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There Gose Sea Breeze Ready to Drink

There Gose Sea Breeze

There Gose Sea Breeze

I was pushing it to get this beer ready for Thanksgiving at the beach. As a reminder, I used dried hibiscus flowers to make a tea concentrate to mimic the color and flavor of cranberry, and vodka soaked grapefruit zest to complete the attempt to tie the beer to a Sea Breeze cocktail. Since we spend Thanksgiving at the beach, the Sea Breeze name ties it to our Thanksgiving location and the cranberry flavor and color evokes the holiday. Today is the Sunday before Thanksgiving, I’m at the beach, and I’m testing a bottle that I refrigerated for 24 hours.

The result? I’m declaring a success! The color is nice…maybe slightly pale. It’s not clear, but that’s expected in a wheat beer. It just makes it look look more like a cranberry jelly. The aroma is hard to describe…but it’s a nice fruity, almost candy scent. The flavor is subtly salty with a tang in the finish. I think there’s a little bitterness/sharpness from the grapefruit zest. I’m not sure if the coriander is really contributing much…but maybe it’s just blending well and doing that “Je ne se crois” thing. The carb is very good, with a white, thin layer retained throughout the drink. I was concerned that I bottled too soon and that it might overcarb, but it’s good. When I get home, I think I’ll refrigerate what’s left, so that it stops or slows any possible additional carbing.

As usual, I’ll be responsible for cooking and carving the Turkey. I’ll also make a broccoli casserole. I have a batch of my traditional Scottish shortbread  https://mmmfoodies.wordpress.com/2015/11/14/traditional-scottish-shortbread/

and, for the first time, I will Make my Dad’s Yeast Rolls

https://mmmfoodies.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/my-dads-rolls/

…something I tried last year and failed. This year, I have the right recipe and I have tested it successfully, twice. And with the beer to toast, it should be a great meal! I feel like this style of beer will compliment the big meal and cut through some of the richness. It may also contribute to the after-meal nap!

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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Checking the Specific Gravity on There Gose a Sea Breeze

Hydrometer Sample

Hydrometer Sample

After I racked to secondary, added the grapefruit zest and hibiscus tea concentrate, there seemed to be some additional fermentation happening. It wasn’t much…in fact, I was afraid the little white bubbles were going to turn out to be an infection. However, they did eventually fade away.  The OG was supposed to be 1.062, and it came in at 1.063. The current SG reading is 1.014 with a temperature of 72.8F.

Hydrometer reading.

Hydrometer reading.

After temperature correction for the hydrometer, the actual SG is 1.015, which is .001 above expected FG. Considering that the OG was .001 high, fermentation could be done.

The thing is, I really want this beer to be carbed and ready to drink by Thanksgiving, which is about 2-1/2 weeks away and carbing will likely take at least 10 days. I’d rather give it a month, but it is what it is. So, just in case the fermentation isn’t COMPLETELY done, and, considering my history with over-carbonation…I think I will bottle in new bottles, underestimate the priming sugar, and cross my fingers.

Regarding the beer’s other characteristics, I am hopeful. The sample is a pretty cranberry color, the front end is appropriately a little salty (but not overly so), then there’s tart, followed by a little sour in the finish. The thing is, I don’t know how to describe the aroma or the flavor. I think the hibiscus is giving it a little cranberry character, but I’m not sure how the coriander and grapefruit zest are influencing the flavor. There’s obviously a blended flavor there. I just don’t have the palate and experience to put it into “proper” tasting terminology. But I like it. I really look forward to getting some feedback from some more experienced brewers.

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There Gose Sea Breeze

Brew Day!!! Adding the grain to the heated water. or "mashing in".

Brew Day!!! Adding the grain to the heated water. or “mashing in”.

So, two days ago (Thursday, October 24, 2015), my wife asked me, “If you brew a batch of beer tomorrow, will it be ready in time for Thanksgiving?” I figured it would, as long as it wasn’t something that needed a long time to ferment or bottle condition. Maybe an IPA? Well, she was going to be taking kids to the NC State Fair…all day…so I was authorized to brew. That night, I did some research for holiday beers and everything seemed to be porters and stouts. IPA’s were recommended by some sources, but so many hops and dry hopping…just didn’t feel it. Then I thought, “How about a refreshing gose style? That’ll cut through the heavy foods.” I brewed a gose before and, while mushroom was not the most successful flavor choice, it was technically very good.

Okay, so the next decision: how do I want to flavor it? I immediately thought about cranberries…tart, refreshing, a little citrusy. So, I did a little research on cranberries. It turns out that cranberries present a problem for brewing: they float. And raw, floating berries don’t ferment well or add much flavor. Even chopped, they don’t do much better. If you cook them, the flavor changes and the pectin comes out. That presents more problems. How about cranberry juice? I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to find pure juice, without additives. Not for a reasonable price, anyway. In my research, someone recommended dried hibiscus flowers as an alternative…very similar to the flavor of cranberries and great color. I used them in a previous recipe very successfully and, in fact, still have a supply! Hibiscus it is.

Dried Hibiscus F;owers

Dried Hibiscus F;owers

I pulled out my previous gose recipe and began working on it. Substitute hibiscus for the mushrooms, up the salt from .75 oz to 1.25 oz, and add .25 oz ground coriander. The coriander is traditional, but needs to be restrained. I bought a fresh bottle and smelled it. Surprisingly, it reminded me of hops.

Hops. coriander, sea salt, and Irish moss additions.

Hops. coriander, sea salt, and Irish moss additions.

I also decided to go with a traditional hop choice: Saaz. As I was putting together the recipe, I happened to run across a cranberry cocktail called “Sea Breeze”. It is made with cranberry juice, vodka, grapefruit juice, salt and a lime garnish.

Sea Breeze Cocktail (Photo via Wikipedia)

Sea Breeze Cocktail (Photo via Wikipedia)

Well, since we are going to be drinking this at the beach, I figure…add some grapefruit zest, sanitized in vodka, and There Gose Sea Breeze!

Grapefruit zest from 3 grapefruits.

Grapefruit zest from 3 grapefruits.

Lime garnish optional. I got all the information plugged into the recipe and it looks good! You can get the recipe here: http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/289756/there-gose-sea-breeze

Before I could brew, I had a lot of cleaning, preparation, sanitizing, to do. Plus a run to the grocery store and local home brew shop. Then I had to organize and set up for the brew. I think I finally started brewing about 1:15 pm. Steps went fine. I overheated the strike water, but not too badly.  The special grain, the acidulated malt, is added after the first 60 minutes and takes an extra 45 minutes to mash…it adds a lightly sour component to the beer. After the mash, I added an additional gallon of water for the boil. Everything else went smoothly and I wound up with a carboy full of wort!

That's a full carboy!

That’s a full carboy!

Checkiing the Specific Gravity(SG) with a refractometer and a hydrometer, I determined the Original Gravity(OG) to be 1.063. The Final Gravity(FG) is anticipated to be around 1.014, which would put the ABV at 6.3%. I pitched the yeast, finally, at about 6:30 pm.

I put a blow tube on this morning, after having to do a little floor cleaning. The good news is that the yeast is alive and active!

Blow off tube...should have put on at the start.

Blow off tube…should have put on at the start.

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Day 33 Thanksgiving! Another Fawlty Brown Ale and Too Much Food!

IMAG1926

Sometime afternoon: I cracked open another Fawlty Brown Ale and relaxed before the cooking chores to come. This one was slightly better than the one last night, as far as carbonation, if that’s possible, but it seemed to dissipate by the last couple of swallows.  My Mother In-Law tasted it and gave it a thumbs up. Maybe a few more will be opened this evening. IMAG1929

Whatever is left will go home…I’m thinking of leaving a few in the refrigerator and a few out at room temp, to see if they improve with a bit more time. Much cooking ensued next. IMAG1930A turkey was cooked, a broccoli casserole was prepared, plain broccoli was prepped, giblets were turned into stock and a roux was created for gravy. Whew! Soon, it will be time to carve the 18 lb bird and make the gravy. Then, we must eat, drink and be merry! Happy Thanksgiving!

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Day 32 Fawlty Brown Ale…Not Bad

I decided to go ahead and chill the Fawlty Brown Ale for tomorrow and try one tonight. Since we have everyone here for Thanksgiving now and no one would share the bottle with me, I won’t be surprised if most of the 10 bottles I have left come home with me.

Opening Fawlty Brown Ale for a taste before Thanksgiving.

Opening Fawlty Brown Ale for a taste before Thanksgiving.

As for the beer itself, it tasted about the same as the bottle I opened several days ago. The color and flavor are good, nice bitterness, drinkable; however, the carbonation level is a bit low.

Not bad.

Not bad.

Still, pleased with my first attempt at beer and if nobody else drinks any, most of these can spend some more time in the bottle…but they’ve been refrigerated now. Not sure if I should take them out now?

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Day 31 Cracking 2nd Early Bottle of Cider Batch #2

Tonight, I decided to pop open the 2nd bottle of the early bottles of cider batch #2…the rest of which would eventually be bottled as “TARDIS Cider…Bigger on the Inside”.

Early Bottle #2, Cider Batch #2

Early Bottle #2, Cider Batch #2

Sample pour.

Sample pour.

Since no one else showed an interest, it was all me.

The color was pale, like white wine, the bubbles were fine and the taste was dry, but not crisp. The carbonation was a little under where I would have liked it.

I have heard the experienced cider makers write about adding sweetener, after opening a bottle. I thought that sounded kind of silly; however, as it turns out, it worked really well. Imagine that…I was wrong about something. Don’t tell my wife! Anyway, I added a little Truvia, the flavor perked up, and it was much more palatable to me. I still needed more carbonation, but better.

Better!

Better!

Added someTruvia to make it a little more drinkable.

Added someTruvia to make it a little more drinkable.

It will be interesting to see how TARDIS Cider carbs over time. I have a feeling that the lack of sweetness will still be an issue, either way. So, that should bring us up to date until Thanksgiving, the day after tomorrow.

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Day 30 At the Beach for Thanksgiving

After I racked my Cider batch #4 to carboys and a couple of 22 oz bottles for holding while I go to the family Thanksgiving gathering at the beach, no brew related activities for a couple of days.

At the beach...birds perched and feeding on sea oats.

At the beach…birds perched and feeding on sea oats.

I did bring my 11 bottles of Fawlty Brown Ale for Thanksgiving. It is currently at room temperature, hopefully benefiting from bottle conditioning as long as possible. I also brought my 2 brown 12 oz test bottles of cider batch#2 that I bottled on…was it 11/13/13? Anyway, stuck those in the refrigerator today and popped one tonight.

Cider batch #2 test bottle

Cider batch #2 test bottle

While drinkable, it was a little less carbonated than I would prefer. It is also pretty dry, but the apples are present in the aroma. Not bad.

A little under carbonated and dry, but passable!

A little under carbonated and dry, but passable!

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