Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 Brewing Goals Part 2: Brews by Month

Jeff over at 1227 Brewing gave me this idea to lay out my Brewing Schedule. I live in a relatively small space in Downtown San Diego so the plan below is me brewing to capacity. My other restriction is that my wife is not a big fan of brewing, well mostly the mess it makes. We only have a small balcony so that means multiple trips in and out for water and supplies.
If you have any batch  ideas or tips for me, please leave a comment. And if you are planning on brewing anything similar I'd love to swap some beers.

Jan. 2011:
Old Ale – with treacle and Brett C and French Oak (Post on Brew Session)
1 gal batch – English Cider (Post on Brew Session)
1 gal batch – Old Ale with Avery 15 dregs (Post on Brew Session - in top 3 beers ever brewed)

Scottish 60 - (Post on Brew Session) (Post on Homebrew Tasting)
1 gal batch – Scottish 60- with Wood Experiments (not completed)
1 gal batch – Scottish Cider (Brewed, post to come)

Feb. 2011:
Scottish 80- (Replaced by Experimental Smoked IPA)
1 gal batch – Scottish 80- with Wood Experiments (Not brewed, see above)
1 gal batch - Winter Gose: Cranberries and Orange Peel (Post on Brew Session)

March 2011:
Wee Heavy - (Brewed, post to come)
1 gal batch – Wee Heavy with Wood Experiments (Replaced with Native Gruit)

April 2011:
Belgian Wit - (Skipped to Saison Series)
1 gal batch – Ommegang Biere de Mars dregs
Berliner Weiss - (Skipped to Saison Series)
1 gal batch – The Bruery Hottenroth dregs

May 2011:
Kentucky Common -  (Skipped to Saison Series)
Flanders Red - (Post on Brew Session)
1 gal batch – 1 year old Flander’s Red on Sour Cherries (Brewed, still in fermenter)

June 2011:
Table Saison - (Post on Brew Session) (Post on Homebrew Tasting)
1 gal batch – Fantome Dupont Foret dregs (Post on Brew Session)
BONUS - 1 gal batch - Table Saison w/ Ancho Chiles (Post on Brew Session)
1 gal batch - Summer Gose (Not Brewed)

July 2011:
Summer Saison - (Post on Brew Session) (Post on Homebrew Tasting)
1 gal batch – Dupont The Bruery Saison de Lente dregs (Post on Brew Session)
BONUS 1 gal batch - White Labs Brett C Saison (Post on Brew Session)
Dark Saison - (Post on Brew Session) (Post on Homebrew Tasting)
1 gal batch – The Bruery Saison de Lente or Rue Fantome Speciale dregs (Post on Brew Session)
August 2011:
Belgian Singel - (Replaced by Belgian Pale Ale) (Post on Homebrew Tasting)
1 gal batch – Belgain Singel with Mikkeller it’s Alive Belgian Pale Ale w Rochefort dregs (Post on Brew Session)
BONUS 1 gal batch - Belgian Pale Ale w Achouffe dregs (Post on Brew Session)

Sept. 2011:
Belgian Dubbel - (Post on Brew Session)
1 gal batch - Belgian Dubbel with fruit Westmalle dregs (Post on Brew Session)
BONUS 1 gal batch - Belgian Dubbel with Ommegang dregs (Post on Brew Session)
Homegrown Pale - (Only grew 1 oz wet - added to Mirror Pond Clone, post to come)
Belgian Dark Strong - (Post on Brew Session)
1 gal batch – Belgian Strong with Cuvee de Tomme Maredsous dregs (Post on Brew Session)

Oct 2011:
Best Bitter with Homegrown Hops Fullers Yeast - (Post on Brew Session)
1 gal batch – Brett Only Bitter
5 gal Split Batch - West Yorkshire Yeast(Post on Brew Session)

Nov 2011:
ESB - (Not Brewed)
English Dark Mild - (Brewed, post to come)
Oud Bruin - (Brewed, post to come)

1 gal batch – Oud Bruin with Holiday Party Dregs (Brewed, post to come)

Dec 2011:
Brown Ale (Not Brewed)
1 gal batch – Chai Brown (Not Brewed)
1 gal batch – Maple Brown (Not Brewed)

Thursday, December 23, 2010

2011 Brewing Goals Part 1: Get Weird

So I found this great research paper titled, FERMENTED FRUTIS AND VEGETABLES. A GLOBAL PERSPECTIVE off a link from Raj Apte's site. I had some time to read this lengthy paper on one of my flights from back from the East Coast.
It does a great job describing several different fermentable foods and beverages from around the world. It also goes into detail how these foods are created. The most informative part of the paper is explaining how to control the 6 main fermentation variables which are moisture (available water), oxygen concentration, temperature, nutrients, pH and inhibitors. It explains how to adjust these factors in order to get the desirable microbes to work for you. (Chapter 2).

This got me to thinking about having some fun with experimental batches of different fermented beverages from around the world. For most of these beverages I think the journey will be more fun than the destination. And who knows I might find some flavors I like and develop some helpful techniques. I am going try my hardest to make the following beverages as authentic as possible. In San Diego, we have a great diversity of ethnic stores (this is where the real adventure will be).

1. Banana Beer - Diluted banana juice and grains fermented with natural yeast from banana
2. Cashew Wine - Light Yellow wine using the apples from a Cashew tree 6%-12% with wine yeast
3. Tepache - Prepared from maize with other fruits added and open fermented, drank young
4. Colonche - Fermenting juice of the Prickly pear cactus (see post about juice)
5. Date Wine - Dates soaked in Boiling hot water in clay pots
6. Palm Wine - Fermented sap from various varieties depending on region
7. Pulque - National drink of Mexico (my neighbor) using different varieties of the Century plant
8. Muratina - Fermented from sugar and the muratina fruit in Kenya (we are traveling there next year)
9. Chicha - Popular South American drink using different types maize depending on region (great article)
I cannot promise I'll make all these, but who really lives up to their New Year's resolution. Most of these I will get done this summer when the fruit is available. And the wife and I are traveling to Egypt and Kenya this coming fall so I'll be doing some research there.

12/29/11 Update - EPIC FAIL - I did not complete any of these strange brews. But they are still on my list to brew. Better luck in 2012.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Flandria Fixed Gear (Fixie) Conversion - Assembly

Assembly was much easier for this bike than in the past because I remembered to take a lot of pictures. And I kept each grouping of parts in their own bags so I don't get the small parts mixed up.

These older bikes have some great chrome and were easily cleaned. I used the Oxalic Acid (wood bleach in the hardware store) bath as I described in the Huffy Build.
The headset was pretty easy to install as long as you have everything in the right order. I'm liking the look of the raw steel, it gives the bike a nice vintage look.

My next goal was to cut the handlebars. I wanted to have a stripped down look to the bike. Plus there is no need to use the drop bars on a single speed. I'm using this bike strictly for cruising around downtown. I used a simple hacksaw and a vice. It gave me a pretty good cut and went through easily. I'm going to tape the ends so it doesn't need to be perfect.
This bike has a fixed cup bottom bracket. First, start with putting a healthy portion of grease in each cup and pressing in all the bearings. They should stick in there pretty firmly. Next make sure that you insert the spindle the correct way. See the picture below. There is one sire that is a bit longer than the other. This must go toward the crank side. Next, screw the cups on with a big adjustable wrench. That will not get it tight enough. And if you try you may ruin the wrench flats. The next part can be a pain unless you have some specific tools. There are three ways I know:
1. Buy the right tool from a shop.
2. Use a good vice and make sure the wrench flats are tightly secured. You need to keep the bike level or you will strip the flats. Do not over tighten, check to make sure the spindle turns freely but does not rock side to side. (My method)
3. You can make a Fixed Cup tool, described on Sheldon Brown's site.

The next tricky part is the cotter pin cranks. Refer to the original post for removal tips. To install push through and make sure to line up the flat side of the spindle with the flat side of the pin. Once in place give a nice firm tap with a hammer to set or use a press. Then screw on the cotter pin nut until tight. If the threads were damaged during removal you may be able to cut off the damaged part with a hacksaw and still have enough threads. The nut is not supposed to hold the crank on, the friction fit does that. It is just a safety measure so you your crank doesn't fall off. I also suggest after your first ride that you try to tight the cotter pin nut again.
 Next, I will be finishing the drive train. I asked for a 19 tooth fixed cog and chain for X Mas.

Step 1 - Background, Disassemble
Step 2 - Frame Painting
Step 3 - Handlebar & Fork Assembly
Step 4 - Gearing (Gear Ratio)
Step 5 - Wheels and Hubs
Step 6 - Custom Leather Saddle
Step 7 - Custom Leather Handlebars

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Dreg Series: Brett C Brown Ale

I had received some yeast from a fellow QUAFF member, Adrian, and while I was there he gave me a few parting gifts. He gave me a couple 2 year old bottles of a Dark Beer Blend that were dosed with WLP645 Brett C. Both bottles got a dose of campden tablets to kill the Brett but that didn't work so one of them also was heat pasturized. Fast forward a year, we drank these two beers and  they were wonderfully sour and complex. Easily the best homebrewed beer I ever had. (More info on Babble Belt)

We tried these beers while brewing the English Dark Mild on Teach  Friend to Brew Day. I brought an extra 22 oz bomber and foil to pour the dregs into and then fresh Mild on top of. This starter came to life within a couple days. It had a big krausen inside the bottle.

