Uncategorized

Day 116 Opening a Pineapple Tinker, Updates

Pineapple Tinker

Pineapple Tinker

On the evening of December 10, 2013, I began a little experiment with a pineapple, some honey, sugar and brown sugar. It was kind of a melomel, a fruit mead, but it wasn’t sweetened entirely with honey. As my little experiment progressed, I included some vanilla bean and some untoasted American oak chips. I called it Pineapple Tinker. As the pineapple was fermenting, I was discouraged, because it smelled AWFUL. I was sure that it was going to have to be thrown out. With a little research, I found others  that had similar feelings about their fermenting pineapple, but had waited and were amazed at how good it turned out to be. So, I decided to stick it out.

DSC04847

According to my notes, the OG was 1.112 and the FG was 1.000. That would make a 14.70% ABV final product. Is that even possible with S-04 yeast?! I would have thought the yeast would have died off before that. If there’s that much alcohol in this Tinker, that’s dangerous! There’s no burn…maybe a little warmth lingering in the throat. Anyway, bottled this small batch on January, 20, 2014. What I have now, is a beautiful pale yellow crystal clear color with a definite pineapple aroma. It is very well carbonated with fine, Champagne-like bubbles, a dry, but not bone dry, clean pineapple flavor. A little more sweetness in this would be nice, but I’m pretty impressed! All honey for sweetening would have been nice. And maybe back sweetening with a little something non-fermentable would have been a good addition, but for a first “Tinker”, I’m happy!

Still no real sign of life in the pineapple tepache. Pineapple-mango melomel should be an interesting contrast to the Tinker…it continues to carboy condition. And the American Wheat RyePA is at a crawl in primary fermentation. I did get some vodka today and zested two lemons and two oranges…combined in a covered storage container in the fridge until ready to go to secondary with the RyePA. That should happen over the weekend, sometime.

Ready to cover and refrigerate.

Ready to cover and refrigerate.

Citrus to be zested and vodka for soaking, sanitizing and extracting flavors.

Citrus to be zested and vodka for soaking, sanitizing and extracting flavors.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 47 Racking Big Dark, Checking Cider Batch #4

After a couple of days, I’m back! There’s still some bubbling going on in the Big Dark stout and the Pineapple Tinker melomel.

The pineapple still has a reduced fruit bits layer on the top, so I am going to give it a little more time before I make the decision to rack it. The stout, on the other hand, has slowed a bit more, so I decided to rack it to carboys for a secondary/clearing period.

Sanitized and ready to rack!

Sanitized and ready to rack!

I sanitized all my supplies and started racking. I filled two 1 gallon carboys and about half of a 1/2 gallon carboy.

2-1/2 gallons racked.

2-1/2 gallons racked.

I started to get a bit of lees in the bottling tube, so I stopped. The bottling bucket was pretty well-drained. I did rack a ounce or so into a little tasting glass.

Taster sample

Taster sample

The color is deep, living up to the name Big Dark! The aroma is malty and the flavor is a little sweet and malty up front with a little bitterness making a comeback. I think this batch shows promise! The current SG is 1.022 @70F. The digital thermometer reads 71F, but it’s a probe, not air, thermometer. It reads the beer temp at 74F.  All my readings to this point have been based on the air temp.,  as registered by the house thermostat though, so that’s what I’m going with, for consistency.

Bottom of the bucket.

Bottom of the bucket.

So, 1.022 adjusted to hydrometer calibration is 1.023. Now, I had some issues with getting the OG on this batch. The figure I’m going to go with is the 1.112 I got when I checked it the day after I brewed it. If that’s accurate, the current ABV is 11.68%…wow! I didn’t get an alcohol burn from the sample I tasted, but I guess it’s possible. The recipe projection called for an OG of 1.07 ish and the ABV would be in the 6-1/2 to 7% range. I’ll just have to drink one and see the effects to know which number is closer!

11:00 pm   Stuck the tester bottle of my cider batch #4 in the fridge earlier. It has been opened a few times and has served its purpose. I imagine it won’t build pressure equal to the capped bottles anymore. So I popped the top and there is still just a tiny bit of carbonation, but the color is a beautiful golden, the flavor is good and the sweetness level is great, but not overly sweet.

Golden and delicious! Still barely any carb, but it hardly matters!

Golden and delicious! Still barely any carb, but it hardly matters!

I’ll have to open a regular bottle in the near future to check their carb level and decide if they need to be pasteurized. So far, it’s not looking like it, but I’m happy with the cider as it is. It will absolutely be consumed!

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 46. Fawlty Brown Ale is just right!

