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Day 140 Pasteurizing Tepache, Bottling Ginger Beer, Racking Cherry Belle Saison

Pasteurizing.

Pasteurizing.

 

I decided to go ahead and pasteurize the Peach-Pineapple Tepache. The test bottle was pretty hard. The sample I tasted was lightly carbonated, but I didn’t want to take a chance of overcarbing. I filled my pressure canner body, with the false bottom, with hot water. I used the bottles to be pasteurized as a measure of how much water to use. This served an additional purpose: warmed the bottles a little before pasteurization. I removed the bottles and put the pot on the stove. I brought the water up to 180F and removed the pot from the heat, placed the bottles in, partially covered with the lid, and set a timer for ten minutes.

Lid mostly covering the bottles.

Lid mostly covering the bottles.

Bottles in, off heat, at 180F

Bottles in, off heat, at 180F

When time was up, I removed the bottles to a towel on the counter to cool.

Pasteurized bottles, cooling.

Pasteurized bottles, cooling.

My next project was to bottle the non-alcoholic ginger beer.

Strained ginger beer (non-alcoholic)

Strained ginger beer (non-alcoholic)

I strained the solids out through a cheesecloth and the used a siphon and bottle wand to fill cleaned/sanitized bottles and capped them. They will need to carb for at least 24 hours and then be pasteurized.I believe this batch is too sweet, but I followed the recipe. I put the ginger and spices back into the fermentation bucket. Since they only sat for 24 hours, I feel like there is more flavor to give. So, I’m making a “second runnings” ginger beer that I am going to allow to ferment and produce alcohol.

"Second Runnings"

“Second Runnings”

I added 4 cups of water and measured the OG at 1.062. I may reduce the sugar a little in future batches.  Anyway, I put the bucket back on the heating pad and wrapped it in the Space Blanket.

Next, I got a quart of Culligan bottled water and boiled it for ten minutes and, while it was boiling, I siphoned the the Cherry Belle Citra Saison into a 1 gallon glass carboy for a tertiary stage, leaving behind the cherries and a little sediment.

Secondary leftovers from the Cherry Belle Citra Saison

Secondary leftovers from the Cherry Belle Citra Saison

The color is really nice and the cherry flavor is good. I think this will benefit from a little aging. After the boiled water chilled in the refrigerator, I topped off the saison to a gallon. It didn’t take the whole quart…maybe a pint. I’ll let this settle for a couple of days and then bottle it.

Racked Cherry Belle Citra Saison, before top-off.

Racked Cherry Belle Citra Saison, before top-off.

As for the main batch of Belle Citra Saison, I did an SG check and it was 1.000 at 83F. That’s 1.003, corrected for temperature. This should be ready to rack to secondary any time. When I do rack it, I’ll be dry hopping with an ounce of citra pellets.

Main Belle Citra Saison hydrometer sample.

Main Belle Citra Saison hydrometer sample.

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Day 139 Making Ginger Beer, Bottling Tepache, Checking Cherry Belle Citra Saison

Bottled Peach-Pineapple Tepache and a soda bottle to judge carbonation.

Bottled Peach-Pineapple Tepache and a soda bottle to judge carbonation.

Tonight, I knocked out a couple little projects and checked up on one. My micro batch of Cherry Belle Citra Saison has a pretty color from the cherries and I think they’ve given up all they really have to offer. I’m going to rack this brew to tertiary tomorrow to settle for a few days before bottling.

A peek at micro batch Cherry Belle Citra Saison.

A peek at micro batch Cherry Belle Citra Saison.

I went ahead and strained my peach-pineapple tepache…it had a bubbly pellicle covering the surface. I siphoned out from under the surface and through a few layers of cheesecloth. I’m not sure it was necessary, but I feel good about it. The flavor is really nice. It’s sweet and tangy and the spice is coming through nicely.

Peach-Pineapple Tepache sample...sweet. tangy, spiced...good stuff!

