Brewing a SMaSH IPA

I’m in the backyard on a very pleasant day! Wearing short pants, T-shirt and the usual Crocs on my feet. The freezing weather is hopefully far behind us. Fingers crossed, I just planted sugar snap peas again – grrrr, freeze took care of my early planting, Blue Lake green beans and more beets. Yes, those comments belong in my garden blog but I couldn’t resist!

Started with 12 pounds of Marris Otter malt. It is a single infusion, batch sparged recipe with whole Mosaic hops and also dry hopped with 2 full ounces of the Mosaic hops! Fermented with White Labs WLP # WLP051 California Ale yeast. Yum! Tasters in about 30 days, just in time for my 67th Birthday.

Mash tun sitting full of grain waiting on the water to heat up. Looking to start with 15 qts of 164.8 degree F water. Now, sit back and wait!!!!! Just looked at the clock and Yee Haw, it is 12:10 PM. Beer time, a session IPA should go well with the wait!

One of my favorite session beers. The “Great Carnac” sees a clone of this beer on the horizon! Now an update on my Russian Imperial Stout.

It won’t be quite so Imperial nor stout, 7% or a little more ABV. The error is in my brewing technique! I won’t embarrass myself and give the details but it was something about my sparging that caused the problem. Taste is very good…..more like a Porter. I have added medium dark toasted oak spirals that had been soaked in bourbon for a bit of a more exotic flavor( intended for a Russian Imperial Stout). I will give it a few weeks and then bottle and age it for a few months.

My neighbors, Doug and Cindy, will be my taster’s panel. They love the Southern Star Brewery’s Buried Hatchet Stout! I also suspect they will be honest in their feedback.

Brewing process is on track. I will soon be boiling the wort and dropping in the hops and Irish Moss. Now, while the wort chills and before I pitch the yeast, I’ll make a bee run, feed and inspect my hives. A minor gardening chore along the way, at one of the apiary locations I help maintain a vegetable garden and I have some sugar snap peas and green beans that have been soaked and ready to plant! No, not in bourbon!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

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Russian Imperial Stout- Not as Planned

This is a beer I make every couple of years and typically bottle in 22 ounce bombers. It usually comes in near 11% ABV, and is aged on toasted bourbon soaked white oak. It is what I call a “one and done” beer. Shared on special occasions with several friends. This batch…..well, it will be a little short on the ABV!

I will follow through on the aging process but my OG, original gravity was lower than expected. I had planned on something in the 1.090 range and wound up at 1.078. I just transferred the beer into my secondary fermenter and will add the oak shortly. I will say that the sample pulled for the gravity is tasty so, all is not lost. It now calculates out around 7.5% ABV.

Siphoning out of the primary fermentation bucket into the glass carboy for a little aging. Dark and yummy looking and yes, the sample was purty darned good!

Next up is a SMaSH IPA. Marris Otter malt and Mosaic hops. I will keep all y’all posted from my Kingwood, TX home brewery.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

The Bakken Makes More Than Oil!

Stonehome Brewing Company in Watford City is cranking out some very good beers. After a late morning, early afternoon photo safari in the northern end of the Teddy Roosevelt National Park, I pulled into the Stonehome for a sampling.

A few of my new friends in North Dakota. I worked up a thirst stalking them for their family portrait.

Heartless is an easy drinking pale ale that even this IPA craving fool can enjoy. Kathy, lovely and sweet wife would really like this one.

Central Perk, that’s right – Perk – Another pale ale, a little higher ABV with a touch of cold pressed coffee. Nicely hopped but not IPA strength. I really did enjoy this one!

Latifrons, Down By The Beach – is an excellent pale ale, nicely hopped, aromatic and comes in at 35 IBU. Latifrons – an extinct predecessor of the modern day Bison that now roam the Teddy Roosevelt National Park.

en.wikipedia.com

Maah Daah Hey – Red Rye IPA – my favorite of the four I selected. IBU up in the 50 range and an ABV of 6.3%. Yum!

The Maah Daah Hey Trail is a 144-mile non-motorized single track trail that runs from USFS Burning Coal Vein Campground 30 miles south of Medora, to the USFS CCC campground 16 miles south of Watford City

Stonehome donates to the Maah Daah Hey trail group for every keg sold. I could definitely put away a keg of this…..not by myself, I would invite a few select friends!

Stonehome hasn’t been around long, established in 2016 by Watford City locals, they have an awesome brewery.

As Arnold said; I’ll be back!

http://www.stonehomebrewing.com

I gotta add something – I have a new favorite IPA! Made by Surly Brewing. Surly Wett, a wet hopped IPA using freshly harvested 2017 Mosaic hops. Absolutely stunning. It is a seasonal brew and once gone, it will only be a pleasant memory! I wonder what hop the Wett for 2018 will feature? I’m sure it will be good!

