Dry Hopping Dilemma

I should not read any more! If you have been following along I am brewing an “inspiration” IPA based on my mistaken read of the chalkboard at the Lengthwise Brewery Pub out in the Marketplace, Bakersfield, California. The ale is designed to be a “Golden Wheat Red IPA” based o the combined three individual local beers on tap. I failed to report that the bartender had poured a mixed blend for some customers who gave the blend high marks. I just decided to try and brew that blend. Post with recipe located here;

http://wp.me/p1qlvz-ec

So here is my dilemma. I transferred the beer into the secondary carboy with 1 ounce of Amarillo hop pellets sitting on the bottom. Once the beer was transferred, I gave the carboy a nice swirl to get the pellets to settle. I then carried it out to my temperature controlled chest freezer. I now need to decide on a temperature scheme/schedule during the dry hopping phase. From my exploration of the web I find too many choices, schemes, schedules and opinions!

  • Two days at room temperature and then crash to 35 degrees for up to two weeks.
  • Five to seven days at low room temperatures then rack off and package.
  • Five to seven days at room temperature and then crash to 35 degrees for 2 days prior to packaging.
  • And too many variations to list!!!

My choice – the logic I like is; hold the beer at a temperature that will allow the aromatic oils in the Amarillo hops to best express their amazing aroma.  So, five days at 65-67 degrees then crash to 35 degrees for a couple of days to aid in clarifying the beer before I bottle. I am convinced that the beer will be very good!

While racking the beer into the secondary I noted that the fermentation was vigorous – the Krausen was thick and reached the lid of the primary. I guess that I was lucky that it didn’t lift the lid or fill the airlock. Note to self: consider a blow-off tube next time for the early yeast activity!

Transfer from primary fermenter to the secondary and hop pellets floating on top.

Transfer from primary fermenter to the secondary and hop pellets floating on top.

Hop pellets floating on top of the beer - kinda look like the rabbit pellets we fed them!

Hop pellets floating on top of the beer – kinda look like the rabbit pellets we fed them!

 

Evidence of the Krausen on the sides... gotta be a good beer.

Evidence of the Krausen on the sides… gotta be a good beer.

I bet some of you are thinking, is he going to drink that? Yes I am!

Drink Responsibly and Drink Local

Bishop

 

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Brewing Inspiration

Last night I picked up some inspiration for a new batch of beer. I am in Bakersfield working this week. At dinner last night my workmate ordered Pumpkinhead Ale from Shipyard Brewing Co., Portland Maine. Although I didn’t drink it I did enjoy the aroma- wow! Instant inspiration. It seems a little late in the year to brew a pumpkin ale but I have a plan!

Others in our dinner party drank the 805 from Firestone Walker – Paso Robles CA brewery. Great easy drinking beer.

Last fall my wife decorated the house with several “Cinderella” pumpkins. They really are, Rouge Vif d’Estampes. variety. Great for decorating and excellent for cooking/eating and very difficult to carve. They store very well. Last December I cut up and roasted one such pumpkin. I had enough puréed pumpkin for multiple loaves of pumpkin bread and a batch of pumpkin ale! The puréed pumpkin also freezes well. The beer aged nicely and at 10 months the last few bottles were excellent!

I am inspired to repeat the effort. I took good notes, bought supplies from our local store so the follow-up effort should not be a problem. Brewing day will be post Thanksgiving but I promise to capture the effort!

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Rouge Vif d’Estampes – makes a great pumpkin ale! Give it a try!

Drink local and drink responsibly
Bishop

Lengthwise – More & More!

It has been a while since I last visited. Lengthwise is broadening their offerings and I am pleased with the efforts! I am an IPA fan and they have a Zeus Imperial IPA that looks awesome! Zeus hops in the boil and dry hopped with Citra. Sounds incredible! If you understand what I have just written you noticed that I did not quaff the beverage! I will have to return somewhere down the road!

If in Bakersfield try out their offerings, you won’t be disappointed!

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I have sampled the Double Centennial on previous visits. It is one of my absolute favorites!