It has been 1 month and 1 day since bottling the Fawlty Brown Ale and its carb level is perfect! Too bad I only have a couple of bottles left! My family isn’t a bunch of drinkers and they drink even less as time goes on. I didn’t have many helpers drinking my first brew at Thanksgiving…but I drank several over the course of the week. I think I’ve had one or two since then. Anyway, I’m down to four bottles just as it really hits its prime! It was tasty, but a little undercarbonated at Thanksgiving. Now, it’s just right on the carb. I’m not the educated palate that many brewers are, but I’m very pleased with this English Nut Brown Ale! I will definitely be making this one again and forcing myself to leave it alone for a month.

A month and a day since bottling is just right for this beer!

A month and a day since bottling is just right for this beer!

Oh yeah…the fruity bits layer on the Pineapple Tinker is starting to fall and create a layer on the bottom again. I’m assuming that this will continue and in a couple of days I will be racking for secondary. Fermenting in glass has been really interesting!

Having another Watson’s Cider…love the sweetness level and carbonation, but I really should have allowed another day or two to clarify. I was just too scared that it would ferment too dry. Instead, I’ve got more sediment in the bottles than I should and there’s a yeasty flavor in the cider. Not enough so that I won’t drink it, though!

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 44 Progress on Big Dark Stout and Pineapple Tinker

Looks like the Big Dark Stout is beginning to slow…I counted 78 between bubbles, but it still kind of “perks” when it does off. It lets out about 3 or 4 bubbles in rapid succession and then nothing for over a minute. It probably still needs a couple more days in primary.

The Pineapple Tinker is bubbling at about 10 second intervals and appears to no longer have a pronounced third layer on the bottom and shows signs of beginning to clear.

No more obvious third layer.

No more obvious third layer.

The layer of blended pineapple bits is thick at the top. I guess when I rack the juice, I’ll be penetrating the top layer and siphoning from the bottom…while the top layer descends. Hmmm…that’ll be different. (Unless the top layer falls out before time to rack…never done pineapple before, so I don’t really know the behaviors.)

Pineapple chunkies and vanilla seeds in the top layer

Pineapple chunkies and vanilla seeds in the top layer

3:00 pm   Is it my imagination or is the pineapple layer getting smaller? The yeast might actually be breaking it down?

Pineapple layer,,,breaking down?

Pineapple layer…breaking down?

Still getting a bubble about every 10 seconds. Surprisingly, the Big Dark Stout airlock is going off at about every 10 to 12 seconds again, but it isn’t perking like it had been; just a single bubble at a time.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 43 Fermentation Beginning for Big Dark, Pineapple Tinker

Funny, I just decided I should call my pineapple melomel “Pineapple Tinker”. I have added an additional 5 oz of honey and 3 oz of white sugar mixed with 8 oz of hot water to dissolve. I added that to a 1 gallon carboy, then shook the existing juice mix and funneled it into the 1 gallon carboy. I then added another 4 cups of water, shook that and topped with the airlock.

Sized up to a 1 gallon carboy for fermentation.

Sized up to a 1 gallon carboy for fermentation.

When this ferments and is ready for racking, I should get a little more that 1/2 gallon. I’m hoping to bottle a 1/2 gallon after perhaps a 3rd racking for clarity. This will also be my first experience with fermenting in glass, so I’ll be able to view the process. I’ll be pitching the yeast tonight. The OG is now 1.110 @69F  room temp, more like what I was expecting for this melomel. I took a digital temperature of the juice and it is currently 76F. I’m not sure if that is more accurate for figuring the OG? It doesn’t make a huge difference. The ABV calculator comes up with either 11.29% or 11.42%, if the projected FG of 1.025 is attained. I’m going to go back to my recipe builder and adjust for the fermentables that I added and see if it changes much. I added 8 oz of white sugar to the recipe calculation last night, but it was actually 3 oz sugar and 5 oz honey. Same volume, just different make-up.

Starting to settle in the 1 gallon carboy

Starting to settle in the 1 gallon carboy

Oh! And the Big Dark is fermenting! I saw bubbles at about 12 second intervals. I’m going to need some bottles soon!

12:00 Checked the SG on the Big Dark stout and got a reading of 1.111 adjusted to 1.112! Holy crap!!! What happened yesterday that I got 1.047 and today, I get 1.112?! Yesterday, the wort had a good bitterness. Today, it isn’t bitter at all and is very malty sweet. I don’t know what happened, but it will be interesting to see how this ferments out and where the ABV settles. Maybe a long bottle conditioning period will be in order?

Sample of Big Dark...very sweet currently.

Sample of Big Dark…very sweet currently.

8:00 pm   Checked the SG on the Pineapple melomel at 1.142, after a good mix. Pitched just shy of 3 grams of Safale s-04 yeast that was bloomed in a little warm water.

Blooming the yeast

Blooming the yeast

Shook up again and replaced the airlock. Let the ferment begin!

Yeast pitched, contents shaken, not stirred.

Yeast pitched, contents shaken, not stirred.

The Big Dark in PFB is bubbling vigorously. The interval is irregular, but when it goes, 3 or 4 bubbles go at once.

Standard