Friday, December 18, 2009

New Kombucha, injured hen repaired..

Just moved my Kombucha mother culture into a new jar with new tea and sugar mix. I'm just tasting the smoked Kombucha now for the first time, uncarbed, straight from the jar. The smoke is fairly evident on the nose when you first approach it, but it's not really coming through in the flavor. The sour attack is so prevalent, I think it washes out any smokiness that might be there. After you swallow that sip, however, the smoke comes back, and is faint, but is definately there in the finish. Quite balanced, all things considered! Here's a pic of me swapping the mother culture over:

Sick, isn't it? ;-D

I think this tea has a slightly too sweet taste to it too, much like the last one.. which surprises me, cause I thought for sure this bigger, stronger culture would overpower more of the sugars. I just did some rough and dirty calculations with QBrew, which tells me that if I mix 100 grams of white sugar into 1 liter of water, I'll get a 1.050-ish solution. When I measured this new Kombucha out of the jar, it was like 1.042 on the dial, so I don't think this stuff is very alcohol tolerant. If this new tea is this sweet, the Kombucha must be running into a wall somewhere along the way. I think maybe next time (It's too late for the new batch..) I'll dial it back to 75 grams and see how the stuff tastes there. Should dry it out a bit, I think. I've also just started pondering a 5 gallon batch of the stuff, and putting it on gas in the beer fridge. Heheheh.. wouldn't that be sick?

So, here's the big hen that got injured the other day..

In this photo, I had jsut finished building the temporary pen for her in the garage out of a cardboard box and some netting. The very top of her comb you might be able to see is almost black.. that's a result of putting the hydrogen peroxide on there. I have no idea why it did that, but it did. She was bleeding pretty good prior to that, but that stuff and some gentle pressure put that to a stop. She spent the night in this Taj Mahal (with a suspended heat lamp that you can't see in the pic..)..

And was fairly happy about it, really. Heck, it was *9* degrees F outside, and a sweet 50-ish in this box. With that said, the other chicks were bright and chipper the next morning.. 9 degrees is the lowest we've had so far this year, and I was somewhat concerned about them, but everything I've read said they'd be fine. And, so, they were. I got 4 eggs today, which is normal, and then I let the beauties out for a run, where they promptly began rolling in the dirt again. The injured chick was returned to the flock outside the coop where she immediately asserted her dominance over the first challenger to approach, and then things were back to normal. She's out there now with the rest, perched on the post for the night.

I also scored a small plastic walled pet carrier from the dump this afternoon for $5. Way better than a cardboard box, and will allow any future injured chicken to be much more secure when in segregation.

Speaking of eggs..

That's the Balsamic vinegar pickled eggs I made up last week.. this is the first one I had, after 7 days in the jar. I hear you can age 'em in there for up to a month with better and better results, so, since I did 6 eggs, I'll try one a week or so to see the progression. Ugly though, eh?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

SouRED update.. still ain't sour.

I was justchecking out my newest sour beer, the Hanssens derived thing I brewed up a month ago.. as it hasn't shown any signs of souring, and no aroma so speak of for same. I suppose I should have tasted it.. didn't think of that till right now. Not all souring bugs will form a pellicle, afterall.. hmm. In any case, I took out a bottle of the SouRED I bottled a year ago today, and had that, and pitched the dregs from that bottle into the Hanssens beer. I Figured it couldn't hurt. But check this photo of the SouRED..

Beautiful! It's not really sour.. but it has a bit of something to it that could be considered the begininngs of sour. it has a pretty good bitterness still, and an overall nice orange-ish flavor.. and a touch of what I believe is Brett, but it's hard to tell. Could be a touch of oxidation, too.. but nothing objectionable. This is really a delicious beer, when it comes down to it.. even if I missed my original mark by about four miles. Well, still have 40-something bottles of it to go to see how it develops with a few more years aging. :)

Third day in a row now, middle of December that the chickens have given 5 eggs in a day. Sweet! They're out wandering the driveway now, seeing as they still don't like to even touch the snow. Weirdos..

The new sourdough starter has still failed to rise after 48 hours. I gave it a bump with 4 tablespoons of flour and a couple of water, per the instructions I'm following online, but we'll have to wait another day to see the results of that.

That is all..

Sunday, December 13, 2009

challah! I love that word...

Challah bread! Made some for The Boss the other day, and it came out pretty well. Check it:


And there is is. I love the weight on the scale.. apparently, this is "The challah of the Beast" I've baked here. Hopefully, I've also baked at least most of the pure evil out of it. It tastes pretty darn good, at least!

A chicken update! Here's a couple shots of the chicks playing outside in the mulch along side the house, taken yesterday.

..crazy buggers, rolling around in the dirt like it's July out there! It was about 22 degrees or so at the time this was taken, near the middle of the day. They don't seem to mind the cold, but they sure have no interest in even touching the snow. In fact, I moved their coop overtop of the pavement in the driveway now for the winter, because if there's snow on the ground, or in their coop, they won't go near it.. effectively cutting their run size in half. At least if they're on the pavement, it'll warm up in the sun during the day and give them some room to move around on.  Plus, after morning egg laying is done, I let them out to roam.. and they go where they please, as long as there's no snow covering it.  ;-)

I also scored a heated watering dish for them, too.. that process of chasing after the iced over water several times during the day was really starting to drag me down.

I also re-started the sourdough project. Apparently, I read the directions wrong.. err, interpreted them wrong, from the start. What I *think* I did, was to effectively tell my yeasts that I was going to underfeed them every time, and that they should eat and then immediately go dormant. What I should have done, from the beginning while building my starter, is to (once the starter shows some activity..) throw half the starter away, and then feed the starter it's own weight in water *and* flour, in essence, tripling the overall weight of the stuff. What I was doing, was throwing away half the starter and then mixing in half it's weight in flour and half it's weight in water, doubling it in weight. When you read the texts online and such, it's a bit misleading, because they want your starter to double in size, but in order to do that, you have to feed the thing adequately to do that. I was basically taking 100 grams of starter and feeding it only enough to support 50 grams of starter beasts.. and then starting that process over the next time, again and again. I selectively bred sissy yeasts! So, I'm starting over. It seems to be going well right now.. we're on day #3.