Fossil Creek Brewing - Great Beer Here!

Ted Manahan

Many of my recipes are available here. If you want something that has not been posted, just ask!

June 2018: I brewed the yarrow / horehound saison again, and it won a second place medal at the Liquid Poetry Slam homebrew competition. Nice!

  • 3 March 2018: Using the same barrel Cy, Dan Blonder, Jonathan, Todd, and I brewed an imperial brown ale, and aged it for three months. I then added cocoa nibs and toasted coconut to make a ChocoNut Imperial Brown. Yum!

  • January 2018: I bought a 26 gallon whiskey barrel originally used by Woods High Mountain Distillery. Going together with Jester, Matt Burton, and Remi we brewed an imperial stout, which we aged in the barrel for a few months. It's pretty good if I do say so myself!

  • 25 July 2017: Using some fresh yarrow and horehound from my garden, I recently brewed a Summer Saison. It is really tasty, with quite a bit of herbal contribution.

  • 6 November 2013: This year's holiday beer was brewed on September 1, it is a Helles Bock. The mash was a series of problems, and pre-boil gravity was very low - only 11degrees Plato or about 1.044 S.G. I boiled the wort for almost three hours before adding any hops, ending with 6 gallons of 1.072 wort. Due to the long boil the final gravity was high: 1.020. The finished beer is very rich and malty - Liquid Bread!
The Liquid Poets are starting another barrel aged beer with New Belgium! We are brewing a Flanders Red, which will be put in the barrel in mid December. We will also retrieve the beer currently in the barrel on the same day. More details to come!

  • 21 October 2012: I got a new brew pot last week. I bought it from Gordon Lincoln, who started Funkwerks a couple years ago. Since he has his own brewery, he doesn't need a 10 gallon Blichmann Brew Pot. I had to put it to use right away, so I made what was supposed to be a low gravity English best bitter. However I am not yet calibrated to my new equipment so instead of 6 gallons of 1.044 wort I made 5 gallons of 1.055 wort - an Extra Special Bitter!

  • 14 October 2012: 'Tis the Saison to brew a Farmhouse Ale! I like to have corked bottles of a festive beer for holiday parties and quick gifts.

  • 25 January 2012: Today I made a gruit ale, using no hops. This is an attempt to recreate beer from hundreds of years ago using herbs and smoked malt.

  • 11 October 2011: Two days ago I brewed a Baltic Porter - my first attempt at this style. I am calling it Black Forest Porter. In a week or so half the batch will go on pie cherries, with some chocolate extract to make a Black Forest Cake Porter!

  • 3 September 2011: Back in May I brewed 10 gallons of Cleric's Inspiration Belgian Style double ale. Five gallons went into the Liquid Poets' New Belgium Brewing sour barrel project. I added raisins to the other five gallons, and bottled it in 750 ml corked bottles. This beer is delicious; I think the use of Belgian dark candi sugar makes a world of difference!

  • 17 January 2011: Last year's version of Fossil Creek Kriek was awarded best of show at the Big Beers, Belgians, and Barleywines homebrew competition! I am going to Dry Dock Brewing Company on January 29th to brew a clone which will be entered in the Pro-Am competition at the Great American Beer Festival. Very cool!
  Update 10/11/11: The version brewed with Dry Dock Brewing ended up winning a bronze medal at the GABF pro-am!

  • 17 May 2010: Brewed a batch of farmhouse ale (saison) yesterday, with the plan to bottle this in 750 ml corked bottles and give it away for holiday gifts. The beer is called 'Tis the Saison.

I created an inventory of my beer cellar last week. I have quite a variety available!

  • 6 April 2010: For the Liquid Poets Sour Strong Blonde, I changed the recipe a bit. Here is what I actually brewed.

  • 25 February 2010: The Liquid Poets homebrew club is going to attempt to recreate the storied Sour Strong Blonde in the New Belgium sour barrel we have been using for the last few years. The recipe has been posted for discussion.

  • 31 January 2010: A keg of Pilsner is always appreciated at spring parties.

  • 3 January 2010: Cliff and I recently made ten gallons of oatmeal stout. This will be a great winter warmer - a little bit strong, but not overwhelming. It should be fairly roasty, with some residual sweetness. I will bottle it soon, and give him his share once it has carbonated.

  • 14 November 09: Today Alex Grote hosted a brewing session where we made 20 gallons of a chocolate mint porter. This is for the upcoming Holiday Folly for Charity at New Belgium Brewery. We used a bit of the chocolate mint from my back yard. I'm not convinced there is enough mint flavor; if the plant is still alive in a couple weeks I may add some "dry mint" to the keg.

    I recently blended several sour ales. I created:
    * Three Threads Geuze: blend 1 gallon each of 2006, 2007, and 2008 sour ale from my barrel.
    * Kreik: four gallons of the sour meloidin beer from the latest New Belgium sour cask project over five pounds of pie cherries.
    * Sour pumpkin spice: Keg four gallons 2007 sour ale from my barrel with one gallon pumpkin spice ale.
    * Biohazard 2008: bottle four gallons sour ale from my barrel.
    * Biohazard 2008: five gallons for aging until next year.

