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Day 121 Pasteurizing Tepache and Checking Wheat RyePA

Mateo's Tepache, pasteurized.

Mateo’s Tepache, pasteurized.

Well, I had eight bottles of tepache, including one that I planned for testing. It had been two days carbing, so I opened the tester…and it was a gusher! The last batch was a bit undercarbed at one day, so…need to try the next batch at a day and a half, I guess. I stuck the tester in the fridge to drink later.

The SG looks like 1.061. I didn’t check the OG, but if it was about the same as last batch, that was 1.111. That would put the ABV at around 6.5% more or less.

I went ahead and pasteurized the other 7 bottles, but one of them started leaking bubbles, so I pulled that one out and continued with 6 bottles.

A six pack of Mateo's, ready!

A six pack of Mateo’s, ready!

I re-tightened the cap on the 7th bottle and pasteurized it separately. I have kept this one aside, as it has a little more gunk in the neck and, if the cap was loose or the bottle compromised for some reason, it could be infected and need to just be poured out. I’ll check it again later.

Did a little fishing this afternoon and came home hot and thirsty. I mixed my tester with a Fresca soda. It wasn’t my favorite blend, but it was cold and wet!

Drew off a sample of the American Wheat RyePA and did a hydrometer check. The reading was  1.011 @ 73.5F, which is 1.012 after adjustment. That’s pretty much spot on expectations. OG was 1.051, FG is 1.012 for a resulting 5.12% ABV. That’s a nice session brew. The color is pale.

Sample of the Summer Brew for evaluation.

Sample of the Summer Brew for evaluation.

The aroma of this sample is pretty light, as is the flavor. I do get an understated citrus. The bittering hops are coming through mildly, but the aroma hops do not seem to be very present. I’m thinking a dry hop addition might have been desirable.  This isn’t an IPA though, so I guess it’s okay. (May have to rethink that RyePA name and just call it a Summer Ale.) It will certainly be an easy drinking brew for the hot weather we’re getting into. This was day four in secondary and bottling should happen tomorrow, but I’m sure it will be okay any time this weekend.

Update 6/06/14:   I have a 1/2 oz of Citra hops pellets in the freezer, vacuum sealed. I’m throwing those into the Summer Ale and letting it go a few more days. I’m using a nylon mesh bag to put the pellets in to keep the trub factor down. I may buy another ounce tomorrow and throw those in…thinking about it.

Summer Ale after 5 days on citrus zests

Summer Ale after 5 days on citrus zests

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Citra pellets in sanitized nylon mesh bag.

Dry hopping...and hoping!

Dry hopping…and hoping!

Update: On 6/8/2014,  I pulled the bottle of tepache out of the fridge that was suspect when I bottled it. I opened it and there was no carb at all. I dumped the bottle and cleaned the gunk out of the neck. After using a bottle brush and golding the bottle up to a light, I could see a crack in the bottle, between the lip and the next indention below that. I couldn’t feel it on the surface, inside or out, but I assume it was the culprit. I went ahead and dropped it in the recycle bin.

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Day 115 Pasteurizing Soda, First Taste Major Nelson’s IPA

Pasteurized Ginger Bug Pineapple-Mango Soda

Pasteurized Ginger Bug Pineapple-Mango Soda

I kept an eye on my soda bottles all day. There was a build-up of the more pulpy stuff in the necks of the bottles. Around noon, I carefully lifted each bottle and inverted to distribute the contents and put them back down. No explosions…good! I checked the little tester jar and it was getting carb over night, but not until afternoon did I feel it was getting carbed enough. Around 2 pm, I put the tester jar in the fridge and planned to pasteurize around 3 p.m.

I filled my pressure canner with hot water and put it on high heat, loosely covered. Using a digital thermometer, when the water got to 190F, I removed the pot from heat and carefully added the sodas. Covered loosely again, just in case a bottle were to pop. Set the timer for ten minutes. When the timer went off, I carefully removed the bottles to a kitchen towel on the kitchen counter to rest and cool. When cooled off, I’ll transfer the bottles to the refrigerator.

