Category: Fermentation

My malt smoking set-up
My malt smoking set-up

from the brewing archives…

The Inspiration:

Grätzer (also known as Grodziskie) is a top-fermented, smoked wheat beer historically brewed in Poland.

I fell in love with the style after tasting Vlad the Inhaler from Blind Bat Brewery at the Bellport Charity Beer, Food & Wine Tasting on June 10, 2010. I based my recipe on Kristen England’s Grätzer recipe in Brewing with Wheat by Stan Hieronymus.

The Recipe:

(a 3 gallon batch brewed in my backyard using the Brew in a Bag method)

Malt Bill:
  • 4 lbs wheat malt house-smoked over cherrywood chips (this post discusses how I smoke malt)

Mashed in at 122℉ for 30 minutes then raised temp to 148℉ for 60 minutes. No sparge – drained sack over the grill shelf from my smoker.

Pre-boil gravity: 1.032

Addition Schedule (60 minute boil):

  • 60 min: .45 oz Northern Brewer pellet hops (9% AA)
  • 15 min: 0.2 oz US Hersbrucker pellet hops (3.5%)

Approximate IBUs: 20

Cooled to 68℉ and pitched 1 packet of Safale S-04 (not rehydrated) and fermented at cellar temperatures (I don’t have exact temps in my notes but my basement temps were somewhere in the 60s at this time).

(7.17.2011) OG: 1.038
(7.31.2011) FG: 1.008

Around 4% ABV

Bottled on 8.27.2011

Tasting Notes:

Delicious – smoked ham in a glass. This beer was light, refreshing yet packed a ton of smoky flavor – very quaffable.

Thoughts:

I loved this beer and can’t wait to brew it again this year – it’s a perfect summer session ale in my book. I might smoke the wheat with a different type of wood – oak is traditional but I enjoyed the cherry. It might be nice to use a combination of wood chips, although I would omit hickory from the mix as that seems like it might be a little too intense. mdawson got excellent results using the Weyermann Oak-Smoked Pale Wheat Malt for a grätzer & wrote it up on the Northern Brewer blog. I’m very tempted to order the Weyermann malt from Northern Brewer and try it out. Also, this beer is ideal for Brew in a Bag as you don’t have to worry about a stuck mash – if you brewed it on a traditional system you would need to use rice hulls. I think I might be smoking some malt this weekend so I can brew this beer again as soon as possible.

Fermentations in Progress:

  • kombucha
  • Helles-style lager
  • 7 sours
  • grilled pineapple ale
  • spinach wine

Happy Fermenting!

Fermentation

DSC_0687

The Inspiration:

Compass Rose from Outer Banks Brewing Station, tasted at the World Beer Festival in Durham, NC in April of 2008 (original post).  This was a Belgian-style Brown Ale brewed with rosemary and was absolutely delicious.  Chris Cuzme and I wanted to make a beer to pour at our friends’ wedding and rosemary does stand for remembrance, so was the perfect excuse to brew this beer.

The Recipe:

(brewed on 3‧24‧2012 – a 5 gallon batch on my backyard burner using the Brew in a Bag method)

Malt Bill:

Mashed in at 153° F for 60 minutes (strike temp of 162° F) then raised temperature to mash out at 168° F.  No sparge – drained sack over the grate from my smoker.

Addition Schedule (75 minute boil):

  • 60 min: 1.5 oz Styrian Golding pellet hops (3.8% AA)
  • 15 min: Wyeast yeast nutrient
  • 10 min: rosemary (about 8″ worth of sprig from my backyard)

Pitched 2 Smack-packs™ of Wyeast 3522 – Belgian Ardennes™ yeast.  Fermented at room temperatures & not in my fermentation fridge – average of 68℉ with a range of 64℉ – 70℉

OG: 1.048

FG: 1.014

Around 4.5% ABV

Kegged 3 gallons on 4‧8‧2012 with around 2/3 cup rosemary-infused vodka and served at our friends’ wedding that evening.

Tasting Notes:

Very drinkable.  The rosemary-infused vodka added a very natural rosemary aroma and flavor.  The toastiness of the malts was a nice complement to the rosemary.  The malt sweetness is low and it has a light-medium to medium body.  Lovely session ale – balanced, flavorful yet very quaffable.

Thoughts:

Chris and I were very happy with this beer and got a lot of compliments on it at the wedding (phew).  This is a terrific session beer to brew when you’d like something low ABV yet flavorful and/or when you have a time constraint.  We would definitely brew this again but we’d also like to make another version, bumping up the malt bill and therefore increasing both the malt complexity and ABV.  The yeast did not add much aroma or flavor which was perfect for this beer but we would reconsider pitching rate and yeast strain for a bigger version.  Adding infused vodka seemed like a cheat to me at first but it worked extremely well for this situation and added such a true rosemary aroma and flavor that I would definitely repeat it.  We’d also like to play with dry-hopping with the rosemary as well.  We’re probably going to do this with the remaining 2 gallons and bottle them – will add notes to this post if/when we do so.

Fermentations in Progress:

  • kombucha
  • grilled pineapple ale
  • seven sours

I’m reading Greg Noonan’s New Brewing Lager Beer in preparation for brewing my first lager this Sunday – woohoo!  Happy Fermenting!

Fermentation

kombucha starterIt’s quite easy to culture your own SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) from commercial kombucha.  You will need to begin with a bottle of kombucha that is raw, unfiltered, unflavored & fresh.  Look for floaties or a mass in the bottles and choose the bottle that has the most.  My friend Jen found a bottle that had 2 mini scobys in it – mine (show above) had more of a loose ropey clump.  The easiest variety for me to obtain in NYC was GT’s Enlightened Organic Raw Kombucha.  I successfully cultured from this brand, as have four of my friends.

The basic how-to:

  1. Bring your bottle of kombucha to room temperature.  Clean some kind of wide-mouth glass jar for the culture.  I also sanitized mine with Star San because I had it but this is not necessary.  I bought my glass jar from a local discount store for around $2.
  2. Make sweet black tea.  I used a ratio of 1 cup of black tea: 1 tablespoon of sugar for this batch.  I used loose black tea as that is what I had at hand, using just over a tablespoon tea to the cup of water.  It is best to use black tea for this process – you can experiment with different varieties once you have a SCOBY.
  3. Cool sweet tea to room temperature, pour into glass jar and add your bottle of commercial kombucha.  Place muslin, a couple of layers of cheesecloth, or other fabric on top and secure to jar (I used a rubber band).
  4. Kombucha loves temps in the 70℉-80℉ range and it doesn’t like sunlight.  I placed mine in the warmest area of my apartment with an old t-shirt wrapped around it.  Now you just have to wait…

SCOBY formingThis was my SCOBY culture at 2.5 weeks.  Mine grew quite slowly as my apartment was a bit cool – under 70℉ most of the time.  The weather, and my apartment, warmed at 3 weeks in and my SCOBY took off.  From everything that I’ve read and my own experience, temperature is the primary determining factor in rate of growth.

SCOBYThis is my finished SCOBY.  It took me around 5 weeks to get a sizeable culture – again, this is temperature dependent.  It took less time for my friends’ cultures but their apartments are warmer.  Everyone I know that has attempted to culture SCOBY from GT’s was successful, but if your culture develops fuzzy mold or starts smelling bad in a non-kombucha way, toss it out and start over.

I haven’t yet brewed a batch of kombucha from my cultured SCOBY but plan to do so in the next week.  I’ll post my kombucha experiences & experiments in future Fermentation Fridays.

The Cultures for Health website has some great resources for kombucha making – articles, recipes, videos and a fantastic free e-book that can be downloaded when you subscribe to their e-mail list.  I highly recommend the e-book – it has everything that you need to know about brewing kombucha and then some.  Cultures for Health is a fantastic resource for all kinds of fermentation knowledge.

