Saturday, December 19, 2009

Xocolatl Review & Revisions

Appearance - a slightly hazy brownish orange, almost no head and that dissipates nearly immediately leaving only a few bubbles around the rim of the glass

Aroma - huge chocolate nose, subtle malt sweetness, spices are fairly subdued if I didn't know there was cinnamon, anise and annato in there I wouldn't be able to pick them out, the chili is there but overshadowed by the chocolate

Taste - There is an immediate rush of chili flavor that is then completely overwhelmed by cocoa. The cocoa bitterness is very well balanced by the very malty sweet backbone of the beer, it gives it more of a chocolate flavor than a cocoa flavor. The cinnamon and anise aren't really discernible but the annatto provides a very nice earthiness that really compliments the other flavors well

Mouthfeel - Medium-high body from all the residual sugars with a fairly high amount of carbonation, it has a very prickly feel on the roof of your mouth as you drink

Drinkability - This is a pretty easy to drink beer, definitely more of a dessert or after dinner drink than anything else. Still its not cloying and the I really like the earthiness of the spices, I think a bit of spice could really change the flavors of the beer.

Notes/Thoughts - Overall I was happy with the first take on this concept, I think I will brew up another small batch soon with a few small tweaks...

1) I really think this could benefit from some heat from the chilis, they have dark chocolate candy bars with jalapeno that they sell around Phx that are amazing and the combination works better than you could imagine, I'm not sure how no heat made it through to bottling, maybe next time I will add a bit of jalapeno to the recipe

2) Add slightly more cinnamon and anise, I think these should both be in the background but they need to be at least prominent enough that I can taste them if I know what I'm looking for

3) Remember to add the hazelnut extract at bottling!

4) Slightly lower carbonation, less of a CO2 bite will let more of the subtle flavors come through
Compared to the beer this was based off, I am pretty happy with the results. It really showcases the chocolate flavors and I believe with a few tweaks will be exactly what I was shooting for.

Brewday 9/26/09 - Recipe & Notes
Thursday, December 17, 2009

100% Oat Malt & Mt Rainier Hops - SMaSH Beer

After reading about oat malt awhile back I was really interested in brewing with it. Unfortunately my LHBS doesn't ever have any interesting malts like that lying around so I had to wait until I placed another order with Midwest. I don't purchase much brewing stuff online, so my orders are very few and far between. But while looking around the site, another malt really caught my eye as well, so I pulled the trigger and got the oat malt and another interesting one that I will use in an upcoming beer.

To be honest I wasn't really sure what to expect from the malt, only two other people Ive even heard about have used it before. One didn't really give any info other than... "yah I did a 100% oat malt beer, it tasted like oats" really helpful.... The other (Dan) had only used it in a brett oat wine, so picking out its contribution was a bit tricky for him. So I went into this kinda blind about what to expect, which is never really a good thing.

One of my biggest concerns was conversion. The first guy that did the all oat malt beer, said he didn't have any issues with conversion, and looking at Fawcetts site, it looked like it could convert. The degree of modification though is extremely low, as such a bit more rigorous mash schedule should be used. Well, after mashing for 1hr, and no starch conversion, then 2hrs without adequate results, finally after 3hrs I was somewhat happy with the iodine test. I was actually thinking about running to the LHBS to grab some amylase when I finally just said screw it and sparged. The resulting wort was very hazy and cloudy, it really reminded me of the runnings from my last lambic. I plan on adding some brett to have of the batch later on anyway so that might make things interesting.

Another issue with building the recipe was what to expect for a gravity contribution from the oat malt. Beersmith lists it as 1.033ppg/lb, which seems extremely high. By my calculations from the Fawcett specs its ~1.028ppg/lb and looking at my numbers after the beer I like to think I was right. For one I haven't had an efficiency less than 80% in a long time and I'm usually in the 85%+ range, and when using my calculations I got about 80% for this beer vs the 66%eff using Beersmith's numbers. Plus I trust Fawcetts specs a bit more than the generic Beersmith values, if you want to learn how to convert Euro malt specs to ppg/lb or just want a better understanding of malt spec sheets here's a good read.

Since I had no idea what to expect from the malt profile I thought what the hell, why not go with another shot in the dark and use exclusively Mt Rainier hops. When I opened up the hops I have to say I was a bit underwhelmed, I'm so used to hops overflowing with lupulin glads that coat my fingers with sticky deliciousness that the Mt Rainier were a bit disappointing. They did however smell pretty good, it was like a more citrusy fuggle or Willamette, although the aroma was a bit subdued overall. I threw them in for bittering, flavor and aroma, I really hope to get a good idea of all three aspects of this hop (I have a lb more of it).

For yeast, I kept things simple and reused a 1968 yeast cake from a stout I recently made. Fermentation started within 20min of pitching the yeast, if nothing else this beer with have a nice ester profile!

100% Oat Malt - Mt Rainier SMaSH

Malt Bill

Amt (lbs)

Type

10Oat Malt (Fawcett)
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.5Mt Rainier (6.8%)65min
1.0Mt Rainier (6.8%)20min
1.0Mt Rainier (6.8%)8min
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTime
122F0.8qt/lb15min
152F1.4qt/lb3hrs
168F2.1qt/lb15min - Vorlauf
YeastLondon ESB 1968 - Yeast Cake
Stats
5.5galOG1040
80% effIBU35
7gal BoilFG?
Notes: Malt was milled at a finer setting that normal ~1/4 turn on my barley crusher, and it still had to be milled twice: Strange hop times are from me not paying attention: Recirculation was extremely smooth, the flow through the grain bed was ridiculously fast, all those oat hulls I guess: Whirlfloc was added with 10min to go.

Review - 7/3/2010
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

English Pale Ale Review

Appearance - Caramely Brown with ruby highlights, pretty hazy, nice dense off-white cream colored head that dissipates to very sticky lacing.

Aroma - Lots of fruity English esters, very bready and sweet smelling, this is followed by a very pleasant earthy hop aroma.

Taste - This beer has changed considerably since it was first tapped. Young it was very yeasty reminding me of a slightly higher carbonated cask pale ale with very soft bitterness. Now that has largely faded and the bready sweetness of the Marris Otter really shines, the hop presence has also come to the forefront and the bitterness is much sharper. When you first take a drink its all fruit and malt, the finish is all hops with a bitterness that doesn't linger long on the palate.

Mouthfeel - This beer has some body to it, its very full feeling with medium carbonation. I think that the carbonation is a touch high, making the hops a bit sharper than they were earlier on in the beers life.

