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




Kannah Creek Brewing Co.

Grand Junction, Colorado is my stopping point for the week. Colorado in general is synonymous with good craft beers. Grand Junction is blessed with 3 local breweries and a couple more in nearby towns.

Kannah Creek brewery was my first stop for lunch on my first day. I ordered the beer sampler expecting to provide some input for the choices. They offer 10 brewed in-house brews. I expected 5 small glasses of beer. I was partially correct. The beers were small, about 4 ounces. The beer count was 10, one of every offering! A man has got to do what man has got to do! (any English majors cringing right now?) Seven everyday brews and 3 seasonals. I worked my way through this daunting task.

The Seasonal pilsner was just ok. Good lace easy to drink beer

ESB Extra Special Bitter It was pleasant with good lace and not overly bitter.

Indian Creek Brown ale like a mellow Newcastle
Island Mesa Blonde was a nice and easy to drink best suited for my wife who likes Blonde Ales.

High Side Hefeweizen is very nice, it puts Bluemoon to shame! Well made beer! Kathy, you would definitely like this one!

Lands End Amber very drinkable beer, feels and tastes more like a session beer with body but not exceptional.

Broken Oar IPA The dry hopping is evident in both the nose and on the tongue! It was one of my two top choices.

Standing Wave Pale The ale was smooth in the mouth, had a nice aroma and was a pretty tasty IPA.

Pigasus Porter I like it. Not over to top with the heavy roasted flavors- subtle flavors of roasted malt and chocolate. I would like another pint of this one!

Black’s Bridge Stout- It was the last beer i sampled. The warming of the beer while I worked my way to it was perfect. Velvety feel in the mouth and the flavors are subtle but distinct. The nitrogen head on this beer lingered well.

Katrina was my waitress and beer guide. Awesome beer knowledge and definitely the free spirit – just back from working the summer in Alaska. Interesting young lady!

Now off to Rockslide Brewery to sample their offerings. I have heard good things about the Ale House so I may have to flip a coin!


Drinking Beer in Carpenteria

Travel and work – it certainly can have a negative impact on my beer drinking! It is not all bad, I am in California for work and I have my weekends free. I was in Carpenteria last weekend, a nice beach town between Ventura and Santa Barbara. I am not much for laying on the beach and picking up the color of a well boiled lobster so my daughter Lisa and I walked down to the Island Brewing Company. It is a nice little brewery and tap room next to the tracks and near the Amtrak station.
This isn’t my first rodeo nor my first visit to this brewery. They have a very nice selection of beers, a casual and comfortable taproom and an outside seating area. Oh yes, the prices are very reasonable!!!! They also bottle the beers as well as sell growlers.
The timing was right and the brewery was hosting a tour of the back brewing area. The owner’s daughter was giving the tour. She is very knowledgeable and easy to talk to. While in the taproom I enjoyed the Paradise Ale, a pint of the cask ale – a raspberry wheat beer – a bit sweet but still very tasty and the Jubilee Ale! Not a bad beer in the bunch. Lisa tried the Blonde, the Paradise and a Shandy – half Tropical Lager and Lemonade.


I have sampled their Blackbird Porter in the past….a very tasty beer but better suited for the last beer of the evening while sitting at home! It is a wonderful beer!

Lisa says - head this way to find fresh beer.

Lisa says – head this way to find fresh beer.

Here is the tap room…..

The taps and yummy board!

The taps and yummy board!


On the walk back to the beach I had to make a pit stop. The picture is a little blurry….iPhones aren’t bad but you have to look close at this one to see the details.

Down near the beach I stepped into the State park lavatory . While standing there killing time I looked up and saw a frustrated sea gull - lost opportunity to bomb me!

Down near the beach I stepped into the State park lavatory . While standing there killing time I looked up and saw a frustrated sea gull – lost opportunity to bomb me!

I hope to have time to visit Anacapa Brewing in Ventura, or Firestone in Paso Robles and if time permits San Luis Brewing in San Luis Obispo. Bakersfield even has beer, yes I know that might surprise you….Lengthwise is my favorite pub and brewery in town. I hope to share a little more over the next week on my California adventures.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly,



Beer Trumps All

I spent last week in California, more precisely, Coalinga, Paso Robles, Bakersfield and San Ardo.

In Coalinga we stayed at Harris Ranch Inn. Great beef, great ranch style rooms and good beer to. Tuesday night we shifted locations to Paso Robles, 27 minutes south of San Ardo oilfield. We were in the midst of some of the finest red wine growing and nearly 300 wineries, from little tiny to very, very big! Just a note, we should have had a 27 minute drive but due to cattle guard issues with a local rancher and some drilling activity we had to drive another 8 or 10 minutes north, hook back across the Salinas River and meander through some  lush produce fields adding 15 minutes to the drive. We witnessed seemingly endless vistas of vineyards, cattle grazing on the rolling hills, cabbage harvests and lettuce planting….This stretch of Highway 101, El Camino Real that parallels the freeway is the most amazing display of the earth’s bounty.

Harris Ranch Inn pool vista. Actually pleasant arounf the pool - the wind from the Harris Ranch feedlot was not tracking toward the hotel!

Harris Ranch Inn pool vista. Actually pleasant around the pool – the wind from the Harris Ranch feedlot was not tracking toward the hotel! Thank Goodness

The altar at the San Miguel Mission near Paso Robles. Built in 1794!

The altar at the San Miguel Mission near Paso Robles. Built in 1794!

My workmate, Murray and I had worked in the region this past December. While in Paso Robles we dined at the pub associated with the Firestone Walker Brewery. Great beer and now great food to boot.  We treated ourselves in December to a bottle of Parabola, a barrel aged Imperial Stout. We shared the 2011 “vintage” – I think it is ok to use that term since we are in an incredible wine growing region! The 2011 bottle was amazing! We both agreed that it treated the senses to a mouth feel, taste and aroma that could be used to describe a great Port! I would love to have hauled an unopened bottle back to Texas but they wouldn’t agree to sell one to me for that purpose. I tried to explain that I was Bishop Decker, world famous beer drinker and blogger extraordinaire! I guess my fame is restricted to Texas!

Murray's good side with his 4 beer sampler at Firestone Walker Pub.

Murray’s good side with his 4 beer sampler at Firestone Walker Pub.

Surrounded my great wines, vineyards and wineries, so what do Murray and I drink? Beer!! We had the DBA, the 805, a 4 beer sampler – see Murray’s good side, and of course the Parabola. Rules seem to have change or maybe Murray and his west coast of Canada charm worked some magic – the rascal convinced them to sell him a bottle of the 2011 Parabola in a “to-go” box. In fact it was the last bottle and stamped as the No. 2 bottle from that batch.  We shared the 2013 bottling on the advice of our server….he said the 2012 was a bit too sweet. The 2013 is superb!

The Parabola 2013

The Parabola 2013

I treated Murray to a dinner with my Mother on Wednesday night at her favorite seafood place in Morro Bay. She ordered her favorite meal – the chicken breast – FYI the old gal doesn’t eat fish. She was her usual perky self at 84-ish. She conducts a Tai Chi class 3 days per week – as much a social gathering as it is fitness – a mix of mind and body. PS – Mom, Murray thinks you are pretty special. I hesitated putting that comment in because it could go to her Head!!!!

Friday we trekked back to Bakersfield the long way, through Santa Maria, similar vistas as the 101 north of Paso Robles but now strawberry fields add to the mix. We took Highway 166 through Cuyama…endless vistas of carrot fields! We continued our beer sampling at Lengthwise Pub out on Calloway in Bakersfield with their Centennial IPA.

Saturday on the plane very early, fingers crossed for an on time flight….My youngest son was graduating High School with over 600 of his classmates. The event was held in one half of Reliant Stadium…the same place that the NFL Texans play their games! At the celebratory graduation I tried a bottle of beer from Bear Republic, Red Rocket Ale – I really liked it!!!!!!

Red Rocket Ale is a bastardized Scottish style red ale that traces it’s origins to our homebrew roots. This full bodied and hoppy brew finishes on the palate with sweet, caramel malt flavors. 2009 California State Fair – SILVER 1999 Great American Beer Festival® Other Strong Ales or Lagers – SILVER 1998 Great American Beer Festival® Other Strong Ales – SILVER


Drink Local and Drink Responsibly – I am sipping on a Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale as I write….made with fresh hops…Murray has promised to bring me some fresh hops for my home brewing efforts next fall – Grown on the island of his residence, Salt Spring BC – said that he would supply me a kilo of the good stuff! A KILO OF HOPS Y’ALL!!!!!

Dinner at son Joe's graduation - he is far right, my big maroon body with my Red Rocket Ale is near right.

Dinner at son Joe’s graduation – he is far left, my big maroon body with my Red Rocket Ale is near right.


Be Hoppy

Lot’s of good reasons to be Happy and be Hoppy.

My daughter Lisa and I went to downtown Houston to Discovery Green in miserable weather to see the ice sculpture contest. Her company, interesting sculptures and local beer made it nice. My daughter Ashleigh met us for a Happy Birthday beer while we were there. Topped off an excellent outing. Tool man’s paradise – chain saws ripping ice, dye grinders gouging out huge chunks of ice and blow torches smoothing it all out! (insert Tim the Tool Man’s grunt here)

Can't say it any better!

Can’t say it any better!

St. Arnolds's Christmas Ale for Lisa and Ashleigh!

St. Arnolds’s Christmas Ale for Lisa and Ashleigh!

Sr Arnold's Elyssa IPA. what a very nice local beer! Poured a perfect head...I love ......never mind!

Sr Arnold’s Elyssa IPA. what a very nice local beer! Poured a perfect head…I love ……never mind!

The winning Ice Sculpture. Pretty Cool - a pun????

The winning Ice Sculpture. Pretty Cool – a pun????

This was my choice for number 1!

This was my choice for number 1!

Family, cold beer and an interesting day.

Drink local – we did, drink responsibly – we did and……….


