Skip to Content


Tag Archives: homebrewing


Our Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone

Jeff and I are about to start our 4th brew day some time this month. We already have two   batches ready for drinking and the 3rd batch has been bottled and will be ready to drink soon too. I don’t even know how many 6 packs we have stored away in the basement right now, but it’s a lot.

I realized recently that I never even told you how our first batch turned out! So, I thought I’d show you just how it stacks up against the original Sierra Nevada Pale Ale that it was crafted to imitate.

Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and our clone

The Sierra Nevada pours very crisp and clear…

Sierra Nevada poured

Ours was a little cloudier.

Our clone poured

We left the last bit of ours in the bottle since it’s full of settled yeast sludge. Yuck.

yeast sludge in our beer

As you can see, the Sierra Nevada (left) is noticeably clearer and lighter in color.

side by side clarity comparison

Jeff checking the two in the light…

Checking clarity in the light

But how does it taste? Well, when we first tried it it was very close in flavor to the original. Crisp and clean with a subtle hoppiness and bright citrus. There was a bit of a strange flavor that Jeff noticed more than I did that he attributed to not letting it age long enough, so we decided to give it more time to age in the bottle.

Me tasting the pale ale

2 weeks later, we tried it again…

Jeff trying our pale ale 2 weeks later

This time it poured much clearer as the yeast sludge had completely settled and was caked into the bottom hard enough that it didn’t stir up again. The flavor had taken on a bit of a fruity note though. Not bad, just not as near to the flavor of the original Sierra Nevada as it was before.

Overall though, I’d say our first brew was a complete success. The beer tastes really good even if it isn’t exactly like the beer it was modeled after.

Now we’re trying to decide what to make for our 4th batch. Definitely something fresh and clean for summer like an IPA.

What is your favorite summer beer? Or, what’s your favorite refreshing warm-weather beverage?


Brew #2

Nope, no Valentine’s Day post. Jeff and I just sat on the couch and watched How I Met Your Mother over a plate of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies. Neither of us really care about Valentine’s Day. And after having worked in restaurants for nearly a decade, I always feel a terrible anxiety in restaurants on holidays because I get this constant terrible feeling that I need to quit goofing off and get back to work. Makes it difficult to enjoy myself.

We did do fun stuff over the weekend though. Sunday was our second ever brew day, and this time Jeff invited a bunch of folks over to have beer and chit chat with us while we all stood around and watched water boil. I can now say with certainty that a watched pot will indeed boil. 😉

He prepped all the equipment while I cleaned up the house.

Jeff prepping for brew guests

And he wrote out all of our brew plans on a white board so everyone could follow along with what we were doing.

Brew day instructions

I made some snacks, a roasted garlic and chickpea dip with veggies and a persimmon yogurt dip with cinnamon chips.

Roasted garlic dip and persimmon yogurt dip

Our friends, Kelly and Marshall, brought some homemade vegan samoa bars too that were so yummy! The snacks disappeared fast!

Brew food plus samoa bars

This brew was much shorter than last time, about 3-ish hours rather than 8, because we were doing a mini mash. Basically we were brewing a smaller quantity of liquid, but super concentrating it with flavor and then diluting with water later.

Steeping the grain in a mini mash

I really liked having friends over for brew day. It was fun to stand around and talk over the bready smell of infusing grain, and having a few extra sets of hands helped too.

Brew day chatter

And not to mention the beer drinking!

Getting our beer on

Really, any excuse to get friends together to drink beer is a good one. I think we’ll be doing this brew day party again, and maybe expanding it next time. I know it’ll be more fun in the spring when we get a propane burner and can take this party outside to brew (and drink) in the sunshine.

And wouldn’t you know, the beer from our first batch is finally ready for consumption and we should be popping the first bottle open sometime this weekend! I see myself having a lot of dinner parties in the upcoming months for the sole purpose of having people over to help us drink all this beer. I’ll be sure do do a full review of our first brew when we crack it open!


Bottling our beer

I mentioned in passing that this past weekend Jeff and I finally got to bottle the beer we made several weeks ago. You know I documented the whole thing!

We started by siphoning the beer into another bucket to separate it from any crud such as dead yeast film or hop sludge. Sounds delicious, right?

Siphoning beer

Jeff read online that it can be helpful to fill the bottles over the dishwasher to catch any drips or spills. We immediately saw the wisdom in this when we proceded to spray it all over the place.

Filling over the dishwasher

We had been collecting used beer bottles for the past 6 weeks to use for bottling and I think we were able to acquire around 75. Don’t worry, we didn’t drink all of that ourselves, many were donated from friends who knew we would need them.

They got soaked in OxyClean to remove the labels, were sanitized, and then covered with some foil to keep the dust out.

Our collection of scavenged bottles

After each bottle is filled, you clamp on a cap with this scary capping device. I let Jeff do this since it requires some muscle.

Jeff capping the beer bottles

Our first 6 pack!

Our first 6'er

We ended up with 47 bottles total. Way more than we will be able to drink by ourselves, especially because we’re starting another batch this Saturday! Not only that, but we’re brewing another batch in a month. Jeff is definitely addicted and I think this is going to turn into a monthly thing for us.

More beer than we can drink alone

There is no way we’ll ever be able to drink as much beer as we want to make, so I’m sure we’ll be pawning it off on anyone that enters our home.

The beer we’re making this weekend is a replica of one of my very favorite beers ever, the Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar. I tried it for the first time in Seattle when I was still getting over some stomach poisoning. I was feeling terrible at dinner and couldn’t finish my food, but I could not let myself stop drinking that beer because it was the most delicious beer I had ever tasted. I won’t be sad to have a huge stash of it at home!

What is your favorite beer? Or, what is your favorite “special” beverage that you just can’t get enough of?