Update and Wandering Musings of my SMaSH Simcoe Beer

First the update. Yesterday on day 8, I managed to rack from the primary fermenter into the glass carboy secondary fermenter. I added 1 ounce of Simcoe hops for dry hopping. Even after 8 days the beer was still a bit busy fermenting, as indicated by the gravity of the beer. I had been expecting something in the neighborhood of 1.012 or less and the beer was 1.021. The primary still had a busy looking krausen …… I figured what the heck, rather than closing it up and waiting a few more days I went ahead and racked it over to the secondary with the understating that it would still be bubbling pretty actively. The sample I pulled to check the gravity was not wasted, slightly sweet on the backend but very nice aroma and color was perfect. Note to self here…..this beer will need serious cold crashing prior to kegging…..At my age that may require and reminder plugged into my smart phone,,,,,if I don’t forget!…… FYI – I added it to Monday February 6th at 1:00 PM. Yee Haw!

Wandering musings……some of you are craft beer savvy and you understand the term SMaSH. If not it simply means the simple process of brewing with a single malt(malted grain) and a single variety if hops. A little more……

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-malt#6rXUJtvrb9M1bqzLktw2Ui ————————————————————

“How Is Malt Made?

The desired end-product affects the malting process, but the basic steps involved in malting include:

  1. 1. Harvest: Gathering, cleaning, and drying the grains is the first step in malting. Since ancient Mesopotamia, the most common malted grain is barley. Malt makers or maltsters can malt all kinds of grains, but barley remains a popular staple.
  2. 2. Soak: Soaking or steeping the grains involves submerging the grains in water. The enzymes activate and set off chemical changes as the grains absorb water.
  3. 3. Germinate: When the grains reach a specific moisture content, maltsters drain the excess moisture and sprouting begins. The starches in the grains convert into sugars, such as monosaccharide glucose, disaccharide maltose, and maltodextrin, among others. Specialized enzymes called proteases help break down the grains’ protein into different forms, including amino acids, that yeast can consume.
  4. 4. Dry: At a certain point, the maltster halts the chemical transformations of the green malt with air and heat. This preserves the germinated grain in its new, changed state with the right combination of starch, protein, and sugar.
  5. 5. Roast: Some malts, such as those for certain types of beer brewing, roast in an oven or kiln. This additional heating process creates further changes in the nutritional profile of the grain, affecting the fermentation process and altering the flavor of the finished product.”

OK, that may be TMI but I am sure someone may want to know. So now the term malted grain is established . Now for hops.

“Hops are the flowers, or cones, of a plant called Humulus lupulus. Hops help to keep beer fresher, longer; help beer retain its head of foam—a key component of a beer’s aroma and flavor; and, of course, add “hoppy” aroma, flavor, and bitterness.” “

Last of the TMI stuff. Lets talk about my Simcoe SMaSH and a little more. This is my third or fourth beer brewed in the SMaSH mode. The first couple were Mosaic Hops and Marris Otter malt. Feed back from my buddies indicate that it was a very drinkable beer with good flavor and great aroma…..Yes! I selected Mosaic primarily because of the amazing aroma but also for the fact it can also be a good bittering hop used at the beginning of the boil. Subsequent additions are later in the boil so as to maximize the aromas as well as a dose of dry hopping in the secondary fermenter. If you need to know…..go ahead and google “dry hopping” my musings going forward will attempt to avoid too much TMI. Marris Otter malt is very flavorful, has a bit darker color than if using a pale malt and a slight malty flavor that my oldest son doesn’t particularly like….Children are to be spoiled……even at 32 years of age. So, I used Golden Promise malt for the Simcoe SMaSH ……hopefully the taste will be in Ben’s preferred flavor profile. My sample seems to meet that criteria. A musing of sorts. I assumed criteria was singular but I googled it and learned that it is the plural of criterion. Really old dogs can learn new tricks. And I am a really old dog!!!!!!

Let me wander a little further…..next up on my brewing list is a Russian Imperial Stout with whiskey barrel aging as part of the process. Deeper explanations in a future blog posting. Suffice it to say that it will be a higher ABV beer in the 11% or higher range, will not be worth drinking until it is well beyond a year old and will do nothing more than age very nicely just as the blog’s author…..smiling broadly, I do believe that I have aged well. My last batch was brewed in 2016 and bottled in 22 ounce bombers. The last two bottles were consumed very recently. An old neighbor and homebrewer shared one with his wife this past December and the very last one was shared with folks down at DECA Beer company along with a Russian Imperial stout brewed in 2017 by Cody Evans, Chief Brewer and he holds so many flunky titles at the brewery that I won’t mention them. We had been attempting the taste off and sharing for quite some time. Both beers received high marks from patrons and brewers alike. My beer had been primed with brown sugar which imparted a faint aroma of molasses and was surprisingly good. Keep you eyes open for more down the road.

