Mac’s Brew News – July 18, 2016

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Greetings to all you Mac’s Brew followers.  It’s time to share the latest news from Mac’s Brew Pub.  Please read responsibly.

I’ve been on vacation, and busy with exterior home remodeling.  That doesn’t mean, however, that the brewery is being neglected.  Au contraire, there is much to report and update.  Mac’s Brew is continuing to put out great beer and will soon be brewing even more great and unique beer.

Recalcitrant Redhead: Brewed 05-07-2016; 7.7% ABV / 113 IBU
This beer is an Imperial Red IPA, brewed in collaboration with Dave Hollandbeck.  The aroma is hoppy with strong flowery, citrus notes (grapefruit and orange). The flavor is surprisingly well balanced for an IPA with this much hopping. The initial sensation on the palate is bitterness, but that rapidly changes to sweet from the heavy doses of Crystal, Melanoiden and Special B malts. The sweetness fades to a bitter aftertaste that lingers for some time. The body is well developed and pleasant in the mouth.

This is a pretty complex beer. The color is right for a Red IPA, but the thickness and residual sweetness might be a little high for the style. However, there is no doubt this is an IPA – both the bitterness and hoppy aromas/flavors demand one’s full attention and acceptance of the categorization. At the end of the day, one is left with a bitter taste in the mouth that lingers forever.  There, now, doesn’t that description make you want to stop by for a pint?

Mac’s Apricot Wheat: Brewed 06-06-2016; 5.8% ABV
I’ve brewed this beer before (last time in 2014), but altered the recipe ever so slightly this time.  I added 1% Crystal 15 malt to the grist to give the beer just a little additional color, body and sweetness.  The base beer started as a 10 gallon batch on brew day, but was split into two fermenters to make two different beers – apricot wheat and Bavarian hefeweizen (see Mac’s Brew News – June 8, 2016 for further details).  I ended up with 5 gallons of apricot wheat and 5 gallons of hefeweizen.

I think I got the apricot infusions right this time.  Mac’s Apricot Wheat has just the right amount of apricot flavor. It’s a little tart from the fermented apricot puree (49 oz. per 5.75 gal). The apricot aroma is noticeable, and the apricot flavor is just right.  It’s light, refreshing, and easy to drink.  The alcohol content is low enough that you can drink a few before you feel the effects.

Mak’s Bavarian Hefeweizen: Brewed 06-06-2016; 5.8% ABV
The other half of the wheat beer brew day.  Mak’s Bavarian Hefeweizen is wonderful. The banana/clove ratio in the flavor is just right. The beer is sweet, but not overly so, and is spot on for the German style hefeweizen (try some Paulaner, Franziskaner, or Erdinger, all good weissbiers, if you’re not sure what Bavarian style wheat beer tastes like). The color is a little deeper than previous batches, due (I believe) to the small (1%) Crystal 15 addition. I don’t know if that percentage allows for any taste difference, but I will definitely keep the Crystal addition from now on.  The German yeast is not highly flocculent, so the beer is hazy as per the style guidelines.  Like its apricot brother, this beer is light and drinkable, but is even more refreshing.  This is the one I drink after mowing the lawn on a hot day – it’s a real thirst quencher!

Maktoberfest: Brewed 06-23-2016; 4.9% ABV (so far)
This is the same recipe and protocol used for the last batch of Maktoberfest I brewed last year.  It’s currently 4.9% ABV, and I don’t expect it to go any higher.  I just started the lagering process (cold conditioning) yesterday.  I will continue to lager it for another three or four weeks and then keg it.  I brewed 11 gallons, so I will end up with two 5 gallon kegs.  It should last until Thanksgiving.

I tasted a small sample a week and a half ago when I dumped the trub and took a gravity sample.  It’s very malty, as a märzen should be, with a low hop rate.  It should end up tasting the same as last year’s version.  I will update you once it’s on tap in late August or early September.

I think the next brew will be a barley wine.  I will make a 5 gallon batch and let it condition for 3 – 4 months before kegging and bottling it.  I learned a lot from my first barley wine brew (see newsletter of March 2, 2014, and review of Baby Luke’s Barleywine, November 26, 2014 on this blog).  I’m going to try again, and hope to have it on tap for the holidays this year.  After that, possibly an imperial stout, then another IPA (gotta keep IPA’s on tap at all times if I want to keep Mike as a friend).

Orange County Fair update:
The results are in – Goldihops (and the Free Beers) won a red ribbon (second place) in the Pale American Ale category (Blonde Ales and Pale Ales) at the OC Fair this year.  I’m proud that this beer won an award (I thought this one had a very good chance to score well and win an award).  The other three beers, Mac’s PAPA, SmackDown, and Nutcase, did not win any awards, but I am still awaiting the judging sheets.  I am especially curious to see how well Nutcase scored – I think it should receive fairly high marks.  I submitted Mac’s PAPA and SmackDown with no expectations (just looking for judges comments and suggestions).

Well, beer lovers, that’s it for now.  I hope you enjoyed the newsletter.  I will be posting several more beer reviews as soon as I can find the time.  If I used some terms that you are not familiar with, refer to a very early post on this blog, “Terms and Definitions” (May 4, 2012), for explanation of those terms.

Sláinte!

2 thoughts on “Mac’s Brew News – July 18, 2016

  1. Even though I don’t like or drink beer aside from the occasional times I taste one of your Beers, I really enjoy reading your reviews. I always feel like I want to have one because they sound so interesting and tasty! Congratulations on your Red ribbon at the OC fair, Dad and I are extremely proud of you and not in the least surprised. Way to go Mac!!!!!!

    • Well, most of them are tasty. You can’t say you don’t like beer, because you haven’t tasted every beer out there. You just don’t like what you’ve tasted so far. There IS a beer out there that you would like. If you would just sample them with an open mind, you would eventually find the one for you. I guarantee it!

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