Talk about hot hot hot, oh boy has it been hot and humid this summer. I’ve started on the weeding of the garden, and the first section that I’ve been working on is the rows between the tomato plants. I figure that if I just work at weeding the garden one small section at a time, eventually I’ll be able to get the whole plat completed.
Toward the end of June, I planted some sweet corn seeds in the back section of the left hand side of the garden. Once again, this is a task that I should have completed months ago, but hey C’est la vie. Right now the stalks are about to my knee, so it will be a while before I have any ears for harvesting.
You’ll also notice that I tossed in a bunch of close up shots of the centennial hops. And by the looks of those cones, I’ll need to plan a brew session in the next couple of weeks to take advantage of these fresh cones. I’m think about maybe brewing a Kölsch style beer, with these hops. But since I’m in the pre-planning stage of the brew session, all ideas are welcome.
After I made the first batch of jalapeno rings, I started to think that I might want to try and make the jalapeno rings a totally different way. In case I run into any issues with the first batch (such as the rings being too salty). Don’t ask me how, but somehow I ended up on the website for Backwoods Home Magazine, and they had an article about canning peaches. Well within that page they had a link to “The USDA Complete Guide to Home Canning” on the Penn State University web site. Continue reading →
For some reason this year, I’ve grown all these jalapenos, but I’m not really in the mood it eat multiple pounds of jalapeno poppers. So instead of making jalapeno poppers I’m going to cut the jalapenos into rings and try to pickle and can them.
There is just something about canning/pickling that really interests me. Maybe it has something to do with preserving and enjoying the bounty of the harvest year round. Plus if I’m going to grow some of my own food, I don’t have the heart to toss any of it on the compost pile. Yeah I leave some of the harvest on the vine for nature to take their share, but that doesn’t mean that they have full reign of the garden. Continue reading →
Who knew that a $7 thermometer could make such a huge difference? I basically added ~13% eff to this brew session, to come in at ~73%, much better then the 60% on the last batch of IPA.
For the dry stout I had an OG of 1.050 @ 76F with ~6 gallon of wort going in the primary fermenter. After I pitched the yeast it only took about 6 or 7 hours, before the airlock was bubbling like crazy. So enough rambling on my part, here is the recipe that JRR and I cobbled together two weeks ago:
1 oz. – East Kent Goldings – Pellet – 60 min
1 oz. – East Kent Goldings – Pellet – 15 min
1.8 oz. – Centennial – Fresh Whole Hops – Dry Hopping
Wyeast Irish Ale – 1084
Other info: Mashed for about 90 minutes at 148-150F with 4.25 gallons of water; sparged with 5.5gal of 185F water; First running was 3.5gal and the second/final running was 3.75gal; 90 minute boil; 5 days in the primary, FG 1.012 @ 80F; at least 11-14 days in the secondary before kegging.
1) Having a good thermometer makes a huge difference in trying to get the best efficiency out of your grains.
2) I used the primary fermenter bucket to measure all the water. (Why didn’t I think of this sooner?) This is much easier then remembering how many measuring cups you added to the pot. Just fill to a gallon line, then use a measuring cup to adjust the volume up or down from there.
3) 1 gallon of 185F water will not bring a 150 mash up to 168F; at best it will raise the temperature to 160-162F. Next time I’m going to add a gallon of boiling water for the mash out.
4) If there is only thing I am always going to do in the future, it will be to make and use a yeast starter before pitching the yeast into the primary fermenter.
Well its been about 5 days in the primary fermenter, and it looks like most of the activity has dropped off. Right now the airlock only bubbles about once in a minute, if not a little bit longer. I did a gravity read, and at 80F it had an FG of 1.008, so that would put the ABV right around 4.3%. Keep in mind that if I had 70% efficiency (which isn’t a lot to ask) the ABV would have been 5.3%. C’est la vie. Continue reading →
It looks like the centennial hops have reached there peak, so it’s time for a brew session on Saturday. After quickly hashing out an IPA recipe with JRR (recipe and brew session to be posted later.) I made a quick trip to my favorite local homebrew shop to get all the grains for the brew and some light DME for the yeast starter.
My mixing ratio for the yeast starter was 2 oz (by weight) light DME to 16 fluid oz of water. I put the mix on the stove and brought it to a boil, letting it boil for 15 mins. I then cleared out my ice maker of all the old ice, dumping it in the kitchen sink. Putting the pot on the ice pile to cool it all down to room temperature. Keep in mind that the separated yeast that I am using has been sitting in a growler in the back of my fridge since St. Patty’s this year. So hopefully this starter will get the yeast alive and kicking again.
As kind of a side note, it’s amazing how cheap a brew session can get when you don’t have to get hops or yeast. All the grains for this weekends 5.5 gallon brew session ran $17.23 (not including tax.) That’s nuts, when you consider that it costs ~$18 for 4 oz of dried hops and a vile of White Labs yeast. No wonder a lot of guy/gals are now starting to grow their own hops and reusing yeast. The money saving is just undeniable.
I took a quick stroll by the hop rhizomes today after bringing in all the seedling flats from having some time in the sun. And we have got some hop bud activity, a lot on the Centennial and only one bud on the Goldings.
Yeah it’s still very early in the season. But since this is the second year for the rhizomes. I might actually have some hop flower activity this year. So that means fresh hops in my homebrew. Ummmmm………Beeeeer