Just One Beer at a Time

Thursday night October 25th I was in Long Beach at the 555 East Steakhouse. As advertised – very good steaks but I had been wanting a local beer to compliment the meal. It seems like there are lots of San Diego beers, Northern California beers but LA is barren when it comes to local beers. I quizzed the waiter….he had to check, seems like wine is their thing at the restaurant. I was in luck, they had a new offering from a small brewery just up the road in Torrance, CA., called the Strand Brewing Company. I had a pint of the 24th Street Pale Ale. I was pleased with the aroma and it had a pleasant drinkable taste. So I had another! I did a little research….for some reason LA is way behind the craft brewery craze in my home state. Strand Brewing is a good representative of what LA needs more of.

I flew home to Houston, arrived a little after noon, repacked my bags and headed off to Baton Rouge. 283 miles later I pulled into the Fairfield Inn on Essen! My son Ben met me and suggested we dine at Twin Peaks. I was expecting a Rocky Mountains theme and it was more like Le Gran Tetons – if y’all know what I mean( that is really a lie, I knew exactly what Twin Peaks was all about). Anything to make the young lad feel good. I barely noticed the scenery! I tried the house brew – Naughty Brunette. It was Ok.

Saturday night found us at the Kona Grill for a meal before catching the movie Argo….decent movie, suspenseful but you knew they were going to get out…. The poor young gal couldn’t pour a beer. I tried to coach her but she didn’t get it….oh well. No sushi for Ben nor me either. Just one beer – she forgot my second beer so she only had one chance. We did eat fish…Ben is growing up, no bacon cheeseburger this night…. sea bass, couscous and some interesting vegetables.

Sunday Brunch at Chimes just off the LSU campus. A noon start….Ben needed some beauty sleep. An amazing selection of beers on tap and in bottles. I had an IPA from NOLA Brewing, the Hopitoulas IPA – best beer of the weekend. They serve Imperial Pints so one was enough before the long drive back to Houston. The breakfast/brunch at Chimes is just simply outstanding! I am looking forward to an excuse to go back so I can do a proper critique of the offerings! I just need a driver and a bed!

This week at home, I had to sip on my homebrew IPA….so good!

My IPA in a St Arnold’s 12 ounce glass…..trying to stretch it out a little longer. I have 6 L remaining of the original 18 L batch.

Grilled some chicken the other night along with a Karbach Hopidillo in hand – this local brewery is so good! Last night I chilled one of my Imperial Stouts…..it has been bottled maybe 6 weeks. it was a little early but I just had to know. I bottled about 6 – 12 ounce bottles as the sacrificial offerings. It was good but I know that it will just get better with age. December 1st is the next scheduled sampling.

Just finished that little 12 ouncer of my IPA as I sit here tapping the keys and listening/watching the CMA Awards…..life is just so damn good!

Drink Local



A Bit of Drought Relief

While in Midland this past week I passed on beer drinking pretty much all week. I was being stubborn, a trait rarely seen by those that know me. Thursday night my work partner and I decided to dine at KD’s BBQ in Midland out on the Garden City Highway near I-20. It was one of my favorite lunch spots when I lived in Midland for several reasons – I liked the meat, the building and decorations are a hoot, but most of all, the serving line.

You enter through what feels like the back door to your grandmother’s kitchen. You go up the steps,  open the old wooden screen door and walk up to the row of stove tops. You grab a serving tray, add a sheet of paper and start pointing. I was a bit restrained in my selections. I went for the ribs and brisket. Other offerings include smoked turkey, hot links, regular sausage, jalepeno sausage and pulled pork….see what I mean by restraint. I did add a couple of grilled jalepeno peppers ( in West Texas I think they are called hallapenyas) either way they are tasty and pack a little bite.

I added some coleslaw, sauce and pickles to my tray. All the usual BBQ fixins are available. See my tray and yes it says $21.17…..you pay by the pound! iPhone photo.

Ribs, Brisket, coleslaw, sauce, hot peppers and no it wasn’t sweet tea.

Beer selection was a bit week, I had been craving a good local ale and kept striking out all over town so I just had to settle for unsweetened tea. Then I had a brain…………a brain flash! We took a different route home and tried the Western Beverage package store on Loop 250 and Midkiff. I went in looking for a local beer or at least something brewed in a craft brewery in Texas. I spotted Alamo Golden Ale – the deal was done. I was able to satisfy my need for a good ale to follow up the BBQ.

I dug a little deeper – I also try to find a bit more about the beer, how it  is brewed and any details that the brewer would offer up.  What did I learn? The beer is very nice, great flavor and yes a beautiful golden color. The beer is brewed under contract with Real Brewing Company in Blanco, Texas……it still fits the drink local mantra I try to follow when traveling.  The founder and president for the great beer is pursuing the establishment of a new brewery in San Antonio to expand his offerings.

It seems that a great many hurdles,  not insurmountable but hurdles nonetheless need to be resolved befor the brewery is built in San Antonio…..I just hope that the Golden Ale stays in production and on the shelves.

Alamo Beer Company

Drink Local