Journal Of A Long Strange Trip
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  • Honey I’m Home (beer recipe)

    Posted on February 13th, 2016 Dirk No comments

    My wife wanted to design a beer recipe on her own. She was interested in creating a malt forward beer that was an easy session beer. She didn’t want something too bitter. Without a beer style in mind she designed the following recipe.  I think it would be classified as a Mild.  It was named “Honey I’m Home” because of the amount of honey malt in the grist bill.  Say it like you are Ricky Ricardo.

    Ingredients:

    • 3 lbs German Pilsner Malt (1.6 SRM)
    • 3 lbs Two-row Malt (US) (2.0 SRM)
    • 2 lbs CaraPils (1.8 SRM)
    • 1 lb Honey Malt (Canadian) (18.0 SRM)
    • 1 oz Hallertauer [4.8 %] – Boil 25 min
    • 1 oz Saaz [4.0 %] – Boil 25 min
    • 1 oz Hallertauer [4.8 %] – Boil 0 min
    • 1 oz Saaz [4.0 %] – Boil 0 min
    • American Ale Yeast (US 05)

    Targets:

    • Original Gravity: 1.046
    • Final Gravity: 1.010 – 1.013
    • Estimated ABV: 4.3 %
    • Bitterness: 17.5 IBUs
    • Color: 5.4 SRM

    Directions:

    1. Mash grains in single step infusion.  Target a mash temperature of 149° F.  Mash for an hour or until conversion is complete.
    2. Batch sparge the grains and collect 7 gallons of wort.
    3. Boil the wort for 60 minutes.
    4. At 25 minutes remaining, add the first charge of hops.
    5. At flame out add the remaining hops.
    6. Using immersion chiller, cool wort to yeast pitching temperature (68° F).
    7. Transfer to fermentor and pitch yeast.
    8. Ferment at 68° F until complete. (approx 10 days)
    9. Bottle or keg.

    Notes:

    I really like this beer.  When fresh, it has a nice hop character to it.

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  • Peach Mead 1999

    Posted on September 9th, 2012 Dirk No comments

    Beehive Brew Off 2011 Winning Mead

    I enjoy brewing. I like the science behind the transformation of starches and sugars into potent potable beverages. I got started in home brewing when my wife bought me a home brew beer kit. It was some type of pre-hopped amber ale. Thinking back, it might not have been very good, but to me it was better than anything I had had before. I was hooked. I made a couple of other kit and kilo beers and kind of lost interest in the beer because there wasn’t much to the type of brewing I was doing.

    Also at the time that I started brewing, we were keeping bees. Bees meant honey. Lots of honey! If you have honey and some brewing equipment, then the next logical step is to make mead. Mead is an alcoholic beverage made with honey and water and allowed to ferment. It can range in strength from beer level to more wine like.

    Well, with a little bit of research (and I mean little) I was off on my first batch. Let’s just say that what could go wrong, did. The mead turned out hot and solvent like. More like rocket fuel than anything you would drink.

    Later my wife helped me with a couple of melomel recipes. Melomel is a type of mead made with fruit other that apples (cyser) or grapes (pyment). One of the melomel batches was a peach mead. After primary fermentation, we tried it and it was like rocket fuel again, but there was something going on in the background. Maybe if I let it age, it will mellow. Well after two moves and 10 years later, this carboy of peach mead makes its way back to my notice. Oh my! Should I even taste this or should it just be a straight drain pour?

    I’m glad that I decided to taste it, because what I found was a dry mead with with a crisp finish and a very subtle fruit flavor. If you didn’t know that the fruit was, it was a little hard to define. It was the flavor of a just picked peach with the warm juices running down your chin. It was not the cooked flavor of peach syrup or jam, but fresh peach. This mead was one of my entries into the Beehive Brew Off for 2011. It exceeded way beyond my expectations and it won first place. The notes I received from the judges were very encouraging and it was scored at 45/50.

    Now that I know more about brewing science, I think I can make a drinkable mead in less that 10 years time. However this also goes to show that patience and time can be your friend. Or maybe it says that dummies sometimes get lucky.

    Here is the recipe as best as I can remember.

