Archive for April, 2008


Swill (No Comments)

We did a little bottling over the weekend. We bottled the Munich Lager and finally got the lingering batch of Agave Mead into bottles as well. The Munich is going to be a wonderful lager and I am looking forward to trying a properly conditioned bottle next week. The Agave Mead is also good, very similar to the one I made a couple batches ago. So, why the title of Swill?

A little over a year ago, I tried my hand at making Grape Wine. I chose a Muscat concentrate from Williams, although I had never had muscat wine. I used the same process that I use for Mead, which produces a mead that everyone seems to love. I fermented it until it was ‘done’ and kept racking it until it was clear. Actually, I used some Sparkaloid after 6 months of racking because it wasn’t clearing up. Anyhow, I eventually bottled it and split the batch with my Brother.

After leaving it in the bottle for 6 months, I finally tasted it. It was awful. I thought it might get better with time, so I tried it again at Easter. Nope, still bad. It’s drinkable and doesn’t contain any of the off flavors that would normally accompany mold or bacterial contamination, but it tastes bad. It tastes a bit like altar wine, which leads me to the conclusion that I should have taken gravities a little more often near the end of fermentation and added some sulfites to stop fermentation at the appropriate time. I have since tried other muscat wines, and they are not nearly as harsh as my version. Anyhow, I don’t plan to try my hand at grape wine again and I have dubbed this stuff ‘Swill.’

This weekend I wanted to put some of the mead in some of my favorite wine bottles, so I had to move some of the swill into other bottles. I had a number of Champagne bottles that I can cap, so I moved 8 of the 11 bottles of swill into those. I was tempted to just pour the stuff out, but I have trouble wasting intoxicating beverages, even if they are bad. So, if anyone would like a whole lot of swill, you’re welcome to take some with you the next time we meet.

– Chris

A Run Back to the Grocery Store (No Comments)

So here we are brewing for AMAM (a biologically inspired robotics conference) and not only does the beer have to be good but it also has to be in bottles. Apparently we are at a shortage so I am going to make a few calls to local bars to see if we can get some empties. As far as the beers go– the ones that are ready to be bottled are downright tasty. I am just hoping that in this process they dont end up over carbonated because that could be a little embarassing. So we are at an exciting time. And it all will go well provided we figure out a cheap way to get brown bottles……..

— Cindy

Lots of brewing (No Comments)

It’s official, we will be supplying a reasonably large quantity of beer for one of Cindy’s conferences this summer. As a result, I am brewing a few extra batches of beer to make sure there is enough. I’ll also need to decided on a label design and make the beer look presentable, if not professional.

To that end, 10 days ago we brewed a batch of Beerios and a batch of IPA. They finished primary fermentation and we’ll move them to the secondaries and dry hop the IPA this weekend. I went back to using a pound of Flaked Oats instead of Naked Oats in the Beerios. I’m hoping for better body and flavor as a result. I’m still using a pound of Oat malt as well.

We’ll also be brewing a couple more beers this weekend, and I ordered the ingredients for them this morning. I’ll be making a Rye Beer, a Porter of some sort, and another Raspberry Wheat. I suspect that not all of those will go to the conference, but it will be good to have options. This is my first time making a Rye beer, so we’ll see how it turns out.

Right now I have 25 gallons of beer in tanks. In early June, when all of these batches are complete, I will have about 40 gallons of beer in bottles (not counting my current stock). That’s close to 400 bottles, and we’ve only promised 100-ish to the conference. I may need some volunteers to help with the rest. 🙂

Oh, I’m also planning to make a Belgian Saison once the weather is a little warmer. Anyone who has tried the Saison Dupont will understand why I must brew one.

– Chris