Drinkability - I really like this beer, so much that Ive had to restrain myself from drinking it (we are having a party and I didn't have time to brew up a bunch of beer for it) It goes down very easily and while the hop presence is fairly substantial it is balanced very well by the bready sweetness of the malt, which is why the bitterness doesn't really linger on the palate.

Notes/Thoughts - I'd be lying if I said I preferred the beer as it is now to when it was young. I really like yeasty cask ales and that's what this was until about two weeks after kegging. I don't think I'll be changing much in the recipe when I brew it up again here in a few weeks, but I will make sure to dry hop it, it could stand to have a bit more hop aroma\

Brewday 10/11/2009 - Recipe & Notes

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Hot Wing Beer Chaser - Ranch Beer?

As a follow up to the Hot Wing Beer I'm brewing up a really small batch of a Ranch Beer. What could pair better with that beer than one of these? They are a match made in heaven.

Originally I had wanted to do a Bleu Cheese Beer but I wasn't really sure how to incorporate the ceese into the beer. I had thought about culturing up some of the mold that makes bleu cheese so tasty, but after reading a bit online, it seems that penicillium roqueforti can produce toxins under certain conditions, one of which was close to what you'd expect in beer.

So bleu cheese was out, but luckily ranch was easy to accomplish. I added a small portion of a ranch packet to the beer before bottling. Not thinking about it though I just tossed the spices into the beer before bottling, yeah that didn't work too well. The ranch spices really didn't want to mix in, and it took forever to get it to work. It was a pretty disgusting thing to see in the bottom of my bottling bucket.....
The base recipe for the ranch beer was exactly the same as the hot wing beer, with about a half of a packet of ranch mix added when I bottled. Hopefully I'll be able to bottle the hot wing beer in the next couple of days, so I can gross everyone out next week!

What would you do if you asked for a beer, and someone handed you a ranch flavored beer without telling you?
Friday, December 11, 2009

Update and Pics

Ive really been slacking on updating the blog recently. Ive got a few beers that Ive been playing with recently that I need to get posted. Hopefully in the next couple of days I will post an ESB review, a Xocolatl review, Rhubarb Berliner Weiss review and a recipe for my next weirdo beer, Ive also been playing with some various fruits and techniques that are pretty interesting, but for now Ill only tease with some pictures.

Today I racked and bottled the Caramelized Apple Cider. The taste was pretty good for a very young cider and I'm pretty hopeful for how this one is going to turn out. In a young cider the alcohol is usually fairly apparent and this one is no different but it did have a fairly strong apple flavor that really surprised me. It also had a lot more body than any other cider that I've previously made. The FG was 1008, I really didn't expected it to finish that high but I really like how big the mouthfeel is.

On another topic, I also added ~4lbs of fresh blackberries to 2gallons of a year old lambic today. After my first tasting of it in nearly 6months I think the blackberries will really blend well with the other flavors in the beer. Tasting it plain the lambic was very citrusy and only mildly funky, overall I'm very pleased with how its coming along. I plan on splitting the other four gallons in the batch with various fruits but I haven't really decided on what types to use just yet.

Along with all the beers I have been planning to brew soon (IIPA, ESB, 100% Oat Malt, Lambic, Cider, Schwarzbier, 20% abv RIS, Smoked Doppelsticke) I now have one more that I have to find a way to squeeze in. Al B on BBB recently just sent out his Bug Farm batch 3, and I was fortunate enough to receive one of the vials from him. I'm really not sure what to brew with it just yet, and I really need to look over the list of bugs in it again.

After this vial I really owe Al some good beer, this is the third vial he has sent my way (2 x Berliner Culture, Bug Farm 3), and right now the last attempt with his Berliner culture really smells like sauerkraut. I'm not sure what to do with that beer yet, I'm really hoping that its just sulphur from the German ale yeast that's making it smell and with some additional conditioning things will dissipate. I'm gonna give it another couple weeks, if it doesn't clear up I plan on adding some Brett L to the mix and see if that helps the situation.

And one last picture of an ingredient that might make you question my sanity?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hot Wing Beer? FTW

So for the first installment of some pretty weird 1gal batches I will be putting together a hot wing beer. A hot wing beer you say? Yes, and I am using Franks Red Hot Sauce, vinegar, and butter in the batch. Whoa whoa whoa butter?!?! Fats are a big no no in beer, well technically fats are but I wont really be using actual butter fat in the beer. I will be using a technique called fat washing on the butter.

Fat washing allows you to extract the strong flavors out of flavorful fats/oils and use them in things like beer where lipids are a big no no. Basically what you do is mix a flavorful fat/oil like butter or sesame oil with alcohol. You then let the the mixture settle, and two layers will form. Take this and toss it in the freezer for a couple hours, the fats will freeze the alcohol will not. Drain off the alcohol and you'll have liqueur flavored like whatever oil/fat you used. From my experience with this I recommend freezing two or three times to make sure no fat makes it into the final product.

When I first started playing with the technique I began by using Everclear and the resulting extractions tasted just like the original oil, and generally were very clear. Unfortunately this time around I didn't have any Everclear handy so I went with Vodka. It shouldn't matter too much, but I will probably pick up some additional compounds due to the water in vodka (things that aren't very alcohol soluble). From my experiences making homemade vanilla extract I expected some color contribution from the butter due to the water soluble compounds (with vanilla the vodka is brown, whereas everclear extraction is yellow) and that's exactly what I got.

To make my butter extraction I took ~6-8tbsp of butter and melted it in the microwave. I allowed this to slightly cool and then added 2-3oz of vodka. I shook the mixture several times over the course of an hour or so, and then left the mix to separate. After ~30min it had separated pretty well so I tossed it in the freezer. The next morning I pulled it out, poked two holes in the fat and let the vodka drain out. It was very milky white and smelled just like butter! Of course I had to try it, and well that was probably one of the most disgusting experiences of my life...don't expect butter flavored vodka on grocery store shelves anytime soon. It was like eating melted butter and doing a shot of vodka, ugh. But this was what I was shooting for, nobody said it would be good. ......

To make the rest of the beer I will be using a pils extract base and hopping very low. After fermentation completes Franks Red Hot and vinegar will be added and allowed to ferment out. Finally when bottling the butter will be added to taste. Anybody up for some wings?

