A Beer for my Honey

I have put back 5 pounds of a dark rich honey collected  from my bees.  I have been planning to make a beer utilizing my honey but haven’t made the time, until now. I asked my Honey for input, as we tend to like different styles….this beer is for her! In her cute way of saying it….A  “Honey Ale”, I have translated that to a “Honey Blonde Ale”. Now comes the  daunting part….selecting a recipe. There are so many choices!

This will be an all grain batch targeting an IBU number of around 20…..again, this is for my Honey and she prefers beers on the lower end of the IBU scale.

The challenge is add the honey in such a way as to not completely lose it’s flavor completely.  Obviously, it should be added at or near the end of the boil. Research also shows opportunities to add some honey to the secondary….Hmmmmm – I continue to do my home work.

I have a bit of time to plan…I won’t brew this batch until the eye doctor  give me permission to lift loads heavier than 20 pounds. I am having cataract surgery in a couple of days and would hate to lift a 5 gallon fermenter and have the implanted lens pop out….. Maybe I can draft my eldest son, a little over 6’5″ and now outweighs me and has the benefit of stupid young man strength, to help me out! PS – after challenging me to arm wrestle on his 21st birthday and losing badly – I still maintain a bit of a fear factor over him…it keeps him in line! He is now 25 and hasn’t asked for a rematch. Brew date is toward the end of the week of September 14.

I teat my son well....on the right is a Session IPA....his favorite and on the left is the Yes Dear Raspberry Wheat Ale....a little left for my wife.

I do treat my son well….on the right is a Session IPA….his favorite and on the left is the “Yes Dear Raspberry Wheat Ale”….a little left for my wife.

Brewing notes will be forth coming, in less than a fortnight!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

 

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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

Brewing Day

It was a few days ago, December 23rd to be exact. Yes dear, I probably could have picked a better day ……. seems like it was hectic for everyone – everyone else but not me…. I should have known that there were different expectations?????

The all grain process does chew up some time. I don’t wear a watch so a good portion of the day got away from me before I started. It was dark by the time I was finished and beginning the clean-up. From a technical standpoint the brew came off flawless……. I hit the volumes, the starting gravity, the color and if the flavor of the sample from the gravity measurement is an indicator, it will be very nice! In less than two days the fermentation was in high gear and I should transfer to the secondary in a couple of days.

I plan to make a small change to the recipe. I plan to add Raspberry Puree to the secondary fermenter for flavor. The folks at the local brew shop suggested the that I should obtain better results. Time will tell.

Low tech but effective outdoor brewing set-up.

Low tech but effective outdoor brewing set-up.

I finished drinking the little dab of Belgian Wit that was in the fridge and had a couple of my Golden Wheat Red IPAs while brewing. The Tap-a-Draft mini-keg really works well and added just a wee bit more CO2 – makes it an outstanding beer! Gotta have a homebrew when making homebrew!

 

Plans – my son Ben is asking for just a plain run of the mill Pale Ale – then he said it must have great flavor and be easy to drink…….the search for a recipe begins…..IPA flavor but less alcohol….as session IPA. I can do it!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

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

 

 

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

 

Karbach Brewery and Beer Butt Chickens

Please be advised that I am still enamored with all things beer, ale or homebrewing involved. Work sometimes gets in the way of my Beer Blogging efforts but the desire never wanes. I worked in Lafayette Louisiana two weeks ago and was introduced to an Abita Seasonal. The Abita Spring IPA is outstanding!!!!! My wife and daughter are drinking a very Abita like Raspberry Wheat Ale tonight that was a shared effort with my friend Mike…..he did most of the work and I absconded with 2.5 gallons of a very nice tasting beer. I carried mine home in my 6L Tap-A-Draft mini-kegs. Sorry Mike…I couldn’t wait and charged up the mini-keg and my wife is happy. She says it is smooth and silky on the tongue!

Abita Spring IPA....my vote would be to add it to the full time line-up

Abita Spring IPA….my vote would be to add it to the full time line-up

Ok – back to the title – My wife went to Sam’s Club and brought home a couple aof big fat roasting chickens and a hankering for Beer Butt Chicken. I normally use cheap beer in cans for the effort but decided to go gourmet with the recipe. In the fridge were a few cans of Karbach. I said, “Why not!” I use about a half of a can for each chicken. I pulled a chilled glass out of the freezer poured half of each can into the glass – it was then I realized that I had sinned. See photo below;

DSC_3062

Oops – Sympathy for the Lager mixed with Rodeo Clown IPA!

I will have to admit that the two beers blended in the glass sitting on the counter were complimentary. Maybe Karbach could see if a blend may be commercially viable. They blend wines don’t they? It was a busy kitchen day, over on the left is my chunky strawberry jam. Into each can I add my secret rub seasoning….not really secret – I am a simple man so I used garlic salt and a hometown blend from Luigi’s Deli, Oh, by the way, I have tried using the Luigi’s on scrambled eggs for my son the way his Aunt Denise does and I fall short….she must be hiding things from me. I think she still resents that I am the favorite child!

I really like these combination pan and stands for holding the chickens upright. They  also captures the dripping grease preventing massive flare-ups. That can ruin your day and your chicken. We found these at Walmart. A bit of advice….spray the metal parts with lots of oil. it will help with clean-up! Now slip the chickens over the stand and beer can like so.

Dressed and ready to go to the BBQ!

Dressed and ready to go to the BBQ!

I try to keep the grill in the 400 F range as they cook. These big boys took about 75 minutes before the legs and wings had that floppy looseness that indicates they are done. I also removed juices from the catch pan at the bottom using a turkey baster before they over flowed and caused a flare up. The chicken was so moist that it pretty much fell off of the breasts.  The serving photo was not taken….the meat disappeared too quickly for me to get the shot.

On the grill and ready to transform into yummy goodness!

On the grill and ready to transform into yummy goodness!

Now, in answer to my wife’s question after the new beer kit arrived, “Yes Dear, we have room for more beer.” Secretly I hope that I am right. I will document my efforts today! It is a Father’s Day Ale.

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop