Thursday, April 23, 2009

Brewing on Sunday

This Sunday, at the request (insistence?) of my Lady Wife, I will be brewing a Cherry Brown Ale. I'm basing the foundation (the Brown Ale) on the Southern English Brown Ale recipe from Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew. It looks like a solid brew, as have been every other recipe I've tried from the book. The plan is to let it primary as per normal, then rack it onto a can of Oregon Cherry Puree; allow it to re-ferment to completion, then keg. It should be a simple beer, and hopefully it will turn out well.

I also plan to attack the non-alcoholic brews again, trying another root beer. I believe I learned from the last root beer I tried (which ended up a case of gushers). In the grand scheme, as long as the flavor and mouthfeel are there, and there are *only* sufficient fermentables for priming the bottles, it should be OK. Or, it could end up a foul, vile brew. I'll be boiling up the 'regular' ingredients, less the sugar; cooling the 'tea' of sassafras root, etc., then adding the entirety of a bag of Splenda. That will give it non-fermentables for sweetness and mouthfeel. Carbtabs will provide sugar for carbonation. A bold experiment? Well, an experiment, at any rate. Time will tell how it turns out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Back from Vacation

San Diego was lovely. It's truly a nice town, with lots to do; the weather was good (when is it not, there?) and there was plenty to do and see and visit. To an extent, the only thing I could have asked for was to have a slightly less neurotic mother-in-law. Stereotypes? Who needs 'em!

In all, I limited myself quite a bit while there--mostly because I did most of the driving (GPS navigation systems are wonderful things). Partly because I didn't want to become a 'trained monkey' (my Lady Wife's words), expounding on the differences between various types and styles of beer.

We visited the Rock Bottom Restaurant in San Diego. It was really a nice place; my only true complaints would have to be that the fries were overcooked and too few (a minor thing, but really... are potatoes that expensive, these days?), and that the service was a bit iffy. We were a party of 9, which sort of explains it, but we were there at about 3pm, so it wasn't exceptionally busy.

Anyway, while there, I sampled one of the house beers: the Breakwater Pale Ale. It was truly a thing of beauty. Just the smell eased my burgeoning headache--lots of marvelous citrusy hop aroma, with just enough malt to balance. It was a lovely golden amber in color, and they brought it with a half-inch of creamy white head. The flavor was exactly what I had hoped; nice and crisp, and a marvelous contrast to the savory burger I ordered. On my scale of "would I order another," I have to give this beer a "yes, please. Two." Bravo!

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Successful Brew Day

Well, last weekend's brewing went well. I brewed my follow-on to the French Pale Ale (this one with Carawheat), and Sorcha brewed a wit based on the last one I did. The ale came out well, but I'm concerned about the wit--I couldn't get a gravity reading on it over 4 Plato, which is exceptionally low. I suppose about 5 lbs of DME could be added; basically a "re-do" of primary fermentation, but I don't think it'd be the same. Ah, well...

The Perry was bottled, as well. Initial taste tests indicate that it most resembles a cheap white table wine. This is not a bad thing--just not where I had expected it to go. I meant to bottle the Lambic, but that will have to wait until next time. It's got a lovely wood flavor (from the oak table leg) under the tartness. There's a flavor to it that I'm not completely fond of, but it's not off-putting, and will quite probably age out as it sits.

I'm continuing to amass parts for the HERMs build. Apparently, if you ask nicely, many electronics manufacturers will send free samples! So, a couple of parts may arrive before horribly long (I hope), and drop the cost of the build by a couple of dollars. Every little bit helps!

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