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Chevette Girl

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with both feet...

I've got a surprise evening off (my GM for the evening's events has gone camping so I don't have to be a halfling tonight!) and my husband's GM'ing his new game, so I thought I'd actually listen to the DME that's been calling for me to do something with it before summer's over...

I'm thinking with what I've got, I should be able to make two or three gallons of something. And that's about how many clean beer bottles I've got anyway. Aiming to keep it under ten percent.

Looking at Marshmallow Blue's Sign of the Bee (thank you Blue, now I've got Sign of the Cross stuck in my head) where he used approximately equal amounts of honey and light DME, I've got a kilogram of clover honey and a pound of wildflower honey... and 1.5 kg of light DME. It's a start.

I've decided that I should name my beers since they'll likely not be repeatable!

And I think I want to call it "Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever" (thought I'd go with Alice Cooper since Blue's got dibs on Maiden) although I will be open to other suggestions based on ingredient suggestions...
I won't be able to get proper beer yeast though, and since I haven't started and it's going to be a while until I get this all cooled enough to pitch anyway, thought I'd list my other options and see if anyone else's bored on a Saturday night :p

I do have a pound of crystal malt, if I go with something fruity I will probably want a little residual sugar... it's either that or boil some of the honey and kill the botchet-brackett bird with one stone...

Yeast: I've got all the usual suspects from Lalvin. I'm tending towards K1V because it's pretty neutral, or RC 212 if I add fruit...

Hops: I've got about 4/5 of an ounce of Saaz hops, I quite liked how 1/5 oz did for dry-hopping a previous experiment. And since my brew store's closed now till Tuesday (Monday's Canada Day) it's what I've got. Presuming it still smells good. If not, it'll be a late dry-hop or hops infusion...

Spices: I really really liked Akueck's cinnamon vanilla beer, I so I can't say it's not tempting to try something like that. I've got some cinnamon sticks I keep on hand for JAO's and some vanilla beans from when epetkus divvied up a batch... On the other hand, I really liked how my last batch of lemon tea beer worked out, but I'd have to go to the 24 hour grocery store for lemons.

Fruit: Well, I've got a freezer full of random things, in some cases, not enough for wine/mead or jam.jelly. Dragonfruit. Bananas (ugh, no, not doing it, why did I even suggest that, ew, I'll make banana bread instead). Choke cherries. Wild grapes. Raspberries. Blackberries. Ground cherries. Black raspberries. Rhubarb (actually that's fresh, I didn't get to my baking this afternoon). Purple carrots. Parsnips. OK, those are vegetables from rhubarb on. But I can't say I'm not tempted by vanilla-cinnamon-parsnip :eek:)

Anyone got suggestions before I get the pot on the stove?

I'm going to go poke through all the post-it flags I've stuck all through Papazian's Complete Joy of Homebrewing before I turn on the stove or go poking through the freezer or the spice rack.
 

Chevette Girl

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Huh, everyone out there must have a life ;D

I've got two gallons of cold water coming to the boil with half a pound of crystal malt in a colander basket for easy removal. I will have missed a few grains but what the heck.

Just went on a hunting expedition in the freezer downstairs and before my fingers went too numb, I found a bag containing 3 lb of blackberries.

I just washed my fruit bag, conveniently enough, so now I just have to give it a quick boil to get any residual detergent out.

I'm still liking the idea of cinnamon and vanilla with this so I might chuck one cinnamon stick in when I take out the crystal malt and add the malt extract, and two vanilla beans along with the berries, which need to be thawed and mashed. Mr. Papazian says to put the fruit in hot water but not to boil it, so maybe I'll try to mash them while they're still frozen and hope the frozen fruit brings the temp down quickly after I'm done boiling things.

Need to get the scale out and sort out the hops. I'll probably tie them into a coffee filter or something, I don't know where my spice bags have gotten to.

 

Chevette Girl

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So... lessons learned:

1) pour the powdered DME into a bowl, trying to pour it out of a bag before the condensation makes it stick to the inside of the bag is challenging.
2) that stuff is damn tasty and I should not be allowed to keep this stuff in the house! ommmnomnomnom....
3) read the whole chapter before getting started next time and mill the damn grains, idiot... figured this out after tasting some out of the colander once they'd cooled off a bit and they were still pretty sweet... (they're still whole, in a bag headed to the freezer, it smells like they would be a nice addition to a coffee mead)
4) after you put heat on under wort containing DME, watch it like a hawk, it boils over big and fast.

Ok, so far, it's 2 gallons of water, brought to the boil with 1/2 lb crystal malt, once it hit boiling, the crystal malt was removed and 1 kg light DME was added as well as the largest cinnamon stick I could find. Meanwhile I mashed three pounds of frozen blackberries in my boiled brew bag and brought the wort back to a boil to make sure the DME was all dissolved.

