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

Avery Clone, Unfortunately Passed Away Far Too Soon

My post from October 29th was all about the making of my Avery Clone IPA and I had promised a timely update…….well, I failed, but not completely. The untimely demise of the beer was not unexpected. It was sadly, one of the best beers of this type I have ever brewed. The final kegging was just a bit shy of 5 gallons which should have been satisfactory.

After kegging and slowly carbonating the beer it was time to pull the first cold glass of IPA heavenly essence. I pulled the first glass and, although cloudy as it had picked up a bit of settled sediment off the bottom, I knew by the aroma that it was going to be excellent. I had to invite my good friend John over to help with first impressions. Well first impressions lead to some serious sampling and we put a dent into that 5 gallons of heavenly essence.

Our first session of this 6.3 % ABV beer was thoroughly enjoyed, much to the chagrin of my wife, but we were too far into our discussions on how friggin good this beer was to really care. Yes, it was good….After our third pints each, John figured he needed to stop there and take the short two block drive home…..good idea John….Me on the other hand……well it was a mellow evening.

I stopped after the third pint and filled this very nice and large and frozen mug of liquid joy, bottom photo. I was one happy camper. The beer was excellent, the comradery was fun as always, the compliments were heady and, yes went to my head……both compliments and the alcohol. Sorry Hun it is just the way I am with really good beers. Happily she tolerates my obsession with good beers…..as long as I behave properly!

This is not a session beer but…..I/we/they and others did not treat it as a session beer. Our sessions with this beer put a rosy color on our cheeks and a chuckle into even the lamest of jokes. It was a sad afternoon when I went out to pull a nice pint and the keg became empty……but pleasantly, the pint glass was full enough when it blew. A little murky off the bottom but yes, tasty enough to finish.

Some observations on this beer beyond its potent essence. It has…..no, had, a nice thick frothy head. The aroma was spot on and not overwhelming. It was properly bitter without a bite. Secondary flavors were smooth and pleasant. Nice lace on the glass delineating every wonder pull of the beer also indicating a very clean glass holding a nice frothy head of beer. It begs to be brewed again.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Voodoo Ranger

Just love this beer in all of its variations and variations yet to be created. https://www.voodooranger.com/beer/ipa/ If you want to read more follow the link below and learn more about the Voodoo Ranger story. https://www.gearpatrol.com/food/drinks//a37599207/voodoo-ranger/

In a nutshell what is Voodoo Ranger IPA? ……….. Origin: 2017 as Voodoo Ranger IPA and Voodoo Ranger Imperial IPA. Since then it has grown to about 20 variations in the theme in the Voodoo Ranger series. You can even buy all things “Voodoo from the Vootique. Official gear of epic beer. https://www.vootique.com/……….. My order is in and it will be epic!

Today is a hot and “sweltery” (New word that I will submit to the “Funkin’ Wagnels” 2023 updated edition) and humid Houston, TX day. Insert smiley face here ……….. yes, an attempt at humor, laughter of course is your choice. I am a beekeeper, so some of my sweat today is related to honey stuff, condensing partial 5 gallon honey buckets into 1/2 gallon jars and cleaning sticky equipment.

Yum!!!!!!

To ease the pain of the heat and effort, I made an attempt to rehydrate.I enjoyed a really juicy Voodoo Ranger Juice Force IPA……Gotta say it helped but oh my, starting off with a 9.5% beer for the day may not always be a wise choice. It does bring a smile or as my wife describes it, a goofy grin.

Seriously Juicy and very refreshing……

Had to have another but Voodoo Ranger was no longer on my shelf so I went local…..Galveston Island Brewing……Citra Mellow and yes I was…… great day got a lot down and the shower will feel really good.!

A really nice IPA

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

Catching Up on Beer Travels

Let’s start with Great Change Brewery in Bakersfield, California. My wife Kathy had arrived in Bakersfield a few days earlier to care for her mother. The evening of the 14th of November we met up with an old friend and his wife at the brewery. Kathy and I had arrived a bit early so I started on a flight and Kathy had a pint of Poncherello Pale Ale.

