Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Now Hear This – Kid Rock Helped Me Make Better Beer

( Us from the night in question. )

Where: Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean onboard the Carnival Destiny cruise ship
When: April 2012,  late at night
What: Me joking that I could create a lime-infused ale that is better than Bud Light Lime, not that that is really that hard…

I’ll be honest, I struggled to find what I personally consider worthy beer options at the bars while on the Kid Rock Cruise. If you are a Chillin’ The Most cruiser and are reading this, take no offense. I make my own beer and over the years I have lost my taste for the big three brands (Bud, Miller, Coors), but I believe people should drink what they like. Drink freely my friends.

During one of the evenings on the cruise Margot and I sat outside enjoying both the warm night air and the people watching. The people watching on the cruise was epic by the way. I hit the bar and decided on a couple of Bud Light Limes. As I was drinking my beer I remarked “hey this isn’t so bad” and began talking about how I might craft something similar at home. Margot was goading me on, asking me to express how I really felt about Budweiser and got it all on video, but the video isn’t SFTB (safe for the blog) so you’ll just have to imagine it.

As I thought about it over the remainder of the weekend I figured a basic American ale containing both wheat and corn would be a solid blank slate to layer on some lime. Having worked with citrus flavors in my home fermentations before I knew that a multi-phased approach would work best. I added dried lime peel to the hot wort just before I chilled and strained it, and then fresh lime zest after I transferred the beer to the secondary fermentation container. Finally, lime juice was added at bottling to help bring it all together and lock a solid zip of lime into each bottle.

My plan worked. The beer was brewed on July 4th, 2012 and we set about enjoying it about a month later. We actually used the same beer base to make a lemon shandy, a beer that went on to take a first place in a brewing competition later in the year. But I digress.

Everyone who tried the lime ale had positive words for it, and some people drank every bit of it in sight each time I chilled some down. It is a light-bodied beer and early on the effect of the corn was not very apparent. We just drank the last of the batch this past weekend and just like when I’ve brewed with corn in the past a rounded, sweetness developed with age. In the first few months after the beer was brewed the lime complex in the beer was potent, adding considerable tartness and crispness to each sip. Nearly a year later the lime was much mellowed, but still present.

Skip to the current day. I brewed a fresh batch of lime ale on my birthday last month, nearly one year to the day I hatched the plan in the first place. The recipe for the beer (provided below) has been slightly modified, but the first dose of lime (dried peel) was added at the same time and the fresh lime zest will be as well. At bottling however I will be using more lime juice, and all of it freshly squeezed rather than bottled. 

Getting an earlier start on the second batch means it will be conditioned and ready to go for the summer drinking season, where I expect it will be consumed even more quickly, meaning I won’t be able to say I finished the last of it ten months later.

As for Kid Rock, he needs to get his ass to my house to try the creation he inspired. If you are reading this Bob (I’m dreaming, but one has to do that now and again) the invitation is open and we can retreat to the basement with openers and straws and see what comes of it!

And with that I’ll leave you with a video from the sail away show from the Kid Rock Chillin’ The Most Cruise #3. I can still hear my favorite Kid Rock songs reverberating across the sand and sea while I stood in the sun enjoying the simple things in life, like when and where.

 ( This video is not my own, but it kicks ass so I shared it! )



Ancient Fire Lime Ale 2013

SRM: 4.6
OG: 1.050
IBU: 14.5
Mash time: 30 min
Boil time: 45min

4lb Pilsner Dry Malt Extract
1lb CaraPils
1lb Flaked Wheat
1lb Flaked Corn
1oz Hallertauer hops (45 min)
0.5oz Cascade hops (5 min)
0.0oz Cascade hops (post boil, 5 min)
1oz dried lime peel (post boil, 15 min)
Zest of 6 limes (secondary, until bottling)
Lime juice (amount TBD, at bottling)
Maurivin brewing yeast, 1 liter starter

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