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.
A black-chinned hummingbird was my constant companion on this brew day. He took up residence on the front porch brewhouse and was welcome company. Blossomcrown Citra Saison explores the goodness of the Citra hop, prized for its intense citrus and tropical tones. I plan to add a tincture of dried culinary lavender from my backyard at packaging. Wyeast 3711 French Saison is the yeast of choice. With the camera in hand to document the development of the saison, I also captured the brewhouse office, where the specifics of each beer are noted and SOPs are updated. The Jambox is just the ticket for mood music . . . was it my imagination or was the hummingbird was singing along with Stevie Ray Vaughan? Only the hummingbird knows for sure, but I can tell you, he was a talker.
Gwen Conley at The Lost Abbey brewery in San Marcos, California, suggested I try making beers with citrus soaked in bourbon. In answer, I have a tincture of orange peel harvested from a tree in my parents' yard and a cinnamon stick basking in the goodness of Bulleit Bourbon. This particular bourbon has a crazy fan base in San Diego County and was suggested to me by a regular at The Lost Abbey, James Frost. I plan to use this tincture in a stout that I will brew this Wednesday. The name of the beer to be made: Hoary Puffleg Stout.
Homebrewer and recognized beer judge