Friday, November 27, 2015

Rye Tripel (1gal BIAB)

I have never had a rye beer.  There, I've said it.  This isn't for lack of desire, so much as I haven't really seen a good quality one in my area that wasn't also an IPA (most annoying, actually).  Therefore, I set out to make my own.

Still not the best pic, I know.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Spruced Up Belgian Quad

Welp...I decided--more or less--that I was going to start brewing 1 gallon all grain batches.  I figure that it is easier--less water and weight, even if not less actual work and time--and if I do it right I can get a pipeline of a gallon every week or so.  Plus getting experience with my system and recipe creation, which is even more important.  Weekish for fermentation, week for secondary/cold crashing/dry hopping....and a month or so for bottle conditioning.  Oh well.

Anyways, I brewed the first one today.  I originally put together the (unmodified) grain bill as a Belgian IPA, after trying the Stone Brewing 08-08-08 Encore (which I have succeeded in culturing yeast from, btw.  But haven't tested it yet, and don't know what variety it is.).  Well....then it got cold out, and I got thinking that maybe a strong dark ale would be better.  This was /after/ buying the original grain bill, of course.
I still plan to make the Bel IPA soon, mind.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

Pumpkin Weizenbock

I decided--fairly randomly, although triggered by the thoughts of fermenting in a pumpkin--to make a pumpkin beer.  While my first thought was a oatmeal stout, I quickly decided that a weizenbock would work nicely.  I fell in love with the style after trying the original, Avantius (absolutely delicious...and propagating the yeast should be possible).
While I decided to not ferment in a pumpkin--too much work/cost for not much in the way of results (beyond being able to say I did it)--I did use fresh pumpkin in the recipe.

First Wild Brew

I'm excited to say that I finally pitched yeast on my first wild brew.  I've been wanting to do this for quite a while, simply out of curiousity.  The results being, that back in June I "harvested" (it was airborn) assorted yeast, microbes, and I don't know what else from the garden--this is known as an "ambient" starter (as opposed to one started from fruit skins, or flower petals).  See the prior blog post (here) for the journal of the starters.

What this is, is a semi-spontaneous fermentation.  I say the semi, since a completely spontaneous fermentation would have used the full volume of wort, and no starters to make sure it won't just go bad--too risky for me.  For information on Spontaneous fermentations, like lambics, read here.  The Milk the Funk wiki, and their FB group are both very good sources of information.  This article is also a good one.
The wild capture starter in the middle is the one being used.

Spontaneous Starters

For information on the process, see Bootleg Biology's page on the subject.

Starter 1 and 2: 500ml water, boiled with ½ cup DME for 10 minutes, some yeast nutrients were also added.  OG should be around 1.06-1.07.  Divided into two mason jars, which are being swirled vigorously regularly.  Both are tightly covered in foil.

Starter 1 (Hereafter, Apple blossom) received a number of blossoms from the apple tree, once cooled to body temp.

Starter 2 (Hereafter, Garden Starter) was set out in the garden, next to the greenhouse and by the small crabapple.  It was covered in muslin to keep chunks out, and left out from 5pm to midnight (before bringing it in, I swirled it uncovered for several minutes).  Temperature was 70s during the day and cooled to the 40s.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Cold-mixed Absinthe, a (legal to make) recipe

A guest post from a friend who needed a place to share his recipe.

Conrad’s Ever-changing Absinthe Recipe

This recipe is based on looking at half a dozen regional absinthe recipes.  This recipe is non-distilled for ease and legality.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

The Highwayman Old (well...) Ale

One of my favourite songs is The Highwayman, a poem written in 1906 by Alfred Noyes, and performed as a song by Loreena McKennitt (Link to youtube of the song). 

For some reason, the song spoke to me, saying it wanted to be made into some kind of beer.  Something traditionally English, common to the inns of the time, BUT with some continental influences--specifically French or Belgian character, since the mental feel I have of the Highwayman stereotype is at both English and French.  While the primary yeast and grain bill (other than the Special B) are English (and I will use something like treacle or apple cider concentrate for bottle carbing), I want plummy red wine and rum flavours in there as well. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

"Belgian" Dubble Graff

This was my New Year's brew for 2013--it turned out fairly good, but seems to have only gotten better with time; I opened one of the few remaining bottles last night and it was amazing.  Ripe with dried fruit flavours.

This is one of my graffs--a cider with malted grains--which has a Belgian dubble based grain bill, and contains home made dark candi syrup.  Belgian yeast was not available to me at the time, and I ended up--for some unknown reason--using a lager yeast (and fermenting in cold temperatures, of course).  I actually consider that to be a success--it was drinkable extremely quickly, and might not have been with a quicker fermentation.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

(Light) Cherry Cyser

This is a sweet, hopefully juicy mead--easy to drink and enjoy, and done fairly quickly (both times, I made it in September, and bottled for New Years).  The "light" in the name refers to the ABV% which is slightly lower than the average mead--around 10%.  Thus far, I have made it twice--with differences in each.

