Thursday, September 27, 2012

Ribs 'n Stuff

Last weekend I smoked a few pounds of ribs. I started with my homemade dryrub (mostly brown sugar and black pepper), and then smoked the ribs for nearly six hours.
My uncle got us a bottle of Dreamland Barbeque sauce (from Alabama) which I mopped on the ribs during and after cooking. We also had some corn and fried green tomatoes from the garden to go with them.
Good eats!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Update: Harvest Wee Heavy 2012

Last night I transferred my Harvest Wee Heavy (Pumpkin Scotch Ale) to secondary for some simulated bourbon barrel aging. A little over two weeks ago, I charred some American oak staves in my oven and cut them down to 3" lengths (so that they would fit in a mason jar), and put them into a jar with some Buffalo Trace bourbon. Now that they've had plenty of time to soak up the flavor of the bourbon, I added the jar - whisky and all - to the secondary at racking.
Final gravity was 1.018, a few points under my estimated FG of 1.024, giving an approximate ABV of ~8.4%. It's a bit dryer than I had expected, but the hydrometer sample still tasted pretty close to last year's batch. I will need to add more spices at bottling, however, probably using a tincture with vodka.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Custom bottle caps

Last month I ordered some custom bottle caps from BottleMark, which arrived this past week. The quality is pretty nice.
Although I mostly keg now, I'll use these for gifts and the rare beer-gunned bottle. I ordered a few different designs, including a sequential run of steam locomotive builder's plate inspired ones (the number is the batch number).
I'll report back on how these hold up to capping/storage.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Local lambic + garden updates

The Pinot Gris grapes I planted in spring have been steadily ripening for the past few weeks, and a few days ago approached a great balance of sugar and acidity. Over the weekend, I harvested about 10 ounces of grapes. Not bad for the plant only being a year old, but not nearly enough for a full batch of wine. Probably not enough for a fruit lambic, either, but I decided to add them to my lambic anyway.
PS: Look at the size of the catepillar I found on the tomatillo plants!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Brewday: Harvest Wee Heavy (2012)


 Last year, I brewed a pumpkin scotch ale that ended in disaster as I lost almost the entire batch to bottle bombs.
A year later, and now I primarily keg my beers, partly due to this beer. In hindsight I think the culprit was a faulty kitchen scale (since replaced), but since I never really got to try this beer when it was finished, I set out to rectify some of last year's mistakes as well as re-brew it with better equipment, techniques, and - most importantly - not botching the priming sugar.
I used the same recipe as last year, with a couple of tweaks - British pale malt instead of Golden Promise, as the LHBS was out - and adding a pound of Munich for some added maltiness. The hop bill, yeast strain, and everything else remained the same. The biggest change this year was using canned pumpkin instead of buying and roasting my own pie pumpkin, but this was simply because fresh pumpkins aren't yet available at the grocery store.