Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cheese flipping and a beer review.. sorta.

 So I got my hands on this beer sort of by default, because Jeremiah (hi!) failed to kindly refused to take it home, and insisted I keep it. Havlicek Pils, it was named... and it wasn't too bad. A lot sweeter in flavor than most Pilsner's I've had in the past, it also wasn't as carbonated, giving it a really full, soft flavor. A different approach to Pils style than I'm used to. It had only a taste of that "corn" that you usually get from these, but not the mean corn from the macro beer types. I think, although I'm not sure, it may have had just a hint of skunk to this, but it wasn't objectionable. If that makes any sense. :) No real hops here, probably a bit on the old side for that to remain.. but not bad.

And then there's this picture of my cheese. You'll remember this beauty from last week when we stuffed 'er in the beer fridge, but I failed to get a picture of this wheel in her new home. So, here it is, the cheese wheel resting place. Check it!

It just kind of sits there on that block of wood and I'll be flipping it once a week until I decide to cut it open and dive in. It's till hangin' at 48 degrees in there and the humidity, which I suppose I should measure, you'd think would be relatively high, surrounded by all those kegs of liquid and nothing to absorb and of the humidity that is produced/trapped in there. 

And this: a picture of a small sample of beer that I made with the cultured remains from the bottle of Allagash White. It fed off the tiny bit of wort from the smoked beer I did with Jody a while back... and has a huge acidic bite, followed by a tangy green apple flavor (high, uncontrolled fermentation temps), and then a hit of smoke flavor in the finish. Wacky! But, it can be done with this yeast.. perhaps in the future some time.

That's it!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tiny cheese press..

Just a quick blurb to document the build on my new, tiny cheese press. This one is for making small, 1 pound wheels. It's a 4.5" inside diameter unit, as compared to my 6" diameter piece I used for the first wheel. Check it:

There's another follower (wooden thingy on the right side, in this pic..) that goes with this too.. that's gonna be used to stabilize the "piston" inside the PVC pipe press to keep the cheese from getting lopsided. I hope to test this beauty out this weekend by making a block of Jalapeno Cheddar.. we'll see how that works out.  I'll get a better pic of the complete piston unit when I get it totally built.

That's it!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Cheese waxing party..

OK, so it was a solo party, but... still, the job is done. Man, is it messy! Here's my dedicated cheese wax pot on the left and my (thankfully) paper towel covered kitchen counter and cutting board. This could have been ugly!

And here is half the wheel of cheese waxed on the bottom and side in this pic, on the first coat of wax..

And here's a shot of the finished item. I wasn't sure how the pros tagged and kept their stuff organized, so I waxed the whole wheel, twice, and then made this card up and waxed the edges of it into the wax on the cheese, hopefully, making it somewhat stuck there so I don't get stuff mixed up should I get more than one wheel in the fridge at a time.


This wheel is now resting comfortably in my spare fridge downstairs (the keg fridge..), which is about two degrees colder than optimal.. and I'm not sure what the humidity level is in there, but it's better than hanging out on the counter top unregulated, I guess. The surface of this thing is not smooth.. very irregular, like a bad paint job (the wax, I mean..) I wonder how you get this job done to make it look nice.. I'll have to look into that aspect before next time..

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Double brew session..

Did up a double brew session yesterday with Pete and Rob. Me and Pete kicked off the morning at 0800 hours brewing an ESB style English beer. Rob came over a few hours later and, while me and Pete were running off the first beer into the boil kettle, Rob and I were milling grains for an American Pale Ale style thing. Things went relatively smoothly.. a little confusion on my part with hopping schedules and such, so good thing I had good backup and brew partners to monitor that stuff while I was a bit flustered.. but everything came out well. Here's a couple shots of the machine in progress with Pete in one of 'em:

And here's one of the finished product. Check it and be so jealous:

The chickens are fat, the cheese is drying and I'll be waxing it very soon for proper storage, and the kids are fairly well. Times are good!