I think 6 months is long enough. It's a fresh start, for realsies this time. I think this is going to become my brewing blog. We're brewing more regularly and getting to where we're experimenting, and everybody says to keep a notebook or some such. My handwriting sucks and I type faster, so I'll blog it instead! If the ins and outs of home brewing bore you...sorry! There will probably be other posts as well, but obviously I haven't been updating much lately so this will get me back in front of the keyboard.
So we currently have fermenting:
#13- Strawberry Fields. A conversation at Hailey's work combined with a memory of a strawberry basil drink from her past inspired this concoction. This is a basic porter recipe, with basil and strawberries. We used probably 1/4+ cup basil...everything we could get off the plant without making it look sad. It soaked in vodka for 10 min or so to sterilize and then went into the primary. (On a friend's request we used a bucket for the primary for ease of cleaning. Good idea!) For the strawberries we got a big bag of frozen strawberries at Costco and threw 3 lbs into a food processor, then they went right in as well. The whole thing fermented 4 weeks in the primary, then last weekend I moved it to the small carboy for secondary. The plan is to bottle next weekend.
#15- American Pie.* Our 2nd attempt at a hard cider. The 1st attempt was a smashing success, so we're going to repeat it. The 1st time around we were under time pressure to have it ready for a party and it didn't get to ferment long enough. As a result it was delicious, but very low in actual alcohol content. This time we're going to give it time. The idea is simple: 5 gallons of store-bought apple cider. 1 gallon is boiled with a pound of brown sugar to sterilize, then mixed back in. Yeast pitched, then the whole thing ferments (we're giving it a month or so this time). We'll do a secondary fermentation, at which time we add a "rum tea" we'll cook up about a week in advance. Last time this was about 1.5 - 2 cups of rum boiled with vanilla, cinnamon sticks, and allspice. We let this work it's way through the wort for another week, then bottle. The result last time tasted very much like apple pie...we just want a slightly "harder" cider this time around.
And then today we added #16- an as-yet-unnamed Pumpkin Ale. We followed the recipe straight from the book on this one. Holiday beers can be tricky I'm told, with over- and under-spicing causing problems, and the book with the recipe hasn't led us wrong yet so why mess with it? 8 lbs of real pumpkin, roasted for 2 hours with pumpkin pie spices sprinkled on top, then added to the boil right along with the hops and more spices (cinnamon sticks, allspice, and whole nutmeg). It's in the primary and after a couple hours there's already a 2" layer of sediment on the bottom of the carboy. It tastes fantastic!
Next up: bottling #13, then the 2011 installment of Liquid Cheer.
*Where's #14 you ask? It was a 3rd batch of Zombie Cow, our Milk Stout recipe we love. It's a fast recipe...only 1 week in the primary, then into bottles, so it's already in the fridge to drink. Mmmmm.