Yes Dear – Raspberry Wheat Ale

I seem to brew a lot of beers that I like – the  problem is, my wife has a different palate! I made one for her  a while back but the bitter orange peel used for the Belgian Wit Bier was a bit overwhelming. Dang it….I have had to drink almost all of it! Since then I have brewed a rich and chewy Russia Imperial Ale and my Golden Wheat Red IPA.  So, as my Christmas gift to her, I have just returned home from the beer store with the parts and pieces for a Raspberry Wheat Ale, affectionately labeled the “Yes Dear – Raspberry Wheat Ale”. No wrapping paper needed and the gift that keeps on giving, She will be so happy! My old brewing buddies will understand that the unsaid portion of the label would have read, ” Yes Dear, I should have known – Raspberry Wheat Ale”. It’s a long story…. and besides, it would have crowded the label.

Ingredients = $ 29.12…… I definitely think she is worth that much…

  • 5.5 lbs. Domestic white wheat malt
  • 5.5 lbs. domestic two row pale malt
  • 0.5 lbs. British medium crystal malt
  • 0.5 lbs. Flaked oats
  • 0.5 lbs. Rice hulls – aids in making a filter bed during run off
  • 2 ounces Hallertauer hop pellets – 1.5 oz. 60 minutes and 0.5 oz. 2 20 minutes
  • 1 pkg. Wyeast # 1056
  • 1/2 tsp Irish Moss @ 15
  • 1/2 tsp food grade gypsum
  • Many gallons of Ozarka Spring Water
  • 2 lbs. frozen Raspberries added to the secondary – two weeks

Single Infusion @ 152 deg F and batch sparge.

Below is an image of label design for this batch taken by my iPhone from the laptop screen.

Tongue in Cheek - "Yes Dear - Raspberry Wheat Ale" -

Tongue in Cheek – “Yes Dear – Raspberry Wheat Ale” –

I sure hope my bride has a sense of humor?…….never mind, she married me so the answer is, yes she does!

 

PS – I also came home with 1.75 Liters of 190 proof Everclear! Not for beer brewing but for making some Limoncello with my bumper crop of lemons! More on that later.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

 

 

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Fixing the Autodraft Mystery

Something odd happened the other day. I used my blogging app on my iPhone to generate a blog about the first taste test of my Gloden Wheat Red IPA. I attempted to publish after adding a few photos and conducting my typical sophomoric self editing  before publishing.  All that appeared was the “Auotdraft” title and no meat, no potatoes and nothing about the beer. I want to rectify that problem or mystery.

This was Golden Wheat Red IPA III – but it was also the first attempt at brewing the recipe as an all grain batch. If you read an earlier post detailing the brewing day you will see that it did not go as intended. Lesson learned, if the hydrometer is behaving incredibly far outside of expected norms, do not panic. Take a pull on a  good pint of homebrew – down to mid point, lick your lips and realize that it would not be physically possible for the hydrometer to float that high…….Then inspect the hydrometer closely…..if I had I would have noticed that the tip had busted off and the calibrating weight in the base was missing. Had I done that,  it would have been mystery solved….I panicked –  but based on the taste test I recovered nicely.

My first taste test was 11 days after bottling and the conditioning process was spot on….nicely carbonated but not too much.  Great hop balance…good bitterness up front from the early additions and the late additions including the dry hopping have provided a nice aroma. Very, very drinkable….I have encountered very few undrinkable beers but I have had some that were worse than others! This one comes in pretty durn close to outstanding!

A pint of a successful batch...or really 12 ounces!

A pint of a successful batch…or really 12 ounces!

Lovely lace and great flavor

Lovely lace and great flavor

 

My label to aid in CRS issues

My label to aid in CRS issues

 

CRS – a condition that increases with age where you “Can’t Remember Shtuff” or something like that. I will label the bottles this weekend and painful as it is to admit I will share a few! I will be a bit stingy but not nasty about sharing!

 

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

 

Blue Moon Clone and Other Tidbits

I returned from Williston, North Dakota yesterday and racked my wife’s Blue Moon Clone over into the secondary. It was a couple days later than I wanted but, based on the gravity ready and the taste of the sample pulled for the reading…..it will be a good beer. The gravity had dropped to 1.008 – very nice and it would have been more meaningful if I had remembered to get the original gravity. Beer Smith brewing software estimated the original gravity to be 1.053 and final to be 1.018. I am well below the estimated final gravity so I suspect my original gravity may have been on the low side of the estimate. In a few days, as it settles and clears a little more,  off it will go into the minikegs and bottles.

Tidbits.

I just read through the top 50 commercial craft beers in the US as voted by the members of the American Homebrewer Association. By my count I have had 23 of the top 50. I apologize for not having tried hard enough to score higher. My newest “favorite IPA” was tied for 49th, Odell’s IPA. I believe as the distribution for Odell’s widens it will move up. If you can run down a sixer….and you like IPAs’, buy it and enjoy.

These same folks ranked brewers as well – of the top 25 I have sampled beers from 14 of them…Still have to work on better form. I think I need a plan for the second half of 2014! I will be in Chicago for a week in August so I expect to sample that market! I will be in the Paso Robles area soon and will visit the number “7” ranked brewery, Firestone Walker. It is home to my “personal” number one ranked beer, their barrel aged Russian Imperial Stout, Parabola!

Included in the article are recipes…clone recipes that are very tempting – One is a clone for an “All Day IPA” from Founders Brewing Company in Michigan…it comes in at an ABV of about 4.7%. The number one ranked beer, “Pliny the Elder” from Russian River in California is also included with a clone recipe. It is a  heavily hopped IPA that comes in at 8.2% ABV and an amazing dosage of wonderful hops! What shall a man do? Maybe both????

