It’s been a while since I’ve talked about actual beer recipes, so I thought I’d break that pattern and actually share with you readers my favourite summertime brew.

I call it “Bikini Special” because it’s nothing but the essentials… malted barley, some dextrose, bittering hops, yeast, and a fining agent.  That’s it!  It results in about a 5% ABV crisp and thirst-quenching ale that us homebrewers like to call lawnmover beer… something you can drink all day while moving the lawn!  Others call it a “SMASH” beer: single malt, single hop.

With these beers, you can’t hide behind complex flavours or bitterness; if something’s even just a little off flavour-wise, it will be apparent.  The biggest issue will of course be fermentation temp.  That’s the one variable you can’t mess with.  If it’s too high, your brew will throw off flavours not suited to the beer style.

Without further adieu, here’s the list of ingredients:

  • 7 lbs pale malt (2-row)
  • 12 ounces dextrose (corn sugar)
  • .36 ounces Columbus (Tomohawk) hops
  • 1/2 tsp Irish moss
  • 1 package yeast

Yep, that simple!  You home brewers will know what to do with these ingredients, but for the un-initiated, it goes something like this:

  • Bring 8 gallons of water up to 155 degrees F.
  • Stir in crushed grain.
  • Use small amounts of hot or cold water to adjust temp to exactly 150 degrees.
  • Put cover on kettle, maintain temperature by whatever means you use… I use an old comforter and sleeping bag.
  • After 90 minutes, bring contents up to 168 degrees for 10 minutes.
  • Remove grain from water.
  • Add dextrose.
  • Bring to boil & add hops.
  • Boil vigorously for 45 minutes.
  • Add Irish moss.
  • Boil for 15 more minutes, then turn off heat.

Some people will want to cool it off immediately; I just let it sit overnight.  When the temp is 72 or lower, rack the wort into your favourite fermentation vessel and add yeast.

A quick note about yeast: I’ve settled into using Coopers, as it doesn’t throw off flavours if the temp get a bit high.  Plus, it cleans up really nicely giving me a very clear beer.

There you have it.  If you want more details or info on my process, drop me a line and I’ll help you out as best I can.

Cheers for beers!

–jim