The Idaho Fresh Squeeze IPA was up first. Day Ride – a nice 7% American IPA with cascade and Simcoe hops…. I really enjoyed it. The Spotted Pony Session IPA was easy drinking at 5%. The Yo Mr. White is a double IPA that is smooooth. The malt bill is like a Belgian Wit beer and nicely hopped with Amarillo, Idaho 7 and Simcoe.

Sassy Red Ale, 5.2% ABV – not overly hoppy but very nice.

This is a post that got lost in the editing process. Several of the beers I had that night are not in production now but looking through the current list of beer available it seems to be very well rounded.

http://www.greatchangebrewing.com/

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

American Craft Beer Week

Yes, there really is such a thing. I decided to look into it and I think the event is a great way for “we” beer drinkers to help inject some $$$$ into breweries and associated businesses that may be having a tough time during this Covid-19 pandemic. There is a button to Commit to Give Craft Beer…..to go beers where available, gift cards, delivery or merchandise. https://www.craftbeer.com/news/american-craft-beer-week. Check out the link and be generous if you can!

Commit to Give

American Craft Beer Week (May 11-17) is the annual nationwide celebration of small and independent U.S. craft breweries. Join the celebration and support independent brewery businesses by giving the gift of craft beer through delivery of beer, beer-to-go, gift cards or merchandise. Use our nationwide list of to-go beer options by breweries to find craft breweries that are offering to-go or delivery options near you

I hope by copying and pasting I am not committing a faux pas. Prior to this craft beer week I have been filling at least a 64 oz. growler once a week or more in addition to purchasing a gift certificate from my nearby taproom…….something I encourage all y’all to do!

Shout out to my two local taprooms, The Cove on Hamblen in Forest Cove, TX and The Hop Stop in Humble, TX…..FYI the H is silent in Humble!

Forest Cove Discovery

I shouldn’t say a discovery, rather it was verification of a FaceBook discovery. I saw a post for a Craft Beer and Wine bar on Hamblen Road in Forest Cove. Well, it was well worth the stop. “Only” 31 beers on tap and I can only “sample” a few ……… each visit. I may have to schedule a couple of visits per week….yee haw!

The place has only been open three weeks and new has not even been rubbed off! It is well worth many return visits. The location has a great patio area and is very dog friendly.

My lucky day was today……….honestly, every day is a lucky day for me when I wake up on this side of the grass! Also lucky for a great variety of beers……. and to top it off – today was $4.00 IPA day. It doesn’t get much better than that!

As Arnold once said, ” I’ll be back!”……..and I will add – often!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Berry, Berry Good Beers

I was out inspecting my bees today and had the good fortune of visiting my apiary two blocks south of the Megaton Brewery in Kingwood. I took a quick look at the activity and made plans to open the two top bar hives to harvest a bit Sunday morning before the Women’s World Cup Final. I intend to leave them with enough honey to get into the fall. I had not broke much of a sweat, my deodorant seemed to be in place, so I decided to pop into the brewery.

I am normally an IPA guy but I still had one more apiary to visit. I chose a 9 oz pour of the Blueberry Lemon Heimdall Farmhouse Ale. Surprisingly good! Next up was a pint of the Cranberry Kolsch. Easy to drink but not what I expected….little or no noticeable cranberry flavor nor aroma. Now a 9 oz pour of the Wildberry Kolsch. The berry flavor came through nicely and a pleasant aroma. Of the 3 I really enjoyed the Blueberry Lemon Heindall. As I was waiting to order a 32 oz growler can to go of my favorite of the day, the board flashed and it was no longer available! Damn! I needed to bring some beer home to my wife and daughter.

It was suggested that I try the Heimdall Farmhouse Ale, sans the Blueberry an Lemon additions. I tried a taster, and although a pleasant beer, I didn’t think the girls would go for it. I asked them to can up the Wildberry Kolsch………and guess what? The keg went dry. What’s a guy to do?

Scratch the Wild and add Cran for the Cranberry Kolsch. Hope the girls like it!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop