Saturday, August 28, 2010

Mystery Beer

Update 9/20 - Kegged. Kinda gross. Cinnamon phenol from the dry hop. Don't care what the FG is.
Update 9/9 - Dry hopped in primary. Didn't check SG

MoreBeer put out a mystery kit for their forum competition this year. Entries due at the end of September, so hopefully this will be ready by then. My guess is that the steeping grains are 1 lb of a medium crystal (40-60L) and 0.25 lb pale chocolate malt for color.

Batch #63
Mystery Beer (5.25 gal)
8 lbs Light Malt Extract (syrup)
1.25 lbs Steeping grains
Sugar, 5m
1 oz hops "A" (60m)
0.5 oz hops "B" (5m)
0.875 oz hops "C" (1m)
1 oz hops "D" (dry hop)
Whrilfloc, 5m
Safale US-04, 11g dry
OG: 1.058
IBU: ???

Steep the grains for 30m (start cold, ramp towards 170°F). Mix in the extract at the start of the boil (burner off!). Add hops, etc, as indicated. I plan to ferment around 68°F.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


Update 12/27 - Bottled. SG 1.024-25. A little cloudy, but pretty tasty and I'm tired of waiting.
Update 10/4 - Racked. SG 1.025. Still very sweet and cloudy.
Update 8/28 - Racked to secondary. SG 1.032. Note that I missed the straining step in Phil's procedure, so the plums were in primary for the past week.

That's the price on plums this weekend at the market near us. So, naturally, I bought 12 pounds. This is basically Phil Montalbano's recipe, but I'm pretending I know better and reserving acid blend and tannin additions until after I've tasted the post-fermentation product.

Plum Wine
12 lbs plums, pitted, chopped (next time: freeze 'em first)
8 lbs sugar
2 gal water
2 tsp pectic enzyme
1 tsp Fermaid K
1 tsp Go-Ferm
8g RC-212 dry yeast
Potassium metabisulfite
OG: 1.110
FG: 1.024
ABV: 11.3%

Follow the directions HERE. Use Campden, not KMBS...the powder is way more potent than the tablets, and as a consequence, I needed to make a stock solution to get the right amount.

P.S. "Black Plum" is a stupid name for a fruit that's yellow on the inside and red on the outside. "Red Plum" is an okay name for a fruit that's black on the outside and red on the inside. They should switch.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Strawberry Cordial

While at a mead class a couple weeks ago (on Mead Day, as it were), this recipe came up. Super easy. I made a half batch. It's real purdy and smells good.

Strawberry Cordial

3C Sugar
4lb Strawberries, washed, stemmed
5C Vodka

Chop up the berries, mix sugar and vodka. Put it all in a gallon jar for a while. For the half recipe I used the handy-dandy 1/2 gallon Ball jar that I got as a growler from Lagunitas last weekend.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Road Trip!

Some friends planned a trip to Sonoma wineries for this weekend, and due to conflicts, my car ended up empty. That is, until it was transmogrified into the brewery car. Then, it was transmogrified again. This time, it became somebody else's car to the breweries. Mostly 'cause what's-her-name took mine to work. Something about gas.

We hit Healthy Spirits on the way north through SF. Great selection, expensive, not so friendly. Again, GREAT selection of beers and whiskey. Picked up Avery duganA IPA bomber and Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! Peche Mortel. $15.

First stop - Marin brewing. Ran through the 7 beers on tap in 4oz sampler form for $12. All of it was okay, didn't care for the wheatwine at all... think it was the yeast they used (Fullers esters out the wazoo, not much else...didn't work for me). E.S.Chi was an interesting herb beer. Garlic fries a-okay. Bought a bottle of Mt Tam Pale. Good bottle prices.

2nd stop - Moylans. FYI, same company as Marin. Some of the same beers. MUCH more on tap, including some nitros and a couple cask. I thought it was alright. We only went through 6 samples here. Bottle of the Bridal Ale (commemorative for Jessica and Brendan Moylan's wedding.) $14 for the lot.

3rd stop - Lagunitas. The rumors are true. The place rocks. Pints in custom Lagunitas-branded mason jars. Growlers are half-gallon Ball jars. Delicious grilled veggie sammich, 8 samples, plus a bonus (Lucky 13...over-pours given out gratis) including SEVERAL not available anywhere else or even in growlers. (Jerks, I wanted to bring home a growler of the Ginger IPA!!!). Growler of Fusion II (IPA with some black malt, but not quite to CDA/BlackIPA levels). $20 growler, $14 for the sandwich and flight of 4 samples...I think. There was booze, so my numbers might be off. Live music! Outside!

4th stop - Bear Republic. Split the 5 specialty taps - $6 for ~3oz pours. Mediocre at best. Was unimpressed. Maybe just tired and ready for...

5th stop - Back south to Russian River for dinner. Flight of 2oz belgian samples (incl. sours) for $8. Pint of Hopfather IPA (stick to the Pliny or Blind Pig, IMHO), $3.25 with AHA card. Tasty tasty meatball sandwich, <$10, and a growler of RR IPA to go, $14. Live Music! Inside, 10 feet from me (what's the opposite of "!"?)

Clear winner of the day was Lagunitas. I love RR (almost) as much as the next guy, but the gang in Petaluma won my continued loyalty today. Do it to it!

Saturday, August 14, 2010


Update 5/15/12 - FG 1.003. Bottled. Tart, tasty, just a hint of sweetness and alcohol (tasted at room temp)
Update 10/31 - SG 1.026. Racked off of berries. Will try to let the gravity drop a little more.
Update 10/14 - SG 1.035. The blueberries float. Recommend mesh bag and some weights to submerge next time. Pretty tasty. Magenta color.
Update 9/13 - Racked to secondary with blueberries. SG 1.050. Probably should have stirred up the lees a couple times before now. Oh well. Patience and maybe some more yeast in the coming weeks.

Made some more mead. Yaaaaay.

Mead Batch #03
Black and Blue Melomel
-12lbs Orange Blossom honey
-2lbs Blackberry puree (frozen, primary)
-3lbs Blueberries (frozen, secondary)
-Water to 4 gallons
Split yeast: 71b-1122 (8g)
OG: ~1.116 (estimated, too much fruit gunk in solution to measure)
FG: 1.003
ABV: ~14.8%

Mix it all up. Go!