Friday, August 31, 2012

Red Flanders update

Last night I took the first sample of my cherrywood flanders red. It has been a great test of my patience to not crack it open, but I knew that trying it any earlier than six months in would be a waste of time.
It was a bit thinner than I had hoped, but the color and overall flavor profile are showing promise. I was waiting on a taste test before decided whether or not I would add fruit, but I feel that the cherries will give the bugs some additional food to sour it up a little more.
I added 4 pounds of canned cherries (3 pounds of Montmorecy cherries and one pound of a sweet Queen Anne variety). I'm going to ignore it for another 3-6 months, and then hopefully it'll be ready to bottle.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another Double IPA update


Tuesday afternoon I was able to rack my double IPA to secondary for the second round of dryhopping. After spending 11 days on some Cascade and HBC342, it was time to add the second dryhop addition.
While racking I took a gravity sample to make sure everything was progressing. The expected FG was to be 1.010, and to my surprise, the hydrometer read 1.008! That puts this DIPA at ~9.5%. I drank most of the hydrometer tube sample, and I wouldn't have been able to guess it was that high. Oter than that, the taste was excellent, with a really smooth bitterness. With another 3 ounce of dryhops, I can only imagine how great this is going to smell.
I'll transfer this beer to a keg after 10 more days of dryhopping. I'm contemplating a third dryhopping in the keg, but I don't think this beer will be on tap long enough for it to matter - it's delicious!
Here are a couple more photos:
Transferring to secondary.
1.007 (1.008 temp corrected). Wow!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Hops Harvest 2012: Drying and storing

After drying out in the hot garage for 4 days (I added a fan after day two), the first round of Cascade hops were dry and ready for packaging last night.

After drying I had ~3 ounces of hops. I bagged them in 1 ounce increments so I didn't have to open more than I needed, and used the vacuum sealer so that they will keep for a long time.

Here are some photos from last night:
All dry.

Vacuum sealing the hops.
Look at all that lupulin. Wow!
Into the freezer they go.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Hops Harvest 2012 (and garden update)

I have been keeping track of my hops daily for the past couple of weeks, as it seems they were getting closer and closer to harvest time. On Friday I noticed that the majority of the cones on the plant were ready for harvest - thanks again to everyone's insight on judging "ripeness". Since I knew I wouldn't have time after work next week, and I could just leave any undeveloped cones on the plant for a second harvest, I decided that Sunday would be harvest day #1. I say number one because there are still a lot of burrs left on both plants, and I plan on a second, smaller harvest in another two to three weeks.
I decided to put the awful weather we get in the summer here to use - hot with low humidity - to dry my hops.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Double IPA update

The double IPA has been happily fermenting along for a week and a half, so this morning before I went to work I was able to add the first dryhop addition.
I have been expirementing with adding dryhops to primary after the fermentation has died down in order to require one less racking if I am doing multiple dryhop additions (I will still rack to secondary if I am only doing one addition). This way, I avoid oxygenation and contamination issues just a little bit more. I also try to flush my carboys with C02 when lots of hops are involved.
I added 1 ounce of Cascade hops and an ounce of HBC 342 experimental hops that are described as grapefruit/watermelon/floral, which I feel should pair nicely with the Simcoe, Cascade, and Centennial that I will be adding in the second and third hop additions.
Next Sunday I will add another ounce of Cascade and an ounce of Simcoe, followed by a third and final hop addition of an ounce each of Simcoe and Centennial.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Review: Batch Eleven (60/40 blend)

As some of you may recall, Rick and I bottled a few "blend" bottles of our Batch Eleven collaboration that was composed of 60% cherry chocolate rum porter and 40% blackberry porter. I finally opened up a bottle a few weeks ago.

Appearance: Dark brown with minimal tan head.
Smell: Cherry, berries, chocolate, caramel, vanilla, tobacco, some fig. Very complex.
Taste: Similar to the nose; lots of berry notes (cherries, blackberries, raspberries, and wine), oak, and hints of chocolate and molasses.
Mouthfeel: This one wasn't overly carbonated, about medium in body.
Overall: I think I still prefer my version for it's more aggressive chocolate and oak character, but this is still an enjoyable diversion.

Verdict: 3 Stars (out of five)