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: November 22nd, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Cider, Homebrew, Stout | 2 Comments »
The Wonderful World of Apples
I was in luck this morning – the Braeburn cider people were there! Pre-fermentation, the Braeburn cider is crisp and tart and delicious to drink. This will be my first single-variety cider, as all previous batches were from a hodge podge of apple varieties. It’ll be interesting to see what the difference is between this cider and the one I’ve got conditioning in bottles right now. I’ve also made this one sulfite-free, and used local honey and cider yeast. I expect that it’ll be semi-dry and very appley.
And since I’m making cider, that means I have to drink some of last fall’s cider. This was made with previously frozen gallons of unpasteurized local apple cider, campden tablets, and cider yeast. Initially, it was very sweet. Then it became unbelievably carbonated and gushed out of the bottle. Now that it’s a year old, the carbonation has calmed down and the sweetness has reduced. It’s more of a semi-dry cider now.
Irish Stout with a local twist
Each year, I make a batch of Irish Stout for my friend’s St. Patrick’s Day party, which means I barely get any of the stout myself because all the party people drink it up. So I got wise and I’m making myself an early batch. I’m using the Toad Spit Stout recipe like last time, but I’m using Chinook and Willammette hops. I’ve also replaced the crystal malt with a rye crystal malt, and added organic roasted barley.
The best part is that I think I just unearthed a bottle of last year’s stout, so I’ll be able to compare the differences!
Posted: October 29th, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Brown, Homebrew | No Comments »
I’ve never “cellared” a beer after fermentation, but that’s what this nut-brown recipe called for, so I did it. Usually, fall is a great time to stick a carboy of beer in the garage for a 55-degree cellaring treatment. Of course, not this year! No, it’s been between 65-72 in Portland for the last two weeks, which is freakishly warm for October. The beer ended up cellaring at 58-62, which I hope is good enough. My biggest concern is that any remaining yeast won’t have the strength to consume the corn sugar and carbonate the beer in the bottles. But we’ll see!
It’s also interesting how different a beer smells on first siphoning it from the carboy to the bottling bucket – very yeasty and almost musky – from how it smells after you add the corn sugar and the beer gets a little air. After adding sugar, the nut-brown started to have nutty aromas that didn’t exist before. Wacky!
Now I wait a couple of weeks for the beer to condition and carbonate, then I’m ready to drink it! Here’s hoping it’s a toast to Change and not to Mavericks…
Posted: October 12th, 2008 | Author: Stacy | Filed under: Brown, Cider, Homebrew | 3 Comments »
‘Tis the season for making awesome hard cider! I bought 5 gallons of fresh cider from our local Apple Festival and 3lbs of honey from some nice folks at the Farmer’s Market. Just add yeast and soon I’ll have tasty cider. I’ve opted for a champagne yeast and wildflower honey (a nice savory amber) this time, hoping it’ll come out tart and dry. Even the garage is the perfect temperature for cellaring it during fermentation — it just hit 55 degrees and will likely hold that through November. I omit campden tablets from my cider because sulfites give Kathy a headache, and it’s nice to have a gluten-free and sulfite-free offering for guests.
I also determined last week that there aren’t enough brown ales on the market, which means it’s time to make more of my own. I’m trying a new recipe from Charlie Papazian’s Microbrewed Adventures for Puritanical Nut Brown Ale. It promises to be carmely and smooth, with a nutlike flavor, roasted chocolate maltiness, and soft mouthfeel. Sounds good to me! Next month I’ll know if it turns out as advertised.
And of course, that blackberry mead is still going strong…