Tag Archives: blonde

Simplicity

I’m on a simplicity kick.  Nothing for a total of ten beers (only successfully completed and drank beers) can be in any way complicated.  My reasons for this are a few in a row of very so-so beers that were also too complicated to be able to accurately trouble shoot without doubt.  So it’s KISS only from here to a while from now.

My lager came out good, that’s one.  It was merely golden promise plus cascade, and it’s damn tasty.

I’ve got a couple Munich SMaSH beers going too.  One’s a petite saison smash with munich and citra, one’s a regular old
US-05 munich/cascade smash beer.  Also got a super simple stout planned with 90% 2-row, 10% roasted barley, and Irish ale yeast, for a super simple dry Irish stout.

Also got a blonde ale that came out fantastic (again!)  Reasonably simple beers that I’ve done before successfully are IN as far as my simplicity kick goes. Elderberry wheat may be repeated shortly too.

When you realize that your simplest beers are usually your best, then you should consider going on a simplicity kick.  Sometimes you just gotta do what you gotta do.

Texas Big Beer Brewery, part 2

I found the first bottle of porter so tasty, I figured I would try the other three types of Texas Big Beer Brewery beers that were available.  Yes, even the scotch ale!  A link to all their beers is here.

I’ll start with the Working Stiff Ale.

Excellent appearance, it was tannish with some orange tint,  a smidge hazy, had plenty of rising bubbles, and had a great sturdy off white head that left a great cap and plenty of sticky lacing.

Aroma is somewhat malty with a good bit of bitterness, not a ton of overly distinct particular hops aromas, but still a notable degree of hops aroma.  The flavor follows right along, being fairly malt forward, but with a crisp and pronounced bitterness.  I like it, I don’t really want tons of mango, pine, citrus etc when I drink an ESB, I just want a good solid bitterness and a solid malt body.  This beer delivers.

The drinkability is pretty high, medium body with a crisp but bitter finish, and a little lingering dry maltiness.

I like it.  Tasty and delicious, interesting and different.  This is my second of four from this brewery, and so far I’m very happy to have another good brewery that’s pretty local.  Definitely try it.

Seriously, the working stiff is some damn fine beer.  I wrote part of this post shortly after I wrote the first one, as I wanted to try some more of their beers as soon as I could.  The working stiff was my second of Texas Big Beer’s brews, and as I finish this blog off, I’m having yet another working stiff ale!  A very fine beer indeed, especially  considering how few ESBs are out there in the US.

The Big Texas Blonde Ale was another really interesting beer.  It really does retain quite a bit of the characteristics of a blonde ale, despite the high ABV.  It’s listed as a Belgian strong pale ale on beer advocate, but it doesn’t really have the same characteristics of those beers, it’s more, well, “blonde,” with less of the pronounced yeasty and spicy flavors of Belgians, and more of the refreshing and light flavors of a blonde ale.  Hard to think of something 10.5% as light or refreshing, but that’s part of the charm of this beer, the fact that it’s somewhat of a paradox in a bottle.  I will certainly be drinking this one again too!

And finally, the Scotch ale, Renaissance Cowboy.  I am not a big fan of this style in general, Scotch ales just don’t do it for me.  However, on the recommendation of several people, I went ahead and tried it.  Excellent!  Probably the best example of this style that I’ve ever had.  There’s enough of a solid, even pronounced bitterness to balance out the sweetness and brown sugary flavors (usually Scotch ales aren’t balanced enough in this respect for my taste).  And it’s not carbonated to such a low degree that it’s nearly-flat, a flaw (IMO) that many Scotch ales have.  This one has enough carbonation to keep me interested.  I found it somewhat barleywine-like (a style I generally much prefer over Scotch ales).  So even with a style that I’m not especially fond of, Texas Big Beer kept me interested.  That’s pretty cool.

Cheers!

Real Ale Brewing Company, Blanco Texas

I’ve been steadily trying different beers from Real Ale Brewing Company (often referred to by beer geeks as RABC).   So far, I’ve found they make great beer!  In fact I’ve liked every beer I’ve tried from them, and hope to try more!

