Where Has the Time Gone?

On December 17, 2016, in Craft Beer, Family and Friends, Recipes, Stuff..., by Mark Ranes

It’s been three long years since I’ve posted to The Lazy Brewer. Why? I have no excuses, but much has passed in that time.

Probably the greatest reason for my hesitancy to post new content here is that my self-hosted WordPress site has been continually hacked by script kiddies. It’s so frustrating to see these fools continually inject code and stupid content over the top of the Lazy Brewer. I tired of continually rebuilding the site from backups, just to see a few more weeks pass and then have it maliciosly hacked again. I actually took the Lazy Brewer offline for several month after the last report from Google that my site was hosting malicious content. I had planned on bringing the Lazy Brewer back to life over the holiday break, and we’ll see how it goes this time.

Obviously, I’ve enjoyed many wonderful homebrews and commercial beers over the last 3 years. I’m still brewing regularly, but probably less frequently than in past years. I still try and keep at least eight, if not more, beers on tap at Sociables Ale House. I recently brewed a Throwback IPA, in an effort to get back to the malty, hoppy beers of my craft beer drinking past. I’m tiring of the plethora of all super pale base malt, dank, overhopped IPAs that are so widely available in the craft beer world today. They have no balance and just smack you in the face with catty hops.

In the past three years much has happened. My brother and I moved my Dad out of his home into an assisted care facility, where he still lives today. And then sadly, last spring, I lost my only brother to heart disease. My youngest child, Dawson, followed his sister to the Bay Area, and is attending Laney College, in Oakland, and doing well. I’m now within a couple years of retirement and looking forward to that new phase of life. I also took a silver medal last summer, in the 2016 National Homebrew Competition, for my Cookie Dough Brown Ale. The recipe has slightly changed from past batches, and I’ll post this info soon. I’ve entered this beer before and never made it past the regional competition, but this year I bested 255 other national entries for a second place medal. I was pleased to finally get some recognition for this amazing ale. It has a permanent handle at Sociables.

A couple years ago, my friend Eric and I brewed a spiced beer that he won an award for many years ago. Eric was the first person I ever knew that homebrewed, way back before the hobby became so popular. I converted his five gallon extract recipe to all grain, and off we went. When we brewed this three years ago, and it was well received by everyone. We decided to brew an encore batch this year, scaling back some of the spices slightly. I do like this version better with the spices a bit more subdued.

Here’s the recipe:

Holidaze Ale
American Amber Ale
Author: Eric Wade – conversion to 10 gallon all grain by Mark Ranes

Size: 10.08 gal
Efficiency: 70.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 270.74 kcal per 16.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.061 (1.045 – 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.015 (1.010 – 1.015)
Color: 15.45 SRM (10.0 – 17.0)
Alcohol: 6.0% (4.5% – 6.0%)
Bitterness: 39.6 (25.0 – 40.0)

Ingredients:
20.0 lb (80.6%) Northwest Pale Ale Malt – added during mash
1.5 lb (6.0%) Crystal Malt 20°L – added during mash
2.0 oz (0.5%) Roasted Barley – added during mash
3.0 oz (0.8%) Carafa Special® TYPE III – added during mash
1.0 lb (4.0%) Cara-Pils® Malt – added during mash
2.0 oz (50.0%) Perle (8.2%) – added during boil, boiled 60.0 m
1.0 tsp Cloves (whole) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
2.0 oz (50.0%) Willamette (5.0%) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
2.0 lb (8.1%) Honey – added after boil, steeped 15.0 m
1.0 ea Cinnamon (stick) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
1.5 tsp Ginger (fresh) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
3.0 ea Orange zest – added during boil, boiled 15.0 m
2.0 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 10.0 m
1.0 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 10.0 m
2000.0 mL Starter White Labs WLP041 Pacific Ale Yeast

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Mark's Bigfoot Barleywine Tap Handle

Mark's Bigfoot Barleywine Tap Handle

I’m a couple weeks overdue brewing this year’s barley wine.  Last year, I brewed a barley wine on Valentines Day (nothing says, “I love you”,  like barley wine:) and it turned out really nice.  It came in at 13.8% ABV, a bit big for a barley wine, and tasted wonderful after aging.  The nice sherry tastes came out after about nine months of resting.  This year, I’m staying true to the same recipe, minus some Cascade hops for flavoring (can you imaging any decent brewer not having some Cascades on hand – I’m so embarrassed! – I do have some on order from Hops Direct:), and I’m brewing pretty much the same ale.

