have to replace it.

Alright, here’s the recipe:


Black Betty (Bam-ba-lam) – Black IPA

5 Gallons, 90 Minute Boil
EST OG: 1.070  EST IBU: 94

11.5 lbs – Two Row
1.13 lbs – Carafa II
1.13 lbs – Dark Munich Malt (Germany)
0.75 lb – Wheat Malt (Germany)
0.50 lb – Cara 45

0.30 oz – Colombus – FWH
0.50 oz – Colombus – 60 min
0.50 oz – Magnum – 60 min
0.40 oz – Amarillo – 30 min
0.50 oz – Cascade – 15 min
0.50 oz – Cascade – 2 min
0.75 oz – Cascade – 0 min
1.25 oz – Amarillo – Dry Hop After 10 days

Yeast: WLP001 California Ale – 1 pint starter made


My gravity ended up at 1.072, so I hit the mark just fine.  I had to use hard water (hose water) so I’m not sure how harsh that will make the hops.  I would have rather used some clean water, but oh well.

If this one is good enough I’ll enter it in the upcoming Alamo Drafthouse Homebrew Competition.  Here’s hopin’!



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Update 4-7-2011

Posted by Jeff on April 7, 2011

Just another check-in.  Haven’t been doing any brewing lately as I am working on trying to build a brewstand.  I vowed to myself that I would not brew again until I had finished it.

Most of it is done, just having some issues with the burner and propane line and I need to build a new electric HLT.  (If you need to know how to build an electric HLT visit HERE.)

I’ll post the final picture on here when it is complete, but for now all pictures are here: CLICK.

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This Is Not The Greatest Beer in the World, This is Only a Tribute

Posted by Jeff on March 23, 2011

So the Robust Porter I made last month is finally on tap… and it’s fantastic!  I really think it’s a smooth drinking beer and the roast, coffee and chocolate flavors are just enough that you can taste them, but they don’t overpower the drinker.  Even my mother and wife, both of whom very much dislike dark beer, thought it was good.

The only negative is a slightly sweet tangy flavor I get on the back of my tounge.  It may just be me, though.

I contacted the brewer for Ranger Creek and offered to send him a bottle for professional critique.  We’ll see if he can pick out the flavor as well…

One last note, I’ve decided not to call this beer “Arctic Blast Porter”.  For one, the name doesn’t really roll off the tongue.  Secondly, I think that anyone who enjoys

this beer should know where it came from.  And so, I’ve decided to start a new naming policy for clone recipes.  Henceforth I will dub all clone recipe beers as the “Tribute Series” and give credit to the original.

So, this beer will now be called, “Tribute Series: Ranger Creek Porter”.

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Top 5 Pale Ales

Posted by Jeff on February 12, 2011

People sometimes ask me what my favorite beer is.  That’s impossible to answer.  But here’s a list of my top 5 American Pale Ales (I’m drinking one now and it got me to thinking…):

5) Pale Horse Ale, No Label Brewing Co. – This beer makes the top 5 for 2 reasons.  First, it’s a fine pale ale and very enjoyable.  Secondly, and perhaps most influentially, it’s made here in my hometown of Katy, Texas.  Support local beer!

4) Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. – This was my go-to beer in my younger days (at bars with limited tap selections) and I still love grabbing a pint every now and then when I am out.  Can’t beat the signature taste of Cascade hops!

3) Full Moon Pale Rye Ale, Real Ale Brewing Co. – One of my favorite local breweries (out of Blanco, Texas) and this pale is awesome!  The addition of rye gives it a nice malty spiciness that blends well with the hops.

2) Pine Belt Pale Ale, Southern Star Brewing Co. – My favorite part about this beer is it’s round, almost creamy mouthfeel.  It’s texture really brings out the flavors and makes the beer fantastic, definitely setting it apart from the rest.

1) Piranha Pale Ale, BJ’s Restaurants – This, to me, is the quintessential APA.  It’s crisp, hoppy and refreshing with a blast of Cascade and Chinook hops.  I’ve got a homebrew recipe for this one and I love having it on tap!