The little tester bottle was chilled at this point, so I gave it a swirl to mix the pulp and drank it. It wasn’t carbed like a Sprite or Ginger Ale, but it was nice and tingly. I definitely get the mango and ginger…really like the flavor. The texture is the part that would be hard to get some people into it, because of the pulp. But overall, it’s good!

I did go ahead and put an airlock on the Wheat RyePA today and moved it to a place to let it go for awhile. The tepache is not yet showing signs of life.

Update: Chilled the ginger-mint bug pineapple-mango sodas and pulled one out to try this evening. The carbonation is good…not too much, but good. The flavor is interesting and I like it. The only odd thing is the amount of pulp…so it’s kind of like a pulpy orange juice/soda hybrid.

Pulpy, but tasty pineapple-mango soda.

Pulpy, but tasty pineapple-mango soda.

Later that evening: Opened my first bottle of Major Nelson’s IPA and wow!!! Head poured creamy and slowly backed down, but never dissipated completely. The aroma was big with hops. The taste was citrus up front that quickly turned to bitter with a resin finish. I’m very happy with how this turned out! I think I finally got the carb right! Technically, this may be my best beer. It is a tad bitter for me, personally, but I think it is exactly where it is supposed to be for the style.  Another couple of weeks in the bottle won’t hurt it, but it is surprisingly good right now!

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Halfway through, the head is hanging on nicely.

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Nice head on the pour…soft, creamy.

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Day 111 Ginger-Mint “Bug” for Soda Making

 

I was giving credit to the website where I found this recipe, but they seem to be spamming now, so no more!

Anyway, I thought this sounded interesting and I have ginger and sugar on hand, so…what the heck. It begins with what they are calling a “bug”…a starter that you use each time and reserve a 1/4 cup and keep feeding it. Like a sourdough. Then they have a recipe for a pineapple-ginger soda…sounds tasty! I also can see making a mango-ginger or pineapple-mango-ginger.

Sugar and grated ginger in jar with water...plus some chocolate mint.

Sugar and grated ginger in jar with water…plus some chocolate mint.

My little twist is adding some cleaned “chocolate” varietal fresh mint. I pinched back the plant and tossed the leaves/stems into the “bug” mixture. I’m thinking basil would be a good alternative to try in the future, too!

For the bug, I added a cup of lukewarm water to a mason jar. I added 3 tsp. grated fresh ginger, with the peel on. Then added 2 tsp. sugar and a heaping tablespoon of fresh mint. I secured the lid and shook vigorously for several seconds. Then I loosened the lid, so that it isn’t air tight. Every day, I’ll add more ginger and sugar and shake. After about 4 or 5 days, the bug should be fizzy.

Added mint, shake, shake shake! Loosen lid.

Added mint, shake, shake shake! Loosen lid.

The next step will be to draw off 1/4 cup of liquid and combine it with 48 oz of fruit juice. (The rest of the “bug” gets topped off and put back in the fridge.) I plan on extracting fresh pineapple and mango juices to make my soda. I’m also toying with the idea of coconut water. The recipe calls for the mixture to be divided into jars and tightly lidded for 1 to 3 days, until fizzy and then refrigerate. I think I’m going to try bottling it instead and, after carbed, pasteurizing it. Oh, and when I process the pineapple for the juice, I’ll save the skins and core to make another batch of tepache!

Speaking of tepache, I decided to open one of the three bottles I have left…I gave away a couple and drank a couple earlier. So, I poured the tepache to half fill a large pilsner style glass and tasted it. The carb is light, but pleasant and the flavor is very sweet, but nicely mellow with a little tang.

