January BOTM: The Narrows Winter Ale

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Beer of the Month Program

January – The Narrows Winter Ale – $24.99

One of the best parts about making beer (aside from drinking it) is the social aspect. Brewers love to swap recipes, discuss what well or horribly wrong in their brews. We thought it would be a fun idea to start a beer conversation here. We’re going to make a beer every month here and encourage other brewers to make it as well. In the end, we’re hoping we can share our opinions and experiences with the recipe and crowd-source some improvements. The recipes will be easy to make and we will gladly assist new home brewers in the production of these beers. They will all be 5.5 gallons in size. We find that after fermenting and racking a 5.5 gallon batch turns into a standard 5 gallon batch pretty quickly.

At the start of every month we will post the recipe in store, as well as on our websiteFacebookInstagram, and Twitter. We will also have a set price for the recipe that will include a discount of up to 25%!

The Narrows

Winter Ale – 5.5 Gal – OG 1.061 – FG 1.015 – ABV 6% – IBU 26 – SRM 18

The Narrows is where the land between North Vancouver and Stanley Park are closest across open water. This location was chosen for the 1st Narrows Bridge, otherwise known as Lions Gate Bridge. This Winter Ale recipe is paying homage to the famous Lions Winter Ale beer made by Granville Island Brewing.

We did our best to mimic the smooth vanilla notes from GIB’s beer, but we also wanted to make it different in some ways. The end result is a bit boozier, darker, and heavier than GIB’s. The secret to this beer is the additions of molasses in the boil, along with vanilla and white chocolate in secondary. We add them like a dry hop. In the end, the beer is easy drinking and its vanilla smoothness complements a cold dark snowy night, which is something Vancouverites wouldn’t know much about (except when they are out snowboarding on one of their many mountains).

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Ingredients (All available at our shop)The Narrows Winter Ale at KJ Urban Winery

  • Maris Otter x 7.5lbs
  • Vienna x 1lb
  • Munich Type 1 x 1lb
  • Crystal Light x 0.8lbs
  • Crystal Medium x 0.5lbs
  • Crystal Dark x 0.4lbs
  • Chocolate Malt x 0.2lbs
  • Carafoam x 0.25lb
  • Molasses x 4oz (sold separately) *Add in final 5 minutes of boil*
  • Willamette (4.75% A.A.) – 1.0oz @ 60min
  • Cascade (5.5% A.A.) – 0.5oz @ 60 minutes
  • Saaz (3.75% A.A.) – 0.5oz @ 10 minutes
  • US-05
  • White Chocolate (2oz at Secondary)
  • Vanilla Extract (1.5oz at Secondary)
  • Irish Moss (1 tsp for last 15 minutes of boil)
  • Dry Malt Extract (150-170g for priming at bottling)
*Equipment Requirements are listed at the bottom*


We’re going to be producing this beer with the Brew-in-a-Bag (BIAB) method. We believe it is an easy, and cost effective way to make great all grain beer. These instructions are also catered to novice brewers. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

Mashing -> converting the grain into a fermentable liquid.

  • Bring 6 gallons of water in your brew pot to 168°F. This is our strike temperature. Turn off the heat to the pot.
  • Wrap the muslin/nylon bag around the brew pot and slowly pour all the milled grains into the bag. Stir them in while adding to prevent clumps. The addition of grain should drop the temperature down to 150-155°F.
  • We want to mash the grain at 154°F for 60 minutes. It is very important to hold the temperature at 154°F. If the temperature rises above 155°F it hurts the fermentation, or if it dips below 150°F it can lead to a very thin tasting beer.
    1. The first 15-30 minutes are essential for the success of your brew. The temperature HAS TO BE IN THE RANGE OF 150-155°F. Sometimes adding the grain to the strike water does not lower the temperature enough, in this case add a little bit of cold water to bring the temperature down. Cover the pot with your lid and let it sit.
    2. Most brew pots will be able to maintain 150°F without adding heat for 30 minutes, we recommend checking the temperature every 15 minutes, and if it drops add more heat to bring it up.
  • After 60 minutes, bring the temperature of the mashing grain up to 170°F and hold for 10 minutes. This is our mash out.
  • Time to remove the grain. Lift the bag full of grain out of the brew pot. Let the liquid in the bag dribble into your wort. Once that is done, put the bag inside of a brewing pail, or another empty pot. There will be about 4 gallons of wort in the brewpot, we need to get it to 6 gallons before we can begin the next stage.
  • Run warm water through the grains in the bag, aim for 170°f – let it run through the grains and add to the brewpot. Add until you reach 6 gallons.
    1. PSA: It is natural to think that the grains need to be squeezed to get all of the liquid out of them, DO NOT DO THIS. Aggressively squeezing the grains will lead to tannin extraction and a doughy taste in your beer. Lightly pressing the bag is fine, but do not try to squeeze every last drop out.

