Monday, July 11, 2016

Wine and things

We harvested grapes, and just in time. Despite nets and traps, the creatures of the world were after them. It was only about three or four pounds of grapes, though, so not really enough, once crushed to fill out wine.

Plenty for Pyment, though. 2.875 pounds of wildflower honey per gallon, plus the blend of red and white grapes will make for an interesting pyment someday, next year. A little citric acid and a blush wine yeast and let it go.

I've also combined a couple pounds of figs from the mystery fig tree in back with some cardamom and a little star anise and simple syrup and vodka for a homemade liquor.

I'm about to see how many habanero peppers are ready, because women in my life enjoy hot, hot, hot pepper jelly.

Lots of things done, but all so simple and simply made.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Brewday: Witbier and American Ale

Summer is here, and already temperatures have risen over a hundred here in south Texas. Refreshing beverages are the ride of the day. I split a 10 gallon batch of wheat beer to become half witbier and half American wheat.

I lost about ten pounds in pure sweat, out there. I had difficulty getting mash temperatures correct and hitting my numbers, so I actually recirculated a portion of the wort back into the grain bed to try one last time at a decent mash, and it seemed to work. It was pure frustration on my part, but draining out all the wort into the mash tun and warming that up and trying again succeeded at hitting numbers.

Now, splitting the batch do two styles of beer is a little difficult considering the spice additions of a traditional Witbier. Instead of adding the orange peel and coriander and chamomile and grains of paradise to the boil, I added them to a small jar of vodka. The tincture will be added after primary fermentation to the witbier portion.

This got me thinking about homemade cordial: Imagine a "Witskey" with hops and spices and simple syrup combined with a light-bodied whiskey! Next payday I will have to give that a shot!

I wanted 10 AA of Saaz hops, and have some leftover as a result. I can't imagine I would need lots of hops to infuse some whiskey!

Brandy might also work well with the complex flavors of witbier spices...

Anyway, herein the recipe:

Wit and Wheat
10 gallon split batch
ABV: 4.82 %
OG: 1.047 SG FG: 1.010 SG
IBUs: 18.7 IBUs Color: 3.8 SRM

8.5 pounds White Wheat Malt
5.5 pounds Pilsner Malt
2 pounds Flaked Oats
1 pound Munich Malt
3 pounds Rice Hulls
10 AA Saaz @60 (1.4 ounces, this time.)

Safale US-05 and Wyeast Forbidden Fruit

In the vodka tincture:
Zest of 2 CaraCara Oranges
2 grams Paradise Seeds
2 teaspoons of cracked coriander
1 chamomile tea bag

Fermentation is split, naturally, with the American Wheat half held at a strict 60 degrees in the fridge in the garage for a clean fermentation profile. The Witbier portion is in an ice bucket in the air conditioned guest bedroom, to keep it in the mid-70s.

I may add something fun to the American Wheat half... but what? Figs aren't in, yet. Blackberries finished already. The watermelons are a month away. The Habanero peppers are nearly ready, but not everyone in the crowd is pleased with that flavor. I will ponder and possibly do nothing at all.