Peach-Pineapple Tepache sample…sweet. tangy, spiced…good stuff!

The SG is 1.041 and I feel like it’s time for bottling. So I got that done and filled a soda bottle for carb testing. If it goes like I’m anticipating, I should be pasteurizing Monday morning (about 36 hours).

My other project for tonight was peeling a pound of fresh ginger,

A pound of fresh ginger, skin scraped off.

A pound of fresh ginger, skin scraped off.

 

shredding it in the food processor,

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Shredded fresh ginger.

and starting a non-alcoholic ginger beer for my brother in-law who is from Trinidad. I’m using a recipe from a cookbook he brought from Trinidad and it looks very similar to tepache, except it uses freshly grated ginger instead of pineapple skins. Here is the recipe:

Ginger Beer

1 lb fresh ginger, skin scraped off with a spoon, grated

8 cups water

Juice and zest from 1 lime

4 cups granulated sugar

1 stick cinnamon

4 to 6 cloves, whole

Directions: (I have adapted for my bottling procedure) Combine all ingredients in a 2 gallon fermentation bucket and stir to start sugar dissolving.

Ingredients in the fermentation bucket.

Ingredients in the fermentation bucket.

Seal lid and install an airlock. Place in direct sunlight for 1 day. (We are having rain, so I’m putting the bucket on a heating pad overnight and most of tomorrow.) Next day, strain. I assume that this would become alcoholic, if I allowed it to ferment longer, but that’s not the plan for this batch. Sweeten to taste, if necessary. Bottle. (I’m going to top off to a gallon with fresh bottled water to extend the batch a little.) Fill a soda bottle to use for judging carbonation progress. It should take a day or two. Pasteurize and store in a cool, dark place and refrigerate before opening. (Open over a sink or outside just to be safe!)

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Day 128 Gushers and Bottle Bomb!

Bottle shards from a bottle bomb during pasteurization.

Bottle shards from a bottle bomb during pasteurization.

After 24 hours, I felt confident that my 2 ginger-bug apple sodas (I used one as the tester) and 11 tepaches could go for another 24 hours of carbing. Unfortunately, I was mistaken. All were gushers. I guess 30 to 36 hours would have been better than 48! So, I decided to gently lift a small area on the crown caps to release the excess pressure and then use the bottle capper to try and re-tighten the caps. I should have reread the notes on pasteurizing…I heated water to 190F instead of 180F. I was using my pressure canner pot and, after removing from the heat and placing the bottles in the preheated water, I covered loosely with the lid.

After about 3 minutes, I had the crap scared out of me by an exploding bottle. Luckily, I was not standing right beside it and the lid was mostly covering the pot/ Some liquid came out and made a bit of a mess and a couple of nasty glass shards made it out of the pot. One of the two apple sodas had busted and I could see bubbles escaping from the second one, so I removed it. The tepache bottles appeared to be sealed, so I let them finish the pasteurization process.

The next day, I opened one of the tepache bottles and sampled it. I honestly think this is the best batch. I’m going to leave out the optional beer addition after straining, in the future, as I did on this batch. I did, however, open a bottle of Matt’s Summer Brew and did 1/2 and 1/2 with the tepache to make Mateo’s Tepache Shandy and it is the best yet! Great combination!

Mateo's Tepache Shandy, made with Matt's Summer Brew...delish!

Mateo’s Tepache Shandy, made with Matt’s Summer Brew…delish!

No significant change on the Hi-Nelson Saison…continues to gradually slow in primary fermentation, while set on top of our heating pad on the lowest setting.

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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 25 Pasteurizing Batch #3, Starting #4

Well, all the stuff I read said to let the cider go from 3 to 10 days after priming, checking carbonation until it’s “right”,  then pasteurize. It’s only been 2 days, and my test bottles gushed a bit when I opened them. May be a bit over-carbonated already. The taste is a little sharp. Hopefully, some time in the bottles will mellow them some. So, I’m into the pasteurizing process…going to 190 degrees, then removing from heat, cover and sit 10 minutes.

