Club Brew Barrel Run

Took the long road down to Brattleboro to pick up an oak barrel from Saxton’s River Distillery. They make Sapling, a maple liqueur that’s aged in Maker’s Mark barrels. This will be a great barrel to use for our club brew brown ale. And we tweaked the recipe in preparation for this – made it a little more bitter to balance out the sweetness of the liqueur, and gave it a nice big body to wrap around the alcohol.
The drive was actually not bad, right around 2 hours. And Brattleboro seems like a nice spot, but unfortunately we didn’t have time to hang. We did grab lunch at a new brewpub called Whetstone. They have a 1 bbl Psychobrew system set up and ready to use, they are just waiting on state permits to get going.
Made it back up to Bolton and set everything up to transfer from six 15 gallon fermenters. We took gravity readings and tasting notes for each one before transferring into the barrel. Seems like most were close to terminal, 1 or 2 had a little bit further to go. We’re guessing it’ll kick back into fermentation for the next few days. We also filled a keg and are carbing it up for our next meeting, which is only 2 days away.
Overall, it tastes great, and with the maple flavoring, this will be a great batch.

Weizen Bam & RIS update

4/3 updates…

RIS – took samples from kegs 1 & 2, both were at 1.038 still. Sealed me back up but am planning on adding some oak soaked in Sapling maple liqueur, or possibly splitting one of the two kegs up and trying some oak experiments: plain oak, bourbon, sapling, sherry, brandy, port, etc. Should be fun to try. I’m also wondering if I should start carving some and submit it for the May comp. maybe we’ll see.

Weizen Bam – prepped the new Better Bottle, transferred the Weizen bam out of 2nd and into it… purposely tried to suck up some of the snow-white yeast at the bottom, plus I added oak spirals that had been soaking in some Weizen Bam dregs (4 bottles), and when it was full I swirled up the rest if the yeast in that little jar with the oak land pitched that on too. My hope is that I can let this go for a while, maybe check it once a week for a bit, then see if I need to wait longer. Gravity was around 1.010, pH was 3.84, same as last time. Tastes more sour though, we’re getting there.

Starting to feel sick yet again, time for bed.

Sowing tomatoes & more peppers

Sowing more seeds today – tomatoes, marigolds, and peppers.

I bought a 12 space tray which fits perfectly into the long boot trays I use for the seed starts. I decided I’d put my tomatoes in there since I have 5 or 6 varieties I’d like to grow. Going with Juliette, Roma, purple Cherokee, green zebra, and red zebra. The Juliette’s are my favorite… and over the last couple of years (maybe just last year) I noticed they started taking on more of a Roma type appearance and flavor. I decided to ditch the most recent seeds I had saved and try to go back to the original seeds I used from 2009, and some from 2010. Continue reading

Sowing flowers, herbs, & veggies

Lantana and other flowersGetting some more seeds sown. These are basically my 8-10 week starts. I wanted to get some eggplants and peppers sown, as well as some herbs and a few flowers. For eggplants I’m going with an Asian variety that are long and thin, and some larger ones too. For peppers I started with a few different sweet peppers and also some jalapeƱos. The jalapeƱos that grew last year were pretty dang amazing, so I definitely want more this year. Continue reading

DIY Seed Starter Soil

Bear adding in some seed starter mixThis is so freakin easy, I couldn’t believe it. Still don’t.

4 parts filtered compost
2 parts sphagnum peat moss
1 part perlite
1 part vermiculite


Sphagnum peat moss and perlite tend to lighten the mix and allow it to drain more quickly. Compost and vermiculite increase moisture retention.