So, here are the recipes and my rather minimal log notes.

2014 Batch.  And I am still mourning this glass.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Tasting Wheels

One of the things I have been gathering are tasting wheels for a variety of beverages.  For those who don't know, tasting wheels are an aid when learning to taste something, and can't pinpoint what those flavours you are actually smelling are.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Cup O' Cheer Rhubarb Wine

I don't repeat recipes.  I'm famous for not doing so--however, this is the third year I have made a batch of my rhubarb wine, and the amounts made are getting larger.

Even though the overall recipe is the same, I have been changing it slightly each time--slightly more rhubarb per gallon, perhaps a different steep time, more or less brown sugar, different yeasts (last years batches were made with Belgian-Canadian ale yeast/1116, and Cote des blanc.  71-B is my choice this year and the first year).  Given the amounts of rhubarb I have available, I may make a second 5 gallon batch this year, perhaps in mid August.
The rhubarb I use is a blend of red and green--same varietal, but the red (which I prefer, so I can get more colour in the finished wine) is exposed to more sunlight.

This years must.  Here's hoping it doesn't try to escape...

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sauerkraut Pie

Sounds a bit...odd, doesn't it?  It isn't quite what you are thinking, but is a kind of Germanic Shepherd's pie, covered with mashed potatoes.  I really cannot remember where I first found the recipe I based mine off of.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Rosehip Tripel (and small beer)

At some point in the last few months, I decided to brew something...complicated--a brett finished Tripel with--second use--rosehips.  That second use is the key--the plan was to use the rosehips in a mead (1.5 gallon, approx), ferment the rhodomel on them for five days or so, before racking a gallon of the young mead off into a smaller vessel, and racking the Tripel on them for a secondary fermentation.  At some point around then, I intend to add brett brux (from Anchorage Brewing dregs) and let it age.

I decided to use the second runnings in a "mini-mash" to make a small table beer.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Butterbeer recipe

Updated 8-6-16 with the correct butter measurement! 


Updated 10-2-17 with some more info on eggs and beer selections.  And updated some volumes.

What could be better for a miserable day than buttered beer?  This is not the low alcohol stuff from the Harry Potter books, but based on a recipe (modified by my taste) from 16th century England--it's rich, thick, and warms the body and soul.  Not to mention clogs your arteries...

My buttered beer

Friday, May 29, 2015

Apple Blossom Metheglin

I came up with this recipe a couple of years ago--probably after making my Fireweed blossom mead.  Unfortunately, I didn't manage to get to make it last year--I missed when the crab-apple in the yard bloomed. 

I am aiming at a floral mead, off dry--I may actually be able to lightly carbonate this one, which would work well with the style.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Black Lagoon Hydromel

One of the earliest meads I made that turned out good.  The name comes from the colour--after seeing it, we joked it looked like swamp water.  It also got dubbed the colour changing mead, for reasons which will be obvious.
I have also made a honey based (naturally fermented) soda off of this recipe, which was lovely as well.

Black Lagoon Hydromel

12 dried juniper berries
10 fresh bay leaves (cracked)
3 (small) sprigs of fresh rosemary
1.25-1.5 pounds honey

I made a tisane with herbs by boiling for about 10 minutes then letting it steep for about an hour and a quarter.  At the beginning it was a nice, pale green, after steeping it was a beautiful cranberry red, and when I added the honey it turned grey—which is a shame, I would have rather that it stayed red.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Anchorage Brewing Dregs, Brewing Journal

This post is to document the progress of my first (hopefully) funky brews, using the the dregs from a bottle of Anchorage Brewing's Tide and its Takers.

2-26-15; Drank the beer, and added about 4oz of apple cider to dregs.  I covered the bottle with foil and left in front of the heater, swirling a couple times a day.  I did add a pinch of nutrients.

3-3-15; Added approximately 1 more cup of fresh cider to the starter, once there were signs of fermentation (mainly the accumulation of more lees than the dregs could have originally contained).

3-10-15; Saved 1 cup of the starter in a sanitized mason jar.  The rest got pitched into a gallon of apple cider with a touch of nutrients.

3-20-15; The cider tastes lovely.  I would say it is around 1.008-1.010 right now, based on taste.  Flavours of citrus and pineapple.  I'm having to resist just drinking it fresh--I may very well do so anyways by starting a fresh batch to drink as house cider...

