Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Washing and Freezing Yeast with Glycerin in a Frost-Free Freezer

In this post I'm detailing a method I have used to wash and freeze yeast from a slurry, including how I made my glycerin mixture. I did this ONCE at the time I wrote this post, so I am new to this stuff. Yes, this has been done before by others, and I provide links to a few sites where I got my info. This post is meant to track the method I am using.

A big ol' healthy starter. This is what
we're after! 
First off - a warning... This is a new process for me, and I'm still learning all the "best practices." I culled my method from a few sources--most notably a friend on the Albany Brew Crafters homebrew forums who has been banking yeast for awhile now, the washing and freezing yeast page on swedhelm.net, and this great how-to write up on Homebrewtalk. Seriously, check out these resources -- they go into more of the "why" behind this process. Also, I'm doing this for temporary storage purposes of some of the strains that , and don't have a giant lab or complex equipment (beyond that of a geeky brewer). I work under sanitary conditions, not sterile conditions. Some will scoff at this, but I'm going for simplicity here, and don't want to dedicate too much time or money to this endeavor. I use star-san because that's what I have. I don't own a pressure cooker or a microwave (its ok to laugh...), so I use my stovetop and electric teakettle.  I am not a scientist, nor do I play one on the internet!!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Tasting Notes - Haskell's Flanders

A friend, Haskell, threw me a bottle of one of his Flanders beers. I'm thinking its an oaked red, judging from the bottlecap (that said "OAK"), and from what I recall. (I obtained it about a month ago on a trip to Burlington, so the memory is a bit fuzzy.) Working from my memory, I believe it was brewed with East Coast Yeast Bugfarm IV. I thought I'd post the notes up here, just because I was going to write them up anyway.

It looks far darker here than it actually was.
Great looking beer, overall.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Zwanzé Day 2013 - Hill Farmstead Brewery

Here's a quick picture dump and short captions of the Hill Farmstead Zwanzé Day event on September 14th. I was fortunate to get ahold of a ticket through some friends (thanks Ross, Robb and Mike!). It was a blast, and we drank a lot of great beer, and had some good times. There were only 125 people at the actual Zwanzé event, and it felt like even less...

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013.08.18 - Sweaty Bretty Petite

Another saison post here. Basically, my larger saison that is parsed down to be a table beer. 5 gallons of this will go to our friends' wedding in October. (You can check out their captivating blog on farming, The Farmer's Husband, here.) The concept was simply an easy drinking yet interesting beer.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fermented Eats: Easy Sauerkraut

So far this blog has focused on beverages, and admittedly will probably continue to do so. That is because I am just beginning to venture into making my own fermented foods, and have a long road of experimentation ahead of me. I do love fermented food of all sorts, and am looking forward to my adventures in this realm as our garden beds start producing some fresh veggies to experiment with. In the meantime I thought I'd get started by making a basic sauerkraut.

In this post I will walk you through the very basic process I followed to make sauerkraut, show you a (very) few pictures of the process, and then link to a video by the king of all foods that are fermented, Sandor Katz. Again, this was my first time making sauerkraut so I am no expert (and Sandor really is!), but I am very pleased with the results, even though it is not as pretty as some of the store-bought stuff.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

TAP NY and the Albany Brew Crafters

Just a quick post here to plug the Albany Brew Crafters, and drop off a link to an interview I did with a blogger at the 2013 TAP NY Beer and Food Festival.

I'm a founding member and the current Brewmaster General of the Albany Brew Crafters, a homebrewing club in Albany, NY. We've been around since April of 2012, and have about 25 paid members, and 30 regular attendees to our meetings. If you're a brewer in the area, you should really join up -- its a lot of fun, and there are some club members that make some great beer. Also, we have some fairly active forum-style message boards that are free to join.  We meet the second Wednesday of every month at 7:00 PM at The Ruck in Troy, NY.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

NHC 2013: The Great Berliner

This post reflects upon my Berliner Weisse that made it into the second round of the National Homebrewers Competition (NHC). I've entered the NHC the past 3 years, and this is the first year that I have advanced any beers to the second round, so I must be either becoming a better to-style brewer (or I'm beginning to game the system in some fashion). I hope my reflections and the scans of the score-sheets I received from the competition are helpful to others interested in doing a quick Berliner.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sweaty Bretty (brewed 4/13/2013); AND 3 things I have learned about my taste in Saisons

I started this blog when I began honing my saison skills (about a year ago), and have pretty much dialed in a "house recipe" at this point. While I do like the "classic" saisons (Dupont, certainly!), I find most commercial saisons to lack the full ester profile that these wonderful little yeasties can kick off if they are treated right. For those who know what I *really* like to drink (don't judge me!), I suppose it is also no surprise that I love the pairing of the spicy yeastiness of the saison yeasts with a earthy and fruity Brettanomyces character.

The basement lab set-up.
Before I shoot out my basic recipe to the world for the scrutiny of all, I wanted to list three rules I've adopted for my saisons. If you've read the above paragraph, the first might not be too surprising...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Barrel Project: The Acquisition

Bourbon barrels at Hillrock Distillery awaiting adoption. 
This is the second post in The Barrel Project series. On the back of my rather vociferous rant about the container-ship of barrels, I will post here some pictures of our trip to Hillrock Estate Distillery, along with a bit of narrative. In the next post I'll provide some more details about the group nature of the project, including our decision on a recipe and some of the barrel prep.

I had been wanting to do some sort of barrel project for awhile, but never really had the space. When we moved to our luxurious new suburban rental home (replete with full basement), I knew the time was close. After getting the brewery set up and insuring all would be good with the ol' landlord, I began absorbing barreled beer knowledge that I could--by both research and osmosis.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Barrel Project: The Philosophical Implications of a Barrel...

The Heidelburg Tun in Germany. A very dilute
surface to liquor area... 
"Everybody has heard of the great Heidelberg Tun, and most people have seen it, no doubt. It is a wine-cask as big as a cottage, and some traditions say it holds eighteen hundred thousand bottles, and other traditions say it holds eighteen hundred million barrels. I think it likely that one of these statements is a mistake, and the other is a lie. However, the mere matter of capacity is a thing of no sort of consequence, since the cask is empty, and indeed has always been empty, history says. An empty cask the size of a cathedral could excite but little emotion in me. I do not see any wisdom in building a monster cask to hoard up emptiness in, when you can get a better quality, outside, any day, free of expense."                                   - Mark Twain, A Tramp Abroad

I think that it is fair to say that within the past few years the oak barrel (in its various iterations and usages) has joined the hop as one of the hottest trend in the craft beer world. And for me it is almost more exciting than the hop. Here's why...