Hot Wing Beer
Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
0.70Pilsner Extract (Briess)
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.1Simcoe (13.2%)10
Misc/Spices
Amt (oz)NameAdded
TBDFranks Red Hot SauceSecondary
2-3 DashesMalt VinegarBottling
TBDButter ExtractionBottling
Yeast2nd Gen Nottingham
Stats
0.75gal BatchOG1041
Eff - NAIBU10
0.75bal BoilFG


Upcoming Batch - Ranch or Bleu Cheese Beer

Off the Wall 1gal Batches - Got any ideas?

Lately I haven't been doing much off the wall stuff with my brewing. Now while I still really enjoy brewing up a nice pale ale, a hefe, IPA, or whatever else you would want to brew, its just not as fun as brewing up something really crazy. Not to sound arrogant, but I think Ive gotten to the point in my brewing that just about whatever I make it will turn out to be a pretty solid beer. There just isn't that feeling of nervous excitement and anxiety anymore when I'm about to try my latest batch. I just dont worry anymore....Is it gonna be good? Is it gonna be a drain pour? Will anyone else like it? I guess I just miss that moment when I popped open a bottle eager to find out, and it turned out far better than I could've hoped.

This indifference hadn't really come to a head until a couple of recent threads on BA got me really thinking about some crazy beers to consider. In one of the threads a hot wing beer is mentioned, and half-jokingly a bleu cheese beer is suggested to pair with it.......I loved both ideas! I don't think these beers will turn out to be everyday or even every month drinkers, and yah its a bit gimmicky but I think it will be a lot of fun watching people try these beers out. I can't wait to see someones face when they are eating hot wings and chasing it with a ranch or bleu cheese beer! Ive really been missing that excitement in my brewing and these ideas have really revitalized my passion for brewing.

After the initial shock of actually considering a hot wing beer faded and I sat there sipping on an English Pale Ale(review to come soon), the more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea of doing a series of 1gal batches that are really out there. Things that no one else has tried, or even thought about trying, batches that will really try my brewing technique and creativity. In addition to the hot wing beer Ive got at least one more idea that I plan on brewing, but I'm open to trying out just about anything at this point. So if you have a crazy weird way out there idea for a beer, and your just not insane enough to try it yourself drop me a line and maybe I can brew it up for you, Id even send you one to try yourself!


Thursday, November 12, 2009

Soured Wit/Gose with Cherries Review

Appearance - Very red, reminiscent of a slightly pale strawberry soda, Moderate amount of head that dissipates to a thin ring around the glass. Small amounts of lacing on the glass, slightly hazy from yeast that was swirled before pouring.

Aroma - First whiff is very sweet and bready, followed by a strong phenolic finish with cherries throughout. I am actually surprised by how strong the spicy phenolic aroma is.

Taste - The beer is mildly tart with a strong cherry flavor. Just like it smells there is a nice phenolic note that is reminiscent of a witbier. Hops are non-existent, and the beer is not really dry but by no means is it sweet. Alcohol is very hidden. The version with salt added seems to have a much brighter cherry character and has a bit rounder flavor. Coriander is extremely sublte.

Mouthfeel - Highly carbonated, a bit prickly on the tongue, medium-low body that really feels bigger than it is from the high carbonation. Salt version feels slicker and has slightly more body.

Drinkability - Very easy to drink, has a soda-like quality from the high carbonation and strong cherry flavor, but unlike soda it doesn't become cloying and too sweet after more than one. The salted version is a much richer beer and has more of a dessert quality to it, it really is remarkable how different the two beers are. This beer is definately not a session type beer, the flavors are a bit too strong, but it is a nice after dinner drink.

Notes/Thoughts - I'm surprised by how much of a difference there is in the bottles that had salt added. In fact I wish I had added salt to more of the bottles, I haven't tried yet but plan on adding some salt to the glass to see if I can get a similar effect. Initially I was a bit disappointed that the beer didn't turn out a bit more tart, but after adding some lactic acid to the glass I was surprised how all of the subtleties in the beer were overpowered.

If I do the beer again I think I will do the following

1. Cut back on the wheat and add some oats
2. Add a touch of a light crystal malt to help round out the cherry flavor
3. Add salt to all of the bottles!
4. Up the amount of coriander used to emphasize its fruit flavors


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Neo-Berliner Weiss

So, after my last berliner weiss didn't turn out nice and sour like I was hoping, I decided to brew up another. The problem with the previous batch was that the yeast culture I had received from Al on BBB had sat in the Arizona heat for ~12hrs in my mailbox, and while it fermented nicely there was next to no sourness well, that was until the rhubarb was added. Luckily Al was kind enough to send out another vial of his Berliner blend, this time when it wasn't as hot as Hades.

While I was very appreciative of Al sending out another vial of yeast/lacto, I wasn't very keen on having another batch of Berliner sitting around (Ive got ~5gal in bottles still), so I thought I'd change up the malt bill a bit to keep things slightly more interesting.

In the Berliners I've brewed the wheat flavor is always very strong, and while it does fade it takes a considerable amount of time. Now your probably saying, this is a wheat beer! why all the complaining? I'm not! I just wanted something a bit different, something that would set it apart from all the other berliners Ive brewed. So I decided to use a nearly all pils malt bill with a bit of acid malt thrown in (I split the batch and wanted that in for the other beer). I pitched the lacto/yeast mix when the wort cooled to ~70F and I'm letting the temp fall a bit. Thankfully this time around the starter smelled nice and sour, so Ive got a lot of hope for this one turning out nicely. I'm hoping the lacto will go to town on this beer because Ive promised some of the culture to a buddy whose brewing up a Lingonberry Sour next weekend.

It took some time but I finally brought him over to the dark side aka sour brewing. So this weekend he's gonna try his first sour beer, and while a lacto beer is pretty tame as far as wild brewing go, it is a baby step in the right direction. It would be nice to have another sour brewer around, it can be eye opening to try someones beers whose influences are leading them down a slightly different path than your own.

Neo-Berliner Weiss

Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
3.25Pilsner
0.25Acid Malt
Hops
Amt (grams)TypeTime (min)
5Simcoe (12.9%)10
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTime
155F1.2qt/lb60
170F2qt/lb15min - vorlauf
YeastAl B's Berliner Blend
Stats
2gal+0.5gal top upOG1042
85% effIBU6
2.5gal BoilFG
Notes: 0.5 gal of top up water was used to dilute the OG down to suitable levels for a berliner, higher than normal mash temp was used because the wort was split between a number of on-going projects, and this one was the lowest priority, I guess I'll find out in a couple weeks if that's gonna be a deal breaker

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Caramelized Apple Cider

So, I was about to brew up another batch of apple cider for next year, and I started reading about some other peoples attempts at cider. I hadn't really thought about it, because I like a very dry cider, but a lot of people like their cider a bit sweeter. I'm not big on artificial sweeteners, don't really like the flavor of stevia, and I didn't want to bottle off of a keg. That's when I remembered a post by the madfermentationist about blending some of his eis-cider with a caramel cider from SteveG on BBB.