Once I got it to stop foaming over, I put the bag of frozen berries in and put my candy thermometer in just to see if I was going to stay in pasteurization range. Once I'd mixed it all up and the temperature stabilized it was still over 150F so I'm guessing the 15 min around that temp after I added the 1/2 oz Saaz hops stapled into a coffee filter should be fine.

It cooled in two changes of cold water in the kitchen sink before I transferred it over to a bucket but it's still too warm to take the SG and I have to be up at oh-gods-it's-early hundred hours in the morning. I left the hops bag in but it seems to be leaking a bit, I'll fish it out when I remove the fruit bag. Will get SG and pitch half a package of rehydrated RC-212 tomorrow morning before work. I'm hoping the RC will like the malt extract but if it gets stinky I'll feed it some yeast energizer.

 

kuri

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Yeah, that DME can be both great and terrible. Extremely convenient, provided you remember how much it loves to boil over. And remember that it sinks to the bottom of whatever vessel you put it into and needs to be dissolved before you turn the heat back on. I've never had anything in the part honey part barley malt category. One of these days I'm going to have to just jump in and make something.

You mentioned both blackberries and black raspberries. I had always been under the impression that these were the same thing, though a quick check on Wikipedia shows that they are indeed different kinds of berries (in the same family). Do they have a different flavor?
 

Chevette Girl

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I thought the same thing myself until I bought blackberries and tasted them, I can't stand them fresh, they're boring, not very sweet, and I find them tasteless but I'll eat black raspberries until I turn purple :) Very different taste. About as different again as a red raspberry, if you've ever tasted either a blackberry or a black raspberry. The black raspberries are a bit musky but in a very pleasant way, and they taste sweeter to me than blackberries but less sweet than a red raspberry, they're also smaller and the core comes out like a red raspberry, the blackberries don't have a removable core.
 

Vance G

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The DME that I bought to make a batch of beer while waiting for mead to finish is slowly depreciating at a rate congruent with the ice cream bucket! Terrible habit and messy too! I have an idea for it involving carmelized honey and hopping it, if I may twist the vernacular; with wild sage. I have a half dozen vanilla beans that still need a home. A packet of knottingham ale yeast needs used too. Any thoughts on this?
 

Chevette Girl

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Checked SG last night, it was really foamy and hard to read but I think it was about 1.060. Definite signs of activity, and the drips I tasted off the thief are really yummy although I think it may end up being a weird colour with the crystal malt and the blackberries.
 

Chevette Girl

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Removed the fruit bag and the hops packet last night and it's sitting up on the counter in preparation for being racked, primed and bottled as soon as I have time... I didn't taste it or check the SG but it sure smells nice.

It seems I have successfully made purple beer ;D
 

Chevette Girl

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Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever Blackberry Braggot

Huh, re-reading this brewlog, it's pretty terrible... I forgot to mention the kilogram of honey I must have added at some point in the proceeding (I have the empty jar to prove it although I don't know if it was golden or clover), and I did use at least one cinnamon stick which must be in the bottom of the bucket, didn't find the vanilla though (although now I know where they are).
 
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Chevette Girl

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Bottling Day!

Rack it, prime it (1/5 cup honey per gallon), bottle, and excitedly wait for it to carb up!
 

Chevette Girl

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I thought I had two and a half gallons measuring by the side of the bucket so it got half a cup of priming honey, but only got 25 bottles out of it so it may not have been that much.

It's not really purple anymore but I think it would make any red ale weep with envy. I bottled a few in clear glass so I'll post photos once I get the labels done.

<toddles off humming Disco Bloodbath Boogie Fever>
 

Chevette Girl

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I got impatient and cracked open the half-bottle after chilling it in the freezer for half an hour. There's an odd bite to it and it wasn't fully carbed, but the hops flavour came out pretty nicely without being bitter and it's not too dry or anything. I think I'd need to at least double the cinnamon if I wanted to taste it later.
 

Chevette Girl

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Well, I just drank my test bottle... (screw-top perrier bottle, refrigerated throroughly)... The odd taste I noticed when I tried the half-bottle early on seems to be fading, I only remembered it about halfway through the bottle. I'll see if it happens with my next beer, if so then it's probably not my kind of old hops or something unique to the blackberry or the yeast, so I'll try bottled water. Or perhaps an actual beer yeast instead of wine yeast. I think I like what I've made, the blackberry isn't at the forefront and I get hops flavour without bitterness, the taste that lingers on the tongue is pleasant. The cinnamon stick I chucked in there? Gone. Can't really taste honey either but I think I'll probably still end up making a lot of braggots because honey's actually cheaper than dried malt extract.

...and don't drink and post. Bad plan. Way too many backspaces...
 

Chevette Girl

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Shared a few around at a cottage party this weekend and a few at my in-laws' the weekend before. I'm glad I recorded what I did, even the non-beer drinkers liked it. I may up the amount of blackberry next time.

That odd taste only hits at the first sip now (documented with one of the non-beer drinkers who said she was glad I suggested a second sip). Whatever it is it seems to be going away.

Oh, and if poured into a glass? The head is pink! <giggle>
 

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