Posted: March 21st, 2009 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Experiments, Gluten-free, Homebrew, Mead | No Comments »
Lehua blossom, source of delicious honey
I just got back from a week on the big island of Hawai’i, home of Pele’s volcanos and the Ohia tree with its gorgeous red lehua flowers. Lehua honey is especially delicious, more buttery than any other honey I’ve tasted, and we thought it might make a good mead. So we returned with 10lbs of lehua honey in our checked baggage (yep, it’s ok to bring honey back to the mainland, but you can’t bring bees – go figure) and dreams of tasty mead.
Since you need 15lbs of honey to make 5 gallons of mead, I’ve added 2.5lbs of pasteurized agave syrup and 2.5lbs of raw agave syrup to lighten the color and flavor of the mead. I figure it worked well with the first mead, so why not try it again? I’m also going to pitch kolsch yeast along with champagne yeast with the hope of duplicating the success of my first mead-making accident. It turned out to be fantastic mead!
So here’s to Ohia and Lehua, whose love are making this (hopefully) wonderful mead possible! Cheers!
Posted: February 14th, 2009 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Experiments, Homebrew | No Comments »
Last spring I made a low-gluten mostly rice-based beer after my arthritis attack and month without gluten. I didn’t love the flavor once it carbonated in the bottle, since it was a little more bitter and not as malty as I generally like my beers. Which makes sense, since it had practically no malt in it. Still, not quite a Pabst replacement.
Many months later a friend mentioned that they’d had beer with ginger syrup in it that made a good ginger beer, so I tried some homemade ginger syrup in the rice beer. Gross! The sweet syrup and the funky bitter flavor of the beer didn’t go together at all.
But now, nearly a year after brewing it, I figured I’d give it one more chance. This time I added 2oz of unsweetened homemade ginger concentrate to a pint of the rice beer. Success! The ginger has a pleasant bite and heat, and the lemony zing suits the rice notes in the beer. And the beer changed a bit, carbonating more fully, turning a bit more tart than bitter.
I think this could become a very suitable hot day beverage indeed! The lesson here is that you never want to toss out a beer unless it’s 100% undrinkable no matter what you do to it. Beer changes so much over time, and sometimes it might just need a little help to become a better drink. Cheers!
Posted: February 9th, 2009 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Craft Brew, Events & Tastings, Experiments, Homebrew, Styles, Wheat | 6 Comments »
Inspired by Caldera’s ginger ale at the 2008 Oregon Brewers Festival, I thought that a wheat beer brewed with ginger would be a swell idea. I emailed Caldera’s brewer about their recipe, and he replied that they added ginger chips at flame off or hopback. Since I use neither a hopback or propane burners, I consulted a couple of other recipes and decided that 5oz of ginger in the final 20 minutes of boil should suffice.
The wort is chilling in the kitchen sink at this moment, and I’m hoping that I added enough ginger. The recipe was simple enough that if I need to increase the ginger for next time it’s no big deal – it’s only 6.6lbs of bulk light/wheat malt, 3/4oz of hops, a vial of liquid yeast, plus however much ginger I want to use. The ingredients cost roughly $30, so that’s a $3.60 6-pack. Nice!
I based it on “Lovebite Weisbier” in the Joy of Homebrewing. I’ll pitch the hefeweizen yeast before I go to bed, and we’ll see what the fermentation fairy brings in the morning!
Posted: April 13th, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Experiments, Homebrew | No Comments »
After a weekend in the 70s and 80s in Portland, my lager-temperature garage reached 60, so I decided to stop lagering the experimental beer and just bottle it. Enough! It’s the clearest beer I’ve ever made, which is no surprise given that it’s mostly made of rice and corn, with “just the kiss of the malt” (as opposed to Schlitz’ “just the kiss of the hops”). Pale and light like, well, Pabst I have to say. Which was my goal! Tastes fine enough warm and uncarbonated, so I’m hoping it’ll be tasty with some fizz and fresh from the fridge. In a few weeks I’ll know for sure.
Posted: April 6th, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Experiments, Homebrew | No Comments »
After two weeks of steady fermentation, the experimental beer seems ready for lagering. There hadn’t been much action going on in the carboy for the last couple of days, so I broke out my trusty wine thief and transferred the lager/maibock to a secondary fermenter (aka, another carboy), put a fermentation lock on it, then moved it into the garage. Who knows how long it’ll lager!