For many homebrewers, the summer is often a time when they take a break from the hobby. If you don’t have a means to keep the temperatures down for fermentation, your beer can end up being an estery mess (unless you’re brewing a Belgian beer, in which case an estery mess is wanted 😉 ) I’m usually not one of those homebrewers. I don’t have a fridge for precise temp control. Instead I go the swamp cooler route, which is a crude method, but hey it works. The other key is to use cleaner yeast strains to minimize the esters. For the most part it has worked well for me.
Last summer was an insane time. The hobby practically turned into a job. I was asked to brew beer for several events. A few parties, BBQ’s, and most importantly, a friend’s wedding. It was pretty crazy. I had to keep a very tight schedule; brew a hefeweizen this day, move a batch of mocktoberfest to a bright tank that day, keg another beer the next day, etc, etc, etc. By the time October came along, I was relieved to be done!
This summer is way more relaxing. No obligations. That said I have several brews planned for the next couple of weeks. In early August, Erin and I are taking our annual week-plus long trip to the mountains. Some friends (including Mosie) are meeting us there for a few days. This year I want to have some homebrew up there.
The problem has been finding time to brew. Every weekend has been jam-packed with things to do. We honestly haven’t had a free minute. Finally it got to the point where if we didn’t brew something, we weren’t going to have homebrew for Andes. I wasn’t going to allow that, so I MADE time.
The problem was at that point the ingredients for the two beers I originally wanted to brew hadn’t come in. I was planning to brew Handsome Pale Ale, and an experimental Red Rye ale (More on this later). What I did have was some Wheat liquid malt extract that I was originally going to use to brew my honey wheat beer. The problem is I’ve become a major hop-head lately, and the honey wheat seemed a little tame for my hop-craving tastebuds.
I decided that I want an IPA. So in the end I took the honey wheat recipe and turned it into one. A honey wheat IPA!
I steeped some honey malt, as I do in the regular honey wheat. I then added the 6lbs of wheat LME, 1lb of extra light DME, 1.5lbs of honey, and hopped it with Columbus, Citra, and Centennial hops. I plan on dry-hopping it with a Citra/Centennial combination.
The boil smelled awesome. Considering how quickly it was thrown together, I’ll be real proud if this one works out. And if it does I’ll probably keep it as a regular in rotation. Keep your fingers crossed.
The day after brewing it, the other ingredients came in. I’ll hold off on Handsome Pale Ale for now. An IPA and a pale ale may be a bit much to some (not all though). So for now we’ll go with the Red Rye. Now this is a risk because along with the Honey Wheat IPA, this is an experiment. That said it had more planning behind it, and I am dying to see how this turns out. I recently stopped over by Blue Point Brewing’s tasting room and had their Rastfa-Rye, and loved it. Since then I’ve been wanting to brew a beer along similar lines. I decided to base it off of my red ale recipe. Using a base of Two-Row, Rye, and Vienna malts, I paired it with the same specialty malts as in the red. The hops are totally different from what I typically use in the red ale. For this rye version I went with Chinook and Mt Hood hops. Both should compliment the spiciness of the rye. I brewed this beer two days after I brewed the honey wheat IPA. It went pretty smoothly.
And that’s that. I took two of my standard recipes and tried to turn them into something a little more extraordinary.