Boiling -> Hop addition time

  • Bring 6 gallons of your wort to a rolling boil, and let it boil for 5 minutes, this is called the hot break.
  • Add the 1oz of Willamette, and 0.5 oz of Cascade and start a timer for 60 minutes. All the while keeping the wort at a rolling boil.
    1. Keep an eye on the brew at all times, a boil over could be disastrous!
  • With 15 minutes left, add 1 tsp of Irish Moss, and if you’re using an immersion wort chiller, add that too!
  • With 10 minutes left, add 0.5oz of Saaz, and then with 5 minutes left, add 4oz of Molasses.
  • When your timer goes off, take the pot off of heat, and try to get the temperature down to 72°F as quick as possible.
    1. We love using a wort chiller for this, it can get the beer down to temperature in 20-30 minutes. Otherwise, you can immerse the brew pot in an ice bath, or wait it out. The longer it takes, the greater the risk of infection

Fermentation -> Turning the wort into beer

  • After the boil is done it is time to be extra careful in regards to sanitation. We recommend using a no-rinse sanitizer called Starsan. Mix ¼ tsp of it with water in a 500ml spray bottle. Before we touch any part of the beer we spray it with Starsan.
  • Transfer the cooled wort into your fermenting pail or carboy. Run it though a strainer to catch any hop or grain residue.
    1. It is also an important time to take a hydrometer reading. It should be around 1.061 give or take a few points.
  • Your choice of fermentation vessel is important. During primary fermentation, it will bubble up quite a bit, you want to be sure there is airspace for it to work away. Otherwise the pressure of it will push out the airlock.
  • Once the beer is in the fermenter. Open the US-05 yeast and pour it in. Put the bung and airlock in the hole (make sure there is water filled up to the line in the airlock). If using a pail, make sure the lid is sealed tight. Put the pail in a room that is 20°c.
  • After 10 days have passed, take a hydrometer reading. It should be somewhere between 1.012-1.016
  • Break up 2oz of white chocolate into small chunks. Rack the beer into a 5 or 6 gallon carboy (this is called secondary). Add the 2oz of white chocolate, and add 1.5oz of vanilla to the carboy.
  • Place the beer somewhere cool if possible. We like to chill it around 1°C. A cooler temperature will help clarify the beer. Let the beer sit for one week. After a week it is time to move it into bottles.

Bottling -> We’re getting close to Beer Time now.

  • It’s now been 17 days since we first starting brewing. Rack the now fermented and clarified beer into your bucket. The chunks of white chocolate will have taken on a grey colour, go ahead and try a piece – they don’t taste like chalk at all!
  • At the same time, mix the 150g of dry malt extract (you can use dextrose too) with 300ml of boiling water and add to the beer. Stir it in VERY gently.
  • Rack the beer into your bottles or growlers. Then, let them sit for 2 weeks at room temperature. Chill and enjoy!

Required Equipment (All sold at our shop too!)

8 Gallon (or larger) brewpot – $79-$160

5 or 6 gallon carboy for fermenting/aging – $35-$45

Fermenting/Bottling pail – $20-$30

#6.5 rubber bung and 3 piece airlock – $3.50

Hydrometer – $12

Autosiphon with tubing – $23

Starsan (sanitizer) – $10

Brewing Bag (re-usable) – $7-$10

Thermometer – $10-$20

Later on -> Bottles/Growlers/Kegs (contact us for some great ideas.)

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