Uncategorized

Fluffernutter Sammie Stout Update

Fluffernutter Sammie Stout, out of the fermentation chamber briefly to ease the temp up a bit.

Fluffernutter Sammie Stout, out of the fermentation chamber briefly to ease the temp up a bit.

Update 5/24/2016: An unexpected little run of cooler temperatures had me worried that the beer was not fermenting. I know it did for a couple of days, albeit a bit slowly…never really started “chugging”, but going. Then the cool weather, and my little fermentation chamber is outside. It is only able to cool, not warm, so this could be a problem. Since the overnight low last night was going into the mid to lower 50’s, I decided to bring the carboy inside.

I took a sample and did a temperature and hydrometer reading. The temp was 62.5, so it wasn’t terrible…a little under optimum range, but should not be low enough to have caused any harm. The hydrometer has the specific gravity at 1.030, so it definitely was fermenting. That’s good! Adjusting for the lactose, I think it will likely only go to 1.028 or so.

Hydrometer sample for evaluation...specific gravity, temperature and flavor.

Hydrometer sample for evaluation…specific gravity, temperature and flavor.

The flavor of the sample has my hopes up! The color may be a tad light, but it’s a little darker than the sample shows, because of the camera flash and the particles had not settled out yet. I could definitely taste the peanut flavor, especially in the finish. Nice malty sweetness. After the sample chilled overnight, the peanut flavor is more muted. With that and the consensus from others that the peanut flavor will start fading after a couple of months in the bottles, I do plan to add more peanut powder to secondary via boiling it with water and cooling it…probably a gallon and then racking onto it and the vanilla beans. I’m going to skip the marshmallow Fluff in secondary and rely on the vanilla for that flavor, so I’m not adding much more fermentable sugars. I may try adding some to the boil in a future batch, but not this time. I have a feeling that this beer’s flavor will improve as it loses some of its chill, after pouring.

The temperature on the carboy strip thermometer reads around 66-68F, so I’ll be putting it back in the fermentation chamber later today.

Advertisements
Standard
Uncategorized

After Christmas Update on Yooper’s Oatmeal Stout

Well, had a great Christmas! No wort chiller, though. I guess I’ll be doing ice baths until my birthday! I did get an attachment to my KitchenAid mixer that juices stuff, so maybe it will help with ciders? Definitely will be usefull for sauces and jams/jellies.

So, Yooper’s Oatmeal Stout chugged for a few days. It never hit the blow-off tube, but was working away nicely. It’s pretty quiet now, so I’m switching out the tube for a regular airlock. I’m thinking that this batch will be in primary another week and then I’ll go to secondary. I’ve started the supplies for the 2 gallon gingerbread  to get them in the refrigerator, so the gingerbread spices will have time to sanitize in the vodka and the vodka will have a chance to extract some of the flavors.  I have combined the following:

1 tsp. powdered cinnamon

1 tsp. powdered ginger

1/2 a fat Madagascar Bourbon vanilla bean, split and scraped (seeds and pod added)

15 grams fresh ginger root, peeled, grated (weight after grated)

50 grams unsulfered molasses

1/2 cup vodka

Wow. Very definite gingerbread flavor! Now, if I guessed an appropriate amount for 2 gallons of beer, it should be really good!

Because I’ll be introducing a little molasses, the fermentation will likely start back up briefly and a small increase is alcohol will happen, between fermentation and the vodka. It probably won’t be much, but it will be interesting to see.

I also have a little 1/2 gallon batch of cider going. It has stopped fermenting and settled. I’ll rack that sometime in the next few days and let it finish clearing…or will I add something to flavor it? We’ll see. Only a couple of dollars in it.

 

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 159 Racking Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale and Crab Apple/Pear/Apple Cider

Racking Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale...again.

Racking Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale…again.

When I last racked the Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale, I was surprised at how much trub settled so quickly. Yes, I added more pumpkin, but there was still more than I expected. It’s only been four days, but I decided to go ahead and rack it again. I prepared a bottling bucket…my usual choice for fermentation…and racked the pumpkin ale from my glass carboy to the bucket.

Racking to the bottling bucket.

Racking to the bottling bucket.

I pulled out the vanilla bean pod, rinsed it and put it in a small container with enough vodka to cover. I may use that in something else, later. I got about 4.25 gallons into the bucket.

Close look shows a little over 4 gallons.

Close look shows a little over 4 gallons.

I might just top it off to 5 gallons before I bottle it. I think there is plenty of alcohol and enough body in this beer to handle it. I’m going to let it sit and clear for now.

While I had the carboy empty, I cleaned it very well and sanitized it. Next, I decided to mark the carboy with gallon and half-gallon lines with a black Sharpie marker. I used a half gallon jug to pour water into the carboy and I marked the lines each time. I decided to do this because I wasn’t sure how much pumpkin ale I had there and it was frustrating!

