Saturday, July 5, 2014

To Serve with Liver

One red wine is in bottles, another goes into the carboy.  This time a Chianti.  In my mind this is the wine that comes in the big teardrop bottle with the wicker cover; cheap, but great with a steak or even just a good bowl of spaghetti.   

Now I'm hungry for lasagna.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Exploded vs. Unexploded

My ginger beer done blew up on me!  It was disappointingly flat for months, then suddenly (though coincident with the recent seasonal rise in temperature) they started being REALLY carbonated.  

Then they started blowing up.  

That's never good; so one day, I just uncapped them all, dumped them into a clean bucket, and transferred that to a clean carboy.  I threw an airlock on it, saw little to no activity, and after a week or so, re-bottled it.  The flavor has changed: it's definitely picked up a little bit of a sour character, and I have to say that it's not quite as gingery as it was.  If you had any of this beer the first time around, you know that's an acceptable loss.  This shit was gingery-er than ginger.

I'm getting ready to make it again, maybe.

Dark Mysteries of the 50's

She walked into my office after five.  After the sun goes down below the Chrysler Building and Janine goes home to her cat and her book and her curlers.  She walked in like she had already hired me and I was late getting back to her.  Her face was obscured by her hat and the shadows from the Venetian blinds, but the rest of her wasn't, sliding past oak desk chairs and overflowing wire trash bins in a silky black dress and gams that wouldn't quit.  "What's your name, doll?"

"Pinot Noir."

Stuck vs. Unstuck

In the summer of 2012, I brewed a Honey-Wheat beer using the harvested yeast from a bottle of Lakefront's Wisconsinite.  It was light in color, flowery and Belgian in taste, and I liked it more than I thought I would, even when I was drinking it; every time.  This spring, I thought, "Hey, let's do that again!"  And this time, I planned to use the harvested yeast from the bottom of a bottle of that beer I made, continuing the strain out another generation.  "They" tell us that you can't do that too many times with a commercial strain, or it starts to drift from the flavor profile and other characteristics of what you bought.  But this is a wild strain, a perfect natural balance of multiple strains that should propagate indefinitely, just as it has in nature for millions of years.  

Unless it's been starving in a bottle in the basement for two years, and you don't bother to make a starter out of it.  Then maybe nothing happens.  So maybe you throw in the trub from a bottle of some other Belgian thing you've got going, and maybe that does nothing as well.  Then maybe it starts to get a telltale white film on it and you've never really seen any bubbles out of the airlock for like six weeks now.  That's when you know it's time to forgo your hippie plans to live off the grid with self-perpetuating yeasts, relent to the military/industrial commercial yeast powers-that-be, and bring out the big guns.

Wyeast 3278 Belgian Lambic Blend.  

If this batch was funky before, no one will ever know.  Within 12 hours of pitching these beasties, it had an inch of kreusen, and within 48, it had crested and come down.  So I added three pounds of honey, and that kept things frisky.  Also, note that I'm not using an airlock just yet, but a piece of cheesecloth, just to keep things clean.  This is a foray into open fermentation, albeit a very controlled one.  It's also an experiment in sours, which are not a genre I typically like.  Just as Dan has his Bucket of Truth, I now have this vessel; long may it transmute the ordinary into the extraordinary.

It just needs a name...