I remember the magic of walking with my sister through the Canadian forest in search of fresh berries when we were children. Now that we're grownups, she particularly likes red ales, so I'll bring this one along the next time I see her. The recipe includes dried black currants soaked in Bulleit Bourbon during secondary fermentation for berry action.
I could not resist the allure and challenge of making a Roggenbier, a medieval ale composed of rye malt, barley malt and wheat. To this number, I added a touch of chocolate malt. I plan to add Brettanomyces in secondary fermentation for earthy complexity.
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.
Does anything say Winter is Over like strawberries? This fruit is a challenge and does not play nice with every beer style, as I have learned from personal experience. When Peter's eyes went round with delight upon being served this beer, I knew I had something going. The first thing you notice is the large, creamy head atop a beer that is the color of a red grapefruit. When you lift the glass, the nose is all strawberry fields. It's tasting bright right now, and the natural tartness of the fruit puts a smile on my face. I'll bring this one to my mother -- she's sure to like it. Is this beer a quick summer fling -- do I have to give my bottles away as quickly as possible before the flavor fades? Right now, it's an aroma bomb. By the way, you might notice my photos have graduated from rural outdoorsy shots to a studio feel -- a reflection of my move from the wilds of Vista, California to Los Angeles. Some say L.A. can be a bit wild too, but where are the coyotes?
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.
What happens when you brew in the rain? Beer happens. And your view gets prettier. In my quest to make the ultimate saison, the second edition of Blossomcrown Citra Saison proceeded, in spite of inclement weather predictions. The rain never stopped -- and I loved every minute of it.
The weather report said rain, but I decided to take my chances. Normally I wear shorts and a T-shirt on brew day, as is the prerogative of any self-respecting San Diegan, but today it was pants and a sweatshirt. I'm planning to make several versions of this sessionable beer with the elusive goal of perfection. Some days, especially the chilly ones, I find myself craving dark beer, so I'm happy to get this brown into the cellar. In a fit of optimism, I set out the computer on the porch, as usual, to make copious notes into my brewing software throughout the day. By cleanup time, the brewing equipment and the electronics remained unscathed, and I sent thanks to the brewing goddess, Ninkasi.
"I'm warning you," said the butcher at Tiptop Meats in Vista, "these baby backs are meaty." With mouth watering, I drove home post haste and proceeded to prepare the family meal of baby back ribs with Little Hermit Stout barbecue sauce. An hour later, I looked out out over the street below like a proprietary hawk, and who should drive by slowly -- very slowly, as though waiting to be discovered? Dad and Mom. I ran out to the front porch and beckoned them in. Between you and me, I had meant to invite them a couple of days ago for tonight's dinner but got caught up in the week's drama -- you don't need to know more (unless you invite me over for a beer). Let's just say the ribs with stout sauce, taters and corn on the cob were eaten -- no leftovers.
I'm going to admit it: This brew was challenging from the yeast starter to the brew day to packaging. I call this saison My Runt. Yet, to my utter surprise, the result reveals the heavenly latitude afforded to all homebrewers by the beer goddess Ninkasi. This outcome gives me hope for the potential of Runts everywhere to dominate the world, given time. Blossomcrown has a firm, frothy white head and a glowing orange hue. This beer is a showcase for the Citra hop, with a refreshing, palate-puckering citrusy flavor, balanced by the generous yeasty goodness of Wyeast 3711 French saison yeast. One day, I suppose I will make an undrinkable beer. But not today. I love this beer, My Blossomcrown Citra Saison.
Take a beer or wine adventure
See Lyne's wine blog
Beer experience and sommelier at www.lynenoella.com