Yum…….

Drink Local and Drink Resonsibly

Bishop

Simcoe SMaSH IPA

Brewed this beer January 22nd 2023, after a fairly long break from brewing….The Avery Clone IPA was the last beer I brewed and kegged. If you read my last post you know that it disappeared too quickly. I have brewed a Mosaic SMaSH IPA several times in the past and decided to go with Simcoe hops for this SMaSH…..I love the aroma and the flavors come through very nicely….

My chicken scratch my brew sheet form BeerSmith on this recipe…..gotta keep notes if you want to to repeat a good beer.

A little about Simcoe Hops from Yakima Valley Hops web site;

“At 12%-14% Alpha Acid, Simcoe® has great bittering qualities, but also packs a complex aroma of stone fruit, pine, and citrus zest. It truly is a dual purpose hop that is capable of standing on its own in single-hopped beers in a wide range of styles.”

When I pulled the sample to determine the original gravity, 1.064 to be exact, I dipped my nose in for a whiff and by golly Yakima was right! Secondly the flavor was very, very pleasant a little sweet but to be expected as unfermented wort should be sweet. As the sugars in the wort are devoured by the “yeasties” the sweetness disappears and the magic of conversion to beer happens. I have very high hopes for this beer.

Brew day did not go as smooth as I would have liked…..I have a 110 Volt Grainfather G30 system. Overall I love it but……brew day was pretty damned cold for Houston and the wind was stiff. I brew outside because my wife does not like the smell of boiling wort in the house, I think it is rather pleasant but….I make some sacrifices to maintain harmony in the house. The mash went very smooth, the equipment held the 165 degree F mash temp perfectly. The system’s pump worked perfectly for the Vorlauf process. During Vorlauf and sparging I ran the set temperature up to 212 degrees F. One drawback of the 110 Volt system is the slower heating rates as compared to the 220 Volt systems.

I use my propane burner to heat the sparge water, 170 degrees F was the recommended tempearture. I was patient and sparged at a rate to rinse as much sugar out of the grain bed as was expected. As I was sparging the temperature was coming up very slowly…….too slowly. I pulled out my electric paint stripping gun and plugged it into a separate circuit in order to not to blow a fuse. It helped, I ran it on high setting on the lower sides of the pot….and slowly the pot came up to a good rolling boil. Added 0.5 ounces of Simcoe for 60 minutes. Next addition of Simcoe was 1.0 ounce at the 15 minute remaining mark and 1.5 ounces at the 5 minute remaining mark. Added ½ of a whirlfloc tablet at that same time in order to help precipitate haze-causing proteins and beta glucans resulting in a clearer wort.

Then a set back and change of process now that the beer had boiled for the required 60 minutes. I attached my counter flow chiller and attempted to pump hot wort through the coils and back into the pot to sanitize the coil. The pump had worked perfectly when I ran it to Vorlauf but for some reason the pump would not move any fluid…..I was at a standstill …… I disconnected the fittings to see if there was clog and I could not see a problem. Started and stopped the pump multiple times……no dice. I could hear it sounding like it was running but no output……I need to get the wort cooled and into my fermenting bucket.

Plan B now. The wort is at a specific gravity of 1.064 X 8.345 pounds of water per gallon X 6 gallons equals about 53.27 pound of liquid plus the weight of the pot. I had to now lift this hot and awkward mess up onto platform of some sort in order to make plan B work……siphon the wort into my fermenting bucket. I did utter some strong words, tested my 71 year old back and pain tolerance to hot surfaces, but did manage to gain the necessary height to allow the siphon to work. I pumped very hot wort through the siphon hose and equipment and back into the wort to sanitize it all……then successfully filled the fermenting bucket.

Got it all situated and placed in a 66-68 degree location to best allow the yeast to do it’s work. Took a couple of Tylenol as a preventative for potential back pain and waited overnight to add the yeast. I usually like to cool the wort much more quickly and add the yeast once it is all down below 80 degrees F.  Yeast was added this morning and by this evening there was good indication of bubbles and active fermentation. Now, one of my challenges is being patient to allow nature to do its work.

Next step will be transferring to a secondary fermenter and adding 1.5 ounces of Simcoe hops for dry hopping. After 7 days I will cold crash it to 34-35 degrees and transfer to a keg. Then carbonate, be patient again and then enjoy the fruits of my labor.