My longest buddy ever, Eric, will be coming in on Amtrak Saturday morning (and joining us for a Stockton Thunder Hockey game that evening:) and brewing with me.  Hopefully both Stephen and Brad will stop by for moral support (and an ale or two:).  Here’s the recipe – only slightly altered from last year:

Mark’s Bigfoot
19-C American Barleywine
Author: Mark Ranes
Date: 2/14/08

Size: 5.28 gal
Efficiency: 70.0%
Attenuation: 70.0%
Calories: 535.29 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.156 (1.080 – 1.120)
Terminal Gravity: 1.047 (1.016 – 1.030)
Color: 18.64 (10.0 – 19.0)
Alcohol: 14.8% (8.0% – 12.0%)
Bitterness: 142.5 (50.0 – 120.0)

Ingredients:
1.0 tbsp 5.2 pH Stabilizer – added during mash
10.0 lb Pale Ale Malt(2-row)
10.0 lb Maris Otter
0.5 lb Cara-Pils Dextrine Malt
0.5 lb Crystal 60
0.5 lb Pale Chocolate Malt
6.0 lb Ultralight Extract (MoreBeer)
2.0 lb Corn Sugar
1.25 oz Summit (17.0%) – added during boil, boiled 60.0 min
1.0 oz Centennial (10.5%) – added during boil, boiled 20.0 min
0.75 oz Nugget (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 20.0 min
1.0 tsp Wyeast Nutrient  – added during boil, boiled 15.0 min
1.0 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15.0 min
2.0 oz Amarillo (8.5%) – added during boil, boiled 5.0 min
2.0 oz Centennial (10.5%) – added during boil, boiled 5.0 min
2.0 oz Summit (17.0%) – added dry to primary fermenter
2.0 oz Nugget (13.0%) – added dry to primary fermenter
2000 Starter with 2 vials White Labs WLP099 Super High Gravity Ale
and 1 vial White Labs WLP002 English Ale

I’ll be mashing in about 9:30 a.m.  Additionally, I’ll be lucky to hit the numbers outlined above.  My best guess is that the barley wine will come in at about 13% ABV.

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Blue Flame Imperial IPA LabelTomorrow I’ll be brewing the best beer I’ve ever brewed, Blue Flame Imperial IPA. I brewed this monster last fall and it was incredibly well received by friends, family and my Modesto Mashers buddies. Five gallons only lasted ten days during the holiday season! I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit to cut down the bitterness just a bit (from 223 to only 171 IBUs:) and kicked up the OG a little. Here’s the recipe:

Blue Flame Imperial IPA

Size: 5.04 gal
Efficiency: 75.0%
Attenuation: 75.0%
Calories: 487.58 per 16.0 fl oz (ouch!)

Original Gravity: 1.108
Terminal Gravity: 1.027
Color: 11.8
Alcohol: 10.84%
Bitterness: 171.39

Ingredients:
1 tbsp 5.2 pH Stabilizer – added during mash
19.0 lbs American 2-row
.5 lbs Cara-Pils
.3 lbs Crystal Malt 60°L
.3 lbs Crystal Malt 40°L
1.0 lbs Corn Sugar
1.0 oz Summit (17.0%) – added during boil, boiled 60.0 min
.5 oz Summit (17.0%) – added during boil, boiled 45.0 min
.5 oz Nugget (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 45.0 min
.5 oz Summit (17.0%) – added during boil, boiled 20.0 min
1 oz Nugget (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 20.0 min
1.0 ea Whirlfloc Tablets (Irish moss) – added during boil, boiled 15 min
1.0 tsp Wyeast Nutrient – added during boil, boiled 15 min
.5 oz Summit (17.0%) – added during boil, boiled 7.0 min
.5 oz Nugget (13.0%) – added during boil, boiled 7.0 min
1 oz Summit (17.0%) – added during boil, boiled 0.0 min
2 oz Summit (17.0%) – added dry to the fermenter once fermentation is complete
1 oz Nugget (13.0%) – added dry to the fermenter once fermentation is complete
1 1400 ml White Labs WLP001 California Ale Starter

Mash In – Liquor: 6.28 gal; Strike: 160 °F; Target: 152.0 °F

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I’ve already re-brewed this once before, but it didn’t turn out as well as the first batch. The wonderful piny and citrusy aroma weren’t as bright as the first batch. I think that it was the hops I used the second time. I do have more of the original Summit hops I used for the first batch (they seemed fresher and more brilliant in aroma than the hops I used for the second batch), so I’ll be using those for the flavoring, aroma and dry hop additions. I plan on entering this in in the Modesto Mashers June open category competition.

We have lifelong family friends coming into town to join us for a Stockton Thunder hockey game, so I need to blow this brew session out in a timely manner. Eric was the first person I knew who was a homebrewer, so I’m sure he’ll enjoy arriving while I’m still brewing. We’ll be heading up to Stockton before the game for dinner and a couple of pints at Valley Brewing. Hopefully they have a couple hop bombs on tap for the pre-game warmup!

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