Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Well... Actually...

I ended up bottling the dark ale this morning. I became tied up in a project yesterday.

So the % ABV.. half a point lower than my expectations.. was 4%  ...not bad. I'd like to go stronger but this was my first brew using a mashing tun. My second brew with the tun won't be much better (recall, I used too much water, thinned it out a bit).. but hey..

It'll still taste great, which is my goal anyway.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Bottle Day...

I have one brew in the primary fermenter and the other in the secondary. The secondary is going into the bottle today! ...its my normal dark ale with sweet orange peel added to it. I am looking forward to finding out how it turns out.. It needs to sit in the bottle for at least another week before I can try it out.

With that... the wheat beer I started 2 weeks ago will go into the secondary after I've cleaned and sterilized the container. I'm looking forward to that one as well. I really like wheat beer.

That is the nice thing about this hobby; You can indulge your taste without breaking the bank. Each batch costs me about $30 - $40 in materials (grain, hops, yeast, etc...) and produces about two cases of beer. I average about $35 a batch.

Your average factory-made premium beer costs about $12 for a 12 pack.. plus taxes... more if your favorite brew is not on sale (I am partial to Blue Moon).

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Dogs dig the biscuits...

I made up a batch of spent-grain dog biscuits..

They were a hit..

I still have some raw material about. I may make up some more for the pups later. I also want to try out one of the various bread recipes out there that use spent grain..

Friday, December 9, 2011

I tried a Spinning class yesterday evening

...and I survived to tell the tale.

It was actually pretty fun. I had to disassociate what I was doing from actual cycling. My cleats did not work with the bikes they had there. Mine are either the wrong style or (more likely) they are mated to my own bike's pedals. I used to toe straps instead.

Because of my personal geometry vs the bike, I did not do any of the standing on the pedals parts.. I just stayed in the saddle.

One.. it feels unnatural to me to stand on a bike (even my own) unless I am actually climbing a hill.. two, kept slipping out of those stupid straps.. and three, there's this object in my way.. below my chest and above my waist. ;)

But it was fun nonetheless. I had a good sweat and it was more engaging an activity in a room full of people than alone on my bike trainer in my house.  On my bike trainer, it is a real struggle to get past 30 min. without getting bored to death.

So.. I'll go back and do it again and maybe some more. ...and to think, when I was in shape and on the trail every day; I used to mock people in spin classes because they were only "play-cycling" and not getting the fulfillment of being out on the open road.

Off Target

I used too much water for the wheat beer.

My pre-boil gravity was pretty on target but I did that check prior to sparging.

I was shooting for an OG of 1.061 and what I got was 1.034

My other brew that is in the secondary (a dark evil brew).. had an OG of 1.040 and was 1.010 going into the secondary (that one is doing fine)

Insult to injury.. its been in the fermenter for two days now and no action. I see some sediment on the bottom but no krauzen or anything happening up top.

So.. the recipe for this disaster was:

6.5 pounds 2-row
4 pounds White Wheat malt
1 pound Carapils

half-oz US Cascade at the start of boil
1 oz US Cascade at 15 min.
half-oz US Cascade at end of boil

Half-oz sweet orange peel at 15 min.

White labs hefeweizen ale yeast

Steeped at 150 Deg. F for an hour.. boiled for 90 min.

I will have to be more mindful of how much water I am using next time.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dog Biscuits from spent grains..

I was chatting with the owner of BFD  yesterday and he told me that he will sometimes hang onto his spent grains to either make bread or make dog biscuits..

Huh.. dog biscuits? Sounds simple enough.. and happily, the internet provides (see, there are things other than porn on the interwebs)...

First ..a video of the process.. (not sure I'd do that egg shell thing)

....and from elsewhere:

Original recipe:
4 cups spent grain
2 cups flour
1 cup peanut butter (all natural)
2 eggs

Mix all ingredients thoroughly. Press down into a dense layer on a large cookie sheet. Score almost all the way through into the shapes you want. Bake for about half an hour at 350 F to solidify them. Loosen them from the sheet, break the biscuits apart and return them, loosely spread out on the cookie sheet, to the oven at 225 F for 3 to 4 hours (or until they are really dry) to prevent mold growth. Store in an airtight container to keep them dry and mold-free.

...So I guess I'll go get some PB later and try this out.

And... so I can enjoy as well, maybe I'll make some bread as well..