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Mesmerized or Mesmerised

I think they both mean the same thing – it just depends on which English is spoken! I honestly feel that I am right but I am willing concede a bit…..the meanings are the same so lets proceed!

Saturday was a rainy day early on but did settle down by the time my daughter’s Birthday gathering got underway – I had the duty of preparing the carnivorous treats for the evening. When turning meat into yummy and satisfying treats I usually keep a cold beer nearby so I can pull in a nice long sip as I contemplate what I need to do next.

I am on the patio, the smoker is heated up. The water pan is well filled with my favorite form of water. It is “water” that has been boiled with the heavenly flavors of malt and hops. Yes, it is beer, my favorite form of “water”. I used a couple of bottles of my Imperial Stout and a bottle of a homebrewed session ale (4.8% ABV). I also added about 5 tablespoons of crushed garlic to the mix.

Three chickens were cut in half lengthwise, covered in John Henry’s East Texas Pecan rub! Smoke was provided by pecan wood brought home from the Ciliske’s ranch. The hard work was having the patience to let the slow cooking and smoke do its magic.  My penchant for peeking too often loses too much heat.  So, I sat back became mesmerized or mesmerized watching the bubbles break out of solution in my pint glass of homebrewed Father’s Day Ale! Earth to Bishop, Earth to Bishop! What, what – oh yes let me continue. The Father’s Day Ale seems to have become more mature & mellow as it sat in my little 6L Tap-a-Draft kegs. Time to brew some more.

I had to be careful with the mesmerizing or mesmirising image of the bubbles in the beer lest I fall into a hypnotic trance and forget to quaff – not cough….quaff! Thankfully I held up nicely, the chickens were amazing and the evening was a success! Could it have been my talent, or simply my choice of ingredients? It didn’t really matter, I received the kudos with humility and a knowing smile.

I reluctantly went into my stash and pulled out a few 22 ounce bottles of my Pumpkin Ale….about 8 months old and very nice! I am now down to 2/3 of the 6L keg of the Father’s Day Ale, 5 bottles of the session ale and about 20 bottles of the Imperial Stout. The stout is also very nice but another few months will allow it to mature and mellow toward perfection.

Caution – when watching the attached clip, remember to breath and look away regularly or risk mesmerization! Hopefully 12 seconds is not enough to cause a problem.

Just the Basics

Basic Texas dinner with a California twist. The Texas component was beef, beer, green beans, mashed taters, a local beer and salsa. The California component was the cut of beef. Tri-tip is a cut that is found all over California after originating along the Central California coast over 40 years ago. It is tough to find in Texas!

I went into our local HEB supermarket yesterday not intending to buy the tri-tip. I was looking for ground sirloin and chickens for my daughter’s birthday BBQ on Saturday. I found the chickens but no ground sirloin. I spotted two tri-tips on the top shelf and snatched them both up. Tri-tip makes great leftovers, sliced up in a salad, wrapped in a tortilla or just plain old finger food! I was drooling!

Saturday will be my famous burgers and smoked chicken along with a gut busting variety of dips, queso and who knows what that my wife has found on Pinterest! I am in charge of the meat and beer, both of which I claim a tremendous depth of knowledge and abundant experience!

The local beer, a Karbach summer seasonal that slid down way too easy. On Saturday a select few that know the secret handshake and password may be treated to some of my he brew.

My basic plate.

Drink local and Drink Responsibly,
Bishop

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Grand Junction, CO – Two for One Post

What a nice change of environment, three plus days out of the Houston heat and humidity. The only drawback – I wasn’t able to share this trip with my wife. I know sooner or later  the benefits of a mostly empty nest will be evident. What does mostly empty mean? Our oldest son has finished all of his on campus requirements for graduation from LSU’s Construction Management Program – one remaining class that can be completed via distance learning. It is cheaper to have him in Houston with us until all of the boxes for graduation are checked off and the job search begins.

The second night of the stay my workmate and I visited the Rockslide Brewery & Restaurant. Side note; the state of Texas has taken a giant step forward with recent legislation easing some of the restrictive regulations for small brewers and brew pubs but still lags far behind Colorado, California and others. The next night we drove about 15 minutes out of town to the little village of Palisade. The drive took us through some of the vineyards and orchards that cover the Colorado River Valley in this more temperate part of Colorado. There is a mall brewery in Palisade, Palisade Brewing Company.

Let’s talk about Rockslide Brewery and Restaurant. Located on Main St. in the old downtown section of town that has been nicely remade. The road has been shrunk to two lanes that meander around small plaza like areas sprinkled with benches and pleasant landscaping. It definitely slows traffic but adds a nice quaint old town feel. The restaurant is bright, clean and was hosting a party celebration of some sort in the back half of the upstairs seating area. The waiter had decent knowledge of the beer offerings and I have to admit, the food menu was broad enough to satisfy most visitors. My travel mate tried the Widow Maker Wheat – “pleasant and easy to drink” were his comments. Me, I went with the four beer flight, Rabbit Ears Amber, Cold Shivers Pale Ale. Kokopelli Cream Ale and the Horse Thief IPA. They were all very good beers, the IPA was my favorite but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  The food fare – my work mate had the fish and chips with a twist. The twist was  – the fish was battered salmon rather than cod. He said it was surprisingly good. I had the steak salad, medium rare and it was perfect with their house Balsamic dressing.

http://www.rockslidebrewpub.com/

Rockslide flight of beers

Rockslide flight of beers

Rockslide Beer list.

Rockslide Beer list.

Palisade, small village as I mentioned before, and the journey to the brewery is only for those that know where they are going, have been there before or you are paying close attention the GPS. We had a driver, one of the client reps that attended the training session, who also happens to like good beers. He was a bit tentative but eventually we turned down the right street and pulled up at the brewery adjacent to the railroad tracks. We had the good fortune of live music out on the patio on a perfect evening for  dining and sipping al fresco. The seating was ample but all three of us noticed an odd split in the seating designations. At least 75% of the seating is designated for SMOKING! That is right, only 25% labeled for the non-smokers. If it hadn’t been for the three of us occupying 3 of the 20 plus seats on the no-smoking side it would have been empty. The smoking side was packed! Another observation, I felt like I had been transported back to the 60”s. The crowd was very reminiscent of SFO’s Haight Ashbury in the heyday of the 60’s hippy movement. I wonder if the 2012 ballot initiative that passed in Colorado had any influence on the seating arrangement and attendees.  More about being transported back in time later in this post.

Food was typical pub food with lots of Jalapenos available for every dish if you so desired. James, my workmate, had a huge appetizer portion of Nachos with the Blonde Ale offering. Our client driver, Rob, hmmmm, I forget what he ate but we both ordered a flight of beers, 6 beers served in 4 ounce Mason jelly jars. High marks to the brewery. Not a bad or even average beer in the bunch. I gave high marks to all 6 beers sampled.  Rob enjoyed the High Desert Red, James the Laid Back Blonde Ale  and me, the IPA, so well in fact, that I followed up with a pint of that nice IPA……Rob was driving! The “Off Belay IPA” was really, really good in my estimation……that is why I sampled it twice in order to confirm my first impression.

http://www.palisadebrewingcompany.com/

Palisade Brewery flight of beers in jelly jars

Palisade Brewery flight of beers in jelly jars

Uber healthy brisket, cheddar and Jalapeno sandwich. I paired it with a cucumber salad to solidify the healthy aspect!

Uber healthy brisket, cheddar and Jalapeno sandwich. I paired it with a cucumber salad to solidify the healthy aspect!

Dirty Hippy T-shirt from Palisade Brewery

Dirty Hippy T-shirt from Palisade Brewery

Upon return to the hotel I realized why it felt like I had been transported back to the 60’s. Parked out front was Emmett “Doc” Brown’s “Back to the Future” 1981 DeLorean, flux capacitor and all! I peaked inside and sure enough the dials were set to 1969! Not really, I am stretching the truth a little. Look at the photos and I think that you will agree that it is a remarkable replica of the movie vehicle. Why was the car there? I’ll tell you.  http://www.fireballrun.com/teams/182

Doc’s car and a companion car, a fairly stock DeLorean, are participating in the Longmont, Colorado to Riverside, California Fireball Run. The Fireball Run is a 2000 mile long scavenger hunt designed to create awareness for missing children and obviously raise funds. Check out the info online and the Facebook page to read about the successes they have had finding missing children. I made my donation to Doc and Team # 15. It is “small world after all”. Team #15 is driven by Paul “Doc” Nigh, a 4th year participant and from my home town of Bakersfield, California. He is a bit younger having graduated from North High in 1974 but sure enough, we had a few mutual acquaintances!

https://www.facebook.com/fireballrun

Look close - set to 1969 - Not

Look close – set to 1969 – Not really but could have been!

