Sunday, January 3, 2010

Where did I leave off?

Seems like forever since I've typed here. And, I'm hungry.  Just so you know..

I'm not sure I have any pictures for this one.. just wanted to note that I brewed yesterday with Timmay, makin' up what is going to be a fine batch of an American Amber (Red) beer. 50/50 Munich and Pale Ale malt, and a touch of Carafa I in there for color. Used Northern Brewer and Willamette for hops. It's gonna be a mid size brew at 6.5-ish %abv.. and should be fairly tasty. I'm fermenting this one in the dining room where it's fairly cold right now.. 63-ish, to try and keep down the Apple esters that I've been battling with the high temp ferments that my basements 73 degree temps brought to my latest beers.

On the Kombucha front, I've been drinking these fairly regularly now, and I'm on my fourth batch now..  The last one, the one fermenting now, uses 75% of the sugar the other ones did, as, in discussing this with my sister-in-law, we thought this stuff tasted pretty darned sweet... sweeter than the other ones we've both had in the past, from commercial places. So, I figured I'd just knock down the original sugar amount and see what happened. Well, what happened is it got *really* pungent down there, near the fermenting bench! The acetic aroma of this newest batch is easily way more powerful than any of the past efforts And, it smells fantastic, to boot!

Speaking of sour.. my batch of Hanssens "All-Purpose" sour ale has been less than amazing. It's just not souring from my infusion of the Hanssens dregs. I suspect those bugs perhaps weren't viable? So, doing what I've wanted to do since creating this above-mentioned Kombucha creature, I ripped off a chunk (or two.. nothing like excess!)  of the culture and threw it in the Hanssen's carboy. Where last week there was no pellicle or souring activity at all, this week there is plenty. There is now a mad, fat, angry looking *thing* growing on the surface of this beer. And I love it. Whether it tastes any good or not is another story for a different day.

Spent the New Years Eve with Will and Michelle.. drank a bunch of Saranac beers, like the Black Lager, IPA, Pale Ale, Belgian thingy.. had Stone's Leviathan, Affligem's Noel, and rang in the new year with Delerium Tremen's! Good times!

Chickens are all still producing well and don't seem to mind the cold at all.. except, they do have nabbed a touch of frostbite on their combs, for two out of three of the Red chicks.. the Barred Rocks are all excellent, however.  I've read where you can either cut off, disinfect and bandage up the combs that are affected, or.. well.. leave 'em alone. They seem to heal themselves up just fine, according to my resources, and they just carry on. Seems weird.. but, I'm no surgeon. Sad about that..

Also sad is my ability with sourdough. Still failing. Got a nice, viable sourdough culture from some friends in Maine, though, and I'll be trying that stuff out today. Working on it now, in fact.. also doing something with a tinned bread called the "prefermented straight dough" method, which uses commercial yeast, that you let ferment out to completion for like, 5 hours.. and then mix that in with some more flour and water and it supposedly develops these "complex organic acids", similar to sourdough, just without the sour part. Supposed to be a much more complex, better tasting bread. We'll see. It's easy enough to do, at least..

Ok, like I said, I'm hungry.. catch you later.