Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Brewday: It's Parti Time!

In a fit of perhaps serious optimism I did some brewing in preparation for a major Bar Is Over / Meredith's Defense Is Over / Housewarming party that will take place in early August. Since I had little time and a lot of catching up to do I decided to do two parti-gyle brews back to back, one week apart. Hah hah, I know.

Parti-gyle brewing is a historical method of brewing whereby the first runnings of the mash are collected for a strong beer, then second runnings are collected for a weaker beer. This is a great way to make different beers with different alcohol strengths, and to use the grain more efficiently. The idea would be to get a start on two barleywine strength beers and also make two regular-to-light session beers for the party. I'd make a huge wheat mash and split it into a wheatwine and a summer wheat ale. Then use the yeast from the primary of the wheatwine to ferment an American barleywine and a second American Amber. The wheat beer would be called Triticus Maximus and Triticus Minimus, the barleywine would be this year's Shoggoth's Old Peculiar, with the amber being Shoggoth's Little Peculiar.

That was the plan anyway. And it was a good plan.

Things I have learned from the experience:
  1. Don't do a parti-gyle brew as your first brewday in a new house. Just don't.
  2. Don't do a parti-gyle brew as your second brewday in a new house. Just don't.
  3. Seriously, you don't know what kind of boiloff rate and efficiency you're going to get with your new location. Madness and Chaos will ensue.
  4. Take a temp reading on your tap's hot water before you start heating it for the dough-in. I was looking to do a protein rest on Triticus at 122 degrees, which meant strike water at about 135. So I started heating the water and dropped the thermometer in: 145. That after about two minutes of heating. So I did a whiskey tango foxtrot and measured the hot water coming out of my tap. 136 degrees! "Safe" water temps are in the 120's. Which explains why I kept burning the crap out of my hands when I did the dishes. But at least I know I can protein mash right out of the tap! Sweet.
  5. Unpack everything and put it in its place before you brew. Make sure everything is there. Don't find yourself with 5 minutes till flame-out but your heat-exchanger out-tube and thermometer are MIA. Then find yourself speeding downhill to the wonderfully named Tacoma Screw to get some kind of bodged together hose barb solution.
  6. Also learned: "It's a beer emergency!" will get a shopkeeper to stay open a few minutes after closing to help you.
  7. Homebrew Rule # 1836: Your wife will inevitably find the hose you were looking for within moments of you returning.
  8. My kettle has a false bottom that functions as a hopback. It functions quite well actually, when you use whole hops. When you use four ounces of pellet hops, don't put them in a hop bag because you get lazy, and can't whirlpool because your kettle draws right out of the middle, your valve will clog. Halfway through cooling Shoggoth's Old Peculiar. Lesson learned. Fortunately Oldy came out at a frightening O.G. of 1.120 (was shooting for 1.090). So the rest was dumped into the bucket holding the runnings for Little Peculiar and the whole thing was diluted and boiled at about 8 gallons. This resulted in somewhere near 4 gallons going to the Little Peculiar at 1.050 and the rest diluting Old Peculiar down to around 1.085. Chaos and Madness, appropriate for a Lovecraft themed beer, but it all worked out. Though now I have no idea what the IBUs or hop profile will be like. I may have a very bitter amber indeed.
  9. I haven't figured out when to stop the fly-sparge on a partigyle. I went too long on Triticus Maximus and so Minimus came out at 1.030 and I had to spike it with Extra Light DME. And Shoggoth's just ended up being chaos.
  10. Since it gets dark at around 10 PM right now at least you have lots of extra time to finish your brewday when things go horribly, horribly awry.
  11. My new cellar holds a near constant 64 degrees. Sweet!
On to the recipes. To make them I used Randy Mosher's parti-gyle tables to figure out the needed O.G. of the 'master' beer, then estimated 60% for the 1st half and 40% for the second. Then spiked them with DME to my liking. I made three recipes in BeerSmith, one for the master and one for each half (estimated and 60/40 of the master). I could then adjust the hops to get the right level out of the two beers based on their gravities. So here goes:

Triticus Parti-Gyle - Master
Brewer: Russell Everett
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Barleywine
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 10.50 gal
Boil Size: 13.80 gal
Estimated OG: 1.072 SG
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU
8.0 oz Rice Hulls (0.0 SRM) Adjunct 2.00 %
4 lbs Wheat Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract 16.00 %
10 lbs Wheat Malt, Pale (Weyermann) (2.0 SRM) Grain 40.00 %
8 lbs Pilsen Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.0 SRM) Grain 32.00 %
8.0 oz Aromatic Malt (26.0 SRM) Grain 2.00 %
8.0 oz Caramel Malt - 20L (Briess) (20.0 SRM) Grain 2.00 %
8.0 oz Honey Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 2.00 %
2.00 oz Horizon [12.00 %] (90 min) Hops 39.5 IBU
2.00 oz Pearle [8.00 %] (90 min) Hops 26.3 IBU
1 lbs Honey (1.0 SRM) Sugar 4.00 %

