Friday, November 23, 2018
Now that I have the campden tablets to treat the chlorinated water, I’m ready to start the next brew. I prepared five gallons of filtered water yesterday in preparation. I used a whole tablet in five gallons, though that seems to be overkill from what I’ve found online.
I got this brew day started pretty early, because I have to travel to my parents’ for a late Thanksgiving holiday this afternoon.
By the end of the boil, I was afraid this five gallon brew pot was going to boil over.
I found that these Adventures in Homebrewing/Austin Homebrew Supply recipe kits will sometimes call for a partial ounce of hops, but the package will include a full ounce. I hadn’t ever noticed it before, but caught this one in time.
The recipe calls for 1/4oz of Perle and 1/4oz of Spalt, but the package included a full ounce of each.
Original Gravity: 1.050
Sunday, November 18, 2018
I bottled this beer, apparently. According to my notes and the fact that I have drank it all since, yeah, it was bottled.
The separated chocolate sludge never did dissolve or settle, though it did leech the color out.
Final Gravity: 1.013 – 5.38% ABV
It tastes good, but there is still a bit of ye olde band-aid.
In drinking the beer, there is a ton of the used-to-be-chocolate sludge in each bottle. I bought a couple of reusable micro-mesh coffee filters and poured the beer through it.
After a couple of glasses, this is what made it through the fine mesh
That picture is taken from below the glass with the ceiling light fixture directly overhead, by the way. It can be confusing.
Yes, I drink beer out of a stemless wine glass.
Like a fancy, fancy lady.
Because I deserve it.
I originally tried using paper filters, but less than one beer fully clogged the paper to where the last bit wouldn’t even flow through.
Next time, use chocolate malt instead of actual chocolate.
Monday, November 12, 2018
I ordered a Brew Hauler nylon carboy harness from Amazon. I don’t have an immediate need for it, but I have been hesitant to use the glass carboy when I’ve got two fermenter buckets around.
It’s heavy when it’s full, glass, and clear. That means it has to be covered to keep the light out when fermenting.
So, now I’ve got this nylon strap carrying system for the carboy if and when I need it.
Saturday, November 10, 2018
FINALLY. The apple stuff is done bubbling and has been inactive for a few days.
I don’t really like apple juice.
I don’t really like apple cider.
I really don’t like wine.
I don’t really drink liquor.
Why did I do this again?
Final Gravity: 1.021 – 8.27% ABV
This bottling was the cleanest I’ve ever had. The yeast cake was just like a solid pancake in the bottom of the bucket. No cloudiness, no mess. Perfect! It turns out, the Safale S-04 yeast tops out at 10% ABV, which is not nearly enough to eat up all the sugar I added to the apple juice. More on that later…
I initially split into two batches – three gallons as is, which was very weak apple wine, and two gallons bottled as apple champagne.
I used the Priming Sugar Calculator on the Northern Brewer website to calculate .45 cups of honey to carbonate 2 gallons of apple wine up to 5 volumes of carbonation. Champagne has roughly 6.3 vols, but I was afraid, again, of bottle bombs.
The apple wine added to a Fine Pilsner Beer makes a lovely Snakebite (without the blackcurrant cordial of course. What even is that). If it’s good enough for Bill Clinton and is outlawed in the UK (thx fer nuthin, Wikipedia) then it’s good enough for me. In any case, I have been buying cider to mix in my beer ever since.
The apple wine smelled very boozy but was very sweet, which made it more tasty than you would think to drink.
Later, I filled several quart Mason jars with apple wine and stuck it in the freezer. Over the next few days, I came up with a technique to drain off the unfrozen alcohol.
At the end of the process, there would be a mostly white block of ice. I have a little cup size strainer that I used to strain out the remaining amount of color out of the ice. Then I put the “next generation” jar back in the freezer and repeated the process.
After three to five rounds (I kinda lost track along the way) of freeze-condensing, the apple jack would stop freezing.
Then it’s time for the strainer.
At the end of this process, you’ve got yourself apple jack. I never measured the ABV of the finished product, but I’m estimating somewhere around 20% ABV.
The “champagne” never actually kicked off, more than a pssst anyway, because the yeast was already tits up.
As mentioned previously, the Safale S-04 yeast is only good up to 10% ABV. So that left it even more sweet (extra) with the addition of the honey for bottle conditioning.
The apple wine and “champagne” syrup got rave reviews from everyone that tried it, so for a huge fail, it was apparently a respectable size win.
Sunday, November 4, 2018
As previously mentioned, my add-on flat pack kitchen cabinet is getting overrun with brewing supplies. Here’s additional proof…
I went into arts and crafts mode today and cut up a bunch of cardboard boxes as dividers inside other cardboard boxes to organize (most) of the bottles I have.
Notice, no more frying pan and paper plates…
I went ahead and ordered a second one of these cabinets from Amazon today.