The mason jar starter has produced krausen, and possibly a pellicle by now; I can’t tell.  I got the brilliant idea to take two bottles of my Belgian Walnut Graff, pour them into a sanitized 1.5 litre bottle, pitch the starter, and see what happens (the bottle is airlocked, and clear).  I also added half a bottle of the Cherry Cyser I was drinking at the time.  I included some of the dregs from the graffs—whatever poured with the rest.  I did not allow the head to subside completely, and sloshed it around once sealed—this hopefully filled most of the headspace with Co2.
Time will tell whether this was a good or bad idea.  At the very least, the starter should be safe in there, and I have a backup in the form of the cider.  The point of this was to see how the yeast/s perform in a malt based environment, compared to the cider.

3-22-15; The experiment has signs of fermentation, with patches of bubbles on the surface.
3-22-15.  There is nothing I can do about the blurryness--it's residue on the inside from decarbonating the graff.

© John Frey, 2015. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material.  The recipes and other contents therein may not be used for any commercial purposes.

Monday, March 16, 2015

French Seafood Soup

A fairly classic French soup, utilizing whatever seafood you can get your hands on.  I used steamer clams and halibut since that was available, but a greater variety of protein would be better.

2 lb Halibut (or other firm white fish), boned and skinned, and cut into chunks
1 lb other seafood (steamer clams and shrimp will do nicely
2 medium onions, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
3-5 roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped finely
2 bay leaves
3-5 cloves garlic
3 tbsp butter
1 heaping tbsp paprika
Cayenne pepper to taste
1 quart fish stock (use bones, skin, etc.)
2 cups dry cider or white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Saute onions and bay leaves in butter, adding bell pepper and minced garlic when translucent.  Cook through. Add the liquids, seasonings, and tomatoes, and cook thoroughly at a simmer.  Shortly before serving, add seafood and cook on low until slightly underdone (they will continue cooking off the heat).  If you have a variety of seafood, staggering the order so they all finish cooking at the same time may be necessary.

Serve with crusty French Bread and/or rice, and aioli.

1 tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic, ground or pureed
Fresh basil, finely chopped
1 egg yolk, farm fresh if possible
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup extra virgin olive oil

Using a hand mixer, blend the yolk and lemon juice. Slowly add olive oil a few drops at a time, integrating fully before adding more.  Once the mixture has emulsified (started to thicken) you can add a bit more oil at a time.  Add the garlic and basil when the mixture has emulsified.  S&P at end.

© John Frey, 2015. The Author of this work retains full copyright for this material.  The recipes and other contents therein may not be used for any commercial purposes.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Kedrigern's Best Brown

For those who know me fairly well, you know that one of my go-to series when I'm upset or need to just curl up and go elsewhere is the Kedrigern series, by John Morressy.  Fun read, I recommend it.  Anyways, I conceptualized this brew based loosely on something the main character would call for when he is settling in with a book--a classic English brown, modified by my tastes, of course.

I chose a brown porter as the basis, and did some research on the more classic style, before it lowered in ABV% around the time of WWII.  Namely, I wanted a somewhat malty, medium strength, brown ale with some hop and English ester character; medium to high body, and medium carbonation--good head would be preferred.  I also would have been perfectly happy to add Brett C., but am not yet prepared to do so.

Monday, January 5, 2015

A year in Brewing Review

I figured I should consider doing a review post of what I have brewed this year, and hopefully how things tasted.  Some of them were started at the end of 2013, and were bottled or racked to secondary this year.  So without any further ado, and in chronological order:

Note: This article may be occasionally updated after I drink one of them (and get a new picture).

Dwarven mushroom stout, 1 gallon (1-26 to 2-23):  Just a one gallon test batch, my mashing was horrible (do to attempting to use an electric roaster to keep the temps), and it finished extremely sweet.  That being said, I think it was a fairly good example of what a stout should be--malty bitterness, big body, and enough sweetness to balance the bitter.  I do think it is worth brewing again, someday.
Dwarven Mushroom Stout
A split batch of cider: 4 gallons of basic cider with an OG of 1.060.  Safale US-05 yeast used.
After a month in primary, I racked and pulled 1 gallon off, which received 1/2 oz of Saaz pellets.  A few months later, I bottled (filtering the hops out) this one.  It was delicious, and a perfect "Bardic Brew"...dry so it doesn't coat your throat, but smooth and high enough abv to loosen your vocal cords.  Definitely worth making again.
A couple of weeks later (2-8), I added a pound of ginger, 1 cup of honey, and one ounce of Bordeaux blend oak beans.  I racked it a few times in the next five months.  It came out very dry (0.998) with a lovely lemony ginger flavour.