I have kind of a thing with blood oranges, and every year during those 18-days when they’re available (seriously it feels like it’s that short), I try to stock up as much as possible — including making some kind of blood orange beer. The first was a Chocolate Blood Orange Stout, followed by a hefeweizen, and then an IPA (whose recipe I sadly did not record).
White IPAs (basically a hybrid of a witbier/white ale and an IPA) are all the rage this year in the craft beer world, so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and create a Blood Orange White IPA. I based this on the Northern Brewer Witbier kit but replaced the hops bill with 1oz of Columbus for the full 60 minute boil, followed by 1oz of Cascade, 1oz of Citra, and 1oz of Centennial in the last ten minutes. I used the roasted peels of 6 blood oranges (removing as much white rind as possible), and boiled their pulp in water and added the juices to the wort.
If nothing else, I guarantee that it’ll look a purrty color.
Unfortunately, “Blood Orange White IPA” is kind of a clumsy name — it doesn’t really make sense to have orange AND white in the title, ya know? So I took to Facebook to ask my friends for suggestions, and rounded up my favorites in the poll below. Make your voice heard!…for the beer that goes in my belly (don’t worry, I’m willing to share).
Last night I bottled this Irish Draught Ale, which is the first beer that I’ll complete from a Northern Brewer recipe kit (long story short, Modern Homebrew in Cambridge is horrible, and everyone who works there is like Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons only worse). It’s a Smithwick’s-style ale, with some honey added as a cultural throwback. But even the room-temp, flat tasting sample shown above was pretty delicious, so I’m looking forward to it. Lucky for me, I finished it just in time for St. Paddy’s Day!
Coming up soon in the fermenters, I’ve got a Blood Orange White IPA (not sure what to call that color combination yet….), and my first Pilsner (which I’m kind of terrified of). Stay tuned for more!
I started homebrewing hard cider when I found out that my good friend and drinking buddy Charles had an allergy to hops (which I still assert is the most ridiculous allergy on the planet, even moreso than peanuts. Hops literally are not used for anything except for beer and the occasional tea! But I digress). Of course it was just a matter of time before another drinking partner of mine came forth with a different problem: celiac disease.
Meaning no gluten. Meaning no beer.
Okay, yes, sure, gluten-free beersdo exist, but unfortunately, they’re not very good. And so, my good friend Jeff Marcus enlisted in my aid to help him create a homebrewed gluten-free beer that was exactly good! Something hopefully more hoppy and full-bodied (gluten-free beers are notoriously sweet and light-bodied), possibly even eventually something darker like a porter or stout (but that’s not for a while).
It’s currently way too early to deduce if our wild experiment was actually successful, but I’ll keep you updated as the fermentation process moves along. In any case, here’s the recipe for our Gluten-free HoneyHop Pale Ale (which is the name I just came up with right now and isn’t very good).
Just took of care of the first (pre-watermelon) steps of my new homemade hard cider (which I’m starting now in anticipation of the fall). Once the wort-apple juice combination completes its first fermentation, I’m going rack the brew and let it sit on top of several pounds of sliced watermelon to soak up some additional (unfermented) flavor. We’ll see it goes. In the meantime, take a look at the full recipe over in the homebrew section.
Just brewed up Béibhinn’s Strawberry Red Ale, an Irish Red Ale recipe with 7 pounds of fresh strawberries, named for the mother and daughter of Brian Boru, the first king of Ireland. Also my girlfriend (total coincidence).
Over the last 2 months (basically, over the time it took to make my Blood Orange Hefeweizen), I’ve been the subject of an interactive “magazine” article about homebrewing. From what I understand, the idea of the magazine is “Old is New” — that is, to present old-fashioned or time honored practices, traditions, and hobbies in a brand new light, with the aid of new media. The completed project is intend for view on an iPad, and should be released on the iTunes store in the coming weeks. In the meantime, here’s the first part of the project, a short video focusing on me and my brewing exploits. Part Two to come….whenever I see it.
Thanks to Nick and Braden for this! (and to Brittany Burke for lending her hands & help to the bottling process)
Today’s adventure in homebrewing: a smoked kölsch ale, made with genuine charred oak barrel pieces straight from the Jack Daniels distillery and soaked with whiskey for 5 years. The goal is to make it a light summer drinking beer, that’s already been (deliciously) stained by the campfire around which you should probably be drinking it anyway, because we’re coming up on prime latenight backyard campfire drinking season. I’ll also be adding some liquid smoked oak essence at the end, to balance the flavor as needed (or as not needed, although probably needed).
(For those of you unfamiliar with kölsch, it’s kind of like a pilsner in color/hoppiness, except it’s an ale, not a lager. Get it? Okay. Moving on)
1 small block of charred oak from a used Jack Daniels whiskey barrel
Wyeast #2565 Kölsch Ale Yeast
Smoked Oak Essence (as needed)
I procured my pieces of Jack Daniels barrel from the lovely people at Ryan & Wood Distillery, a fantastic mom-and-pop distillery in Gloucester, MA. They buy their barrels straight from Jack Daniels (who is only allowed to use each barrel once), and then age their own rum/rye in the barrels, and sell the bits for $2 a bag. Not a bad deal, and excellent for BBQing (might I add — smoking mangoes & peppers over charcoal and Jack Daniels barrel? DELICIOUS)
I added my barrel piece in with the grains and let it steep for the first 20 minutes. I added the same piece back in for the last 5 minutes of the boil, hoping to impart some of the smoked scents into the beer as well. I plan on adding some smoked oak essence as needed later on, but so far, we’ll see how it goes!