So my next chapter of the speed cider has begun. But not before I let the speed cider go for a little longer then I expected…though I am glad I did. The cider kept perking away, so I let it. The T-58 cleared up from the cloudy cider to almost the same color! Amazing! Now it was time to split the two batches in half, and have a little fun with it!
So just about a year ago, I “brewed” up some speed cider. That time, I added some cinnamon and two types of hops, one immediately, and one dry hop. This time, I decided to have some variations to try. I am attempting different yeasts as well as different dry hops.
We interupt this primary fermentation for the following Public Service Announcement…. BAG YOUR HOPS!
Well, I am at about 36 hours since pitching my yeast starter into my maple rye imperial stout. I have had issues. At 6 hours post pitching, I removed the airlock parts and attached a blow-off tube to a growler. at 18 hours, my wife texted me and told me the growler had been put into a pot since it was bubbling over. At 19 hours, she noted that some beer was dripping out of the top of the fermenter – it popped the screw top off the big mouth bubbler enough to let some through. Not a ton of cleanup, but enough.
At 30 hours, I noticed the bubbling had stopped in the growler. I found out that all those loose hops have been pushed above the krausen level and made basically a big, wet, sticky stopper between the CO2 and the blow-off tube….hence stopping lots of escaping gas from that outlet. Poke a hole in said layer and the bubbling resumed.
Takeaways from this? DON’T BE LAZY and not CONTAIN YOUR HOPS. Use a muslin bag, a reusable bag, or a hop spider. Don’t just put a few ounces of whole hops in….it may make for more work for you in the long run.
We now return to our regularly scheduled fermentation.
Well, with the long weekend, I had to get a new brew in. Brewing day is always a fun day! I started my yeast starter, some White Labs 007 that I had done a overbuild starter of before. That stuff cranked up without a problem. Then I had to make the final decisions on just what I was going to use for my maple rye imperial stout. I had some maple syrup that a buddy made, and he told me I had to brew with it…so I accepted the challenge. Continue reading
So I had to do some brewing. The bug to brew a new batch was there after a trip out to Boston MA where I tasted QUITE a few great beers at four different breweries! So I decided that I needed to fill my new 5 gallon keg with a batch of a style I had not tried before. I figured something that was not crazy, but a good session like beer would be the best choice. A California Common or Steam beer would be a great hang out and drink style. Thus, Steamin’ Kalifornia was born. I also had a few new toys, a 5 gallon keg and a carbonation cap.
Lately, I have been quite busy…watering my garden. We are not getting a lot of rain this year, so I am out with the hose, making sure my hops are well hydrated. Since I water so much, the cucumbers have been going like mad. I have a son who loves raw cucumbers, but he can’t keep up. So, let’s try canning for the first time. Let’s try pickles for the first time. Let’s make sure we include homegrown hops and homebrew in the brine.
So I started to research to find a recipe that fulfilled a few things for me:
- Uses my homegrown cucumbers.
- Uses some homebrew
- Incorporates some homegrown hops
- Possibly incorporate some homegrown hot peppers.
I wasn’t sure if I could get all those parts in.
An important step in homebrewing is learning how to make a yeast starter. The easiest way to get it going the right way, is to use a stir plate. Enter the StirStarter. Before I get into the review of the StirStarter, I think it is good to look at my history with starters.
This is a step that I really didn’t get into at the beginning of my brewing. More often than not, I just used dry yeast….sprinkle and go. Occassionaly, I used liquid yeast, but just did a smack pack…smack it and go.
Well, then tried my first yeast starter. I started with a 2 liter flask, and used an airlock. DON’T USE AN AIRLOCK! ( The airlock does just that….it stops oxygen from getting in there, which is needed to promote good yeast growth). I would walk by and give a little shake. I got some propagation, but not nearly enough. After finding out not to use an airlock, the next time, I used sanitized foil on the top of the flask. That is the better choice. Now I was moving forward and learning some stuff along the way….and that is what we should do, right?
So, a few months back I got together with a few fraternity brothers for a night of brewing and tasting. It is always great to get together with some great guys, taste some great beers, and see how others run their brew processes. The first brotherhood brew was at my house, when I made Commandant Pliny. This time, we went to Bill’s house. Bill and Jeff were brewing that night, both are brewers for Quiet Storm Brewing Co.
June 28th, vacation has started for this teacher. PHEW! So how do I move forward? How do I relax? Well, I make it a bottling day for Carpe Citravesa. I bust out about 40 bottles. I know my batch will fit in it because I have some bombers in there….and I love bottling in bomber bottles! One, it goes so much quicker. Two, it makes it easier to share when out and about. Three, they are just “cool”.
This bottling day didn’t go off without a hitch. Continue reading