Thursday, April 19, 2007

Brew News

I finally got one of my home brewed beers bottled. It was my 23rd brew, a clone of Rochefort 10, though it turns out to be more comparable to Rochefort 8. Not too long ago, I had 4 or 5 beers in secondary which is the most I've had going at one time. This is my first post on my brewing hobby, I'll give a quick description of my brewing activity during the last 4 months. Since February 2006, I've been working through recipes from Clone Brews and Beer Captured, by Tess and Mark Szamatulski, published by Maltose Press. I frequently make substitutions on the hops, and sometimes on the type of malt, but with a few minor exceptions, the recipes from these books have worked very well.

#25 Rodenbach Grand Cru clone. Brewed 2/4/2007. O.G. 1.050. F.G. 1.010 (as of 03/18/07). A Flanders Red Ale, this is ready to be bottled. Tastes pretty good already...tart and wine-like, lots of pleasant oak character in the finish from aging with oak chips during secondary fermentation.

#24 Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout clone. Brewed 1/28/07. Bottled 3/18/07. A home brew interpretation of an American interpretation of a Russian Imperial Stout. O.G. 1.080, F.G. 1.010. Tasted very good when sampled during the secondary but after bottle conditioning, it developed an unpleasant solvent aroma and taste. I hoped it would settle down with more time in the bottle, and it seems to be heading that direction based on a taste I had this weekend.

#23 Rochefort 10 clone. Brewed 1/2/07. Bottled 4/17/07. A Trappist classic. O.G. 1.080, F.G. 1.010. This one started low and ended low, and actually corresponds to the 9.2% abv of the Rochefort 8. It tastes great (dates, plums, brown sugar) and I can't wait to see how it tastes when it is carbonated (hopefully no solvent!).

#22 Spitfire Premium clone. Brewed 12/27/06. Bottled 1/28/07. O.G. 1.050. F.G. 1.010. This was the second time I brewed this recipe (first time was brew #12, 2/18/06), and it was a hit again. An English style Pale Ale, has a white, tight bubbled head which settles down to a thin cover. Good lacing. Crisp malt and mild earthy hop aroma. Taste is similar but stronger. Malt is crisp with a little sweetness, then an herbal (sage-like) and earthy hop finish. Creamy mouthfeel. Good stuff.

#21 N'ice Chouffe clone. Brewed Christmas Day, 2006. Bottled 3/18/07. O.G. 1.082. F.G. 1.012. This beer spent several weeks during secondary smelling like rubber. Yuk. However, after two months, the rubber smell went away and what remains is a very tasty beer aged in the secondary with bitter orange peel and thyme (which I think may have been the vector for the contamination causing the rubbery smell and taste). The orange peel character is more pronounced than the thyme, but the beer has plenty belgian character due to the use of belgian candi sugar (lighter body and increased alcohol) and belgian yeast character (subtle cotton candy esters), too.


A good day

About two weeks ago we kept a record of the day in photos...

Anna slept on Margaret's shoulder as she did her math,

Ellie played with pattern blocks,

and practiced writing her name.

The girls pinned a bug which we found in the kitchen,

and worked on a box of fluff and string for the birds (to use in making their spring nests.)

They went outside (with Blaise's help) to hang the box in a tree, then came running back in because it was SNOWING! IN APRIL!

A day after these shots we had a very hard freeze that I'm afraid has done in some of our trees and has dampened some of our enthusiasm for spring. The weather is warming back up, though, and hopefully we'll be posting pictures of our gardening efforts soon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007


"Good morning, starshine. The earth says hello!" - Willy Wonka, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, 2005

Hello, again. I've read tons of books this last month. I read Eight Cousins by Lousia May Alcott, which I hope to have a book report due soon. I just have gotten into The Hall Family Chronicles, by Jane Langton. Her first book The Fledgling, is not really considered part of the series. But it is about the same family. I accidentally got The Mysterious Circus, which was the 7th book.