It seems Steve's cider turned out far too sweet for his liking, so they blended the two making something that was better than either alone. There wasn't too much info on Mike's blog about Steve's cider so I started digging on BBB. I found a thread where Steve described his entire process. Essentially he had too much cider on his hands so he did a ~ 10:1 reduction, added this syrup to another cider reduction (16qt boiled down to 9qt) and fermented this out. Overall he used 6.5gal of juice and ended up with 2.25gal in his fermentor! I really like caramelized sugars, wort, etc, the flavors are always amazing and they really add depth to a brew. In fact in many of my beers I try to boil down a bit of the first runnings into a thick syrup that gets added back into the rest of the wort.

Now I'm not as lucky as Steve to have an apple tree in my yard, so I went the normal route and bought some Treetop apple juice at the grocery store. I then took 1.5gal of the juice and boiled it down to about 16oz. The syrup tasted amazing, the apple flavor was very strong and while sweet it was quite tart. The color difference was amazing, it started a typical golden apple juice color and ended up being a beautiful red. I added back enough water to get the syrup back to 0.5gal. This was added to another 0.5gal of straight juice. I will ferment this out, and as activity dies down I will add more juice, until I reach a total batch size of 2.5gal. Adding the juice incrementally like this I believe helps to preserve more of the delicate apple flavor. Hopefully this method will give me a nice cider that has a bit of residual sweetness to balance the alcohol.

Caramelized Apple Cider

3.5 gal Apple Juice
1.0 tsp Fermaid K
Nottingham Yeast

Directions
1. Boil 1.5gal of Juice down to ~16oz
2. Add water to the syrup to bring volume back to 0.5gal
3. Boil Fermaid K in a small amount of water and add to syrup
4. Chill reconstituted syrup
5. Mix reconstituted syrup with 0.5gal of juice and put in fermentor
6. Ferment out with Nottingham
7. Add an additional 0.5gal bottle of juice each time fermentation dies down until you get to 2.5gal in the fermentor.

2.5gal: OG 1072: FG 1008

Just a tid bit of extra info, TreeTop apple juice has an OG of 1.052
Saturday, October 31, 2009

Rustic Saison - Review

Appearance - A nice golden color with orange highlights, dense head that slowly gives way to a very dense high amount of lacing that really clings to the glass

Aroma - Slightly biscuity, spicy with subtle phenolics, hints of banana and bread

Taste - Biscuity, hints of banana and other fruits(pears?), spice present in the finish but it is restrained, there are some flavors that are very hard to describe but they very earthy

Mouthfeel - Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. Leaves youf mouth slightly dry after you swallow making you want to take another sip.

Drinkability - I wasn't sure about this beer a month or so ago, but a bit more time cold conditioning and it has really come together, Ive really had to restrain myself with this one lately. It goes down very smooth, the body makes it quite a bit fuller feeling than a typical commercial saison, but its a great thirst quencher, and its easy to put back 3 or 4 before you even notice it.

Notes/Thoughts - I really like the flavor profile that the Blaugies strain provides, and I'm assuming the great mouthfeel and body is from the spelt, I think I will be using spelt a lot more often as I'm not a big fan of the meaty grainy flavor you get from using wheat, it has its place, but I think that's more in the realm of hefes and weizenbocks. Ive also never used biscuit at such a high percentage, but I think that really worked well with the beer, its not overpowering but it is definitely present

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Oatmeal Stout

So I recently posted on BA a poll of sorts. We are planning on having an upcoming holiday part at my house and I wasn't sure whether to brew up a porter or stout. The stout was overwhelmingly chosen over the porter, personally I wanted the porter but I'm going with the crowd on this one.

When I posted the poll I also posted the two recipes for the beers. Ive made both many times before and the recipes are the result of many changes over the years. Now for the most part I'm a bit of a minimalist when it comes to brewing, I think the fewer malts you use the more defined and focused the beer is. Uncharacteristically my oat stout had quite a few malts in the recipe. The thing was that I actually preferred that beer to previous examples (I almost always have 1 or 2bottles left from the last batch), but those that posted got me thinking a bit.

It made me wonder if I could focus the malt bill a bit more and have a better defined flavor. So I cut out a couple malts (Munich, 120L, honey malt) to really simplify the recipe. I'm very curious to see how the two beers compare.

The Bare Necessities Oatmeal Stout
Malt Bill
All GrainExtract Equiv
Amt (lbs)

Type

Amt (lbs)

Type

7.5

2-Row8.0Extra Light DME

2.0

Flaked Oats0.75 80L

1.0

80L0.75Roasted Barley

0.5

Roasted Barley0.5Roasted Barley

0.5

Chocolate Malt0.5Maltodextrin
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeTimeAmt (oz)TypeTime
0.6Nugget (14.6%)600.5Nugget (14.6%)60
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTimeTempRatioTime
158F1.22qt/lb60154F1qt/lb30min
168F1.9qt/lb15min - vorlauf168F1.5qt/lb5min
YeastLondon ESB 1968 (yeast cake)
Stats
5.5galOG10635.5galOG1062
85% effIBU27NAIBU26
8gal BoilFG3gal Late ExtractFG
Thursday, October 15, 2009

Flanders Red 2009

So I just recently bottled a ~1yr old Flanders Red that was really getting good, and I really wanted to reuse the yeast cake. So it was time to brew up another! Roeselare packs are kind of hard to come by this time of year, luckily though I'm pretty much the only sour/funky brewer at my LHBS. I was even able to score two packs of Roeselare for the price of one! I really wish WY would come out with Roeselare in the fall, when its traditional to brew up sour beers. Its just too tough sometimes to control the temperature during the summer months, and the cool fall/winter temps help to slow fermentation down and produce a more complex beer.

My last attempt at a Flanders Red incorporated some maltodextin to make sure the brett/pedio had something to chew on after the sacch had fermented out. The last batch was brewed with a fresh smack pack of Roeselare, and in my limited experience the first pitching is usually pretty bland, so I added the maltodextrin to supply the bugs with a food source as things progressed. Additionally I left the beer on the yeast cake, whereas a Flanders Red is usually racked off the cake after the vigorous fermentation has died down.

