Sunday, October 28, 2018

ACK Fermentation Station

Hi friends! Once again it has been a while. Through all the craziness of life and moving and more life, I have not updated in a good bit. I have also not brewed in quite some time, but all of that is about to change. I am settling into my new island home of Nantucket and have utterly caught a major bug toward some fermentation projects, including but not limited to beer. The last week has seen the beginning of a couple wonderful projects with the promise of another wonderful one on the horizon. Here's what we have on tap (proverbially, of course--the literal is a coming attraction):

Kombucha - I freaking love this stuff. It is tart, fizzy, refreshing, and makes my gut super happy. It is also pricey, especially when you live 26 miles out to sea and everything has to come over by boat. Enter my long-awaited desire to make some 'booch of my own, build up a SCOBY (symbiotic colony of bacteria and yeast), and have all sorts of wonderful flavors of homegrown funk tea. Laine and I are quite partial to turmeric and various gingered varieties, but I also plan to make use of some local Nantucket flavors, particularly the wealth of wonderful fresh cranberries. Should take a couple weeks to build up a nice "mother" and from there on out I will cranking out regular batches.

Sourdough - Who doesn't love bread? While I know there are many folks out there that like to minimize their grain intake, it is hard to resist a slice of fresh baked goodness. Nantucket has inspired in me a new level of love for bread, almost definitely stemming from the widespread availability of incredible Portuguese bread in all shapes and sizes. Those who have read this blog for a while know that I have a modest history of enjoying to make bread, but after many reasonably successful experiments with instant yeast, I knew that it was time to graduate. After a couple of "refresher" batches with traditional yeast, I decided to dive into the wonderful world of homegrown sourdough and make my own starter. Making the sourdough starter was another fun and easy project for this amateur fermentationist, and since then I have had loads of fun experimenting with different recipes and methods using the sourdough culture.

And finally...BEER!
I am about to embark on a project that I have been dying to do for quite some time. I am going to brew a batch of base beer that will be split four ways and transformed into four drastically different beers through the use of different yeast strains, specialty sugars, and other creative additions. The "common denominator" beer is a tawny amber ale with pumpkin in the mash, and here are her four variants:
-"Saison Potiron Part Deux": a reboot of one of my all time favorite recipes, an amber Belgian farmhouse ale with spicy Belgian Yeast notes and golden squashy pumpkin notes
-"Basic AF"--Pumpkin Spice Latte Stout: ridiculous and delicious, this will be a coffee cream stout brewed with pumpkin and autumnal pie spices...but not too many pumpkin beers are overspiced!
-"Punkass Pie Ale": another delicious, spiced, cold weather beer with brown sugar emulating the flavors of pumpkin pie
-Pumpkin Braggot: braggot is a cross between mead and beer, so this brew will involve adding a substantial amount of honey to the base beer and possibly some mild late-addition spices (at most some vanilla and nutmeg)
Stay tuned to see how I accomplish this feat...four beers from one mash in one day!


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