Archive for February, 2020

Brewed: Squirrels with Knives, North East India Pale Ale

Saturday, February 22nd, 2020

Squirrels with Knives brew day and recipe creation:

The home brew day for Squirrels with Knives, a North East India Pale Ale (NEIPA), was only possible via friendship. Due to a couple of surgeries over the first two months of 2020, I haven’t been able to brew and that time would have lasted another month or more if it wasn’t for my friend Mike volunteering for grunt work. When he offered to assist, I made it very clear to him that a brew day, from start to finish, was a six hour endeavor. Mike is gracious.

Surprisingly there is a bunch of Squirrels with Knives pictures available on the internet.

Brewing with rye was something that has been on my mind for a while as I quite enjoy the profile of rye in beer. A hop profile that pairs well with rye isn’t typical for the current expectations of NEIPA. An orange hop profile balances the spicey rye.

Centennial has been sitting in the freezer, begging to be enjoyed outside of the vacuumed sealed bag that had been its home for the past year. A touch of citra would add the tropical side that was needed but only for complexity, not to be the star. Pacifica has a nice citrus profile that would compliment the Centennial.

The malt bill would be quite simple but big on the rye. I wanted it to be the highlight of the malt bill. Honey malt was added to give a touch of sweetness without the caramel notes that C40 or similar would add.

Why Squirrels with Knives

Reruns of Everybody Loves Ray have been running on the weekends for the past few months. My wife and enjoy the chance to watch a couple of episodes as a lazy wake-up call on a Saturday/Sunday morning. Chris Elliot plays Peter MacDougall, Robert Barone’s brother in-law, starting around season 7. In the episode in which Robert is getting married, he states that his new brother-in-law is so crazy that he has “squirrels with knives running around in there (his head)”. Just found that to be damn funny.

Recipe for Squirrels with Knives

General Information:
Brew Date: Saturday, February 02, 2020
Day: Sunny, @43*F
Recipe Type: All Grain
Yeast: S04
Yeast Starter: None
Batch Size (Gallons): 5.5
Original Gravity: 1.055
Finishing Gravity: 1.003
IBU: 17.4
Color: 5.1 SRM
Boiling Time (Minutes): 30
Conversion Efficiency: 66.99%
Alcohol by Volume: 6.83%
Apparent Attenuation: 94%
Calories per ounce: 176.5
Primary Fermentation: 2 days @66*F, 4 days @68*F

Grain Bill:
9.50 pounds 2-row
2.50 pounds Rye
1.00 pounds Oats
4.00 ounces Honey Malt

Saccharification @150.4*F

Hop Bill:
1.00 ounce(s) 2017 Centennial @10 minutes
1.00 ounce(s) 2017 Centennial @5 minutes
1.00 ounce(s) 2017 Centennial @0 minutes
1.00 ounce(s) 2018 Pacifica @0 minutes
2.00 ounce(s) 2017 Centennial @20 minutes whirlpool
2.00 ounce(s) 2018 Pacifica @20 minutes whirlpool
1.00 ounce(s) 2017 Citra @20 minutes whirlpool
2.00 ounce(s) 2017 Centennial dry hop 6 days
1.00 ounce(s) 2018 Pacifica dry hop 6 days
2.00 ounce(s) 2017 Centennial dry hop 3 days
2.00 ounce(s) 2017 Citra dry hop 3 days

1.0 tsp Irish Moss @15 minutes
1.0 tsp Yeast Nutrient @15 minutes
1.0 quart of rice hulls


  • 2020-02-22 evening: @66.3*F, no fermentation.
  • 2020-02-23 morning: @64.9*F, active fermentation.
  • 2020-02-23 evening: @65.3*F, hard fermentation, added dry hops.
  • 2020-02-24 morning: @68.7*F, hard fermentation, added heat @68.0*F.
  • 2020-02-25 morning: @67.3*F, no fermentation.
  • 2020-02-25 evening: added dry hops.
  • 2020-03-02: kegged

Useless fact: Firehouses have circular stairways originating from the old days when the engines were pulled by horses. The horses were stabled on the ground floor and figured out how to walk up straight staircases.

The race for new Hops

Sunday, February 9th, 2020

The hop landscape is ever changing and the changes are now a snowball rolling down a huge hill, gaining speed, faster and faster and I don’t see it slowing down anytime soon. It makes for a very exciting time for home brewers and craft beer fans that appreciate the hop.  The new hops are combining high alpha acids with great aromas and flavors that are also unique and didn’t exist  five years ago.  Increased storability, resistance to disease, increase in harvest per acre, etc are creating so many interesting hops that old favorites are falling to the wayside. There is also the race to be the hop far that creates the next Simcoe, Citra or Galaxy hop that drives sales and profits.

I became a home brewer to experiment, these new hops are allowing me to do just that and more.   I am having a hard time keeping up with the changing hop landscape. 

I crated a section on the site that isn’t linked to have my own library of hops.  The goal is to use this as a quick look for a hop profile, allowing me to build beers easier. Having to search multiple sites to determine a single hop profile (some are incomplete and I want to see consistency across sites) can add a lot of time to crafting of a new recipe.

I have close to 100 varieties on the new page but  probably could easily add another 50 while also building up the profiles of those that already exist.  I try not to add brand new hops as information on them is sparse, not consistent, and the name can change like the wind.  Also, there is the possibility that the hop isn’t well received and will never be grown in large amounts.

I am really looking forward to what the next five years of hop experimentation will bring.  I think it will make the last five years seems sparse and infantile.  Exciting times are ahead.  Enjoy1