Family Reunion Summer Ale

A few weeks ago I brewed a beer specifically for my family reunion with my Brother.  I’ve been thinking about doing one for the reunion for about as long as I have been brewing beer. I actually “polled” the family reunion Facebook event page. From the responses they thought brewing a beer for the family reunion was a great idea, and preferred a lighter color beer, but not lighter in flavor (sound familiar?). I think it goes with the activity of the 3-day reunion perfectly, which consists of sitting around and drinking beer for 75% of the time.

I scoured the interwebs and my homebrew books, and I decided to try my hand at one of the summer ales from Radical Brewing. I know this is my 3rd beer in a row based on a recipe from that book, but I do love the book so much. My wheat beer and coffee stout were highly acclaimed at my award show for the First Annual Montgomery Burns Award in Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence (In Beer Drinking) or “drink my beer so I have room to make more beer party”.

I attempted to make the Summer Ale, What if Version, which is like the Summer Ale, but higher in gravity, and with the addition of coriander and candied ginger at 5 minutes left in the boil. I’m very proud that I made my own candied ginger for the first time out of 1 pound of ginger root  (or more accurately rhizome), despite the fact that the 0.25 oz required for 5 gallons amounted to 2 whole pieces. The rest are delicious by themselves.


This beer is a whole family affair. I got my brother to help me brew the beer. I decided on 7.5 gallons, which basically required doing two different brews at the same time. My cousin is designing a label. I’m still trying to figure out how to get them on the bottle and have them stay on in a cooler full of ice. Vinyl stickers have been brought up as an idea, but I’m not sure they are cost effective.


In the end the brew session turned out well. We did one 5 gallon batch and one 2.5 gallon batch using my biggest non-brewing specific pot. It was the first time I’ve ever done a non-5 gallon batch, and both came in under my target gravity. The 2.5 gallon batch came in at 1.050, about 6 points under target, but the 5 gallon batch came in quite a bit under and I ended up throwing in some extra malt extract at the last-minute to get the original gravity similar to the 2.5 gallon batch.

I took a final gravity reading the other day and got 1.013, which comes out to a little under 5% ABV, a good drinkable percentage. It is also the clearest beer I’ve ever made, probably due to the Wyeast 1968 London ESB used. It tasted pretty hoppy, and I’m excited about how it will taste after carbonation. Next week is bottling week.

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2 thoughts on “Family Reunion Summer Ale

  1. Pingback: Homebrewer’s First Labels | Helper Monkey Brews

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