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Beer Labels & Recipes


I started making labels with my first batch of Red Ryder - a California Common Beer - in 1980.

I took a picture of the Marlboro Man and made block letters spelling out the "Red Ryder" name. If I get a chance [and can find it], I'll scan the original label and let you have a look.

These are in chronological order, with the newest labels and recipes first. The bottom two labels below are from around 1990. I made them with Microsoft Publisher. The others are made with Microsoft Image Composer.

I make the label in Image Composer, copy it to Word and use the label template (Avery 5168) to print out 4 labels per page.

As I make new labels, I'll update this page and/or the recipe's that go with them. By the way, all of the recipes are for 10 gallon, all-grain, single-step infusion mash batches and assume a 75% brewhouse efficiency.

If you want to see the labels in their actual size, simply click the thumbnail image, and a new window will open with the full-sized image.


Bohemian Pilsner

Award Winner: 2004 World Cup of Beer Homebrewing Competition

What a great beer! When I originally made this beer, I employed a 2-step decoction mash. While the decoction did add flavor and character to the beer, I have since begun a different technique which I believe adds similar, if not the exact characteristics to the beer.

After the first sparge (I batch sparge), I take the runnings and boil them, very hard, for 30 minutes. This helps develop some of the more malty flavors you get from decoction. It's a lot easier, too! I then sparge the second runnings, then boil/proceed as normal.

Don't short-change yourself and drink this before it has lagered for at least 2 months at 40F. It is well worth the wait!

Mike's Boh Pils

60 min mash @ 152F - 90 minute boil

19 lbs. Pilsener
0.75 lbs. Crystal 20L
1 lbs. Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt

3.00 oz Czeck Saaz Hops (5.00%AA - whole) 60 mins
0.75 oz Czeck Saaz Hops (5.00%AA - whole) 40 mins
1.25 oz Czeck Saaz Hops (5.00%AA - whole) 12 mins

2 tsp Irish Moss 15 mins 

White Labs WLP830 German Lager Yeast

Anticipated OG:  1.053
Anticipated FG:  1.010
Anticipated ABV:  5.70%
Anticipated SRM:  4.2
Anticipated IBU:  39.1

American Pale Ale

This is the first beer I "invented". I followed the BJCP style guidelines for an American Pale Ale, and built the ingredients based upon my personal tastes. It's a dry, moderately bitter, crystal clear beer. Golden in color with a tight, white head.

I drink this much colder than most ales, and it has many of the clean, crisp characteristics of a lager.

Delta Gateway Golden Ale

60 min mash @ 152F - 90 minute boil

17 lbs Pale Malt (two-row)
1 lbs Crystal Malt 20L
2 lbs Munich Malt (two-row)

2 oz Cascade Hops (5.75%AA - whole) 60 mins
1 oz Fuggle Hops (4.75%AA - whole) 15 mins
1 oz Fuggle Hops (4.75%AA - whole) 5 mins

2 tsp Irish Moss 20 mins

White Labs WLP001 California Ale yeast

Anticipated OG:  1.054
Anticipated FG:  1.012
Anticipated ABV:  6.06%
Anticipated SRM:  5.3
Anticipated IBU:  29.8

Dry Stout

Next to my Red Ryder brew, my Christmas Stout has been brewed the longest. I generally brew it in late October or early November to be given out as presents. Not much actually makes it out as presents, but it's the thought that counts!

This is a "big beer" with tons of body and flavor. Most prevalent are the coffee flavors and the surprisingly smooth mouth-feel (surprising to non-Stout drinkers).

The roasted barley gives it it's coffee overtones, and ensures it is black as the night! A wonderful, filling beer that must be drunken by the pint, it has a great bouquet, "dirty" brown, tight-knit head, and a kick that will make sure you remember it!