    A few weeks ago Craig and I made a Mirror Pond pale ale clone using homegrown cascade hops. The beer turned our very nice! I need to do a side-by-side tasting with the original.

  • 07 September 09: I added my recipe for a nice Munich Helles I made last year. It got good reviews at a Liquid Poets board meeting and there was a request for the recipe. The trick with this style is to keep the recipe simple and get a clean fermentation. I attribute the smooth flavor of my last batch to extended lagering.

  • 06 August 09: I changed my ISP and had to rehost this page. So far I have not added most of the historical recipies. Please ask if you want to see something.
Not much brewing this year. I made a vow to suspend brewing until I consumed most of my inventory. I'm still working on that! I did get a couple batches of mead started, since most mead gets better with extended aging. I made lavender, rhubarb, and Horseradish mini-batches, five gallons of traditional mead from the backyard hive, and a batch of mead from some old crystalized honey that will become mint mead and rose mead. None of this has yet been bottled. 

  • 18 December 08: Cliff and two of his friends brewed an amber ale recently, sort of a 90 Shilling clone. It did not turn out exactly like the original, but it is pleasant. Sadly, I had to give 3/4 of it to my fellow bewers!
It is time to brew for spring parties. I made 20 gallons of light lager - 10 each of pilsener and Munich helles. It will be perfectly aged by spring. It's good to be prepared!  
Competition Update: The 2006/2007 Biohazard ale won first place for sour beers, and the Duchesse de Fort Collins won second, at the recent Foam on the Range homebrew competition! Also my Belgian Dubble won first place, and my dopplebock won second, in their respective categories. Cool - four for four!

  •  3 October 08: We are planning to make a smoked sour beer. Quite an experiment! I will have to use one gallon to make a "smoked chile lambic", something I always thought nobody would want to make!  

  • 30 September 08: No updates all summer - it must have been busy! Not too busy to brew, however...
    The Liquid Poets brewed a Schwarzbier to replace the Strong Blond in the cask at New Belgium. It went in the cask July 22. My version is quite sweet, so I am calling the non-sour version a strong porter. Rebranding!
    The Strong Blond is quite good, and has been bottled by itself and also mixed into Biohazard Ale and Three Threads Geuze.
    I made five gallons of Imperial Stout, following a recipe from Don Chapman. Once again this is for a club project. It should go into a wiskey barrel soon.
    A Choke Cherry Mead from a couple years ago won first place in the cherry/berry fruit mead category at the Muse Cup! Chuchang and I picked the choke cherries in Rist Canyon together. This year we picked 5.5 pounds of choke cherries; they went in Fossil Creek Kriek.
    In April I brewed a Belgian Dubbel, then made a Quadrupple with the same yeast. The dubble is big for style, but delicious. The Quad is rich and smooth, and over 10% alcohol! I have been worried about it carbonating, but after three months in the bottle there are some signs of life.

  • 6 April 08: Last weekend was a busy brewing weekend. Saturday was Big Brew - I do not like hauling my equipment to another location to brew so I made a quick, easy spiced mead. A little ginger and cardamom, 15 lbs honey, and 1.5 gallons apple juice.
    On Sunday I brewed a Belgian Dark Strong. This is a big beer, and to get enough yeast to start fermentation quickly I brewed a Belgian Abbey Dubbel a couple weeks ago. These beers will have lots of time to age while we are in China!

  • 3 March 08: The 2006 version of Fossil Creek Kriek was bottled in January. It tastes fantastic! This beer was awarded first place in the sour beer category at the recent DredHop competition. It also won runner-up best of show! This year I used even more cherries than before - 10 lbs for five gallons.
  • 17 February 08: Time to make another Gruit Ale! This is a lot of fun to make and share. As usual, I ended up with a bit more than expected; I must be doing something right!
    I recommend visiting the Gruit Ale web page for information and ideas about this historical beer.

  • 10 December 07: At the AHA National Conference I got a recipe from Jeff Rankert for a clone of Jever pilsner. I finally brewed a batch yesterday. I made a few substitutions based on hop availability, and I used one pound acidulated malt rather than lactic acid to adjust the mash Ph. I am following the theory of Jamil Zainasheff to pitch lagers very cold (~40 degrees F) and let them warm up to fermentation temperature naturally. I let the wort sit overnight before pitching - very scary for someone who always gets yeast into the wort as soon as possible to minimize the risk of infection!
    My 21 year old son Cliff and his friend Nate brewed with me. That is great, but then they each get 1/3 of the beer! I will just have to brew again sooner, since pilsner will be needed for upcoming parties. It is hard to have too much pilsner on tap. 17 February 08 The bottled beer is light and refreshing. It is similar to Paulaner Muchich Lager but lighter bodied. Not bad! I brewed another batch of this last week, for summer consumption. 3 March 08 When the beer is cold it has a ferocious chill haze. It is quite clear at basement temperature. This beer won third place as a light lager in the recent DredHop competition.