My absolute favorite kombucha is from Kombucha Party in Williamsburg.  Their kombucha is sparkling and less acidic than others that I have had.  And the flavors of the tea and/or ingredients really shine – the Silver Needle Jasmine is my favorite but every kombucha that I’ve tasted from them is lovely.  Stop by Pure Luck Tea Bar on 439 Metropolitan (on the north side next to the BQE b/w 5th St & 6th St) the next time you’re in Williamsburg & sample some of their kombuchas – they are truly delicious.

Happy weekend!

Fermentation

Chopped hazelnuts

Fermentation Friday is a new weekly post about homebrewing, kombucha making, lacto-fermented foods, etc – anything & everything fermented is fair game. I’m launching with a beer that Chris Cuzme and I brewed recently, a Hazelnut Cream Ale.

The Inspiration:

My friend Clay Gordon, chocolate critic and author of Discover Chocolate, gave me some chocolate beans to smoke malt over.  Last summer (I can’t remember when – sometime after the first of July), I soaked them overnight, drained them, added them to my pile of charcoal and smoked 6 pounds of 2-row pale malt with them (more on my smoking technique here).  It was not at all like smoking with wood chips – the smoke didn’t last as long and didn’t seem as strong.  I really wasn’t sure how the malt would taste or what to do with it.  So the sack of malt sat and sat and sat.  Forward to February 2012 – Clay and Brooklyn Brewery Brewmaster Garrett Oliver are on Beer Sessions Radio together. Clay mentioned that he gave me the beans to smoke malt with and Garrett sounded intrigued/skeptical.  Just the inspiration I needed!  I had recently really enjoyed two beers brewed with nuts –  a Brazil Nut Brown Ale at 508 Gastrobrewery and Peter Kennedy’s homebrewed Pistachio Stout and was jonesing to brew something with nuts.  I’d gotten tips from both 508 owner/head brewer Anderson Sant’anna de Lima and Peter and was ready to try them out.  I initially was thinking of brewing a Chocolate Hazelnut Porter.  Then Cuzme suggested a Hazelnut Cream Ale instead – a light, creamy beer to show off the smoked chocolate and hazelnuts.  Brilliant.

The Recipe:

(brewed on 3‧4‧2012 – a 3 gallon batch on my stove top using the Brew in a Bag method)

Malt Bill:
  • 2.75 lbs 2-row pale malt smoked over cocoa beans
  • 2.75 Pilsner malt
  • 0.5 lbs flaked corn
  • 0.37 lbs cane sugar (which we forgot to add)

Mashed in at 153° F (strike water 162° F) for 70 minutes then mashed out at 170° F.  Added 5.2 to the mash.  No sparge – drained sack over perforated pizza pan.

Addition Schedule (60 minute boil):

  • 60 min: .75 oz Liberty pellet hops (3.4% AA)
  • 10 min: Wyeast yeast nutrient
  • 3 min: 1/2 lb chopped, toasted hazelnuts (drained on paper several times to de-oil)
  • 1 min: .25 oz Liberty pellet hops (3.4% AA)

Pitched 1 Smack-pack™ of Wyeast 1056 – American Ale™ Yeast

OG: 1.048

FG: 1.014

Around 4.5% ABV

Kegged on 3‧21‧2012 with approximately 1/2 tsp of Bakto Flavors hazelnut extract and served at a friends’ wedding on March 22.

Tasting Notes:

The final gravity sample was nicely smoky, with a hint of chocolate but not much hazelnut.  The carbonated beer was much lighter – very clean and creamy with only a touch of smoke and a hint of hazelnut. It was a very refreshing, drinkable ale and the 3-gallon keg kicked quickly.

