Expanded instructions for North Corner Brewing Supply’s in-house recipes

General Notes: 

Our in-house recipes are designed to balance the convenience of malt extract based brewing with enough sophistication to produce a quality output.  The addition of quality hops, generous amounts of steeped grains, and matched yeast strains really create a truly custom recipe.  Our In-house recipes are designed for brewers with some knowledge, though savvy beginners with proper equipment and some patience should be able to execute the simpler recipes.  The recipe sheets provided with each recipe are not a comprehensive guide to brewing!  We assume you have a basic how-to book and basic understanding of typical brewing protocols.  Brewing is lot like cooking.  You can take many different paths to the same end, and don’t be surprised to read differing and inconsistent directions from different sources.  Everyone has a slightly unique set up at home based on their own equipment and space constraints, so between the basic book information and the specific recipe instructions you should be able to come up with a workable system.  This guide should help fill in some of the finer points.

Basic requirements: For 5 gallon brewing


A brewing system provides all the technical gear to start and finish a typical beer.  We recommend a 2-vessel system (one primary bucket or carboy and one glass secondary carboy) to accommodate a range of beer styles.  Not every style requires extended aging, but almost all beers benefit from decent aging.  Here is a typical set up:

o    6 gallon (or larger) primary fermenter (glass or plastic)
o    5 gallon glass carboy secondary
o    Airlocks and Stoppers to match
o    Racking tubing to transfer and fill bottles
o    Hydrometer and sample jar to asses gravity
o    Capper and caps
o    Bottles
o    Carboy and bottle cleaning brushes
o    Steeping bags for grains and hops (or a strainer set-up to catch hops)
o    Appropriate cleaners and sanitizers
o    Basic thermometer
o    Stirring Spoon

Brew Kettle:  Minimum recommended size = 5 gallons

Beginning extract brewers often start with partial wort boils, meaning a boil volume producing less than 5 gallons.  This is possible since all of the all the fermentable malt sugar(s) are condensed in the malt extract, therefore an amount of water is added to get back to a target (5 gallon) volume.    Practically, this means that using a 5 gal kettle, a brewer can boil up to about 3 gallon of water on a stovetop and top-off the remaining balance of cold water at the end of the boil, which also facilitates wort cooling.  This method has advantages and disadvantages. 

The advantages are:

o    Easy indoor brewing capability and portability
o    5 gal pots are fairly cheap
o    Facilitated wort cooling

The disadvantages are:

o    Wort is easily caramelized resulting in darker than intended color and sweetness
o    Poorer utilization of hops
o    Scorching or burning possibility

To overcome these pitfalls we suggest that brewers using 5-gallon kettles use a split or late malt addition strategy whereby about 1/3-1/2 of the malt extract is added at the beginning of a typical 1-hour boil and the remainder of the malt extract is added at about 20 minutes form the end of the boil.

So, what about ”full wort” boils?

Ideally the boil kettle should be able to bring about 6.25 gallons to boil for one hour with the resulting evaporative loss yielding about 5 finished gallons.  The problem for beginners is that this requires a large kettle, a high output burner, and finally, a wort chiller to bring the wort temperature back down to pitching temperature (say 65 degrees).  

In the long run, investing in the equipment to brew full wort boils will help make better beer, but the convenience and low startup cost of stove top brewing in a 5 gal kettle are still very practical and many successful beers can be executed with basic common sense.

Other conditions and requirements for basic brewing: Stable temperatures, sanitation, and careful handling

Most brewers make Ales, which readily ferment at room temperatures that we define as about 62-68 degrees.  For much of the year this is pretty easy maintain in the Pacific Northwest.  For winter brewing supplemental heating belt or pads can help.  Remember that bottle conditioning is still an extension of fermentation.  Don’t park your finished and capped bottles anywhere cold until carbonation is attained in some 7-10 days.  After carbonation is achieved, refridgerate or cellar store your beer.