    Ingredients:

    15+ lbs (246 oz) peaches, sliced and frozen
    5 lbs honey
    9 lbs sugar
    8 campden tablets
    2 Tablespoons acid blend
    1 tbl yeast nutrient
    1 tbl pectic enzyme
    Cote des Blancs yeast

    Directions:

    1. Mix the honey and sugar into 3 gallons of warm water along with the campden tables and other additives.
    2. Put the peach slices into a mesh bag and add to fermentor. Top off with water to 5-1/2 to 6 gallons. I don’t remember what the original gravity was, but I suspect that it was around 1.100 to 1.200.
    3. Let stand 24 hours to let campden tables work and to bring cellar temperature or to room temperature (maybe as high as 68° F).
    4. Add the Cote des Blancs yeast and set to ferment.
    5. Once primary fermentation has run its course, remove the mesh bag with the bulk of the peach pulp. You may want to let the bag drain for a while, or even press the bag to remove the remaining liquid.
    6. Set aside to allow the remaining pulp to settle to the bottom. You will end up with one to three inches of sediment at the bottom.
    7. Rack and age until you can get things to clear.
    8. Bulk age until the fusel alcohols have mellowed. Bottle and impress your friends.

    This turned out well in the end, but I really consider it a happy accident. In the future I would do things differently. I would start with just water, honey and fresh or frozen peaches mashed or pureed. I would target a starting gravity of about 1.100 and I would ferment with a staggered yeast nutrient schedule (5 to 6 teaspoons yeast nutrient spread across three additions). I would choose a yeast that is not as prone to throwing off fusels, probably the Wyeast Dry Mead Yeast. I might try the Cote des Blancs again, but make sure the temperature was lower and the yeast nutrient was supplying enough nitrogen to give a healthy fermentation. I would also control my fermentation temperatures. I would keep things in the low 60’s. I would not add any acid blend until it is time to bottle and only if it is needed to brighten the flavor.

    I hope that this helps someone in their mead making and not to give up hope on a rough mead.

    Cheers!

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)
  • Blueberry Boston Mead

    Posted on August 31st, 2012 Dirk No comments

    This mead was made in anticipation for my daughter’s wedding. Weddings are a traditional venue for mead, hence the term “honeymoon”.  I wanted to make something special and this is the result.

    My wife had recently started enjoying premium teas from The Republic of Tea.  One of the teas that she got me drinking is the Blueberry Hibiscus tea.  I love the blueberry flavor and the little tang you can get from the hibiscus.  It makes a very nice cup of tea.  One evening while drinking a cup, I wondered how a mead would be if flavored with tea?  The seeds of this recipe where planted at that point.

    I must of done something right, because the first chance I had to get feedback from the Cache Brewing Society was that it was incredible.  I also entered it into the 2012 Beehive Brew Off competition and managed to take first place in the mead category with it.

    The reason behind the name is that there is so much tea in the water it is like the Boston Tea Party.

    Enough of the talk, it is time for the recipe.

    Ingredients:

    79 tea bags of Blueberry Hibiscus Tea from Republic of Tea
    4 gallons of hot water
    14.5 lbs good quality honey
    Sweet Mead Yeast from Wyeast
    Fermax Yeast Nutrient

    Directions:

    1. Put the tea bags into a muslin bag to make retrieval easy.
    2. Prepare 4 gallons of hot water. I used hot tap water of about 110° F. (Because of the residual alkalinity of my water, the tea turns a greyish blue color. If you have a low alkalinity water, the tea will be a bright purple color.)
    3. Steep the tea overnight or up to 24 hours. Since the water temperatures are lower than normal tea temperatures, I wasn’t too concerned about over steeping.
    4. Remove the tea bags from the water and add the honey, mixing while adding to help dissolve the honey.
    5. Add water if needed to bring the volume up to 5 gallons. You are shooting for an original gravity (OG) of about 1.100.
    6. Add the yeast from an activated yeast pack.  I used the Wyeast Sweet Mead Yeast.
    7. Add 2 teaspoons of the yeast nutrient and set aside to ferment at about 68° to 72° F.
    8. When your gravity has dropped to below 1.080, add 2 more teaspoons of the yeast nutrient. Stir the mead to degas some of the CO2.
    9. Add the final teaspoon of yeast nutrient as you get close to 1.050.
    10. Terminal gravity should be below 1.020.  Fermentation should only take 14 to 21 days.
    11. Rack off of the lees and set aside to clear.  I cellared in my basement at about 60° F.
    12. Once it has cleared, adjust acid level if needed and bottle.

    I hope you enjoy this as much as I have.

    Cheers!

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