Thoughts:

This is definitely a beer I’ll brew again – next time bumping up the amount of hazelnuts in the boil, boiling longer and adding more extract depending on how much aroma & flavor we get from increasing the nuts.  Oh, and remember the sugar next time (jeez). I have 3.25 lbs of the smoked malt left and will either make another Hazelnut Cream Ale or possible a Chocolate Cream Ale with the remainder.  Perhaps with some cocoa powder & pale chocolate malt – just enough to give a hint of chocolate….

Fermentations in Progress:

  • kombucha
  • seven different sour ales
  • Rosemary Belgian Brown Ale
  • Grilled Pineapple Ale

Happy Fermenting!

 

 

 

Fermentation

I started homebrewing again last June after a two-year hiatus.  I was lucky to inherit a friend’s brewing equipment (thanks, Bill!) and I’m fortunate to have a shared backyard and basement and awesome neighbors here in Brooklyn.  I’m attracted to homebrewing for a few reasons – it’s a lot of fun, it lets me use some of the science I learned back in undergrad & grad school and I can make weird/unusual/challenging beers.  Brewing is really a wonderful combination of science and creativity.  I truly love all beer – there’s nothing like a crisp pilsner in the summer or a lush coffee porter in the winter but I’m most excited by the weird.  All those crazy Short’s beers, that Mamma Mia pizza beer, and pretty much any beer made with basil or lavender (the Bruery’s Trade Winds and Empire’s White Aphro come to mind).  And then there’s the sours and the smokes – my two favorite styles right now.  So that’s mostly what I brew.  I’m fascinated with the wild bugs and unusual styles – and smoke, I’m all about the smoke right now.  I’m going to try and include my homebrewing adventures more often on the blog but here’s a snapshot of my cellar on May 22, 2011 to get started:

IMG_2191Back row, left to right:

  • Belgian Golden Strong (on floor) – recipe – Half of a 5-gallon batch that went berserk.  Went to 10.2% in the first 2 weeks of fermentation.  Yep, it was a little warm and I nicknamed it “Big Banana”.  I bottled half and dosed the rest with dregs from 2 bottles of Orval.  The banana character has eased off and it’s probably ready to bottle.
  • Belgian Blonde fermented with 1388 & mixed dregs starter (3 gallon) – recipe – my first time making a starter from dregs (collected at a BBQ given by Patrick Donagher).  I need to taste this one again but it’s probably going to be blended at some point.
  • Low-ABV wheat to blend with smoked sour
  • Smoked ale made w/house-smoked malt – Brewed for the 2011 National Homebrewers Conference – currently in a keg at Stone Brewery in Escondido awaiting my arrival in San Diego on Wednesday.  The NYCHG/WHO shipped out 21 kegs to pour at NHC!  I’m doing a poster presentation on the Let’s Get Smoked! session and made this beer to serve alongside.  Man, I hope it’s good.  First beer brewed with house-smoked malt.
  • Second running beer brewed with Ron Carlson with Bruery Hottenroth dregs added – need to check on this one.
  • Smoked beer brewed with Chris Cuzme for NHC – Also in Escondido.  Brewed to pour at Club Night at NHC 2011.
  • Smoked sour – recipe – a smoked wheat I brewed to throw on my Berliner Weisse cake.  Intended to be a strong lichtenhainer.  And it pretty much is – very sour, decently smoky.  To be blended with hopes of 10 gallons of a lichtenhainer-style beer.