Now I'm not sure if it was the combination of the yeast cake and maltodextrin but contrary to my other experience with smack packs of Roeselare, the beer turned out wonderfully sour with a great deal of cherry in the nose. So I'm hoping to produce something very similar this time but with some added complexities (hoping to ferment very cool). I have changed the malt bill every so slightly and did not use maltodextrin, just went with my gut feeling this year and left it out. . I plan on adding last years yeast cake a few days after adding the smack packs. I decided on waiting because after a year in the fermentor I'm pretty sure not everything in the cake is viable, and Id like to let the smack packs take hold to ensure I have all the bugs I need. I'm not sure at this point if I'll rack it off the cake this year, I think I'll give it a taste in a month or two and see how things are progressing and may even add some maltodextrin at that point


Flanders Red 2009

Malt Bill
All Grain
Amt (lbs)Type
6.5Vienna
1.0Aromatic
1.0Carahell
1.0Caravienna
1.0Wheat
0.5Special B
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeTime
0.50Nugget (13.0%)60
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTime
145F1.0qt/lb20min
158F1.5qt/lb20min
169F1.9qt/lb20min (vorlauf)
YeastRoeselare Smack Pack + yr old yeast cake
Stats
6.5galOG1048
80% effIBU17
7gal BoilFG1012
Sunday, October 11, 2009

English Pale Ale

All Ive been brewing and drinking lately have been either German or Belgian beers, and while I'm really enjoying both types, I have really developed a craving for an English pale. There is just something that makes it a perfect beer to drink in cooler (70's) weather. The fruitiness of an English ale yeast along with the earthiness of EKG's is a combination that's tough to beat.

For this beer, and with almost all English beers, its all about the yeast. Especially with pales and bitters its very important to keep the malt bills simple, but by using British malts the beer will still be very flavorful. Now I don't have anything against your run of the mill American 2-row malt, but it cannot compare to Marris Otter or Golden Promise. Both of those malts are just unbelievable biscuity and are what should be using in an English pale.

I'm hoping to have this one on tap in a week or so, as I have a ton of dry kegs!

English Pale Ale
Malt Bill
All GrainExtract Equiv
Amt (lbs)

Type

Amt (lbs)

Type

9.0Marris Otter6.5Extra Light DME
0.75120L0.5120L
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeTimeAmt (oz)TypeTime
1.0Fuggles(4.7%)600.5Fuggles(4.7%)60
2.0EKG's (5.0%)202.0EKG's (5.0%)60
2.0

EKG's (5.0%)

12.0EKG's (5.0%)60
1.0Fuggles (4.7%)Dry Hop1.0Fuggles (4.7%)Dry Hop
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTimeTempRatioTime
152F1.13qt/lb40min---
170F1.55qt/lb20min - vorlauf---
YeastLondon ESB 1968
Stats
5.5galOG10555.5galOG1052
80% effIBU39NAIBU38
7gal BoilFG3gal Late Extract
Thursday, October 1, 2009

Rhubarb Berliner Weiss

So my first attempt to brew this beer ended in disaster. I was feeling a bit uninspired on Tuesday so I came home a bit early to brew up a small beer. I had a bit of grain left over from my last batch and I was planning to brew up a berliner anyway, so it was set. Everything went smoothly through the boil, except because of the size (3gal) I did it in the kitchen. Well this is when the problems started.

I cooled, or tried to cool the wort in the sink, as my wort chiller would not fit in the pot I was using. So with visions of cracked carboys, I decided to dump the still very hot wort into my glass carboy. I set the funnel in the neck, and apparently it sat in there a bit too tight, and as I poured it started burping hot wort at me. Well as a reflex I pulled back quickly, and managed to splash really really hot wort all over my right forearm. Not wanting to waste the beer by dropping it, I struggled through the pain, then it happened. Crrrraaaaack! The carboy cracked in a perfect circle about 2" from the bottom, and all that hot wort now burned my feet!

Well I had about 2gal left in the pot so I topped up a lambic currently fermenting and used the other gallon to brew up a 1gal batch of a simcoe PA. So not all was lost, but as I sit here typing the skin on my arm is oozing and sliding off the huge burn. Thankfully this is the only time Ive had anything like this happen, maybe its time to move to better bottles? Nah, I like glass because its sooo easy to clean, but now I have to shill out another 50$ on a carboy, I guess I better start watching craiglist.....

Now back to the actual beer. Recently one on beer board or another someone was asking for interesting vegetable beers to do for a competition. I happened to mention rhubarb, yes it is a vegetable. And thinking about it a rhubarb berliner weiss sounded like a great fit. The tartness of rhubarb blending with the lactic sourness of a berliner, topped off by some strawberry syrup. So I set out to brew up a great berliner.

Now my last berliner, while a good beer, lacked the mouthpuckering sourness I was really hoping for. Well I just happened to recently be lucky enough to receive a berliner blend from Al B on the Burgundian Babble Belt. Al was kind enough to send me a vial of 3 lacto strains and a German ale yeast. From what I hear on the bug/yeast combos Al has provided to other homebrewers I have very high hopes for this beer.

Rhubarb Berliner Weiss

Malt Bill
All GrainExtract Equiv
Amt (lbs)TypeAmt (lbs)Type
2.5Pilsner2.75Wheat DME
1.5Wheat Malt2.0Rhubarb
2.0Rhubarb--
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeBoil TimeAmt (oz)TypeBoil Time
0.5Nugget 13%Mash Hop0.25Nugget 13%15min
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTimeTempRatioTime
147F1.25qt/lb30min---
169F3.75qt/lbMashout/Batch Sparge---
Stats
3galOG: 1041FG:3galOG:1044FG:
76% EffIBU: 85min Boil-IBU: 1115min Boil
Yeast - Al B's Berliner Blend (3 Lacto Strains + a German Ale Yeast)
Notes
Since the expected OG was so low on this one I added all the sparge water for mash out, then did a quick 10min vorlauf and let it fly. Run off was very smooth and extremely clear, and I got a bit better efficiency that I was expecting. Rhubarb will be added after primary fermentation dies down. I went with mash hops to limit the IBU's in the beer, strangely enough Beersmith says that you still get IBU's from mash hopping, guess I'll have to read up on that one.

First Tasting - 5/2/2010

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Xocolatl - The fermented food of the Gods

I recently was able to try another one of Dogfish Head's crazy releases, Theobroma. Like most of their one time releases, it sounds extremely interesting, especially when you hear about what is in the beer. However, like all of the other single releases that I have tried this one failed to deliver. I really think the idea is there, I just don't think that they were able to pull it off.

