Mac’s Brew News – June 7, 2012

Here is the latest and greatest from Mac’s Brew Pub

Mac’s Cherry Wheat – I bottled Mac’s Cherry Wheat on Saturday May 26, 2012 (I planned to bottle on Friday May 25th, but was laid up that day; see explanation under Mac’s Irish Red (Toe) Ale).  This American style hefe ended up at 7.1% ABV.  It doesn’t look like a traditional wheat beer because of the dark color.  It had been a nice golden yellow, but changed to a dark red/maroon when I added the pureed cherry to the fermenter.  I could have avoided this by not adding the fruit, but then adding flavor concentrate when I bottled.  This would have given it the cherry flavor without the color, but then it would not be a real fruit beer (it would have only been a fruit flavored beer), and I’m not sure if that’s right (it seems a little like cheating, although it really isn’t).  In addition, the fruit adds fermentable sugar, and in this case it boosted the OG by 2 points (conservative estimate), and boosted the alcohol content by approximately 0.3%.  By adding the fruit to the primary fermenter, most of the sugar and a lot of the flavor ferments out, so I also added the cherry flavor concentrate when bottling.

Mac’s Cherry Wheat is my annual vacation beer (beach house in Oceanside in July).  A couple of years ago I brewed an apricot wheat and last year I brewed a boysenberry wheat for vacation.  This year, of course, it’s cherry wheat.  I also used a different yeast this year – American Hefeweizen yeast vs. California Ale yeast for the fruit-wheat beers in years past.  I’ll probably sample one after about 3 weeks in the bottle to make sure it’s good, then start serving it on Saturday July 7th.

Mac’s Irish Red (Toe) Ale – This was going to be called Mac’s Irish Red Ale, and was going to be brewed on Monday May 28, 2012.  However, on Friday May25th, I had to have part of my toe nail (right big toe) removed (that’s why I couldn’t bottle the cherry wheat that day).  Needless to say, my right big toe was sore and red for several days, and I was unable to wear shoes.  My two daughters saw the bandages wrapped around my toe, and being extremely compassionate, laughed at the sight and said it looked like a cartoon foot (you know, when a cartoon character drops an anvil on their toe, it’s instantly huge/swollen and throbbing) . . . . . . come to think of it, not only did it look like that, it felt like that as well.  Anyway, this gave me pause to think about whether or not I would be up to brewing on Monday May 28th.  I decided to go for it, but on brew day, I still had a sore, red toe.  Thus, my brew became Mac’s Irish Red (Toe) Ale.

Now that you know the story behind the name, what about the beer itself?  My intention is to have a big malty Irish red ale.  What is Irish red?  It’s really just a dark amber ale, and I don’t believe the style or the name originated in Ireland – I’m pretty sure this style is an American innovation.  Nevertheless, the style is malty (try a George Killian’s Irish Red), with a nice caramel sweetness.  I added a little more hops than the style calls for to help balance the sweetness (and I’ve said it before, I like hoppy beer).  Notice I said balance.  I’m not trying to create an amber IPA, just a red ale that isn’t as sweet as usual.

Brew day was Monday, May 28th (Memorial Day).  Yes, the landlord (Sheila) was home that day and allowed me to brew (thank you, honey!).  You may not be aware of this, but Sheila really likes Irish red ale (maybe that’s why I had permission to brew that day) so she’s looking forward to the end result.

My OG was 1.064, so I am expecting another 7% ABV beer.  There was a nice vigorous fermentation for a few days but the krausen was pretty much gone and the beer was remarkably clear by Saturday June 2nd.  The ale is currently in the secondary fermenter, but looks like it will be ready for bottling within the next week.  I’ll shoot for Saturday June 16th.

Mak’s Dunkelweizen – (Similar review Posted previously in “Beer Reviews” – I’m just adding the tasting notes to the newsletter) It’s hard to describe this beer (but I’m gonna try).  I will make a comparison with Mak’s Bavarian Hefeweizen.  The color is a little lighter than I was aiming for (couldn’t find the dark wheat I was looking for), but it’s nice and cloudy.  The aroma is different than the hefe – it’s fruity, but not so much like banana.  This wheat beer is loaded with flavor.  Again, there is a fruitiness, but not as much banana and clove-like notes.  The caramel malts (Caramunich and Crystal 120) really add some depth to the flavor and aroma – giving it somewhat of a cherry flavor.  The hops are not an issue, but there is a little bit of bitterness from the dark grains (Crystal and Caramunich).

Overall, this is a very good beer.  I tasted it side-by-side with my hefe.  Mak’s Bavarian Hefeweizen tasted a little bland when drinking right after the dunkel, so I definitely got the deeper flavor profile I was looking for.  When I brew this again, I will attempt to locate the ingredients for the original recipe (Dark Wheat, and Dark Munich), but keep the Caramunich.

I’m waiting to hear about results from the OC Fair home brew competition.  I should know something around the middle of July.  If I win a ribbon, I’ll publish it in the news letter right away.  If I don’t win anything, then I never really entered any beer in the competition, so there!

After I bottle Mac’s Irish Red (Toe) Ale, the brew pub will be shutting down production for the summer.  That doesn’t mean I won’t have any Mac’s brew to drink for a couple of months.  I have a lot of it in storage right now, hopefully enough to last for several weeks, maybe get me to late August when I will brew another faux Oktoberfest for the fall.

If I used any terms in this newsletter that you don’t understand, please refer to the Terms and Definitions category.  I think just about any technical term I used in this newsletter is listed there.


2 thoughts on “Mac’s Brew News – June 7, 2012

  1. Loved the Red Toe Ale. In fact, this is my favorite of the summer brews. Mak’s Heff is second on my list and the Dunkel my third. It wasn’t hoppy, delicious flavor, smooth and just the right amount of carbonation, not to mention the nice color. I would love to sample BJ’s Jeremiah Red with the Red Toe. I am certain Mak’s is better. Loved it but, I didn’t get enough since it was brewed especially for my dear Father-in-law and given away. Please brew more of this!! And would ya take better care of that red toe, this is getting ridiculous!

    • Thanks for the compliments. I will post a review of this beer as soon as I can – been a little busy with home remodeling. Dad has been drinking it this week and enjoying it also.

      BTW, I’m sorry you feel that you didn’t get enough. I’ll have to remedy that right away!!

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