This article was originally posted on June 10, 2013 on my homebrew website, Fat Grey Tom’s Cider. It has been re-posted here with the same time stamp.

Bryce has wanted an IPA for a long time and we have tried on multiple occasions. On these other occasions we have failed and created pale ales that were not of the India stature. This last time we tried, though, we knocked it out of the park. Well, not really. It’s really bitter though.

Leo and I went to the brew store at some point before April 6 (when we brewed it) and he picked out the ingredients, including many hops. We had an uneventful brew day — nothing in particular went wrong. We had even more hops lined up, sitting in a container in my refrigerator, but did not use them this time around. I’m not sure exactly what the hops are anymore: they were the hop pellets of brews past that kept on spilling out, the tops of their baggies cut away along with their identities.

I’ve no doubt they’ll begin to haunt me and my dreams.

We used the London ESB ale yeast, which seemed to be very tolerant.

One can see where the foam was at the top of the mug before settling down into a manageable head.

We let it sit, with much hop sediment, for over a month (closer to two months) before we kegged it. We first secondaried it and then finally kegged it. The beer is still cloudy, unlike the ciders which always seem to clear irregardless.

As it has aged in the keg, it has begun to foam more and more than it did when it was first put in, becoming harder to pour and the head is retained for one to five minutes before settling down.

On its head, there is a large amount of bitterness and underneath is a strong pale ale pedigree. The aroma is there, although it could be more, as could the hops taste itself. But, it is damn bitter. If you like bitter.

One of the problems I have found as a homebrewer is once one (Bryce) walked down the path of IPAs, his pallet seemed to be perpetually cleansed of the ability to taste any beer that was not heavily hopped. Alas, alas.


1 lb. Caramel 60 L
1 lb Honey malt
6.6 lb light LME (liquid malt extract)
3 oz Northern Brewer
2 oz Nugget
2 oz Cascade
1 oz Czech Spaz


60 minutes
3 oz Northern Brewer
2 oz Nugget

30 minutes
2 oz Cascade
2 oz Czech Spaz


This article was originally posted on March 19, 2013 on my homebrew website, Fat Grey Tom’s Cider. It has been re-posted here with the same time stamp.

After many, many hours of work between the three of us, much hand-wringing over which items to buy and many, many trips to the store to figure out the correct-sized chest freezer, the kegerator, or keezer, is complete.

We’re running a four-tap system which means we have four Cornelius kegs jammed into the inside of the chest freezer. Bryce and Leo constructed a collar for the lid of the freezer to sit on, extending the height of the total unit. This was important because we invested in two 10-pound CO2 tanks with double regulators each. These sit on the hump of the compressor and allow us to interdependently control the level of CO2 going into each keg. Our cider keg is set at a much higher pressure than the rest.

The entire system is a dream and amazing for hosting parties, so long as no one bumps into the taps which, in a cramped space such as mine, is a real issue. We’ve yet to tackle the issue of a drip tray. At the moment, the drip tray could also be called a scrap towel folded and sitting beneath the taps.

Our next project, as the cider keg nears running dry, is to ferment five 4-gallon batches of cider with different yeasts so we can just start putting them in the keg once the past batch has been drunk. This also leaves the option of mixing finished ciders open and allows us to try a series of different yeasts we have but have not yet used.

The hope is, if one of the ciders doesn’t turn out, we’ll be able to mix it with one of the others.

All in call, I suggest a 4-keg system with a collar. At least, that’s what worked for us. Although the financial output at the outset is hefty — very hefty — it’s worth it.