Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Bottling Different Experiments: Dunkelweizen, Cyser, and Texas Black Persimmon Mead

The sweet taste of success, the rewards of patience, and the... sweet... very sweet... oh, my, that's some sweet... WTF SWEET!?!?

Black Texas Persimmon Mead finished fermenting, and I racked it off into sanitized mason jars for country wine goodness. Goodness, though... This wine is so thick and sweet that it's got the consistency of grenadine, and the thick sweetness of a sweet grenadine. 
It is black as pitch, black as midnight, black as fuligin and deep space and lightless worlds. It is ridiculously black, beyond black.

I will experiment using it as grenadine, then. It tastes like it would make a lovely grenadine substitute with hints of persimmony goodness over the pomegranate. As a wine, it is unbalanced, and for my next batch, next year, I will try to reduce the sugar and add citric acid to try and balance all that sweet!

I also bottled the Chocolate Rain Dunkelweizen this week. This, below, is a picture of the dregs of the bottling bucket. It came out supremely delicious. I await with much glee the carbonation in the bottle that I may savor the complex spice aromas in the delicious, malty, roasty brew. This is now my dunkelweizen recipe from now on. It nails everything I love about dark wheat beers, and produced an amazingly drinkable result, that I suspect will not last long once my friends taste the first bottle.

And Cyser! I couldn't get the siphon that I had into the mouth of the gallon jug, so I ended up... Well, we have a lot of Mason Jars. We use them a lot. I carefully poured off into these four jars. As you can see, the first jar on the left was the clearest, and it got cloudier as I poured off, until the last jar was very cloudy. Despite good settling, and a very estery, British yeast-y, bread-y flavor, pouring out just doesn't keep the dregs as stable as racking canes. So, I put all four of these jars into the fridge to settle them out, while cleaning and sanitizing the gallon jug from whence they had come. Then, I used a funnel and my siphon to get the good parts of the jars down into the gallon jug, while leaving behind the dregs. This definitely will taste very good, someday, but at its current age it is still very hot-tasting, with lots of alcohol notes. I've put it aside for a few months of aging, and expect to make amazing spiced cider come Christmas!

Finally, Oktoberfest continues to lager. A few more weeks, then. One more month, and then I will bottle it. Until then, be patient, and keep brewing!
Cooler weather has finally arrived. It seems like it might stick around a bit. I'm going to check the numbers on the budget after pay day and see if and when I can brew again. Have fun, everyone!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Cyser Update, and More

I couldn't fit the racking cane that I had into the apple juice jug. Instead, I had to carefully pour off the cyser into sanitized mason jars, trying to leave as much dead yeast behind as I could. The first was completely clear, and the jars got cloudier as I went.

I let them sit and settle out the mess. Then, I poured them (carefully, with a funnel!) back into the cleaned and sanitized cider jug, itself.

Flavor after one month is hot and spicy, like a British yeast brewed way too warm. I'm going to let it sit for at least two more months in the lagering fridge to let the off flavors settle down into a true, wine-like cyser. Even though it is currently very young and very yeasty, the flavor is quite nice beneath. It is sweet and estery, with lots and lots of floral notes from the honey. We'll see how it ages.

I am down to exactly two bottles of Cranberry-Chipotle Porter. I can't seem to find my notes on the recipe, but I remember it used 1 ounce of Nugget hops, divided into 3 equal additions at 60, 30, and 5. The cranberries were cooked and pureed with a can of chipotles, and added to the secondary. Hm... I know it involved, also, about a 1.5 pounds of Carafa 1 as the only roasted grain...

Alas, my notes. This is why I am trying to keep this blog going, so I have a searchable database of notes! (I actually don't think anyone is really reading along when there are better and wiser brewing blogs out there!)

I am also tinkering with the idea of a Franco-American Pale Ale

10 pounds of American Pilsner
2 pounds of American 6-row
1 pound of Munich 20l
1/2 ounce of Nugget @60
1/2 ounce of Nugget @5
Wyeast Trappist High Gravity

Multi-step mash with protein, Alpha, and beta rests...

I'm poking at it, though, because a part of me wants Vienna and Biscuit, not Munich. A part of me wants Special B and Vienna... I don't know. I'm poking around about that last pound of the grain.

If anyone actually is reading and has any thoughts, let me know?

Friday, September 5, 2014

The Chocolate Rain...


Brewday went down yesterday for a beer inspired by a random beer name generator. Count Chocola's Ruby Weasel Dunkelweizen popped up, and I thought it sounded like an interesting idea. A chocolate, banana/spice dunkelweizen, with red wheat and CaraRed and chocolate malt came to mind.

Most warn against too much roasted malts in a dunkelweizen because it is not true to style. I am not interested in staying true to style, and don't mind pushing genres in life and in beer. I am more than willing to try something and see if I like it. As I like both wheat beers with hefeweizen yeast, and roasted beers, like porters and stouts and brown ales, I suspect I might enjoy a chocolatey dunkelweizen. We shall see. Regardless, my motto remains "Drink the evidence!"

During the brewday, I was fairly confident that it wouldn't rain on me when I started. The rain was supposed to have stopped by that time, and this is South Texas in high drought and high dry season. I was shocked that it rained on and on past when the weatherman said it would be done, in a nearly empty sky with half the clouds blown away. I brewed on, under a light drizzle. Rain got in the chocolatey wort.

It will be a chocolate rain.

OG 1.054
FG 1.013
SRM 20

6 pounds Red Wheat Malt
3 Pounds Bonnlander Munich 10
1/2 pound of CaraRed
1/2 pound of American Chocolate Malt
1 ounce of Crystal Hops @60

Dough in at 125 for 20 minutes
Raise temp to 146 and hold for half an hour
Raise temp again to 158 and hold for half an hour

Pitch cold. I'm going to try to hold the temperature as ale-y as I can, with a swamp cooler and a fan and lowering the temperature of my house just a little, but the reality is that this will be a warmer ferment than I'd like. I will get it down close to 70 for the first few days. Beyond that? No promises.

This was also a banner day for my Thanksgiving fest! Primary fermentation is nearly complete. I pulled it from the fridge for a 24 hour diacetyl rest. It reeked of buttery off-flavor through the airlock. I had kept fermentation temperatures very, very cold, and the yeast was lazy and produced a lot of diacetyl. I will rack it off tonight for the lagering phase. I have great hopes?