Can’t wait to be at this point……filling the keg with my Simcoe SMaSH IPa.

Lesson learned and a discovery. The wort was at boiling temperature when I turned the pump on and with a little research the pump suction creates a lowered pressure and likely vapor locked the pump. Lesson learned ….be patient……turn the heat off, wait a bit then turn on the pump. During cleanup there was a bit of brew trash in the discharge check valve but probably not enough to stop flow. Note to self……understand my sometimes lack of patience and chill old man!!!!!!

SMaSH – a beer brewed with a single malt and a single hop……in this case Golden Promise Malt and Simcoe hops…..Yum

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Karbach, Nice Family Visit

My son and wife came into town for a quick visit. He is also into homebrewing and he and wife both love to explore craft beers. The doors on Sunday open at 11:00 and we were nearly first in line. We had an early lunch to facilitate their drive back home to Corpus Christi. They do have a very good food menu and a nice selection of beers.

I am a fan of their barrel aged selections and chose to do a flight. Everyone else selected a good pint.
My selections and yes I do go big on the ABV scale…..and I had a designated driver.

If you noticed my selections for the flight I ordered were on the heavy side for ABV, Double and Imperial IPA’s…..I did have a driver LOL. I decided to educate myself so I am including a description from bsgcraftbrewing.com

Double IPA or Imperial IPA? What’s the difference?

Short answer? Nothing.

Double IPA and Imperial IPA are in fact the same thing; an IPA that’s been turned up to eleven. Some believe the origin of the name “Double IPA” comes from the extra “I” in the abbreviation of Imperial IPA (IIPA). Imperial on the other hand is a term often used in beer to denote big flavor and high alcohol.”

https://bsgcraftbrewing.com/the-imperial-strikes-back/#:~:text=Double%20IPA%20and%20Imperial%20IPA,big%20flavor%20and%20high%20alcohol.

My impressions….The Rodeo Clown Double IPA, good but almost ordinary in flavor. It is smooth to drink but I wouldn’t put it high on my go to list. The Rodeo Clown Imperial Tropical IPA comes through with Citra, Galaxy, Comet and Mosaic hops. The impression I picked up was more to the citrusy side with a pleasant bitterness. . The Rodeo Clown Imperial Hazy IPA was my favorite of the the first three. The hops were a broad mix including Motueka, El Dorado, Mosaic, Sabro, Melon, Citra and Amarillo. These are a good mix of aroma hops and dual purpose hops that work well for this nice hazy IPA.

The BBH, Bourbon Barrel Hellfighter, choices were very good. The first, BBH Eggnog, brewed with Katz Coffee eggnog flavored coffee and aged in bourbon barrels. Very smooth and easy to drink. this one is one of those evening ending beers to be shared in small glasses LOL… especially at 11.5% ABV. The BBH Mole was my favorite and it comes in at 11.8% and slightly more dangerous, but already well into the dangerous range. This ale is brewed with chilis, cinnamon, clove, and chocolate. Very well done! Karbach does a great job with the BBH series but in my professional beer drinking experience/opinion, the Firestone Walker Brewery in Paso Robles has the very best selection of barrel aged beers and an amazing mix diversity of offerings…….sorry Karbach, but, that said your BBH series ales are top notch.

On the lower end of the ABV scale Karbach has many great offerings and Hopadillo is one of my favorite beers…..consistent, hoppy in a very good way and pleasant to drink. Love Street is a nice summer beer and in honor of the Astros going to the World Series again, the Crawford Bock referencing the Crawford Box Seats…..Left field and recipient of many Astros dingers. Oh yes……it is and excellent beer to drink at Minute Maid Park. The Karbach Clutch City links back to the glory days of the Houston Rockets. It too is a nice easy drinking beer.

Gotta give a thumbs up to the food menu at the brewery. Good choices, portions are reasonable and they pair well with many of the beers. I had family with me on this visit, wife, daughter and youngest son with his bride. The beers ordered were diverse as well as the food choice ordered. Overall a great place to bring family and friends…..and yes we will be back.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Back At It Again

I apologize a bit to a beekeeping acquaintance of mine here in Texas as he has named his business “At it Again Apiaries”…….so, I just appropriated a portion of the name. That said, it has both been too long since I last brewed and also too long since I last posted. Up date, I have an Avery IPA clone sitting in the secondary, dry hopped and I started the cold crash yesterday before kegging tomorrow. The gravity targets from the recipe were hit dead on. It was 1.056 for the starting gravity and 1.012 for the ending gravity…….sample tasted wonderful.

Sadly my local beer supply store closed a few months ago and I have resorted to online ordering. The online experience has been hit or miss. I have tried Austin Homebrew Supply and Northern Brewer. The excuses revolve around labor shortages and supply chain issues……I am more concerned about having room in my kegerator for two more beers so, I am learning to be more patient. Tomorrow I should be carbonating the Avery clone but the next beer, or should I say planned beer is a SMaSH with Golden Promise grain and Simcoe hops…….dangit…..may not get it started until sometime next week. That is if the remaining ingredients show up.

I hate to say it but part of the delay is my fault. The grain bill calls for 12 pounds of Golden Promise, in the drop down box I apparently did not click hard enough on 12 and they order went out as 1 pound. I did have a second chance to review my order at checkout, but guess what, senior moment, and I did not correct my mistake. So I have compounded the delivery issues……nuff said and you can stop giggling any time you want!

The Avery clone was an all grain kit from Austin Homebrew Supply…..they did a decent job getting the supplies here on a reasonable amount of time. A browse through the products section does highlight notable amounts of “out of stock” tags but over all not too bad. I did resort to going to the “Grainfather” site for parts I needed before brewing the Avery clone. The connections on the inlet to the pump and discharge side of the pump had gone bad. Fortunately the discharge tube leaked badly as I was cleaning and prepping and not during the brewing process, averting a catastrophic event!. It delayed the Avery IPA clone by about a week.

Final Gravity…..Dead on Target – Love my new hydrometer…..yes, I dropped and broke one…..word of advice, always have two in your brewing kit. Fortunately I did.
Dry Hopped and I cold crash everything should settle out. One of these days….I dream of having a dedicated brewing area and use SS conical fermenters and a well sized walk in cold box and a 10 tap kegerator andddddd so much more!

I will promise to update all y’all in a timely matter once in the keg and properly carbonated….and wish I could share some with y’all – you will just have to rely on my words and your imagination. Trust me…

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

I Still Love & Drink Beer

Even though it has been ages since my last post I want to make sure the record is is still clear, I love Beer….Maybe I should say like rather than love……and thanks to Tom T. Hall I have an anthem that I could sing….if of course I could sing……Here it is and next time, if ever I sing Karaoke I can request it!!!!!!!

I would make a substitution for the word song or songs and replace it with blog or blogs…..wonder if the flow would go well, Hmmmmmmmmm

In some of my songs I have casually mentioned
The fact that I like to drink beer
This little song is more to the point
Roll out the barrel and lend me your ears

I like beer, it makes me a jolly good fellow
I like beer, it helps me unwind and sometimes it makes me feel mellow (Makes him feel mellow)
Whiskey’s too rough, Champagne costs too much, vodka puts my mouth in gear
This little refrain should help me explain as a matter of fact I like beer
(He likes beer)

My wife often frowns when we’re out on the town
And I’m wearing a suit and a tie
She’s sipping vermouth and she thinks I’m uncouth
When I yell as the waiter goes by

I like beer, it makes me a jolly good fellow
I like beer, it helps me unwind and sometimes it makes me feel mellow (Makes him feel mellow)
Whiskey’s too rough, Champagne costs too much, vodka puts my mouth in gear
This little refrain should help me explain as a matter of fact I like beer
(He likes beer)

Last night I dreamed that I passed from the scene
And I went to a place so sublime
Aw, the water was clear and tasted like beer
Then they turned it all into wine (Awww)

I like beer, it makes me a jolly good fellow
I like beer, it helps me unwind and sometimes it makes me feel mellow (Makes him feel mellow)
Whiskey’s too rough, Champagne costs too much, vodka puts my mouth in gear
This little refrain should help me explain as a matter of fact I like beer
(He likes beer)

Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Tom Hall

I may get frisky one of these days, with the help of a few beers and record my rendition>>>>>>

I will add some sad news, my local beer supplier succumbed to the challenging business environment post Covid and closed the doors, The business owner, Preston Brown was a walking and talking encyclopedia of all things beer. Well, actually more than that, he knew, Kombucha, cheese making, wine making, equipment, hops, yeast and everything in between…….. and of course everything brewed. Probably the most helpful shop owner of any business I have ever entered. He was a mentor and freely gave gave lessons on the fly. I wish him well in his new direction, whatever it may be and I know full well he will be an asset to wherever he lands.

I lament the loss of The Grain Cellar …….. I wish the very best for you Preston and your wife. May God Bless you both.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

I Am A Brave Man

I began brewing beer with a few neighborhood buddies around 1991 in Bakersfield California……and we are still friends! LOL Along the way we have learned a few lessons, the first was to not boil the wort in the kitchen……when the wife is home! That actually took several lessons, not necessarily very painful but she does have leverage!

