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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 138 Straining Peach-Pineapple Tepache

Fermenting, bubbly and got the white surface npld happening.

Fermenting, bubbly and got the white surface npld happening.

Got the white mold film over the surface over the Peach-Pineapple Tepache. I think I have enough fermentation happening here to go ahead and strain this batch. I sanitized a pitcher and some cheesecloth and strained…the liquid seemed a little thick and a little slimy. I believe that’s the peach peels breaking down. The SG is at 1.072, as is.

Strained Peach-Pineapple Tepache

Strained Peach-Pineapple Tepache

My next step is to add some Culligan bottled water to bring the volume to a little over a gallon. I should be able to bottle in 2 or 3 days and then I have to time bottling to about 36 hours and see if it’s ready to pasteurize. Previous batch was undercarbed at 24 hours and overcarbed at 48 hours.

Topped of with clean water and ready to finish fermenting.

Topped off with clean water and ready to finish fermenting.

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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 126 Quick updates on Hi-Nelson Saison, Tepache #3

This morning, I put the tepache fermentation bucket out in a sunny spot for the afternoon. I brought it back indie this evening and it is nice and frothy. Tonight, I strained the pineapple skins and core from the liquid and composted them. This time, instead of adding one cup of water and a 12 oz beer, I decided to do the option without adding beer. It calls for four cups of water…not sure why the difference in volume of the additions when adding beer versus not. But it was so close to 1 gallon, that I went ahead and bumped the water to about 7 cups to get it to the gallon mark. I’ll track the progress and decide when to bottle it.

Tepache bucket in back. Hi-Nelson Saison hydrometer sample in front...settled under refrigeration.

Tepache bucket in back. Hi-Nelson Saison hydrometer sample in front…settled under refrigeration.

The Hi-Nelson Saison is still bubbling away. It has slowed from the very aggressive bubbling to a regular, rhythmic bubble about every 4 seconds. I’ll probably replace the blow-off with a regular airlock sometime tomorrow. I saved the hydrometer sample in the refrigerator, so I could let it settle and see the color and also taste it. The color is nice. It will definitely change when I add the hibiscus tea, but it looks like a good base. The flavor…obviously pre-fermentation sweet…but a good foundation to build on, I think.

A friend has brewed this recipe locally and kegged it. I got a 22 oz bomber of it today to try! The color is like grape juice almost…not quite as dark. You expect a fruit juice kind of flavor from it, but it’s not sweet…more tart. There is a kind of fruit, citrus, earthy quality to the taste, but a carb tingle on the tongue turns to a dryness, like the tannins in a lighter red wine.

A friend's version of Hi-Nelson Saison. Hard to capture the color, but intense!

A friend’s version of Hi-Nelson Saison. Hard to capture the color, but intense!

The aroma is not powerful, but it’s interesting. The combination of dry hopping with Nelson-Sauvin hops and hibiscus tea makes for a hard to describe scent. Much like wine, but with a resinous componant. The alcohol seems to be evident in the nose, but not in the flavor (even though it is a fairly high ABV, in the 8% range). All in all, an interesting taste that grows on you and it’s refreshing! Nice!

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Day 124 Starting Another Batch of Tepache

Tepache ingredients in the fermentation bucket.

Tepache ingredients in the fermentation bucket.

I cut up a pineapple as part of some fruit that I was providing at a family gathering yesterday, so I kept the core and skin for another batch of tepache. Waste not, want not! I picked up the piloncillo Mexican raw sugar this evening and started my batch.

Of course, I sanitized my fermentation bucket. I then added the pineapple skins and core, 20 oz of piloncillo, eight cups of water, a stick of cinnamon, and five whole cloves (increased from the original 3). Let the fermentation begin!

DSC05046

If history is repeated, the fermentation will be evident in about 48 hours and I will allow it to continue to day 5 or 6 before the next step. At that point, it’s straining and adding a little more water. Adding a beer at that point is optional and I have done it in my previous batches. This time, I may skip it,  just to see the difference.

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Day 123 Finally Bottling Pineapple-Mango Melomel

Setting up to bottle the Pineapple-Mango Melomel. Nice color!

Setting up to bottle the Pineapple-Mango Melomel. Nice color!

I decided it was time to go ahead and bottle the Pineapple-Mango Melomel. It was started on April 3rd, so about 2-1/2 months to this point. I love the color of it, like a golden late harvest Riesling or an ice wine. The ABV is at 15.09%. The flavor is hot with alcohol, but the pineapple is very evident. Hopefully, it will mellow over time and the mango will come out too. I got ten 12 oz bottles to put away for a year and a half or so…maybe November, 2015?

I like the Boulevard Brewery bottle in the foreground.

I like the Boulevard Brewery bottle in the foreground.

I may hold some until Nov./Dec. 2016. I also had enough to fill probably about  9 oz in another bottle, so I added a little bottled water and capped it with my fingers crossed. I used oxygen absorbing crown caps and I marked that last one with a black X. I’ll open that one sometime next Spring just for fun…and hope it isn’t bad!

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