Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Partigyle Series: Oatmeal & Imperial Stout

This brew day was my first attempt at a quasi-partigyle brew. (I was excited to use my new 10 gal mash tun and brew with my 2 good friends, Ben and Dan) Let me explain my process and why I chose to go this way, in hindsight it didn't work all that well.

  1.  Mash all the grains at once with a grist that is for an Imperial Oatmeal Stout
  2. Collect the first 2 gals into a separate pot. Measure and reduce to 1 gal.
  3. Sparge until collected 10 gal in main boil kettle
  4. Add 2.25 oz Horizon to bitter 10 gals to 42 IBUs
  5. @ 60 min (Volume 9 gal) - Rack 3.5 gal of wort to chilled keg (w 1.5 gal water)
  6. Boil Remaining 5.5 gal
  7. Add 1 oz Horizon to bitter to 98 IBUs
  8. @ 120 min Rack 4 gals into carboy

My calculations are above. I think I chose to go this method mostly for the mental challenge of working out the procedure. In hindsight, it would have been a lot easier and probably more accurate to just do 2 boils.

One of the big issues with this method is sufficiently cooling the 3.5 gals for the Oatmeal Stout. In the excitement of the day, I just racked the beer straight into the 5 gal corny keg. The corny keg was already filled with 1.5 of cool water. I put this all in a water bath, then ice bath. It did not cool very quickly. If I ever try to do this again, I will rack the 3.5 gals to another pot (easily fit in my old extract stove-top pot) and use the wort chiller in there. Next, I will just buy a couple of gallon water jugs and have them in the fridge. Or I need a counter flow wort chiller.
The other big issue is that I didn't use my hop bag, so there were a lot of hops in the boil. All the trub and hops were racked right into the keg. If there is a next time, I will either use a hop bag or better finally get a good filter for my pick-up tube.
The positive parts about this method is that I saved some extra time to chill (because I use an immersion chiller). I also got more kettle carmelization flavor and minimal better hop utilization for the Imperial Stout.

Recipe: Partigyle Stouts
O.G.- OS - 1.052  RIS - 1.096      F.G.- OS - 1.010  RIS - 1.028               
IBU - OS - 30 RIS - 78  SRM-35   Batch - OS -5 gal RIS -5 gal

Grain Bill (77% Efficiency):
21 lb Maris Otter
2 lb Flaked Oats
1.5 lb Chocolate malt - 350L
1.5 lb Biscuit Malt 
1 lb UK Crystal ~77L 
1 lb Roasted Barley

2 oz Horizon, 9.1%, pellet, 120 min
1 oz Horizon, 9.1%, pellet, 60 min

300 mL of  Wyeast 1469-PC West Yorkshire Ale Yeast - 1 Liter Starter (1/2 in each)
1 vial of White Labs 001 - Cal Ale Yeast - 1 Liter Starter (all in RIS)

Brew Day:
Brewed: 1/15/12

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

Mash Details:
H2O/Grain Ratio: 1 qt/lb
Mash Volume: 7 gal 
Sacc Rest. Temp/Time: 154F @ 60min

Boil Details:
Boil Volume: 10 gal
Boil Time: OS - 60min, RIS - 120 min
Post Boil Volume: 10 gal

Ferment Details:
Ferment Temp: OS - Held ~ 68F, RIS - Started at 65, ramped to 68 over 3 days

On Day 4, I added the 1 gal of reduced first runnings to the 4 gals of RIS. To keep the wort, I poured the boiling wort into a pre-heated 1 gal growler. I left the lid loose for a few hours and then tightened and put into the fridge. I tasted it before adding and it was still syrupy sweet and no off-flavors. I don't know how much could live in 1.220 wort. The fermentation stayed active for about a 10 days.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Homemade Mustard - Using (Non)Native Plants

It took me a long time to figure out that mustard can taste good. I actually found out when my wife and I traveled to Germany. In Deutschland, they let you order your sausage by the meter and keep filling your glass till you surrender (or cover it with a coaster). It was there that I got adventurous and decided to give mustard another shot; I'm so glad I did. And then I started paying more attention to this condiment and realized the numerous amount of combinations. I relate this to the eye-awakening experience of finding out that more than fizzy yellow beer exists.

