Here it is 2014 and this post has been a long time coming. But first, as I said last year is that I would blog more, well don’t hold me to that this year. I want to blog more, but work. Alas, back on October 21st I was planning on finally getting around to cleaning my gear after brewing the pumpkin porter two days early. I didn’t get a chance to do it since Sarah had a change of plans that day and came home I think instead of going out to dinner with friends. So here I was planning to spend half a day cleaning, so it hit me as I was lying in bed that morning. Why not brew since the kettle valves were already assembled then clean and disassemble everything. Great idea!
I showered and ran out to 5 Points Growlers and Homebrew supply to grab grains and hops. On the way home I stopped and picked up two boxes of unsweetened Baker’s Chocolate, since you know, chocolate. Denver P. and I had recently talked about an old Brewing TV episode where Chip Walton brewed a chocolate beer (extract though) using Baker’s Chocolate. In that episode he microwaves the blocks to melt them and then stirs them into the wort near the start of boil. At the time I hadn’t seen the episode but remember him stirring it into the mash. The way I introduced the chocolate was to ladle out wort with 15 minutes left in the boil into a mixing bowl and then stir in a block or two at a time until it was all melted. I then poured this back into the boiling kettle until both boxes were done. The result may be my best beer to date. We had a small get together at the house for homebrew and desserts where it several people said they enjoyed it. I then took some more to another party at some friend’s house in Duluth where six were consumed, plus almost all the pumpkin porter I took too. Which is exactly what homebrew is for; sharing! The comments there made me feel really good. Being able to tell people it’s your own recipe and this was the first time you brewed it felt good. Now of course I’ll probably never be able to repeat this beer again but thankfully I do have the recipe and it was an easy one at that. Next time I may throw in a little lactose to give it a sweeter note. Or if anyone have experience with chocolate, how would using sweetened Baker’s Chocolate work? Would that give me the lactose I’m looking for? Comment below with any chocolate homebrew recipe tips or tricks that you have.
I was thinking ahead when bottling and I have some stored in normal bottles to send to competitions (not that those are legal now that they are legal; long story). So hopefully they are aging well in 12 ounce bottles with caps, but probably not near as well as flip top Grolsch bottles.
Since it is a new year I should blog more and I might post some pictures of a sandwich made using left over hog jowls and some tweets from Chef Miley. Hog jowls are used in our house for our traditional New Years meal of ham, black-eyed peas and collard greens. I also just brewed the Cascade Pale Ale that I brewed over at Gratis Brewing last year. I used a different yeast this time, and a full pitch of healthy yeast at that. I’m calling that beer House Cascade Pale which is naturally all Cascade hops and hopefully will be good enough to keep on tap at the house all the time (once I get a keezer and start kegging).
Enjoy the photos below and Slainte!