I have to get my wife’s beer bottled and out of the fermenting chamber. I can only ferment 2 – 5 gallon batches at a time. If I only had a bigger chest freezer! Hmmmmmmm I wonder if Santa would say that I have been a “good enough” boy this year?

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

Imperial Stout – This was Definitely not a “Quickie”!

My second attempt at brewing an all grain batch was a significantly more time consuming. I brewed a Russian Imperial Stout – “An intensely flavored, big, dark ale. Roasty, fruity, and bittersweet, with a noticeable alcohol presence. Dark fruit flavors meld with roasty, burnt, or almost tar-like sensations. Like a black barleywine with every dimension of flavor coming into play. ” (http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style13.php#1f

Hmmmmmm dark as night and an nice tan looking foam!

Hmmmmmm dark as night and an nice tan colored foam!

The total grain bill weighed in at 21 pounds. A massive amount compare to the previous all grain pale ale I last brewed. I had to make another purchase to handle this “big” beer. I am now the proud owner of a triple clad 60 quart Polarware kettle. It is built “Hell for Stout” – FYI – a subtle tongue in cheek play on words. The boil started at nearly 8 gallons and during the 90 minute boil it reduced down to the 5 gallon recipe’s designated target volume.

Dry weight was 21 pounds of grain. Now - muck more than that! At least I didn't waste it...tried a bread recipe - not very good. Fed some to the birds....they didn't like it so the remainder went to the compost heap.

Dry weight was 21 pounds of grain. Now – muck more than that! At least I didn’t waste it…tried a bread recipe – not very good. Fed some to the birds….they didn’t like it, so the remainder went to the compost heap.

The batch came in at an OG of 1.088 a little lower than I was predicting…I spilled a bit pouring into the fermenting bucket( didn’t I Ben?) and had to add about  3/4 gallon of water…probably caused a bit of dilution. Still well within the acceptable range.

All in all the brewing process went well. The beer seemed to be slow kicking off and it took 4 days before I noticed any sign of activity and when I did it was a doozy! You know, intuition is something that shouldn’t be ignored. The brew store suggested using two vials of yeast sine it was such a big beer. I used White Labs WLP 007, Dry English Ale yeast. It took off sometime late on the fourth day…..when I checked on it on the 5th day it was very obvious that fermentation had kicked off….my intuition told me to use a blow-off hose. My intuition was right but I didn’t listen. Now I had a good excuse and reason to clean out the converted freezer.

What a mess! The upside is - the freezer is very clean now!

What a mess! The upside is – the freezer is very clean now!

Cleaned it out and left it for another 6 or so days before I found time to rack it over into the secondary…..Today. The gravity had dropped to 1.026 – good for around 8.5% ABV  – now I need to be very patient – about 6 months worth. I still have a few adds, I have some white oak toasted to a burnt toast look and being soaked in Bourbon at the moment. In another week or so the oak will be added to the secondary for a final touch.

There it is - 1.026 SG - hopefully I will get a little more fermentation and it will drop a little more - 8.47% ABV at the moment.

There it is – 1.026 SG – hopefully I will get a little more fermentation and it will drop a little more – 8.47% ABV at the moment.

Continuing along at about 63-65 deg. F in the converted freezer. The sample pulled for the Specific Gravity check was PDG! How much long before Santa arrives? Yep, that’s what I thought. I will have it bottled and share one with Santa! I have 4 or 5 22 oz. bottles from my last batch brewed over two years ago and one that is about 4 years old waiting on my son Ben’s graduation celebration….July 2014!

Next, the CFO has asked for a Belgian Wit – something along the lines of a Blue Moon – only better! She loves the Raspberry Wheat Ale in the mini kegs, the Tap-A-Draft 6L ones….. She is down to about 3L remaining and getting very stingy about sharing!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

 

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!

 

 

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;

https://bishopsbeerblog.com/2013/11/10/inspiration-comes-to-fruition/

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

Bishop

Thirsty in Oman

I have been relatively quiet on the beer front for a few weeks. I am waiting patiently to let my latest bottling, the Golden Wheat Red Ale bottle condition a little longer. The temptation to sample is easy at the moment. I am about 12 time zones away from the beer and the temptation! Oman is a long ways from Texas.  This quote from “The Wizard of Oz” comes to mind – “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.” I stood on top of a sand dune last night, about 30 kilometers from the UAE border just inside of Oman and said this to my buddy Gary,  “Gary, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Texas any more.”

Let me add, the Omani people are an absolute pleasure to work with, converse with and share with. Yes, we are guests in their country but I have never felt so welcome in a foreign country. The hosted a “BBQ”…..really a large grill filled with kabobs and fortunately for Gary the selection did not include goat. I haven’t convinced Gary that goat can be very tasty. As we sat around under the cabana, a young man named Ali spent 30 minutes showing us some of the beauty of his country…and yes it can be very beautiful! I am looking forward to a future visit with more time to explore!

YES – it is very dry here…..not much rain and in many places the beverage selection is pretty restricted! The hotels in Muscat do serve alcoholic beverages as they cater to a very diverse clientele in this country. A walk on the beach shows the diversity in the cultures and languages all around you. On one walk we heard, German, Italian, Hindi, English, some sort of a Scandinavian dialect, Lebanese and Arabic – probably a few more that I had no clues about.  I am looking forward to a return trip with more time to explore the country and meet more of the wonderful people here!

Looking north west from a top a dune adjacent to our humble camp of 7,000 people!

Looking north-west from a top a dune adjacent to our humble camp of 7,000 people!

 

Drink Respectfully, Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop