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!



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



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;

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



Beer Drought and Other Thoughts

I am up in drought stricken Midland, Texas….and that includes craft beers that are pretty much absent from the landscape!  I have elected to swear off drinking any mass-produced beers this week…..that means pretty much no beer at all this week in Midland. Two hours north in Lubbock Texas there are craft brewers…at least one brewery and a brew pub. Midland needs a pipeline….

I am not ignoring good beer this week! I am reading and learning so I can try something new when brewing my next batch of homebrew. I have been reading a little about hop-bursting techniques. This technique really intrigues me as a way to really showcase your hop choices. I like the scent of the aromatic floral varieties of hops like; Williamette, Kent Golding, Cascade, Fuggle,  Mt. Hood and other low acid hops. These are used toward the end of the boil for aroma purposes as well as a little bittering. The high alpha acid hops usually go in at the front end of the boil and at the end of the boil what’s left behind are the bittering qualities of the hops and a bit of the original aromas. The higher alpha acid hops that have been added early in the boil for bitterness have wonderful aromas….why not keep more of the scent/aroma in the beer…this is where the hop bursting technique comes to bear.  (the list of hops varieties is huge…everyone has their own favorites)

With “hop bursting”, the bittering hops are added with 20 minutes left in the boil rather than at the 60 minute or 90 minute mark, adding some bitterness while retaining more of their aromas – then  the hopping schedule is built from there – the low acid aromatic hops are added at the 10 or 5 minute remaining mark and/or at flame out. Now, I want to be honest I haven’t tried it yet but Saturday the 13th of October I will adjust my recipe for a Honey Blonde and try this technique… I will update all y’all in about 5 weeks or so and let you know how it turns out!

For further reading follow the link.

The other technique that has entered brewing portion of my pea brain is the Australian No Chill method. It is the result of not wanting to waste all that water used in cooling the beer quickly, as most gurus suggest, and it also make less of a mess – depending on your brewing location. Being in dry West Texas this week I see how this technique makes sense….they are 180 days or less from running out of municipal water supply. Another benefit….the hot wort can add another layer of sanitation protection for the home brewer. Make sure your fermenter can handle the temperature.  My food grade 6 gallon bucket style fermenter can be hot filled up to 180 degrees F. If you have stainless steel fermenters you are not limited to the 180 degree figure. Hun, I need to make another investment!!!!

What else can I learn in my spare time this week? I will share anything that I add to my hard drive!

Hop Flowers and Some Grain

Drink Local



Do Dirty Blondes Have More Fun?

A Nice Amber Color From The Start

I  am back to the brewing pot….I went down to the new brewing supply store in Humble, TX and had them help me design a blonde ale for an easy drinking session beer. What we came up with has the name – “Dirty Honey Blonde”. I was going to go real simple but I was easily talked into doing a partial grain recipe. It takes a little more time on brew day but it should be worth the effort. The grain bill included Vienna Malt, Honey Malt, Biscuit Malt and Cara-Pils Malt for body. The extract is an Amber Malt…. One hitch in the recipe was with the recommended hops, Hallertauer….they were out so we subbed Cascade hops…..when I cut open the package for the hops my nose was hit with an aroma that immediately took me back to my days of drinking Olympia Beer in California…. it was one of those beers that was just a little outside of the taste range for most of the new-rookie beer drinkers. What I realize now is how much the good use of hops influences beer taste. As a young man it was more about cost…..a case of Coors in the bottles was $5.25 – still a hefty sum in 1969 but I couldn’t tolerate Brew 102…the cheapest beer we could get. Yes, the Cascade hops….very nice, the clone recipe for Oly also includes Willamette hops but then again Oly is a lager and I am making an Ale!

I I did my darnedest to keep the cat hair at bay and soaked anything that came near the beer in Star-San!!!!! Mike, I am not going to lose another batch – It is into the fermenter now and it looks like it is off and bubbling. The  OG is 1.047 – about what it should be and will wind up in the neighborhood of 4.8% ABV. A nice session beer. Color is a nice amber  and a calculated IBU of 23.2 won’t make it real hoppy – that will make the bride happy.

My Amarillo Ale is done and seems to have mellowed out. The Amarillo hops……not from Amarillo, TX, give the beer a  definite  citrus floral  flavor. It has a bit of a grapefruit taste to me and Kathy says her buds pick up a hint of lemon. It slides down very easy. ABV of about 4.9% so it won’t whack you right away and the IBU comes out to about 58. The recipe claims – “somewhat dry ale with a strong floral-citrus accent” – and yes it fits the description.

Thanks goes out to the folks at Backyard Home Brewers and Education Center in Humble  TX.  A couple of the beer blogs that I follow are written by women brewers…..and guess what, while I was in the store a young woman – I would say most are younger than me now!- she was in to grab some supplies to brew on the weekend. The owners are helpful and easy to work with… if you are thinking about brewing and live in the area check them out. They hold classes on a regular basis and usually have something to sample and rate when you visit.

