Thunder Ale

Perfected during an Olympian Thunderstorm.


I wanted to create a beer with certian qualities that I enjoyed in many other brews, and combine these into one, so I started brewing beer at home a few years ago.


There existed,[and maybe still does] a beer brewed where I lived most of my teen years, Zweibrucken Germany,

it was called "
Parkbrau", this beer had a bold bitter quality that I found very pleasing. There was [2] popular variations of Parkbrau.

I say "WAS" because I haven't had a "Parkbrau" in over 20 years, it was almost never available in the US, the company changed their name to "
Park", started puting their beer in paper labled "Yuppie" looking bottles instead of the original returnable stubies with the painted labels, and more than likely screwed everything up, all in the name of progress.

Parkbrau's "Pils" had a crisp, sharp "tangy" bitterness, while their "
Export", had more of a Dark & Grassy "Herbal" Bitterness. Both were good, the "Export" was MUCH more popular with me, other americans, and the local germans as well.

There was also [2] other local beers worth noting;
Karlsberg[not to be confused with the Danish "Carlsberg"], and BBK.

Karlsberg's big offering was "
UrPils", kind of similar to, but better than Parkbrau's "Pils" beer.

BBK "Pils"[Originally called; "BBK Export"], always seemed to be the beer that was always available when somthing else wasn't within reach, BBK was not as well liked, tasted like a milder version of "Export", and the local GI slang term I recall for "BKK" was;
"Bad Beer from Kaiserslautern",
in hindsight I don't remember BBK being "That" bad however, and for the record BBK actually means;
"Bayerische Brauerei Kaiserslautern".

Although not local, "Heinekens" always seemed to be around as well, which is not a bad thing at all!

PLEASE NOTE: Do NOT assume that Parkbrau, Karlsberg or BBK tasted anything like other german EXports like "Saint Pauli Girl", "Warsteiner" or "Becks", which all have a thinner body, less Maltiness, and more of a lighter but spicy hop flavor via "Saaz" hops. those are beers of NORTHERN Germany. In Zweibrucken, we NEVER HEARD OF "Becks", "Warsteiner" or "Saint Pauli Girl", so my association with what "German Beer" IS, can be very different from others. I MUCH prefer the characteristics of the beers of
"Bavaria and Saarland"
of SOUTHERN Germany.

Ales and Lagers;

On trips to Australia, I found [2] beers very popular to the Australians, both have a very bold bitter character.

Now the memories that I am "Sharing" here are from the "90's", before Australia had "Their" Craft Beer Industry really take "hold", so take this as more "historical".

On the East Coast they drank an Ale called "XXXX"[pronounced "Four X"], while in the west, "Victoria Bitter" lager was preferred.

So I can hear SOME of you "Out" there thinking that I don't know what I am talking about, when I say XXXX Bitter ALE, because it is NOW, a "Lager".

Well I just HAPPEN to STILL have an ORIGINAL UNOPENED BOTTLE of XXXX Bitter ALE, that I brought back with me, from Mackay, Australia, from the "Early 90's";

KB Tooth Lager

and let it be "Known" THIS "Old Salt" does NOT "BULL $#iT"!

And you can forget about the media hype in America about "Fosters" being Australian for beer, "Fosters" is Australian for "Kangaroo Shit"!

All beers are either "Lagers", or "Ales". Lager yeast is active at very cold tempertures, while Ale yeast is not. Beers brewed at a cold temperture using lager yeast are "Lagers", beer brewed at room temperture using ale yeast are "Ales". Lagers tend to be "Crisp", & Ales are more "Creamy" and "Fruity".

In later years I would discover American brewed versions in the British "India Pale Ale" style beer. IPA's are Pale Ale's with a bold hop character[bitterness]. Popular beer legend denotes that this style of beer was created out of necessity, the belief was that a beer higher in alcohol and hops was required as a preservative to prevent spoilage, when shipped on the long journey from England to India, via Clipper Ship.

However many historians dispute this necessity, due to evidence that other beer styles such as Pale Ales and Stouts made the same voyages to India without spoiling. I prefer to consider the higher hop and alcohol content as "insurance", as the IPA cargo would be the "least likely" to spoil.

"Bridgeport IPA", by Bridgeport Brewing Company, from Portland Oregon, USA is my favorite IPA.

"Mirror Pond" from Deschutes Brewery Bend Oregon USA, is [1] of my [2] absolute favorite "Pale Ale" beers, although this one is classified as an APA[American Pale Ale], it has a hop level that comes close to many IPA's, I find it to be very pleasing, with just the right hop bitterness, a nicely balanced beer to my palate.

"Sierra Nevada Pale Ale", by Sierra Nevada Brewing Company[Chico California], is the "Other" favorite "Pale Ale". Like "Mirror Pond", Sierra Nevada pushes the hop balance a bit for the style, but where Mirror Pond has a dark herbal bitterness, Sierra Nevada's bitterness is more crisp with a "citrus" bite.

Another beer style to my liking are the ESB [Extra Special Bitter] beers, also a British style. An ESB is "Less Bitter" than a "Pale Ale", and the malt is roasted longer, resulting in a darker "Copper Red" tone to the beer. An ESB tends to be very smooth and bold.

Redhook "ESB" from Seattle Washington, USA is my favorite ESB.


I also found darker malt to my liking, two that I enjoy are the "Irish" Ales "Guinness", and "Murphys", of the two I prefer "Murphys", hands down, no contest!

Another dark brew that I have a fondness for is "Sheaf Stout", from Australia. It used to be produced by "Tooth & Company", the same folks who used to brew a fantastic lager called;

KB Tooth Lager "KB Tooth Lager".

Sheaf is now made by "
Carlton & United Breweries", the same people who make [Gasp!] Fosters! Dispite the new ownership, the recipe of Sheaf Stout seems unchanged.

These dark "Stout" beers get most of their "bitterness" from the darker roasted malt, the use of hops is lighter, its a different experience altogether but while I enjoy darker beers, these Ales require "Some" aging in the brewing process, and with my resources being what they are,
[limited "Storage & Patience"],
I have chosen styles that can be consumed right away.

One of my favorite "Dark Roasted" beers, [and my favorite beer of Many Years], was "Old Rasputin Imperial Stout", from North Coast Brewery, Fort Bragg California.

Besides, the picture of "Old Rasputin" on the label has an uncanny resemblence to my old drummer Kelly Buckner!
[The fellow on the right]

But, I say WAS, about "Old Rasputin", because it has been Dethroned by a NEW favorite, namely;

Fred Ale, by Hair of the Dog Brewing Company, of Portland Oregon. It is classified as a "Strong Ale", and as such, fits all of requirements of the "Style"; Copper Hue, very Malt Forward, "Easy" on the Hops, and 10% Alcohol.

Well unfortunately Hair of the Dog Brewing Company has "Closed Shop", so no more "Fred Ale", BUT,"Old Rasputin" has been "De-Throwned" ONCE AGAIN, this time by "
Heathen Brewing" of Vancouver Washington, and their;

"Arson Amber Ale", a Red "Malt Forward" Ale, 6.4% Abv, and SO "Smooth"!

I settled for a malt recipe displaying a "Copper" or "Dark Amber" hue, somewhere between an "English Brown Ale" and an "ESB", robust, nutty, slightly sweet, with moderate hints of molasses.

My Beer;

My 1st batches were not awful, but not all that special either. Getting the malt right came fairly easy, but I struggled with the hoppiness[bitterness], until I discovered "Nugget" hops, which gave my beer that same herbal bitter quality that I remember from "Parkbrau Export" so long ago.

I adhere to the German purity law, meaning only water, barley, hops and yeast are allowed as ingredients, unlike most MASS produced beers like "Miller or Coors" who add cheeper "Corn Cereal" to their mash to a point that it turns out piss yellow, or Budweiser's use of "Rice Filler" resulting in the weakest and worst "Sake" available. If it tastes cheep, IT PROBABLY IS!

If you have to drink an American Macro corn beer, have a "Pabst Blue Ribbon", it's the best of the category, actually not bad when well chilled!

There is, ONE "Excellent" beer, that is "Actually Made", by one of the AMERICAN MACRO BREWERIES!
THIS one is; Blue Moon Hazy Pale Ale
, by COORS!

Loose Raw Hops ready to be boiled;

The Beer Fermenter

Changes Changes Changes;

I decided to make [2] slight adjustments to the Thunder Ale Recipe. Originally I used Nugget hops for all three hop phases[Bittering, Flavoring & Aroma]. I am still using the Nugget hops for the Bittering, but for flavor and Aroma, I am using Tettnanger hops.

The previous malt recipe called for Amber malt, this time around I will use 1/2 Amber malt, 1/2 pale malt, bringing the coloration of the beer from Amber to Copper, and in my little world I am thinking that this should make the overall taste smoother, and bring out the character of the hops.