In my opinion most of the releases are just too over the top and almost all have a certain mead-like quality to them. Considering mead isn't really my one of my favorite drinks, and that the mead-like trait these beers display reminds me of my first mead attempt with cheap honey (it just didn't taste good), you can understand my feelings about their beers. Now I don't want this to be a long diatribe about the quality of Dogfish Head releases (IMO hugely lacking anything but marketing), instead I want to focus on the idea of theobroma.

According to the bottle, Theobroma is based off a forensic analysis of pottery fragments, similar to how they crafted Midas' Touch. The idea sounds pretty cool, but the ingredients sound even more intriguing; cacao, annatto, chili and honey. However uncharacteristically of their beers, none of the flavors really come to the forefront. Usually the problem I have with them is that everything is far too bold, here the flavors are far too subtle, well, except for the honey.

As far as the ingredients list goes, I don't think they really needed to rely on a forensic analysis of pottery fragments (but its great for marketing). In fact in 1631, the first recipe for a chocolate drink was published in book titled "Curioso tratado de la naturaleza y calidad del chocolate" (A Curious Treatise of the Nature and Quality of Chocolate) - hard to find but an interesting read. The recipe included: cacao beans, chilies, anise, vanilla, cinnamon, almonds, hazelnut, annatto and sugar. Supposedly this recipe was an authentic version of the Aztec drink xocolatl or cacahuatl, but I'm pretty sure that sugar was not something the natives had access to before the arrival of Europeans, and the hazelnut and almond are also suspect. That aside, the recipe actually sounds very good. To me, this sounds like a bitter hot chocolate with a very round flavor thanks to cinnamon, vanilla and annatto.

Now tastes change,we are influenced by the things we have grown up with, and I'm converting this to beer form so somethings had to be tweaked a bit. So when thinking about this recipe, I decided to adjust it a bit to get it to work in a more beer-like form. For one, I think a nice malty backbone could balance the bitterness of the cocoa and the heat of the chilies. To accomplish this I did a very long boil as you would with a wee heavy, and boiled the beer down to a thick syrup before adding water back to it. This darkened the wort, heavily caramelizing it and deepening the malty flavors. The next change surrounded the use of the  nuts. Using nuts in a beer causes head retention problems and will introduce fats into the wort, so I avoided using actual nuts and instead chose to use extracts. (In this recipe I was going for proof of concept so I used commercial extracts, however fat washing your own roasted nuts is a much better alternative) I also decided to skip hops, instead I am relying on the cocoa powder to provide a nice bitterness to balance the beer. I'm hoping these changes will translate into a very tasty "beer"


Xocolatl - The fermented Food of the Gods

Malt Bill
Amt (lbs)Type
1.0Pilsner
1.0White Wheat
0.125Extra Light DME
Spices
Amt
Type
Time
1 tbspCocoa15min
0.5 tbspCocoa5min
6 gmRoasted Hatch Chile5min
0.5 tbspCocoaKO
1/16 tspCinnamonKO
1/8 tspAnise2ndary
1/8 tspAnnatto2ndary
To TasteVanilla ExtractBottling
To TasteHazelnut ExtractBottling
Yeast - Nottingham
Stats
120min Boil1064 OG:1gal75% Eff

Notes: Wort was boiled until it became a very thick sugar syrup and very noticeably darkened. Spices were added whole and uncrushed except for the annatto. Beer will be carbonated to a varied range of CO2 (1.5-3vol). Wort was actually additional runoff from another beer that was brewed
Review 12-19-2009
Friday, September 18, 2009

Fermented Pickles

Well pickles are a bit off topic on a beer blog, but I love a good fermented pickle. And if you are anything like me, you really like doing things for yourself and enjoying quality food. It can really be amazing to see how high a quality a product you can make yourself compared to whats out there.

Its funny actually, when I was making my pickles it actually made me start thinking about Gose. Think about it, fermenting vegetables in brine was used for centuries to preserve food. What is gose other than a very dilute brine with a bit of alcohol? I wonder if the first Gosebiers were an accident involving a mixup of a pickling barrel and a beer barrel? I know that when I make a new batch of pickles I use a bit of the active culture from a previous batch, a pickle krausening if you will, to speed things along. What if one time some of the brine in the bottom of a pickle barrel was accidentally added to a fermenting wheat beer, or better yet on purpose? Pickle brine is usually a 5-10% salt solution so it wouldn't take much to get a nice bit of salt into a beer, and the lactic cultures would probably acidify things pretty well. I think I might actually give this a try in a one gal batch soon. Who knows it might turn out something pretty good.

Anyway lets get back to the subject at hand...Pickles. If you've ever had the pleasure of eating a really good fermented pickle you know how delicious they are. Most pickles available now are unfortunately made with vinegar. Going this route is very fast and cheap, something food producers love but it doesn't turn out the best product. Now I have had some pretty good vinegar pickles but they really aren't even the same thing as a fermented pickle, its like comparing a "balsamic" vinegar at a local grocery to a true traditional 3 or 4 leaf balsamic. I have been lucky enough to come across Bubbies pickles in the last year or so, and they are really delicious but 8$ a jar gets pretty pricey for pickles. I'm hoping I can make something that resembles bubbies but at a fraction of the cost (gonna use cucumbers I'm growing).
Fermented Pickles
  1. To start this process I first made a 5% brine solution. This ends up being about 100grams of non-iodized salt in 2L of water.

  2. Boil this up and allow to cool completely

  3. Cut the ends off of the pickling cucumbers and soak in cold water (the blossom end contains enzymes that will soften the pickle)

  4. Fill jars with spices of your choice (I used 5-6 Peppercorns, 2 cloves of garlic, 1tsp dill seed, 1/2 tsp dill weed, 4-5 coriander seeds, 1 dried pepper and 1 bay leaf per 32 oz jar)

  5. Stuff cucumbers in jars and pack tight, you don't want the cucumbers poking above the brine

  6. Pour cooled brine over the cucumbers, I left a bit of space because I used some of the bubbies brine to jump start things, after you develop a culture this is the preferred way to start a new batch. It will really speed things along and provide consistent results.

  7. Cover with cheesecloth and put in a cool corner of you house for a couple weeks, checking every so often after the first week or so. You should see a pronounced color change in the pickles.

  8. Taste after 1-2wks, refrigerate when they have become softer, a darker green and the flavor throughout the pickle is to your liking

Remember just about anything can be pickled. In fact my girlfriend really loves pickled green beans and carrots so making up a batch of those as well.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cascade Malt Soda

So this was an idea I had tossed around for awhile. I know that there are other malt sodas out there, but I didn't know until recently that malta goya is actually hopped, must be triple hopped ;) The idea originally occurred to me when I forgot to add a bit of an unfermented PA to the carboy. The wort had sat out for ~1hr and I had already pitched the yeast, so I drank a bit of it and thought it was pretty damn good. I didn't have a carbonator cap then so I didn't have the chance to carb it up and drink it properly.

This time as well, it was pretty much a last second thing. In the gose/wit I just brewed it rained all day and I didn't quite get the boil off rate I had hoped for so I ended up with an extra gallon or so of wort. I decided, partially because I over bought cascades last year, that a good way to burn some hops would be to throw as much as I could at that 1gal and boil for 15min. I also topped the wort off with a bit of DME to raise the gravity a bit - when I tried the unfermented PA it was a bit thin bodied and wasn't as sweet as I would've liked. In the end this is what I came up with

Cascade Malt Soda

~0.5gal: ~54IBU: OG 1058

0.4 lbs Pils
0.4 lbs Wheat Malt
4.0 oz Light DME

0.75 oz Cascade (7.2%) - 15min
0.50 oz Cascade (7.2%) - KO

Notes - I scaled down the original beer malt bill to 0.5gallon to show what the recipe was, I took ~0.5gal of wort that was boiled with hops to ~17IBU and used that as a base for the soda. This is why the IBU is ~17IBU higher than you would get just by entering in the cascades I list. A 15min boil was used to finish the beer, and it was bottled while still very hot to preserve all that hoppy goodness. The pot I boiled this in was pita to clean, there was soo much hop resin on the sided that I was able to scraped off and rolled up a little ball the size of a pea of resin!

Tasting

Appearance - A very very hazy greenish golden tan, reminds me of a very yeasty looking hefe. Very thin head that quickly dissipates to a thin lacing

Aroma - Oh man, when I popped the bottle open it was amazing! At first you get a huge blast of cascade hops, it smells like you just opened a bag of hops and stuck your head in, the finish has an amazing grainy sweetness to it, it smells just like the first runnings of a mash. As the carbonation dies down a bit the malty/bready aroma becomes much stronger.

Taste - As the first sip hits your palate there is a very nice bready sweetness that is perfectly complimented by a strong bitterness. The hop flavor screams grapefruit, its almost like I'm drinking sweetened grapefruit juice. While it is sweet it isn't cloying, and the bitterness lingers on the tongue until your next sip.

Mouthfeel - A very full body, with med-low carbonation (50psi) It has a very velvety feel to it, almost shake-like.

Drinkability - This surprised me, I thought it would be good but in a very different way. As it stands now its almost like drinking a non-alcholic IPA. It really is an amazing drink. I think this one is definitely going to be something I do with late runnings quite often.

Notes/Thoughts - I'm digging this malt "soda: a lot, and I think it could be a really good way to understand the flavor/aroma of a hop very quickly. Its also pretty easy to drink of a hot dehydrating day in the desert with out getting a headache! This is definitely something to try out for yourself, there's little to lose, I mean its only a gallon of late runnings after all.
Friday, September 4, 2009

Soured Wit/Gose with Cherries

Recently, I was de-stemming ~20lbs of sweet red cherries and getting ready to toss them in the freezer. I started thinking the extra 5-6lbs of cherries that I have and that I could use in an experimental beer (the rest are going in a kriek) When an idea occured to me that I posted on BA and Burgundian Babblebelt awhile back, but didnt get many responses. I was hoping to get a few insightful comments because at that time what the idea hadnt quite congealed in my head yet.

After a bit more thought, I decided I wanted....

1. A med-low gravity wit style grain bill ~1040-1050
2. Low hop rate ~15IBU
3. A small batch 2.5-3gal
4. to add ~6lbs of sweet cherries to the secondary, this one gets the sour from bugs!
5. to get it nice and tart from the dregs of calabaza blanca
6. to use a bit of indian coriander for the fruity pebble flavor it adds
7. to add some salt, Ive really been thinking about this since all the gose talk recently, and I think it will add a nice savoriness

Even looking at it now that seems like quite a few dimensions. It might be tricky to balance all those different flavors, but Ive played around with other complex beers like this before so I think I can pull it off. Only time will tell if thats just cockiness, but when I envision this beer I see a nicely tart fruity cherry wit. I want the sourness and the cherries to really shine, with the wit yeast and corriander playing a slightly more subdued role. I really think that sounds like an astounding beer. I think I will hold the salt until late in the game, and only do it if it tastes good in a small amount of beer.

Soured Cherry Wit/Gose
Malt Bill
All GrainExtract Equiv
Amt (lbs)TypeAmt (lbs)Type
2.25Pilsner3.25Wheat DME (Late Extract Addition)
2.25White Wheat5.0Black Cherries
5.0Black Cherries--
Hops
Amt (oz)TypeTimeAmt (oz)TypeTime
0.40Cascade (7.2%)600.3Cascade (7.2%)60
Mash Schedule
TempRatioTimeTempRatioTime
152F1.1qt/lb60---
170F2qt/lb15min - vorlauf---
YeastBelgian Witbier WY3944 (frozen stock)
Calabaza blanca Dregs
Stats
3.0galOG10473.0galOG1048
85% effIBU16NAIBU16
5gal BoilFG-4gal Late ExtractFG-


Friday, August 14, 2009

Bavarian Hefeweizen Review

Appearance - A pale golden color, nice and hazy, a thick rich rocky white head that lingers slowly dissipating to moderate lacing

Aroma - Lots of banana, very spicy but not like clove in the slightest way, much as you would expect of a hefeweizen, although there is a strong fruity presence

Taste - As the first sip hits your palate there is a nice spicy phenolic presence that again is nothing like clove, this gives way to stong banana finish. There is a very pleasant fruitiness that is noticeable throughout the beer. A nice bready maltiness rounds out the flavor, you gotta love a tripple decocted hefe!! This beers been in the keg awhile so a majority of the yeast has flocc'd, so there is very minimal contribution to the flavor from the yeast, which is a bit of a dissappointment, earlier in this beers life it had a substantial yeast presence.

Mouthfeel - Very light, but has an incrediably creamy body to it, again I attribute this to the tripple decoctions and a heavy hand with wheat. Carbonation is a bit light for a hefe, but I really like it this way, it allows the phenols/esters to really shine and I think the body is more creamy because of it.

Drinkability - A good hefe, although if you were shooting for a weihenstephaner hefe your no where near your goal. I really like what Wyeast 3638 does in a hefe, Im not the biggest fan of hefe's in general and the additional fruitiness that you get from 3638 really makes the beer much more drinkable for me.

Notes/Thoughts - I really enjoy this beer, Ive used 3638 quite a few times now and this is the first time that its been very spicy upfront. Im not sure why I got that in this beer, I fermented fairly cool as Ive always done. In no way is this spice unwanted though. The spice really adds an additional dimension to the beer and makes it much more interesting.
Monday, August 10, 2009

Poll Results - What Other Types of Fermentation Activities are You Involved In?

So somehow I managed 28 votes in my first poll, something Im quite happy about. There are quite a few things that I find quite interesting in the poll though, maybe I could get some who voted to comment?

1. Only 75% who voted brew beer!
2. 17% Ferment something other than was listed, what may this be??
3. 39% Make cheese, that's really cool, I didnt realize this was as common as that
4. 32% Make Kombucha, that surprised me, I didnt think the drink was all that well known
5. It looks like the baker and brewer are pretty close as they should be, with 64% baking bread

FermentedPercentTotal
Pickling28%8/28
Sauerkraut32%9/28
Cheese39%11/28
Yogurt35%10/28
Kombucha32%9/28
Wine42%12/28
Bread64%18/28
Beer75%21/28
Other17%5/28
Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vanilla Cream Soda Review

Ive been a bit lazy lately, I was planning on reviewing this a few days after I made it. At any rate here's my experiences with my first from scratch soda recipe

Appearance - A dark opaque brown, much darker than I anticipated, I didn't think my homemade vanilla extract would add that much color. Moderate tan head that dissipates after a few minutes leaving a thin layer around the edges.

Aroma - Vanilla and a bit of honey, has a bit of a bite to it when you inhale from the glass, kind of like when you get your nose too close to a freshly poured coke

Taste - Lots of vanilla. Honey is very apparent, albeit a bit strong. The honey flavor really accentuates the creamy flavor, but I think in the future I would use about half as much as I did, or a less powerfully flavored honey. Molasses flavor isn't very apparent, and is definitely hidden by the vanilla and honey.

Mouthfeel - Surprisingly creamy. I really didn't expect this to have as lustrous a mouthfeel as it has. I'm sure the thickness of the honey really was an important factor in this one, and I'm glad I used it

Drinkability - A good first attempt. It tends to be a tad sweet for what I like, so sometimes I add a bit of water to the glass, others disagree with me. If your a big soda drinker it would be easy for you to put back 3 or 4 without thinking anything of it. Overall its a pretty easy drinker, and I like having one after being outside in the oven that is phoenix.

Notes/Thoughts - This one ended up a tad sweet for me, I think in future versions I will cut back the sweetness a bit, maybe ~0.5# of some type of sugar. The honey is a bit powerful in the flavor as well; while it really adds to the creaminess and is a great compliment to the vanilla, I think cutting the honey back by ~1# would make this a much better drink.

The color was much darker than I had anticipated as well. I expected more of a light brown color than I got. When making my vanilla extract I normally make two kinds, one only using everclear, and the other with vodka. The everclear only version always ends up a very pale yellow color, but the vanilla smell/flavor is extremely potent. While the vodka version is just as potent the color is more in line with what you would expect of vanilla extract, dark brown. It seems that the coloring compounds in the beans are not very alcohol soluble, and need water to be extracted. It may be beneficial for this type of soda, if you are using homemade vanilla extract, to explore using the everclear type. In my experiences with the extracts the everclear version also seems to be ready much sooner than the other.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Pictish Ale Final Tasting

Appearance - A dark yellow with orange highlights, a bit hazy - very different from the last tasting, previously it was a very light golden color, oxidation seems to have set in....

Aroma - Sour, A tad barnyard, apples, subtle yeastiness, floral aroma is absent this tasting, and is a bit dissapointing

Taste - Pils sweetness, a bit of honey flavor but, all at the back of the tongue, fairly dry, carbonation a bit sharp now, leaves your mouth feeling dry reminiscent of drinking a good gin

Drinkability - Well this ones nothing like it was when it was younger, its displaying its age, and the lack of hops to stabilize things, definately something that was better when it was younger (~14mos old now)

Notes/Thoughts - I was thinking of making another batch of this soon, so I thought Id taste the last bottle I happened to come across, Im very disappointed in the last bottle, it was much much better even 3mos ago, this brew has most definately seen better days, Im not sure where the barnyard/fecal aroma came from, maybe this was a bottle that was "contaminated" with brett from other things I do, but at this point Im a bit hesitant to do another full batch, as its not an everyday drinker, I think a half batch would be good unless you drink it quickly (<10mos)>

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Vanilla Cream Soda

Its really hot here in Phoenix during the summers, so hot that even my dog will only scoot along in the shade when going out to relieve herself, if theres no shade, she holds it, even to the point you can tell she's hurting. Ive even seen kids frying eggs on the concrete and having pretty good success.

As a result my brewing slows down quite a bit during the summer. I mean its really hard to want to be brewing outside when its 110F+, and lately the humidity is killing me, monsoon season is here and its horrible to be outside. Fortunately Ive got a bit of homebrew to keep me going, but I am starting to run pretty low

So this week, to scratch my brewing itch, I brewed up a batch of homemade vanilla cream soda, all in the comfort of my kitchen (74F!). I don't normally drink much soda, but I love a good cream soda, it reminds me of summers as a kid running around my grandparents house getting into all kinds of trouble. Ive used various extracts in the past, but they never quite did it for me, and besides they were a bit too easy, So Ive brewed this one up from scratch from things I had around the house. Hopefully my first shot at a soda from scratch will turn out something drinkable

Shenanigans Cream Soda

5gal: FG: 1030

2.0 lbs Raw Honey
2.0 lbs Brown Sugar
0.5 tsp Molasses

8.0 oz Vanilla Extract (homemade vanilla beans + diluted everclear)

Take 1gal water, honey, sugar and molasses and bring to a boil, immediately pour into keg and mix with 4gal cool water, cool this down then add vanilla (go easy you can always add more)

Notes: I went light on honey/sugar to begin with as I'm not really sure how sweet I want this one, most extract recipes call for 3-6lbs of sugar, Id rather start light and add more to taste than have to dilute, same idea applies to vanilla, I think I could have added a bit of maltodextrin for body, but didn't have any on hand, it's currently in the keg carbing and chilling, I hope to post a pic and a review within the next few days

First Tasting - 8/2/09

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Search This Blog

Followers

Blog Archive

Related Posts with Thumbnails