Thursday, October 16, 2014

Making a Cheese Press

One goal I have in 2014 that didn't make my brew years resolution post is to be more honest. That's like a life goal so I didn't put it on here sooner. It's hard to drink all of the beer I brew by myself. A good deal of it gets wasted. It's unfortunate because I've brewed some good things. I attempt to give much of it away to Kyle and Derek as well but I really need more friends so I can give it to more people.

In that spirit last year, even further back, I started posting other things on this blog about brew food, sodas, at home soft pretzels, and more. I eat food every day so it's easier to post about more often than making beer. Seeing as my blog is 100% add free, and reading it is totally voluntary I don't feel bad subjecting you to my amateur hour cooking. I'll try to keep the blog brewfood/fermentation centric.

Onto the thrust of post. (read more after the break.)

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Pizza: Easier than you think.

We've all done it. We've paid more for a pizza than we should have; be it at the local tavern, or even at some upscale place boasting a wood fired stove; we've over paid. We're drawn to pizza like moths to a flame. We all burn for crispy warm bread covered in zesty tomato sauce oozing with caramelized cheese, and topped cured greasy meats(or fresh vegetables). For most Americans pizza is just a phone call away, for rural shoppers pizza can be purchased in the grocers freezer isle and baked at home offering a hint at how it's suppose to be.

What is Pizza suppose to be though? It's not fine dining in high society, but it's also not recycled leftover meatloaf. It's somewhere between a hot dog vendor steaming precooked links, and a restaurant where your waiter wears gloves. In my opinion pizza is best when shared and as a simple dish without too much analysis.

When you make pizza at home it gets even better. The ingredients in pizza aren't mystical and the items used in your pizza won't differ too dramatically from those used at your favorite pizza place. Pizza is something that you can have at home for a few dollars, and a few minutes of work.

(read more after the break to read just how easy pizza can be.)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Peach Lambic

I used up five gallons of lambic base on an experiment. I had a jug of relatively good tasting lambic style ale resting on the kitchen floor of my mothers home. It sat quietly developing from a mostly bland flavorless endeavor at first tasting to a sour one at blending time. pLambic #4 is now resting on top of peaches.

Why peaches? Because it's amazing.

I first experienced a peach lambic when Derek and I were on California Trip #2. It was here we had Fou' Foune from Cantillion. It was pretty magical. I still remember the duality of being both intensely sour with hints of funkiness and fruity with the apricot/peach flavors that were undeniable. 

Since then I've sampled other peach flavored sour ales and among them there were two stand outs. Cascade Apricot Ale which is a fine ale with nice sourness and a pleasant flavor of fresh fruits. How the beer maintains those flavors is pretty unexpected when you get your first nose full of sourness. The other standout was Upland Lambic: Peach, which like Fou' Foune had those lambic elements and a nice sour peach flavor.

When I blended white flame peaches with my sanctification clone I tried a fresh peach for the first time. I dunno why but my parents had only ever served me canned peaches floating in syrup and I thought that was the flavor of peaches. Perhaps their flavor was that of Peach Faygo, a guilty pleasure for Derek when he's in Michigan, a flavor I find cloying. I tried them at that point and found out that their flavor was totally different from what I had known. This peach season at Gavin's Orchards I've tried more peaches than I knew existed three months ago. The variety settled on to make myself a peach sour was the Blushing Star. Described as, "It has a unique wonderful distinctive full flavor of an extra sweet but slightly acidic white flesh peach plus a penetrating, pleasing aroma. Flesh is white tinged with pink and does not brown." I found it to be very easy to eat. The flavor is peachy without being too much, and the slight acidity of the peach balances that out pleasantly. Peach and acidity, who knew right?

This was mostly just my rinsing the skin of the peaches to clean off any dirt or other substances clinging to the outside, and then cutting them up. A few portions with deep bruising had to be tossed away but the peaches were in relatively good shape. Around 10 pounds of peaches were added, the amount would be 1/4 bushel or so, minus what I ate while I was working. Everything went well and after 12 hours there was minor airlock activity of the year old microbes getting a fresh start with their new food.

Fingers crossed that in four to six months this turns into a winner and that I have a real choice of what I should enter in the Siciliano's home brew competition.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Review: Double Dry Hopped Imperial IPA


This was brewed as Derek's birthday present. We had it over his birthday weekend as both a lawnmower and palate cleanser. It was light for it's abv, balanced for it's IBU, the aroma burst from the glass, the hops filled the flavor, and it finished smooth. I had Derek review it for the blog (Thanks Buddy). It may have faded before Derek drank it because he reported less aroma than I remembered, or perhaps it was personal perception.

Appearance: (B) Nice copper color with slight haze, nice head with good retention, settles down to a foamy quarter inch

Aroma: (B) Light floral hop noted, fairly understated

Flavor: (A) Pine and floral hops with a mild bitter finish

Mouthfeel: (A) Medium bodied with pleasant carbonation

Overall: (B/A) Nice summer, good character and quite refreshing

Improvements: I might consider adding more hops. Add another charge to the aroma step and or layer hops known for their aroma into the beer to accentuate that. Also I'd use a Wyeast liquid culture instead of a packet. Possibly a good candidate for filtering if you were trying to win a competition.