Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Grapefruit Hefeweizen

In the need for a large amount of something for the summer months - a lawnmower beer, if you will - I decided to remake and adjust one of the most popular beers on the internet: the Blood Orange Hefeweizen.

It isn't blood orange season, now, though.

The red citrus fruit I could find at the store was Texas Ruby Red Grapefruits.

So, I zested six of those big suckers, and prepared the pulp for the brew by smashing it up.

6.6 pounds of Bavarian Wheat LME, with 1 ounce of US Hallertau in the boil, with 1 ounce of US Hallertau dry-hopped, done with 6 gallons of water.

It's fermenting now, and the overwhelming grapefruit aroma is very sweet and pleasant, and I suspect this basic, popular recipe from this book:

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...would take to all manner of citrus treats from Buddha's Hand Citron, to Calomondin, to Lime, to Pomelo. 

Hefeweizen's and citrus are some kind of magic combo. Pick your favorite citrus and put together one of these simple, ridiculously tasty brews today!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Gruit 2

I've got five pounds of red wheat in the oven right now, toasting into something brown. 350 degrees, for about an hour, and I'm really not going to stir it very much. I want a lot of variety from burnt to brown to barely. It's dry, too. Completely dry.

I've got this yard full of herbs and vegetables and fruit treas. I'm thinking it's time to try my hand at another gruit. A whole heap of mugwort seeds came up in the shadows of my hedge. I hope they propagate themselves there, and push out the useless weeds that were otherwise all over the place. I've also got a pretty good-looking Sweet Annie herb under my kitchen window. Sweet Annie is an Artemisia, but instead of being bitter, it has a haunting, near-sweetness that lends its name. I could even harvest off a powis castle Artemisia hybrid, if I want extra bitterness, but I think I'd rather move that plant from where it is, and let it grow larger, before I do anything with it.

After the toasting of my malts, I'm going to need to let them chill a while, and release their off-flavors. Next week, I expect to be cranking some 100% wheat, 100% artemisia gruit ale.

Just a small batch, mind you. No need to make five gallons for an experiment! I'm aiming for 2.5 gallons to ferment, for 2 gallons total in the end. Enough to share and see what people think, but not so much I'll be looking for cooking recipes and stuff.

anyway... Exciting!

I'm sipping a homebrew, at the moment, that came out much fruitier than expected, with Smaragd hops late in the boil and an amount of Special B that I thought was low enough. It's mellowing. Every day it tastes a little closer to balance. I've set six aside for July 4th, and we'll see.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Waiting for Beer...

We live in such an instantaneous gratification culture. I'm waiting for my beer to be done. I bottled an Amber Ale the other day, with Belgian Special B, Caramel 40l, Red Wheat, Northern Brewer bittering and Smaragd Aroma, with cracked coriander for the flavor addition. I've got this Saison aging over in the corner of the kitchen. I've got time, sure. I've got a long week and weekend of work ahead, with two deadlines piling on top of each other along with a part-time gig I picked up for steadier cash than freelancing. I'm waiting, though, for something to come through and be ready to drink. The Amber Ale will at least be the sort of thing I can sip for a while, without aging it or feeling bad for drinking it early. In another week, I should find a glass of beer quite drinkable at the end of my hectic workweek.

I tried a new yeast out, for this one, but I can't find a record of what it was. It was a Danstar dry yeast, probably BRY-97 West Coast Ale. Here's what the yeast cake looked like...


Wise men sing, "Waiting is the hardest part!"