Mash Schedule: Double Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 20.00 lb
Double Infusion, Light Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
30 min Protein Rest Add 4.50 gal of water at 134.8 F 122.0 F
30 min Saccrification Add 3.00 gal of water at 203.5 F 150.0 F
10 min Mash Out Decoct 2.73 gal of mash and boil it 168.0 F

This assumes DME added to boil based on amount stated in the separate recipes. The total DME listed is the total amount needed for both recipes. 4 for Maximus and 1 for Minimus. 1lb honey for Maximus. This should make 5.25 gallons of 9.5% Wheat Wine and 5.25 gallons of 4.75% American Wheat Ale, but honestly take gravity readings and shoot from the hip. You will also need 2 oz Perle for Minimus and 2oz Horizon for Maximus. Also 6g Kaffir Lime Leaves and some lemon grass, in a tea, at bottling, for Minimus. Yeast was a 1L starter of Pacman for Maximus and American Wheat for Minimus.

Shoggoth's Old Peculiar - 10 gal parti-gyle - Master Recipe
Brewer: Russell Everett
Asst Brewer:
Style: American Barleywine
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: I could murder a Shoggoth's...

Recipe Specifications
Batch Size: 10.50 gal
Boil Size: 13.80 gal
Estimated OG: 1.075 SG
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Amount Item Type % or IBU
5 lbs Light Dry Extract (8.0 SRM) Dry Extract 18.69 %
14 lbs Pale Malt (Weyermann) (3.3 SRM) Grain 52.34 %
5 lbs Munich (Cargill) (9.5 SRM) Grain 18.69 %
1 lbs Caramel Malt - 60L (Briess) (60.0 SRM) Grain 3.74 %
1 lbs Wheat Malt, Ger (2.0 SRM) Grain 3.74 %
8.0 oz Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 1.87 %
4.0 oz Special B (Dingemans) (147.5 SRM) Grain 0.93 %
1.00 oz Simcoe [13.00 %] (90 min) Hops 20.4 IBU
1.00 oz Cascade [5.50 %] (90 min) Hops 8.6 IBU
1.75 oz Chinook [13.00 %] (90 min) Hops 35.8 IBU
4.00 oz Centennial [10.00 %] (90 min) Hops 62.9 IBU
3 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) Yeast-Ale

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Light Body
Total Grain Weight: 21.75 lb
Single Infusion, Light Body
Step Time Name Description Step Temp
75 min Mash In Add 5.44 gal of water at 168.3 F 150.0 F
10 min Mash Out Decoct 2.17 gal of mash and boil it 168.0 F

Theoretically the gravities would be 1.090 and 1.055. As for hops, the idea was to do 1 oz. Chinook at 90, 1 oz. Simcoe at 30, and 2 oz. Centennial at 10 for the Old Peculiar. For the little guy it would be 3/4 oz. Chinook at 90, 1/2 oz. Cascade at 30 and 1/2 oz at flameout. The hopping went to chaos after I had to mix half of the finished Old Peculiar into the Little Peculiar. So for that boil I added no bittering hops, and 3/4 ounce Cascade at 15 minutes and 3/4 at 1 minute.
Yeast was the Pacman from Triticus Maximus for Oldy, and Wyeast Northwest Ale for Little P.

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Ballard Farmer's Market 1

So we're not in a CSA currently, but we've been getting most of our groceries from the Ballard Farmer's Market so I figure I'll do a series of posts on that.

One of the things I've been gorging on has been garlic scapes. This time around I bought a bunch for about $2 and a bunch of dill and made Pickled Garlic Scapes. Basically just a cold/non-fermented dill pickle recipe subbing garlic scapes instead of cucumbers. I'll open the first jar in a week and try them out.

I picked up a full pork belly from Sea Breeze Farm over on Vashon Island. Plan is half pancetta, half maple bacon. I'll get some photos up soon as I find someone who sells 2 gallon ziplocks. The belly is a beast, near 10lbs, and very thick compared to a factory hog. They also sell raw, whole cow's milk which M turned into yogurt, as well as pate and cheeses.

By far my favorite stall is Foraged And Found Edibles. The team there go out during the week and scour the state for mushrooms and wild veggies. This week was King Boletes and Seabeans, last week was Morels, King Boletes, Miner's Lettuce, Elderflowers and Saskatoon Berries. We've been really into the King Boletes. They're great grilled. Last night M cooked up halibut fillets with a king bolete cream sauce and seabean salad. Awesome!