This brewery is right up there with America’s top craft breweries in their quality of beer.  They make flavorful beers, often plentifully hopped, and even seem to be setting a few trends (like with their four-squared, a blonde ale ramped up with lots of extra hops and more malts).

Their Brewer’s Cut series has been interesting.  The latest two are Altbier and Blonde Barleywine.  I really like the Altbier, it’s plentifully malty with enough hops for balance, making a really enjoyable Altbier (not a style we see a lot of). The blonde barleywine is a strange one, but it’s quite enjoyable if you’re a barleywine drinker (don’t think it’s a blonde ale, it’s over 9%!).  Kind of like a barleywine mixed with a blonde ale, but mostly it’s still a barleywine.  I applaud them for trying new and different things!

Here are some other of their past Brewer’s Cut projects:

I particularly liked the Signature Hop Pale Ale, and the Imperial Red.  I wish they’d just make the Signature Hop Pale Ale a regular offering, or at the very least, a seasonal.  Can’t wait to see what they come up with next!

Value-wise I’ve found their beers to be spot-on.  The prices are reasonable and the quality high.  This is real American craft beer, not some Podunk bunch of amateurs.

Their annual anniversary party was quite large, and I appreciate the free beers I got from them!  More importantly, I appreciate being able to get high quality, reasonably priced craft beer that’s made locally.

Stuff I’d like to see from them, should they be so inclined to brew it…

  • Double IPA
  • American Stout or Milk Stout (about 6% ABV)
  • Sessionable “Bitter” or “ESB”
  • Anything fruity

Anyway, don’t be afraid to try some RABC brews, they’re delicious!

Altbier

 

Upcoming Beers on the Homebrew Front

Well I’ve got a number of things in the queue that I’m real excited about, including several SMaSH beers:

  • Maris Otter / Simcoe SMaSH with WY1968 London ESB Ale Yeast
  • 2-row / Fuggles SMaSH with an extra-long boil to increase malliard reactions
  • Vienna / Cascade SMaSH (yeast?)
  • Another Petite Saison SMaSH fermented at 64-66F (with different base malt/hops this time, TBD)
  • Bleach Blonde Ale IV (it still hasn’t been made, lol, even tho I already blogged it)
  • Elderberry Wheat III (identical recipe, possibly a slightly different yeast)
  • An American Pale Ale with 2-row, munich, vienna, cara-amber, and honey malt, hops schedule TBD, probably an ounce each Cascade/Centennial at 5 minutes with magnum bittering and serebrianka dry hops
  • An American / Oatmeal Stout – I haven’t made a stout in a while and my last one came out GREAT!  (I might just make that one again, or something close to it).
  • “Election Stout” a rather complex but tasty looking pseudo-session beer, recipe by GreenKrusty101
  • Something “session” or “mild,”  Preferably English.
  • A Rye beer, fairly hoppy

Note that I’ve done enough American IPAs and hoppy APAs for the moment.  We’re in different territory now.  Not everything has to be super-hopped.  In fact I’ve had trouble finding commercial beers lately that aren’t IPAs or hoppy APAs.

Bleach Blonde Ale IV

Well it’s almost time for another edition of Bleach Blonde Ale.  This time I’ll be using the exact same grain bill as last time, but changing a couple of other parameters.  I like this grain bill, the last edition came out very well.

Wyeast 1332, Northwest ale yeast will be used for NEXT batch.   Wound up using Nottingham yeast.

Honestly I was thinking of trying Serebrianka hops with this one and I might still change the recipe accordingly.  EDIT: decided to go with serebrianka and try them out!  Will use cascade/willamette (belma for tiny bittering charge) next time.

