Mac’s Brew News – July 27, 2013

I never intended to wait this long (two months) before publishing another newsletter, but I have not sent one out since May 25. Here’s the latest news from Mac’s Brew Pub.

Orange County Fair Update: Nut Case won third place in the Spice/Herb/Vegetable Beer category (brewed with cacao and bottled with hazelnut). I expected this beer to win something in its category, so I feel like my judgement (as well as my brewing skills) has been validated. Whatchamacallit won third place in the Specialty Beer category (this was an Oktoberfest [lager] recipe, but fermented as an ale, which creates a very different flavor profile). Even though I considered this a very good beer, I did not think it would stand out enough (especially in that category) to win any award. I was quite surprised and thrilled about the award. I already am making plans for next year’s fair.

Mak’s Apricot Wheat: This wheat ale turned out really nice. If I had been able to bottle it earlier, I would have entered this one into the OC Fair competition as well. The apricot aroma is well developed, and the flavor comes through quite nicely, but is not overwhelming. It’s got a slight tartness because I added the apricot to the fermenter (real fruit tends to give a tart flavor when fermented). Sheila, in a blind taste test, chose Mac’s over Pyramid Apricot Ale. She preferred the slight tart flavor over the sweetness of the Pyramid brew. This beer is very refreshing (a great lawn mowing beer) and I get lots of compliments when I serve it (most people have never had an apricot beer). We went through one full case of this at our annual beach house vacation last week (plus Sheila and I drank most of the other case before vacation) so there’s not much of it left.

Mak’s Bavarian Hefeweizen I & II: I brewed two batches of my hefe two weeks apart. Both have been bottled and are being consumed. Batch I (bottled 06-04-2013) is 6.6% ABV; batch II (bottled 06-26-2013) is 6.4% ABV. The recipe was exactly the same each time, but batch II was mashed one degree hotter. I believe this accounts for the difference in alcohol percentage.

Smack Down: Unfortunately, Smack Down is still not fully carbonated. I have been sampling one bottle every other week; it is carbonating, but oh so slowly and it’s still got a way to go before it’s up to the proper CO2 level. I think I should have added some fresh yeast at bottling time (the yeast might have been tired from the original fermentation – this beer is 9.8% ABV). I had the same problem last year when I bottled Phat Pliny.

Mac’s Bourbon Barrel Stout is still in the bourbon barrel (a glass carboy with bourbon soaked oak cubes). I need to take a small sample and taste it to get an idea if it’s about finished. I plan to bottle it in about 2 months (end of September or early October). I’m really getting anxious to try some of this – patience is not easy when one is waiting for beer.

Mac is on summer hiatus from brewing – the hot weather makes it too difficult to create a masterpiece. Come the fall, I will resume operations, but for now I’m enjoying the summer. I stockpiled a lot of beer during the winter and spring, so now I’m drinking the fruits of my labor. Nothing like a cold beer on a hot day.

I will try to post some beer reviews soon, but this is all the news for now. CHEERS!