Cold Fruit Infusion

Part of the reason I brewed up a 10 gallon batch of belgian blonde was I wanted to experiment with adding fruit flavor to a beer. Sam’s Club had a sale on frozen strawberries, so I picked up two bags (10 pounds) to play around with. I thawed a few berries the other night and mashed them up in a sample I pulled, and it was extremely tasty, so did some napkin calculations and racked about 6 gallons of beer that’s been cold-crashing for 5 days onto 5 pounds of strawberries in a bucket fermenter.

My plan is to hold the beer at 38-40 for about a week, and if a sample tastes good at that point, I’ll rack to a keg and force-carb. If I think it needs more flavor from the berries, I might add some or all of the remaining five pounds at that point and give it a few more days, but I’m hopeful it will come through nicely with this first infusion.

Belgian Blonde Strawberry Infusion

Wherein my propane run turns into a full blown fiasco

*sigh* Today was one of those days.

I’d taken Thursday and Friday off from work so, among other things, I could have a relaxing day to brew and get some fermented awesomeness back in my pipeline.

Brewing the planned 10 gallon batch meant I needed propane, so I set off to get my tank refilled and run a few other errands.

As I’m approaching the street on my way out of the grocery store parking lot, the older gentleman-apparently at the insistence of his wife-decides to just back up about 10 feet, at which point his rear bumper folded my hood like a hot tortilla and my relaxing day devolved into calling insurance agents and generally being mad at the world.

Yes, I’m still brewing tomorrow. Hopefully my blood pressure is back to normal by then.

Summertime Blues

Summertime Saga

Haven’t had a lot of news to report from the brewery as of late. Summer seems to have evaporated into a mist of dog training, weekend trips, and house renovations. It’s actually hard to believe I haven’t brewed since Easter Sunday. The American Wheat I brewed that weekend was supposed to become an apricot wheat, but the recipe I grabbed, a medal winner from the 2007 NHC, came out hop-heavy and didn’t meld well with the apricot extract, but it was damn drinkable with a squeeze of lemon, so it’s not gone to waste.

Since I still have two bottles of apricot extract in the fridge, and it’s still summer, I ordered up 10 gallons worth of Belgian blonde ingredients. I’ve never brewed a 10-gallon batch before, so this will be a fun learning experience. Since I have a couple kegs within inches of kicking, I’m hoping to keg 5 gallons of blonde as-is, and split the other 5 between the apricot flavoring and perhaps some strawberry puree.

The big project that’s been eating up my free time lately has been finishing our laundry room. Just after I got back from Railsconf in April, we had a plumber friend come and rework some of the rough pluming in our laundry room so we could add a sink. We’ve closed up the walls and have been pulling CAT6 to the whole house (which has involve me literally crawling around in the floor joist space on several occasions). When the laundry room is finished, I should finally have a big sink, an 8′ countertop, and a couple of cabinets dedicated solely to brewing gear which will make my wintertime brewing endeavors much more streamlined and keep me out of the downstairs bathroom when I need to hook up a wort chiller.

I also acquired a garage-fridge that will be getting hooked up to a temperature controller. I’m hoping to get my first lager going soon, but that’s on hold until some other things from the wife-list get completed. Priorities, man. Priorities.