  • 8 lbs pale malt 2-row
  • 8 oz Vienna malt
  • 6 oz caraamber
  • 6 oz carafoam
  • 1 lb flaked corn
  • 0.5 oz serebrianka hops at 60
  • 1 oz serebrianka hops at 15
  • 2 oz serebrianka hops at 5

Mash at 151F

Targets

  • OG 1.050
  • FG 1.010
  • IBU 21
  • SRM 5.2
  • ABV 5.3%

Bleach Blonde Ale III

Well due to a rather weird set of circumstances, I wound up postponing again my planned production of Elderberry Wheat II, and wound up making Bleach Blonde Ale, part III.

An oddball on this one… the LHBS was out of US-05.  Some people from Mexico had bought out ALL the US-05 (and a lot of other stuff too, lol) because they can’t get it in Mexico.  Thus I was forced to us S-04 yeast on this one.  We shall see what happens!

  • 8 lbs pale malt 2-row
  • 8 oz Vienna malt
  • 6 oz caraamber
  • 6 oz carafoam
  • 1 lb flaked corn
  • 0.25 oz belma hops at 60
  • 1 oz cluster hops at 10
  • 1 oz cascade hops at 3

Mash at 151F

Targets

  • OG 1.053
  • FG 1.010
  • IBU 22.7
  • SRM 4.6
  • ABV 5.6%
  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. reconstitute dry yeast using 95F boiled spring water and allow to cool to room temperature
  4. Add grains to mash tun
  5. bring 4 gallon spring water to 167 F
  6. Add 3 3/4 gallons of 167F spring water to mash tun on top of grains, then stir well
  7. add more water to boil pot, bring to near 172F and hold for sparging
  8. measure temperature after temperature equalizes in mash.
  9. adjust mash temperature using either heated mash water or cool spring water as needed to reach 152F
  10. mash for 75 minutes at 151F
  11. during mash, stir about every 15 minutes or so, checking temperature and adjusting if needed
  12. at end of mash, begin draining wort into pitcher
  13. allow first runnings to drain into a pitcher until clear
  14. pour first runnings back on top of mash
  15. slowly drain remaining wort into boil pot until mash tun is near empty
  16. add 2.0 gallons 170F water (adjusted as needed)
  17. stir well, let sit at least 5 minutes
  18. drain first runnings of first batch sparge into pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  19. pour first runnings of first batch sparge back on top of mash
  20. drain wort into main boil pot until near empty
  21. add another 2.0 gallons 170F water to mash tun (adjusted as needed)
  22. stir well, let sit at least 5 minutes
  23. drain first runnings of second batch sparge to pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  24. add first runnings back into mash tun
  25. drain wort into main boil pot
  26. add wort chiller to boil pot
  27. bring main boil pot to a boil
  28. when boil is reached, boil 60 minutes total
  29. at 60 minutes, add 0.25 oz Belma hops
  30. at 15 minutes, add 1/4 tsp yeast nutrient
  31. at 12 minutes, add 1/4 tsp Irish moss
  32. during boiling, skim off hot break as needed
  33. add 1 oz cluster hops at 10 minutes
  34. add 1 oz cascade hops at 3 minutes
  35. at flameout, turn on water for wort chiller
  36. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  37. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  38. ensure bucket, wine thief, thermometer, strainer, spoon are sanitized
  39. when wort gets to about 68F, add to fermentation bucket, pouring through sanitized strainer to catch any extra solids and to help aerate.  If necessary, clean strainer during process and re-sanitize to remove most of the trub before fermentation
  40. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  41. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  42. ensure wort is 68F or a little less before pitching yeast
  43. ensure yeast is a little cooler than wort before pitching
  44. pitch yeast
  45. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  46. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  47. ferment in temperature controlled freezer chest for 14+ days at 66F
  48. take FG sample and bottle
  49. use 5 oz corn sugar at bottling

Actual OG: 1.046

Actual FG: 1.010

Notes: Trying to develop a house beer on this one.  This recipe will be refined and tried again and again over time until it’s perfected.  I don’t think this particular batch will be perfect, but it should be quite drinkable!

Bleache Blonde Ale II

This one will be a revisit of my original Blonde Ale, but done with all grain.  The specialty grains will be a little different as well.  Here’s the recipe:

  • 5 lbs pale malt 2-row
  • 3 lbs pilsner malt
  • 1 lb Vienna malt
  • 6 oz caraamber
  • 6 oz carafoam
  • 6 oz flaked corn
  • 0.5 oz northern brewer hops at 60
  • 1 oz willamette hops at 10
  • 1 oz willamette hops at 0

Mash at 152F

Targets

  • OG 1.052
  • FG 1.011
  • IBU 19.6
  • SRM 4.8
  • ABV 5.3%
  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. reconstitute dry yeast using 95F boiled spring water and allow to cool to room temperature
  4. Add grains to mash tun
  5. bring 4 gallon spring water to 167 F
  6. Add 3 1/3 gallons of 167F spring water to mash tun on top of grains, then stir well
  7. add more water to boil pot, bring to near 172F and hold for sparging
  8. measure temperature after temperature equalizes in mash.
  9. adjust mash temperature using either heated mash water or cool spring water as needed to reach 152F
  10. mash for 75 minutes at 152F
  11. during mash, stir about every 15 minutes or so, checking temperature and adjusting if needed
  12. at end of mash, begin draining wort into pitcher
  13. allow first runnings to drain into a pitcher until clear
  14. pour first runnings back on top of mash
  15. slowly drain remaining wort into boil pot until mash tun is near empty
  16. add 2.4 gallons 172F water (adjusted as needed)
  17. stir well, let sit at least 5 minutes
  18. drain first runnings of first batch sparge into pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  19. pour first runnings of first batch sparge back on top of mash
  20. drain wort into main boil pot until near empty
  21. add another 2.4 gallons 172F water to mash tun (adjusted as needed)
  22. stir well, let sit at least 5 minutes
  23. drain first runnings of second batch sparge to pitcher until clear (or close to it)
  24. add first runnings back into mash tun
  25. drain wort into main boil pot
  26. add wort chiller to boil pot, filled with hot water
  27. bring main boil pot to a boil
  28. when boil is reached, boil 60 minutes total
  29. at 15 minutes, add 1/4 tsp yeast nutrient
  30. at 12 minutes, add 1/4 tsp Irish moss
  31. during boiling, skim off hot break as needed
  32. add 1 oz willamette hops in nylon paint bag at 10 minutes
  33. add 1 oz willamette leaf hops in nylon paint bag at 0 minutes
  34. at flameout, turn on water for wort chiller and chill to 170 F
  35. let stand about 15 minutes hop rest, then turn wort chiller back on
  36. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, wine thief
  37. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  38. ensure bucket, wine thief, thermometer, strainer, spoon are sanitized
  39. when wort gets to about 68F, add to fermentation bucket, pouring through sanitized strainer to catch any extra solids and to help aerate.  If necessary, clean strainer during process and re-sanitize to remove most of the trub before fermentation
  40. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  41. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  42. ensure wort is 68F or a little less before pitching yeast
  43. ensure yeast is a little cooler than wort before pitching
  44. pitch yeast
  45. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  46. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  47. ferment in temperature controlled freezer chest for 14+ days at 66F
  48. ferment a total of 14 or more days
  49. take FG sample and bottle
  50. use 5 oz corn sugar at bottling

Actual OG: 1.050

Actual FG:

Notes: Well there were some issues, but I doubt they will be anything major.  First off, I misread the strike water volume on beersmith and added too much strike water.  So we mashed at about 1.5 quarts/pound instead of 1.2.  I really don’t think it will make a major difference.  However, the mash tun was pretty darn full!  Also, the yeast probably wasn’t added to the rehydration water at 95F, it was probably more like 80F.  I doubt this will have a major impact either.  Finally, the mash started out a little warm, and basically held about 154 for about 45 minutes till it finished out at 152.  So a little higher than I planned.  A less than perfect day, but I am guessing that from the appearance, taste, and FG of the wort, it will all work out just fine.

Bleach Blonde Ale – First Usage Of Liquid Yeast

Well despite what I already blogged about, I’m changing my weekend brewing schedule around again!  I’ve decided that my new stir plate was beckoning me to use it, so I made a started for my White Labs American Blend yeast, which is going in my Bleach Blonde Ale!

