Uncategorized

Day 136 Peach-Pineapple Tepache

Peach-Pineapple Tepache, ready to ferment.

Peach-Pineapple Tepache, ready to ferment.

I bought some fresh peaches on sale about a week ago and they have been tied in a plastic produce bag and sitting in a basket in the kitchen since then. I went shopping today and got a good price on a pineapple, so guess what? Peach-Pineapple Tepache! Oh yeah, I pretty much gave that away in the title, didn’t I? Oh well, anyway…one of my peaches had already started to rot. so I pulled the pit out and composted the rest. The other five peaches, I peeled. The pits and peels all went into my tepache bucket and all the peach slices went into a bowl of water with a little splash of vinegar and went into the fridge, to eat later. Then I peeled and cored the pineapple and put the peels in the bucket and the fruit into a covered bowl in the fridge for later.

Peach peels and pineapple skins/core.

Peach peels and pineapple skins/core.

Recently, someone on a brewing site thread for tepache that I read, mentioned adding some other spices to his tepache, such as white pepper and coriander seed. I decided that peach might marry well with a teaspoon of whole black peppercorns and a pinch of ground allspice. I also threw in the usual stick of cinnamon and 3 whole cloves. I would have added some coriander, but I didn’t have  any. Also, I was short on the piloncillo raw sugar, so I used some brown sugar and some cinnamon flavored maple syrup.

Maple syrup, flavored with a cinnamon stick.

Maple syrup, flavored with a cinnamon stick.

Piloncillo(raw sugar), brown sugar and maple syrup added to fruit peels and spices.

Piloncillo(raw sugar), brown sugar and maple syrup added to fruit peels and spices.

 

Then it was 8 cups of water, a lid, an airlock and off to ferment! Original recipe said to ferment for 48 hours for this first step. I have learned that I like mine at about 72 hours or slightly longer.

Advertisements
Standard
Uncategorized

Day 114 Ginger Bug Pineapple-Mango Soda, Tepache #2

The ginger-mint “bug” appears to be ready…nice and bubbly. I picked up a pineapple today and already had a couple of mangoes. I got some extra ginger while I was at it. So, tonight I used my little countertop extractor to juice the fruits and about a half ounce or so of ginger and wound up with about 32 oz of juice. I added 2 cups/16 oz of water for a total of 48 oz. Then I added 1/4 cup of strained “bug” and stirred well.

Little countertop juice extractor.

Little countertop juice extractor…before I cleaned the ginger out of it.

Next, I sanitized utensils and 4 bottles and caps. I bottled the juice and capped it and had a little left over, so I put it in a small canning jar with a lid. I’ll use that as a tester. Directions say to refrigerate when carbonated to desired amount…1 to 3 days. I know there’s a LOT of sugar in there, so I think I will pasteurize the bottles when ready, just to be safe. That’s a fair amount of work for four bottles of soda! But I’m hoping it will be worth it! I might try a commercial juice for the next batch, though.

Ginger bug, 4 bottles of Pineapple-Mango Soda and a l;ittle tester jar to check carbonation. (Tepache in fermentation bucket in the background.)

Ginger-mint bug, 4 bottles of Pineapple-Mango Soda and a little tester jar to check carbonation. (Tepache in fermentation bucket in the background.)

Since I was doing a pineapple for the soda, I went ahead and peeled and cored it for a batch of tepache. I only had a few ounces of the piloncillo Mexican raw sugar, so I made up the bulk of the sugar with regular old brown sugar. So, at least I’m multi-tasking and getting another product started for all my efforts! My American Wheat/RyePA was chugging along this morning. Later in the afternoon it had slowed quite a bit. It pretty slow tonight. I’ll probably go ahead and replace the blow-off tube with a regular airlock  in the morning. And, as ever, the pineapple-mango melomel continues to condition in a carboy and looks beautiful. Can’t wait to drink it…in November 2016.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 43 Fermentation Beginning for Big Dark, Pineapple Tinker

Funny, I just decided I should call my pineapple melomel “Pineapple Tinker”. I have added an additional 5 oz of honey and 3 oz of white sugar mixed with 8 oz of hot water to dissolve. I added that to a 1 gallon carboy, then shook the existing juice mix and funneled it into the 1 gallon carboy. I then added another 4 cups of water, shook that and topped with the airlock.

