Homebrew Recipe: Pirate’s Ale

This is great. Performed by someone who really knows the biology and chemistry of beer. Great musician as well!

Cheers to you and yours this St. Patrick's Day!

When I started homebrewing I was told to simply stick the racking cane in the bucket and siphon the liquid out and that is pretty much what I did. I stuck the racking cane all the way to the bottom and started sucking on the tube to start a sihpon. That was more than 20 years ago, vitamin
though, and I have since learned better technique.

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on Flickr”>Beer Here Dark HopsThe homebrew club I run has been asked to make a special beer for a pirate-themed party at Kena Shriners. One of the brews that the party organizers liked a lot was Andy's Christmas ale he made for his wonderful wife this past winter. It is malty and spicy, like a holiday pie mixed with dark beer. The beer we are making is a modification of Andy's brew, with slightly different ingredients, partly because I could not find everything on the list. Crystallized ginger, for example, was elusive, so I bought something I have read is the same thing: candied ginger. In addition, the original recipe called for organic chocolate malt but all I could find locally was regular, so I got that.

I had another sticking point. The homebrew shop I go to was out of oatmeal, so I asked the question probably everyone wonders: can regular oatmeal be substituted for brewer's oatmeal? The lad at the store said yes, but make sure they are quick oats. Fair enough. That's something I will use anyway, so the remainder of the oatmeal in the canister can be put to good use. In addition, I will save the spent grain and do something cool with it. I foresee a high-fiber bread in my future!

I just hosted a brew day for the homebrew club this past Sunday and we started the process. The spices smelled great and even Beautiful Girlfriend, not always a fan of homebrew smells, thought the scent was nice. She's a keeper! I can't wait to try the final product at the Pirate's Ball in May!

Specialty grains:
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 lbs 60L crystal malt
1/4 lbs chocolate malt

3.3 lbs amber malt extract
3.3 lbs dark malt extract

0.5 oz Hallertau 60 minutes
0.5 oz Cascade 25 minutes
0.25 oz Cascade 5 minutes

Additional spices:
2 oranges worth of peels
1 tsp Allspice whole
1 tsp Allspice ground
2 tsp crystallized ginger
4 three-inch cinnamon sticks
1 tsp cloves
0.5 pounds raw honey

Wyeast WLP011 European Ale Yeast


  • Steep honey and additional spices for 45 min.
  • Steep specialty grains at 150 degrees for 20 min.
  • Mix together and add extract.
  • Add hops at the right times.
  • Cool it to 70-75 degrees by your preferred method.
  • Bada-bing, bada-boom, it's ready to ferment. Get those yeast buggers in there!

Ferment 2 weeks in the primary, transfer to the secondary fermenter for a couple weeks until there is a good layer of sediment at the bottom of the carboy, and then rack it into your bottles or keg. If bottling, use five ounces of priming sugar to get a good amount of bubbles.

Dark Beer by Bernt Rostad.

8 comments for “Homebrew Recipe: Pirate’s Ale

  1. Ian Campbell
    March 27, 2012 at 12:20 am

    This is the reason Im going to the Pirates Ball….cant wait to try it.  I have my first home brew batch ever fermenting in my 'complimentary' Mr. Beer keg….I already know the biggest problem associated with homebrewing…..the wait.  but i look forward to upgrading my home brew kit (already have my tax return spent in my head) and I plan on passing the Mr. Beer kit to the next member of the group who wants to take the plunge.  keep up the good work.

    • Carl
      March 30, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      Ian, I feel like a successful evangelist now. Definitely get the bigger brew kit before you get hitched. That way she is marrying into it!

  2. Ben
    February 25, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    it’s been a few years since this original post but I just stumbled upon this site. any chance you can follow up with how this ended up? thanks

  3. Roald
    October 10, 2015 at 4:05 am

    Hi. This recipe sounds really good for the winter. But for how many gallons /liter is this recipe.

    • Carl
      March 2, 2016 at 1:28 pm

      Hi Roald. It is a good warming brew. This recipe makes five gallons.

  4. Soly
    June 7, 2016 at 3:49 pm

    The Amber and Dark Malt are LME right ?
    Im trying to convert this extract brew to a all grain version. Any pointers ?

  5. Bruce
    October 10, 2016 at 1:33 am

    Brewed this one a couple months ago. Probably the best brew I’ve made yet. I even used the quick oats and yes, it gave a creamy mouthfeel. This recipe was a huge hit at work and with the relatives. Thanks to you, I’m a rock star!

  6. Geoff
    February 23, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe – I can’t wait to try it! On question: for the first step of steeping raw honey and specialty grains, is this done at room temperature or after warming to 150 degrees Fahrenheit?

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