Mac’s Brew News – January 10, 2015

Happy New Year to one and all.  I hope each of you had a fun and festive holiday season and were able to enjoy some good beer.  It’s been busy here at Mac’s and I offer you this opportunity of catch up on the latest news.

Mac the Annihilator: brewed 10-14-2014; kegged 11-22-2014.  10.3% ABV.  This was ready for consumption just in time for Thanksgiving at Mac’s Brew Pub.  It turned out pretty good, but not as good as I hoped for.  I think I got the grain bill just right this time, and will make no further adjustments to it, but I might change up some of the hops in the future.  Also, I might mash at a slightly lower temperature to get a lower finishing gravity and a drier beer.

Maktoberfest: brewed 10-28-2014; kegged 11-22-2014. 6.1% ABV.  I brewed a 10 gallon batch and divided it into two 5 gallon portions for fermentation.  I kegged 5 gallons and bottled the other 5 gallons.  The kegged version, like MTA, was ready for drinking on Thanksgiving.  I bottled the other portion 12-04-2014.

It’s interesting to note that both portions were exactly the same (from the same kettle) and I used yeast from the same starter (poured it more or less half and half when I pitched into the two fermentation carboys), but they turned out differently.  Now, I believe some of the taste differences can be attributed to the different serving protocols (draught vs. bottle conditioning), but there is definitely more to it than that.  The bottled version tastes better (that’s unusual!) and finished at a lower gravity resulting in a higher alcohol content (7.2%).  The bottled version is also much more clear

I’m stumped on this one.  I pitched a little more yeast into the kegged portion, but not a whole lot more (there was a little more wort in that carboy as well), so I can’t imagine that affected the final gravity too much.  I might have to check with the Brew Master, Joe Renden, to get his expert opinion.

The kegged version is pretty cloudy, which is unusual for the yeast strain used.  The flavor is malty and somewhat sweet, within the Oktoberfest style range, but not as good as past versions I brewed (third place at the 2013 OC Fair under the name “Whatchamacallit”).  It’s good, but not great.  Now, the bottled version on the other hand, has a much cleaner appearance and flavor.  It is very good, with a lager-like taste sensation and malty caramel notes.  I proudly gave a case to my father for Christmas.  He says he is enjoying it, consuming a couple of bottles a week.

Mac’s Black Forest Stout: brewed 12-11-2014.  This beer is still conditioning in the carboy on 5 oz of cacao nibs.  It is currently 8.6% ABV, and likely to stay there (the fermentation is over).  The flavor is very good – I sampled a little bit of it when I took a hydrometer reading.  I will probably bottle it in about 2 weeks and let it bottle condition for about 3 months.  I plan to enter it into the OC Fair in May.

Red Headed Step-Child: brewed Friday 01-09-2015 (yesterday).  The original gravity was high, but one gravity point lower that it was the last time I brewed this recipe.  That’s to be expected, as I collected an additional half gallon of runoff this time.

Last time I brewed RHSC, I collaborated with Mike Matulich.  This time I collaborated with Martin Gilberstadt and Martin Gilberstadt II.  All three of us really enjoyed brew day, and we each have 5 gallons for consumption.  Well, to clarify, I have 5 gallons, and they have 5 gallons between them.  I plan to oak my portion, like I did last time, but will use French oak, and will use cubes rather than chips (should give a little smoother oak flavor).  I think Gilberstadts are planning on dry hopping their portion.  We will have to get together and sample our creations together.  Martin and M-II, thanks for your company, your assistance, and the great burrito.  I hope you enjoyed the experience as much as I did.  Maybe we could do this again.

I’m not sure what’s up next at Mac’s Brewing.  Maybe a hefeweizen or another IPA.  Possibly a pale ale, or  . . . so many possibilities.

That’s if for now.  Cheers!