Christmas Stout

60 min mash @ 152F - 90 minute boil

17 lbs Pale Malt (two-row)
3 lbs Roasted Barley 575L
2 lbs Flaked Barley

2.5 oz Northern Brewer Hops (9.00%AA - whole) 60 mins
0.75 oz Goldings Hops (4.75%AA - whole) 15 mins

2 tsp Irish Moss 15 mins (optional)

White Labs WLP004 Irish Stout Yeast

Anticipated OG:  1.060
Anticipated FG:  1.012
Anticipated ABV:  6.30%
Anticipated SRM:  52.2
Anticipated IBU:  50.0

California Common (Steam)

Award Winner: 2005 World Cup of Beer Homebrewing Competition

For the Schwedhelm Brew Werkz, this is the grand-daddy of them all! This is the first beer I ever made, and have made at least 3 batches of this per year since 1980 - usually more!

The only real difference was the brew had been an extract brew until I started all-grain in 2001. Now it's even better and more like it's intended clone - Anchor Steam.

The technical style is California Common Beer. It's a unique beer that uses a special lager yeast which ferments at ale temperatures. This imparts a somewhat "sweeter" taste to the beer that is offset by the great, bold flavor of the Northern Brewer Hops.

The yeast flocculates (clears) wonderfully, leaving you with a very clear, amber/copper color and an off-white head. Far and away, my favorite, and the favorite of the majority of my volunteer tasters!

Red Ryder

60 min mash @ 152F - 90 minute boil

18 lbs Pale Malt (two-row)
2 lbs Crystal Malt 60L

1.5 oz Northern Brewer Hops (7.80%AA - whole) 60 mins
2.0 oz Northern Brewer Hops (7.80%AA - whole) 10 mins
2.0 oz Northern Brewer Hops (7.80%AA - whole) 1 min

2 tsp Irish Moss 15 mins

White Labs WLP810 San Fransisco Lager Yeast

Anticipated OG:  1.054
Anticipated FG:  1.012
Anticipated ABV:  5.49%
Anticipated SRM:  9.7
Anticipated IBU:  38.3

Rootbeer just seemed like a natural extension of "real" beer brewing. I've always loved the stuff, so I decided to learn how to make it. Yeah, right...

Real root beer requires a number of roots and herbs, many of which are no longer legal to sell (I believe it's sassparilla or sassafrass root - I dunno). It became clear very early on that I'd have to go the extract route.

I tried 5 or 6 different extracts until I found one I really liked. This is great stuff!

I keg all of my rootbeer and force carbonate it. If you want to naturally carbonate your batch, add a package of Champagne yeast after the brew has cooled to 75-85 degrees, then bottle. From what I hear (again, I don't do this) you let the rootbeer naturally carbonate at room temperature for about 5 days, then put the whole batch into the fridge (to make the yeast go dormant).

Olde Fashioned Rootbeer

Makes 5 gallons

1 bottle Zatarains Rootbeer Extract
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (secret ingredient..shhhh)
3 lbs. Honey (I like Orange Blossom the best)
2 lbs. Cane Sugar

Bring 2 gallons of water to 160 degrees, slowly add honey, then sugar until dissolved. Add remaining ingredients, stir until well mixed.

You then pour the 2 gallons of hot brew into a bucket containing 3 gallons of cold water. Stir well. Put in keg and carbonate.

It generally takes a week at 20 lbs. of pressure to fully carbonate.


Old Labels

This label is from my first batch of my Christmas Stout. I'm guessing from around 1990-1992. These cost me a fortune!

I used MS Publisher on my PC at home and saved the images to disk. I brought the disk down to Kinko's Copiers and rented a PC that was attached to a color laser printer. Remember, high quality, inexpensive inkjet and laserjet printers weren't in homes yet.

I'd go down there and the alignment wouldn't be just right, so it would take me a couple of hours (at $20 per hour) to re-do the alignments on the pages and print out my originals. They would then reproduce them on the color printers at a buck per page with 4 images per page. This got expensive when doing 2 cases of bottles!

This is from around the same timeframe as the Christmas Stout label above - around 1990-1992. It is probably in the later part of that range, because I got smart, and fit 6 labels to a page!

I used a ton of different types of adhesives to keep these attached to the bottles before they'd get delivered. I started with dipping the labels in milk (didn't work - paper too thick), contact cement (worked, but you could never get the labels off again), and glue stick (ended up using this, held pretty well, and would come off after a good soaking).

Now, I actually bottle so little (virtually everything goes in my kegs now) that using the Avery labels (which stick like crazy) isn't such a pain because of the low numbers.


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