Marked carboy

Marked carboy

After the carboy cleaning and marking project was done, I racked the crab apple/pear/apple cider to secondary. Still very “green” and with substantial…what I am assuming is tannin.

Racking Crab Apple, Pear and Apple Cider.

Racking Crab Apple, Pear and Apple Cider.

This one will bulk condition for a long time, I’m thinking. At some point, I ‘ll need to decide if I want to back sweeten and/or carb this cider. I haven’t decided yet. There are currently a little under 2-1/2 gallons there.

Now I can tell how much is in there!

Now I can tell how much is in there!

I’ll let it settle awhile and then rack to smaller glass carboys/jugs for the bulk aging, and reclaim the big carboy. I’ll be brewing a porter soon and need the space for fermenting.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 157 Racking Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale to Secondary

Racking from the fermentation bucket to a glass carboy.

Racking from the fermentation bucket to a glass carboy.

The Scottish pumpkin ale has been transferred to secondary. I really need to mark my carboy, so I can be accurate with volumes, but it looks like I left a little less than a gallon in the primary bucket and I started with about six; so, I’m approximating 5.25 gallons in secondary. I added another can of pumpkin (roasted), a vodka soaked vanilla bean and another 2 tablespoons of the pumpkin pie spice blend to the carboy and racked the beer onto it.

Added the spice blend to the vodka and vanilla bean.

Added the spice blend to the vodka and vanilla bean.

Vanilla bean soaked in vodka for a week and pumpkin pie spice.

Vanilla bean soaked in vodka for a week and pumpkin pie spice.

It was a bit of a challenge getting the pumpkin into the carboy without making a mess. I put it into a Ziploc baggie and clipped on corner and squeezed it in.

Roasted canned pumpkin. Gathering it up to put in a baggie.

Roasted canned pumpkin. Gathering it up to put in a baggie.

Canned pumpkin, spread on parchment paper for roasting.

Canned pumpkin, spread on parchment paper for roasting.

With the volume of additions, once I’m done fermenting, I’ll probably come up a little under 5 gallons, but pretty close. There’s enough alcohol that I could top it off, if I want to.

I took a hydrometer sample and got a reading of 1.028 @ 76.4 F, which is 1.030 corrected for temperature.

Hydrometer sample.

Hydromter sample.

Currently 7.09% ABV, before secondary additions. Good color…seems like flavor is good, but I’m glad I’m adding more spices. I’ll taste the hydrometer sample again later (in the fridge) and see what the color looks like when it clears. The carboy has settled quite a bit already and looks nice.

Carboy secondary a few minutes after racking.

Carboy secondary a few minutes after racking.

I hope those flavors I added blend in well. Still pretty psyched about this beer!

Now that I’ve freed up a bucket, I may go ahead and rack the crab apple/Cripps& Ginger Gold apples, and pear cider to secondary. I’ll look into that tomorrow. I did take a small sample from the spigot on the bucket and it is very “green” tasting with a tannic astringency on the tongue. I’ll probably have to either back sweeten this on and pasteurize it after an extended bulk conditioning.

Standard
Uncategorized

Day 155 SG Check on Samhain Ale

Yesterday, I could see that the activity in the blow-off tube had slowed way down…in fact, it had slowed the day before. I decided to remove the blow-off tube and install an airlock. (And took a quick photo.)

Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale. 4 days in primary and activity slowing.

Scottish Samhain Pumpkin Ale. 4 days in primary and activity slowing.

Last night and today, I haven’t seen any activity. I’m not convinced that it has finished fermenting yet, though, so I took a SG reading and it’s at 1.031 (corrected from 1.030 @ 74.3F). According to the recipe, it should make it to 1.023 to finish, so I’ll let it keep going. It’s only been 4 days since brewing. I don’t need to be terribly concerned with fermentation being quite done in primary, however, because it will go into secondary with more pumpkin, spice, and a vanilla bean (soaked in vodka). The sugar in the pumpkin could cause a little more fermentation, so I’m planning on giving it plenty of time. Then, I’ll probably do a tertiary for final clearing.

The hydrometer sample has gone into the refrigerator for a look at how it clears, color and flavor…later, but a small taste yielded a very nice flavor that I am quite pleased with, so far.

Hydrometer sample...nice color.

Hydrometer sample…nice color.

My ciders and muscadine wine continue to condition. The crab apple/pear/Cripps blend actually still has some airlock activity in primary, so another week? Probably.

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
Uncategorized

Day 42 Sample from Cider Batch #4 and Another Stout Brew Started

I carefully opened a bottle of cider from batch #4 this morning. I poured maybe a 1/2 ounce and immediately re-capped with a sanitized, fresh cap. The sample has a nice, golden color. The flavor and level of sweetness are great! Surprisingly, however, the carbonation is just barely perceptable. Not so much as the sample flip-top bottle. I had guessed that there would be a little more, but these are 22 oz bottles and maybe they are a little behind the 16 oz flip-top tester, despite it having been opened a few times. I had a little overflow while bottling stout last night, so I took out the paper towel liner that I had in the bottom of the box and tossed it. I removed the divider piece and let it and the box dry overnight.

Stout, ready for a little bottle time.

Stout, ready for a little bottle time.

This morning they were already nice and dry, so I replaced the paper towel layer on the bottom, replaced the bottle divider loaded the box with stout! Next, I decided to see if I could use some of the ingredients that I acquired for free. The grains should be ok, they are whole and sealed. The malt is sealed and shouldn’t be contaminated. They just have a little age on them. As one person said, if nothing else, it should be an okay “2nd beer”…something you drink after a first, higher quality beer. I used “Brewer’s Friend” and put together a stout recipe. I used the food processor to bust up the grains, but not make powder out of them. Many grains remained whole.

Processor chopped grains

Processor chopped grains

Grains in the food processor

Grains in the food processor

I’m calling this one Big Dark…the estimate is to come in around 6.8% ABV. I Just finished getting the wort into the primary fermentation bucket (PFB) and cleaning up. The OG was 1.046 @ 69F. Adjusting for the hydrometer, that should be 1.047. That’s way under the estimate of 1.072…I don’t know if it’s the hydrometer or something I did. Maybe I should have ground the grains more? Maybe the wort temperature was a little higher when I checked the SG? If I assume the hydrometer is accurate, then the next thing is to look at the estimated FG on the recipe. That projection is 1.020. That would would make the projected ABV 3.41%. Maybe the OG is off. I’ll check it again tomorrow. I really expected more alcohol in this one. If I have to, I’ll add some corn sugar tomorrow.

Grain bag steeping

Grain bag steeping

I also added a split vanilla bean to this one, in the PFB, I’m probably going to go a little longer bottle conditioning this beer to blend and mellow the flavors. I think it was a little bitter when I tasted it going between the brew pot and the PFB.

Ready for a few days of fermenting

Ready for a few days of fermenting

9:00 pm  Opened a bottle of the TARDIS Cider ( Bigger on the Inside) tonight. It was in a cooler part of the house for storage, so it felt chilled, but not refrigerated. The color was pale and the carbonation was very strong on the pour. The flavor was crisp and almost dry.

TARDIS Cider (Bigger on the Inside)

TARDIS Cider (Bigger on the Inside)

Very Champagne-like. I’m thinking that this will be a good choice for New Year’s Eve and possibly our Christmas food/drink celebration  with the In-laws. Very pleased with this crabapple cider!

Pale and crisp!

Pale and crisp!

10:30 pm   I couldn’t help myself. I had a fresh pineapple that needed to be used and I had just cleaned a 1/2 gallon carboy, a freebie from Murray’s Cider!  So, I started a pineapple experiment. I guess it’s going to be kind of a Pineapple Melomel (Mead), but it will have brown sugar and white sugar in addition to some honey. Right now, I have it going with 1/2 a campden tablet for 24 hours.

Beginnings of a my pineapple experiment

Beginnings of a my pineapple experiment

Blended and half a vanilla bean added

Blended and half a vanilla bean added

I put the recipe through a mead calculator and I need to add more sugar to get the projected ABV% higher. I bumped it up with white sugar, but I’ll use as much honey as I can and make up any difference with white sugar, instead. I’ll take an OG reading and then pitch the yeast. I think I’ll also add more water and move to a gallon carboy for the primary fermentation so 1) I don’t blow the airlock and 2) so that when the must settles, I can rack a full half gallon. Whew! Whatta day!

No flash

No flash

Using the flash really shows the pineapple must layer.

Using the flash really shows the pineapple must layer.

So, tomorrow, I’ll mix what honey I have left and enough white sugar to total 8 oz with an equal part of hot water to dissolve. I’ll add that to a 1 gallon carboy and transfer the contents of the 1/2 gallon carboy to the 1 gallon carboy and top with more water to compensate for leaving the must behind after fermentation. Tomorrow night, I’ll pitch the yeast. Then, I’ll need to decide how long to leave it in secondary and possibly a third racking for clarification and conditioning before bottling. After that, how long in the bottles? I think this will be fun! But it does take patience for a good result!

Oh, I checked on the pineapple batch before calling it a night and there are three distinct layers now. Interesting!

Three layers! Racking should be interesting.

Three layers! Racking should be interesting.

Standard