Sunday, March 23, 2008


Now this has nothing at all to do with beer or brewing, but I'll blog about it anyway. Last night after the wife and I went out to a movie (saw "Juno" which was cute, though not Oscar worthy I think), we stopped by the new Pinkberry yogurt place at Irvine Spectrum. In case you haven't heard of Pinkberry, they are the newest craze in luxury ice cream/yogurt. The yogurt is very tart and sour, and besides the greentea/coffee flavor there is only the original flavor. Not really vanilla, but similar. Maybe a cross between a sour vanilla and buttermilk. Anyway, the draw to this place is you get this sour yogurt and top it with all kinds of good fresh fruits or cereals like Cap'n crunch. Also, the stores are ultra modern and fresh looking. You walk in and there's techno music playing, everyone looks young and hip. I was instantly happy and felt immensely cooler just standing there. I got a yogurt topped with fresh blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Delicious and refreshing. I'm not one to get all crazy about the newest hype or trend - but I think they really nailed with this place. Great product, great shop that makes you feel good just being there. I'll definitely go back.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


Today thanks to a tip from Rob over at Democracy's Drink I added a vial of Brettanomyces to my secondary fermentation for that blonde ale that I recently screwed up by adding way too much extract. I used a vial of White Labs' Brettanomyces Bruxellensis WLP650. My hope is that this wild belgian yeast will continue to ferment where the California Ale yeast left off. Oh and I also added some cascade leaf hops to dry hop in secondary as well.

Hopefully between the Brettanomyces ,the dry hopping, and some long aging I should come out with something close to a Golden Strong Ale? Or at least something drinkable. Time will tell.....

Friday, March 7, 2008

HONEY... I Blew it!!!

Last week I started a new beer. I wanted to do a Honey Blonde Ale to get ready for springtime, and maybe to enter into the 2008 Sam Adams Longshot contest along with one of my stouts and maybe a California common. Here's the ingredients I used for my recipe....

60 min 4.00 lb Pilsner Liquid Extract (3.5 SRM) Extract
60 min 1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (60 min) Hops
30 min 3.00 lb White Sage Honey (1.0 SRM) Sugar 30.00 %
15 min 0.50 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (15 min) Hops
10 min 0.25 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc

2 Pkgs California Ale (White Labs #WLP001) Yeast-Ale

Here's the problem: Between working on tiling the kitchen backsplash and brewing beer I got distracted and added 6lbs Pilsner extract rather than 4lbs. My OG reading was off the charts at 1.12!!! Between the extra pilsner and the honey I must have really jacked up the fermentables.

Original recipe should have had gravity of 1.055, and then even with the extra 2 lbs it should have been 1.069. But I got 1.12???? The only reason I can think this happened is the White Sage Honey must have been very very low in water content.

At this point after finding out that my OG is way too high, I'm scared. Did I just ruin the beer? I don't think there's any way the yeast will be able to ferment all that sugar, even though this White Labs California Ale Yeast has a high attenuation at up to 80%. I did prepare a yeast starter as usual, but just be safe I got another vial of yeast and added that as well. Hopefully all that yeast will be able to survive the high alcohol that will be produced. This beer no longer fits the category of a honey blonde. It almost fits the style guide for a Belgian Strong Golden. So that's what I'm going to call it.

It has now been in primary fermentation for 11 days. It happily bubbled away for the first weeks with a nice krausen, then has leveled off. Still bubbling through airlock but not as rapid. I checked specific gravity yesterday and it is reading 1.020. I plan to rack to secondary today and let it sit for a month or so before bottling and aging.

The beer so far is very very dry, and not a huge malt character. I'm afraid it is going to be straight rubbing alcohol by the time it is done. My thought is maybe I'll dry-hop in secondary with some cascade and hopefully that will smooth out the alcohol profile a bit. Unfortunately I'll probably have to age for months like a Belgian ale, and now it won't be ready in time for the Sam Adams contest.

Anyone who reads this and has any suggestions on how I can salvage this batch, I'd appreciate any comments.