For high heat summer conditions moving to a cooler out-building or soaking in a water bath can help cool fermenters.  In warm climates, a dedicated refrigerator with a thermostat override works great and allows for real Lager brewing options for more ambitious brewers.

Proper sanitation is an absolute must for successful and consistent brewing.  There are many old school agents like chlorine bleach, ammonia use, or heat techniques like boiling and baking.   But, frankly, so many quality brewing friendly agents now exist that there is no excuse for poor sanitizing!

Here is what we recommend.  First, think of “cleaning” as distinct from “sanitizing”.  Good brewing soaps will do their job effectively while leaving harmful chemicals or residues behind.  Good brewing sanitizers are often “rinse free” meaning you do not have to carefully remove or rinse them after use (like you would with chlorine bleach) since they rapidly oxidize or neutralize.  All equipment must be clean before it can be sanitized.  New equipment is clean but not sanitized.  The preferred method is contact sanitizing or soaking objects in a tub of sanitizer (typically1-3 minutes).  Sanitize bucket and carboy using sloshing sanitizer around multiple times so you know every surface has been contacted repeatedly.

Recommended Cleaners (Soap, Caustic):

P.B.W. Wash
Straight A

Recommended Sanitizers:

Star San
One Step
Iodophor (Iodine)

A final component to consistent long terms brewing is careful handling (or transferring), bottling, and storage.  Most brewing system provide you with a curved racking cane with flexible tubing to siphon transfer or “rack” from vessel to vessel.  Racking is a technical term that implies a sanitized, controlled siphon, minimizing contamination and oxidation, and removing clear product off bottom sediment.  To start a siphon using a racking cane set with a clip holder, and shut off clamp, try this:

1.    Set up your vessel with enough counter-to-floor height to induce a siphon, and have the end of the siphon tubing hit the bottom of the target vessel
2.    Sanitize a complete racking cane set up
3.    Trap sanitizer or water in the flexible tube part of the cane set
4.    Hold the cane end down and flexible tube in bug “U” shape trapping water in most of the “U”
5.    Have a bowl or glass nearby to dump the first runnings into
6.    Carefully insert the cane into the beer to be racked using the hold clip to keep the pick up point well off the bottom sediments.
7.    In one quick motion, drop the flexible tubing into the dump bowl.  The water exiting will “pull” the beer into the siphon cane should self-start a siphon.
8.    Discard about a ¼ cup of beer to wash the line clean and shut the pinch clamp off
9.    Now move the flexible end to the target vessel, release the clamp and the let the siphon continue.  You should adjust the tubing so that it is filling from the    bottom up, not splashing.
10.    Monitor the pick up point so get as much clear beer as possible, but no sediment!

Bottling day is another siphon-transfer, following the same procedures as above, except that you are filling individual bottles.  A filling wand (or bottle filler tip) with shut off really facilitates this process.  Again the idea is to minimize contamination (sanitize), minimize oxidation, and not make a mess.  A typical bottling process goes something like this:

1.    First off, decide if your product needs to be racked one more time to another sanitized container in order to get clear beer of a sediment layer.  It is a lot easier to mix in your priming sugar and bottle out clear beer.
2.    Prep bottles, caps, and capper.  A rinse free sanitizer like One Step or Star San coupled with bottle drying tree really work well for this application
3.    Mix your priming agent in (typically ¾ dextrose per 5 gal)
4.    Begin a siphon, attach a filler tip and begin filling and capping.  The headspace left by the displacement of the filling wand (about ¾”) is fine.
5.    Store your finished goods at room temperature for the next 7-10 days

Many beers benefit from additional bottle aging.  A number of properties dictate how long a particular beer will age and develop.  Low alcohol simple beers have the shortest life and shouldn’t need weeks to “mature” and “peak”.  Conversely, highly hopped and alcoholic beer styles really benefit from prolonged aging.  Somewhere in the middle zone, are the beers that most folks make, medium-to-full bodied, moderate to highly hopped.  These styles generally get better after a few more weeks.  We recommend storing finished beer cool or cold, away from bright light and temperature shifts.  If you intend to store a particular beer for an extended amount of time (say 6 months plus) or are entering beer in formal competition, here are some more technical tips:

1.    Use Oxy Caps (oxygen absorbing caps)
2.    Add 1 teaspoon/5 gallons of Ascorbic Acid to finished beer on bottling day
3.    Consider CO2 gas assisted siphon transfers, into gas purged vessels
4.    Consider using a stainless steel conical fermenter to minimize handling

In-House Recipe example: Step by step

The following is copy of our BIG PORTER in–house recipe with italic comments for elaboration.

(For 5 gallons)

Yes, note this is 5-gallon recipe

Our in-house recipes are built around hearty starting gravities and quality ingredients.   These recipes are explained for beginning brewers, but include well-developed ingredient combinations.  We include adjunct specialty grains so you’ll need to use a grain-steeping bag, or strain out grain(s) before proceeding on to a full boil.  In addition to cooling the boiled wort as quickly as possible, you’ll need to strain out loose hops before you can begin primary fermentation.  Make sure you have the equipment or help to do this safely and easily.


A full-bodied, black Porter!

8 lbs Light or Amber Malt Extract 
8 oz Chocolate Malt
8 oz Black Malt
12 oz Crystal 120L Malt
4 oz Dextrin Malt
2 oz Magnum Hops Total:
1.5 oz @ 60 mins
.5 oz @ 1 min

The hop schedule assumes a 60-minute boil time, and follows a backward countdown convention.  In this example 1.5 oz of hops are added at the beginning of the boil (the 60 minute mark) as the bittering hop and the final addition of .5 oz of the same hop is added one minute from the end of the boil as the finishing hop.

2 tsp gypsum/1tsp Irish moss, added at beginning of boil

Gypsum is used to mineralize our local water per general style guideline for Ales.  Irish Moss is a fining agent used to help with clarity.

1st choice: Wyeast London Ale Yeast 2nd choice:  Wyeast 1056 American Ale Yeast
 *Yeast starter recommended

We include 2 yeast options.  Both will work well. Dry yeasts strains are also an option for those who prefer their ease of use stable shelf life.  Wyeast yeast strains are technically more refined, however they require refrigerated storage before use and prep time.  In addition, we recommend creating yeast starters with Wyeast strains for many full-bodied recipes with starting gravities above 1.060.  See additional notes below.

3/4 cup dextrose for bottle priming   

Starting Gravity: 1.058-59


*2 days before brew day: Yeast starter (optional, but highly recommended)
Pitch Wyeast into a starter.  A wine bottle or 22 oz beer bottle fitted with an airlock and #2 stopper works perfect.  Use 1/4 cup malt extract in 8 oz of water for a starter wort.  Boil 5 minutes, cool and pitch yeast. 

A yeast starter is highly recommended when using liquid yeast strains, especially recipes with a starting gravity of 1.060 or higher.  You can still get good result without one, but if your final gravities are not particularly balanced or seem too sweet finishing, consider yeast starter.  A starter is basically a very small batch of wort, boiled, cooled then pitched with yeast like a very small batch of beer.  The benefits of yeast include reduced lag time, less chance for cross contamination, and better attenuation (lower final gravities) especially in stronger styles.    A 750ml wine bottle fitted with an airlock and #2 stopper works well as a yeast starter vessel as does a liter Erlenmeyer Pyrex flask.  

See for more information

Brew day:
Put your volume of water on to boil, usually 2-2.5 gallons, unless you have a wort cooling device.  When water temperature reaches 150, add the adjunct malt grains in grain steeping bag.   Hold temperature at 150-160 for 30 minutes.  Stir the grains occasionally.  After 30 minutes resume heat.  When temperature reaches 170 remove or strain the grain out.  Now add between ¼ and ½ of the
extract. You can let some hot water mix with the extract to help loosen it up and pour smoothly.  Proceed on to full boil, and stir to prevent the extract from scorching on the bottom of the pot. 

