International homebrew project 2012

This year there were two homebrewers from Latvia that participated in  International Homebrew project 2012 – Atis and Edgars, so each of us will give a separate account in this joint blog post.

Here is the original recipe:

  • 100% English Pale Ale malt – 21.71lb/11.95kg for 5 gallon/23 litre batch with efficiency of 70%
  • 65 IBU East Kent Goldings for 90 minutes – 5.38oz/152.4g at 4.5%
  • 26 IBU Fuggles for 20 minutes – 3.05oz/84.6g at 5.5%
  • Dry hop Fuggles – 1.23oz/34.8g
  • Windsor dry yeast or Wyeast 1318 London Ale III at 67ºF/19.4ºC
  • Mash – 120 minutes at 150ºF/65.6ºC, ratio 0.95qt/lb or 1.98l/kg
  • OG – 1.114, FG – 1.046, IBU – 91, ABV – 9.1%


There was no doubt this year that I would participate in the homebrew project – milk stout last year turned out to be one of the best beers I have ever brewed, I still have few bottles in my celler and it gets only better and better. This year’s Scottish hop and malt monster from the 19th century promised to be even better.

Here is my recipe, I had to modify it due to the (un)availability of ingredients:

  • 4,2 kg Lithuanian Pilsner malt (Maltosa)
  • 40g Goldings (5,1%) @ 90min
  • 40g Fuggles (4,0%) @20min
  • Windsor dry yeast
  • Dry hop Fuggles (4,0%) – 14g
  • Mash – 120 min at 66 ºC, the temperature had fallen down to 61/62 ºC at the end of the mash
  • OG 1110, FG 1038, ABV 9,6%

The total volume was 7 liters only, as my largest boiling pot was just 10 liters (I was not not brewing at home) and due to the large volume of hop residue I was able to ferment 5 liters only and bottle just about 3,5 liters, so I all got was ten precious 0,33 bottles.

Already when bottling, the beer tasted good, albeit it was quite boozy. After two weeks, in March, I tasted again, this time it felt almost excellent, but towards the finish alcohol started to manifest itself again too much. Today, 5 weeks after bottling, I tried again. Beer pours hazy amber with huge creamy slightly off-white head that lasts forever. Aroma is weak floral hops, not much else, but later, when it warms up, hints of alcohol can be felt. Taste is rich and sweetish malt with noticeable hop bitterness that almost balances malt, as well as a small touch of alcohol, bittery and long lasting aftertaste; mouthfeel is nicely warming, full and smooth with just enough carbonation.

I will try to age the few remaining bottles for a few years and I am also certain I am brewing this beer again, this time in larger volume.


This year after recipe of IHP 2012 was published I decided to join because it was easy to adapt to local ingredients and I love hoppy beers.  It was challenging brew as during winter season I`m playing with 5L batches using simple tools what can be found in every kitchen. The first challenge was the amount of grains (2,5kg), so I had difficulties to mash in because of “mash tune” size is 6L (my water grain ratio was 1,4) and filtering was not easy as well for the same reason. Because of those factors my efficiency was just 40% and I boiled down a lot to reach OG1110 and put ~3L to fermenter. Abnormal hop amount made wort look like some hop cream soup and it filtered really slow. I hit 110IBU because of boil off, but I guess its not a big difference in mouthfeel between 90 or 110IBU. :))

Used Pilsener malt from Lithuanian Maltosa, East Kent Goldings, Fuggles, dry Windsor yeast.
Here are some pictures from my brewing day:

Grain and "mash tun"



Wort before boiling

Nice creamy foam


Filtering hop cream soup

Lunch prepared for yeast

Brewing on regular basis for 2 years I can say, that this was most difficult and crazy brew I have ever brewed. Next time I would use my regular equipment for this.

Now comes sweet (hoppy?) result of hard work. OG1110 FG1030 ABV 10,5%.

hop devil in the glass

Head lasts forever. After 5-10 minutes, when its down there is beautiful lace left on glass. Beer looks like amber.

In aroma I can feel some sweetness, some hop and alcohol in background of malt that dominates the complex aroma.

First sip, mmmmm, second sip, Mmmm, third sip, MMMMMM. This tastes exciting. It’s hard to describe it in a language that is not my native, but I will try my best. Mouthfeel is rich and creamy, beer is really malty, in beginning feels sweet, but soon hops take over the sweetness. The ending is bitter, but its not like in some regular IPA where hops dominate over everything else, in this one hops play well with sweetness making perfectly balanced ending that you feel in your mouth for a long time.  Alcohol is well hidden in complex taste of this delicious drink, but it is warming already from first sips.

This must be repeated on my regular equipment for next winter season!

To be objective in judging the beer, I gave one sip to my wife: “PHEEEW, what a monster, who can drink this…!?” 😀 😀 😀