Monthly Archives: January 2010

Brewed Slowly: #4 American Cherry Wheat

I’ve been MIA for a while as far as posting new material goes, but I’ve got some beer to write about. This bitch don’t write itself, yo.

About two weeks ago, I cooked up a batch of American Wheat, which was/is to become a Cherry Wheat beer–and hopefully not as overwhelmingly cherry as a certain cherry beer I’ve publicly berated. This beer has already been bottled and should be primed sufficiently about a week from now. If you want to find out what kinds of frog legs and tennis shoes I tossed in the pot, you know what to do.

The software:

6 lbs Northern Brewer Wheat liquid extract (65-35)

1 lb Weyermann Pale wheat grain

1 oz Cascade pellets

0.5 oz Williamette pellets

Wyeast 1010 American Wheat yeast

2 oz. cherry extract

(I’ve been cruising on autopilot with these last few beers, for better or worse, and basically follow the same steps while brewing. This’ll read familiar if you’ve followed any of the last few entries.)

the beginnings of an american wheat

I steeped the pale wheat grain for 30 minutes at a temp. between 150 and 160 F. I started with only 1.5 gallons of water. After that half hour, I added another 1.5 gallons of water and brought it all to a boil. Then the extract and Cascade pellets went in. I let this boil for 90 minutes, which is longer than I usually boil, and to be honest, I don’t remember why I let it go this long. There’s certainly nothing wrong with cooking it the extra 30 minutes, but I don’t remember having a reason for doing so.

After the wort boiled for 90 minutes, I took it off the heat and tossed in the 0.5 oz. of Williamette pellets and let the pot sit in an ice bath. (I still haven’t gotten a wort chiller, but if anyone wants to donate one to the cause, it will be accepted.)

This beer was only the second one I got a Wyeast smack pack for (the first time I used a smack pack, I didn’t actually pop the nutrient pack on the inside–nonetheless, the yeast worked), and I made damn sure to bust the nutrient pack this time. The yeast pack swelled, so I know I got it. I pitched the yeast when the wort had cooled to about 75 F.

fully proofed smack pack meeting wheat wort

When I bottled this beer I added a little less than half of a 4 oz. bottle of cherry extract.

The starting gravity was 1.050, and when I bottled the beer, it was 1.010. When it’s ready to drink I’ll update.

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Drinking It All: #9 Budweiser Tallboy

Drinking It All is a document of my attempt to try every beer in circulation. It’s a Herculean and tragic attempt at best. But it’s the means, not the end that counts here.

if you're gonna be a king, be a big king

if you're gonna be a king, be a big king

Even though I’ve previously said that PBR and High Life are my go-to beers as far as domestic cheap beer is concerned, I’ve got to admit that there’s another domestic cheap beer that gets heavy rotation so to speak with me. Budweiser, the self-titled king of beers, is a beer that I’ll get if the bar doesn’t have PBR or High Life or if I’m not interested in drinking premium beer. Same applies for curb stores or grocery stores. I could also get into the subtle differences in PBR as cheap domestic and Budweiser as slightly less cheap domestic, but I’ll save that for another time.

Since I’m an admitted fan of big beers when they’re an option, I picked up some Budweiser tallboys. That’s 16 oz or one American pint. The brewers are pretty accurate in calling Budweiser the “King of Beers” even though that title is vague at best. Certainly in terms of sales, profitability, and availability, Budweiser (and Bud Light, etc.) leads the pack. Although I imagine that there are plenty of other beers that would qualify as kings but in a different kingdom, we’ll say. However, I don’t mean to knock Budweiser–it’s a solid domestic beer that certainly has its purpose. People drink Budweiser at tailgates, parties, hole-in-the-wall bars, and other places/situations where relatively cheap and easy beers are preferable to say the Old Stock Ale I reviewed the other day. That is to say Budweiser has its place. And it’s an awful big place.

The beer is a lager, as are most of the big brewery domestics (Coors, Miller, PBR), and it tastes like beer. I know that’s about as vague as it can get, but Budweiser is made to not really taste like anything specific, I think. That’s why it’s so damn successful–it appeals to the lowest common denominator in a way. It tastes like the first beer you ever drank, probably. It should be cold, and more than any specific taste of malt or hops, the carbonation helps define the flavor/feel of the beer.

Budweiser’s good when you’re making the turn and starting the back nine or when you’re sitting down to a big pile of boiled crawfish. Like I did in the PBR review, I’ll describe Budweiser in terms of the situations when it makes the most sense. For these big brewery domestics, the situation dictates the beer more than the other way around, I think.

Thumbs up or thumbs down? Like I said earlier, if there’s no PBR or High Life, I go for a Budweiser.

Brewed Slowly: #3 Red Ale

On to the next beer.

Last Sunday, I brewed a Red Ale kit that was given to me as a Christmas present this year. I’ve put off posting about it most of this week. And for no good reason, really. But now I’ve found myself in front of the computer with my notes in hand, so here it is.

The software:

12 oz. specialty grains (I have no idea what grains were included–this kit is secretive)

7 lbs Briess golden light extract (liquid)

1 oz. Amarillo hops

amarillo hop pellets and my hand

amarillo hop pellets and my hand

1 oz. Ahtanum hops

Nottingham Dry yeast

I brewed this beer by myself, but I followed the same process as we always have. First, I brought 1.5 gallons of water up to 150 F. Then I steeped the mystery/specialty grains at (or around) 150 F for half an hour.

it doesn't look red, but it'll be red

it doesn't look red, but it'll be red

After I took out the grains (they then went into the compost cause we’re green), I brought the liquid up to a boil and added the 7 lbs of extract and the 1 oz. of Amarillo hops.

Then I waited, stirred, waited, stirred, waited, ad nauseam for an hour.

After it had boiled for an hour, I took it off the heat and added the 1 oz. of Ahtanum hops. Then I put the pot in my icebath of sorts. (Lately, my ice baths are me putting the pot of wort into a sink full of cold water and some ice packs. This is not the most efficient way to cool the wort, nor is it the way I’d recommend doing so. I have yet to get/make a wort chiller, so until I do, this is how my wort does its thing.) When the temp. reached about 115 F, I poured the cool wort into the fermentor and added enough water to top it off at 5 gallons (I also put at least a gallon of water in the freezer about an hour prior so that some of the water is really cold and will drop the wort temp. down to a nice 90-95 F).

This kit came with Danstar dry yeast, so all I had to do was rip that bad boy open and dump it in the fermentor. Also, I made sure that I aerated the wort by stirring it up while it cooled and making splashes when I poured it in the fermentor. Yeasts need O2 to live y’all.

The OG was 1.052 before fermentation.

Since I’ve waited so long to post this entry, I’ve actually already bottled the beer. Today I was busy with bottling this beer and cooking up the next batch of beer. Which you’ll have to wait to find out about. Suspense–ooh.

red ale ready to get bottled

red ale ready to get bottled

The final gravity was 1.014, so the final alcohol content came out to 3.99 ABV.