From that point forward, I tried all sorts of different mustard. And that eventually lead me to want to make my own. It didn't seem like it would be too difficult and has a lot of similarities to beer making. Here are the basics:
  • Cold Liquid produces Hot Mustard, Hot Liquid produces Mild Mustard 
    • Similar to Beer Mashing - your temperature will determine how much you denature compounds (myrosin (enzyme) mixes with sinigrin or sinalbin (glucosinolates) that produce the heat (mustard oil))
    • Amount of heat will peak at 15 min, then start dropping
  • Add acid to preserve your heat level
    • Another way to denature compounds - lower pH
  • White Mustard (mild), Brown Mustard (medium), Black Mustard (hot)
  • Must grind or crush the seeds to get access to the compounds
    • Food Processor or Spice Grinder or Mortar and Pestle
  • Make 24 hours in advance to allow bitterness to subside
Now you now the basics, so how about an easy recipe that you can easily adjust for your tastes

MUSTARD - 1 cup serving

  • 6 tablespoons mustard seeds (Collect your own - see below)
  • 1/2 cup mustard powder (Cheap at Ethnic Grocery Stores)
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar (cider, wine or sherry
  • 1/2 cup wine, beer or water 
  • 2 teaspoons salt 
Optional ingredients that I really enjoyed:
  • Chipotles in Adobo sauce with Black mustard (Super Hot)
  • Honey  (Commercial versions are 1:1 ratios)
  • Sour Beer (Great for lowering the pH to set the heat level)

Living in California we have a ton of Black Mustard growing thanks to those Spanish Missionaries. I decided late summer to try and gather my own. The gathering part was quite easy once I figured out a good system:
  • Wear gloves
  • Wear a big basket or bag around your neck
  • With nice thick gloves just grab each stalk and strip the seeds right into your bag/basket
The sorting part is time consuming and I don't have it figured out perfectly (if anyone knows a better way, I'd appreciate knowing)

Start with a gross sort using a strainer or colander - keep sifting. Then I washed the seeds several times in big plastic bowls. And then into the spice grinder and followPublish Post the above directions.

EDIT 2/24/12 - I had to change the title so my environmental friend would not correct me. Black mustard is actually an invasive non-native species. So please collect the seeds.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Undercover San Diego: McGinty Mountain

Finally another San Diego Adventure, it has been a while since I did some exploring ( I guess I have been brewing and drinking too much beer). Luckily for me, we are having an unusaully beautiful winter in San Diego. This means it is easier to convince my favorite hiking partner to get out on the trail.

This particular hiking partner (my wife) is pretty specific in the types of hikes she likes. Here are her criteria:

  • Must be a mountain - without an elevation change you are walking, not hiking - her words
  • Must be within a close drive - over 30 min. and she gets restless
  • Must be pretty - meaning trees and flowers, nice view
  • Rather it not crowded - she doesn't like people watching her sweat.

This really narrows down our hiking choices, but it is a fun challenge for me because hiking up mountains and living on the coast doesn't work very well. I looked in my trusty Afoot and Afield: San Diego County: A Comprehensive Hiking Guide . I searched for mountain hikes that were as close to Downtown San Diego as possible. And I was pleasantly surprised to find a decent length hike (~5 mi) within a 25 minute drive - McGinty Mountain. Next, I checked one of my new favorite hiking blogs (100 peaks - unfortunately the San Diego hikes will be discontinued since the author moved.) It looked great and he has gone through a lot of effort to detail the hike. He has a great trail map and even a video of McGinty Mtn. So for my post I will just add some commentary and extra pictures of the trail. Enjoy.

The trail-head is easy to find and it has a good sized parking lot. Looking at the map at the trailhead (above) shows that there are actually several ways to hike to the summit, but I recommend staying on the main trail detailed on the sign.
The hike really has a nice mix of terrain and a good flow to the exercise. You start at a low grade, then a few switch-backs to your first peak.

Then you get to rest a bit as you walk along the ridge to the next steep grade. This grade is pretty darn steep, but there are several places to stop and enjoy the view. And during the last push to the summit, I spotted a cave that I will need to come back to when I have a headlamp. And the summit is worth it, great 360 degree views of San Diego County and into Mexico.

 I would recommend this hike to anyone looking for a nice alternative to Cowles Mountain, which is far too crowded for me.

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