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Messages - morticaixavier

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: And So the Solera Begins
« on: July 23, 2013, 07:20:11 AM »
Allagash has a nail (stainless I'm sure) in the head of every barrel. They pull the nail to sample and hammer it back in.

I've seen that. wine makers and distillers do that as well. makes me nervous to breach the head of the barrel though. I'll keep it in mind

General Homebrew Discussion / And So the Solera Begins
« on: July 22, 2013, 12:35:54 PM »

I did it. not sure what I was thinking but I let that monkey climb right up on my back and grab a good solid hold I'm afraid.

last weekend I coated my 20 liter balcones rumble barrel in bees wax over all surfaces except the heads. This weekend I transferred a batch of farmhouse style fermented with Almanac Brewers Reserve #1 dregs and topped it off with a gallon or so of A similar recipe brewed with the belle saison.

Took some gravity readings while I was at it and was blown away.

The Belle Saison batch, just yeast, not bugs. 1.000 down from only 1.045 but still.

The Sour batch has gone from 1.048 to 0.98. woof.

Both taste pretty good all by themselves but the sour portion was starting to get really really nice. I would highly recommend this beer as a dregs starter for a sour project.

The Almanac beer has tremendous mouth feel for such a low gravity.

So finally to the questions, if anyone is still reading.

1) I topped the barrel off to the tippy top, till beer started to overflow a bit. Is this right? do I want any air space? as I sample (not often) should I re-top off?
2) I am planning to let this ride for another 4 months so the original almanac brew will be 6 months old, draw off 2-3 gallons and replace with something similar. Does this seem right? after than I will go with a 6 - 12 month cycle until I am totally sick of it or the barrel goes way way south.

Ingredients / Re: Sourcing Dried Bergamot Peels (not extract)
« on: July 22, 2013, 10:13:33 AM »
Seven bridges has dried bitter orange peel that is organic. not really the same as bergamot peel though.

Do you have a co-op, wholefoods, Other health food store type place near you? they will often have bergamot peel in the bulk herb/tea section.

Other Fermentables / Re: Strawberry Soda
« on: July 22, 2013, 09:45:20 AM »
Your method works well for making overnight ginger beer.

I bet it does. and a lot cheaper to I bet. I can see keeping that partial pack of us-05 around just for this actually. and Ginger beer should be cheap and easy. at least around here ginger root is dirt cheap.

you can actually build a culture from fresh ginger root and do a lactic fermentation but I thought that might be a little funky for my son.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: What Are You Drinking Tonight?
« on: July 22, 2013, 08:13:31 AM »
This beer F-ing ROCKS!

Tried a bomber, then went back and bought a case of bombers.  Lucky thing my local beer store has 20% off on Fridays!

hey cool.

My boss just got back from a couple days in ft bragg and brought me back a 750 of this. Looking forward to it even more now!

**EDIT** I just took a second look at the above label and it didn't appear to be quite the same. Turns out the bottle I have is brewed at North Coast. it looks slightly different in that the text is blue and the northcoast logo is in the middle.

Other Fermentables / Re: Strawberry Soda
« on: July 22, 2013, 07:45:37 AM »
Cheap easy strawberry champagne?

given that it was only actively fermenting for about 18 hours before going in the fridge I doubt there was a significant amount of alcohol in there so champagne? maybe not. and a pack of frozen organic strawberries, a cup of sugar or so and part of a pack of yeast = about 5-6 bucks for 1.5 liters of soda so cheap? maybe not so. Easy though for sure  ;D

Other Fermentables / Re: Strawberry Soda
« on: July 21, 2013, 07:47:38 PM »
Well I think it worked quite well.

I couldn't get fresh strawberries of course so I started with 1 package of frozen strawberries which I macerated with about a cup of evaporated cane juice (raw sugar) I added a handful of fresh mint leaves as well. I left that for about 4 or 5 hours to thaw. I gave it a good stir to break up all the berries added about 1.5 liters of water (maybe a bit less) and then brought it up to a boil (I meant only to bring it to 180 but I forgot).

The result was a lovely pink syrup with ugly whitish gunk floating around in it. I strained it through a ss mesh strainer.

Into two empty plastic 1 liter former sparkly water bottles with a sprinkle of us-05 in each. I squeezed out all the air from the bottle just for fun. By morning they were swelled and hard so I popped them in the fridge and had some with dinner tonight.

