River Rat Beer

Fermenting away almost 48 hours later and already a good krausen forming on top

Our annual summer river trip is fast approaching. Could it hurry up and get here sooner? I asked the ladies what they wanted me to brew up for it this year (I already brewed my Haus Pale Ale for the guys), and they asked for a Blue Moon Clone which Mrs. G has named River Rat Beer.


I did some research and found a guy named Wayne on HomeBrewTalk who claims he’s an ex-employee of Coor’s and helped to develop the original Blue Moon. I have no reason to doubt him and it sounded like a solid recipe, so I thought I’d give it a try.

According to Wayne, Blue Moon is an Americanized Witbier, not a Belgium Witbier. The difference being that sweet orange peels are used instead of bitter orange peels and a yeast like US-05 or US-04 instead of a more traditional Belgium yeast

Boiling the wort on my Blichman Burner

Recipe for 2.5 Gallon Batch

SG: 1.037

OG: 1.050

FG: 1.010

ABV: 5.34%

Efficiency: 75%


  • 2.5lb American Pale 2-Row
  • 2lb American Wheat
  • 0.5lb Flaked Oats


  • 15.31g Hallertau Mittlefruh 4.1AA 60min boil (IBU 17.2)

Other Ingredients (last10  minutes of the boil)

  • 14.17g McCormick’s Valencia Orange Peel
  • 9.92g McCormick’s Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 tsp yeast nutrient


7.7g US-05, rehydrated

Mash one hour at 154F

Boil one hour

Sweet orange peel, ground coriander and yeast nutrient added for the last 10 minutes of the boil

The mash and the boil all went as planned

Chilling the wort

Before the can pitch the yeast, you must chill the wort. I used to just use an immersion chiller, but the ground water here in Texas can become pretty warm. Last summer, I purchased a submersible pond pump from Harbor Freight. Now I chill the wort down to about 100F, collecting the warm water to use for cleaning my equipment or to water the lawn. When it reaches about 100F, I switch the line over to the pump and recirculate the water through the ice chest filled with ice and cold water. Doing this I was able to get my wort down to 67F in no time.

Brew day went pretty smoothly. Instead of a SG of 1.037, I hit 1.038 and instead of a OF of 1.050, I hit 1.051. You couldn’t get any closer. The beer might be a tad higher than 5.34% ABV, but I think the girls won’t care. Or notice.

It’s fermenting away now at 63F. In a few days, once its calmed down a bit, I’ll bump it to 65, then slowly raise it to 70. I generally let it ferment for about 3 weeks so the yeast can do their job and clean up after themselves. After it’s done fermenting, I’ll bottle it up. Still trying to figure out how many volumes of CO2 to prime it to. Blegium Witbiers generally are 2.5-3.0, so I’ll probably just aim for middle of the road and go 2.75.

Fermenting away almost 48 hours later. You can see the yeast has formed a nice krausen, or foamy layer, on the top, indicating that fermentation is going well.


I’ll make sure and update you in about 6 weeks and let you know how it turns out.



Duke’s First Burger!!

Up to this point, Duke has never shown any interest in hamburgers. But this weekend he kept talking about it, so I knew I had to make some this week for him. I kept the sliders simple, 2 oz of 80/20 and some salt and pepper and topped with cheddar cheese.

IMG_1455His got some ketchup on it along with some pickles. The kid will absolutely devour pickles. He’d eat the whole jar if we let him. It must be the Czech in him from his Mom’s side.


Mine got a little more stuff.

IMG_1459I think he enjoyed it.


Sometimes, its hard to get a kid to eat, so when you find something they like or show an interest in, you gotta jump on it. For a minute there, I thought something was wrong with the kid. What kid doesn’t like a burger? But he polished it off!

Brewing our House Pale Ale

Seems like I never remember to take pictures of any of my BGE cooks anymore, but I always manage to get a few of brew day. Been brewing a bunch of small batches this summer, partly to experiment and partly because I can do them inside on the stove and I don’t have to drag out my large batch equipment and sit outside in the Texas heat for a coupla hours and partly because I can knock a small batch out including clean up in under 3.5 hrs.

This weekend I did a small batch (2 gallon) of my house pale ale using Chinook and Cascade hops that should come in around 5% ABV and 35 IBUs. 2 gallons will net me about and 18 pack.