BTF car

BTF car and sister DeLorean in the background

Oh by the way, if your beverage of choice is wine, the area is dotted with small wineries with growing reputations. If you are on Interstate 70, make the decision to slow down and visit Grand Junction, Palisade and Fruita!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

The 50 Best Beers and the 25 Best Brewers –

In my recent copy of Zymurgy’ there was an article touting the 50 best beers in America as voted by members of the American Homebrewer’s Association. My first thought when I saw the tag line on the cover was……..”How many have I sampled?”….So, how did I do? Lets go down in rank order. I have enjoyed at least one of the following beers.

  • 1. Pliny the Elder by Russian River….hard to find but oh so worth the effort
  • 3. Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA
  • 7. Arrogant Bastard Ale
  • 8. Sierra Nevada Ruthless Rye IPA
  • T9. Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale
  • T9. Stone Ruination
  • T12. Sierra Nevada Torpedo Extra
  • 15. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale
  • T17. Firestone Walker Double Jack
  • 20. Firestone Walker Wookey Jack
  • T21. Bear Republic Racer 5
  • T27. Deschutes Black Butte Porter
  • T27. Green Flash West Coast IPA
  • 30. Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA
  • 36. Lagunitas IPA
  • 37. Stone IPA
  • 38. Odell IPA
  • T42. Russian River Blind Pig IPA
  • 45. Firestone Walker Parabola
  • T48. Green Flash Palate Wrecker
  • T48. Lagunitas Brown Shugga’

I will add my 2 cents – The Firestone Walker Parabola is the most amazing beer I have ever sampled, a barrel aged Imperial Stout…it has very limited distribution and limited production. I am certain that it would have garnered far more votes if sampled by more folks…. My wife surprised me last week with a bottle of the 2011 Parabola found in a specialty beer and wine shop in Bakersfield California – Imbibe is the store name. It will be a special occasion in the future when I crack the top! I grabbed the last available bottle of the 2011 and took a 2013 to mature in my Houston beer cellar ( converted freezer currently set ay 54 degrees F)

I have under my belt – literally and figuratively, 21 of the top 50 beers voted on by members of the American Homebrewer’s Association and published in the July/August 2013 issue of Zymurgy.

They also asked members to rank the Commercial Craft Breweries across the US…..I am either a lush or ???? I have sampled the offerings of many of these breweries. By member’s vote listed below are those in my experience base;

  • 1. Stone Brewing Company
  • 2. Russian River Brewing Company
  • 3. Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
  • 4. Dogfish Head Brewery
  • 6. Firestone Walker Brewing Company
  • 8. Lagunitas Brewing Company
  • 9. New Belgium Brewing Company
  • 10. Deschutes Brewery
  • 11 Odell Brewing Company
  • 15. Green Flash Brewing Company
  • 16. The Boston Beer Company
  • 17. Boulevard Brewing Company
  • 18. Goose Island Beer Company

I have 13 of the top 25….I need to do some beer swapping to complete my list! .This should be a doable challenge….

Three Superb Beers

Three Superb Beers

This trip has included several brewery visits – Island Brewing in Carpenteria, 3 times and another tonight with my granddaughter – yes she is of legal age to drink in California, the Santa Barbara Brewery, several visits to Lengthwise Brewery in Bakersfield and I hope to sample something at Anacapa Brewery in Ventura around lunch time. I was close to both San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles but there are only so many days available on this trip and heard the Sirens’ call from the breweries in these two towns. (dangerous and beautiful creatures these Sirens be)

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop