Honey, I Started the Honey Blonde

I have been in trouble since the moment I began sharing my wife’s Honey Blonde Ale, close to a year now! Really not hers but, I made it using some of the dark honey we harvested last year. She liked the honey so well that she took 6 pounds of the dark amber sweetness and hid it from the sales batches. I have been given very direct instructions for this batch……I am not allowed to give any of this beer away! I need to have my daughter Lisa share in some of the blame. She took a 6 pack to one of her trail races and addicted a couple of her friends. They were rewarded a couple of times.

This beer is an all grain brew, currently in the primary fermenter and probably ready to rack over to the secondary. The brew process,  a 90 minute boil, went very smooth. The starting gravity came out dead on to the expected number. The sample pulled for the gravity test, tasted pretty damned awesome.

Recipe;

Honey Blonde-p1

Details from the Beersmith Software. Whenever I read to sparge volumes I think – That can’t be right….to much water. At he end of the 90 minute boil it was a nearly perfect 5 gallons.

I will Bottle in another 7 days and should make my wife happy by mid August. Let me take that back, I always make her happy, she will be “happier” when this beer is ready  and happiest if I don’t share any……she can make that choice!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly,

Bishop

PS: My son Joe sent a text message as I was writing this post from Ranger  Creek Brewery and Distillery, San Antonio TX. Another one to add to my list.

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Inspiration before Perspiration

Sitting on the patio enjoying an almost perfect Houston evening. It is about 74 degrees F or 23 degrees C for the rest of the world, a cold home brew in my hand and chicken on the grill.

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A small glass of my Honey Blonde Ale. My wife confronted me and asked if I was drinking “her beer”. I  had to admit, “Yes dear, I am”. Chill out Hun – it was only 8 ounces! Insert smiley happy face here! I was using a brewery sample glass from Real Ale Brewing Co., Blanco, Texas. Sure was good!

The chicken is smelling very good. @ $ 1.27 per pound!!!!   whole roasting chicken cut in half. Season with Lowry’s and garlic. Yum!

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That describes the inspiration for my next brew, a Session IPA! Target ABV will be 4.6% or so. Hops, this is where I will get my thrills, 7 ounces of Mosaic Hops. Three of the seven will be used to dry hop the beer as it sits in the secondary fermenter. Six and half pounds of domestic two row malt, one pound of Munich malt, one pound of domestic wheat malt and a half pound of 40L crystal malt.

Mashing and hopping schedule will be run through Beersmith and reported out on brew day, possibly tomorrow or the next day. (Wednesday doesn’t look good so it will be Thursday February 18th.)

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly
Bishop

Celebrating with Ashleigh

Yesterday my daughter Ashleigh turned 31! Well, I did the grilling for the event and, as most of the guests, we enjoyed some good beers. My Honey Blonde Ale homebrew was well received in addition to other craft beer offerings. 

For this special night I broke out a bottle of an Imperial Stout from Marble Brewery in Albuquerque,  New Mexico. What a great beer to help Ashleigh celebrate her 31st! Love you Ashleigh! Black as night, great head and very warming. 

  
We finished the evening sipping on my homemade Limoncello. I think that was a bit over the top for both of us! Very sweet, lemony and a hint of “Everclear” used for the base. It warms all the way down! 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

First Taste – Honey Blonde Ale

My wife’s comment pretty well sums it up! “I can drink that,” she says with a smile and a nod of her head.

I am a little more critical and would like to see a little more carbonation…It  has been about two weeks or so since I bottled it. I will give them all a little shake to stir up the yeast to wake them up and then sample again in a week. Flavor is very nice….not tickling my hop loving palate but it was designed to please the love  of my life – her nose goes up and wrinkles when one of those “hop bombs” that I love comes anywhere near her nose. The color….definitely honey as you can  see from the photo below. There is a bit of honey taste and aroma….I used my dark and robust honey in the recipe…it does  come through.

Nice beer....look close and you can see some bubbles rising and this blog post in progress on the lap top in the background.

Nice beer….look close and you can see some bubbles rising and this blog post in progress on the lap top in the background.

Choices…… the freezer is now available for use as a fermenting chamber….. I had a hive super that the bees had cleaned for me residing at 10 degrees F for a few days….kills any wax moth eggs that may be lurking and wanting to do their damage. The super is out, wrapped and ready for service next spring!

A mead is one choice…. small problem…..I need a bunch of honey, like 15 pounds. I am really not so much interested in the mead as I am in producing  some honey wine vinegar.  It may take almost 9 months to finish the vinegar ….. maybe a little longer to let it age. It might be ready for my “Farmer’s Market” table when I sell my honey next summer…….That is another story you can find on;

http://bishopsbackyardfarm.com/

Maybe a tandem effort….a mead and an Imperial IPA…..yeah that sounds good!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Honey Blonde Ale – One Step Closer

I racked the Honey Blonde from the primary to the secondary fermenter this morning. I was a few days tardy but it should not hurt the final product. I hope to bottle over the weekend and sit back and enjoy a cold one on or around October 17/18. 

The hydrometer reading indicates that fermentation is complete so I will let the beer clear up in the glass carboy secondary for a few days, chill, then bottle. ABV calculates at 5.64%. Not an all day session beer but very nice. I drank the sample I pulled – can’t let it go to waste! 

Color is nice – like a light honey color…. Go figure. Yes, a bit of sweetness in the flavor and a pleasant after taste. 

  From left to right, my honey in a squeeze bear, a bit of the extra sample I pulled and the hydrometer sample back right. The honey color is definitely evident.  The beer should clear up nicely in the next few days….. I will keep all y’all updated. 
Drink Local and Drink Responsibly 

Bishop

The Girl Can Brew !

The girl code named, “Madison the Mad Brewer”, also makes hand crushed, foot stomped wine….trust me, I saw the grape stained fingers in person and photos of her grape stained feet. She is an energetic young lady with what appears to be boundless energy and curiosity. The purpose of my visit with her last week was to provide a mini-lesson on the use of vintage, manual 35mm cameras. Many old cameras from that era required mercury batteries that are now longer available. The replacement batteries and the electronics of the old camera leave many users without a through the lens means to meter accurately. Madison has a hand held meter that she, like me, found the user literature to be less than clear.  We decided to make it a learning opportunity.

We loaded up an old Asahi Pentax Spotmatic 35 mm camera, with a dead meter, with Kodak Tri-Xand headed to the back yard. We used the hand held meter to understand measuring incident and reflected light, depth of field, metering for contrast and other thoughts. She is a very curious photographer and a quick student! We also discussed night and star shots that led to a discussion on the “B” bulb setting on the shutter speed dial. She is a quick student and I think I/we will see more creative efforts from her soon.

Let’s Talk Beer

In February she promised me one of her brown ales, “Squatch Drool”. As I type, and watch Atlanta kick the crud of of the Houston Texans, I am seeking solace in her offering. As I was about to leave after the camera lesson she remembered the promise and handed me the last bottle from the December 2014 batch. Yes, the girl can brew! You can honestly see it in her eyes! I suppose Squatch drool was modeled after Moose Drool by Big Shy Brewing Company, Missoula Montana. I give her interpretation high marks and it drinks “cleaner” on my palate than Moose Drool.

The eyes of a mad brewer, a fledgling vintner and a Mt. Whitney summiteer! I have heard rumors of fireworks daredevil but can't confirm!

The eyes of a mad brewer, a fledgling vintner and a Mt. Whitney summiteer! I have heard rumors of fireworks daredevil but can’t confirm!

Squatch Drool....Very, very good Brown Ale!

Squatch Drool….Very, very good Brown Ale!

Brew Date and Beer Description - Ages well!

Brew Date and Beer Description – Ages well!

Nice - pours a good head and a bit of lace....very satisfying. Thanks Madison!

Nice – pours a good head and a bit of lace….very satisfying. Thanks Madison!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Passing Through Paso

I took a drive yesterday from Bakersfield, California over to the small town of Los Osos, California to visit my mom. The trip took me through Paso Robles and dang it, right by two of my favorite breweries! Firestone Walker is well known all across the national craft brewing world but I chose to bypass it and run by my other favorite, Barrelhouse Brewing Company.  

I waved as I drove by and promised to stop when I have more time…. Next trip. 

  
Beautiful day and the grounds are just a great place to kick back and enjoy their great beers. The old flatbed is used on the weekends as a stage for live music. I have enjoyed a beer with a band playing on a previous weekend visit but today’ mid-week was quiet with just a hint of Highway 101 traffic in the distance. Fittingly masked by the sounds of the waterfall and pond on the grounds. 

  
I wonder if I could put up a tent and camp out? I behaved myself and limited my intake to just two beers, the Templeton Session Ale and the Barrel House Blonde. The session ale was very nice and almost as good my home brewed session ale. The Blonde is one my wife has enjoyed and I drank it thinking oh her……I really did Hun! 

Next time you pass through Paso, stop by Barrelhouse Brewing Company!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop