Join with us on our adventure as we build East Alstead's first brewery and what is quite possibly the only off-grid commercial brewery in the United States. We feel that what we brew and how we brew it are equally important. If you would like to help out with this project, contact me at:

The Belgian Mare Says Hello!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Merry Christmas - Descartes

It was another Merry Christmas in our world. Cats, dogs, horses, chickens, and the fish all made it through the year and holidays in fine shape.

I have been fighting off a cold for what seems like a short eternity. Brewing and tasting have been curtailed as of late given that I cannot taste anything due to the cold. However, today I am feeling a bit better if still a bit tired. I hope to have tasting reports for the German Pale and Mixed Yeast beers for the next blog.

I am taking advantage of the down time to read some Descartes. I just finished "Discourse on Method" and am heading into the "Meditations". He is obviously a smart guy, but I can see why he was a bit frustrating for his family/contemporaries. By the way, if any of you have a chance to read the book Descartes' Secret Notebook, do it. It is amazing what this guy was able to come up with.

I hope all is well with all of you and you had a good holiday season. See you next week.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Trying Something Different

Regular readers know by now that I like to experiment. So it is with my latest creation. I was trying to think of something different to do for a Christmas beer to go along with the traditional Hemlock Ale when I came up with this big idea.

The idea I finally settled upon was this: I would match a yeast I had used before with a grain bill I had used before, but had never used those two together in the past. Specifically, I decided to use a yeast I like for stouts and porters and a grain bill that I used for pale ales.

The yeast I chose was Wyeast German Ale, a fast working and powerful yeast, and one of the few Wyeast products I have received consistent results from. The grain bill was very basic: Pale Pearl malt, 40L crystal malt, Cara Munich malt. I also threw in 1oz of hops from my own yard.

Even though I made a starter, the yeast was very sluggish at the start. I racked it into another fermenter and made sure to aerate it thoroughly. After that, the yeast took off and worked vigorously.

A few days ago I bottled this creation. It came out very light with a surprisingly strong hop character. Unfortunately, I did not take an OG reading so I am not sure of the alcohol content. However, based on the amount of malt used, I would guess 4.5% alcohol would be about right.

Based on the sampling during bottling, it looks like I may have a winner on my hands. Only time will tell. Dear Reader, I shall keep you posted.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Mixed Yeast Update

The mixed yeast beer has now been in the bottle for nearly a month. While it tasted good going into the bottle, which usually means a beer will taste good coming out, so far the result is a bit disappointing.

On the first tasting, which was at two weeks in the bottle, the beer had a distinct vinous character. However, as it is fairly low in alcohol, I feared it may have somehow become infected during the bottling process. Now, at nearly a month in the bottle, that character has subsided somewhat. The flavor has become much more mild and earthy, perhaps even somewhat bland. A distinct alcohol-like sting is still is still apparent, but not so much of the wine/sherry character.

Considering the dramatic shift in flavor character that has occurred in the last two weeks, I suspect the flavor evolution of this beer in not over yet. So even though I am a bit disappointed, I shall reserve judgment. We may yet have a winner on our hands.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Photography Show

Just a shameless plug for my upcoming show. This is the Orchard School Christmas Art and Craft Show and sale. This year it is being held at the Walpole, NH, Town Hall. The pre-viewing is Friday December 11 and the main show is Saturday the 12th.