Friday, December 30, 2011

Red Currant Wine



One of my first fruit wines brewed from red currants growing in my front yard! I created this batch in hopes that the bitterness of the fruit would soften with time and let the fruit flavors dominate. Time will tell how long this may take. This recipe came originally from Jack Keller's recipes which may be found here: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/reques63.asp This wine was made using hot water while mashing, it will be interesting to see how the use of hot water affected the flavor profile if at all. I will update with tasting notes once I bottle this.

Blackberry Cider Bottling Experiment



What would happen if you bottled one batch with CO2 and the other with ambient air? Would the CO2 filled bottles last longer and protect the flavor profile more efficiently? This is what I set out to find when I pressed and fermented this back on 08/27/2011.  Just look at the color of this blackberry cider! I have made allot of brews but fruit always creates the most beautiful colors through glass.

This brew is actually 2 experiments in one, on the one hand I was aiming at testing flavor preservation, but I also back sweetened with sugar and heat pasteurized it in a dishwasher to halt further fermentation. Here is the recipe:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hop Flavor Profile List



Though it has taken me months, perhaps years to aquire through notes and memory, I have finally compiled a master list of every hop flavor and aroma of common and uncommon hop varieties. Below is a complete list of the many different hops used in homebrewing:

Hop Flavor Wheel

By: Orion Chandler

When selecting flavor profiles for your brews, it is a good idea to start with the category of flavor you intend to taste. Below is a flavor wheel of the various hop styles:




Lovibond Chart

By: Orion Chandler


This chart shows different colors of beer and how they correspond to the measurement of color in Lovibond.
This chart may help in the cloning of beers where the color can be examined in order to guess at which malts were used to make it. For example, Deschutes Brewery makes a beer called "Twilight Ale". This beer according to their website is made from only three malts. The total lovibond of this ale is around 5-8 Lovibond. Therefore, we know that the total amount of grain must not create a beer darker than this. If we add up the lovibond units of the malts we use to clone it this should give us an idea of the weights of the malts used. So, if using 1lb of 40 Lovibond crystal malt makes the color too dark, we know the malt amount must be scaled back a bit.

DIY Hopback Construction Under $20

By: Orion

DIY Hopback From Glass Mason Jar.
 
A hopback is a device that is airtight in which hops are soaked with very hot wort from a brew kettle post boil. This extracts flavor and aroma compounds and prevents them from leaving the wort since it is in a closed airtight system. At the output end of this system is a cooling feature used to reduce the temperature and thereby lessen the escape of the volatile oils from the hops and keep them in the wort.

After much research as to how to create a hopback, I have decided to go with the quart mason jar option instead of using a stainless steel canister from a large store such as "Bed Bath and Beyond". The reason behind this is simple, I have little money to spend on brewing stuff, so a mason jar which was $1.99 beat out a $21.99 set of four stainless steel canisters. I also like the fact that you can look inside it as the hops steep, I dunno, the 7 year old mad scientist in me likes watching his projects unfold...

Leave a comment!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Old Speckeled Hen" Clone: English Ale Yeast Vs. Irish Ale Yeast

By: Orion Chandler


According to the website for Old Speckled Hen, the ale tastes as follows:
"Old Speckled Hen" has a full, smooth flavour and is very easy to drink. Its rich amber colour and superb fruity aromas are complemented by a delicious blend of malty tastes. Toffee and malt combine with bitterness on the back of the tongue to give a balanced sweetness. This is followed by a refreshingly dry finish."

I tasted this years ago and was intrigued by the sweet and balanced flavors this ale has to offer. I decided to split the batch between two yeasts as usual. I used White Labs Irish Ale Yeast, and White Labs English Ale Yeast. Here is the 1 gallon batch that I brewed:

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Deschutes "Jubeleale" Clone




This seasonal ale arrives every year along with the first cold of the season in Fall. It is a hearty deep amber/red ale that has a medium body and warms the palate with rich caramel flavors that ride along on a delicious hoppy flavor and aroma of citrus. Needless to say, I love this beer as it brings together for me some of my favorite aspects of beers, namely the blending of roastey stout and citrusy pale ale flavors. On the website for Deschutes, a section is devoted to homebrewers where partial recipes for all of their brews are given, as they say, "Temps, times and weights are the mystery!" I veered from their recipe with the hops I had on hand. You can find their website here:

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Spiced Pumpkin Wheat Ale Experiment: American vs. German Yeast



I decided to brew up a spiced pumpkin ale for the holidays. As I was thinking about how much cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and clove to use it dawned on me that splitting the batch between a German yeast and an American one would showcase the different flavors each yeast could pair with the spices. Many German wheat yeasts produce banana and clove flavors, while American wheat yeasts are a bit more subdued in this department. I have never brewed a pumpkin ale before or used a yeast starter until making this beer, but I have to tell you, this batch fermented down in less than 3 days, and this was at a constant temperature of 65 degrees F! I pulled a sample of each to taste on day three and the beers already tasted wonderful and ready to bottle!

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