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;

http://wp.me/p1qlvz-ec

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

Bishop

 

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Grand Junction, CO – Two for One Post

What a nice change of environment, three plus days out of the Houston heat and humidity. The only drawback – I wasn’t able to share this trip with my wife. I know sooner or later  the benefits of a mostly empty nest will be evident. What does mostly empty mean? Our oldest son has finished all of his on campus requirements for graduation from LSU’s Construction Management Program – one remaining class that can be completed via distance learning. It is cheaper to have him in Houston with us until all of the boxes for graduation are checked off and the job search begins.

The second night of the stay my workmate and I visited the Rockslide Brewery & Restaurant. Side note; the state of Texas has taken a giant step forward with recent legislation easing some of the restrictive regulations for small brewers and brew pubs but still lags far behind Colorado, California and others. The next night we drove about 15 minutes out of town to the little village of Palisade. The drive took us through some of the vineyards and orchards that cover the Colorado River Valley in this more temperate part of Colorado. There is a mall brewery in Palisade, Palisade Brewing Company.

Let’s talk about Rockslide Brewery and Restaurant. Located on Main St. in the old downtown section of town that has been nicely remade. The road has been shrunk to two lanes that meander around small plaza like areas sprinkled with benches and pleasant landscaping. It definitely slows traffic but adds a nice quaint old town feel. The restaurant is bright, clean and was hosting a party celebration of some sort in the back half of the upstairs seating area. The waiter had decent knowledge of the beer offerings and I have to admit, the food menu was broad enough to satisfy most visitors. My travel mate tried the Widow Maker Wheat – “pleasant and easy to drink” were his comments. Me, I went with the four beer flight, Rabbit Ears Amber, Cold Shivers Pale Ale. Kokopelli Cream Ale and the Horse Thief IPA. They were all very good beers, the IPA was my favorite but that shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  The food fare – my work mate had the fish and chips with a twist. The twist was  – the fish was battered salmon rather than cod. He said it was surprisingly good. I had the steak salad, medium rare and it was perfect with their house Balsamic dressing.

http://www.rockslidebrewpub.com/

Rockslide flight of beers

Rockslide flight of beers

Rockslide Beer list.

Rockslide Beer list.

Palisade, small village as I mentioned before, and the journey to the brewery is only for those that know where they are going, have been there before or you are paying close attention the GPS. We had a driver, one of the client reps that attended the training session, who also happens to like good beers. He was a bit tentative but eventually we turned down the right street and pulled up at the brewery adjacent to the railroad tracks. We had the good fortune of live music out on the patio on a perfect evening for  dining and sipping al fresco. The seating was ample but all three of us noticed an odd split in the seating designations. At least 75% of the seating is designated for SMOKING! That is right, only 25% labeled for the non-smokers. If it hadn’t been for the three of us occupying 3 of the 20 plus seats on the no-smoking side it would have been empty. The smoking side was packed! Another observation, I felt like I had been transported back to the 60”s. The crowd was very reminiscent of SFO’s Haight Ashbury in the heyday of the 60’s hippy movement. I wonder if the 2012 ballot initiative that passed in Colorado had any influence on the seating arrangement and attendees.  More about being transported back in time later in this post.

Food was typical pub food with lots of Jalapenos available for every dish if you so desired. James, my workmate, had a huge appetizer portion of Nachos with the Blonde Ale offering. Our client driver, Rob, hmmmm, I forget what he ate but we both ordered a flight of beers, 6 beers served in 4 ounce Mason jelly jars. High marks to the brewery. Not a bad or even average beer in the bunch. I gave high marks to all 6 beers sampled.  Rob enjoyed the High Desert Red, James the Laid Back Blonde Ale  and me, the IPA, so well in fact, that I followed up with a pint of that nice IPA……Rob was driving! The “Off Belay IPA” was really, really good in my estimation……that is why I sampled it twice in order to confirm my first impression.

http://www.palisadebrewingcompany.com/

Palisade Brewery flight of beers in jelly jars

Palisade Brewery flight of beers in jelly jars

Uber healthy brisket, cheddar and Jalapeno sandwich. I paired it with a cucumber salad to solidify the healthy aspect!

Uber healthy brisket, cheddar and Jalapeno sandwich. I paired it with a cucumber salad to solidify the healthy aspect!

Dirty Hippy T-shirt from Palisade Brewery

Dirty Hippy T-shirt from Palisade Brewery

Upon return to the hotel I realized why it felt like I had been transported back to the 60’s. Parked out front was Emmett “Doc” Brown’s “Back to the Future” 1981 DeLorean, flux capacitor and all! I peaked inside and sure enough the dials were set to 1969! Not really, I am stretching the truth a little. Look at the photos and I think that you will agree that it is a remarkable replica of the movie vehicle. Why was the car there? I’ll tell you.  http://www.fireballrun.com/teams/182

Doc’s car and a companion car, a fairly stock DeLorean, are participating in the Longmont, Colorado to Riverside, California Fireball Run. The Fireball Run is a 2000 mile long scavenger hunt designed to create awareness for missing children and obviously raise funds. Check out the info online and the Facebook page to read about the successes they have had finding missing children. I made my donation to Doc and Team # 15. It is “small world after all”. Team #15 is driven by Paul “Doc” Nigh, a 4th year participant and from my home town of Bakersfield, California. He is a bit younger having graduated from North High in 1974 but sure enough, we had a few mutual acquaintances!

https://www.facebook.com/fireballrun

Look close - set to 1969 - Not

Look close – set to 1969 – Not really but could have been!

