Tuesday, March 31, 2015


I love nothing more on my day off when the house is clean and I  have nothing to do. I pull out a good book, fire up the coffee, and lounge about in pajamas, until the dog decides we simply must go do something outside.

On the lazy days, I like to spike the coffee with a wee little khalua or bailey's. Alas, I dont do dairy, anymore. Also, ever notice how there's no ingredient list? What the hell is in that stuff, anyhow?

I do know Irish cream is not supposed to be stable outside of the fridge, and caramel coloring is definitely in the khalua. In other words, they are full of weird chemicals.

I decided to make my own. Lacking Irish Whiskey, and feeling creative, I put together a recipe for something that's like khalua and baileys had a Caribbean hippy baby!

Vegan, gluten free, and delicious!

First, make almond milk with about a pound of almonds. This is very simple. Soak raw, fresh almonds overnight in filtered water. Then, grind them in the water in a food processor or food ninja. Place the grainy, gooey, wet paste in some cheesecloth in a colander over a large bowl. Almond milk drains out of the almond meal. Voila, almond milk.

Second, make French Press coffee. I used Italian Espresso, but make your best, most favored kind. Cold brew coffee would also work well. i prefer French Press. Hot coffee is where to dissolve the sugar. For a gallon batch, the rum is quite sweet, so for a 2 quart batch, I used 1/4 cup of dememera.

Now, you need really good rum, unspiced. I had a bottle of 12-year old Appleton rum sitting unopened. (Despite my blog about beer and alcohol, we drink less than one glass a night of anything alcoholic. Two on weekends, maybe.)

You also need dememera sugar, or Turbinado. (White cane is not vegan, and imparts no flavor. Boo and boo.)

Finally, 1/4 teaspoon of vanilla per quart.

Spice is nice! For this batch, i only added cinnamon, but I regret not adding Bay Leaf, which is actually a close cousin of cinnamon both genetically and in flavor profile. Any other spices you desire. (Recommendations: ginger, bay leaf, nutmeg, coriander, black pepper, cocoa, etc.)

Now to make Rumbally.

2 parts fine, aged, unspiced rum.
1 part fresh almond milk
1 part coffee
Natural sugar to taste, about 1/4 cup-1/2 cup per 2 quarts
1/4 tsp vanilla paste per 2 quarts
Spices - a light touch is suggested as a little goes a long way.

Combine and refrigerate for one week.

Almond milk settles out, and that's normal. Be sure to shake and stir before serving.

Use like Baileys and Kahlua, or just serve over ice as a dessert drink.

It is like baileys, except rum and spice and no animal partd and no preservatives or fillers or mystery ingredients. It is like what Baileys would be in Grenada. Okay, they would probably use cashews instead of almonds, but I really like almond milk. And, hey, try it with cashew milk. Why not?

I dub it Rumbally. Pronounced like Rum Baileys in my belly, a.k.a. rum-BAH-lee.

Looks good, no?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Heilige Taffelwasser

Patersbier is a great Texas early summer beer, and a simple recipe for anyone trying to get their new mash tun squared away in the brewing process.

Today's recipe is for about 5 gallons of beer. I am looking to make this with 8 pounds of pilsner malt, 2 pounds of Vienna malt, and half a pound of caramunich. It is protein resting, right now. I will try to get a medium body infusion going in a step mash momentarily up to 152 degrees for an hour.

Once the boil starts, at the 30 minute mark an ounce of fuggles goes in. Then at 30 and 15 each, half an ounce of First Gold is going in.

I am trying Fermentis' new Belgian Abbaye yeast. I am excited for new dry options in Belgian yeasts, and I hope for greatness!

I bottled the Fiddleback Brown Ale eaelier today, and it is very good, very green, and much thinner-bodied than intended. I had struggled to get the grains up to mash temp and had to water everything down a lot. I hope this time, with this brew, I have a little more success.

Practice, practice....

Anyway, I may snap photos as I go and add them, later.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Brewday: Fiddleback Brown Ale

I built my own mash tun from a 10-gallon Igloo cooler. I did so because I have been having issues with the direct heat, BIAB method, particularly with a puppy and a busier schedule. It's hard for me to sit there and stare at the thermometer, and flip a flame on and off. Also, it is more expensive in propane to keep it running all through the mash, all through every step. So, I built a mash tun. The plans are widely available on-line, and I used the cheapest method possible, with a sink line mesh for the filter. To test out my system, I put together a fast, easy, and likely very delicious American Brown Ale that I'm going to name after the spiders I kill in my house: Fiddleback.

Target 5 Gallons (Actual 4 gallons)
Target OG: 1.51 (actual 1.54)
30.5 IBUs
22.1 Target SRM
Target ABV 5.15%

6 lbs American 2-Row Pale
2 lbs American Munich 10l
1/2 pound Gambrinus Honey Malt
1/2 pound Crystal 120l
1/2 pound Victory Malt
1/2 pound American Chocolate Malt
1 ounce US Goldings @60
1 ounce US Goldings @30
Danstar Nottingham Yeast
Intended mash of 153 for 70 minutes.

Brewday went well, but for my first attempt at a real sparge, I ended up not reaching my target temperature and expect a thinner beer, as a result. I mashed longer, and did my best, but I just need more practice at it. I came out with an OG that was lower than intended for a 5 gallon batch, but higher than intended with the 4gallons that resulted at the end of the boil. When I see the FG, I will adjust water amounts with the priming sugar a quart or two to get a little lighter in the bottle. Summer is coming, and I don't need to warm myself against it down here in south Texas.

Practice, practice, I need more practice.

Also, I forgot to take pictures. Oh, well...

UPDATE: Bottling went well after two weeks at 60-65 degrees. The beer is carbing, now. It came out sweeter than I would like, so far, but hopefully as it settles into the bottle, it will lose some of the sweetness as roasted notes rise up. On the nose, there is a lot of roast and toast.

I think, in the future, I'd drop the Honey Malt entirely, and just up the base malt by 1/2 a pound. Also, I'd use a different hop, with more of an edge to it. Goldings is very "pretty" and it only makes the beer taste sweeter. Perhaps Northern Brewer would be a better fit, for my palette.

Good, though, but not great. My audience does prefer sweeter beers, and I expect it will be drunk very quickly when I bring it to my brother's house, or to a party somewhere.