Small batch brewing provides the opportunity to use your vial or smack pack of yeast to create more than one beverage -- in this case, an ale and a cider. Why not use the small batch opportunity to go with a theme (or craze, if you're especially ardent): Belgian Tripel or Octoberfest or . . . the possibilities are endless. Below is a glimpse of the Glow-Throated Belgian Tripel ale that I made on day one and the Royal SunAngel "Belgian Tripel" hard cider that I made on day three. The ale and cider share Wyeast Trappist High Gravity 3787 yeast, along with table sugar, on the list of ingredients. For the cider, I used Trader Joe's flash pasteurized, unfiltered apple juice (find it in the refrigerated section). For those who asked about my cider ingredients: I plan to add a tincture of hand-picked pink peppercorns, coriander seeds, and cinnamon in secondary fermentation to evoke the aroma and flavor of a Belgian Tripel. The ale will rely solely on the yeast for its spicy, fruity character. It makes me purr to think about doing a side-by-side tasting once I get these babies bottled.
Big ciders beguile you to slow down and reflect upon what's good in your life. When sipping an apple wine such as this one will be, I think of my mother and how much she enjoys her brandy at the end of a harrowing day in the entrepreneurial life she shares with my dad. When I made a Belgian Tripel ale a few days ago, I thought it would be fun to concoct a hard cider with a similar vibe. Thus, Royal SunAngel "Belgian Tripel" was born. I placed this baby in the fermentation chamber and active fermentation kicked in within an hour. Hang onto your hat, Peter -- this is a live one!
Getting a new chest freezer to ferment your beer is an exciting event in the life of a homebrewer. Why not ratchet it up a notch and go for disco lighting and a tiki hut ambiance? Now fermenting: a Roggenbier and an Irish red ale. For those of you who have been following my chest freezer adventures -- and you know who you are -- let's party!
My daughter, Nicolette, gave me this culinary laser thermometer several years ago. Like my trusty Thermapen, this gadget was recruited into the home brewery. While the Thermapen is used throughout the brewing process for assessing liquid temperature, this bad boy is ideal for determining surface temperature. Assessing surface temperature is helpful when you are looking for the right spot to ferment a saison or farmhouse ale -- beers that don't require housing in a chest freezer. An added benefit: This gadget makes me feel like I'm in a James Bond picture.
Grade B maple syrup (the best kind) is the star of this acer cider, which is now in fermentation. The maple syrup will dry out the cider in a most satisfying way and kick in some smoky notes. I enjoyed some Reverend Nat's Revival Hard Apple Cider while making The Acer. Can't wait to taste the outcome in a few weeks.
My article on temperature control has been published by HomeBrew Talk. A big thank you to the brewers who contributed their knowledge. Check it out.
Wine and beer event consultant at www.lynenoella.com