Fearless John’s Order of the Hop

A 15 Minute American Ale.

Fearless John’s Order of the Hop was a Chivalic Order or Knights. It seems he basically created it to have a drinking club for his friends. No better person to create a drinking club.  John the Fearless Duke of Burgundy is supposedly the  man who invented hopped beer. I created this beer for three reasons. I wanted to try the 15 minute APA that the guys at Basic Brewing Video came up with, I wanted to do a 1 gallon “6 pack” batch, and I wanted to try the relatively new (2007) Citra Hop.

15 Minute Pale Ale

It is a very straight forward process.  You basically throw the specialty grains in the water and take them out when the water reaches 170 deg. F. Then add the DME. Once the water is boiling, throw twice as many hops in as you would with a regular boil. This is because, as the name implies, you are only going to boil 15 minutes.  Twice as many hops you ask? 15 minutes isn’t half of 60 minutes. You are correct, but alpha acid isomerization isn’t linear. Approximately half the isomirization occurs in the first 15 minutes.

1 gallon batch

The most common batch is a 5 gallon batch. Sometimes a smaller batch is useful. It takes less time to boil 1 gallon of water. You can easily do a full boil. You can experiment, and if the experiment fails, you only waste a gallon of beer instead of 5.

Citra Hop

The Citra Hop is a relatively new variety of hop. It was released in 2007, and at an Alpha Acid of around 12-14% you can consider it as both an aroma hop and a bittering hop. It has an interesting aroma and flavor of citrus and tropical fruits.

Here is my particular recipe:

Target OG: 1.054
Measure OG: 1.055
Target IBU:

1 lb 2.5 Extra Light DME
3.2 oz Crystal Malt 60L
0.50 oz Citra Hop at 15 Minutes
0.40 oz Citra Hop at 5 Minutes
0.50 oz Citra Hop at Flame Out

I underestimated the boil off you can get with only a 15 minute boil, so I ended with an original gravity of 1.068. I used Beersmith to figure out how much water to add, and diluted it down to 1.055. I threw it in a 1 gallon jug and put it in my closet. The hops should really showcase in this beer, and I hope it lives up to its namesake.

I should have used a blow off tube.

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Alabama Right to Brew

Basic Brewing Radio is one of the regular Podcasts I listen to. Usually James, the host, interviews homebrewers who have done interesting brewing experiments. Sometimes he interviews beer industry people. This particular episode is different. He basically gave us a recording of the Alabama State House debate of a bill that will hopefully make homebrewing legal in the last of the 50 states. If you don’t mind feeling dirty, I suggest you listen to it. There is constant fear mongering from people who seem to think Lucifer himself invented alcohol, where every other statement out of their mouth is an invocation about how they are good Christians who represent good Christian communities, despite wanting to do some very un-Jesus like controlling of your life. I imagine that if you could go back in time to late 1917 and early 1918, you would probably hear very similar arguments in the state house debates on whether to ratify the 18th Amendment.

Listen to the Episode Here.

Alabama Right to Brew

I guess those politicians don’t dare too much.

Work has taken me to Alabama and Tennessee many times over the last year, and I have become vastly aware of the quagmire of laws regarding alcohol, not the least of them being the strange creature known as a dry county. Unheard of in the Midwest. A dry county does not prohibit procession of alcohol, as similar laws prohibit possession of other drugs, but it does prohibit the sale of alcohol in the county.  It’s strange, because the people I meet down there don’t seem to think of alcohol as the devils juice, so I wonder how out of touch these politicians are.

Does the current law stop people from homebrewing? One of the politicians in the audio who decided to support this bill this year even pointed out that they are probably already brewing anyway. Mississippi has had at least one homebrew club since before their homebrew legalization bill passed two weeks ago. Why not Alabama? During national prohibition many of the former breweries that survived prohibition did it by selling malt syrup. Baking uses malt syrup, but probably the most popular (and “unofficial”) use was for homebrewing beer.

The bill did pass the house by a good margin and now moves to the Senate. It is not a perfect bill. The federal limit for homebrewing is 100 gallons a year (200 if more than one adult lives in the house), but this bill would allow  60 gallons a year (15 gallons every 3 months), and none in dry counties. At least it is progress. It only took 34 years for it to get this far in Alabama.

Now if the US could just end the ridiculous quagmire of regulations required to open a brewery, and the draconian double dipping tax system that first taxes the brewery per a barrel, and then taxes the cosumer with the increased liquor sales tax when he or she buys the beer, we could really live in a beertopia.

Mother’s in the kitchen, washing out the jugs;
Sister’s in the pantry, bottling the suds;
Father’s in the cellar, mixing up the hops;
Johnny’s on the porch, watching for the cops

Happy Beer Day

80 years ago today, alcohol prohibition ended in this country (USA). At the time, beer and wine under 3.2% alcohol by weight (4% ABV) became legal to drink. Alcohol by weight (ABW) became popular because the numbers are smaller than alcohol by volume (ABV) and it looked better to people who would control your life. If you look on a beer bottle, it more than likely has ABV, but ABW continued in this country until relatively recently.

To celebrate, I decided I should drink a beer that most definitely would have still been illegal 80 years ago. At 8% ABV it is still illegal in several states. Legunitas Hop Stoopid. A real celebration of what beer has become, despite the serious and long-term damage alcohol prohibition did to the country.

Take one sniff and there is no doubt that this is a seriously hoppy beer, not for the new beer fan or the faint of heart. You immediately get the grapefruit you are so used to from American hops. You also get the pine and grass of the American Northwest. You can almost smell the bitterness, but really that is just intense pine.

After a longer winter of stouts, porters, and milds, the hops assaulted my tastebuds. The taste rides right down from the aroma. Grapefruit, mango, pine, grass. It’s a little sweet, and not too terrible bitter.

It had a smooth mouthfeel and medium carbonation. The appearance is a clear dark golden color with a white head and good lacing.

This is a first-rate double IPA. I can already see myself drinking this on a hot afternoon in the dog days of summer.