Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Flood

Now that it's over I can talk about it. There was a flood in my apartment and I've been homeless for 21 days. That is the length of time my landlord took to undertake what should have been a simple cleaning up from a pipe that burst in their laundry room.

Several batches that were either aging or waiting on me for bottling have been lost. One batch is on wait and see.

I also think I have to move, how can I trust my landlords after this? No longer will I inhabit the same small space I've lived in since I started this blog.

I dunno what's next but I'm hoping to find out soon.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Expanding my brew day.

As if a six to eight hour brew day wasn't long enough this past brewday I wanted to do more. I wanted to try to make spent grain bread. You may have heard of this and thought, can I do it? The answer is yes. It's super easy!

To start with read this primer on the Home Brewers Association's webzone

I modified their recipe down to a more manageable size and removed the milk because I never have milk at home; it always spoils before I drink it all.

1.50  cups spent grain (wet, but drained)
0.75  cups warm water
0.25  cups sugar
2.50  cups all purpose flour (give or take)
0.50  tsp. salt
1.0   egg beaten
0.5   packet dry active bakers yeast

When I made this it was still sticky and wet at first so I added about a half cup more flower. This will depend on the water content of your spent grain. The dough should be tacky, but not sticky or wet. It should stay together and not stick to your hands. Find the right amount of flour for your batch. 
Side note on making bread: when you're adding ingrediants at the end to get it to the right texture and consistency add them a little at a time, kneed them in and see if you need more. If you dump a half cup of flour in because it's still a little wet it might become overly dry and break apart; this can be overcome by adding water, but if you add too much you are in a cycle of fail.
So you'll do a rise until it doubles in size, this depends on the ambient temp, in a cool kitchen it could take 2 hours or more, on a hot day with no AC your time will be less.

After the rise punch the dough down and form it into whatever shape you want your loaf to be, I usually make a boule. Let it rise again for about as long as you let it rise the first time. You want the yeast to create little CO2 pockets to keep your bread light and airy.

Bake at 375 for 35 to 45 minutes, when the loaf is hard you should be able to bang on the bottom and should sound hollow, then it's done. The crust will be thick and rustic. Enjoy.


My Results

The bread was good, the crust was thick and dark perhaps a bit over cooked, but the inside of the bread was warm, moist and surprisingly sweet. The spent grains added texture as well to the bread. I'd make it again without hesitation and would enjoy trying bread made from a red or brown ale too.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Double Dry Hopped India Pale Ale

I am normally not all about getting a recipe from another source and then remaking it on my home system. Why? It's not nearly as much fun. You're standing on the backs of others trying to reach for a ring that some one has already obtained. Even if your clone is perfect you're still second in the race to perfection. Heady Topper is a DIPA that has been cloned extensively. Why? it's fantastic. The cans are hard to come by because they sell out each week and are only distributed within Vermont and to Boston. I'd love to have a keg of Vermont's finest DIPA but I'm going to leave the cloning to the clone experts. People with strict fermentation controls, well developed palates, and access to the original can have this shiny ring.

I am going to take aspects of the best clone recipes I can find and adapt them to my tastes. I'd call the an inspired by rather than a copied from.

(please read more after the break.)

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chicken Bratwurst

It's good to mix things up. In an effort to keep my taste buds guessing and my waistline in check I have made some sausages for summer. These chicken brats were the second meat to pass through my grinder which did not disappoint the second time through.

Chicken Bratwursts aren't the least traditional thing out there. Johnsonville makes them; I haven't seen them in my area. Livestrong has a totally unnecessary article on how to cook them. The Spicy Sausage (A great resource for recipes) even has a recipe. The internet agrees that this is a lighter alternative to pork. After the break I am going to include my recipe and thoughts after trying some chicken brats.

(please read more after the break)