Next I dumped the yeast into 1 gallon of the Party Pleasing Brown Ale (post to follow, I put the cart in front of the horse this time). And it took off within hours. And that thing also had a very large airy krausen with a good amount of particles suspended. I had to leave on business so there aren't any good pictures at full krausen. But you can see the aftermath.

F.G. 1.009
Taste of hydro sample had much more roast than version with WLP002. Very clean and no funk. Maybe a bit of tartness.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Session Beer Series: English Dark Mild 2010

I just remembered that I never wrote about the beer I brewed on Teach a Friend to Homebrew Day. That day I made sure that I brewed a beer that was pretty simple. And this one is hard to screw up. Plus it is probably one of my favorite styles to drink and with the Holidays coming up I know it's a crowd favorite. My mild is a touch on the roasty side. I will do a full on tasting coming up, but next year I think I will leave out the chocolate malt.

Recipe: English Dark Mild 2010
O.G.-1.042               F.G.-1.010                IBU-17.8
SRM-17                  ABV-4.1%               Cal-140

Grain Bill (75% Efficiency):
6 lb Maris Otter (76.2%)
1 lb Brown Malt (12.7%)
6 oz Carastan Dark (4.8%)
6 oz Crystal 120 (4.8%)
2 oz American Chocolate (1.6%)

.75 oz Goldings, 4.75%, pellet, 60 min 17.8 IBU

White Labs WLP002 British Ale

Brew Day:
Brewed: 8/14/10
Kegged: TBD

San Diego (Alvarado) Tap Water
1 campden tablet per 5 gal.

Mash Details:
H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.5 qt/lb
Mash Volume: 3 gal
Sacc Rest. Temp/Time: 152F @ 60min
Strike Temp: 164F
Batch Sparge Volume: 4.75 gal
Sparge Temp/Time: 170F

Boil Details:
Boil Volume: 6.25 gal
Boil Time: 60min
Post Boil Volume: 5 gal

Ferment Details:
O.G.: 1.043
Ferment Temp: 66-first 3 days then free rise up to 70
Length: 14 days in primary
F.G.: 1.010

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Homemade Soft Pretzels

This was my first time trying to make soft pretzels so I basically followed Alton Brown's (Good Eats) directions to a tee. So all I have to add is my commentary (green) and some photos. For my next batch I'm going to try to replace some of the water with beer (duh).

•    1 1/2 cups warm (110 to 115 degrees F) water
•    1 tablespoon sugar
•    2 teaspoons kosher salt
•    1 package active dry yeast
•    22 ounces all-purpose flour, approximately 4 1/2 cups
•    2 ounces unsalted butter, melted
•    Vegetable oil, for pan
•    10 cups water
•    2/3 cup baking soda
•    1 large egg yolk beaten with 1 tablespoon water
•    Pretzel salt

Combine the water, sugar and kosher salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and sprinkle the yeast on top (Make a starter, could also use active beer here). Allow to sit for 5 minutes or until the mixture begins to foam.
Add the flour and butter and, using the dough hook attachment, mix on low speed until well combined. Change to medium speed and knead until the dough is smooth and pulls away from the side of the bowl, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Remove the dough from the bowl, clean the bowl and then oil it well with vegetable oil.
Return the dough to the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place for approximately 50 to 55 minutes or until the dough has doubled in size.
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 half-sheet pans with parchment paper (not needed with non-stick pans) and lightly brush with the vegetable oil. Set aside.
Bring the 10 cups of water and the baking soda to a rolling boil in an 8-quart saucepan or roasting pan.
In the meantime, turn the dough out onto a slightly oiled work surface and divide into 8 equal pieces. Roll out each piece of dough into a 24-inch rope. Make a U-shape with the rope, holding the ends of the rope, cross them over each other and press onto the bottom of the U in order to form the shape of a pretzel. (This dough is very stretchy so it must be worked for a while and it works better if you get it very skinny down to less .5" diameter. Mine were a bit too thick)
Place the pretzels into the boiling water, 1 by 1, for 30 seconds (or once they start floating).
Remove them from the water using a large flat spatula. Return to the half sheet pan, brush the top of each pretzel with the beaten egg yolk and water mixture and sprinkle with the pretzel salt (I used large sea salt). Bake until dark golden brown in color, approximately 12 to 14 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack for at least 5 minutes before serving (scarfing down).

Serve with homemade mustard (easy)...post to come.
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