Archive for October, 2012

Secondary: Mango Saison

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

peeled mangos to go into mango saison

The time has come for Mango Saison to move from primary to secondary. I have been mulling over adding the mangos to this beer for a long time.

The process I settled on:

  1. Freeze the fruit
  2. Remove the fruit from the freezer when ready to use
  3. Let it sit for a short time before preparing (should be easier to prepare mostly frozen)
  4. Sanitize the peeler, knife, and cutting board
  5. Peel all the Mangos (damn cold on the hands)
  6. Cut the Mangos into small enough chunks to fit into the carboy
  7. Rack the Saison on top of the Mangos
  8. Let it sit

sliced mangos ready for mango saison

Not sure how long I need to let this mixture marinate. At this point I figure to start tasting around the month range, creating a timetable based on aroma/flavor from there.

I remember pitching the Brett with this beer on brew day, thinking that was a mistake. I am on the fence at this point. The aroma of the beer (I forgot to take the gravity) wasn’t quite what I was expecting and, since I didn’t taste it, I have not idea where to set expectations (Right now they aren’t high, which pains me).

I am still planning on dry hopping before I bottle (Motueka based on a lemon-lime, tropical, and spicy description, feel it should add a nice compliment to the Mango and base Saison). Enjoy!

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Home Brewing Happenings

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Just wanted to throw down a few of the home brewing tasks I have been doing over the past couple of weeks, along with what is next.

  • After recently putting Double Bogey into a used, 5 gallon bourbon barrel, I bottled it this past weekend. It was in the barrel for two weeks. My hectic schedule didn’t allow me to test the beer before determining that it was bottling day. Due to this fact, the bourbon and oak profile wasn’t as bold as I would wanted. Also, I didn’t feel the base beer itself was all that great: not much “dark” profile and possibly a bit too dried out. I thought the same of Worm Burner, a barley wine (that I never blogged about), but this beer has been rounding out nicely in the past few tasting: close to a year after brewing. Based on that, Double Bogey has six months to go before it has the same age. Now the waiting game begins.
  • I will be brewing another batch of the aforementioned Worm Burner barley wine this weekend. This will go into the second, unused, bourbon barrel (from the wife for my birthday). I plan on leaving it in the barrel two to four weeks, sampling to begin the second week. I am going to allow it to get “over” indulged since the beer will be sitting around for a year to get the correct flavorings. During that time the profile will drop back some.
  • A yeast starter was going well for Worm Burner until I split the 2 liters into two more 2 liter starters. I never did this before, so I thought that the 1 gallon jugs would be fine. WRONG! The yeast were hopping out of the top and under the tin foil the next morning. The concern that I have is that there is less yeast now than from the first round of the starter. I don’t have enough time to crank it up again. Decision time: just go with it or grab a packet of dry yeast to boost up my cells. A lot of time between now and when the beer is ready to let yeast starter problems kill it prior to brew day.

The next month should be a brewing frenzy, centering around Belgians, wild yeast, and bacteria. Enjoy!

Useless Fact The original IBM-PCs, that had hard drives, referred to the hard drives as Winchester drives. This is due to the fact that the original Winchester drive had a model number of 3030. This is, of course, a Winchester firearm.

Double Bogey Into A Used Whiskey Barrel

Thursday, October 4th, 2012
double bogey russian imperial stout

Double Bogey Russian Imperial Stout

A good beer aged in a bourbon, whiskey, etc used barrel has always piqued my interest. The complexity of the beer is fantastic. Craft beer buys those big 55 gallon barrels, which are not practical for 99% of home brewers. I have always wondered if and how I could play wood stavesmen myself.

At a home brew club meeting six months or more ago, one member brought in a brand new five gallon barrel. Perfect for home brewing. The price was $80 or more, which I thought was a bit steep. Nonetheless the wheels have been turning.

Recently, Mike, over at The Mad Fermentationist, brought to my attention that used five gallon whiskey barrels were up for sale on Adventures in Homebrewing. I hesitated to do some thinking.

Double Bogey was sitting around, getting close to being bottled; that would be the perfect beer. But I really knew nothing about barrel aging: placing oak chips in bourbon isn’t even close. After a few emails with Mike on techniques, I looked past the price, I decided it had to be.

double bogey leaking from the used whiskey barrel

I received the barrel on Monday, oohed and ahed over it, and racked Double Bogey into the barrel on Sunday. The barrel leaked a bit, maybe a total of four ounces before the staves swelled to seal it tight. There is one issue I am worried about: I only had 4.5 gallons of beer. There is some head space which leads me to believe that oxidation could set in, I just don’t know how long it would/could take. I am tempted to bottle it this Sunday but might push it another week at most.

Somehow having a used, appropriately sized, whiskey barrel in your home brewing arsenal is empowering. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: There are professional tea tasters as well as wine tasters.

Bottled: Duck Hook IPA

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012
duck hook ipa with rakau and hbc 342

Duck Hook IPA in the buckets: HBC 342 (right) and Rakau (left)

Bottling day: some hate, some tolerate, but I don’t think anyone loves it. I tolerate it, leaning towards the side of not minding it, but I definitely don’t love the process. When I have two five gallon batches to bottle, like with Duck Hook on Sunday, my toleration level is pushed to the limit of annoyance. Besides the bottling, I also racked Double Bogey, a Russian Imperial Stout, to a used whiskey barrel I picked up recently.

I always run my bottles through the dish washer, using the heated dry to sanitize them. Knock on wood, but I have never had a problem with contamination using this method. I am a habitual cleaner of bottles after use, storing them in boxes after they have dried out. This method works for me but I always have to wait an hour for the cycle of the dish water in order to bottle. A trade off I am willing to endure for the lack of labor on my end, outside of loading the bottles in the washer, in terms of the sanitizing the bottles.

I used Rakau, a New Zealand hop, and HBC 342, a still unnamed hop, in these two batches. Rakau was the first bottled. I have to say the pine and citrus aroma of this beer, especially the hop sock, was amazing. It filled the kitchen, err, ah, home brewery, with such an intense aroma that it would easily give Citra a run. Throughout the bottling process anytime I was within five to eight feet of spent hops, I could waft the Rakau.

HBC 342 was up next. Unfortunately it couldn’t hold its own after the Rakau. I was actually disappointed in the aroma after the first bottling. I am sure this beer will be fine but I cannot taste the two at the same time.

I did have about 16 ounces of Duck Hook IPA with HBC 342 that had fermented on Brett that I tried to bottle. Due to half an ounce of hop material, from the dry hop, it was impossible to clear the beer. Dead duck is a better to describe this small experiment.

As usual, I look forward to the tastings that should be coming in a next couple of weeks. Enjoy!

Useless Fact: In Wilton, Maine, there is a cannery that imports and cans only dandelion greens.