Front row, left to right:

  • non-hopped ginger ale from Strong Waters book (1 gallon) – story – I’ve been a slacker in not bottling this one.  Might not be good – will taste soon.
  • Spinach wine (1 gallon) – story – this tastes surprisingly good.  It’s a little sweet and I need to toss in some more champagne yeast.
  • Belgian amber with wild yeast from backyard raspberries in secondary (1 gallon) – recipe – might be a drain pour, need to taste again
  • Belgian amber with Jolly Pumpkin La Roja dregs in secondary (3 gallon) – recipe – pretty good but might need to be blended to be its best.
  • Belgian amber with kombucha scoby added in secondary (1 gallon) – recipe – might be a drain pour, need to taste again
  • Belgian amber with fresh guava added in secondary (1 gallon) – recipe – might be a drain pour, need to taste again
  • Belgian Blonde fermented with 1388 & a Jolly Pumpkin Luciernaga dregs starter – recipe – the other half of the Belgian Blonde from above.  I added Organic dried apricots and a cup of Red Jacket Orchards Apricot Stomp in February.  Currently delicious except (and this is a big except) for the diacetyl in the nose.  Guessing it’s from Pedio and hoping that Brett will clean it up.  Need to re-taste and decide if I want to add fresh Brett.
  • Belgian Blonde fermented with a mixed Captain Lawrence dregs starter – I bottled the other half which I had fermented with Ithaca Brute & Russian River Salvation dreg starter.  This was the first batch I fermented entirely with starters from dregs (collected at Warren Becker’s Funky Belgian tasting last summer).  I added jarred Polish sour cherries (drained) and 1 cup of Red Jacket Orchards Cherry Stomp in February.  Same tasting notes as the beer above – freaking good except the diacetyl nose.
  • Generic pale to blend with something (probably one of the Blonde 1388s but I need to taste them again to be sure)
  • Peppercorn saison brewed with Ron Carlson that funked – recipe – yep, supposed to be a clean peppercorn saison but went awry.  In a good way – this one tastes really interesting and I love it.  Bottled last weekend – will taste in a week or two.

IMG_2197

  • Gose-ish – this one went awry as well.  I totally undershot gravity (argh) and ended up with much more salt & coriander than was probably drinkable.  So I added some LME, which completely screwed up the color (it was the loveliest straw color) but saved it.  It wasn’t sour but developed a lacto pellicle (at least that’s what I’m guessing it is) sometime in mid May and is currently enjoying the warmer climes of my apartment.  Need to taste again soon but this might turn into a very nice beer.  Drinkable, at the very least.
  • So, that’s it for right now.  I’m a pretty lasse faire brewer but I’m having a lot of fun and making some very tasty beers.  I’m off to LA tonight to sail around Catalina Island for three days aboard the Resolute.  Then to San Diego for NHC – I’m so excited!!!!  I’m going to try to blog from there but am not sure how much time (& motivation depending on how much beer I drink).  More when I return for sure.  Cheers!

     

    Fermentation

    Mary, Jon & Cuzme adding malt to the smoker
    Me, Jon & Cuzme adding malt to the smoker

    I’m obsessed with smoked beers.  Rauchbiers, lichtenhainers, Grodziskies, smoked porters, smoked lagers – I rarely meet a smoky beer that I don’t like.  So I began buying every one that I could get my hands on.  And planning a tasting.  And brewing my own smoked beers.  But I really wanted to combine the two.  Then I read about the BJCP’s Continuing Education Program.  And being 2.8 experience points from a National level judge, I knew that I had to organize a Special BREW session on smoked beer.  The New York City Homebrewers Guild gave me the green light and my proposal was accepted by the BJCP.  Last Sunday, May 1st, the NYCHG held their first BJCP Continuing Education Workshop, Let’s Get Smoked!

    Judging the first beer
    Our judges hard at work

    We started the day by reviewing the BJCP style guidelines and judging three commercial examples: Helles Schlenkerla Lagerbier, Left Hand Fade to Black Smoked Baltic Porter and Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier.  I know, the Helles was a bit of a cheat since it doesn’t contain smoked malt but I wanted a lighter beer to add to the mix and couldn’t get my hands on enough bottles of anything else.  And it is an excellent beer and inspired a lively discussion.  Guild President Chris Cuzme led a judging discussion after each beer.  After judging, we talked about the history of smoked beers and tasted some smoked “teas”, prepared with the three different commercial malts available to homebrewers.  I used the sampling technique discussed in Smoked Beers:  History, Brewing Techniques, Recipes by Geoff Larson and Ray Daniels, which was a fabulous reference for the entire day.  I added one cup of smoked malt to two cups of 140° F water.  I soaked for ten minutes, stirred, cooled to room temperature, then strained off.  We used Briess cherry wood, Weyermann beech wood and Simpsons peat smoked 2-row malt in our samples. 

