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

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Beer and Domestic Harmony

I bottled my Imperial Stout yesterday. The sample I took for the gravity reading was very nice. Just a hint of bourbon from the oak and a taste of both coffee and dark chocolate. Can’t wait to see how it matures. While prepping for the bottling exercise I cleaned up the counters and floors to eliminate potential cat hairs from invading the beer and infecting it. I had all of the chairs moved out and mopping when my wife showed up. She was so pleased that I was mopping the floors for her! Her admiration for my efforts was not long-lasting. She quickly spotted the bottle tree, the priming bucket and other paraphernalia. Then she let know exactly what she thought….

“You’re not mopping the floors for me! You are doing it for your beer!” she said and then walked away.

My beer bottle tree = clean and sanitized bottles!

Guys, can we ever win? On Tuesday of this week we were down at the St Arnold’s Brewery and she put me in a tough stop then. We were sitting at a table near the bar. There was a woman near the same age as my wife standing with her back to us. She was wearing fairly snug jeans. Kathy asked me the no win question.

“Hun, does my butt look as big as hers?” – I looked and honestly didn’t think the woman’s butt looked that big and Kathy’s not as wide as the woman’s butt. I replied, “Hun, your butt is shaped much nicer than hers!” Not quite the answer she wanted to hear.

Then she said, “let me go up and stand next her. You use your phone and take a picture for me.” Oh boy, I really can’t win this one…..fortunately she decided against having me take the picture.

I did remop the floor because I did make a bit of a mess……still did not make too many points because as she points out….I will probably just track in more muck. She normally waits for me to go out of town when she mops so the floors stay nicer – longer!

Had a nice lesson in brewing today down at the Backyard Homebrewers Education center in Humble TX – the H is silent!. I learned a few more tips and techniques to improve the brewing of my next batch!

My homemade toasted oak dowels – hand turned in my shop. They were soaked in bourbon for two weeks before being added to the secondary fermenter.

TTFN

Drink Local

Bishop

Imperial Stout Additions

Not many votes but my first choice was number one on the list. Oak infused with bourbon has been designated as the route to take. I decided to make my own oak spirals – not really a spiraling cut but I believe it will work. I shot a video of my handiwork on the lathe creating extra surface are for the oaky and bourbon flavors but couldn’t post on this blog – just still photos. I have enough to make many more for a fraction of the cost of commercial oak spirals.  I also roasted the oak in the oven 1 hour 45 minutes at 400 F and 30 minutes at 450 F. I wandered off during the roasting process to run some errands….when I returned to the house I could detect the “robust” odor of roasted oak…..my wife’s description of the odor was not as complimentary….she had her candles burning in an attempt to mask that wonderful robust and oaky scent.

I cut the spiral cut dowel to fit into a wide-mouthed mason jar. I went off to the liquor store to buy the bourbon, a less expensive bourbon than I have in the bar……No Pappy Van Winkle for this effort, I bought Evan Williams – a Kentucky bourbon. I chatted with the store clerk and she seemed to know a little bit about bourbon. I explained my intent and she offered this one as having a bit of a smoky flavor. The reviews are not real good as a drinking bourbon – I did pour a little over ice and I think I would agree with many of the reviewers – mix it with something, do not drink neat or even over ice(my choice). Should be fine for my intended purposes though.

http://www.bourbonenthusiast.com/forum/DBvd.php?id=239&task=displaybottling

The dowel partially cut – repeated the pattern the entire length using my parting tool.

Same dowel viewed from a different angle. Left rough for better liquid absorption and release of flavor.

I will allow it to soak for another week, then transfer my Stout over into the secondary and add my bourbon soaked oak dowel.

PS – the color of the dowel after roasting was about the same color as “tanning moms” face at her peak of brown-ness….roasted oaky brown is my description of her hue!

TTFN

Bishop