It’s fall. Fall means apples and pumpkins. Right now I’m fermenting both. I wanted to do a quick cider redux, since the first was more musings about driving into the hills and less recipe. Remember that cider is fermented apple juice, or what some call hard cider. It is the quintessential American alcohol, brought to prominence when the water was unsafe to drink and the boiled juice was unknowingly sterilized.
Cider is a crisp, delicious drink; to me the intersection between Champagne and Beer. Perfect for fall and the rich meals that it brings. And if you want to start fermenting your own booze, cider is a great place to start.
Continue reading Time to Brew Some Cider!
The third beer in my Summer Belgian Series is a dubbel (pronounced double). I brewed this beer a few weeks ago and it has spawned no end of discussion among my friends, as to the nature of dubbel, trippel, and quadrupel (and singel?). In San Diego we have all become accustomed to the West Coast style of pale ales; Double and Triple IPAs. These are strong, highly hopped beers in the IPA tradition, having twice (or three times) the alcohol and hops of a normal IPA. From that we might be tempted draw a similar parallel in Belgian beers (or in point of fact, to assume the West Coast Pale Ales have copied the Belgian naming tradition); we’d be mostly right.
Continue reading Dubbel Troubel
Jamil Zainasheff, guru of all things homebrew, is oft qutoed as saying, “Proper fermentation is what sets apart great beers from just OK beers.” The first part of proper fermentation is using the right amount of yeast. The second part is temperature control. Fermentation temperature plays a crucial role in the final flavor of beer. Too cold and the yeast might not go. Too warm and off flavors are produced. Depending on the style, ingredients, and yeast, proper fermentation temperature ranges from about 45 to 85 F. Given this range, and the need to keep the beer at temperature for anywhere from 2-12 weeks, the only logical choice is to build a fermentation chamber.
Continue reading Proper Fermentation: Temperature Controller
Home brewing has exploded in San Diego. A trip to Home Brew Mart is enough to tell you that there are lots of brewers out there, and some of them are quite serious. In spite of that, there remains a great deal of mystery about brewing, especially at home. I am surprised that the most common question I get is: “How do you bottle your beer?”. Continue reading Bottling Beer