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

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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%

Grains

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

Hops

  • 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

Yeast

7.7g US-05, rehydrated

Mash one hour at 154F

Boil one hour

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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

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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.

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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.

Cheers!!

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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

Another beer…

Chocolate Stout

I really meant to get another post up on food but I guess that didn’t happen. Instead, I brewed a chocolate stout. I wasn’t 100% on how it would turn out, so I opted to brew another 1 gallon batch instead of the normal 5 gallon batch most homebrewers do. Who wants 5 gallons of something they don’t want to drink?

My home made cooler mash tun
My home made cooler mash tun

 

Mrs G was already complaining about the smell from the mash in the tun and since it was so nice out, I did my boil outside.

My outdoor setup including Duke's pot of sand and shovel
My outdoor setup including Duke’s pot of sand and shovel

 

The chocolate flavor comes from the addition of 85 g of Hershey’s Cocoa powder at flameout.

 A little over 1.064 OG
A little over 1.064 OG

Into the one gallon fermenter

You can kinda see me in the reflection if you look hard enough
You can kinda see me in the reflection if you look hard enough…and our messy kitchen. Actually, don’t look hard.

 

Fingers crossed that the yeast will do its thing and time will smooth it out, otherwise based on an initial testing I’ll be stuck with a chocolatey, hoppy, bitter mess. I’m sure it will be fine…I hope.

And the obligatory phot of Lil Griffin taken recently at a photo shoot.
And the obligatory photo of Lil Griff taken recently at a photo shoot.

Bavarian Hefeweizen

Beer. Cuz sometimes you don’t feel like grilling.

Had a few hours to myself yesterday for a change and decided to brew 2 gallons of Bavarian Hefeweizen. Weather was nice, sunny and around 65F so perfect for brewing some beer outside.

My outdoor brewing set up yesterday
My outdoor brewing set up yesterday

Got the wort cooled and into 2 1gallon carboys and pitched the yeast.

Into the carboys
Into the carboys

I know I’ve been real bad about posting anything lately. Life changes and priorities change. Amazing what a kid can do to your life. That, and we’ve not been doing anything fancy lately. Steaks, burgers and simple cuts of meat. I need to do better, but am not going to make any promises, although I do have a few things I’ve got planned so we’ll see.

Duke's showing some interest in grilling already.
Duke’s showing some interest in grilling already.

 

When the Cat’s Away…

…the mice will play. Or in this case, when Mrs. G is outta town, I often get bored and have to find ways to entertain myself. There’s only so many movies I can watch that she won’t watch (ie Sci-fi, comic book based movies like Wolverine or nerdy moveis). One way I’ve found to entertain myself is to brew beer. I’m no expert at this, it’s only my third batch, but it has been fun so far.

Boiling the wort.
Boiling the wort.

Being an amateur, I haven’t graduated up to brewing with malted grain or all-grain. Like I said, this is only my third batch, so I’m keeping it simple and using the canned hopped malt concentrate. You have to start somewhere, right?

This is the one I chose this time. Cooper's Dark Ale.
This is the one I chose for this batch. Cooper’s Dark Ale.

     It’s advertised as:

Rich mahogany colour and a creamy head. Roasted malt aromas with a hint of chocolate, generous mouthfeel dominated by roasted malt flavours, sufficient hop bitterness to give balance and a dry finish. A favourite amongst dark beer drinkers.

     We’ll see how it turns out in a month or so.

Chilling the wort.
Chilling the wort in a sink full of ice water.

     I didn’t get anymore pictures of the whole process as its kind of hands on and honestly I wasn’t thinking about it. I will report that I checked on it this morning and the yeasties are doing their job, eating the sugars and producing carbon dioxide, which you can tell by checking to see if your airlock is bubbling. I’ll keep you posted on some other steps down the road and how it ends up turning out.

     I will say that if you like to cook (especially if you like baking and using precise measurements, temperatures and yeast) and you like beer, than you will enjoy making your own beer. Yeah, it’s a labor of love and takes a lot of time and patience (mostly waiting for the next step which could be weeks down the road), but when you hand somebody a cold one, they take a sip and say “That’s really good. You made that?” it will bring a smile to you face and it makes it all worthwhile.

 

If you are a bit apprehensive about where to start, try looking up homebrew + your city and I can almost guarantee you will find a store that can walk you through what you need and how to do it. Most places will be more than happy to share their knowledge and get you started as they have a passion for beer and want to share it. If you find a place that isn’t friendly or not eager to help, go someplace else. In my experience, that is not a problem. The problem is more likely getting these people to stop talking about a subject they are so passionate about. If you are in the DFW metroplex, I can not recommend Homebrew Headquarters  in Richardson enough. These guys are super friendly and super knowledgeable. Heck, they even threw in a 12 pack of empty bottles the first time I went in and got started. I just had to wash them and get the labels off…