Part one: Tepache

Part one: Tepache

I then opened a strawberry blonde ale and topped it off. It’s not a sweet strawberry blonde, so it pairs well in making my awesome creation: Mateo’s Tepache Shandy!

Part two: add a light ale of your choice and you have a Mateo's Tepache Shandy!

Part two: add a light ale of your choice and you have a Mateo’s Tepache Shandy!

 

This is really refreshing and I can TOTALLY see drinking this poolside or on the beach…or at a beach bar. I’m also thinking it would be great as a base for a shrimp or crab boil! I probably won’t get to try it anytime soon, because of severe allergies in the family, but I can imagine it!

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Day 110 Bottling Major Nelson’s IPA

Major Nelson's IPA

Major Nelson’s IPA

Okay, so I bottled Major Nelson’s IPA today. This is my second all-grain Brew in a Bag (BIAB) beer. This was the “unnamed IPA” recipe from Atlantic Brew Supply for The National Big Brew on May 3, 2014. My name was runner up to “No Way Jose IPA”. I’m sticking with mine.

This IPA includes Falconer’s Fight, Cascade and Simcoe hops and features a Nelson Sauvin dry-hop. The yeast is Mangrove Jack West Coast. The OG was 1.058 and the FG is 1.012, so that yields an ABV of 6.04%.  Based on Northern Brewer’s online priming sugar calculator, I added a tad over 93 grams of corn sugar mixed with about 12 oz of hot, bottled water. The calculator tool called for 93.86 grams, but my scale doesn’t do decimals. Anyway, I made sure it was well dissolved and thoroughly stirred in to my estimated 3.8 gallons of beer to be bottled. I wound up with 40 12 oz bottles. That’s 3.75 gallons. And I did have about a half a bottle left over, so I pretty well nailed the volume with my estimate. I hope that translates to a perfectly carbed IPA! I am encouraged by the aroma, flavor and color. The recipe says to age 30 days. I’m looking forward to it! I’m betting this will be great on July 4th…so I put American Flag crown caps on this batch.

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Day 89 Bottling Costa Kona Mocha Latte Stout

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At this point, I’m not going to go into all the cleaning, bottle washing, setting up stuff. I’ve gone over all that before…don’t skip it, it’s important! Sample of the final product has an FG of 1.022 and is a nice deep cola color with good clarity. I calculate the ABV to be 5.38%.

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I used 2-1/2 oz of corn sugar in 8 oz of very hot water to the bottling bucket. (Trying to adjust the carb level to the beer style…I hope this turns out well!)  I topped that with 1 quart of cold brewed Kona blend coffee concentrate and then racked the beer from secondary off of the cocoa nibs and into the bottling bucket, blending well.

Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate and Corn Sugar in hot water.

Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate and Corn Sugar in hot water.

I decided to do half the batch in 22 oz “bombers” and the rest in regular 12 oz bottles. Unfortunately, my bench style capper messed up on my first bottle. I haven’t tried to figure it out yet. All my beer was in the bottles and I didn’t want to take too long and risk contamination, so I used the handheld capper. It wasn’t too bad. I wound up with 1 case of 12 oz bottles plus 2 extra bottles (26) and 1 case of 22 oz bottles plus one extra bottle (lucky 13).

To celebrate, I popped open a bottle of Troegs Java Head. Dayum, this stuff is good! My Costa Kona Mocha Latte Stout will be sweeter and include chocolate with the coffee…and I think it will be very good; but let’s be honest, it’s not going to be Java Head good!

This is great stuff...what my brews dream of being!

This is great stuff…what my brews dream of being!

