Well, it’s time for a new edition of Mac’s Brew News. It’s been just a little more than a month, so this shouldn’t be too lengthy. Today’s edition is published in honor of Sheila, who is 29 years old today.
A ravishing beauty is Sheila
Her gaze will induce anesthesia
To her charms I’m resigned
In my heart she’s enshrined
She commands my life like a diva
In years past, I would be on summer hiatus from brewing due to the warm weather and the associated difficulty in keeping fermentation temperatures under control. However, a few months ago I bought a 14 gallon stainless steel conical fermenter that is cooled and heated. Maintaining safe temperature ranges are now simply a matter of programming the temperature control unit to appropriate specifications and the temperatures are automatically maintained within ±1° F. That means I can continue to brew throughout the summer, regardless of the ambient temperature. Due to the size of the fermenter, I can also brew 10 gallon batches.
Here’s what is brewin’ at Mac’s . . .
Mac’s Cherry Wheat: Brewed on 05-19-2015. This has become a standard at Mac’s Brew Pub. It’s the same wheat ale recipe I use for all of my fruit beer, and for Mak’s Bavarian Hefeweizen. With each of the beers, however, I just add different fruit in the fermenter and or in the keg (in the case of the Bavarian Hefeweizen, I just use a different yeast to ferment).
I brewed a 10 gallon batch with the intention of bringing a case to our annual beach house vacation per Sheila’s request (this is two years in a row that the beach house beer has been brewed per Sheila’s request – happy birthday). It’s light and refreshing, perfect for a warm summer day thirst quencher, and at 5.5% ABV, one can drink a lot of it and still keep their wits about them.
I kegged 5 gallons on 06-06-2015, and it’s currently on tap. I bottled the other 5 gallons on 06-13-2015. One of the two cases will go to the beach for vacation consumption.
Smack Down: Brewed in collaboration with Mike Matulich on 04-16-2015. This beer (described in the previous newsletter, May 7, 2015) is now on tap in the pub. It’s a nice IPA, but a little too hop mild. There are a couple of reasons for this, the main one being the hop straining bag I used on brew day was too fine and did not allow for good hops utilization. There are a couple of other minor recipe revisions necessary (to dry out the beer, make the body lighter) which will be tried in order to dial this one in just right.
Smack Down has a very nice citrus hop aroma, but the bitterness is too low (this is the result of poor hops utilization as described above). It’s 6.7% ABV, and is good drinking; there’s no doubt it’s an IPA, but I think it should be a little more bitter and hoppy. Because this is the first time I brewed this recipe, I was expecting that revisions would be necessary, so I’m not too concerned about the result this time. All of the problems I perceive have easy fixes.
Maktoberfest: To be brewed on 07-07-2015. I’m scaling up the recipe to brew a 10 gallon batch, but changing it just a bit to bring down the alcohol content. Because I can control the temperatures now, I will ferment this with lager yeast for the first time. It should be ready for consumption in September just in time for the Oktoberfest celebration.