BTF car

BTF car and sister DeLorean in the background

Oh by the way, if your beverage of choice is wine, the area is dotted with small wineries with growing reputations. If you are on Interstate 70, make the decision to slow down and visit Grand Junction, Palisade and Fruita!

Drink Local and Drink Responsibly

Bishop

West Texas Drought

There was been a little improvement from the severe 2011 drought – but not much. I am in Midland Texas this week working for a few days. The drought is extensive and pervasive….I cannot find a good draught beer anywhere. Now a couple of establishments will have a Shiner, or a Blue Moon and once in a while a Sam Adams Seasonal but that is where Midland’s deviation from the Bud or Coors beer mindset ends. This town is nearly barren. Now, I can go into a store and pick up some bottles of good craft beers but my thirst needs a pint of a good microbrew to cut the dust..An IPA with a good dose of bittering hops and a nice hit of floral hops at the end of the boil for a good nose. California beers, Colorado beers, Pacific Northwest beers – Texas has some really good breweries but apparently kegs can’t roll all the way out to West Texas.

Dinner was good this evening, grilled scallops but the choices for a beer to wash them down with was sad. I had a Shiner…..the other choices besides the standard yellow fizzy water everyone serves were Peroni – not a bad beer but a little weak, Stellas Artois – ok but still just so so – and Shiner….At least Shiner is a Texas beer! I ate and drank lightly so I could get my work out in back at the hotel. Watched the recap of the Tour de France on NBC Sports network…. Go Mr Wiggins!

I have googled for some help in finding a decent pint between Midland and Odessa and have come up empty….The Wall Street Bar & Grill did have a Bass Ale in bottles but where can I get a good, really good pint out here? Help Needed!

Signed – Mr. Dried and Parched Decker

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; http://www.brewersfriend.com/2009/02/28/beer-styles-srm-color-chart/

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!

TTFN

Bishop

 

Humble Texas Beerfest – May 7, 2011

My good friend John  and I made a brief appearance at the Humble Beer Festival this past weekend. For you none Texans, the H in Humble is silent. We both were a bit dismayed with the brief part….. the entry fee was double what it should have been but as true lovers of beer we winced when the wallet opened and closed but we were treat to some outstanding samples. Now don’t be too judgemental of  John’s appearance. The photo was taken quite early in the event, probably no more than 5,  two ounce samples under his belt.  I just forgot to say, “1, 2, 3, smile.”

It really was a nationwide festival, Brooklyn to Seattle and a few “fereners” notably the Ruskies. Every sample was good! although a few were much better than others. We met some interesting folks, the guy with a hops hat wearing a kilt was interesting to say the least. He was part of the Foam Rangers brewing club. I asked a young lady with bright pink hair to pose with me and she complied. I shared the photo of me and my friend on Facebook and my mom commented – “I was sent to the office in 1945 for having hair that color.”

Many new and even 3 day old start-up breweries were plying their marvelous concoctions. My primary interest was to assess how some of my recent efforts stacked up against the professionals. And yes maybe just drink a few as potential brewing candidates. I think my brews compare well! Hooked up with a local brew club here in Kingwood, TX so my brewing knowledge will continue to grow.

As for my brewing efforts;

The batch of wheat ale made for Lindsay Waterman went sour due to….. just my guess, cat dander from my wife’s cats. We rebrewed, is that a word – I guess now it is, and I bottled it yesterday. The sample pulled prior to bottling to check the gravity was might tasty! tonight I boil a new one for my daughter Lisa. She asked for a special brew that her friends from the band ‘Downfall 2012″ to take on their summer tour. I will try to replicate the recipe I shared in an earlier post. The only change I will make is to dry hop an ounce of the Amarillo hops. So, why mess with a good thing…. just to see if we can make it better. I will not send the full 5 gallons out with the band….i willjust keep some brew to replace the sweat I lose in the brewing process.

Bishop’s Imperial Stout

This photo was taken on February 14th, bottling day – yes I know I am a hopeless romantic! I did sample the brew….. I had to pull a sample to check the specific gravity and I hate to throw anything away….. a lot like my Dad. Well, it was tasty but too, too sweet. I let it sit and sampled again in mid March. Not mature enough…. a lot like the Cheezit commercial checking on the maturity of the cheese used.Remember this was brewed on December 20th, 2010!  My Imperial Stout was not quite ready so back into the dark it went.

I had to brew a replacement Wheat beer for my little brewing buddy – Lindsay Waterman – because the “Waterman Wheat Ale”  picked up an infection…… soured the beer – I can’t wait to have a cat free brewing zone!!!!!! Back to the stout – I put a bottle in the fridge the day before and sampled it on Monday the 18th of April, Ahhhhh! It is definitely maturing nicely. I gave my son, Ben and daughter Ashleigh a taste of the second bottle last night and even though they are not stout fans they gave it good marks. I loved the smooth feel in the mouth and the flavor has really mellowed – not too sweet and much less bitter than the Irish Stouts like Guinness.

I think I will give it some more time and as it is about 10%-11%  alcohol. It is a special occasion beer/stout and the 2 cases should last many months. Let’s also hope that I am successful at getting the new “Waterman’s Wheat Ale” into the bottle without an infection this month! Damn cats!

Bottoms up – responsibly!

An Update – Summer 2012 – lone remaing, surviving 22 oz bottle of this incredible beer was consumed. It only improved with age…kinda like me! No, more like my wife. I must make a plan to do this one again!

Bishop