  • 23 September 07: Cliff and Nate came up from Boulder to brew something for the holdays. We decided on a hoppy Holiday IPA based on Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale. 29-Nov-07 Update - it is excellent! We can hardly tell it from the real thing is a side-by-side tasting; if anything, it is better! 09-Dec-07 - A fine beer - I recommend you try this recipe!
  • 29 July 07: The hop harvest is in, and my vines produced a bumper crop. In the past I have not been very impressed with the flavor of my homegrown hops, but this batch smells pretty good. I am going to make a Fresh Hop Pale Ale, using homegrown hops for flavor and aroma. It will be a split batch, with five gallons being fermented with Safale yeast, and five gallons fermented with Danstar Windsor yeast.
  • 20 July 07: New Belgium Brewing has offered the Liquid Poets the use of a 55 gallon cask for us to use in creating a sour beer. I propose to fill it with an all grain Strong Blonde brewed by members of the club. If we can get 11 people to pitch in, each can contribute 5 gallons. 3 March 08 We had enough people for 50 gallons, which went into the barrel in October. New Belgium Brewing generously topped of the barrel with their Tripple! The bottled (non-sour) version of this beer won third place at the Big Beers and Belgians and first place it its category at the recent DredHop competition.
  • 17 July 2007 - I made a mead using acid blend as recommended by "The Beverage People". After primary fermentation, on 7 September, I added about 7 lbs of plums from Vanda in Minnesota. So far it is sweet and good!
  • 2 July 2007 - I made a Peppermint Tripple beer for the Liquid Poets "Iron Brewer" competition. We had to use candy for 1/3 of the fermentables! I chose to use Starlight Mints, which give the beer a strong peppermint flavor! If you want to try this, use only 10% or less of peppermint candy, and use some neutral sugar for maybe an additional 10% of the fermentables.
  • June 9th - Somehow all the "normal" beer I brewed has been consumed, and summer is coming up. It is time to brew something quick and light. How about a Blonde Ale? Yea, that's it! Update 28 July - the Blonde Ale turned out very pleasant - it is a good summer thirst quencher! Update 8 September - I still like this beer a lot, but the judges at the Colorado State fair did not like it! I only got 21 points. So Sad!
  • It is Memorial Day, time to brew a pilsner again. It won't be ready until Labor Day. Update 8 September - This beer won first place for Pilsners at the Colorado State Fair with 40 points. Yipee!!
  • The day of Big Brew I made a Flanders Brown style ale that will be called Duchesse De Fort Collins. Update 28 July - the beer went into a cask a couple weeks ago, along with 50 gallons brewed by other Liquid Poets. I reserved five gallons in my basement, which will age for a year in glass. It will be interesting to see the difference!
  • On the 10th of April I made a Smoked Imperial Stout. The original gravity ws 1.099 - plenty strong. It should be ready by Thanksgiving. Update 28 July - Bottled last night - 1.028 FG, which calculates out to 9% alcohol. If it carbonates, it will be fantastic!
  • I made a Rauch Beer on April 1st. It has been bottled. Pretty smokey - yum! I am also using the base smoked wort for a Gruit ale! I think the gruit version will become one of my house beers. It uses no hops - just herbs and spices. The first version has a strong mugwort flavor. Update 9 September - This beer won third place for Smoked and Wood Aged beers at the Colorado State Fair, even though it only scored 27 points. Maybe there were not many entries?
  • An English Ordinary is an easy-drinking light pale ale. I made this March 30th.
  • I made a batch of Pilsner on Saint Patrick's Day (17-Mar-2007) (I know it should have been a stout...) It won third place at the Mugshot challenge homebrew competition.
  • Scott, Joe and I brewed a Berlinner Weisse (18-Feb-06). What an unusual recipe! We are right on the style guidelies with an OG of 1.032 and only 4.5 IBUs!! The judges at the Mugshot Challenge did not like it - not sour enough. This is true, but it is very easy to drink!
  • Cliff and I brewed a Winter Warmer (25-Dec-06) which is quite good. It is smooth and malty. Next time I would add more hops. The calculated IBUs are 28.5 which is pretty low for an OG of 1.065.
  • The 2005 version of Fossil Creek Kriek is nicely carbonated and ready to drink! It is like chrerry pie in a bottle - Yum! Others agree with me - The beer received a 1st place in the sour beer category at the Masters Championship of Amateur Brewing MCAB IX competition and the Mugshot Challenge, as well as a Best of Show at the Reggale and Dredhop competition!
  • ...

Here is a little history about me. It is possible that I have been brewing longer than you have been alive!

I was able to attend the Zythos Beer Festival in Belgium recently. Here is a trip report.

Other good links to beer related web pages:

  • The Liquid Poets is the Fort Collins homebrew club.
  • is fun to browse. I use the Brew-Monkey logo when posting to the Liquid Poets web site.
  • The Burgundian Babble Belt has loads of information about Belgian beer.
  • Jim Liddle has a web site dedicated to Lambic style beer.

Visit the home page for Ted and Chuchang

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