Of the Crafting of Brown Barbazu Ale

The color of the finished wort
The color of the finished wort

I use the name Studious Dwarf as my brewing name. And I do this because I feel like it does a fine job of capturing my thoughts and persona as it relates to brewing:  A brewer should be attentive to details, clean, organized, and precise.  I feel that this is well reflected in the modern mythology of dwarves.  So I use the name.  Today I made my 2nd ever batch of beer, which I am entitling Brown Barbazu Ale.  Barbazu is the name of a D&D monster, a bearded devil.  This is fun. :D  My previous beer (which came out really well) was called Red Kobold Hunting Ale, and is a red, light ale.  This current batch will be more bitter, with hoppy bites to it.


Barbazu Ale is based on a Red Irish Ale recipe from Bob’s Homebrew.

Starting Gravity: 1.051 normalized (measured as 1.048 @ 85 deg F)

It utilizes these ingredients:

  • 2 1/6th oz Cascade Hops as bittering hops
  • 1 oz of Cascade Hops as flavoring hops
  • 16 oz 40L Crystal Malt grain
  • 2 oz Roasted Barley
  • 7 lbs of Light Malt Extract
  • 8.5 oz of Dark Brown Sugar as adjunct
  • 6 Gallons of Crystal Geyser spring water (1 gallon was lost to evaporation)
  • 1 Packet of Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale Yeast


The process and details of this brewing batch follow.  I try to take a detailed account of the things I do when brewing so that if it turns out well, I can repeat the batch.  Here’s what I did this time:

The boiling wort, bittering hops shown here
The boiling wort, bittering hops shown here

I started crafting this ale on January 3rd, 2010 at 1:30PM.

Two gallon containers were placed into the freezer to chill, while three gallons of water were put on the fire to heat. A propane-fired turkey cooker burner was employed as the source of heat to process this batch of beer.   I’ve found this to be an excellent heat source for handling large amounts of water — I can boil 4 gallons of water in a 10 minutes.

At 1:57PM the water was 170 deg F, and the specialty grains were bagged and placed into the water. They steeped for 33 minutes and temperatures between 160 and 175 deg F.   After they were finished, they were put into the food waste container.  If I were (and I ought to be) composting, I would be putting the spent grains and hops into my compost.  Since I’m not, they’re going to the city’s composting operation.

At 2:30PM, the grains were removed, and the malt extract was added to the water. The water was then brought up to a boil for 30 minutes. Hot break occurred.  The pot was watched attentively, and boil-over did not occur.

At 3:00PM, two and one sixth oz of Cascade hops were added to the water to serve the bittering component.

At 3:35PM, one oz of Cascade hops were added for flavoring.

At 3:45PM, 10 minutes later, the 8.5 oz of sugar was added to add molasses notes and bring up the sugar content slightly.

At 3:50PM, the wort was removed from the fire and taken to a cold water bath (in the bathtub).  This used about 40 gallons of water.  Sadly, I don’t have a way of recycling the chilling bath water at this time.   Maybe in the future I’ll use a portable tub and do this outside where I can then reuse the water for irrigation of the garden.

At 4:00PM the wort was cooled to 120 deg F. At this time, it was removed from the water bath and carried into the kitchen, where the two chilled gallons of water were added. The wort was then poured through a colander into the fermenter, and more spring water was added to bring the total volume up to five gallons.

The wort was 85 degrees as this point. A sample of the wort was taken with a sterile container at this time to calculate starting gravity of the batch. The yeast was then pitched into the batch, and the lid securely attached to the fermenter. The airlock was attached, and the batch of beer to be was placed under the sink in its designated fermenting location.

Next Steps

At this point, the beer is on the two week road to fermentation.  What’s left to do now is to:

  • Clean my current set of bottles
  • Buy new bottles to make up 28 twenty-two ounce bottles (5 gallons = 29 and change bottles, but there will be losses due to the sludge on the bottom of the fermenter and such.)
  • Buy the maltose to do the 2nd, in the bottle fermentation that creates the bubbles
  • Buy some bottle caps

But until then, it’s time to wait.

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