Thursday, March 29, 2012

Updates and details

Well, since this blog just passed a pretty significant hit count, I felt that I owed a few updates.  First off, my kegerator project is nearing completion, and could actually be pretty much finished by tonight since I'll be getting all the remaining hoses I need today.  The only work I have left is painting the chalkboard surface onto the door, which should be a pretty easy task since it just involves a little masking tape and spray painting.  From there its just a few little gas/liquid connections here and there, and I'm all set.  We should have four homebrews flowing by the weekend.  Woohoo!

Sadly, the Westminster Porter has kicked, and it was definitely one of my favorite batches that I've ever made.  Guess I'll just have to make it again...haha.  Meanwhile, back at the ranch, I have three brews that are ready to be drunk and one more that is only a couple days away.  This will be a nice chance to get to enjoy two different Irish beers and two different American pale ales all at once, and to continue with keeping up an arsenal of ready-to-drink beers [and ciders!] on tap.

My next batch of beer is coming into focus in my imagination, and this has been one that I've been planning for a little while.  The next time I brew [probably this Saturday], I want to brew a [Belgo-]Moroccan witbier.  Intrigued?  You should be.  Witbier is a traditional Belgian-style wheat beer with a silky mouthfeel that comes from both the wheat and a liberal dose of flaked oats.  Its traditional adornments are coriander and orange peel in the boil, but wit has always been intended as a beer that could be made to fit local tastes/specialties, so it isn't rare in Belgium for witbiers to have other ingredients as well, particularly ones that are local to where the wit is being brewed.  My first attempt at a witbier [Opus 1 in my book of original recipes] included ginger in the boil and was a resounding success, so I thought I should finally try my hand at an all grain version.  One night, I was watching Chopped on the Food Network, and one of the secret ingredients for one of the rounds was ras el hanout, a Moroccan spice blend with cinnamon, clove, cardamom, coriander, chili pepper, and all other sorts of delicious things in it.  As soon as I saw it, I knew that it would make a fantastic spice blend for a wit, especially because of the flavors and the success I have already had in using some of them in beer and mead.  Finally, witbier is a fantastic "East meets West" style in its traditions, so I thought using ras el hanout in it would be a great idea, particularly with somewhere like Morocco where there is such a fantastic crossing of Eastern and Western cultures.

So, that's what we've got!  Local friends, be sure to stop by for a pint on a nice day.


  1. too funny... I saw that exact Chopped episode and immediately thought of brewing when they discussed ras el hanout. let me know if you find it somewhere in the NJ area. I don't live too far.

  2. So far I've only found garam masala, which is a pretty similar blend of Indian origin. I'm thinking of trying that if I can't find any middle eastern specialty stores...