Mac’s Brew News – August 2, 2015


I know you all have been wondering what’s going on at Mac’s this summer.  With the new cooled stainless steel fermenter, there has been no need to take a summer vacation from brewing.  I recently brewed a lager, and will be brewing a blond ale in a couple of weeks.  In spite of this, I am (unfortunately) running low on draught beer.  There is still a significant amount of Cherry Wheat and Janitor In A Drum, but the Smackdown is nearly gone (I would be surprised if there’s two pints left in the keg).  I still have some Club 21 and Cherry Wheat in bottles, so I’m going to have to make them last for a few weeks.  By the time the lager and the blond are ready for consumption, the draught Cherry Wheat will likely be gone, leaving me with only three draught selections for Sheila’s retirement party.

Retirement?  Yes, Sheila (Mrs. Mac) is retiring October 5, 2015.  Her last day of work is September 24, 2015, and she will take some vacation time until her official retirement on October 5th.  Congratulations, Sheila!  There will be a retirement party at Mac’s Brew Pub the evening of September 24.  Let’s hope I’m up to the challenge, with at least 3 fine beers on tap.  Here’s what has recently been brewed and what will be brewed in the near future at Mac’s.

Maktoberfest: Brewed 07-07-2015 in collaboration with Mr. High and Mighty (Joe Garcia); currently lagering (cold conditioning).  5.4% ABV.  I have brewed this recipe before, but have never used a lager yeast for fermentation.  My new fermenter allowed me to do just that.  Here is a photo of Mac and his beast of a fermenter:


I fermented this beer for just under 2 weeks at 54° F, raised the temperature for 3 days for a diacetyl rest, then began lowering the temperature 2° F per day for cold conditioning.  Right now it’s resting at 40° F in the refrigerator (I racked it from the fermenter to 2 glass carboys when it got to 48°, and placed them in the fridge for storage).  I will keg Maktoberfest on or after 08-25-2015.  I know this is a good Oktoberfest recipe; it remains to be seen how successful my lager fermentation protocol is.

Sheila’s B(ee)FD Honey Blonde Ale.  To honor Sheila, I’m brewing this beer for her retirement celebration.  I’m collaborating with my friend Scott Vandeventer on this brew (note: Scott is a fine fellow, but he is not a brewer, so this will be his first brewing experience; however, he is a bee keeper, and is supplying the honey made by his “Really Nasty Bees” for my recipe).

I have never brewed a blonde ale before, so this is a new recipe for me.  I need to give some credit, however, to my friend Joe Renden, a true brew master, who won a gold metal at GABF (Great American Brew Festival) for his honey blonde ale a couple of years ago.  Joe gave me some specific guidelines and suggestions for this recipe, so I’m hoping the first edition of this beer will turn out excellent (it better, as it will be served, untested, to a pub full of people at the retirement party on 09-24-2015).

The recipe includes a small amount of sweet orange peel and coriander seed for subtle citrus flavors, and prominently features Scott Vandeventer’s home grown organic honey.  It will be a low alcohol ale, finishing somewhere around 4.5% ABV, with a noticeable, but not overwhelming, honey flavor.

Oh, a little bit about the name of this beer.  Sheila is my honey, and she is retiring from the BFD (Brea Fire Department).  Of course everyone knows this event is a BFD (c’mon people, that stands for Big Fat Deal . . . just ask Sheila).  Now, you can’t have honey without bees, so to acknowledge Scott’s contribution of his honey to my honey’s celebration ale, it will be called B(ee)FD Honey Blonde.

I’m going to have to get busy again with more brewing right after the blonde, or I won’t have enough beer on tap for the fall.  I want to brew Smackdown and Mac’s PAPA again very soon, plus I need to get busy with some stouts (Nutcase comes to mind) and winter warmers.

OC Fair Update: I got shut out!  I’m a little surprised that Black Forest Stout did not place, but it’s really an imperial stout that was entered into the fruit beer category.  I have to accept that it may not have fit well within the style guidelines for the category (or maybe it just wasn’t that good).  I guess I’ll find out when I get the judges notes in a month or so.  Club 57 was too strong and boozy, so I’m not really surprised about that one.  The others I entered only to get judges comments/suggestions and expected no high scores.

Scott, thank you so much for the honey, and please thank your “really nasty bees” for all their hard work, and their willingness to contribute to this collaboration.  Of course, you get to keep 5 of the 10 gallons of ale we produce, but your bees get nothing.  Please treat them right!

That’s it for now.  Cheers!

3 thoughts on “Mac’s Brew News – August 2, 2015

  1. The “Party” was terrific and the Beer met with enthusiastic approval so congratulations to you and Sheila!

    • Well, at least Sheila’s B(ee)FD was a success. Too bad there wasn’t any leftover – Sheila was disappointed. Don’t despair, however, I just brewed it again (with commercial honey – Scott didn’t have any to offer this time). This time I’s called “Goldihops” (and The Free Beers), and will be available soon at Mac’s Brew Pub.

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