Quilceda Farm sells goat meat and raw goat milk, so I picked up a half gallon to make chevre with. It became an interesting experiment. I wanted to see if the yogurt maker would hold the right temperature for the cheese to set at overnight. So I put half the milk, inoculated with a chevre direct set culture, in the yogurt maker and the other half in a pot left on the stove. We were looking for it to hold more or less 72 degrees for 12-15 hours. The results were quite interesting.

The pot left out on the stove set up perfectly.

The yogurt maker was a disaster. My guess is that it held roughly 98 degrees. I thought that it was a total loss.

Until I poured off the whey. To my surprise, the yogurt maker apparently has hot spots and creates a sortof convection current. The result was these weird little cheese mushrooms! I left them to drain, then salted them. The result is like a very young unbrined feta. I've been snacking on them and crumbling them on salads.

The chevre in the pot was poured into chevre molds and left to drain for two days. By the end they were not quite dry enough, but were starting to smell a bit, so I salted them and rolled the edges in black pepper and herbs de provence. After a day in the fridge they dried a bit more and were delicious. Not bad for a first try. Great spread on toast with some jam. Next time I'll salt them after a day and then leave them to dry for another day.

This week I cheated and picked up some chevre from the masters: Port Madison Farms. (Warning: cute photos of baby goats).

Otherwise the haul this week was: a whole chicken, eggs, those weird striped beets, fresh lima beans, rainbow chard, yellow carrots, king boletes, seabeans, halibut, chevre, and my weekly bottle of kombucha. Plan is roast chicken with beets/carrots/potatoes/mushrooms, then use the carcass for soup with the beet and carrot tops, maybe some mushrooms, etc.
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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Home and Garden

So we're settling into the new place in Ballard. Gotta say I am loving the area. And having a basement again! How awesome is that.

I ran some twine up to the roof for the hop plants. I've got Cascade, Centennial, Chinook and Willamette going. Hopefully we'll get a Fresh Hop beer in September or so. Today I spotted the first aphid, but I also spotted a ladybug on the vine. I'll watch closely for the next few days before the insecticidal soap comes out... Also have three tomatoes going, a tomatillo, jalapeno, shiso, chives, rosemary, mint, lavender, and seeds started for pickling cucumbers and bok choi.

And my father bought us a new Weber One-Touch Gold as a housewarming present. It will never be this clean again.

We broke it in on a lovely Copper River Sockeye fillet.

It's great to be back!
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Bainbridge Island Foraging - Fiddleheads and The Prince

During these past weeks I've spent a fair amount of time at my parent's place on Bainbridge Island. Here are two foraged things I that turned out to be delicious.


Behind my family's house runs a salmon creek in a small gully. When I was a kid I knew every inch of it. So I figured I'd grab my boots and see if I could find anything that looked edible. The creek had 3" salmon fry in it, which scooted away when I came near, but the run isn't until November.

No, today's menu was all about Fiddleheads. It was getting late in the season for them but I soon found enough for a side for dinner. Cleaning them was a pain in the butt, but enough water and elbow grease got the chaff off. They were sauteed with some garlic scapes from the B.I. Farmer's Market. I love garlic scape season!


So I came over to the Island one day and my mother presented me with a huge mushroom that she had found near the Post Office. She wanted to know if it was edible. I had absolutely no idea. So I went to the local library, found some mycology books, and renewed my (10 years expired) library card.

After a couple hours of confused leafing through mushroom ID books we were pretty well set that it was an Agaricus Augustus or Prince mushroom. Scaly brown-white cap? Check. Yellow stain? Check. Close, free gills? Check. Smells like freaking marzipan? Check! One of the best eating mushrooms out there? Awesome!

Inspired, I used the books and determined that a Fairy Ring of mushrooms that had been in our lawn for a decade or more was, in fact, Fairy Mushrooms and also edible. Woot! So I picked a bunch of them as well. The fairy ring guys were good sauteed in a little butter, but I overdid them a bit. Maybe next time.

At dinner I took the cap and sauteed slices in butter with a little salt and pepper. These were so good that at least half were gone before they hit the table. A nice firm mushroom, with an amazing almond taste that is outrageously weird. The rest of the mushroom was sauteed with some garlic scapes (what can I say, I can't get enough), and some broccoli, finished with balsamic. Also good. But the Prince is best straight up.
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Horse Clams (NSFW?)

So about a day after I set foot back in Seattle I got a message from a friend saying that it was going to be at least a minus 2.0 tide. It was Memorial Day. I was on Bainbridge Island and I didn't really have anything going. So I went online, found a beach and bought a shellfish license (along with the complete salt/fresh/dungeness license). Grabbed boots, shovel and bucket and within the hour was out on the lovely and sunny tideflats at Fay Bainbridge State Park.