Now, keep in mind I’m not saying these are the 5 best APA’s EVAR!  No, I’m saying these are my top 5.  I’m sure if I lived somewhere where I could get more West Coast APA’s, I’d have to make room on this list to move a few in…

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Arctic Blast Porter

Posted by Jeff on February 12, 2011

So last weekend I did end up brewing and decided to go with the Robust Porter.  I’ve decided to call it “Arctic Blast Porter” because of the ridiculous winter weather we endured recently.

In any case… the recipe is based on a self devised clone recipe for Ranger Creek Brewing Co.’s Mesquite Smoked Porter. After emailing with their brewer, I got a fairly good idea of the recipe (and some awesome insight into his process and mental attitude when developing a recipe).  I decided to brew the base beer first and in the future I’ll smoke the malt for the true clone.  Here’s the recipe:


Arctic Blast Porter (Robust Porter)

6 Gallons, 68% Efficiency
Est. OG = 1.068
Est. IBU = 17.2
Est. SRM = 44.3

13.25 lbs – Crisp Maris Otter
1.5 lbs – Crystal 60
0.87 lb – Chocolate Malt
0.75 lb – Black Patent

0.75 oz. – Fuggles – 4.8%AA – 60 min
0.50 oz. – Fuggles – 4.8%AA – 30 min
0.75 oz. – Tettnang – 0 min.

Wyeast 1098 – British Ale – Ferment at 68F for 10 days, 70F for 4 days.

150F for 60 min.


It smells fairly good in the airlock.  I hope the Tettnang wasn’t too much.  I’m hoping for a nice roasty, chocolatey, and coffee flavors.  If it turns out alright I may enter it into the Bluebonnet Brew Off homebrew competition.  I’ll be sure to keep the blog updated about that…

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The First Brew of 2011?

Posted by Jeff on January 29, 2011

Trying to figure out what to brew next…

Here are the options:

Robust Porter – Recipe is a clone of Ranger Creek Brewing Co’s Mesquite Smoked Porter.  I want to make the base beer to see how it will come out and in the future, rebrew with smoked malt.

Black IPA – I love the style and would love to brew one.  Have recipes for a Widmer W10 clone and a Barley Brown’s Turmoil clone (GABF gold medal winner).

English Bitter – This is a recipe I found in a Northern Brewer catalog that sounds tasty.  It uses Simpsons Golden Naked Oats which are described as a caramel oat… which I think sounds really interesting.  Also, I like to have easy drinking beers on tap, and this one sounds like it fits the bill.


I’m leaning toward the Robust Porter… mostly because I love the style and it’s best to have while the weather is still cold/cool, which gives me about a month or two to enjoy it…


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Update – 1/28/11

Posted by Jeff on January 28, 2011

I was a little busy during the holidays, so I forgot to update… apologies!

The Owen’s Oat Brown turned out pretty good!  The beer has a velvety texture that is great and there is a nice undercurrent of light chocolate and toasty roasted flavors.

The only negative with this beer is it’s opaque haze from, I assume, the oats.  I hadn’t expected the beer to be perfectly clear, but hadn’t expected just how thick the protein haze would be.

Aside from that, the beer was great!  I think I may try to up the gravity a bit and maybe infuse a little more chocolate flavor.  Maybe add a little chocolate malt to the grain bill and see if that kicks those flavors up a notch.

As usual, I decided to make a Pumpkin Ale for Christmas.  I was pressed for time and was feeling lazy, so I didn’t use my usual recipe that included butternut squash and a wide array of spices in the boil and secondary.  Instead, I decided to use the Pumpkin Spiced Ale recipe in Brewing Classic Styles.  Here’s the recipe:

BCS Pumpkin Ale

11 lbs. 2-row
.5 lbs. Aromatic
.5 lbs. Crystal 40
.5 lbs. Crystal 120
.25 lbs. Special roast

1.2 oz Kent Goldings 5%

.5 t. Cinnamon (1 min.)
.25 t. Ginger (1 min.)
.125 t. Nutmeg (1 min.)
.125 t. Allspice (1 min.)

