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.


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!


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


Golden Wheat Red – A Big Beer in the Making

Progress – about 6 days ago I transferred the beer from the primary tank to the secondary, the glass carboy, for the second of the  two stage fermentation process. I am still disappointed with my measurement faux pas….I can only guess at my starting gravity. At transfer it was 1.015…a little lower than I had predicted but my predicted measurements were based on the absence of Murphy, as in Murphy’s Laws. see previous post –

I am happy to report that the sample I grabbed was very, very nice! In two days I will dry hop with an additional two ounces of Centennial hop pellets. I will hold the temperatures at 63 degrees F for 5 days after the hop additions and then crash it to 34 or 35 F to clear everything up. I still have some decisions to make. When finished – should I fill two of my 6 L Tap-a-Draft kegs and bottle the rest, fill one 6 L keg and bottle the rest or bottle all of it? So many choices! The best part of the decision – whatever I choose it will be drinkable and sharable!

Making the transfer - primary fermenter to the secondary.

Making the transfer – primary fermenter to the secondary. Mother Nature and gravity make the siphon move the beer!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly




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….

PS: I plan on mopping the kitchen floor tomorrow!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly


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!



Homebrewing & Mopping the Floor

My wife is usually pretty happy when I brew beer because, due to my messiness, I have to mop the kitchen floor after each of the several steps in the process. I think it is only right that I take care of my duties and I can’t think of a woman who would not be happy with her husband mopping the kitchen floor!

Last night I was at the bottling stage and as always I had planned on mopping up the few spills and drips that are common to the process. Well, the task of mopping morphed into a industrial clean-up due to an unusual string of clumsy moves on my part! The mess started small and manageable. My 6 gallon priming tank that you can see in the picture below, had a loose connection at the outlet spigot….I didn’t check it before I began to fill the tank. The drip was slow…I attempted to turn the spigot to tighten I but to no avail. I really needed to hold the inlet side, now under about 3 gallons of beer, in order to properly tighten it…..I opted to manage the very small quantity dripping with an absorbent towel….no big deal. I did not want to potentially contaminate the beer by sticking my arm in the brew.

The first bottle to be filled was the 6L plastic mini-keg bottle from my Tap-a-Draft set-up. I got it filled and set off to the side as I switched to filling the 12 ounce bottles – 29 of them! The 6L bottle sat with the chilled beer in it and developed a wet surface due to our humidity and the condensation on the outside. (Note: I had crashed to temperature to 34 degrees F to drop out the sediment and help clarify the beer)

Once the glass bottles were safely filled I decided to pick up the 6L bottle and dry it before moving to the location I use while the beer conditions. I wanted to make sure that it didn’t slip out of my hands…….noble thought but poorly executed. Beer weighs about 2.2 pounds per liter or 1 kg per liter. ( Just gotta love the simplicity of the metric system!) That would be 13.2 pounds or 6 kg! I was amazed at how high it bounced the first time it hit the tile floor. The second bounce had me in motion to capture the precious container, filled with my lovingly crafted beer. At age 62 I was just a little too slow. I captured the container when it hit the tile floor the third time, popping the cap off and spraying beer across the kitchen floor. I did manage to slap my hand over the opening after at least a 12 ounce bottle’s worth covered the kitchen floor. (355 ml)

I had no idea where the cap had shot off to and hollered for some help….I tried not to look my wife in the eye when she saw my predicament! I needed that cap and had to ask for help…..well, she found it off into the dining room on the carpet.  My tragedy was growing. The cap had broken but fortunately I had a spare in my kit in the kitchen and a bowl of sanitizing solution to dip it in before capping the bottle. I think I saw a look of disgust on her face, not sure though… she gave me some very specific clean up instructions!

When we were first married some 30 years ago, we found fun things to do while the floor dried after mopping…..She wasn’t in the mood this  January 14th of 2014. I was nearly done with the mop up when “Murphy’s Law” kicked in…As I was moving some things out of the kitchen I bumped the graduated cylinder holding the sample I collected for checking the final gravity – I had read and recorded the gravity so that wasn’t so bad, but I did lose half the sample….I wanted more of a taste. My other fear was breaking the hydrometer but I was quick enough this time to catch it before it hit the tile floor.

After mopping, wiping down the cabinets, cleaning the rugs and counters I managed a taste test. The aroma is great and the bitterness is nice….Now I just have to be patient for a couple of weeks to allow the beer to condition and mellow.

I am so glad she loves me!

Transferring from the secondary carboy to the priming tank/bucket.

Transferring from the secondary carboy to the priming tank/bucket.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Give up your keys when asked!


A Repeat – Sorta

My Golden Wheat Red IPA is disappearing too quickly so I decided to brew another batch, albeit with a tweak to the hopping schedule.