Sized up to a 1 gallon carboy for fermentation.

Sized up to a 1 gallon carboy for fermentation.

When this ferments and is ready for racking, I should get a little more that 1/2 gallon. I’m hoping to bottle a 1/2 gallon after perhaps a 3rd racking for clarity. This will also be my first experience with fermenting in glass, so I’ll be able to view the process. I’ll be pitching the yeast tonight. The OG is now 1.110 @69F  room temp, more like what I was expecting for this melomel. I took a digital temperature of the juice and it is currently 76F. I’m not sure if that is more accurate for figuring the OG? It doesn’t make a huge difference. The ABV calculator comes up with either 11.29% or 11.42%, if the projected FG of 1.025 is attained. I’m going to go back to my recipe builder and adjust for the fermentables that I added and see if it changes much. I added 8 oz of white sugar to the recipe calculation last night, but it was actually 3 oz sugar and 5 oz honey. Same volume, just different make-up.

Starting to settle in the 1 gallon carboy

Starting to settle in the 1 gallon carboy

Oh! And the Big Dark is fermenting! I saw bubbles at about 12 second intervals. I’m going to need some bottles soon!

12:00 Checked the SG on the Big Dark stout and got a reading of 1.111 adjusted to 1.112! Holy crap!!! What happened yesterday that I got 1.047 and today, I get 1.112?! Yesterday, the wort had a good bitterness. Today, it isn’t bitter at all and is very malty sweet. I don’t know what happened, but it will be interesting to see how this ferments out and where the ABV settles. Maybe a long bottle conditioning period will be in order?

Sample of Big Dark...very sweet currently.

Sample of Big Dark…very sweet currently.

8:00 pm   Checked the SG on the Pineapple melomel at 1.142, after a good mix. Pitched just shy of 3 grams of Safale s-04 yeast that was bloomed in a little warm water.

Blooming the yeast

Blooming the yeast

Shook up again and replaced the airlock. Let the ferment begin!

Yeast pitched, contents shaken, not stirred.

Yeast pitched, contents shaken, not stirred.

The Big Dark in PFB is bubbling vigorously. The interval is irregular, but when it goes, 3 or 4 bubbles go at once.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 42 Sample from Cider Batch #4 and Another Stout Brew Started

I carefully opened a bottle of cider from batch #4 this morning. I poured maybe a 1/2 ounce and immediately re-capped with a sanitized, fresh cap. The sample has a nice, golden color. The flavor and level of sweetness are great! Surprisingly, however, the carbonation is just barely perceptable. Not so much as the sample flip-top bottle. I had guessed that there would be a little more, but these are 22 oz bottles and maybe they are a little behind the 16 oz flip-top tester, despite it having been opened a few times. I had a little overflow while bottling stout last night, so I took out the paper towel liner that I had in the bottom of the box and tossed it. I removed the divider piece and let it and the box dry overnight.

Stout, ready for a little bottle time.

Stout, ready for a little bottle time.

This morning they were already nice and dry, so I replaced the paper towel layer on the bottom, replaced the bottle divider loaded the box with stout! Next, I decided to see if I could use some of the ingredients that I acquired for free. The grains should be ok, they are whole and sealed. The malt is sealed and shouldn’t be contaminated. They just have a little age on them. As one person said, if nothing else, it should be an okay “2nd beer”…something you drink after a first, higher quality beer. I used “Brewer’s Friend” and put together a stout recipe. I used the food processor to bust up the grains, but not make powder out of them. Many grains remained whole.

Processor chopped grains

Processor chopped grains

Grains in the food processor

Grains in the food processor

I’m calling this one Big Dark…the estimate is to come in around 6.8% ABV. I Just finished getting the wort into the primary fermentation bucket (PFB) and cleaning up. The OG was 1.046 @ 69F. Adjusting for the hydrometer, that should be 1.047. That’s way under the estimate of 1.072…I don’t know if it’s the hydrometer or something I did. Maybe I should have ground the grains more? Maybe the wort temperature was a little higher when I checked the SG? If I assume the hydrometer is accurate, then the next thing is to look at the estimated FG on the recipe. That projection is 1.020. That would would make the projected ABV 3.41%. Maybe the OG is off. I’ll check it again tomorrow. I really expected more alcohol in this one. If I have to, I’ll add some corn sugar tomorrow.