Using the pressure canner to pasteurize.

Using the pressure canner to pasteurize.

Right as I was reaching 190 degrees…BOOM! One of the bottles busted. I thought that gradually bringing the bottles up in temperature would be better for the glass, but maybe that builds too much pressure. Maybe I should have added the bottles when 190F was attained and pulled off the heat. It might have blown anyway. Could have been a defect in the glass, I don’t know. Anyway, ten minutes is up…have to go remove the bottles…CAREFULLY!!!

Bottle go BOOM!!! Cap stayed on, though.

Bottle go BOOM!!! Cap stayed on, though.

So far, so good. The bottles are on a kitchen towel, on the counter. Only that one bottle blew. Luckily, I was using my pressure canner that has a raised false bottom disk and I had the lid partially covering the pot. The bottle busted, but the cap stayed on! I ran my test 12 oz bottle through pasteurizing process and I put the soda bottle with the screw cap in the refrigerator. I think I’ll let these bottle condition for quite awhile…maybe until my birthday, March first. I’ll try the test bottle before then…maybe New Year’s Eve!

After they cooled to almost room temperature, I put the labels on the bottles. They look good, I think!

Watson's label.

Watson’s label.

Watson's Cyser. I know, no honey probably just makes it a sparkling cider. I'll fix the terminology before next labels are printed.

Watson’s Cyser. I know, no honey probably just makes it a sparkling cider. I’ll fix the terminology before next labels are printed.

Just have to remember to open them over a sink, in case they gush. (In the future, I’ll have to remember to go by taste and not by what is expected. The temperature has fluctuated in the house quite a bit over the last couple of days and at one point it got up to 75F…probably sped up the process. Had some of the test screw-cap soda bottle Watson’s this evening. Since it has been opened and had a slow gush, the carbonation level is way down. It isn’t entirely flat, though and I like the flavor and sweetness level.

10:30 pm     I picked some crabapples this afternoon…pretty sure this is the end of the crop. Have to pick through them carefully…some are rotting on the tree. Anyway, I picked about 5-1/2 lbs. Tonight, I cut off the stems and blossom ends and juiced them. I had 4 large Fuji apples on hand, so I juiced them as well. They probably weighed over 3 lbs. I thought I only had three and I had weighed them at over 2 lbs, before I spotted the fourth one. So, I got over 5 cups of juice (I usually have 4 cups.) I went ahead and put it all in primary with 6 quarts water, pectin enzyme, yeast nutrient, a capmden tablet (crushed), the apple pommace in a cheesecloth bag and   1 lb 9 oz  of white sugar. I would have done 1 lb 12 oz, but that’s all I had. I thought about adding some honey or brown sugar, but the OG is 1.050 @ 70F, so I think I’m ok. I can double check it tomorrow night and add some more sugar if I want to at that point.

Now, because I have a little over 2 gallons in one PFB, there is no way this isn’t going to foul the airlock. unless I divide it into 2 PFB’s before (or immediately after) I pitch the yeast. I’m afraid, by the way, that I may not have quite enough yeast. I only have about 2 grams of Safale s-04 yeast left. I think I’m going to run to the brew store tomorrow to get some supplies. In addition to yeast, I could use a no-rinse sanitizer to use in the bottle rack bottle sanitizer, maybe more beer brite, pectin enzyme and yeast nutrient. Maybe I’ll put together a kit for another batch of beer to save a trip after Thanksgiving. I know I won’t have time to brew it until then. ***YAAAAAAWN*** It’s getting late. I think I’ll go lie down and peruse some recipes. I was looking at stout recipes recently…hmmm. But my first taste of Guinness Stout from a bottle, many years ago, sucked. I like it draft, but not bottled. Maybe I’ll go another route. Who knows? Tomorrow is another day!

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