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Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2013
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Northern Colorado
Bit of background, I bought fermenting, bottling, etc equipment because I was going to get honey off two bee hives I have. I wanted to make mead. But now that the mead is going to secondary or bottle (started three batches) I don't want the carboys to sit empty so plan to start brewing beer.

Because I like to drink lots of things, not just beer, I want to go with 3 gallon batches so I get the fun of brewing but can try more things. Also the carboy's I bought for mead are 5 and 3 gallon.

Having read this forum and anything else about brewing I could find over the last three months I decided to go all in and instead of starting with extract I will just bite the bullet and go for all grain. Figure I will want to learn it eventually so might as well start now. As such I found a Caramel Amber ale recipe on this forum. https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f66/caramel-amber-ale-167880/ I reduced everything from a 5.5 gal batch to a 3.25 gal batch. Below is my recipe and notes on steps. Please feel free to act like a high school Chemistry teacher and bleed all over them. I would rather learn as much as possible from experience rather than error.

Note: I did take out the secondary fermentation as I fail to see what one week in secondary will gain me.



Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: US-05
Batch Size (Gallons): 3.25
Original Gravity: 1.050
Final Gravity: 1.010
IBU: 40
Boiling Time (Minutes): 60
Color: 16
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 30
Secondary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp): 7
Tasting Notes: Rich malty caramel balance beautifully with fragrant clementine-like hop aroma.

Amount Item Type % or IBU
4.14 (4 lb 2 ¼ oz) lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (1.8 SRM) Grain 73.68 %
.89 (14 ¼ oz) lb Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM) Grain 15.79 %
.59 (9 ½ oz) lb Candi Syrup Amber* (40.0 SRM) Sugar 10.53 %

13.1 gram Chinook [13.00 %] (60 min) (First Wort Hop) Hops 40.2 IBU
16.8 gram Chinook [13.00 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -
16.8 gram Willamette [5.50 %] (0 min) (Aroma Hop-Steep) Hops -

1 Pkgs American Ale (Safale #S-05) Yeast-Ale

Mash at 150 for 60 minutes.

Ferment at 62-65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Carb to 2.5 volumes
1. Add campdon tablets to 5 gal of water the day before.
2. Heat 7.3 qts (5.62 lb * 1.3 qt per lb) water to 170. Add grain and mix. Put in oven at 150 degrees for 60 minutes and monitor temperature, adjust as needed.
3. Meanwhile heat 8.7 qts of water to 180 for sparge.
4. When mash is complete strain mash through paint strainer bag in colander.
5. Sparge by dumping the 8.7 qts of water through the grain in the bag/colander. Press bag in colander to get as much sugar as possible.
6. Top up water with boiling water to 4.0 gal if needed.
7. Bring entire mixture to a boil, add hops and candi syrup per schedule.
8. Put wort cooler in pot and cool to 65 degrees.
9. While cooling, rehydrate yeast.
10. Dump wort through strainer and funnel (for aeration) into 5 gal carboy. Add boiled and cooled water to get to 3.25 gal if needed.
11. Take gravity reading and record.
12. Pitch yeast and swirl, add airlock.
13. Place carboy in tub of 62 to 64 degree water to help maintain temp. Monitor temp for first three days to try and keep consistent water temp of 62 degrees. Let rise to basement temp of 66 degrees after that.
14. Ferment for about 30 days. Siphon to bottling bucket, add priming sugar and bottle.


Well-Known Member
Aug 1, 2011
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That looks pretty good. I usually aerate a little more than simply pouring the beer through a funnel and strainer. I like to rock the carboy/bucket for several minutes for extra aeration.

Also, put your wort chiller in your kettle for the last 10-15 minutes of the boil to sanitize it. Know your tap/ground water temperature ahead of time. The wort chiller can only cool as low as the water that is input through it. Being in CO, you're probably fine at this time of year.

It's not super critical on your first beer, but it's a good idea to take gravity reading (pre-boil and post-boil), so that you can estimate your efficiency for future recipes. The samples need to be chilled, you can add the pre-boil sample back to the boil, and discard/drink the post-boil reading.

Practice good sanitation. A spray bottle of starsan is nice to have, and also a bucket of Star San on hand (2-5 gallons). That way any thermometer, tubing, air lock, etc. can easily be sanitized. I sanitize everything in my Star San bucket then spray it with Star San on the cold side (post boil).

Good luck. You have thought through the process, so I know you'll do fine. :mug:


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Lifetime Supporter
Mar 2, 2013
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One thing I'd recommend is to use a blow-off tube for the first 2-3 days, and only replace that with the airlock once the fermentation slows down. Even with just 3.25 gallons in a 5 gallon carboy, there's a good chance of overflowing the airlock in the first few days.

Just get a 3/8" OD tube (which should be the size to fit the airlock hole), about 3' long, and a pot filled with a sanitizing solution (StarSan is a good choice for this, you only need a small amount of it to make the solution). After soaking the tube in the solution, fit one end of the tube into the bung, and put the other end in the pot such that it is underwater. Any blow-off will go into the pot, while the CO2 pressure should keep anything from getting into the carboy.

This video shows a somewhat simplified version of a blowoff setup, but it does show the basics.


Well-Known Member
Sep 16, 2013
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Northern Colorado
Wed night I brewed and learned a few things. Overall it went very well. But a few lessons.

I must have gotten the candi syrup to hot as it was hard. I had put it in a glass jar while still warm but it had cooled to a hard lump. I ended up just dropping the entire jar in the boil. Fished it out a few minutes later and it was clean.

Yea Home Depot. I bought 50 ft of 5/8 OD copper for $29 and coiled it for a cooler. Put 20 gallons of 56 degree water in a tub, added perhaps 3 lb of ice (whatever my ice maker holds). Recirced this through the copper with a small pump. In 26 minutes the wort went from boil to 62 degrees.

I hydrated the yeast (one packet of S-05) and then cooled it to about 65 degrees when I pitched it. Sat it in the basement which had cooled to about 60 degrees. Apparently it was too cool as 24 hours later there was no indication of activity. Brought the carboy up stairs and now, 15 hours later the temp is up to 66 and there is about a 1/4 of Krausen. If the temp starts to climb I will take it back to the basement but the lesson seems to be that 60 degrees is too cold for the yeast to get started. Let the yeasties get a start start and then cool it.

On the happy side I am sitting at my desk writing this and under the desk are two carboys of mead and the one of Amber ale. I can sit here and work listening to the happy sound of an airlock bubbling.