Palmetto Winter Solistice – an Imperial Stout

Brewing my first beer in five years is a solid sign that we’re really settling in to our new home here in South Carolina!

My fifteenth homebrew over all, I decided once again to try my hand at a “big” beer. Previous attempts, even odd attempts, still produce “normal” ABV. So this time, I based my recipe off one in Extreme Brewing.

I must say, I love living in Greenville. We have lots of great homebrewing resources. It having been five years, I needed to replace some supplies. I was even able to add kegging equipment for the first time ever in my brewing. The folks at Upstate Craft Beer Company and Thomas Creek were amazing. I also got helpful advice and supplies at The Southern Growl and Grapes & Grain.

I used the Imperial Stout recipe from Avery Brewing but had to make changes given the reality of local supplies. Like all the previous brews, this was a partial mash. Here’s the recipe I used.

Palmetto Winter Solistice Imperial Stout – a partial mash


5 gallons of water and 2 grain bags


  • 6 oz Cara 10 malt
  • 5 oz Black malt
  • 5 oz Chocolate malt
  • 5 oz Dehusked Carafa III
  • 12 oz Honey malt
  • 12 oz Cara 60 malt


12 lbs of extract

  • 2 x 3.3 lbs can CBW Traditional Dark
  • 2 x 1 lb Dry Briess Dark Traditional
  • 2 x 1 lb Dry Briess Sparkling Amber


  • 3/4 lb Turbinado crystals (60 min)
  • 1/2 oz Magnum Hops (60 min)
  • 1/2 oz Magnum Hops (30 min)
  • 1.5 oz Sterling Hops (end of boil)


Wyeast 1056
One week later I added another Wyeast 1056.

OG: 1.100

FG: 1.029

ABV 9.3%

Very pleased

I’m quite pleased. Not only did I learn about brewing big beers, but I learned about kegging! This was such a good experience – and such a great beer – I’m already making plans for my next beer. 🙂

Mo Joe revisited – a coffee porter 2 years later

Pitman Brewing Mo Joe Porter

A couple years ago, I bottled a coffee stout I called Mo Joe Porter. (The name came from a fun beer naming competition.)

I am now finishing up the last bottles. And it’s much better with a couple years of aging. Right after it was bottled, it tasted a bit odd, the coffee was so pronounced it was confusing. Was it a porter that tasted like coffee? Or an iced coffee with an alcoholic content.

Now it’s all mellowed. Rather than two competing tastes, it’s just s nice coffee porter. And the molasses notes linger pleasantly.

So often in life, good things come to those who wait. 🙂

A tale of three stouts

Stormy Seas, Guinness Extra, and Allagash Black
At the end of last year, December 30 to be exact, I did a comparative taste testing of three stouts, my own Stormy Seas Stout, Guinness Extra Stout, and Allagash Black. Today, I’m brewing again–this time a nut brown ale I call “Nuttin’ Ales ME”–so I thought I’d blog the notes from that night.

When I brewed Stormy Seas, I thought I was brewing a clone of a Guinness Extra Stout. But the inclusion of Brettanmyces yeast gave it an unexpected twist. This taste testing was to help me see if it fit in a pre-existing beer “family,” or if it were just weird.

Stormy Seas Stout

  • ABV: 6.5%
  • Head: tan and relatively thick though a little uneven
  • Color: wonderfully opaque (black as midnight on a moonless night)
  • Nose: Slightly funky
  • Tasting notes: Smooth, almost silky. The funky, melon-y flavors evenly filled my mouth.
  • Finish: Sour
  • Lingering impression: The silky feeling was what lingered.

Guinness Extra Stout

  • ABV: 4.2%
  • Head: thin with “harsh,” big bubbles
  • Color: wonderfully opaque
  • Nose: minimal, but almost…sour…and a little coffee
  • Tasting notes: This one surprised me. It had been my favorite but tonight it merely slightly sour, mostly mass produced. Definite coffee flavors. The mouthfeel was disappointingly light.
  • Finish: not any sensation in the mouth, just flavor
  • Lingering impression: a powerful punch of flavor

Allagash Black

  • ABV: 7.5%
  • Head: thick and creamy
  • Color: wonderfully opaque
  • Nose: very nice boquet, clearly a stout, definite coffee notes
  • Tasting notes: The carbonation seemed a bit harsh. The beer was slightly sour with definite, lingering coffee impressions.
  • Finish: A sourness similiar to Stormy Seas but much cleaner finish
  • Lingering impression: A wonderful coffee-esque stout flavor lingered

The Allagash Black was my favorite, and it helped salvage my impressions of my own brew. My stout was simply in a different family than the Guiness Extra. I even found myself liking the silkiness of my beer more than the others. I was surprised to not really like the Guinness. It’s good, but really didn’t taste as distinctive as the Stormy Seas or Allagash Black.