Grain bag steeping

Grain bag steeping

I also added a split vanilla bean to this one, in the PFB, I’m probably going to go a little longer bottle conditioning this beer to blend and mellow the flavors. I think it was a little bitter when I tasted it going between the brew pot and the PFB.

Ready for a few days of fermenting

Ready for a few days of fermenting

9:00 pm  Opened a bottle of the TARDIS Cider ( Bigger on the Inside) tonight. It was in a cooler part of the house for storage, so it felt chilled, but not refrigerated. The color was pale and the carbonation was very strong on the pour. The flavor was crisp and almost dry.

TARDIS Cider (Bigger on the Inside)

TARDIS Cider (Bigger on the Inside)

Very Champagne-like. I’m thinking that this will be a good choice for New Year’s Eve and possibly our Christmas food/drink celebration  with the In-laws. Very pleased with this crabapple cider!

Pale and crisp!

Pale and crisp!

10:30 pm   I couldn’t help myself. I had a fresh pineapple that needed to be used and I had just cleaned a 1/2 gallon carboy, a freebie from Murray’s Cider!  So, I started a pineapple experiment. I guess it’s going to be kind of a Pineapple Melomel (Mead), but it will have brown sugar and white sugar in addition to some honey. Right now, I have it going with 1/2 a campden tablet for 24 hours.

Beginnings of a my pineapple experiment

Beginnings of a my pineapple experiment

Blended and half a vanilla bean added

Blended and half a vanilla bean added

I put the recipe through a mead calculator and I need to add more sugar to get the projected ABV% higher. I bumped it up with white sugar, but I’ll use as much honey as I can and make up any difference with white sugar, instead. I’ll take an OG reading and then pitch the yeast. I think I’ll also add more water and move to a gallon carboy for the primary fermentation so 1) I don’t blow the airlock and 2) so that when the must settles, I can rack a full half gallon. Whew! Whatta day!

No flash

No flash

Using the flash really shows the pineapple must layer.

Using the flash really shows the pineapple must layer.

So, tomorrow, I’ll mix what honey I have left and enough white sugar to total 8 oz with an equal part of hot water to dissolve. I’ll add that to a 1 gallon carboy and transfer the contents of the 1/2 gallon carboy to the 1 gallon carboy and top with more water to compensate for leaving the must behind after fermentation. Tomorrow night, I’ll pitch the yeast. Then, I’ll need to decide how long to leave it in secondary and possibly a third racking for clarification and conditioning before bottling. After that, how long in the bottles? I think this will be fun! But it does take patience for a good result!

Oh, I checked on the pineapple batch before calling it a night and there are three distinct layers now. Interesting!

Three layers! Racking should be interesting.

Three layers! Racking should be interesting.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 40 Stout Racking, Checking Cider Batch #4

6:00 pm   Dry Stout batch SG is still reading 1.012 at 69F. Decided to rack to carboys.

From primary (bottling bucket) to carboys

From primary (bottling bucket) to carboys

I filled two 1 gallon carboys and partially filled an amber growler. The color is excellent!

2 gallons plus a growler up to the green pen cap.

2 gallons plus a growler up to the green pen cap.

Another few drops sampled after the hydrometer check was good. If the SG, after adjusting for hydrometer calibration, stays at 1.013 and the OG was 1.037, then the ABV will be 3.15%. If it drops to 1.010, it would be 3.54%. Low, either way, but satisfying and a good session brew. When I racked the stout, I saw an airlock bubble, but they were few and far between. The SG didn’t change since yesterday, so we’re probably going to stay at 1.013. I’m going to bottle either tomorrow or Tuesday, depending on when I have time. My big hope now is for appropriate carbonation, good body and a nice head. Lees were pretty thick. The partial growler amount may have a bit left in it. I’ll be careful when I rack for bottling.

Bottom of the primary

Bottom of the primary

10:30 pm   Drank some stout previously home brewed by an aquaintence.

Barely perceptible "stout 'stache". The real thing kind of masks it.

Barely perceptible “stout ‘stache”. The real thing kind of masks it.

He gave us 2 bottles last week and this was the second. It was good. From what I have tasted of my batch, I think it is going to be similar. I hope so! What we were given was brewed by a very experienced home brewer.

IMAG2012

Flip-top test bottle…not yet pasteurized. Just starting to detect some carb!

I just opened my flip-top test bottle of cider batch #4 and  checked on it. I heard a little “pfft” when I popped it. I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t get my hopes up. I poured a very small amount and tasted it and…woo hoo! There was a *little* detectable effervescence! The flavor is good…a little sweetness and apple flavor, but not yeasty. If this one carbs up some more, it will be the best yet! (This is the one that has mostly crabapple, but also has Fuji apple juice, commercial Murray’s Cider, a little brown sugar and a little honey in it.

Now, the trick is going to be figuring out if I need to pasteurize it or if it will ever carb enough to worry about it. The flip top has been de-pressurized about 3 times now for testing. The question is: are the capped bottles more carbed than the flip-top? The reasonable expectation is that they would be, but how much more? At some point, I’ll need to open one and see. They are 22 oz bottles, though and I don’t want to waste more than one, if possible. Well, okay, I won’t be wasting it. I will drink it! But you know what I mean. If these don’t get a lot of carbonation, I might just stick them in the refrigerator when I think they’re ready. Maybe outside overnight on a cold night to “cold crash” and then into the fridge. The headline of the story is that there’s a glimmer of sparkly hope!

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 26 Two Gallon Stout After Thanksgiving, Pitching Cider #4

Went to Atlantic Brew Supply today. They are off of Hillsborough St. and closer to me than American Brewmaster. While I will take advantage of American Brewmaster when they open in Cary, Atlantic Brew Supply seems to be a much bigger operation. They also have their own brewery, an onsite brew thing for home brewers one Saturday a month and will loan a burner set-up and sell the “recipe of the month” ingredients for 1/2 price. The guy that helped me was laid back, but knowledgeable  and very friendly and helpful. The grains are bulk and priced by the pound…those and a grinder are self service (or they will help). I was pretty impressed.

I bought a small bottle of a no-rinse sanitizer to try, some Safale s-04 yeast and the ingredients and recipe for a Dry Stout. I’ll make the stout after Thanksgiving. Tonight, I’m going to add some honey to cider batch #4…maybe 1/2 cup…since I was a little short on sugar. I’m also going to add some water, maybe a gallon, since I had extra juice. I’m going to separate the cider into two primary fermentation tanks, each with about 1-1/2 gallons of cider, so I can eventually rack at least 2 full gallons. Once they are separated and the honey is added to both with the extra water (heated to dissolve), then I’ll pitch the s-04 yeast. More on that later.

8:00 pm     Followed my plan and opened the PFB on cider batch #4, removed the pommace bag and squeezed the juice out of it. I had sanitized a second PFB, an airlock, some measuring cups and a spoon. I put 4 cups of hot water in a measuring cup and added    4 oz of honey and stirred to dissolve it. I added the honey water mixture to the cider.  I then divided the cider equally between the two buckets. To each, I added another four cups of water. I checked the OG and it was 1.034 @ 70F. Adjusted is 1.035. That seems a little weak. Maybe I raised the volume of liquid too much. I think I’ll add some brown sugar. I did go ahead and pitch the           Safale s-04 yeast, 3 grams in each bucket.

Okay, I added 8 oz of brown sugar to each PFB and stirred well. Checked the OG again and Bucket #1 is 1.052 Bucket #2 is 1.048 at 70F. Adjusted for temp and hydrometer calibration to 1.053 and 1.049.  The flavor is now sweet, but the apple may be a little weak. We’ll have to see how it ferments. I haven’t liked the idea of adding apple juice concentrate (thawed from frozen), but it may be necessary to get some apple flavor back.

Tomorrow might be a good day to go ahead and bottle Cider Batch #2 and try out one of the bottling buckets. Prime with priming sugar…no tablets!!! I’ve done 1/2 teaspoon per bottle or 1 oz per gallon (so about 1-1/2 oz for this batch). Using the bottling bucket, I think I’ll use the option of adding the priming sugar to the bucket. Name…name…name…”TARDIS Cider. Bigger on the Inside.”  I like it.

Standard