Thursday, July 15, 2010

Finally cleaned up the Brew Room

A few weeks ago, I decided to start brewing again for the first time in a year. I decided a yummy chocolate cherry vanilla cream stout would be great as a first beer. Well, the fermentation went kind of wild and this was the result...

This was the ceiling after the stout exploded. The walls, ceiling and bathtub were all wrecked when a cocoa nib got caught in the blow-off tube and allowed pressure to build up to the point of the explosion... I lost about a gallon of the beer from this one..

Now the brew room is all cleaned up and ready to go again. In the foreground you see what is left of the beer that exploded all over the bathroom. In the back you can see the orangecello that is settling. The flask on the stir plate is the yeast starter for the yeast that are going to be used in the Pumpkin Pie Ale that I will be brewing this weekend...

MMMMM... Limoncello!

I finally got around to bottling up another batch of Limoncello that has been sitting for a month. This is the first batch of clear Limoncello that I have made and it looks really yummy. I did accidently put an extra 1/2 cup of syrup in the batch but we will see how that works with this batch. I have a couple of batches of "orangecello" going. One batch is getting some vodka and the other one has just had the sugar syrup added. It should be ready to bottle in 2 - 3 weeks.

The large bottle in the milk crate is the Tupelo Honey Mead. I made this back in Feb of 2009. I am hoping to bottle this sometime this weekend and try it. We were aiming for a dry mead, we will see how it turns out... Snark is in the sink, she is my new Jr Beer Rat...

Well, I took the first try... Hmmm... I think this needs to age a while longer. Yes, it has been in the carboy for a year and a half but it needs more time. The first taste is Rocket Fuel... It has a nice complexity in the middle and ends with a nice woody taste. The beginning? I think my hubby's description "Prison Wine" is a good descriptor. I will ask another one of the brewers to give it a second opinion. I really think another year or three will pay off on this one. Time is good to all meads that will wait...

Friday, July 02, 2010

Hey, is anybody still out there?

This was the ringtail cat that was living in my toolset at work. Isn't she/he a cutie???

OK, I took a break from blogging for a couple of years to let life pass me by. Time to get back into it. I am still hanging out on Facebook doing the farm thing but I need to put my brewing, knitting, spinning, weaving and SCA stuff somewhere so I thought I would bring this blog back to life...

Currently, working in the solar industry for about another week, then off to find greener pastures where my engineering skills will work for me :-) I am excited about a change in life right now.

This weekend will be fun. We have a Pumpkin Pie Ale ready to brew (all-grain) and I am going to mix up some Sangria for the weekend. No big plans, just cleaning, playing silly farm games and brewing beer. I hope to be able to get the mead bottled (that I made a year ago February) but that depends on how well the back holds out. Right now, it is not up for bending over a bathtub and washing out a few dozen wine bottles. I am dying to take a taste of it (18 months worth of aging, it should be OK right about now...) and will try it once I get it bottled.

SO GLAD that I keep recipes on the blog. It makes for a great place to find things when I lose them. So here is the recipe for this weekend's Pumpkin Pie Ale:

8 lb 2-row Pale Malk
1 lb British Caramalt
1 lb Toasted Malt
1 lb wheat, torrified
1 lb rice hulls
60 oz pumpkin
.25 lb molasses
1/2 oz Magnum hops
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon clove.

Bake pumpkin uncovered for 1 hour at 350F to caramelize some of the sugars and gelatinize starches. Mash at 152F for 60 minutes. Pumpkin should be included in mash. Be sure to use rice hulls as the pumpkin will make a sticky sparge. Boil for 60 minutes. Add Magnum hops at the beginning of the boil. Add Molasses with 10 minutes left in boil and add spices with 5 miutes left in the boil. Cool and add English Ale yeast and put in Carboy for 3 weeks. Bottle and allow another 3 - 6 weeks for carbonation.

Time to head to the brew store and the SCA meeting tonight.