Thursday, March 12, 2009

First Hop Rhizome planted!

My first order of Rhizomes came today, two Zeus. I ordered two just 'cause, I'll be planting them in the same place. Since I need to build my deck before I can plant them outside, they are going in pots for now.

Kinda small rhizomes, but look viable, even have a few growing buds off of them. They did spend like a week driving across the country.

Here they are in the pot. I just put them next to each other figuring they will grow together. More rhizomes just means more vitality!

Covered about an inch with dirt and watered the crap out of it. I'll keep it outside when I can but inside if it's too cold at night. Moist but not soaking, wait for it to dry out a little before adding more water! I have a feeling these guys will take off in no time.

Still waiting for my order from Thyme Garden - one each Magnum, Nugget, and Centennial. They will probably go in pots too since it will probably be a month at least before the deck is done. More to come!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

pLambic Update

Please keep in mind that clicking on a picture will show you a much larger version.

Just some new pictures. It started bubbling and then blowing off 3-4 days after "pitching", blew off for a day or two, and then controlled with airlock since then.

Neither plastic fermenter nor 1G blew anything off so airlocks remained on!

Here's the 5G glass carboy when it's fermenting but before it started blowing off. I actually moved it upstairs for 48hrs to warm it up a bit, it was 56°F in the cellar and I was impatient!
1G carboy at the same time - post fermentation start, before large fermentation:

After it blew off for a day or two - I kept the airlock on some, an aluminum foil top on some, then washed the airlock and replaced it once it calmed down. Now it's calmer but still more than 10bpm (bubbles per minute). This is the 5G carboy tonight:

As the bubbles got higher, they became kinda milky. This might be sickness/viscosity, or maybe it's too early - could be from the flaked wheat/corn starch/flour also. You can see it better here, probably worth clicking:
On the bottom there are normal "fluffy" bubbles but as they collect towards the top they get more milky...

Here is the 1G - not so milky:That was the flash showing the cloudiness and that there aren't funky things floating around. Also note the sediment growing on the bottom.

I don't take pictures of the bucket since you can't see anything.
BUT I do have another experiment! This is an RIS I brewed and had an extra 1/2 gallon after racking it out of primary, so I put it in a 1g carboy and added some Bug Circus I to it. When I added bugs it 9/28/08 it was 1.032 and 9.2% ABV. Until last night it had a nice, calm, thin and powdery pellicle. Last night basically I had 1/4G of the RIS in a keg and needed the keg so I sacrificed it to the Bugs! I sprayed it viciously with a picnic tap into the 1g carboy and destroyed the pellicle. Seems to already be reforming. I also purged with CO2 afterwards but there could definitely have been some oxygen dissolved in there. This stuff is absolutely opaque.

And finally the first look at Bug Circus II, getting gross:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Sour Beer

Yesterday I made my first sour beer. 10G all grain, simple recipe:

15lbs Pale Malt
10lbs Flaked Wheat
6 Oz of Fuggle Hops (2007 vintage, aged 4 winter months in attic + overnight in 120° oven)

I mashed around 156° (target 158°) and sparged as hot as I could (about 180°). Boiled 2.5 hrs with the hops in at the beginning, and added 2G of water since my efficiency was a little better than I thought. I thew in a few pinches of Corn Starch and Flour to feed the little monsters. I cooled to around 70° and then let it sit outside, open to the air, overnight. It was cold last night, around 28-30°, and it snowed a little bit. I covered the top to keep out the snow but let air pass in and out freely:
That's snow on top of the green cover. Air goes through the handles very easily. In the morning, most of the junk had settled to the bottom.

I siphoned the wort into a 5 gallon glass carboy and a plastic primary fermenter, with an extra gallon in a 1G carboy. I tried to siphon from the upper portion as there should be more wild microflora there.
When it got to about 50° or so, I pitched a mix of yeasts and "bugs" on oak cubes that I had cultivated from different bottles of sour beers, like Cantillon, Russian River, Bullfrog, etc:

I also pitched a packet of Wyeast Lambic Blend, but only in the large containers - the 1g carboy gets only my cultivated blend and whatever was flying around last night.

So, as the glass carboys start to get funky I'll update with pictures. Here are the "before" photos, not much to see yet. The plastic fermenter will just stay closed as long as possible since opening it will potentially introduce even more oxygen and disturb anything that might be happening in there.

1 Gallon:

5 Gallon: