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Bottling Yooper’s Gingerbread Oatmeal Stout

20 bottles of Yooper's Gingerbread Oatmeal Stout

20 bottles of Yooper’s Gingerbread Oatmeal Stout

Okay, so I finally got the gingerbread version of Yooper’s Oatmeal Stout into bottles! The FG was 1.016 and a 5.25% ABV. The ginger has toned down a little already, since racking. The aroma is nice. The flavor feels a touch weak, as does the color, at this point, but I have hopes!

Hydrometer sample at 71F and 1.015, temp corrected to 1.016

Hydrometer sample at 71F and 1.015, temp corrected to 1.016

I primed the batch at a target of 1.90 gallons @70 degrees with 1-1/8 oz corn sugar…going for 1.8 vols. Should be lower carb than the regular batch…I hope! As with the regular batch, I have a tester bottle that didn’t quite fill. Not counting the testers, I have 28 bottles of regular and 20 bottles of gingerbread…so I was right on a 5 gallon yield.

I have also taken a tip from a friend and tried 3/4″ round Avery lables (#5408)  for identification. It needs work to get them all centered. They aren’t even off consistently in the same direction…going to need to do some tinkering.

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Day 90 Tasting Strawberry Blonde & Plain Jane

If you look back through the journal, you will see the lengths to which I went to try and make the Strawberry Blonde a successful brew. Alas, I believe it was all for naught. The Strawberry Blonde is lacking in hops, either in aroma or bittering. The strawberry flavor is best described as musky and muddled, hiding any hint of malt. But the extract sweetness is there. I don’t think aging will help, but I’ll give it a little more time. I compared with a commercially produced strawberry wheat beer produced by Lancaster Brewing Co. and, while I didn’t really like the commercial product either, it was generally better than mine. It did have a strawberry cream soda like flavor to it from the strawberry flavoring.

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A pleasant surprise, on the other hand, was the “Plain Jane Blonde”, small batch.

Plain John Blonde...surprisingly drinkable!

Plain John Blonde…surprisingly drinkable!

It has, by way of the attempt to up the OG, a little strawberry essence to it…just barely. While there are no hops in the aroma, they are there with a slight bitterness. The malt comes through and there is a little sweetness, but it isn’t cloying. It’s actually a pretty drinkable beer! Not my best offering, but not bad. If I were to attempt this recipe again, I would 1) Measure the water more accurately!, 2) Decrease the strawberries from 6 lbs to my original thought of around 2 to 3 pounds and, 3) Add the fruit in secondary, instead of after flameout at 170F.

I also used a free, simple beer label maker program to create a label for the Costa Kona Mocha Latte stout that I think looks passable. I kind of did a similar thing using a different program and printed it on plain paper, cut it out, moistened the back with milk and applied it to a bottle. Oddly enough, it works! Cheers!

BeerLabel Costa Kona

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Day 67 Bottling Great Weisse Shark (with cool labels!)

Last night, I stayed up for awhile and worked on labels for the “Great Weisse Shark” wheat beer for my friend. He is a diver and offering a Megalodon tooth for a batch of beer. Of course, absolutely! I like what I came up with.

The background is actually a light blue.

The background is actually a light blue.

This morning, I racked the hefeweizen to a second bottling bucket, mainly to get it off the lees.

Trub

Trub

drained from primary into second bucket for bottling.

drained from primary into second bucket for bottling.

There seemed to be a fair amount in suspension. I hope it will settle a bit more over the course of the day, before I bottle it. Hefe’s aren’t really supposed to be crystal clear…part of the style. It seemed a little dark, though. SG is 1.012, so it’s ready.

Priming sugar solution is in the bottling bucket. Racking for bottling.

Priming sugar solution is in the bottling bucket. Racking for bottling.

Sample for evaluation...color, taste, hydrometer.

Sample for evaluation…color, taste, hydrometer.

I took a sample to the home brew store and the guy there said it looked and smelled good. Extract recipes are going to be a little dark, just because of the extract. So, with my mind at ease, I bought some bottles and caps and will be bottling later!

6:30 pm   I had just enough bottles to knock out the hefeweizen. I had to transfer a few beers to growlers and soak/scrape some bottles, but I got it done! I suppose I should drink some beer tonight, before it goes flat…dang. The batch yielded 47 twelve oz bottles and 2 twenty-two oz bottles.

Bottling!

Bottling!

The FG is 1.011 (adjusted). The OG was 1.042, so the ABV should be a nice sessionable 4.2%. The flavor that I got from the hydrometer sample was pretty good…I’m thinking this is a good one. For summer, maybe a little citrus peel at the 50 minute mark and some more at 60 minutes? I will hold back the twenty-two oz bottles and maybe 2 or 3 little ones, so I can test when they are ready. The recipe says age 7 days…sounds too short to me. Home brew shop guy says he likes to drink them young. Just have to figure when they are carbed enough to drink and go with it.

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Day 19 Re-Racking some of Cider Batch #2 And Beer Labels!

On the advice of an experienced cider brewer, I am racking the cider batch #2, 2nd carboy to a growler because the carboy had too much head space. I also sanitized a couple of bottles in advance and wound up using them, after filling the growler.

From an underfilled carboy to a growler and two bottles!

From an underfilled carboy to a growler and two bottles!

So, cider batch #2 now includes one almost full one gallon carboy, one full growler, one green bottle that was primed and capped on 11/9/13 and two brown bottles that were primed and capped today, 11/13/13.

My brews, so far!

My brews, so far!

Additionally, I have one almost full one gallon carboy from cider batch #1 and one green bottle that was primed and capped on 11/6/13. Plus, I have 12 bottles of English Nut Brown ale primed & bottled 11/12/13 and one flip-top that was primed and bottled on 11/11/13.

Finally, I have cider batch #3 in a PFB, happily bubbling away at about every 4 to 5 seconds!

Now, for concerns: my two green bottles of cider, one each from batches #1 and #2. I think I was scared to put enough pressure on the bottle caps when I capped them. I fear that they may not be properly sealed. Also, there are some white floaters suspended in the bottle from batch #1 that won’t fall out.

White floaters in my test bottle for Cider batch #1.

White floaters in my test bottle for Cider batch #1.

I think the best course, if I don’t decide to pour them out, would be to prime and cap them again. That may be sufficient for #2, but I may sanitize a strainer and run #1 through it before priming and capping again.

Update: I decided to strain and prime/bottle both green test bottles of cider. When I poured the batch #2, I noticed more stuff come dislodged near the top of the bottle, so I ran it though a couple layers of sanitized cheesecloth when I returned it to the bottle. They both had carbonation when I opened them…that made me comfortable enough to save them. I dribbled literally a couple of drops out of the first bottle into a glass and was just able to feel some fine bubbles. I didn’t want to create bottle bombs, but I decided that opening them and going between bottles was enough agitation that I could add one more Munton’s CarTab to each bottle. New caps securely in place…good to go!

At this point, everything is in a holding pattern except for cider batch #3. My Fawlty Brown Ale is bottled. Cider batches #1& #2 are racked for extended clarification and aging. I should be getting to racking cider batch #3 in a few days and maybe a second time before Thanksgiving. If not, it can sit an extra week. I plan on taking my beer to the beach for Thanksgiving, as well as the test bottles. Mmm…home brew at the beach, watching the sunset. I’m looking forward to THAT!

9:00 pm  I went to Staples late this afternoon and found a label to use on the bottles. It isn’t “removable”, but “Goo-Gone” can deal with that later. It is waterproof, though, so it should be okay in the fridge without the ink running. I wish I had the software I used to use when I was doing professional printing, but I struggled through with a template and Microsoft Office Word 2007. Ugh. Anyway, My “English Nut” Brown Ale is all labeled as “Fawlty Brown Ale” by Lakeway Brewing Works, Cary, North Carolina.  Recognize my favorite “English Nut”?

Fawlty Brown Ale, the first bottle!

Fawlty Brown Ale, the first bottle!

The label actually looks better after I figured out how to get the background color to print, but at over a $1.00 a sheet, I didn’t waste them!

Fawlty Brown Ale with the background color on the label. On the right, my prototype flip top test bottle.

Fawlty Brown Ale with the background color on the label. On the right, my prototype flip top test bottle.

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