Friday, December 2, 2011

Walking with a Winter Weizenbock

Time for our monthly post from Mike the Gay Beer Guy...

Dear Friends: Happy Thanksgiving! I know by the time you read this, it’ll be slightly belated, but you get the idea. T and I have never been traditional in anything we do. To celebrate before going out for crazy-midwestern-Walmart-Black-Friday shopping, we of course make a special meal like most out there. Turkey? No. Braised Beef Short Ribs - well yes please!! This simple, yet fantastic, main dish goes with almost anything else you wish to prepare; we had a soup from roasted squash, roasted asparagus, and garlic new potatoes. To go along with the meal, I had planned a nice Weiznbock; well I got to it a little late and it’s still in the fermenter... c’est la vie. It smells good, though! Happy Thanksgiving, Happy Holidays, Happy New Year... see you in 2012.

Thanksgiving Braised Beef Short Ribs
(Feeds two with leftovers)
The less you have to do after cooking for a crowd at Thanksgiving, the better, right? Do this the night before a few hours before you go to bed. Turn the flame off, and just keep it on the stove overnight. The pan will last without having to go into the fridge, and you can skim off some of the fat the next day! Reheat right where the pan is as everything else you’re preparing cooks.

6 Beef Short Ribs
Parnsips, Carrots, Celery, Beets, Onion — all rough chopped
Garlic, 3 or 4 cloves
Red Wine

Wash/trim your short ribs and pat them dry with paper towels; season appropriately. Prepare a big pan (preferably not non-stick) on medium/high heat with enough EVOO to cover the bottom but not be overwhelming. Brown the short ribs on each side, without trying to move them around the pan. Once the ribs have developed color, move them to a plate. Add more oil if necessary, and brown the veggies and garlic with seasoning. The veggies should develop color without burning.

Once everything is nice and happy, add the wine, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the ribs to the pan, moving the veggies out of the way, and add any juices that have accumulated from the plate the ribs were on. Cover, bring the pan to a simmer. When the pan is at a simmer, reduce the flame to low and let it be for 2 or 3 hours. When you’re ready for bed, turn off the flame and let it sit until the next day. Skim the fat, reheat, and serve with your favorite traditional or non-traditional Thanksgiving goodness!

Winter Weizenbock

In my mind, this is another perfect fall or winter beer. Weizenbock, which as you can tell from the stereotypical German compound word, is the intermarriage between a wheat beer and a bock... flavor with a punch. Imagine a German-style wheat beer (not one of those watered down American versions) with bready, banana, and clove overtones, add some dark toasty character and caramel flavors, and then kick it up a notch.

I try and follow all Reinheitsgebot rules up until carbonation...for those who don’t know, this is the German Purity Law. Yes, the Germans have a law dating back to the 1500s. To oversimplify things, basically three things could go into beer: water, barley, and hops. The law had to be amended to accommodate the discovery of yeast as a microorganism essential to the process. The law dating from way-back-when has been repealed, and there is a current and updated version in its place. The recipe I use is right out of Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer’s book, Brewing Classic Styles. I switch out the yeast strain Jamil recommends for another which works well in my system; experiment and make this beer your own!

OG - 1.081
FG - 1.020
ABV - 8%
IBUs - 23

10 lbs Wheat Malt (dark is prefered)
5 lbs Pilsner Malt
2 lbs Munich Malt
½ lb Special B
½ lb Crystal 40
¼ lb Pale Chocolate

1 ½ oz Hallertau Hops for 60 minutes

WLP 380 - Hefeweizen IV Yeast

Mash at 152*, sparge and lauter as usual. Make sure to increase your initial wort amount to accommodate for a 90 minute boil. Boil, adding your hops as indicated... there’s only one addition, you’ll be fine. Jamil says you should ferment at 62* for WLP 300 to reduce the banana flavors and encourage more clove and spicy flavors... for the WLP 380, I have found that 66* gives me a balance I look for in German wheat beers. This yeast also throws out a LOT of sulfur... don’t be discouraged, just let it be and the sulfur will dissipate.

Cheers - Since I won’t be in touch until AFTER January 1st, I want to wish everyone out there a Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year. If you’re interested in getting into homebrewing (or possibly encouraging a family member or significant other), please feel free to ask me any questions you might have... brewing kits make EXCELLENT gifts!

- Mike TGBG

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