My son didn't like it because it was sparkly (he doesn't actually like soda ::)) but it's pretty good. decent fresh strawberry aroma and flavor. mint is there but is a supporting role. no boozy note although one person who tasted it detected a slight kombucha-y flavor but I don't get that.

I don't think this will become a regular occurrence at chez mort but it was a fun experiment. and dead simple.

I do want to make some flavour syrups and just mix them with the soda water I make by the keg load though.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Belle Saison Dry Yeast
« on: July 21, 2013, 06:47:40 PM »
I just kegged by batch made with this. It started at 1.038 but I added 1 lb of honey after a couple days so all told it took this beer from 1.045 to 1.000 in about 2 weeks. I started at 65ish per my usuall and ramped up to 74ish  after a couple days. It stayed there the rest of the time and it had no problem finishing.

The flavour is hard to pin point right now because It is not fully carbed but it has a distinct lemony tartness and is otherwise pretty clean so far. I withold judgement.

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Pellicle or mold in the bottle!?
« on: July 19, 2013, 12:01:37 PM »
Likely you introduced some o2 during bottling. Several of the organisms in a flanders culture will produce some sort of floaty. Generally pellicles are produced as a barrier to additional o2 dissolution so if some bottles got a little more air than others you might have pellicle form in some and not others.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: Fermenting during a heat wave
« on: July 19, 2013, 09:50:06 AM »
Just for the sake of accuracy I would like to clarify some terms.

Swamp cooler or evaporative cooler - This is a method of cooling something below ambient temp via evaporation. This is the wet t-shirt method. You only need enough water to allow the t-shirt to continuously wick water up and stay wet. You might need to wet the shirt from above to some extent to make it work. It's not really dependent on the temp of the water being used because it's going to cool the fermenter via evaporation. this method requires enough air circulation (fan, breeze) to make sure the air is not saturated with moisture around the fermenter.

Ice in water cooler - this is actually using the ice to lower the temp of the whole mass of water and beer in the tub. You can cover this set up and it will work as well or better in a small enclosed area. You are transferring heat from the fermenting beer through the water into the ice. You can get much colder with this and you don't need to use the water, if you insulate your tub or box you can use ice packs to chill the air inside and get the same results. But insulation is required in that case because you do not have the thermal mass provided by all the extra water.

Going Pro / Re: Going Pro Cheap - NJ Farm Brewery Licensing and Fees
« on: July 19, 2013, 09:20:11 AM »
you still have to deal with the feds and pay a bond but that goes towards your taxes due them anyway.

The bond is held as collateral against the taxes on future production. You only get it back if you go out of business.

right. wasn't totally clear there. thanks

Kegging and Bottling / Re: Uh oh, didn't mix yeast well.
« on: July 17, 2013, 01:09:20 PM »
just have a capper and a little dish of dry yeast with you every time you open a bottle to drink. no pfft on opening, add yeast and recap!

Other Fermentables / Re: Strawberry Soda
« on: July 17, 2013, 10:36:30 AM »
Wont this make strawberry wine if you ferment it.

the idea is that you let it ferment only enough to carbonate the bottle then refrigerate it and consume quickly. It's how all soda used to be made. There won't be enough alcohol to be significant and as long as you do small enough batches and it's not gross you will drink it all up before it becomes an issue.

Yeast and Fermentation / Re: 1056 Smack Pack Viability
« on: July 17, 2013, 08:26:27 AM »
Do I need one or two packs?  I'm not too familiar using pitching rate calculators...

FWIW, this won't be ready to pitch by Friday.

How long does starter prep usually take?

if you make the starter now and are able to give it a good swirl every hour or so for the next 36 it should be mostly done by tomorrow night, Friday morning at the latest. Then you have to crash cool it to decant the spent 'beer' that will take another 12-24 hours.

so you could pitch on Saturday morning or afternoon. I leave wort overnight without pitching all the time.

Other Fermentables / Strawberry Soda
« on: July 17, 2013, 08:24:35 AM »
So my 2.5 year old REALLY wants to brew this weekend. I asked him what he wanted to brew and he said strawberry soda.

Well I am not one to deny my child's wish to brew so.

I am thinking I will make a strawberry syrup by soaking strawberries overnight in sugar to draw out the juices. maybe a little heat or maybe not. Add this syrup to an empty two liter bottle with water and enough additional sugar to get to the sweetness we want.

I have some us-05 in the fridge I figure .25 packets of that and leave it on the counter till the bottle gets tight and then chill.

Anybody have any additional ideas?

would a few drops of vanilla or almond extract go amiss?

Oooh how about some fresh mint leaves?

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