Irish Ale – Racked to secondary fermentor

After 7 days in the primary fermentor. Last weekend on Sunday afternoon, I racked off the Irish ale to a secondary fermentor.

The final gravity after 7 days was 1.024, when the target gravity was suppose to be ~1.014. But after racking the beer to the secondary, enough yeast was kicked up to get the fermentation going again. I have a good feeling that in about another 10 days in the secondary that it should finish fermenting down to the target FG. I guess only time will tell.

Potato Chip Review – Lay’s Salt and Vinegar

This is another one of those flavors that I picked up at the Meijer in Kalamazoo. Call them the staid big brother verse his skater punk little bro in the Lay’s Dill Pickle chips.

Once upon a time, I might have had a fun size bag of Lay’s Salt and Vinegar chips in high school, because I remember not liking the tart vinegar flavor in high school. So I basically avoided salt and vinegar flavored chips until this current purchase. So lets reload an oldie but a goodie into the flavor mill. Continue reading

Thinking Spring 2010 – Garden pre-planning

Other then the freezing rain coming down the last couple days, I’m trying to think warm. And with spring a couple of months out, its time for me to start some of my garden pre-planning, about what I want to plant this year. One of the first things that I’ve done this week is order myself a 2010 seed catalog from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Yeah I like jumping on their web site, and surfing around for stuff, but sometimes a hard copy just makes things a little bit easier. Two items that I’m thinking of ordering from Johnny’s are some Lovage seeds and maybe some Stevia seeds.

I’ve already picked up a packet of Burpee Swiss Chard – Fordhook Giant, while I was at Menard’s getting some Miracle Gro potting soil. And I’m also kind of curious if anything will grow out of the seeds that I saved from the Aji Limo peppers that I got from my farmer neighbor. But I guess we’ll see if anything pans out of the Aji Limo this year.

If anyone has any suggestions on what I should grow this year, now is definitely the time to let me know. So just post a comment with your plant ideas, since I’m always looking for suggestions. Thanks.

Working with treated apple cider and the problems with sodium benzoate

Note: Keep in mind that this article was supposed to be posted in November 2009, I guess better late then never. For a current update on the ciders status, see this posting.

So get a load of this. It’s been about a month since I started fermenting this year’s batch of hard cider. And about two weeks ago, I finally bothered to take an FG reading to see how the fermentation was coming along. And what was the FG on the hydrometer… was the same as the OG….1.050. Then I started thinking to myself “What the hell just happened?” Continue reading

Turning cabbage into sauerkraut – v1

This is one of those strange projects that I’ve wanted to try for a very long time. Somehow an email chain was started in my clique, about one of them being on a cabbage fix lately. Since that chain email planted the cabbage seed in my head. When I ended up going to the grocery store this past weekend, they just happen to have cabbage for $0.33 a lb. Three heads of cabbage and 10 lbs later I was off and running with this sauerkraut experiment. Continue reading

Brew session this past weekend – Irish Red Ale

Since I ended up getting Monday off for MLK, I thought that is is high time that I brew up a batch of beer, since I’m running low of both BL and homebrew. Sure I still have the keg of Christmas beer that hasn’t been tapped (even though all the bottles were drank in early December.)

I really don’t remember how this recipe developed other then JRR mentioned that he also planned on brewing a irish red ale. So I basically took the base recipe that he gave me, made a couple of tweaks and I was off and running. We’ll see how this batch turns out in a couple of weeks. Continue reading

Hard Cider Gravity Check

Well its been a couple of months since the last gravity check on the hard cider, and surprisingly we are doing pretty good on the final gravity.

Here is the breakdown of the three different batches:

  • Lalvin 71B-1122 yeast – 0.996
  • Red Star Premier Cuvee yeast – 1.004
  • Red Star Cote des Blancs – 1.000

Out of the three batches, the batch that used the Premier Cuvee yeast is crystal clear (all pics below are from the premier cuvee batch), while the other two batches are still cloudy. But I think that the most surprising item is that the Cote des Blancs is the only batch that is done fermenting, while the other two still have some slow activity going.

I’m thinking about maybe pitching another batch of yeast into the Premier Cuvee & Lalvin batches for one final push, but I haven’t really committed to this idea. Part of it being that I’m already 4 months into these batches, and I still haven’t even bottled any of the stuff so that it can really lay down to mellow out. Not to mention that I’m short on wine bottles, even though I have 4 cases of empty bottles. Decisions decisions, so many little decisions to make.

Potato Chip Review – Jays Regular Potato Chips

These were one of the bags of chips that I picked up at the Meijer in Kalamazoo. And after having a small bowl of these chips, I have to say that the saying on the bag is true and you really “can’t stop eating ’em.” The taste of these chips reminds me a little bit of my favorite plain chips, those being regular Better Made chips (review coming soon.) The Jays have a little bit of a corn smell/taste being that they are fried in corn oil, but its nothing overpowering. If anything the smell of these chips remind me of CornNuts (which are pretty good, in and of themselves.) Continue reading

Commercial Deli Meat Slicer

Well I probably just got one of the best birthday gifts in a very long time from my sister and brother-in-law. And what could that gift have been…..why none other then a professional 12″ deli slicer. OH YES, you read that right! This is one of those things that I’ve wanted to get for the longest time. Because it doesn’t matter how thin you want then to cut your cold cuts at the deli counter, they just never cut it thin enough. Lets face it, people are lazy and the thinner you cut it, the more effort you have to exert for the same finished weight.

So after I received the deli slicer, I basically left it in the middle of my dinner table, just so I could look at and marvel at now having such a piece of machinery. But with all upside, always comes a little bit of downside. And the downside with this slicer was that it needed a little bit of a tune-up. Continue reading