As ma femme often points out, brewing is not my hobby. Bottle washing is my hobby. Taken in manageable chunks it not really ever difficult or tiring, it just consumes a lot of time and it seems like I am always doing it. At least I get to drink beer while I'm at it. I am getting close to being caught up with empties in my basement... then I remember the ones in my trunk. I should bring those in.
In fermenting news, I have transferred the Belgian and started another Pinot Noir:
The Tripel was very cloudy after 2 weeks in primary; it also still tasted pretty sweet. I'm not in the habit of measuring gravity, but that certainly would have told the tale. Perhaps a beer this big at temps this low should have had more time. It just seemed ready to go based on airlock activity. After just 24 hours in secondary, it is dramatically clearer, there's already an inch of trub on the bottom of the carboy, and there's an inch of really clear beer at the top. Previous iterations of this beer have been hazy at bottling, but poured very clear from bottles (initially) with lots of loose sediment.
My previous batch of Pinot Noir is apparently a big hit at get-togethers this holiday season, and while I still have plenty of it, good results with wine take 6+ months, so I started another today. Wine is so much easier than beer, it almost seems like cheating. I do like all the mixing steps at the beginning, it makes it seem like you are really doing something, and I like all the little packets that come with the kit. I always just toss the preservatives and clarifying agents, so I could do without those, but all the kits I've had seem to come with bentonite clay and oak chips or powder. I'm not exactly sure what the clay does, and I think I read somewhere that adding oak in primary helps take out "vegetative" tastes in the juice. It's worth some more exploration. For this kit, I put in the Lalvin EC-1118 yeast that came with it, and also supplemented that with two packs of Red Star Montrachet.