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Features for Distinguished Handcrafters

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Finely Handcrafted
since 1996

Volume 2, Issue 2
February 2007

In this Month's Issue:
(Quick click each link)

Alba Scots Pine Ale Recipe for St. Patrick's Day Green Beer Monthly Food Recipe


Alba Scots Pine Ale 

By Richard T Curtin

Article courtesy of

I hope you enjoyed my last article and the Fraoch Heather Ale. The Craigmill Brewery located near Glasgow, specializes in brewing historic ales from indigenous ingredients. I enjoyed the Fraoch so much I couldn't wait to try their Alba Scots Pine Ale.

According to the breweries website, introduced by the Vikings, spruce and pine ales were very popular in the Scottish Highlands until the end of the 19th century. Many early explorers, including Captain Cook, used spruce ale during long sea voyages since it prevented scurvy and ill health. Shetland spruce ale was said to "stimulate animal instincts" and give you twins. Alba is a triple style ale brewed to a traditional Highland recipe from Scots pine and spruce shoots pickled during early spring. Pure malted barley, is boiled with the young sprigs of pine for several hours then the fresh shoots of the spruce are added for a short infusion before fermentation.

Don't let the name scare you away. This is a very complex ale with Belgian like qualities. The ale pours with a hazy copper color with a nice tan head that quickly reduces to a tan rim around the glass. The aroma resembles a Belgian strong ale, a bit fruity and somewhat medicinal probably due to the 7.5 abv. There is a slight aroma of pine and spruce but it is not overstated. Taste is somewhat suggestive of a Belgian strong ale with a rich malt texture. Alba has a complex finish, the pine/spruce flavors coming through with a warm, alcohol, and slightly bitter sensation. This is a sipping beer best enjoyed after a good meal. Best drunk at room temperature from a wine or Belgian ale goblet.

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Recipe for St. Patrick's Green Beer   
by Frank Holes, Sr.

Each year, we brew a light beer colored green just for St. Patrick's Day.  It has become an annual event, and is perfect for parties.  If you get it brewing in late January or early February, it should be ready for the big day.
Recipe for St. Patrick's Green Beer

2 gallons of good water

4 lbs of Pale Malt Syrup

3 lbs Dried Malt Extract (DME) Plain Light

1 lb Rice Syrup

1 oz Liberty Hops

1 oz Irish Moss

1 oz Mt. Hood Hops

1 package of liquid American Ale yeast (or a packet of dry yeast if it's all you have)

8 to 16 drops of green food coloring

St. Patrick's Green Beer Recipe Directions:

In your large brew kettle, bring 2 gallons of water to a boil. The more water available to boil at the beginning will provide you with a much lighter colored finished product, making it easier to color.  

Place the malt syrup (still in its container) in a large bowl of warm water to make it easier to work with. 

Once the kettle comes to a boil, slowly add the liquid malt syrup, stirring constantly. Add the dry malt extract (I like to pour off a bit of the wort and whisk in the DME in a large bowl, then pour everything back in to the kettle) and the rice syrup. 

Once all the malt is stirred in, add the Liberty hops. Start your timer for a 45 minute boil. Stir often. 

With 15 minutes left in the boil, add the Irish Moss. At 5 minutes left, add the Mt. Hood hops.

Once the boil time is over, remove the kettle from heat (I like to pour the wort off into another large pot I can cool in the sink - or use a wort chiller if you have one). Reduce the temperature to around 75 degrees F. 

Pour your wort into your primary fermentor, being sure to leave the bottom dregs in the pot. Fill up to the 5 gallon line with room temperature water, being careful to stay between 68 and 76 degrees F (don't kill the yeast).  Add in the green food coloring a little at a time, stirring well, until you reach the desired green coloring.

Stir in the yeast (pop your liquid yeast several hours or even a day earlier if necessary) well, and seal the fermentor with an airlock. Store in a room temperature place out of the way for 7-14 days. You can re-rack into a secondary fermentor after 7 days if you wish. 

Bottle and store for three more weeks (taste and carbonation both improve in my opinion). You can also add another few drops at bottling if you want more green coloring. This beer will keep in bottles for up to 4 months (but they probably will disappear well before then). This makes 5 gallons. 

Be sure to share your green beer with friends and family.  They'll be amazed at your ingeniousness.  


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Frank Holes, Sr. is the Vice President of Griswold Mountain Brewing Company and a distinguished crafter of homemade champagne and cordials. 


Recipe of the Month:

Bangkok Chicken



Bangkok Chicken
Yield: 6 servings

This is a fun and tasty meal especially for a Valentines' meal.  Drink a cold lager with it.  

3 Chicken breasts, boned
3 Tbsp Flour
1 Tbsp Salt
4 Tbsp Olive oil
1 medium Onion, chopped
3 slices Ham, cooked (or more), diced
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 cup Beer (not dark)
1/2 lb Shrimp, large
1/2 tsp Paprika
1 Tbsp Parsley, dried
1/2 tsp  Tabasco sauce (optional)
Cooking Directions:
1.  Mix flour and salt; dredge chicken breasts. 

2.  In large skillet, brown chicken in olive oil and remove.

3.  Combine onion, ham and garlic and saute in same skillet over low heat
until onion is soft. (Don't let garlic stick to skillet.) Remove.

4.  Drain all but 1 T of the oil and pour in flour left from dredging chicken;
stir a lot to make sure flour is well-blended. Return ham mixture.

5.  Clean and de-vein shrimp. 

6.  To ham, add beer, shrimp, parsley, paprika and Tabasco; mix well. 

7.  Add chicken; cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Serve with rice or garlic bread.


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