Until Later




Dick’s Danger Ale is Fermenting

Busy day yesterday. I brewed the 5 gallon batch yesterday and it was a hectic effort. I did not dive in and do an all grain recipe….. my CFO would need to authorize a $600 investment in mashing equipment…maybe a little more depending on the quality. This was a partial grain batch and the grain bill was pretty heavy – 2.5 lbs of 2-row pale malt, 7 ox. of crystal mall 80 (L), 9 oz. of Briess black malt 550 (L) – the black malt really gives it a dark look. I also added 3.15 lbs. of Briess light extract and 1.5 lbs of dried malt extract. I used severla of my dear’s kettles and had to be a little creative to rinse the grains.

Magnum hopsused  for bittering and Mt. Hood hops for aroma – the Mt. Hood hops have a great aroma! Dry English Ale yeast, pitched at 74 degrees and aerated well. A day later there is a good krausen ring around the edges of the fermentation bucket indicating the fermentation is well underway.

I should be ready to bottle in two weeks and enjoy for the Thanksgiving Holiday Season. I ran a taste test on the sample I pulled to check the OG(original gravity) and the color matches up with the recipe – about a 28 on the SRM scale vs. a 35 or more for my Stout. The taste is nice… not sure how it will mature after it conditions. Folks in the Northwest rave about the beer so I am anxious but willing (need) to be patient.

SRM Scale link if you are interested;

For you folks in Houston…. some good beer news. We have a new brewery, Karbach Brewing Co. The Brewmaster is well seasoned… looks like the Houston Chronicle mixed his name up with the Brewery name in the article… oh well, Eric Warner has somegood  roots and spent time with Flying Dog as the CEO…. I like the Flying Dog offerings and the irreverent humor expressed through the artwork on their labels. The article touts Karbach’s “Sympathy Lager”….. and now the hunt begins.

Hey hun….er, Ms. CFO – how about a good sized refrigerator for the garage so I can brew some Lagers….. I found a great article for clone lagers like Hamms and Oly…..real classics…how about a real good MGD?

Maybe I shouldn’t press my luck.

The Photo below was taken on my 60th birthday – Pat Love – We named a Wheat Ale we brewed after him, John Livezey, my partner in crime at the Humble Beer Festival ( the H is silent in Humble), me.. looking good in that Bush t-shirt and a non-brewing neighbor Alan Wooten…. he did a little quality surveillance for us.

My Bakersfield Brewing Buddies on my 60th Birthday

The Belgian Wit was a hit at dinner tonight. My daughter Ashleigh had a friend over and her review of the beer was pretty spectacular… head swells, chest puffs up and I grin like the Chesire cat…. I do love to hear nice things!




Amarillo Ale – Transfer to Secondary

Stunt Double for the Belgian Wit -" Fat Tire"

My latest batch is an Amarillo Ale… if you remember from the last post – it is not a Texas “thang”, it is because of the Amarillo hops used for the flavor. I took extraordinary care during the transfer to keep cat dander out of the air and hopefully out of the secondary carboy (6 gallon glass vessel – a lot like the old water bottles).  I will let the batch settle more in the secondary, dropping more  of the solids out, become much more clear and continue progress towards the final gravity. I was a bit surprised as it was only down to 1.032 when I transferred the beer. It started at 1.052 and I was hoping that it would be closer to 1.020. Be patient Bishop!!!!!

I did little sampling as I transferred the beer – I drank the sample out of the graduated cylinder and I was impressed. Wow, a great hop balance, not an IPA but just enough to make it stand out from the ordinary fizzy yellow waters on the shelf. Even stands out from some of the better ales. I had to ask for help from a cold Fat Tire Ale for the photo…. silly me, I drank the sample before taking the photo so I substituted the Fat Tire seen in the photo. My Amarillo Ale sample tasted better even though very young and just a little too sweet. I am anxiously waiting to bottle, age and enjoy the new beer.

Plans…. when I return from Midland, TX  during the middle of the week I will boil the wort for my next batch. I am making a Belgian Wit to satisfy my wife’s yearnings for a beer that is a bit better than the Blue Moon equivalent.  She is broadening her experience base and has begun to move out of her comfort zone and try new beers.

While surfing this AM I  saw a pumpkin beer actually fermented inside of a large pumpkin….. hmmmmm, might be worth a try! One example even used the pumpkin as the tun in a whole grain brew. Wow!

Enjoy the football season and try a new beer or two along the way.


Back to Brewing

Having a little to aid in the brewing process.

I spent a sweaty day brewing up a kit beer that I have had in the fridge for a few months. It is an Amarillo Ale from William’s Brewing. It is not named after the Texas city up in the panhandle but derives its name from the Amarillo hops used in flavoring the beer.  It is an extract kit beer and easy to brew. Or at least should be. I have had a couple of batches go sour and I blame it on
some of the cat dander and other microorganisms they bring into the house. I went overboard on sanitation and exposure to environmental air currents. I also aerated the beer to help the yeast get off to a better start. The fast start may allow the yeast to out compete the potentially undesirable airborne yeasts and bacteria.

I have a request form my wife to do a Belgian Wit for her. She loves Blue Moon and claimed my last Belgian Wit was much better than the commercial varieties. I ordered up the materials from Northern Brewer…..another good choice for all things associated with brewing.

I will give you an update on the Amarillo Ale soon.