Boiling away on the stove

My ‘lil helper getting the wort down to yeast pitching temperature.

My fermentation chamber (mini dorm fridge) is all filled up now. 2 gallons of Pale Ale, 2.5 gallons of my Bourbon Barrel Porter (I brewed this once over 3.5 years ago. The longer I let it age, the better. The last one I drank at 3.5 years and it was the best. My plan is to now brew it every year in small batches and age each batch a minimum of 3 years. In 3 years the first batch will be ready, and every year I will have a new batch. If I can stick to the plan) and 1.5 gallons of pumpkin ale (cuz who wants more than a 12 pack of that stuff sitting around? It should be ready to go around Halloween or Thanksgiving).

And the obligatory pic of Duke, who has not taken off his swim goggles for 3 days now.

I’ll try and get some more cooking pics up soon. We did legs last night, and I know that we are doing burgers one night this week and chilli dogs another, so we’ll see if I can remember

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw

Shrimp Tacos on the Blackstone

Yeah, we missed National Taco Day…so what? Who came up with all of these food days anyways? Was there a committee of stuffy old men smelling of Old Spice and Icy Hot sitting around a large boardroom table? Or was it a bunch of young hipsters sipping on grande mocha soy frappe carmel latte espresso agave sugar coffee drinks while vaping their brains out and blowing huge clouds? Who cares? I’ll eat what I want, when I want and last night I wanted some shrimp tacos!! And more importantly I wanted to cook on my new Blackstone griddle, dammit!!

I usually prefer my shrimp tacos (and fish tacos) fried, but that’s not exactly healthy nor would it allow me to use my griddle. A quick search with my Google-fu skills found me this recipe over at Pinch of Yum and it sounded like it would fit the bill. This is our version cooked on the griddle  with a few modifications.

Spicy Shrimp Tacos with Garlic Cilantro Lime Slaw

For the Garlic Cilantro Lime Sauce

  • 1/4 cup of oil
  • 1/4 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2 cup cilantro
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • juice of two limes
  • 1/2 cup (or more) of light sour cream
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Shrimp Tacos

  • 1 to 1.5 lbs of shrimp, peeled with tail removed (we used 1.25 lbs of 21-25 count)
  • 1 tsp each of chili powder, cumin and chicken fajita seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1/2 green cabbage, shredded
  • 8 corn tortillas
  • 1 avocado
  • Queso Fresco, Cotija or Feta cheese
  • lime wedges for serving
Warm up the tortillas until you begin to smell corn and they have become pliable. Only takes a minute or so.

To make the sauce, toss all the ingredients in a food processer and pulse until smooth. Adjust with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss some of the sauce (not all of it!!) with the cabbage. It should resemble a coleslaw. This can be done right before hand, but we did ours about 2 hours ahead of time and placed in the fridge. The rest of the sauce can be used on your tacos.

Heat your griddle medium to medium high heat. Warm up the tortillas for a minute or so until you notice a corn smell and they have become pliable. Wrap in foil to keep warm. Even better would be one of those tortilla holders they have at Mexican restaurants. We, however, don’t have one of those so why the hell am I even bringing it up? I digress…

Toss the shrimp on the griddle

When the tortillas are done, squirt some oil on the griddle and add a tbsp of butter. Then throw on the shrimp and cook 4-5 minutes or until done.


To serve the tacos, spread a spoonful of the sauce on a tortilla, top with a few shrimp, coleslaw, cheese and avocado and maybe some more sauce and squeeze a slice of lime on top.

Who needs a National Taco Day to enjoy these shrimp tacos? Eat them whenever the hell you feel like it.

I gotta say, the more I use this griddle, the more I am liking it. It’s just so fun. And it heats up quick. A whole lot quicker than the Egg. Sure, we could have grilled these shrimp and they would have been just as good, but that would have taken longer. From the time I stepped outside and fired up the griddle, to the time I shut it off and went inside was less than 10 minutes!! That’s a fast cook!!

The tacos were fantastic. I tried one of the shrimp by itself, and I hafta say it had some heat. But when you add the slaw and the cheese and the sauce, it balances that heat perfectly. These are definitely going into the rotation, especially on nights when a fast cook is needed to get the food on the table.