Here is the link to the original post with the recipe;

My preliminary notes prior to cranking up the burner

My preliminary notes prior to cranking up the burner

The plan was to increase the hops, change the schedule up and see how it lands. There was a significant goof on my part, I was going to stay with the Amarillo and Cascade hops mix I used previously. I went to the Beer store in Humble(Backyard Homerbrewers and Education Centre) to pick up the ingredients from my pre-prepared list. Picked up the ingredients and headed home. If you look closely in the photo you will see a package of Centennial hops, not Cascade! The dummy at the store fouled up, or so I thought. My list was still in the bag so I looked at what I had written……Hmmmmm, where was my brain, I was thinking Cascade and wrote Centennial! I got what I wrote down – I guess I was the dummy.

Most everything stayed the same….except for the hops and the hopping schedule.

60 minutes – 1 oz Amarillo

30 minutes – 1 oz Amarillo and 1 oz Centennial

15 minutes – 1 oz Amarillo

At Flameout – 1 oz of Centennial

1 oz Centennial used for Dry hopping planned for the secondary – 5 days then crash to 34 degrees for a couple more.

The Original gravity of my first batch came in at 1.066, this one, using the same grain bill and extract is 1.040 – a significant difference. It could be I was shorted  or I bought slightly different ingredients from my local store. The first batch ingredients were purchased from the cross town store Defalco’s..  The color is also notably lighter – may have to try brewing this again real soon!

The beer is in the fermenter at 62 deg. F for a week and will then be transferred to the secondary and dry hopped….

Is it true that there are no bad beers? Just some better than others?

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly


First Taste Test – Golden Wheat Red IPA

Well the jury is now returning the verdict…..the beer is PDG! I benefitted by several weeks away from the temptation of sampling the beer too early. I have to admit that I did sample one before I left, I knew it was going to be too early and yes it was….In need of a few more weeks of conditioning……so, that is what I gave it!

December 19th, 2013, I tried the second bottle of the batch. Wow! Very nice head, the aroma was/is amazing and the Amarillo hops used for the dry hopping have left its signature citrus note! The color is a bit darker than I had anticipated. It is a darker red than planned, but is very clear and refreshing. My daughter Lisa was over when I poured that “second” first beer. Her comment was, “It tastes light, not dark like I thought it would be”.  Nice lace on the glass so I sat back and enjoyed being home, looking forward to the Holidays and spending time with family!

The Beer, The Bottle and the Belch....not really!

The Beer, The Bottle and the Belch….not really!

I shared a few bottles with my buddy John. We sat and watched a little football yesterday  enjoying my latest offering. He was highly pleased…..”it is a keeper recipe” was the proclamation. I had to agree with him but the wheels were already turning – it is good, but maybe I can tweak the hopping schedule and make it great!

Should I??????  Absolutely!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year


Oh, Thanks again to Lengthwise Brewery in Bakersfield for the inspiration!

Inspiration Comes to Fruition

I hinted a couple of weeks ago about being inspired to brew something a bit unique. Well I made it happen today….the recipe was developed about a week ago from some inspiration found in a conversation with the bar keep at Lengthwise Brewing Pub in the Marketplace – Bakersfield California. I was attempting to order a beer and the big chalkboard had these tree words stacked above each other in the lower left corner of the board.




So, I ordered one… sounded like an interesting beer. The barkeeper smiled while telling me that those three were part of the tap line-up for the brewery. I had been fully aware of their Centennial and Double Centennial IPA’s, The Kern River Crude Porter, the Blonde as well as a host of guest beers on tap. It just didn’t dawn on me that these were three distinct beers. The ensuing conversation made me feel a little better. Apparently I am not the only ” cerevisaphile  – A devout lover of beers.”, that has made the same, I won’t call it a mistake, but rather the natural combining of those yummy sounding beer components. So I was struck by inspiration and went on my mission to build this beer.

The recipe; Partial mash – the easy way.

3 lbs light malt extract – the Golden portion

3 lbs of Wheat Malt extract – The Wheat portion

1 lb. Caramel Malt – crushed

½ lb. Crystal Malt 55 L crushed

2 oz. Black roasted barley – crushed – the crushed grains should add body and the Red portion of the inspiration.

2 oz. Centennial pellet hops – 1 oz. @ 30 minutes, 1 oz. @ 15 minutes

2 oz. Amarillo pellet hops – 1 oz. @ 55 minutes. 1 oz. in secondary a few weeks from now

½ tsp yeast nutrient @ 10 minutes, ½ tsp gypsum at beginning, ½ tsp Irish Moss @ 30 minutes

Grain placed in brew pot and removed when temperature reached 170 deg F.

OG is 1.066 – Fermenting at 64-68 deg F Aerated for 3 minutes prior to pitching Wyeast 1056 Ale yeast.

At two weeks I will check and transfer to the secondary then dry hop with the remaining Amarillo hops.

This should be a hoppy beer, not real bitter, but should have a good floral and citrus aroma.

Now the big challenge is to be patient!

Brewing notebook, malt extract, grains and hops. Ready to brew.

Brewing notebook, malt extract, grains and hops. Ready to brew.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly