Saturday, November 21, 2009

2009 coffee bean crop 2009 and the sourdough saga..

Here's a quick update on the sourdough project, the coffee tree, and the new Hanssens derived sour beer thing.


This is day three of the sourdough project in the jar where I've been growing it. The first two das it was fairly slow.. not much to see, but today, it's got some noticeable bubbles and stuff on the surface. Figured I'd give it a post.. it's starting to stink a bit, too. No sourness.. just stinking. :)

Here's a couple pics of the new for 2009 crop of coffee beans.. check it:

Yep, there's three beans there this time, instead of the measly one I got last year. So, just like that, I tripled my output! Fantastic! Some year, we'll be able to grown a whole cup worth of coffee.. talk to me in a decade or so about that.

And finally, I got a chance to rack the Hanssens "No Problem" All-Purpose sour beer into it's 5 gallon container where it'll rest for about three months or so. I've got a sample of it right here that I'll try to describe.. It's flat and warm, mind you. Right off the bat, it's cloudy right now, but orange in color.. I get an aroma of oranges or clementines in the nose. Flavor wise, it's fairly bready.. lots of the original malty-ness is still here, almost like a spoonful of raw flour was dumped into this glass. In the finish, I'm getting more orange-ish citrus flavor and more bready-ness. Quite a bit after that, I'm picking up somethign else that I can't quite put my finger on. For a 1.050-something beer with only 23 IBU's, this has a fairly pronounced bitterness as well. This would be a fine drinker if it never goes sour.. but of course, I'm hoping for sour as heck. Bring it! I'll keep you posted on pellicles and weirdness in the carboy as time goes by.. take care!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Keg down! Send help!

Keg down! Killed this afternoon.. poured 3 oz and then gave up the ghost.

Was a good beer. Will be a regular here, as I think this was the beginnings of a great stout recipe. a couple small changes, but I think this has promise.

In it's place, variant number 1, brewed by myself and Rob Klepps, has been placed on the gas in this beers stead. The "Rump Wrecker" Rye Ancho Chile Stout should be ready in about a week. A slight derivative of the original beer, I had to sub the Chocolate Rye with flaked rye and standard Stout ingredients for color and flavor.. next time, I won't leave out the dark chocolate. We'll see how this is anyway..

A big post of small projects.. check it! Kombucha, Sourdough, etc.

Did a couple funny things yesterday.. went out and scored a bottle of Kobucha ($3.99 a bottle? Really? How do people afford this stuff on a regular habit?) with live cultures in it to grab on to. If you're not that familiar, go Google some Kombucha stuff or check it on the Wiki somewhere.. but essentially, it's a fermented tea product. You make tea, either black or green, in a mosty ordinary way.. then add some sugar for the bugs to grab onto and ferment, and you're done. It's served cold, and either flat or sparkling.
The cool part is, the Kombucha cultures are a mixture of weird bugs, like Brettanomyces, Lactobacillus and wild yeasts from foreign lands. Good stuff in the beer world (well, for me, anyway..), and apparently good stuff in the tea world, too. The first time I tried this stuff, I found it sorta gross.. I wasn't accustomed to this sort of flavor at the time. But now that I'm a sour beer fan, I'm finding this stuff is pretty tasty. It's a lot of the same bugs and wild vermin that's working on both products, so it all makes sense I guess.

Anyway, here's a pic of me jamming the tea down a funnel into the jar I'm going to ferment it in.

That was pretty exciting, eh? Then, I took the bottle of GTs Synergy Strawberry Kombucha, brought it up to room temp and pitched half the bottle (with the junk on the bottom) into the cooled jar of tea. Check it:

It's got a paper towel over the top held on by a rubber band.. the acetic acid monsters that dwell within need the oxygen in order to produce the vinegar compounds.. unlike beer, oxygen is good, up to a point, with this stuff.

Speaking of beer, part of this thing was inspired by that product a well. I got side tracked with trying to figure if I could somehow get this wacky culture to help ferment a beer into a sort of pseudo-Lambic (pLambic) beer. I'm not sure at this juncture if a full on, 100% Kombucha ferment is best, a secondary infusion of the beasts to finish off any residual sugars, or a simultaneous mix at initial pitching to make the magic work. I'll get to that in time and fill ya'll in on the progress as we/if we go.

Also, had this the other day:

Yuengling "Premium" lager. What's Premium mean? Dunno. It's a fairly standard Yuengling taste.. tastes just like the regular one I had a while back (a long while back..) so I'm not sure what the difference is. It's pretty good, though not a real standout in the crowd. Thankfully, it doesn't have that kick in the face corn flavor that most crappy lagers have, so that's cool. Great color and a fantastic head of foam stays on the top.  Sorry for the lame-o review, but I can't find much to single out for this one. It's good, but not stellar.

You ready for more? Good! Check this goopy mess!

 That's nothing but a glass jar with half a cup of water and half a cup of flour (a quarter cup each of Oat Flour and regular Red Wheat bread flour). It's left in that jar for somewhere over a week, with a loose fitting lid, and supposedly it's gonna pick up some wild yeasts in the air and turn sour. You're on to me now! Sourdough! I finally took the plunge.. I'm gonna give it a whirl. This should take some time to get the starter going (regular, daily feedings of the beast in the jar for a while, etc..) so I'll have to report back in some time with results. In fact, it's time to go do that feeding now. Later!

Now, go click my Google link, you cheapos!