24 March 2010

Monique's - The second attempt

For this second attempt at Monique's Special Brew (see No. 3 for the first) we have started with coopers lager. It was cheap but more importantly it was around the corner at the grocery store. Then we added a kilo of Chez Pilsner Malt in lieu of sugar.

I felt like living it up so we put in a bit more of the crystal malt and lager grain to see what that would do to it. And we shuffled around the hops a bit not changing the quantity just the time in the wort.

200g Crystal Grain
50g Light Lager
30min 15min 0min
NZ Hallertau 10g 5g
Stickenbract 15g 15g
Organic Hops 5g

The method is the same:

Steep the Grain
Boil the wort, put in the hops at the appropriate hour.
Mix it up with water in the fermenter.
(We did run the malt through a sieve to remove all the dried Organic Hops.)
Toss on the yeast and pray.

17 March 2010


Today we put down a merlot - Celler Classique Super Tuscan 18LT kit to be precise. This kit has three extra liters of juice, and two extra envelopes of stuff! Those additional envelopes are key. The first one had genuine American Oak shavings and the second one (well it was really a plastic jar) had real crushed merlot grape skins (5.5lbs of real winery stems and seeds.)

These two additions are suppose to give the final product the mouth you have come to know and love in store bought merlot. I would normally not fork out so much money for a kit however it was on sale at 30% off and was within the budget I have so we went for it.

The mixing was uneventful, well except for shoving those aforementioned grape skins into the little muslin bag.

Bottling ...

We bottled the second cider today and the second wine. Gerry came on over with a bunch of bottles, I obviously have been slack in my drinking and have only put away 12 bottles of beer in the past month!

The actual bottling was a bit of a fiasco.

We started with the cider as it was in the primary fermenter ...

Once we were ready we realized that Gerry had left his little extension at home we use for the bottling. So Gerry goes off and gets it while I got things ready.

I got the beer bottles sterilized, rinsed and primed. I primed the bottles with a heaping measured teaspoon of sugar. Last time I used a teaspoon from our flatware set. The results were a somewhat insipid flat cider. At least time it will have gusto when it comes out of the bottle.

So Gerry comes back with the attachment and says I ought to get one of my own so that he doesn't have to run back and forth. I said "No, I would be tempted to bottle on my own and I would much rather do it with you. Besides that you have the capper ..." We looked at each other with blank faces as he reached for his keys to go back to his house.

Mind you his house is not that far away, just a quick 10 minute drive ... in all fairness to Gerry it does seem real far when you do it six times in a day (don't ask how I know.) It did give me enough time to get all the wine bottles ready so I don't think it added too much time to

Minimal mishaps after this. We just got in to our bottling routine used all but one of the beer bottles for the cider. All went well.

After cleaning the primary we racked the wine into it. The racking only takes a long time when you want it to go fast. We realized that Gerry should have brought his primary with him one of the three times he came today!

At the end of the day we realized that we had not even drunk the beer that I had put in the fridge for the evening festivities. With all the running back and forth we had missed the whole purpose of this activity ... to drink good beer!

Well here is Gerry bottling the wine ...