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Brew Day! Steinpilz Gose

Dried porcini mushrooms, salt , hops (Willamette), and acidulated malt.

Dried porcini mushrooms, salt , hops (Willamette), and acidulated malt.

This has the potential to be really good, if I get it right…but it may sound pretty gross. I’ve brewed a beer today in a German style that is relatively obscure, but making a big comeback. The style is called “Gose” and is pronounced “goe-zuh”. Rather than go into a lengthy description, here’s a link that covers the history and details very well:

http://www.germanbeerinstitute.com/Gose.html

If you just want the brief version, it’s a beer made from barley and wheat malts and has a slightly sour and salty taste, usually with coriander. No, that’s not the most appealing description; but it really is quite good. Very refreshing. Every drink makes you want to take another! So, here’s where I push the limits even more: mushrooms! Instead of coriander, I’m flavoring my gose with dried porcini mushrooms. In German, porcinis are known by the name “steinpilz”, so, my beer is Steinpilz Gose. Stay with me now…the slightly salty/sour flavor, I believe, will go well with a savory pairing like the earthy flavors of the dried porcinis. I did a little tasting ahead of time…lighter beer with  few drops of porcini “tea” added. Actually, it was interesting and tasty! The trick will be getting the balance right. I want an earthy background note…not an aggressive flavor that would readily be identified as mushroom.

There are a few ways that I have read about to achieve the savory/sour component. Traditionally, lacto bacillus is used at some point (which varies, depending on who you ask). Another way is to create a sour mash ahead of your brew day…a little involved for my skill and equipment profile. And the lacto can be tricky, too. I settled for the use of acidulated malt.

I brew using a method referred to as “BIAB”, “Brew In A Bag”. The “mash-in” step is pretty standard…the milled wheat and barley malts are brought up to 149F and held there for 60 minutes.

Wrapped in a blanket and a "survivior" blanket to hold mash temperature.

Wrapped in a blanket and a “survivior” blanket to hold mash temperature.

Instead of draining the grains and going on to the boil, however, the acidulated malt is added and the temperature held at 149F for an additional 45 minutes. The reason for doing this is that the acid in the acidulated malt could inhibit saccharification (the conversion of starches to sugars. After the second mash step, the brew proceeds as normal.

Getting the water amount right has been a little tricky for me, but I wound up with 5-3/4 gallons of wort, after the boil. The original gravity is substantially higher than the target, though…1.054 instead of 1.045. Not a huge deal…more alcohol, but I just wonder why? Was I supposed drain and remove the first round of grain and just mash the acidulated malt? (As opposed to adding the acidulated malt to the existing grains and mashing ALL of them for the additional 45 minutes.)

Anyway, chilled the wort, aerated it,

Aerating with an oxygen "stone".

Aerating with an oxygen “stone”.

and pitched the German Ale/ Kolsh yeast. There’s not a lot of headspace in the carboy…I’ll have a blow-off tube ready, just in case.

About 5-3/4 gallons in primary fermentation.

About 5-3/4 gallons in primary fermentation.

When it’s done, I think a friend of mine is going to keg half of the batch to see how that compares to bottling. I’ve had an issue with overcarbonation that I can’t seem to figure out. My beer hits an optimum point and then, another month or more, and they start to get overcarbed. I’m looking forward to seeing how that “gose”! (Sorry.)

Update 2/22/15: Had to install the blow-off tube this morning. I guess those yeasties are happy!

Blow-off tube...yeast is chowing down!

Blow-off tube…yeast is chowing down!

 

 

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Extra Edition: Spent Grain Doggie Treats!

Spent grain from my brew in a bag session.

Spent grain from my brew in a bag session.

Spent Grain Dog Treats

The following recipe came from the home brewer’s forum that I frequent at www.homebrewtalk.com and is put there by one of the members who, in turn, gives credit to another member and they all go by screen names, so it may not matter to them if I credit them, but it was added by Schweaty and credited to Beerrific. No, really!

So, If you are or know a brewer and can get your hands on some used or “spent” brewing grains, then you can make these easily at home, The spent grains typically are barley, wheat and sometimes rye. It doesn’t really matter, unless it’s something you or your animals may be allergic to; in which case: never mind! If okay for you and your pets, then cheers!

NOTE: If your grains are wet or have been frozen and thawed, wrap them in cheesecloth and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. I didn’t do this with my second batch and had to add more flour. It was sticky and much harder to work with. I’m going to dehydrate the rest of what I pulled out of the freezer and turn it into a coarse flour, using my food processor.

Ingredients:

4 cups spent grain

2 cups flour

1 cup peanut butter (all natural) [I just used regular, crunchy]

2 eggs

Directions:

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Press down into a dense layer on a large cookie sheet.

Score almost all the way through into the shapes you want.

Scored before baking.

Scored before baking.

Bake for about half an hour at 350F to solidify them. Loosen them from the sheet, break the biscuits apart and return them, loosely spread out on the cookie sheet, to the oven at 225F for 3 to 4 hours (or until they are really dry) to prevent mold growth. Store in an airtight container to keep them dry and mold-free.

My notes: You can roll these out and use cookie cutters or you can flatten them out on a sheet pan and score them whatever size suits your pets. After baking, I used a dough cutter to cut them through.

Using a dough cutter to finish cutting after baking.

Using a dough cutter to finish cutting after baking.

They were still kind of holding on to each other, so I used kitchen shears to snip them apart.  I put them back in the oven on 200F for an hour, checked on them, moved them around a bit and put them back in for another hour. Definitely still a little chewy.

Doggie treats after baking.

Doggie treats after baking.

After two hours at 200F, I felt these were dry enough and let them cool overnight. I bagged them up in the morning and, after giving the dogs a few, I had over 1-1/2 lbs.  I have a fairly large dog (pit mix) and a small dog (Morkie-Maltese/Yorkie mix). The big dog loves these. The small one is a little finicky, but ate one when I broke it down small enough for Her Highness! Oh, and yes, I have tried them. I admit it. Honestly…kind of like granola.

Close-up. See those grains?

Close-up. See those grains?

 

8/22/14 For my batch today, I thawed some grain from the freezer and spread it out to dry in a 250F oven for about an hour, stirring around every twenty minutes and spreading back out. Cooled to room temperature. When I added the other ingredients, it was a bit dry. For this recipe, it seems like a happy medium is required for the grain to blend with the other ingredients and provide the right texture…not too moist and not too dry. On a suggestion from another recipe, I tried the dough hook on my KitchenAid mixer. I think the batter beater works better. And I added 1/3 cup honey.

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Day 119 Racking the American Wheat RyePa and Tepache

Ready to rack to secondary.

Ready to rack to secondary.

The SG is the same today, so I’m racking the American Wheat RyePA to secondary. In the secondary, I’m adding the zest of 2 oranges and 2 lemons that have been soaking in about a half cup of vodka in the fridge for several days to extract flavor and sanitize the zest.

Vodka and zests into the secondary bucket.

Vodka and zests into the secondary bucket.

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Orange and lemon zests in vodka.

I’m throwing in the little bit of vodka as well. The smell and color are good. I figure about 4 days in secondary will be sufficient and then I’ll be bottling. There is a fairly thick layer of trub, as I am finding is common in the BIAB brewing process. (Or regular all grain brewing, too, I’m sure.) I did bump my water a little in the boil, so I have almost 5 full gallons after racking.

Hydrometer sample, refrigerated to check color and flavor.

Hydrometer sample, refrigerated to check color and flavor.

Trub in the bottom of primary.

Trub in the bottom of primary.

 

I also worked on the tepache today. I strained the pineapple and spices out and racked the tepache onto a cup of water and a 12 oz bottle of strawberry blonde ale that was home brewed and unpasteurized. I resealed the fermentation bucket and will allow it to process another couple of days.

Adding a beer to the tepache, after straining.

Adding a beer to the tepache, after straining

Lots o'bubbles!

Lots o’bubbles!

This evening, I decided to take the two oranges and two lemons that I had zested several days ago for the RyePA  and juice them. That gave me about 3/4 cup of juice. I added that to a large measuring cup and stirred in a 1/2 cup sugar and  topped up with water to 48 oz.  Stirred to dissolve the sugar and added 1/4 cup of my “ginger bug” starter. I bottled three 12 oz bottles…thought it would make four? Anyway, let’s see how it does in a couple of days.

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Day 117 Brief Update, Tepache & American Wheat RyePA

Just a quick update today. I just spotted a bubble in the airlock on the American Wheat RyePA, so it’s still fermenting. I know that I can’t trust airlock activity 100%, but it’s usually a good indicator to leave things alone for awhile longer. I’ll take a hydrometer reading this weekend.

It’s been 72 hours for the current tepache batch and it appears to be picking up on fermentation…fair amount of bubbles on the surface. I snapped down the lid on the fermentation bucket and I’ll let it keep doing it’s thing for a few more days.

Tepache at 72 hours.

Tepache at 72 hours.

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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.

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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.

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Day 114 Ginger Bug Pineapple-Mango Soda, Tepache #2

The ginger-mint “bug” appears to be ready…nice and bubbly. I picked up a pineapple today and already had a couple of mangoes. I got some extra ginger while I was at it. So, tonight I used my little countertop extractor to juice the fruits and about a half ounce or so of ginger and wound up with about 32 oz of juice. I added 2 cups/16 oz of water for a total of 48 oz. Then I added 1/4 cup of strained “bug” and stirred well.

Little countertop juice extractor.

Little countertop juice extractor…before I cleaned the ginger out of it.

Next, I sanitized utensils and 4 bottles and caps. I bottled the juice and capped it and had a little left over, so I put it in a small canning jar with a lid. I’ll use that as a tester. Directions say to refrigerate when carbonated to desired amount…1 to 3 days. I know there’s a LOT of sugar in there, so I think I will pasteurize the bottles when ready, just to be safe. That’s a fair amount of work for four bottles of soda! But I’m hoping it will be worth it! I might try a commercial juice for the next batch, though.

Ginger bug, 4 bottles of Pineapple-Mango Soda and a l;ittle tester jar to check carbonation. (Tepache in fermentation bucket in the background.)

Ginger-mint bug, 4 bottles of Pineapple-Mango Soda and a little tester jar to check carbonation. (Tepache in fermentation bucket in the background.)

Since I was doing a pineapple for the soda, I went ahead and peeled and cored it for a batch of tepache. I only had a few ounces of the piloncillo Mexican raw sugar, so I made up the bulk of the sugar with regular old brown sugar. So, at least I’m multi-tasking and getting another product started for all my efforts! My American Wheat/RyePA was chugging along this morning. Later in the afternoon it had slowed quite a bit. It pretty slow tonight. I’ll probably go ahead and replace the blow-off tube with a regular airlock  in the morning. And, as ever, the pineapple-mango melomel continues to condition in a carboy and looks beautiful. Can’t wait to drink it…in November 2016.

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