My First All Grain Batch of Beer

I finally bit the bullet and invested the time to brew an all grain beer. What does all grain mean? The link below will provide a good description but the short answer is best explained by tracking my brewing progression.
I, or I should say we, John, Pat and I pooled our brewing equipment and formed our Laverton Avenue Brewing group. Laverton Avenue was our neighborhood street in the early 90’s in Bakersfield, CA. We started off using kits. We bought the extract, a thick syrup of malted grains, yeast, bottling sugar and hops. Kits can make great beers and we made some good ones and some that were OK.

I then began brewing solo as I migrated to Texas. I expanded into doing partial mash, that is, using specialty grains add complexity, new flavors, color and more body to the beers. I also began to “keg” as well as bottle my beers. I use Tap-a-Draft 6 Liter mini kegs. I have made some really good beers this way.
Today was step 3…..all grain, no sticky extract syrups, just all grain that needed conversion through a mashing and sparging process, converting the starches to fermentable sugars. The variations can be mind boggling and quite complex. I stayed simple and lots of craft breweries use a single infusion process for their beers.
I used 8 lbs. of pale two row malt, 1 lbs. of Naked Golden Oats and a pound of local honey. The beer, it will be called “Naked Honey Blonde Ale”…… just to be a little racy. I have almost exactly 5 gallons fermenting as I write. Cascade hops for both bittering and aroma. I plugged everything into a great software program for brewers….BeerSmith. It is almost idiot proof. Based on the ingredients you plug in BeerSmith , it makes all of the calculations.
Just a side note….the program calculated an original gravity of 1.046 and I came in at 1.041. Way cool! It estimated the SRM color as 3.2 – Check out the photo below….very Blonde!!!!
It added about an extra two hours to my brew day but I think it will be very worth it! Just have to wait about 6 weeks from today….
http://www.brewplus.com/making-beer/beer-homebrewing-extract-brew-vs-all-grain-brew/

PS: I plan on mopping the kitchen floor tomorrow!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

My Golden Wheat Red IPA to help the lengthy brewing process.

My Golden Wheat Red IPA to help with the lengthy brewing process.

 

Looks like SRM 3.2  to me...Naked Honey Blonde!

Looks like SRM 3.2 to me…Naked Honey Blonde!

 

 

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To Your Health

I subscribe to a weekly online post called the “Weekly Pint”. Always informative and usually entertaining. Last January an article caught my eye – drinking a hoppy beer like my preferred style, IPA, may reduce the chances of catching a cold. I love it when I can tout the health benefits of drinking beer….. The winter cold season is approaching so…..What do we need to do? Read on and find out.

I dove in to the article, as I read further I realized that I needed to temper my enthusiasm! The promising research showed that ingesting large amounts of humulone, a key ingredient in hops, the best part of my preferred beer style – see above in case you forgot that I love IPA’s of all kinds, yes some more than others – nonetheless they are all good, can actually be good for your health (a lengthy run on sentence). So how many IPA’s would I need to pound down to fend off Respiratory Syncyital virus? Just 30 beers at one sitting would provide enough protection to ward off the virus. Dang it….that would definitely max out my daily intake limits by – hmmmm somewhere in the neighborhood  of 10 times. Let’s hope that the researchers mentioned in the article will find more benefits of hops – in a more practical dosage!

http://link.weeklypint.com/view/5032e2fddc87ac0b4f0b2ce5tn1c.2e1/a70bbd88

“Humulone

512px-(S)-Humulone_svg

Humulone and its “cousins” adhumulone, cohumulone, prehumulone, and posthumulone are α-acids found in the resin of hops (Humulus lupulus). They are precursors to iso-α-acids, the predominant contributors to bitterness in beer. H. Bungener isolated humulone from commercial hops in 1886, but it wasn’t until 1970 that D. DeKeukeleire and M. Verzele determined its absolute configuration.” Facts from Wikipedia – a most trusted source!

Now you know……. probably mare than you wanted to know! As a bar trick you could use the information above to draw the molecule on a bar napkin and impress all of your friends!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

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

 

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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