Thursday, September 23, 2010

Pennsylvania Blueberry Still Cider

No gravity readings on this recipe, but it seems to be a nice and easy to make drink that really pleases the dry red wine drinkers, that are eager to sample their way into a home fermented beverage.  This recipe is mainly for my still version, but more than one person has stated  it may be a fine carbonated beverage.  When I drink it still, it is served at room temp and in a wine glass - much like you would a merlot.

3 Gallon Batch
3 Gallons of local apple cider
6 pounds of frozen blueberries (hand crushed)
1 pound of chopped craisens
1 12oz can of pie blueberries in syrup
1 12 oz can of 100% frozen apple juice concentrate
2 pounds of light brown sugar
1 capdem tablet (crushed)

Day 1 - Thaw and crush 3 pounds of berries.  Combine in sanitized fermenter with cider, craisens, canned berries, juice concentrate, sugar and capdem.  Put cover on fermenter and allow to rest at 70* for 24 hours.
Day 2 - Pitch yeast and hold at 70*

Ferment for 3 weeks

Day prior to racking - thaw and crush 3 pounds of berries.  Place in sanitized fermenter (I put in hop sack this time) and add crushed capdem tablet

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chai Saison

This beer was brewed at the semi-regular group brew with my friends during a seasonal brew day in Joppa MD.  The beer was basically a classic Saison recipe from Farmhouse Ales (a fantastic book if you have not yet read it), however we wanted to add some chai flavor.  I was originally inspired to use the chai after having Chai Iced Tea from a local eatery, Pai Wai.

The saison is one of the most amazing beer styles I have ever researched, since it was initially brewed to sustain farmers.  The "style" originated in the farming area between France and Belgium, and was typically a hodgepodge of malted grains the farmer had on hand, hops, and yeast that was then fermented at higher temperatures.  There is some guesswork in defining the style, since the beer would differ farm to farm, year to year.  This beer was such a staple to the farming class, it was sometimes even used as pay for the farm laborers - workers were permitted up to 5 liters per workday. Since this was a beer brewed based on what was on hand, the grist could contain various proportions of spelt, wheat, oats, barley and even other malted products.  There is a distinct "spicy" flavor that is characteristic of the beer, but traditionally no spices were known to be added to the beer.  Today, some of the more well known saison producers manage to create a bouquet of spice and flavor through only yeast and hop derived phenols.  Many homebrewers will read the style guidelines, and think spicing a saison is required - it is not.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

A good beer day

Today was a good beer day, and it is only 6:00.  So far, I have had a chance to meet up with my MD Brewday friends, enjoy quite a few great commercial and homebrewed beers, made a fantastic (hopefully) belgian dubble, and taken ownership of a few branded MD Brewday pint glasses and a fresh sack of pilser malt.