    stirring the grainNext up, smoking our own malt.  I’ve been wanting to smoke some malt for awhile and this was the perfect opportunity.  We used a hybrid method based on those described in the Smoked Beers book, using wet wood chips and dry malt.  I’d soaked a pound of hickory malt and purchased five pounds of pale malts for the first batch.  We outfitted the smoker with a layer of aluminum screening on top of the water pan to use as a filter and we put the malt in two layers of aluminum screening set on top of the grill.  Ray & Geoff recommend stainless or copper screening but I had no luck finding either so we went with what was available.  We sprayed the malt down with distilled water as it was poured in, popped the lid on and let her smoke.  It was a little more awkward than that – tons of smoke and an aborted attempt to line the screening with wet cheesecloth, but overall, it went pretty well.  Once that was going,  we talked about historical smoked styles, primarily lichtenhainers and Grodziskies, using Randy Mosher’s Radical Brewing (Stan Hieronymous’ Brewing with Wheat is another excellent reference) and finally broke out the food and beers for tasting.

    Grilling meat to go with the smoked beers
    Grilled meat!

    And what a smorgasbord!  Moxey made baked beans, Vlad smoked a bunch of salmon on his home smoker, Danielle & Benjamin made pork belly, I made smoked mac ‘n cheese and people brought kielbasa, sausage, smoked cheese and lots of sides.  Kevin poured a growler of his homebrewed smoked porter and we started cracking open bottles.  We tasted seventeen more commercial examples in all and it was a pretty eye-opening experience.  Everyone had their favorites, but my standouts were the Captain Lawrence Smoke From the Oak Rum Barrels, the Schlenkerlas, Mikkeller Rauch Geek Breakfast and the HaandBryggeriet Smoke without Fire.  Lots and lots of inspiration for future home brews, as the tasting was intended.

    Cuzme tasting the wheat malt with Mary, Vlad & Zack watching
    Cuzme tasting the malt

    We also smoked five pounds of wheat malt over apple wood chips, using the same method as the pale malt, although I only soaked 8 ounces of the apple chips.  We stirred a few times and re-sprayed the malt – we didn’t time closely, but the pale malt smoked for probably thirty minutes or so and the wheat for about 20.  OK – I just talked to Cuzme and those numbers are probably not accurate at all.  We initially smoked for 10 minutes, tasted, then smoked for a bit more – it’s going to vary due to temperature, amount and type of wood chips, and amount of malt regardless.  Once we removed the malt from the smoker, we let it dry out a bit then split it up, bagged it and gave everyone some to take home.  I’m looking forward to lots of  smoked homebrews at future guild meetings!  Note:  the malt is much more aggressive in the baggy than it seemed coming off the smoker.  I’m really looking forward to brewing with it but it’s going to take some experimentation and practice to get any control over the smokiness.  We finished the beers and everyone ambled home (very thankful of public transportation).  Cuzme stayed and we brewed a smoked beer for NHC – who can resist boiling in the dark?  It was really a fantastic day – I think everyone learned about smoked beers and had a lot of fun doing so.  A special thanks to Dennis for providing some of the beer and taking wonderful pictures – the full set can be viewed here – and to everyone for their participation.  I’m already looking forward to the next continuing ed session!

    A line-up of the commercial smoked beers that were tasted

    Fermentation

    What fermented beverage comes to mind when you look at the pic below?

