Orange Bee Hive
I’m going on my third year as a homebrewer. I just saw where my first brew was December 6, 2009. The first time I brewed using my own recipe would have been about a month after that. It was a pale ale and it was dry hopped using hop plugs. It turned out really good so I decided to change the recipe a little and dry hop with a different variety. That was the same beer that placed 4th in last year’s Peach State Brew Off. I changed it yet again after the judges recommendations and that beer placed 4thin last year’s Savannah Suds homebrew competition. I’ve always called it New Bee Pale Ale, since I was in fact a Newb and its brewed using honey. So for the fourth version (they’ve all varied slightly) I renamed it.
This rendition has twice the honey, at 2 pounds, and is added at flame out instead of at 15 minutes before flame out. This comes as recommendation from the head braumaster at Heinzellmannchen in Sylva, NC. Adding at flame out, instead of 15 bfo, always more of the honey to influence the taste and aroma profile since it’s not actually boiled. Before it was only supplying more gravity points, i.e. alcohol. The hops have remained the same for the last three versions, though I swapped the aroma and bittering hops during the boil in the second version. The last two versions were both dry hopped with Citra for two weeks. It’s tough to say why they have taste and aroma differences. My best guess is that the hops were not as fresh for this latest brew. It would be nice to be able to get a hold of some fresh Citra cones or leaf hops.
For some reason this brew day flew by. Not only in that it didn’t feel like an all day adventure, but it also wasn’t time wise. As usual it’s tough to leave our bed, but even tougher to not even ask for play time (never works btw). I think I stepped into the brewery (aka know as our garage) at 10am. Our neighbors ventured over near the end and I was putting the lid on the primary around 4:15 pm or so. Don’t ask what I did, because I don’t remember. If I had to guess, I believe I did lots of cleaning and sanitizing while I had the mash going. I had no hurdles either while sparging. No stuck mash, no left behind sugars (other than expected) or no wasted time to think of. This was the second time that I iced the water hose that supplies cooling water to the wort chiller. Winter, ha, what winter, still had the ground water cold, so we dropped the temperature from near boiling to 70°F in just around 40 minutes. This helps a lot to get the unwanted proteins to coagulate and drop out.
We’ve recently enjoyed a few pints of these at Gratis Brewing and our patio. I even gave a couple to Chef Miley of Chops and Hops (I owe him more than a few) and received good feedback in return. It makes the trouble all the more worth it when you get honest feedback from someone that knows and understands what makes a good beer. I don’t mind giving some to other friends, but some are just after free beer and an easy drunk.
Now we sit back and wait. Peach State Brew Off is this Saturday. Fingers crossed!