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I haven't brewed a batch of beer in quite a while. My last one was my Juniper-Rye Christmas IPA. That was a great one - one of my favorites!
I always have mixed feelings when my holiday beer is a triumph. I give most of it away (which I love doing), but we're often left with just a few bottles. There's always a sense of, "Man . . . I wish there was more of that!" Ha ha.
Well, we're not in gift-giving mode right now, so if I make a batch, it's all for us! Well. Mostly. I'll still give some to my family. Just because I like them a lot. Even when it's not Christmas. :)
Brewing beer during the summer has its own challenges. It's HOT here. It's been really hard to keep our room temperature under about 78 degrees. That's not really an ideal temperature for fermenting beer. There are certain styles that can do well with a warmer fermentation temperature (such as hefeweizens), but those aren't necessarily our favorites. If I have learned anything over the last four years about brewing beer, it's that you should brew the style(s) of beer that you like to drink. Yeah. I think I still have several bottles of that chocolate-mint stout languishing in the fridge . . .
We like hops. And more hops. Therefore, it's in our best interest if I brew mostly pale ales and IPAs. I'm fine with a little extra something to add some novelty, but I don't want to work really hard and end up with something that no one wants to drink. Ha ha.
I got the idea for this recipe from my youngest sister. I asked her what kind of beer I should make and she didn't even hesitate. "Rosemary White IPA!" All right, then.
A few weeks ago, I asked her for some taco recipe inspiration and she gave me the idea for these fun Big Mac Tacos. That worked out well. I trust her. :)
This is an all-grain recipe. It includes the ingredients and some basic instructions, but it's not a complete process for brewing beer. If you've never done that before, I would check with your local homebrew store and get a basic brewing kit to see how the whole process works. It took me a few batches (and some extra equipment purchases) to work up to an all-grain recipe. There is a store called Brewer's Connection with locations in both Tucson and Phoenix. That's my go-to spot when I want brewing supplies. They ship! :)
There are also a couple of great books that I would recommend if you want to learn more about brewing beer. This one is a great overview of the basics:
This next one is an interesting read about lots of different beer styles! It includes recipes! Some of the beers are pretty out there, but I've gotten a lot of great ideas from this book - it's one of my favorites!
Anyway, on to the recipe! What could be better than brewing beer on the back porch on a warm June day? (It was June 12th, to be precise!)
I used rosemary leaves from a bush that we have in our backyard. I was really conservative about the amount, because I read (in the Radical Brewing book mentioned above) that rosemary can overpower a beer if you're not careful! I love rosemary, but . . . O.o. I figured I could always add more during the dry-hop process if it wasn't enough!
I thought hops of the citrusy/fruity variety would complement the rosemary, so that's what I picked. I added a punch of Arizona mesquite honey for some flavor and a little ABV kick. That never hurts. :)
Here we go!
Rosemary White IPA
For a 5-gallon batch (about 50 bottles)
For the mash:
4 lbs. pale ale malt
4 lbs. malted wheat
4 lb. pilsner malt
1 lb. quick-cooking oats (I just used Quaker!)
1/2 lb. rice hulls (recommended, but I forgot to buy them and had no problems)
For the boil:
1 lb. mesquite honey
1 oz. Comet hops (at 60 minutes out)
1/2 oz. each of Comet and Kohatu hops (at 15 minutes out)
1/2 oz. Comet hops (at 5 minutes out)
1 tsp. Irish moss (at 5 minutes out)
1 tbsp. fresh rosemary leaves (at 5 minutes out)
1/2 oz. Kohatu hops (at flameout)
I used a Wyeast smack-pack (1272 American Ale Yeast II)
1 oz. each of Kohatu and Galaxy hops for dry-hopping
2. Sparge at 170 degrees. (I sparged with an additional 2 gallons of water.) I was worried about getting a stuck sparge since I had forgotten to buy rice hulls, but it worked out just fine. If you can get them, I would recommend doing so just to be safe.
3. Add the honey to the wort and do a one-hour boil adding the hops, Irish moss, and rosemary as indicated. I don't worry too much about losing volume, as I start with more liquid than I need. I also add some ice during cooling, so it's OK with me, if it reduces a bit.
4. Cool the wort as quickly as possible. (I add a 7 pound bag of ice to the wort to kick-start the process. Some people don't recommend that due to a possibility of contamination, but . . . that wort's pretty hot. I haven't had a problem yet. That also adds volume, but with the amount of liquid absorbed by the grains and boiled off during the boil, I still ended up with only about 5.5 gallons.)
Here's a couple of photos of my setup (taken when I made my holiday beer). Don't laugh! I have a copper wort-chiller, and I siphon ice water through it using my bottling bucket.
5. Pitch the yeast at about 70 degrees (or in the low 70s if that's the best you can do).
6. Ferment at 70 (ish) degrees. During the summer, I place my fermentation bucket in a plastic tub. I fill the tub with cool water.
I keep my beer in a spare closet while it's fermenting. We installed a small fan above the tub so we can keep air running on the water. This allows the temperature of the water/beer to stay around 70 to 72 degrees, which is slightly cooler than our room temperature.
I used to put a wet t-shirt over the bucket, but it's so dry here that the t-shirt would just end up drying out, so I'm not sure if it helped. I decided to go without it this time.
OG - 1.064
FG - 1.012
Potential ABV - 6.8% (ish)
As I said before, I brewed this beer on June 12th. On June 20th, I placed the extra hops in a small (sanitized) mesh bag and threw it in the wort. I also included a couple of sanitized marbles to help it sink. I decided against racking into a secondary fermenter. This is going to be a quick and dirty brew. I don't care if it's cloudy. :)
I tasted it, and I thought the rosemary amount was just perfect. I decided against adding any more.
My plan is to bottle this batch a few days from now. I might use some more of that mesquite honey as priming sugar. (I'm always up for another way to add flavor!) I'll let it sit in the bottles for about two weeks and then refrigerate some of it. If we end up leaving town after that point (and turn off our A/C), then I'll refrigerate all of it. We're going to drink this one young!
I'll post an update and let you all know how it turns out. In the meantime, I can't guarantee what you'll get if you make this. I have high hopes for it, though. So far, it's pretty tasty! I can see it being a fun, refreshing summer IPA.
I'm already looking ahead to my next batch. I think a strawberry saison would be fun. I would even have a bit of alliteration going on with that one. Let's see . . . could I add another "s"? Strawberry-Sambuca-Saison? Hmmm. :)
Please feel free to comment! Be kind, though - I'm not a master brewer! I'm more like a hipster-taco-chef. :)