Sunday, January 19, 2014

Country Wines (Wines #1+2)

After purchasing the quad pack of 1 gallon jugs wine seemed like an even more inevitable creation to work on. Finally having a partially free weekend without enough time to brew and nothing to bottle I decided to get to work. My first two wines are very similar with only minor tweaks between them to test a few small things. Both wines are peach and nectarine with other juices added. The recipes and processes for each are listed below. 

Both wines were made with fresh chopped fruit which was boiled to sterilize due to time limitations not allowing for the more normal Camden tablet process.  In addition to time limitations I found myself out of sugar as I went to increase the gravity of the second wine and instead used a mixture of a small amount brown sugar, a few tablespoons corn syrup and a mix of grape and apple juice in place of water to reach a similar gravity.

These will likely age for 6-12 months prior to bottling and at least another 6-12 months of bottle aging. A long wait for such a small amount but minimal work and a fun experiment all around.

Finally racked off the fruit and lees after about a month, only keeping about 2/3rd of a gallon of each wine. Both were topped off with about a glass of wine (Apex Chardonnay, just because it was what we were already drinking) and a quarter gallon of apple juice.  Plan is to rack again in about a month then either rack again or bottle 1-2 months later before another 6-12 months of aging.
Racked again and topped off with just a little apple juice.

Final racking, topped off with apple cider.

Monday, January 13, 2014

#33 - Belgian Session IPA Version 2

One of my first very successful beers was a Belgian Session IPA.  Today I decided to play on a similar riff but with different hops and a tweaked malt profile.  This includes Belgian Pilsner malt (in order to test get a sense of it's character) and Baird's Carastan and Simpson's Golden Naked Oats (both of which I found were excellent in a previous IPA).  Another twist is that I will be making a green tea tincture alongside the beer which, if it tastes good, will be blended with some fraction of the beer.  Part of the goal of today's brewing session was to build up enough Wyeast 3787 to be able to make a few batches of much stronger beers (dubbel, tripel, quad) in the next few months.  The hop choices were inspired by recent tastes of Mosaic and Nelson Sauvin beers and a long desire to want to try out Palisades.

There were a number of difficulties due to lack of equipment and due to coming down with a cold the night before I planned to brew.  Having just moved to a new apartment, I used Arlington, VA water for the first time and am also using half a campden tablet to remove chloramine for the first time, as I am currently without a water filter.  1.75 tsp of gypsum were added to the 3 gallons of mash water being heated in my new stainless steel pot and strike temperature was brought up to 165.  In addition to not having a water filter, I had no scale to measure out my hops or grains.  While approximating half a bag of oats isn't too difficult and the difference will be minor approximating 1/32 of a pound of Palisades is much more difficult and the magnitude of error will be much more compounded since there is only a single first wort hop addition contributing the vast majority of IBU's to this beer.  On top of this I was way off on my mash/sparge water calculations and ended up with just 4 gallons of 1.058 wort.  I added one gallon of distilled water I had sitting around to bring it down to 1.048.  Initial tasting is sweet with a floral and berry character with a moderate bitterness and some citrus character also in the mix.  Should be interesting to see how this one comes out.

Brewing while I have a cold, in a new location, with new water, a new stove, a new pot, new varieties of hops and not measuring the exact weight of the hops leaves a lot of question marks for this batch, but with how cheap this beer is (under 25 bucks if you don't count the yeast), and with how much healthy yeast it will produce I am not as worried about the quality of the end result and am more worried about dialing in the new system. Getting a good beer out of it would certainly be nice though.

Checked on the beer today to see it had erupted. Perfumey floral beer smell and all the walls are covered in krausen and hop goop. Cleaned up and reattached the now slowly bubbling airlock.

Checked gravity, down to 1.009 and still fermenting.  Taste is floral with subtle citrus and a pungent, vegetal finish. Still green, not carbonated and not even done fermenting but the bitterness seems too low.
Lots of hops and candi syrup from Farmhouse brewing supplies.  The large 1 lb bag is the Palisades.
Tasting. Pretty happy with the way both of these came out.

Entered these into a competition in March where they received middling scores due to being out of style. Forgot to post the blog entry so the double tasting post was updated to include score reports and my take.