My current brewing adventure is a Bell’ s Two Hearted clone recipe. I will have to admit that every step in the process I have been pleased with flavor and color. The words of A Beer Connoisseur describing the breweries offering of the Bell’s Two Hearted Ale- “ A fairly clear orange-amber beer with a low white head offers a very complex aroma that speaks of American hop varieties – floral, citrus, pine and a little orange. Gradually, some caramel notes appear. “ Those would have been my words exactly during the process.

My hen scratch but it came out wonderfully so far! Bought and suppled from The Grain Cellar in Humble, TX

I mentioned earlier that I was a brave man. Bravery. Hmmm, what is it? Courage is a word that usually comes to mind!

“ Courage is not the absence of fear. Courageous people do feel fear, but they are able to manage and overcome their fear so that it does not stop them taking action. They often use the fear to ensure that they are not overly confident and that they take the appropriate actions. “ https://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/courage.html

So how does apply to me, today? Well…… today is November 25th, 2021, Thanksgiving Day in the US. It is a very busy day in the kitchen and it also the day I chose to keg my Two Hearted clone on and around the same kitchen space being used to prepare our Thanksgiving Feast. Now, I am not completely stupid so I started early, while smoking the turkey and drinking a beer……yes it was 5 O’clock somewhere. I strove to overcome my fear……fortified with an adult beverage, maybe a couple!

At the kitchen counter and bravely going into the breach!
Siphoning the finished beer of into the keg below I tilt the carboy to try and get the most liquid beer and not siphon up the yeast sediment
I am wise enough and know well enough to not anger my wife…..and to been with me for nearly 40 years she must be fairly tolerant…or has given up on the minor skirmishes but will still prevail in the major battles. Please note towel on the floor just in case!!!!!!!!…LOL
Kegged and force carbonating the beer. First official taste test was yesterday, November 30th and the thumbs were definitely strong up for this beer. I actually opened a can of Bell’s Two Hearted beer form the brewery and the tasters agreed that mine was actually more to their liking. Now that may mean I failed in brewing a clone or wildly succeeded in brewing a very good beer.
Just a bit more than a thin white head….but a lovely head and full of great aroma
It went down so easy that it just begged for a refill……and I didn’t argue.

It was a bit of a surprise when I learned that earlier in the month, Mr. Bell sold the brewery. I some respects i admire and respect Larry Bell’s journey to create and build an iconic brewery. I love his beers. I am including a link to article describing the sale. He did not sell out to and Anheuser-Busch type…..and the great beers brewed by Larry Bell will still be true to his craft.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Twenty Best Beers

I want to report out on the 2020 best beers according to Zymurgy magazine. Not familiar with Zymurgy? Zymurgy is the publication of the American Homebrewers Association. The 20 best beers are the opinions of American Hombrewers Association, AHA, members and may not reflect the opinions of drinkers of swill. Swill may be a harsh term but there really is a flavor, aroma, mouthfeel and quality difference for the beers in this list.

I am pleased to report that a handful of my go to beers, including 3 at the top of my list are in the top twenty.

Number 1…. Bell’s Two Hearted Ale, from Bell’s Brewery in Comstock, MI. I was introduced to this beer on one of my many work trips to North Dakota and it is now being distributed in Texas…..yes, it is in my fridge. Two Hearted is brewed year round.

Number 2….. Pliny the Elder, from Russian River Brewing Co. It is a double IPA coming in at 8% but….. drinks very smooth with an incredible mix of aromas and broad but smooth bitterness. I have only been able to have this beer on three occasions and can probably give you date, time and location when I was able to enjoy this beer! It really is that good. Drawback, very hard to find……gotta know somebody! Available year round but…..only in limited quantities.

Number 3…… Pale Ale by Sierra Nevada. This was probably my first exposure to real beer nudging me away from my usual swill….the beer came out in 1980, it probably was late 1980’s before I was treated to the wonderful, bottle conditioned ale featuring, new at the time, Cascade hops. Confession, I did experiment with non swill in the late 70’s, Anchor Steam beer after it was reintroduced in 1971.

Number 4……..Heady Topper by the Alchemist in Stowe, VT. This beer has not blessed my lips, but…….I am on the hunt now. This is a double IPA and according to the recommendation printed on the can…..it is best consumed from the can. According to the review in Zymurgy that is to “allow your senses to enjoy the maximum hop experience.”

Number 5……. Hopslam Ale from Bell’s Brewery….. my go to Double IPA. It is best consumed fresh……..but I have hoarded it far into the year, hidden away from the local beer gnomes that raid my stash. Very high on my list. Mark your calendar, this beer is distributed in January and February……then the dearth sets in. Dearth, a beekeepers term when nectar is not available for the bees and also appropriate for this nectar of the gods hoppy beer. At 8% it will help make you toasty….nice!

Number 6 …….. Zombie Dust by Three Floyd’s Brewing Company, Munster, IN. Three Floyd’s describes it as “intensely hopped”. That description places it on my list of beers to hunt down. The Zymurgy review calls it “Insanely drinkable”….. sounds like a gotta have beer. Only 6.2%…..yum.

Number T 7……. Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale, by Boulevard Brewing Company, Kansas City, MO. Very nice beer coming in at 8% …..very good hoppy aroma and and hop flavors. I have been able to track this one down, although not in my top list I would never turn it down.

Number 7 T……. Kentucky Breakfast Stout, barrel aged, by Founders Brewing, Grand Rapids, MI. It is a strong Imperial Stout that I find Rivals my favorite Imperial Stout, the barrel aged Parabola from Firestone Walker. It is 12.3 % and best shared in 4-5 ounce glasses with good friends. Complex flavors and aromas and really warms going down. Patting myself on the back, my home brewed Imperial Stout, also aged on toasted and bourbon soaked oak, is on par with this beer.

Number 9………Deschutes Fresh Squeezed IPA, Deschutes Brewery, Bend, OR. This is a beer that almost always graces my fridge. Two of favorite hops are used for this beer, Citra and Mosaic, both during the boil and during fermentation. It is a very fresh and clean drinking beer.

Number 10…….Old Rasputin, North Coast Brewing Company, Fort Bragg, CA. I have had an opportunity to sample this beer and it is treat for the palate with wide variety of flavors and complex set of pleasant aromas. At 9% ABV it will warm you up nicely.

The remainder of the top twenty; Treehouse Julius, sounds delicious, Founders All Day IPA …..a go to session ale loved by me and my beer drinking partner, Focal Banger by Alchemist….I know nothing of this beer but need to hunt it down, Jai Lai by Cigar City….I have had it a couple of times and it is a very pleasant beer, Celebration Ale by Sierra Nevada…..damn good beer, I really like it! Pseudo Sue by Toppling Goliath, the reviewers were very complimentary of this beer – yep another one to chase down, White by Allagash Brewing, apparently a real nice example of the classic Wit Bier style, Sip of Sunshine by Lawson’s Finest Liquids, this is a NEIPA this is an 8% beer, Odell IPA, , been there, done that beer many times and bought the shirt, the Odell IPA knocked my socks off the first time I tried it! Very yummy! Hazy Little Thing by Sierra Nevada Brewing……I love this beer, great aromas and flavors…yum

On hand as of yesterday. My beer order was off a little as I was not specific enough. I am still on my walker due to hip replacement. The Double Bell’s Two Hearted is a nice sub as is the Odell Mountain Standard IPA!
A look into my patio beer fridge. Home brews in bottle include Mosaic SMaSH IPA, Honey Blonde with my Honey and a real nice Wit Bier for my wife.
Don’t believe the tap handles….. I have my Juicy/Hazy IPA on one, my West Coast IPA on another and Scrimshaw Pils on another. Waiting to brew again for the number 4 tap.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

No, I Haven’t Stopped Brewing

I have a couple of new brews to share and a kegerator build to share.

No, it is not a Shiner Juicy IPA. It is my first one that I have ever brewed, my first to grace my new kegerator and…. it is pretty damned good.

Since the Wit Bier i wrote about last, I have brewed and bottled a Honey Blonde Ale using honey from one of my apiary locations. Next up was a deviation from anything I have brewed in the past, it was a New England style hazy and juicy IPA. I didn’t bottle it but it is the first beer into my new kegerator…..see photo above.

The Wit Bier was a success but, ……… the choice of Citrus zest was not as good as the prior batch, at least according to my wife. Others tasting the current batch give it high marks but don’t have the reference point of the prior batch.

What made the prior batch special? The zest for the Wit Bier makes a bigger impact than I would have expected. I used a store bought grapefruit as well as a store bought Blood Orange. The lemon was a homegrown Meyer Lemon, sweet and very aromatic. At my wife’s request no coriander is ever used in my Wit Biers due to her dislike of it from my very first batch. The current batch was brewed with all store bought citrus. The brew store Guru, Preston Brown, down at “The Grain Cellar” in Humble, TX, has suggested using all blood orange in the future. Interestingly, if it is not in the stores it can be brewed with blood orange purée. I may have to research this approach.

Let me turn my attention to the kegerator. I toyed with the idea of using a chest freezer but finally settled on in upright refrigerator with the freezer on top. I brainstormed a little with myself, small storm and no sparks, and decided that top freezer portion could be used as a chalkboard as well as a magnet surface. I used chalk paint and framed it as if it were a real chalkboard. The space will be used to note which beer is on each of the 4 taps.

Chalkboard painted surface surrounded by 1X4 cedar boards. Should be more than adequate space.

The interior of the bottom portion will easily hold 4 Cornelius kegs as well as one or two commercial style 5 or 7.5 gallon kegs along with the Cornelius kegs. One concern is tap handle clearance for opening the freezer where frosty mugs will be located. I measured concern and maybe twice…… I decided to run a horizontal center line on the third 1X4 below the freezer.

The lucky mistake…..I sat down, drew the lines and drill hole locations and drilled the fourth board down, not the third. Crap! If I had drilled the third board down I would have intersected a molded obstruction not allowing me to properly secure the taps!
That molded strip would have caused an epic fail! It was a very lucky accident.
Four Cornelius kegs easily fir with plenty of clearance. Now…. to brew and keg!

First up was the aforementioned New England Style IPA. Lots of hops, very little up front for bittering, a good dose at flame out, another good dose steeped after the boil and three rounds of dry hopping. I have learned the this dry hopping schedule give the beer it’s haze and the citrusy hops provide the “juicy” part of the flavor profile.

Scientifically speaking, “haze is a combination of polyphenol and protein molecules that associate via hydrogen bonding and become visible,” explains John Palmer, author of How to Brew. Suspended yeast, which is different than protein-polyphenol haze, also causes cloudiness. There are some banter back and forth on this style, but to me it comes down to you and your preferences. Me, I can drink almost any and every style…….except for Sours……not for me!

First pour off the kegerator, the Hazy Juicy IPA……..not the Shiner version…..I just happened to score the tap handle, actually a box of various ones, from my Denver based daughter. (Repeat of top photo)
A toast to Texas and a hazy IPA.

In the fermenter now is a West Coast style IPA. “West Coast IPAWest Coast IPAs are known for the huge hop aroma bursting with notes of citrus and tropical fruits. Their malt character is understated, and they finish dry to let the layered hop flavors and aromas take center stage.” By JOHN VERIVE, Los Angeles Times, February 22, 2014.

This brew will be heavily dry hopped and should mirror the description from the Times article. Chinook for bittering, then good doses of Citra, Simcoe and Amarillo hops for very late addition, steeping and dry hopping. Should be kegging it in about 12 days!

Drink Local and Drink Responisbly

Bishop

Ich braue wieder Bier für meine Frau

I am brewing beer for my wife again. The time has come and the last two bottles of the Wit Bier that I brewed for her are chilled and begging to be consumed. It is an all grain recipe with one key difference from a standard Wit Bier, she doesn’t like the flavor of the coriander seeds in most Wit Biers. The flavorings are just confined to the zests of grapefruit, lemon and an orange. Potential variations suggested for a future match will be to use the zest of 6 blood oranges. They are a seasonal thing…..usually early winter into spring.

I have the 5.5 gallon batch in the primary fermenter and it is bubbling away nicely. It was brewed a couple of days ago in conjunction with extracting 65 pounds of honey…..yep, honey. Once the honey was in the bucket the prep work started for the beer….clean the equipment and have everything laid out and ready.

Actively bubbling away and smells delicious.

Today, I am taking the grains and making a spent grain loaf of sourdough bread. I will freeze a bunch and take the remaining grains over to my apiary location where the property owner has chickens. When they see me coming they come running to greet me.

I have 5 apiary locations all within about 20 miles of each and the variation in color and flavor is significant. One location has a darker color and according to my wife, a sweeter flavor. In the planning process is a honey blonde ale……the question is, which honey to use???

This is a 3 bottle representation of the variation in color, less obvious is the flavor differences. I call it “hyper local” because I bottle by the zip code of the apiary location.

While writing this post my ADHD kicked in and I had to check out honey blonde ale recipes. The honey is a fermentable sugar and actually ferments out without leaving honey notes. Using honey in the wort would also drive off the aroma of the honey……that said, I found a recipe where the honey is added after primary fermentation has slowed. The brewers follow up notes on tasting the beer were pretty positive, not much in the way of honey aroma in the beer but it did come through while drinking the beer. The brewer also suggested some hopping variations……it is now on my list. I will keep y’all posted on the progress.

Honey Blonde Ale Tasting

I have started a dialog with the owner of my brewing supply store. Heis the guy who convinced me to make a “bochet” with a 6 pound jar of honey that I warmed up a bit too much. Fortunately it caramelized rather than scorched. From 1393 – an archaic and delightful description of my intended effort.

“BOUCHET. To make six sesters of bouchet, take six pints of fine sweet honey, and put it in a cauldron on the fire and boil it, and stir continually until it starts to grow, and you see that it is producing bubbles like small globules which burst, and as they burst emit a little smoke which is sort of dark: and then stir, and then add seven sixths of water and boil until it reduces to six sixths again, and keep stirring. And then put it in a tub to cool until it is just warm; and then strain it through a cloth bag, and then put it in a cask and add one chopine (half-litre) of beer-yeast, for it is this which makes it the most piquant, (and if you use bread yeast, however much you like the taste, the colour will be insipid), and cover it well and warmly to work. And if you want to make it very good, add an ounce of ginger, long pepper, grains of Paradise and cloves in equal amounts, except for the cloves of which there should be less, and put them in a cloth bag and throw in. And after two or three days, if the bouchet smells spicy enough and is strong enough, take out the spice-bag and squeeze it and put it in the next barrel you make. And thus you will be able to use these same spices three or four times.” -Le Menagier de Paris, France, 1393”

First taste report gave it rave reviews. Complex, hint of spice and caramelization!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Beer and Spent Grain Sourdough Bread

Sunday afternoon and I am enjoying a warm slice of bread made with the spent grains from the SMaSH IPA, I brewed during a nice thunderstorm late Friday afternoon. The beer is destined to be good! Why? The grains were in the mash tun and there was a big flash and a powerful boom from very nearby lightning. Almost immediately AC/DC came up on my playlist…………and yes, it was Thunderstruck! A very good omen.

The recipe for this beer is well known to me, I have it three prior times. Simple all grain recipe, 12 pounds of Marris Otter malt and 6 ounces of Mosaic hops. One ounce at the start of the 60 minute boil, 1.5 ounces at 10 minutes and another 1.5 ounces at flame out. Two ounces are reserved for dry hopping. WLP 1051 yeast and it is off and running. I ran it through Beer Smith and used a single infusion with two step sparge I also hate to throw spent grains away so all 12 pounds will be used. I have composted them in the past but I think they have more value.

I hauled a gallon bucket of spent grains over to one of my nearby apiaries that has chickens on the property……the chickens seem to recognize me or maybe it’s the gallon bucket full of grains, regardless, they come running for the sweet treat. I bagged 4 bundles of grain, again about a gallon each and placed them in the freezer…….future treats for the chickens. I kept about 2 quarts to partially dry and make ready for use in bread making.

I have been diligently making sourdough during our social distancing exercise and I am getting pretty good at it. Yes, I am patting myself on the back. I searched the web for a simple and straightforward sourdough recipe utilizing the spent grains………. I’m a simple guy and I got lucky – finding a simple recipe within my skill set! See below.

Sourdough & Spent Grain Bread – based on a recipe from this site….pretty much followed it but just a few tweaks. https://noteatingoutinny.com/2010/04/13/sourdough-spent-grain-rye-bread/

1 cup sourdough starter
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour – I used 3 and it was just enough.
1 cup spent grain, still a bit wet
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 – 2 cups water – varies depending on how wet the spent grains are.

Combine the starter, 3 cups of the flour and enough water to allow the dough to just come together, in shaggy strands(I didn’t know what that meant so I googled for images). Knead about 5-6 minutes( I used dough hook) and let rest in a bowl, covered with a towel. Keep in a warm place and let sit for 1 hour. Fold in the mash with your hands and dust on the remaining flour as you combine it to help keep dough from being too sticky( I used my stand mixer and a dough hook). Form dough into a long, oblong loaf (or put it in a prepared loaf pan, I had a 5X9 loaf pan, sprayed a little Pam on the sides and coated the top of the dough with flour. I did a couple rounds of stretch and fold like do with my regular sourdough prior to the final rise. Let sit in a warm place covered with a towel for an 1 hour or so. Score deeply before placing the oven.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. I used a big pizza stone that was also preheated. Bake for about 20 minutes, monitor, I used a thermometer to chick internal temperature. It took an additional 10 minutes to reach 200 F. Remove and let cool on a rack for 10 minutes before eating. My wife didn’t want to wait…… I held my ground and gave her the first warm slice with butter. She forgave me!

During one of the several stretch and folds.
Doesn’t that look good?
Very nice crust, very nice crumb ….. wife loved the crust and the nice soft texture inside.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop