Thirsty Thursday – December’s Brewing Madness

Something clicked in the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been brewing like crazy. The end result is this current state of my living room:

Three different beers, fermenting simultaneously.
Three different beers, fermenting simultaneously.

To get here, I started last Saturday with bottling the hard cider that had been settling. I knew based on how it was glowing last week that it was time…

Is it supposed to look like this?
Is it supposed to look like this?

I put it in the bottling bucket, using local honey as a primer.

Hard cider. Just look at that color!
Hard cider. Just look at that color!

Thirty bottles later, I had an empty carboy.

Hard cider bottles.
Hard cider bottles.

So what does one do when one has an empty carboy? Well, a wise one fills another. Though I hadn’t blogged about it, I did start a new coffee stout the weekend before.

Heavy Gravity
Heavy Gravity

The fermentation seemed to have settled, so I figured I’d rack it to another carboy for secondary fermentation.

Racking the stout
Racking the stout

For giggles, I bought some fermentation buckets – mostly because I found a local shop that sells brewing supplies. Well, ok, I did more than just buy some buckets. In fact, I prepared an amazing shopping list so I could do two new brews.

There's a shopping list.
There’s a shopping list.
Everything a person needs to make a sweet potato porter and a Belgian ale.
Everything a person needs to make a sweet potato porter and a Belgian ale.

I also had a kit for making a ginger beer, which I decided to make into one of the fermentation buckets I bought.

For the other primary fermentation carboy, I decided to try a sweet potato porter recipe that I’ve modified from a pumpkin porter recipe. The Belgian ale will have to wait until I bottle the stout.

I started with some yams from the store. (I should add that I’m not entirely sure if there is a difference between yams and sweet potatoes, so I’ll use the terms interchangeably.)

Yams.
Yams.

This was also a new thing for me, that I got a grain crusher and prepared my own specialty grains.

Grain crusher
Grain crusher

What’s more, I used a fairly old balance that we found in one of our out buildings to weigh the grains for the brew in the first place.

I think this balance is older than I am.
I think this balance is older than I am.

After this, it was a pretty typical brew, with steeping of specialty grains…

That's yams on the left and grains on the right.
That’s yams on the left and grains on the right.

Followed by a one-hour boil, cooling, and unceremonious dumping into a carboy. Then I poured the yeast over the top.

Right after pitching the yeast.
Right after pitching the yeast.

It has fermented rather happily, initially giving me a lovely cap, but now settled down quite significantly.

It's working name is 'Yam-tastic Oil Change Porter"
It’s working name is ‘Yam-tastic Oil Change Porter”

So there we are. One weekend. Two new brews. Thirty bottle of hard cider. And a stout that will be ready to bottle in another week or so. It was busy.

And after the holidays, I’ll be making the Belgian ale!

Published by paleololigo

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

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