Saturday, March 26, 2016

The Brewmistress Has Left the Hobby

Dear Homebrewing,

It's been real. It's been fun. It's been real fun, but now I am real done.

As any of you who regularly read this blog have figured out, I have not been brewing much as of late. Clementine (house) has an electric stove, which makes it far more time consuming to boil multiple gallons of water. So, I had to move that part outside, and wait for decent weather. Hassle.

Also, house ownership requires yard work. Time. Hassle.

Then, doggums. Time. But, she's pretty, so it's okay.
Anyway, long story short, I have given up the hobby. In order to make time and funds for many others: cheesemaking, canning, gardening, sewing...

I will miss it, sure. I had a garage sale of some of the more major pieces, but kept some smaller fermenters for cider and mead. Done with beer though.

Thanks to those of you who have read over the years.

Cheers, and best wishes to you all!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Hop Harvest

This year, I had my second hop harvest. Last year, my bines yielded approximately 2 ounces. This year was a bit better: 4.75 pounds. Enjoy some shots of the bounty.
 The After (Before shots in my previous post)

Half were frozen fresh and half were dehydrated, then frozen. The kitchen smelled amazing for days.

Cheers, and have a lovely week!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

2014 Hops

The experts are correct. The first year you grow hops, they expend most of their energy creating a strong root system. The second year, you may expect a decent harvest. This was certainly true of mine. The first year, they grew like weeds (up to a foot a day), but produced almost no cones. This year, only half the rhizomes came back, but sent out 3-12 runners per plant. And, oh! The cones! Feast your eyes!

Cheers, and have a great weekend!

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Time Out

Hello! It's been some time, yes?

Well, as you can likely conclude (by the length of time that has passed since my last post) that I have not been brewing lately. You would be correct. Since I have been sitting on the ingredients for a Berliner Weisse for long enough that the grain was likely getting stale and the yeast was probably kaput, I opted to attempt to make bread with it. Using this recipe as a starting place. I ground the grain into coarse flour, substituted 2 cups of it for the whole wheat flour, and used my German Ale yeast as part of the liquid. The sponge smelled amazing, and it rose perfectly. As it baked, a delightful aroma filled Clementine. When it was done and cooled, the scent changed to ever-so-slightly graham cracker. I waited impatiently until it was cool enough to sample. I cut a slice only to discover it had a very dense crust and was completely raw in the middle.


Currently, it is heavy duty gardening season, and the pooch is getting adjusted to our routine (and doing very well). So, I will not be brewing for a while, or even thinking about it, for that matter. Every time I start to plan a brew, try to work it into my schedule and can't, I get disappointed. It's a Time Out on brewing. Just for summer. Once the hops are ready, I will start once again. But, for right now, life looks a lot like this:

Cheers, and have a lovely summer!

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Brewmistress Dog

Well, Clementine Cottage now has a critter. During a (what has become) regular inspection of the Oregon Humane Society website, I spotted this darling little mugshot:

 Lucy the Brew Dog

I had desperately been wanting a canine companion, and this one fit the bill. Long story short, Lucy lives here now. We've met kids and friends. We're working on our wee aggression problem with other dogs (when on the leash). And soon, we will brew a Berliner Weisse.

Now, rub my belly.

Someone will be going on a little doggie diet.
 Cheers, Woof! And have a lovely weekend!

**UPDATE** Not only is she the Brew Dog, she is also a beer lover. I found this out yesterday when Miss Sneaky dove snout-first into a glass of Saison. At least she has exemplary taste.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hippety Hop Hop

Last year I started hops. Cascades and Sterlings. This year, my most prolific Cascade rhizome has sent up 8 runners. The longest bine is currently shoulder height, and the others are doing well. Here's hoping for a bumper hop crop this year.

Cheers, and have a lovely week!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Well, Crud.

Normally, I pride myself on being a very observant and detail-oriented individual. Occasionally, however, I will overlook a major item, and kick myself for it later.

Take today, for instance. Last week, my eagle eye spied a beautiful, warm, sunny Monday. So, I took a vacation day. To brew and rid the yard of weeds. Make lunches for the week. Cut out a dress pattern. Wrap up the day basking in the sunshine in the hammock, watching the hop bines grow.

As I was waking this morning, I decided to peruse my selected recipe (a Berliner Weisse). Apparently I missed out on this key sentence (which so happened to be the first one): "Make bacterial starter 2 weeks before brew day."

I had not done this.

So, I decided to think this over. Went outside, pondering whether I really need to do a two week bacterial start. As I was aggressively ripping out crab grass, I came to the conclusion that, yes, I do really need to do a two week bacterial start. So, the yeast has gone back in the fridge, keeping the rest of the ingredients company.

Harumph. No brew day today. Which is a shame because it is glorious day. Not yet noon, I am decked out in shorts and a t-shirt and am perfectly comfortable.

So, my Things To Do list is a little shorter today. Probably more attainable. Plus, I will get to do my first ever bacterial starter! And definitely get to the hammocking.

Cheers, and have a lovely week!