Changes Part #2;

Thunder Ale,
The "Final Perfection"

After a long hiatus from brewing,
[which included winning my notorious "Three Year Fight" against Lymphoma Cancer],
I went back to crafting beer. I believe that I finally perfected my "Thunder Ale ESB"

8] Gallon Batch

Brewing Criteria;

✓ [2] Ounces of Nugget Hops boiled for 60 minutes for Bittering,

✓ [2] Ounces of Williamette Hops boiled for 5 minutes for Flavoring,

✓ [9] Pounds of "Briess" brand Sparkling Amber Malt Syrup,
[9] pounds of "Briess" brand Pilsen Light Malt Syrup,
ALL added at the very end of the boil,

Fermented for [7] days with "Fermamentis; Safale #04" Yeast,

Dry Hopped for [7] days with [2] Ounces of Williamette Hops,

Bottle Primmed with Brown sugar for [7] Days,

Placed in a refrigerator overnight,



Mildly Sweet, Earthy Bitterness, and Pronounced and Slightly Chocolate flavored "Malt Forward" balance, with a mild Earthy/Grassy aftertaste.

ABV = 7.87%

Next In Line;

Cascadia Pale Ale,
my REBOOT on a "Northwest Pale Ale"

I have been trying my hand at a "Pale Ale that is LESS of a HOP BOMB than your Typical "American Northwest" Pale Ale, and I think that I finally achieved what I was searching for. The "Goal on this one is "Balance" which I take "Issue" with, regarding most other American Pale Ale's "Out" there.

[8] Gallon Batch

Brewing Criteria;

✓ [1] Ounce of Nugget Hops boiled for 45 minutes for Bittering,

✓ [1/2] Ounce of Nugget Hops, plus
✓ [1/2] Ounce of Cascade Hops,
both "Seeped" together for [5] minutes for Flavoring,

✓ [14] Pounds of "Briess" brand Pilsen Light Malt Syrup, added at the very end of the boil,

Fermented for [7] days with "Fermamentis; Safale #04" Yeast,

Dry Hopped for [7] days with [1] Ounce of Cascade Hops,

Bottle Primmed with White Table Sugar for [7] Days,

Placed in a refrigerator overnight,

"Consume", and ENJOY!


Slightly Sweet, Crisp Citris leaning Mild bitterness , very balanced between
"Bitterness & Malt",
and a very clean finish.
= 6.12%

Fall Harvest,
The "Season Finale"

I wanted to catch the "Old World Charm" of the "Anchient Tribes of the Isle of Briton", with this "Grog". Fruity & Earthy, with a little Alcohol "Heat".
At the end of a "Hard Summer Toil" it's time to enjoy Fall Harvest Barley Wine, a "Fine Ale", the "Season FinALE"

8] Gallon Batch

Brewing Criteria;

✓ [2] Ounces of Nugget Hops boiled for 60 minutes for Bittering,

✓ [2] Ounces of Williamette Hops boiled for 5 minutes for Flavoring,

✓ [6] Pounds of "Briess" brand Sparkling Amber Malt Syrup,
[18] pounds of "Briess" brand Pilsen Light Malt Syrup,
ALL added at the very end of the boil

Fermented for [7] days with "Fermamentis; Safale #04" yeast,

Dry Hopped for [7] days with [2] Ounces of Williamette Hops ,

Bottle Primmed with Brown sugar for [7] Days,

Placed in a refrigerator overnight,



"Mild and Balanced" was the first thought that came to my mind from this brew, slightly Sweet, and a mild earthy Hop Bitternesss, blended so smoothly with the Malt, but despite the plus 10% Alcohol content, there is no presence of a "Burn" or "Cidery" effect, but you can definitely feel the "Effects"!

ABV = 10.49%

The horse Brass Pub, Portland Oregon.

Beer Humor;

Three beer reps, a Bud rep, a Coors rep and a Guinness rep, see each other on a daily basis traveling the same sales route. One day they all decided to hang out at a pub together after work.

When the bartender came over to take their orders,
The Bud rep said: "I'll have the king of beers, Budweiser."
The Coors rep said: "I'll have the only beer brewed with Rocky Mountain spring water, Coors."
The Guinness rep said: "I will have a Coke."

Both the Bud and Coors reps looked at the Guinness rep and asked why he wasn't going to have a Guinness?
To which the Guinness rep replied: "Hell, if you guys aren't going to have a beer neither am I."

Ha Ha Ha!

[ Chuck Glisson ]