So, the beer came out really great… but didn’t taste spiced to me.  It makes for a great “Christmas” ale, but I wouldn’t try to pass it off as a pumpkin ale.  Next time I may try to double the spices as well as “dry” spice in secondary.

I still have half a keg left.  My beer never seems to get finished at Christmas, so next year I may not brew one for the occasion.  Although I am interested in trying to brew a pumpkin porter, so we’ll see…


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Brew Day – Owen’s Oat Brown Ale

Posted by Jeff on August 30, 2010

Well, your poll results showed that you all loved the Oat Brown… and I agreed!  Today was brewday.  Let’s begin with the recipe I devised:


Owen’s Oat Brown Ale

6 Gallons, 65% eff., 60 min. boil
EST OG – 1.052  EST IBU:  24

Transferring and cooling wort to the fermenter.

9.0 lbs – Crisp Maris Otter
1.25 lbs – Flaked Oats
1.0 lb – Brown Malt (65L)
1.0 lb – Victory Malt (25L)
0.5 lb – Crystal 40
0.25 lb – Pale Chocolate Malt (200L)

1.20 oz. – E.K. Goldings (5%AA) – 60 Min.
0.5 oz. – E.K. Goldings (5%AA) – 5 Min.

Yeast: WLP013 London Ale – Ferment at 68F.

Mash: Single infusion at 154F for 60 min


Brew day went well, aside from the heat and humidity.  I hit all the numbers I was supposed to (my OG actually came out to 1.060, so I diluted down to 1.052).  We’ll see how it goes.  During the boil the wort had a nice coffee/light roast aroma to it that I was really liking.  Hopefully that comes out in the final beer.

This is the first recipe I’ve ever really taken a stab at just coming  up with on my own (rather than taking one from the internet or a book).  I’m excited and nervous about it.  Hopefully it doesn’t suck.  And hopefully I get the flavor profile I was aiming for.  I’m thinking I should have had more Pale Chocolate malt and probably dialed back the bittering hops to 1.0 oz.  Then again, I haven’t even tried it yet, so what do I know about what needs changed!

Oh well… in the end, it’s still beer!


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What To Brew?

Posted by Jeff on August 18, 2010

Next brew day will be over Labor Day weekend.  If you would like to join, you are more than welcome!  For now, help me decide what to brew?  Just for reference, whatever I brew will probably be ready to drink by the first week in October.

Rye Wit – A beer inspired by Freetail Brewing’s Rye Wit.  Crisp and refreshing, but not too much of a “wow” factor.

Cascadian Dark – Also known as a Black IPA.  It’s a new style that’s pretty popular right now.  Quite interesting, but maybe too much flavor?

Oat Brown Ale – Inspired by Charlie Papazian’s recipe in Zymurgy.  Sounds mighty tasty.  And it would make a nice Fall beer (assuming we actually get Fall weather at any point…).

Old Ale – This one would be a tribute to my son, Owen, who is about to be born.  This would be a strong beer that is good for aging, so I could save some bottles and open a few every year on his birthday.

Blonde Ale – Just something light and easy to drink.  A lawnmower beer, if you will.  It’s hot here in Houston and it probably still will be in October.

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Migration Update

Posted by Jeff on August 18, 2010

My last post was about how my Migration Wit got all screwed up due to my careless use of flavorings.  Well, after some retrospect and some Papazian mantra therapy (“Relax. Don’t worry.  Have a homebrew.”) I’ve decided… it’s not all that bad.

Sure, this beer is a far cry from what I had originally had in mind.  I had hoped for a flavorful, yet refreshing wit with some interesting back flavor from the lavender and Belgian yeast.  What I got was something more tart and acidic.

It’s almost like a sour beer, but not really.  Just enough of a bite to make you feel it, but not the type that leaves you puckering and wincing.

I like it.  I’ve actually been having a glass almost every night!  The only negative is that the acidity doesn’t really get along with my chronic acid reflux… hence why I can only usually have one glass.

I do have some lactic acid that can tart it up a bit.  I’m thinking of entering it as a sour beer in an upcoming competition, just to see how it does.

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