Note that we encourage the split malt extract addition for most folks not conducting full wort volume boils

At full boil, 60 minute countdown:
At full boil, add the 1.5 oz of bittering hops, gypsum, and begin an hour countdown. As always, stir occasionally.

At 20 minutes:
Add the remainder of your malt extract.  Stir well to keep from scorching the extract on the bottom of the pot.  Mixing the extract with hot water in a separate pot until it is fully dissolved will make this addition easier.   

At 1 minutes:
Add the .5 oz of hops. 

End of boil:
Shut off heat and begin to cool your wort as soon as possible.  When wort is about 75 degrees, or when wort is cool enough to mix with water to reach about 75 degrees, pour and strain the wort into your primary fermenter.  When pouring the wort into the primary, aerate as much as possible.  You can accomplish this by dipping a sanitized container, such as a measuring cup into the wort and pouring back into the wort.  Create as much foam and bubbles as you can for about ten minutes.  Double check your temperature to be sure it is not above 80 degrees and take a hydrometer reading. Now pitch the contents of the yeast pack into the primary fermenter, cover, set-up the sanitized airlock and stopper assembly, and place the primary where it will remain around 68 degrees during fermentation.

At the end of the boil, 3 key interrelated events come together.  First you need to cool the wort, either with cold-water additions or via a cold-water batch or a combination of both methods.  Next remove bagged hops or prepare a sanitary strainer to pour through.  Finally, pour or move the cooled wort into your (sanitized) primary fermenter and double check that you are at 5 gallons at a target temperature of 65-75 degrees.  An external LCD strip thermometer is very handy for this!  If you’re still too hot try a cold-water bath until or wet towel until you get to 70 degrees.  Splash pouring through a wire mesh strainer has the additional positive effect of oxygenating your cool wort.  If you are using a bucket fermenter it is especially easy to get good aeration.  Once the wort temperature is cool enough and aerated pitch the prepared yeast and set-up a sanitized airlock and stopper assembly on your fermenter.

Next 4 days:
Your fermentation should begin after about 12 hours.  From then on fermentation will peak then subside.  After high krausen, you may opt to rack to glass secondary carboy.

Next 3 days:
After 5 and 6 days take hydrometer readings.  If no perceptible change in gravity occurs, you are ready to bottle.  If the gravity keeps reducing, wait.  If you are unsure, wait one more day.     

Bottling day:
Be especially careful about sanitizing and racking at this stage!  Thoroughly clean and sanitize bottles and caps.  Preheat 3/4cup corn sugar (dextrose) in a saucepan with 3-4cup of water and bring to a quick boil. Carefully rack beer to a bottling bucket and swirl in corn sugar mixture.  Be careful not to slosh around the beer, you don’t want to oxidize.  Bottle and cap.  Store at room temperate to ensure good bottle fermentation.

10 days after bottling:
Sample a beer.  Be patient, you can try a bottle after about a week, but most beers, especially hoppy medium and high gravity beers, benefit from some aging.  Enjoy!           

Tips and fine-tuning:

-Try to boil and cool the largest possible volume you can manage.
-Varying the fermentation temperature will result in different flavors.  Fermenting warm (up to 72 degrees)
  will produce fruity, estery qualities.  An LCD stick-on thermometer will allow you to monitor fermentation
-Always be sure to sanitize every piece of brewing equipment, after you are finished with the boil.  A 5 gallon
 utility bucket half filled with an iodine based “no rinse” sanitizer is convenient for this. 
-Secondary fermentation in glass is recommended.
-Take notes and keep records of your batches. 
-Questions? Call us: North Corner Brewing Supply (360) 714-1186

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