Swarthy Unleashed

At some point over the past few years, I decided that when I drink beer in my home I will only drink beer I brew myself. This seemed like a practical way to trim down the cost and net affect of drinking too much beer. Furthermore, since I enjoy cooking, I figured brewing beer would be a relaxing way to spend a Sunday.

I started with a simple home brew kit, and purchased a couple recipe kits. They all went well, and the beer produced was quite good. I moved on from the typical plastic bucket to glass carboy’s, picked up a wort chiller and started doing secondary fermentation. I experimented with whole hops instead of pellets, different variations of hops, different regions, etc. After playing around for about 6 months, I decided to give it a go at inventing my own recipe, and thus Swarthy was born.

Swarthy in a chilled glass

Swarthy in a chilled glass

Swarthy is a smooth amber ale with an amazing bouquet and in my estimation is as close to a lager as you can get while still being ale. The Original Gravity starts at 1.047 and ferments down to a Final Gravity of 1.012. The IBU is about 30 and the SRM is a nice 14. If I’m not mistaken this puts it in the range of an “American Amber Ale”


The Raw Ingredients

  1. 1 pound of Crystal 80L
  2. 5 pounds of Briess Sparkling Amber DME
  3. 1/2 pound of Briess Carapils
  4. 2 oz Cascade Whole Hops
  5. 1 oz of Mount Hood Hops
  6. Irish Moss
  7. 1 Package of Safale S-05
  8. Optional 1 Cup corn sugar

Brew Day

  1. Mash the Crystal 80L and Carapils in 3 quarts of water with an initial temperature of 165 dgrs. Typically I boil the water, and let it cool down to 170 dgrs, then pour all the ingredients in stirring it mildly for 30 minutes. Do NOT reheat the water, its an important step that the water cools as it soaks as different flavors extract at different temperatures.
  2. Boil 11 quarts of water, if you time it right you can have step 2 done by the time step 1 is done. Do this in a kettle that is large enough to hold 5 gallons of water. I only do full batch preparation as its easier.
  3. Extract 2 quart of water and allow it to cool to 150 dgrs.
  4. Pour grain extract into boiling kettle.
  5. Pour the 1 quart of water from step 3 over the left over grains from step 4. This is an important step to be sure all the sugar is extracted and gets your gravity to its full potential. Be sure this goes into the kettle as well. Throw out the grains.
  6. Remove kettle from heat, and add the DME, stirring the entire wort to be sure the DME does not stick and is completely dissolved.
  7. Return the kettle to heat and bring it back to a SLOW boil. Stir as frequently as needed so as to not over boil. Any foam that may come on top can be scraped off and re-added when the boil normalizes.
  8. Boil for 15 minutes
  9. Add 1 oz Cascade Hops, and boil for 30 minutes.
  10. Add 1 oz Mount Hood Hops.
  11. Add 1 tsp Irish Moss.
  12. Boil for 15 minutes.
  13. Remove from heat and cool down as fast as possible to about 70 dgrs, I use a copper wart chiller. You can typically purchase these for about $50.
  14. Pour the wort into your 6.5 gallon carboy, removing the hops and any settlement in the process.
  15. Add water until to bring the wort up to 5.25 Gallons. At this point you can check your OG.
  16. If you plan to use krausening instead of the corn sugar, this is your chance to extract your 1 quart of wort and store it away for later use. You’ll want to keep it air tight and refrigerate so as to not get any bacteria infection. Since hops is anti-bacterial this should also help.
  17. Aerate the wort. I do this by picking up the entire carboy and shaking it back and forth for about 5 minutes. Let the wort settle.
  18. Pitch the yeast. Since I call for a dry yeast and a glass carboy, you’ll probably want to start the yeast in 1 cup of room temperature water. If you’re using a bucket you can simply sprinkle the yeast over the top.

Secondary Fermentation and Dry Hopping

After 5 to 7 days, you’ll see the bubbling action die down. Drop 1 oz of whole Cascade hops into a hop bag and drop it into a 5 gallon carboy. Rack the wort from the 6.5 gallon carboy into the 5 gallon carboy. At this point, you can forget about it for another week. This part of the process is critical to get the best bouquet from your beer.


This a step that I am sure you are familiar with. If you are krausening, then this is the time to mix your beer in with the preliminary wort from step 15 while racking to your bottling bucket. Let it bottle condition 5-6 weeks and then refrigerate.

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