My favorite was the Allagash. So much so that I went down to Portland to tour the factory and taste some others!

Now that it’s been about three months, the Stormy Seas has really mellowed. The ripe cantaloupe flavors are toning down and a solid stout foundation is becoming noticeable. The sourness stays pronounced.

I can’t wait to see how Stormy Seas ages! Chances are I’ll have it for a while. This is definitely a sipping beer.

My first six pack: P3 The Pitman Party Pack, a Pitman Brewing Sampler

P3 The Pitman Party Pack, a six pack from Pitman Brewing
Whipped this up for tomorrow’s Yankee swap. It’s a sampler of my three most recent brews:

It was a very popular gift item!

I did forget that six packs have four sides. So after the Yankee swap, I created this fourth panel.

Baking with beer: more muffins and a loaf of bread

A couple weeks ago, I shared a recipe for making muffins with beer. These were so good, I decided to try again.
Stormy Seas Stout Muffins
This time I used my Stormy Seas Stout. The muffins were definitely darker than those made with the O’Darn Irish Red! But still tasty. And incredibly easy!

So, I decided to try out an almost too easy beer bread recipe that my friend Renee pointed to on the Farmgirl Fare blog.


Almost Too Easy Bread made with beer from Pitman BrewingThis bread is, as we say in Maine, “wicked” easy!

Here’s the loaf I made with my hoppy Fruit of Eden beer. This tasted amazingly good. Especially with a ham and cheese sandwich!!

Stormy Seas Stout: The latest homebrew from Pitman Brewing

Stormy Seas Stout from Pitman Brewing

Stormy Seas Stout is my latest homebrew. I love stouts. My first beer, Bombadil, was a coffee stout.

This time I brewed a stout from called “St. James Gate Foreign Extra Stout.” I renamed it because it was brewed during a summer thunderstorm, racked the first time during a torrential downpour, and bottled six months later during a snow storm!

The addition of a second strain of yeast and the aging both work to mimic the funky, fruity undertones that developed in process of brewing a beer sturdy enough to withstand travel on the seas in Victorian ships. Guinness originally brewed this for travel to the Carribean, Africa, and Asia. Apparently, Nigeria is the largest market for this stout today.

Out of the bottle, the first thing you notice is this beer is black. Opaque. Black as midnight on a moonless night. (Remember that from Twin Peaks?) This is the way I like my beer.

Funky, fruitty it is. Not what I expect from a stout. But much more drinkable than my Mo Joe Stout Porter. It turns out, this stout is a lambic. So it’ll age well for over a year or more.

Which is good. I’m still now sure what I think about this one. But I’ve been assured the flavor will continue to change!

Culinary Sunday Afternoon: Recipes for brie and beer

Baked brie and crackers. Just a serving suggestion.
After putting up the tree today, I felt like doing some work in the kitchen.

I like baked brie, and my wife bought me a pottery bowl thing so I decided to give it a whirl.

The bowl was a bit smaller in diameter than the round of brie so I had to do a bit of “shaping” to get it in. 🙂

For a mix, I used

  • 1/2 Cup of brown sugar,
  • 1 T of a mixture of David Gulack’s amazing green jalapeño sauce, some yellow mustard, and a couple drops of Dave’s Hurtin’ Jalapeño Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup of dry roasted sunflower seeds

The sweet and salt and spicy make a great flavor combination!

Getting in the mood, I even made some muffins. Beer muffins. Hey, when you’re a homebrewer and make a brew that doesn’t taste as good as you’d like, you’ve got to do something with all that beer!

O'Darn Irish Red Ale MuffinsThe recipe was up at site called Group Recipes. These were almost as simple as the brie. Just mix:

  • 4 cups baking mix
  • 12 ounce bottle of beer
  • 4 tablespoons sugar

Mix it and pour into muffin tins. Bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Voilà!

Easy muffins. Great brie. Settling in for the evening. 🙂