Saturday, May 12, 2012

Batch Eleven update #2

My friend Rick transferred out 'top-secret' collaborative beer today.
We are splitting the batch into two 3 gallon carboys and each doing our own thing. For starters, each of us is adding a different fruit - mine is cherry and his is blackberry.
In another week or two when the yeast has fermented most of the sugars in the fruit purée, it'll be time to oak my half of the batch.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Red Flanders update #2

Yesterday I removed the cherrywood stave from my flanders red that had been given to me by my friends Rick and Daniel.

I had read about how traditional lambic/sour brewers use infected barrels to inoculate batch after batch of their beers with the same microorganisms, and how homebrewers have had success doing so with chips and cubes.

I let it air dry while I was at work and then loosely wrapped it in some wax paper for storage. I will use this stave, which was soaked in wort with Roesalaire blend as well as some bottle dregs, in my next sour in lieu of dregs or commerical cultures.

All dressed up with nowhere to go (for now).

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Grape growing

I spent this Saturday building a trellis system for my nano-vineyard.

I'm starting small with just 3 plants this year, a Pinot Gris, Traminette ( a cold-hardy Gewürztraminer hybrid), and eventually a Merlot or other red variety.

They will have a very small yield this year, but I hope to at least get enough for a small batch of wine or fruit lambic.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Local lambic update

A couple weeks ago, I brewed my first true lambic. In addition to an extended boil and a turbid mash, I also planned on using wild yeast to supplement the Wyeast cultures.
I pulled off enough wort while transferring to the carboy to fill a 12oz. jar. I covered it with a fine mesh bag to keep out any bugs, birds, etcetera and left it outside for a few days.

On the 3rd day I already had signs of activity. I smelled and tasted the wort and it seemed fine, so I left it for a couple more days just to make sure nothing too gross was growing in the jar. On Tuesday, I noticed the yeast had slowed down and the krausen was beginning to fall. I took a final taste test - it smelled fainly lemony, with a bit of a woodsy, funky, earthy smell that I can't quite describe. It had an otherwise unremarkable, fairly neutral taste as well. Since I didn't see any red flags (mold, vomit smells/tastes, and such) I went ahead and pitched it into the carboy.

The wild yeast seems to have kickstarted a second round of fermentation, with the same smells that I got from the jar. I don't know if I managed to capture any wild bacteria/brett, but I'm hoping that I did. I won't know if this was a good or bad idea for at least a few more months, so I will try and taste it every few weeks and make sure it is progressing nicely.