Friday, July 29, 2011

The harvest...

I harvested my corn... last night, I pulled two ears for dinner w/the girl. They tasted really good. Sweet corn, as advertised..

They were not really red kernels. They had red spots on them and the cornsilk was red.. maybe they cross-polinated with someone else's corn in the area.

I ended up with 16 edible ears (not including the ones from last night). Only two of them ended up being "supermarket sized."  The rest were medium to small.

My broccoli is coming up weird.. just like last year. I have healthy adult plants but they are not producing heads... just these long stalks with little tiny heads on them. I am doing something wrong or I am just not cut out to grow the stuff.

I'll sow some more corn next week. I should be able to pick that by the end of September or early October.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Milk stout into the secondary

Its only been a week but the krausen has already fallen to the bottom of the carboy, so I went ahead and moved my brew over to the secondary fermenter.

I took a sample and the gravity was at 1.031 ... which puts this brew at about 3.5%ABV right now.

It does not taste bad at this point. It is not cloyingly sweet as advertized. It is very very smooth with barely a hint of the hops bitterness. Even if this does not ferment up to 4 or 5%, it'll still taste pretty decent. I'll leave it be for a couple weeks.

Ready to bottle...

I am fixing to prime the beer in my secondary fermenter.. its This One that I started in June.. it has had plenty of time to do its thing and it does not taste too bad... in it's non-carbonated way.. :)

I'm moving it to the bottling bucket to prime and I'll let it sit there for a bit so any solids left over from fermentation can settle to the bottom. The FG was 1.008 and that brings my ABV to about 4.25% ...not the 5% I was shooting for but hey.. close enough.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

brewing related activities....

That brew that I started at the beginning of June? ... It started a second fermentation. I had left it in the carboy for longer than I usually do and off it went!... So then yesterday, I moved it over to the secondary fermenter. I'll bottle it up next week.

Yesterday I also started another batch for the primary. I thought I would stretch myself a bit and try something different.. leave the comfort zone a bit. I am brewing up a clone of this:

It called for way more grain than I usually handle. my brew in the bag system was nearly overwhelmed with it. Once the grains were in the water, there was not very much room at the top of my 35 qt. brewpot.

I accidentally let it boil over too. I was not counting on how fast it would heat up. I had the water at about 160 F before adding the grains but then it started to shoot up. I had turned away from the pot for a moment and then I heard it boiling over... dammit.

So I turned off the heat completely and willed it to cool down quickly. After steeping it for a while, I grabbed a spare ale pail and I emptied the wort into it (my pot has a handy spigot). Then I took the pot with the grains, set it on the floor and the ale pail on the counter.

Then I refilled the pot with the wort, making sure to fill it evenly all over the top of the grains.

I did this a few times and then I left it alone. This may have been too long but I let it mash for about two hours total.

After that, It was just the standard 90 min. boil.. adding the hops and the lactose at the indicated times. (this is a MILK stout)..

The wort is as black as my soul, I cooled it down, tossed it in the fermenter and now its bubbling away. I was able to do a full boil too.. no additional water needed to get it up to 5 gallons.

I ended up with an OG of 1.057 ...not full efficiency but close to my mark (was shooting for the 1.060-65 range)

The funny thing is... I've never actually drank a milk stout before I'll have no idea if it tastes like one should taste. All I know is its supposed to be kind of sweet and... errrr... milky tasting. (the lactose does not ferment)