Perhaps I should preface this by stating I had never been clamming and had no idea what I was doing. So I just went to the waterline and began digging at holes. I was aiming for geoducks but I kept pulling up Horse Clams. These guys aren't geoducks, they're their smaller cousin. But they only bury themselves about a foot and a half down, not three feet. So In no time I had my limit. (Seven) As you can see I hit more than a few of their shells in my frantic and amateurish shovelling. I don't have any pictures, which is a bit of a shame, but I also dropped my cellphone in the tideflats so it's probably best that I left the camera at home. I spent some more time and got a few small clams, but I decided the monster horse clams were probably enough.

Which is good. Because while shellfishing seasons are regulated by the WA Department of Fish and Wildlife, shellfish safety is regulated by the Department of Health. And though they crosslink a bit, they don't really talk to each other. So while Fay Bainbridge is open to clamming by the WDFW, it is closed to Butter clams by the DOH. But you wouldn't know that from the WDFW website. Grrrr. Thanks a lot for the paralytic shellfish poisoning risk.

So I took them home and let them purge for a while. Then set about trying to clean them. Here the horror began.

It turns out that Horse clams often have symbiotic little Pea crabs that live inside them. Which I discovered when some crustacean legs shot out of the shelled clam ("Sweet Jesus!") and a crab proceded to poke its head out, Alien style, from my clam.

At this point finesse went out the window and I began to just hack away anything that didn't look like food. A clam or two later I tried a 10 second blanch in boiling water, which made the whole process easier (especially skinning the siphon).

Here's where the NSFW begins.

Hurr Hurr.

Honestly, grow up.

But I had seven of these suckers and in an hour or so I managed to clean them.

Obviously not all clams are created equal.

Along with the salvageable body parts (mostly aducter muscles) about half of the clams became clam fritters, which were good but nothing to write a blog about. The rest will become chowder sometime soon.
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Kegerator Repairs

So my kegerator is an old chest freezer that I got for $40 on ebay back in the day, with two taps coming out of an old draft tower. However, running above freezing temperatures in Florida humidity did it no favors in the rust department. So I used the move as an opportunity to repaint the inside with some of Appliance Epoxy. And stencils!

My friend John brought over Mr. T and a Banksy Rat.


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So my stuff has arrived in Seattle and I finally found the cable that connects my camera to my computer. So here's a few posts that have been in limbo for the last month.

First up, to celebrate graduation my Father, my housemate Youhei, my friend Glenn and I all went on a half day charter on the Sonny Boy out of Crandon Marina on Key Biscayne.

Fishing was good, the seas not so much. Off shore the seas were 6-8 feet. So things were ... bouncy. But after a rough time picking up bait we set the kites and almost immediately the first sailfish was on. I was closest to the rod and so the first one fell to me. It was the second sail I've caught, and it fought much more than the first. However, shortly after we boated and released it my inevitable decline began.

Normally I don't really get seasick. But just in case I'd taken a bonine that morning, and had been eating some crystallized ginger. Alas, it was not sufficient. I felt like Rainier Wolfcastle being swept away by the radioactive tidal wave while filming the Radioactive Man Movie ("My eyes! Ze goggles do nothing!") The seas were intense, and after taking the above photos of my dad catching the next sail, I had apparently not spent enough time staring at the horizon. The next four hours were...vomitastic.

I was able to raise my head off the rail to take a few more photos though. A highlight of the trip was Youhei's first time fishing. Ever. He spent an epic fight against a good 30lb kingfish until...chomp! Huge cuda took off the back 1/3 of the fish! Still, it left most of the good steaks.

Glenn caught a sail himself, and we got two cudas. Normally I don't eat barracuda due to ciguatera but since I was moving (and frankly, you'll get it from snapper and grouper too) I said screw it and took one of the cudas (filleted) home. I made it into a huge bowl of ceviche for a graduation party at Glenn's that night.

It was easily, hands down, the best ceviche I have ever made and or/had. Cuda is delicious.

Kingfish however has the problem of being very, very fishy. And we had about 10 one-pound steaks of it. So I was determined to find a way to make it tasty. To my delight I found three.

Walker's Wood Jerk Kingfish. Use the jerk marinade, it's delicious and overpowers any unpleasant taste on anything. It's the reason I completely gave up ever bothering to make my own jerk marinade. It simply can't compete with the real thing.

Grapefruit and Garlic Kingfish. Marinate the steaks in grapefruit juice with a little salt, pepper, and garlic. The acid does a bit of a ceviche thing on the fish and cuts the fishiness way back, while the garlic goes well with the sourness.

Soy-Miso-Shochu Kingfish. Youhei gets the credit for this one. A paste of miso, soy, and shochu.

Lay foil on the grate and grill. (You could probably oil a clean grill, but we grilled these for a party in which a wide variety of things would hit the BBQ and didn't want to make everything fishy.) All three were superb. Frankly, with kingfish freshness counts for a lot.
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