Homebrew #9: Stone Levitation Ale

The holidays...a wonderful chance to spend time with family and friends. The downtime also provides the perfect opportunity to brew beer! For my 2nd all-grain batch, I decided to brew Stone Levitation Ale. This is an amber session ale that packs plenty of malt and hop flavors. Here's my full review for Stone Levitation Ale. Amber ale is my wife's favorite style, so I thought this would  one we could both enjoy.

I got the recipe from The Craft of Stone Brewing Co.: Liquid Lore, Epic Recipes, and Unabashed Arrogance.  

Stone gave me permission to reprint the full recipes for Stone Old Guardian Barleywine and Stone Smoked Porter, but if you want the recipe for Levitation, you'll have to buy or borrow the book.

Brew Log:

Dec 24:  Brew day!  I followed Stone's recipe and instructions very closely. I only made two modifications:

  • I couldn't find Amarillo hops, so I substituted Cascade.
  • I added 5 minutes to the mash time (from 10 minutes to 15 minutes). I was told the extra time helps to extract color from the grains.
My mash temp was about 2-4° F below target of 157° F because I opened the mash tun an extra (and probably unneeded) time to stir. Hopefully the extra five minutes of mash time will compensate. Other than that, I hit all temps within + / - 1° F.

I was really excited to almost nail the target starting gravity of 1.048 (I came in at 1.051)!  The starting gravity of my 1st all-grain homebrew (Patriot Porter), was way under target. Here are my gravity readings (corrected for temperature):
  • 1st runnings: 1.0481
  • Sparge: 1.0286
  • Combined pre-boil wort: 1.038
  • Final post-boil OG: 1.051  (target of 1.048)  

I pitched White Labs Dry English Ale yeast (WLP007) at 8:45 pm, cleaned up, and proceeded to wrap Christmas gifts.

Dec 25:   At 1 pm, I had airlock blurps every 9 seconds. By 10 pm, the airlock was bubbling constantly. I'll monitor fermentation activity (as measured by airlock bubbling) closely over the next few days.

Dec 26:  At 6 pm, every 4 seconds.  It's already starting to slow down.

Dec 27:  At 1 pm, every 16 seconds.

Dec 28:  At 11 am, 45 seconds.

Dec 31:  At 4 pm, 72 seconds.

Jan 1, 2012:  At 12 pm, over 90 seconds. Primary fermentation is pretty much finished. I need to transfer this to secondary and dry hop. I'll wait until next weekend because I'm brewing another beer and will rack it over the leftover yeast cake from this beer instead of pitching a new vial.

Jan 7:  Transferred to secondary and dry-hopped with 0.8 oz. of Columbus hops. I didn't get a chance to take a gravity reading or taste it because I was in the middle of the boil for my next homebrew, Stone's 12th Anniversary Ale (Bitter Chocolate Oatmeal Stout).

Jan 22:  I bottled today. My final gravity of 1.015 was pretty close to the target of 1.013 listed in the recipe. The recipe also called for bottling with dry malt extract, instead of dextrose. This is the first time I'm using DME to prime, so I'm interested to see if that makes a difference. The smell from the dry hops is great and my first taste was promising. Can't wait to taste it in 10 days!

More updates coming soon....

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  1. I really look forward to these posts. I'm about to rack and dry hop my first all grain batch. I missed my mash in temp by a few degrees and think I sparged too quickly. But some malt extract to the rescue!

    Keep up the homebrew posts! Thanks.

  2. Thanks for your comment Mike! I need to do a better job of updating some of my older brew logs. Hope your first all-grain attempt tastes great. I made some mistakes on my first try, but have learned from the experience.

    I brewed another beer this past weekend, so look for another homebrew post soon. Cheers!

  3. Hi man i got the book to but im coonfuse about th mash I mean 10 minutes isnt enough time to get Og or Im wrong? Can you describe the time about mash

  4. Anon, I had the same question about mash time. 10 minutes is all you need. I did mine for 15 minutes and I ended up with a much darker color. I've been delinquent in updating this post, but If you bottle, I recommend using dextrose instead of DME, as is suggested in the recipe.

    Please let me know how it turns out for you. I may brew this beer again.


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