    IMG_1445

    Spinach wine – no? Because that’s what it became.  Or will become, hopefully.  And what in the world would inspire me to attempt spinach wine, you might wonder.  Raw curiosity, I suppose.  But really, I’m jonesing to homebrew yet it’s too cold to brew outside & once you go propane, it’s hard to go back.  And my stove is really, really small.  And I’m a terribly messy person which my backyard can handle but might mean a call to the fire department inside.  So I’m satisfying my fermentation urges in other ways – spinach wine, mead, non-hopped ginger ale – really, the floor is open.  On to the recipes:

    Spinach Wine (based on a recipe from a book my friend Molly owns, circa early 1900s?  – need to find out)

    • 2 lb spinach
    • 1 lemon
    • 1 orange
    • yeast (I used Lalvin champagne yeast)
    • 3 lb white sugar
    • 15 oz raisins (pulverized in small food processor)
    • water

    Boil the spinach for 30 minutes.  Strain out spinach.  Bring spinach juice back to boil with a sprinkle of Fermaid K, pour over sugar, add lemon juice and stir over low heat.  Sanitize cheesecloth (by boiling), wrap raisins and peels inside and place in spinach water.  Remove liquid from heat and cool in ice water bath, to around 75ish.  Meanwhile, rehydrate champagne yeast in 104 degree F water for about 10 minutes.  Pour spinach wine-to-be into sanitized 6 qt food-grade bucket and add 1/2 of the yeast.  Top with lid containing air lock.

    My first small mead:

    • Trader Joe’s Mesquite Honey
    • Poland Springs spring water
    • Fermaid K

    Pour 2 lbs of honey into sanitized 6 qt bucket.  Add about a cup of water and beat with hand mixer – sanitized, of course.  (Thanks to Jamil’s Mead show with Ken Schramm for this tip).  Beat in a sprinkle of Fermaid K.  Add water to the 4 qt mark.  Pour in remaining half of hydrated champagne yeast, hydrate by stirring vigorously and cap with sanitized lid containing air lock.

    Non–hopped ginger ale (based on a recipe in a very cool book I picked up at The Strand last week, Strong Waters)

    • 3 oz ginger, peeled & sliced
    • 1/2 jalapeno, sliced
    • 13 oz light DME (dried malt extract)
    • juice of 1 lemon
    • Safale-04 English Ale yeast, 2 months past its due date (rehydrated to check viability)

    Wrap ginger & jalapeno in cheese cloth and simmer in a quart of water for about 30 minutes.  Remove bag and pour water over DME, add a sprinkle of Wyeast beer nutrient.  Bring to a boil and boil for about 5 minutes.  Add lemon juice then chill in ice water bath until around 75 degrees F – transfer to 1 gallon glass jug and pitch dry yeast.  Aerate by shaking and top with air-locked stopper.

    IMG_1452We finished around 11 pm.  The containers were around 61 degrees F all night.  This morning, the ginger ale was bubbling away, the spinach wine had a nice krausen and the mead was looking, well, the same as it did last night.  I stirred the mead some more (with a sanitized stainless spoon) and went to work.  As of writing, the ginger ale is still bubbling away, the spinach wine is still krausening and the mead has a beautifully bubbly covering.  I stirred the mead again this evening (as per Ken Schramm’s instructions though this should really be done with more nutrient additions as I understand it.  However, I couldn’t find DAP & I added more Fermaid K in during beating than I wanted.  Yes, my technique needs some work but it’s a start).  All good, I suppose.

    It was fun to make these – and a far cry from my homebrewing regimen.  And I really, really want to bring a damn good spinach wine to my homebrew club meetings.  Spinach wine.  Two words that should not go together, yet I really want it to work out.  And I’ll probably learn something that I can apply to my beer making.  And I want to make awesome mead and this is a good start.  Wish me luck, please.

    Tales about my other brewing adventures to come – cause I’ve got 10 carboys of sour beers in my basement and need to write about them…

    Fermentation