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Day 68 Nothing Brewing…Feels Weird

Since I bottled my hefeweizen, and scrambled for bottles to do it, I have nothing brew-related going on. Everything is in the bottle conditioning phase. It just feels weird! I did open a few bottles tonight…um…just to check their progress. Yeah, that’s it. Anyway, I started off with my Nut Brown Ale that I received as a Christmas gift-kit. It was bottled 10 days ago and is surprisingly drinkable already. Compared to my previous English Nut Brown Ale, A.K.A. Fawlty Brown Ale, it is a bit more bitter. The color and clarity are good and the carbonation may get better, but is pretty good already. In addition to the kit, I also received some Irish moss and gypsum. I believe they did their jobs! No doubt that this beer will improve with another couple of weeks in the bottle, but my first bottle out of this batch says it’s a success.

Nice clarity and color

Nice clarity and color

Nut Brown Ale

Nut Brown Ale

The second bottle of the evening was a 22 0z bottle of the Belgian Strong Dark. I believe my last taste of this beer was described as having a fruity component and maybe caramel, but not the roasted coffee or chocolate flavors. This beer has been in the bottle for 24 days and has since mellowed a bit on the caramel and it has lost that fruit from before. I’m not an expert at the critique thing for beer and I don’t have the right words to describe this flavor. Is this what people describe as “biscuit”? I will need to get some more experienced feedback on this one, but whatever it is, it’s good…at least, I think so!

Belgian Strong Dark...interesting.

Belgian Strong Dark…interesting.

The final bottle I opened this evening is the Watson’s Cider…in honor of John Hamish Watson’s nuptials on Masterpiece Theater tonight! Side note: awesome episode. ‘Nuff said. The cider, unfortunately, is not doing so well. This is an all-crabapple (foraged) sparkling cider. This is the only beverage that I have pastuerized, so far. I also was trying to retain some sweetness by not letting it ferment quite all the way out. In the process, I did not let it clarify long enough and too much lees came along for the ride. It’s a little sour in the nose…like mild vinegar. The carbonation is a bit week. If I went back through my notes, I wouldn’t be surprised to find that the carbonation is actually going down some. There was quite a bit of sediment in the bottle and the color of the cider is a medium golden, but with a little haze. I know it sounds weird, but the best way to describe it is as if someone drop one or two drops of skim milk into the glass before adding the cider. I did have fun with the label. Since calling it a “cyser”, I have seen the error in my ways…but the labels were expensive and already printed. Plus, “Watson’s Cider” sounds like a personal question.

One of my less successful beverages, but not ready to dump it yet!

One of my less successful beverages, but not ready to dump it yet!

As for the flavor, I definitely get that slight sourness/vinegar taste with an almost dry finish. These days, some people think it’s good for you to drink vinegar, so they’d probably think this was really mild and tasty! I’ll keep pulling one out, now and then to see what’s happening. I’m not ready to dump it yet, but we’ll see what happens over time. If I get desperate for a few bottles to use for something else, these are at the top of the expendable list.

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Day 62 Still Making Cider Baguettes

First, let me get the liquids update done: The Pineapple Tinker is on untoasted American oak chips and I think I’ll let them go another day or two. The Murray’s Super Easy Cider is still popping off a bubble now and then, so no rush there…but it could be a busy weekend, because both of these will probably need racking by then, plus the nut brown ale is slowing considerably now. It’s down to about 30 second intervals on the blow-off tube, so I may be bottling that batch by Sunday!

9:30 pm I opened a 22 oz Crabapple/Fuji Cider and was happy to find that the carb was up a little bit more than last time. It’s light and may not get much better than this…but this is really tasty!

Crabapple/Fuji Cider

Crabapple/Fuji Cider

Here I am about 2-1/2 months since my first entry with (crabapple) Cider Batch #1 on October 28th, I believe it was…and I’m still using the starter I made from that cider’s lees (Champagne yeast based) to make bread. I took about 8 loaves to the Thanksgiving vacation, having made and frozen several batches at that point, 2 loaves per batch. I keep the starter in a pint canning jar in the refrigerator, not too full and with the lid screwed down just to fingertip tightened (because it can build pressure otherwise). The starter can be left unattended for weeks at a time. You will see it separate. Before making a batch of bread, I remove the jar, tighten the lid and shake it to mix thoroughly. I  use 1/2 c. starter to 1-1/2 c. water and 1-1/2 c. unbleached all purpose flour, blended well.

Proofed starter.

Proofed starter.

Starter added to flour and water, covered.

Starter added to flour and water, covered.

That mixture stays in a mixing bowl, covered with plastic wrap, to proof for a couple to several hours. I have read that making bread from beer lees is not good because of the bitterness, but the cider lees worked fine! I have also since read that I could have used less sediment and more liquid to make the starter, as there was probably plenty of yeast in the liquid. The sediment was unnecessary…but it may have added some character. Who knows? Anyway, after I measure out what I need for the recipe, I replace the amount removed from the starter jar and stick it back in the fridge.

Topped back off the starter...ready to go back in the fridge.

Topped back off the starter…ready to go back in the fridge.

This recipe makes baguette loaves with a denser texture and smaller bubbles than the traditional french loaves, but with a nice, crunch to the crust and a nice chew.

If you are a cider fermenter and also like to bake, check out my post from Day 9 and Day 10 to read about making the starter. When I am ready to bake a batch of bread, I use the mix as stated above…flour, water and starter, proofed…and proceed with the recipe:

Sourdough Cider Baguettes

Ingredients

2 c. proofed Sourdough Starer

1 t. Salt

1/2 c Water (+ a tablespoon or 2 more, depending on humidity)

4 c. Bread Flour

2 T. White Cornmeal

Directions

Put the ingredients, in the order listed, into the pan of a bread machine and use the “Dough” cycle to mix and knead. You may need to scrape down the sides and add the extra water, if required.

Using the "Dough" cycle of my bread machine to do the hard work.

Using the “Dough” cycle of my bread machine to do the hard work.

Alternately, you could use a mixer with a dough hook (allow dough to rest 10 minutes after using a mixer) …or mix and knead by hand, if you’re a real masochist! Form dough into a ball. Spritz a bowl with a little Pam Spray or a little oil. Cover the dough in the bowl to rise until it has doubled in size. [I forgot this first rise and my loaves were a little less risen in the final stage than I would have liked…that may have been the problem.] Have some extra flour on hand for handling the dough. Dust your surface and the dough with a little flour. Divide the dough into two equal portions. I use a digital kitchen scale, but a good guesstimate is okay. Shape into ovals and use your hands to roll out each portion into a long, fat rope.* Sprinkle a little cornmeal on a baking sheet or baguette pans and place loaves. Using a sharp knife, cut 2 or 3 slashes horizontally on each loaf to allow for rise. Cover loosely and set aside in a warm, draft free location until about doubled in size.

Cover to rise

Cover to rise

Shaped and on the baguette pan

Shaped and on the baguette pan

Preheat oven to 375F. On the bottom of the oven, place a small pan of boiling water. Prepare a clean spray bottle with water for misting. When the loaves go in the oven, mist them directly with the water and also mist  the sides of the oven and quickly close the door. Repeat the misting 3 more times at one minute intervals. Set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the pan of water. [Forgot to pull the water pan after 15 minutes…this may also have affected my final product this time.] Set the timer for another 25 minutes. Check the bread for an internal temperature of 190-200F or tap to see if it sounds almost hollow. It could need a few more minutes. Cool on wire racks. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Cooled loaf, wrapped for freezer.

Cooled loaf, wrapped for freezer.

*On a personal note, I have tried a couple of methods for forming the loaves into baguette shapes. I have tried flattening them with a rolling pin, then rolling them lengthwise and pinching the seams. I have tried rolling the rope shape out with my hands. I’m not an accomplished bread baker, so some come out better than others. I have had some split down the sides, lengthwise, as they did this time. They taste great, no matter the shaping technique…might be a little harder to slice. If you’re an expert baguette shaper…more power to you! If not, don’t let it stop you! Enjoy!

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