I took 1/2 a cup of DME and added it to a quart of spring water (making approximately 1.040 wort) , then boiled for ten minutes.  After the solution cooled I added it to a sanitized 2L flask and put it on the stir plate.  There was a bit of foam left over from the starsan, but then it’s “don’t fear the foam” so I’m not worrying about that!  After the wort and the yeast got to about the same temperature, I pitched the yeast and put it back on the stir plate.  The stirring should oxygenate the wort sufficiently for the yeast to be healthy and numerous when I pitch tomorrow. I’m not worrying about the exact calculations, I’m just going to pitch it!

Here’s the ingredients and procedure:

  • Briess Pilsen Extra Light Liquid Extract  6 lbs, 0 oz
  • Crisp Pale Ale  1 lbs, 0 oz
  • Briess 2 Row Caramel 10  1 lbs, 0 oz
  • Briess 2 Row Carapils  0 lbs, 8 oz
  • Williamette Pellets  1 oz @ 60 mins
  • Williamette Pellets  1 oz @ 20 mins
  • Williamette Pellets  1 oz @ 10 mins
  • Williamette Pellets  1 oz @ 1 mins
  • White Labs American Ale Blend

The day before: Prepare yeast as already described

Brew Day:

  1. prepare checklist
  2. lay out ingredients and equipment
  3. bring 1.75-2 gallons spring water to 160 F
  4. add grains (in mesh bag)
  5. steep for 40 minutes at 155F
  6. In separate pot, pre-boil 1 gallon spring water
  7. when grains are finished steeping, remove grain bag, add 1 gallon boiling water and bring entire pot to a boil for one hour
  8. add bittering hops, 1 oz Willamette 60 minute mark
  9. at 20 minutes, add 1 oz Willamette
  10. begin sanitation procedures on spoon, thermometer, bucket, siphon, hoses, wine thief
  11. add wort chiller, pre-filled with hot water
  12. over the course of the last 20 minutes of the boil, add the LME
  13. add 1/4 tsp Irish moss powder
  14. at 10 minutes, add 1 oz Willamette
  15. at 1 minute, add 1 oz Willamette
  16. let stand 10 minutes before beginning cooling
  17. stir occasionally with sanitized stainless spoon during cooling
  18. while wort is cooling, add 2 gallons chilled spring water to sanitized primary fermenting bucket, allowing it to fall into bucket to increase aeration
  19. when wort gets to about 75F, add to fermentation bucket using strainer
  20. top to 5.5 gallons with chilled spring water
  21. take OG reading with sanitized wine thief
  22. thoroughly aerate wort with sanitized stainless steel spoon
  23. ensure wort is 70F or a little less before pitching yeast
  24. pitch yeast
  25. gently stir using sanitized stainless steel spoon
  26. install sanitized bucket lid and airlock
  27. ferment in closet for 12-14 days at 69F ambient air temp.
  28. take FG sample and bottle (after a minimum of 12 days)
  29. use 4 oz corn sugar at bottling

OG: I doubt I’ll ever know because I probably won’t have a SG meter in time for this one.  As you recall, I broke mine on Wednesday!

Targets:

OG: 1.053  FG:  1.014  IBU: 22.7  SRM: 4.44  ABV:   5.11

Notes: In reality, I did not get my order yet which has a second (8-gallon) fermentation vessel, so I had to split this batch between my Mr Beer keg and my 5-gallon carboy.  I’m not exactly sure how much water was added to each before I added the wort, as it was eyeballed by me.  Therefore I’ll probably have two batches that will be a little different in FG.  I’m kind of considering adding some fruit to the portion in the Mr Beer keg, just for kicks!

EDIT: I decided to go with some fruit in the smaller half of this one, blueberries!  Who knows how it will turn out, but I’m going to try it!

I’m going with the wash then freeze and add directly to primary method.  Wish me luck, I hope it goes well!!

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