Bees & SMaSH IPA

I made a run to my two most distant Apiaries today. One in Splendora and the other in Grangerland – also known as the “berry farm”. I needed to add a deep box to one of my new hives in Splendora and poked my nose into see if the supers were filling with honey on the other three hives. They look promising but still a few weeks away from being ready for extracting.

Out at the berry farm I pulled 5 nicely filled frames. Would love to have had more Ready but – it will be a very good season based on the activity I saw today. The weather – 90 degrees F and 57% humidity made for a warm day. The bees were bearded up on the outside to keep the inside temperatures under control.

FYI- I am not feeding the bees, just haven’t removed the feeder yet! It was hot and I couldn’t beard up! I just had to sweat my ass off! For whatever reason, and they won’t tell you, the girls in the 8 frame hive were a little defensive today – Therefore, full gear and lots of sweat!

Upon return home and before unloading the truck – oh yes, and setting up in the garage to extract honey – I treated myself to my excellent SMaSH IPA! How can I tell what I’m drinking as in, I don’t put labels on my bottles? I use a bottle cap code. The SMaSH is a patriotic beer!

A hint of honey money in upper left background of the photo…… yes, I sell honey.

Ah, there is the box needing extraction! Now, I was interrupted at about 2/3 finished with my beer by my phone ringing. My friend and fellow Home brewer, Mike H, severely twisted my arm and forced me to delay extracting honey- Beer was the reason. “Meet me at Hop Stop in Humble”, more of a statement than a request.

Every Thursday they offer a rotating sampler and….. good folks, good conversation and a good place to drink beer. Traffic was crap, especially on the return trip, but it was well worth the trip….thanks Mike!

Still managed to extract and clean up. Lovely amber honey from the berry farm- “Blakelock’s Berries”. Check them out on Facebook.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

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Beer Thirty

I made a bee run this morning, feed a few and finish setting boxes for the 6 NUC’s I will pick up on Thursday. Now it’s time for a brew. Next last stop on my route;

I added a third Langstroth box at the end of the stand. It is now ready to receive it’s NUC on Thursday.

Now, enjoying my SMaSH IPA! So, any guesses where I might be? City, county, state or state of mind? Search the photo for a hint!

Another beer note, my Amber ale should be ready to bottle this weekend. Yee Haw, at the Crawfish boil On May 12th I will have my Russian Imperial Stout, my SMaSH IPA and my Sugar T—s Amber Ale. Could be an excellent day!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly,

Bishop

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

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.

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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!

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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
Bishop

Yes Dear Raspberry Wheat Ale is Primed!

I have been a bit slow priming and kegging/bottling this brew. It could be written off to laziness but I would like to say it was due to the multiple and diverse tugs on my scattered brain. 1. There has been a number of football games needing viewing,; 2. We keep the house cool in the winter – 60 F so sitting near the fire in the fireplace feels so good; 3. My son’s dog, a very sweet recue dog loves my attention and walks in the woods; 4. weeds, damn weeds in the garden; 5. Words with Friends is like Crack!; 6. Thoughts of working out – succumbed to the thoughts a couple of times; 7. Sourdough bread experimentation – another yeast related activity – I think will just stop there…

I carved out the time today to prepare. Most of the batch was going into two 6 Liter mini kegs, Iap-a-Draft to be exact and the remainder into 12 ounce bottles. As I usually do, I pulled a sample for checking the final gravity….I had no doubt that it was finished but….just checking. Damn – the hydrometer nearly floated out of the cylinder…..can’t be! How can it become more dense? It can’t – I pulled the hydrometer and the little foam pad was stuck to the bottom. Mystery solved. The chilled sample, 37 F, was 1.011 – plenty good to know that it was done fermenting. Final count, 2 – 6L bottles and 14- 12 ounce bottles.

The taste test from the gravity sample was very nice…..I shared a sip with Mrs. Yes Dear and she agreed. Looks to be a success. Now I need to be patient and let it condition….10 to 14 days ought to be sufficient. Normally, it is required to drink a homebrew while working on a batch, I failed to indulge. I have had a Bomber of Karbach Black Hopadillo IPA in the fridge for months now, just begging for my attention, so . Damn good! that is second use of the word Damn….I’m feeling a bit like Clark Gable!!!!!

What is the next project? My son Ben is wanting a “session IPA”, lower in ABV but still retaining great hops bitterness and aromas. There are some decent commercial offerings that he enjoys. The simple approach would be to find a clone recipe but I think not….I think I may be able to improve on the clone!!!!! Stay tuned…more coming.

The transfer is on...Sourdough starter in the left background.

The transfer is on…Sourdough starter in the left background. I love the carboy carrier straps…makes it easier and less likely to drop it.

My bottled beer and the two 6L Tap-a-Draft bottles.

My bottled beer and the two 6L Tap-a-Draft bottles.

The very nice Karbach Hoppadillo Black IPA. Nice way to end my task!

The very nice Karbach Hoppadillo Black IPA. Nice way to end my task!

Drink Local and Drink Responsible

Bishop

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

Bishop

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

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