MALT

Malt: 2-Row, Acidulated, Carafoam

HOPS

Hops: Changes Annually (2017 – 100% Mosaic)

YEAST

Yeast: English Ale

OG

OG: 16.6º Plato

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

The 8th Wonder of the Modern World

For many folks, especially those raised in Texas, the Houston Astrodome held the title. It served as the home of the Houston Astros from 1965 until 1999, 34 years and no World Championship. We are celebrating today with a downtown parade, the requisite speeches and maybe a few more beers. The Astros played an incredible 7 game series, beating the Dodgers in LA 

So, to celebrate, I am hoisting my Honey Blonde Ale, in a pint glass from 8th Wonder Brewery, a fine local brewery, toasting the well deserved 2017 World Series Houston Astros. Hip, hip hooray! Hip, hip, hooray! 


Ahhhhhh – refreshing and so satisfying- like the long awaited and well deserved World Series Champion Houston Astros. 

FYI, in the works – a Russian Imperial Stout to be brewed without collusion, a session IPA and single malt-single hop ale. I PROMISE! 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

4th of July Blackberry Cobbler

I have a freezer still full of blackberries, a pantry full of blackberry preserves and wife that says, “No more Jam!” What’s a guy to do? Ok Hun, it is your birthday on the third of July, how about some blackberry cobbler and Blue Bell vanilla ice cream?

I will share a recipe that has had rave reviews every time I have made it and rave reviews from everyone that has made it themselves. The recipe is not original with me but I do give it proper credit…..it is just amazing and so simple to make!

MEME’S BLACKBERRY COBBLER

I added an extra cup of blackberries to this recipe from Virginia Willis’ Bon Appétit, Y’all: Recipes and Stories From Three Generations of Southern Cooking (Ten Speed Press, $32.50).

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
  • 5 cups blackberries, fresh or frozen – Hand picked from a friends property just north of Kingwood.
  • 1 cup sugar, plus more if desired for berries
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Vanilla ice cream, to serve

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place butter in a large iron skillet (I used a 12 inch cast iron skillet), place skillet in oven to melt butter.

Put blackberries in a large bowl. If they are frozen, let them soften a few minutes. Crush lightly with a potato masher. Sweeten with extra sugar if you like. ( I did!!!)

Whisk flour, baking powder, salt and 1 cup sugar in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine milk and vanilla. Gradually pour wet ingredients into dry while whisking.

Remove skillet from oven. Add melted butter to batter. Stir to combine. Pour batter into hot skillet. With a spatula, scrape the berries into the center. Bake cobbler till it is golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the cake (not the berries) emerges clean, about 1 hour.

Serve warm with ice cream — and prepare for a walk down memory lane.

Makes 6 to 8 servings.

DSC_5179

The start……this is what it should like on entry to the oven.

DSC_5181

This is what it should look like before scooping out into a bowl, just begging for a mound of Blue Bell vanilla ice cream.

My presentation is pretty Patriotic, the skillet is a red enamel, the cooked berries are beyond blue and the Blue Bell vanilla ice cream is as close to white as it can be. Have a great Fourth of July.

TTFN

Bishop

Three in One Day

Gotta love California for a thing or two or three. Yesterday my bride and I drove from Bakersfield to Santa Barbara. It is my birthday weekend and she is intent on spoiling me…..I am always pretty spoiled by her, but this is extra special. 

I loaded up my camera bag and lenses and let her drive the windy route through Maricopa and over the mountains into Ojai. The sky was ugly and hazy and the wild flowers have not yet hit stride. Dang! I could rubber neck and not incurr her wrath!!!! She prefers to drive the windy roads – it solves her motion sickness issues. 

Ojai – Ojai Valley Brewery was first up. Nice selection of beers and we also found a great “small plate”, Buffalo Fried Cauliflower. It will be added to our recipe box. 


Kathy enjoyed the White Pixie and the Ephemera was my favorite of those I sampled. Very slow lazy service for a Friday afternoon but we were not in a hurry, “chill out dude” and enjoy the chauffeured drive. 

Carpentaria – Rincon Brewery, substantial food and good beer. We dropped our bags off at the condo and grabbed a seat outdoors on the street to watch life drift by. I went with a sampler and the Tri-tip sandwich. Kathy had her go to Blonde ale and the Cobb Salad. Fun place, good food(I love the lamb burger slider- next time!) and quality beers. 


We then wandered down the street to Brew lab….it is a small place, they brew in small batches and never repeat! I sent them some money last year for their crowd funded expansion. They fell short but I still got a shirt and a free beer. Last night a talented young musician entertained the crowd. Interesting art work on the walls and I nice crowd. 


I had the Yellow Belly Ale and Kathy was in the role of designated driver, thank you Hun! 

Where shall I drink beer today? Such hard choices and so many options…..gotta love being and old guy, semi-retired and my “Goo” friend John back home feeding my bees…..thank you John! 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop