Jul 27, 2006

Kotowaza of the day: Aging to perfection


Umeboshi to tomodachi wa furui hodo yoi

Meaning of Japanese:
Both friends and pickled plums - the older the better

English equivalent:
Old friends and old wine are best
Old fish, old oil, and an old friend are best

Jul 24, 2006

What's brewing? 7/24/06

As promised on 6/19, I'm working on Belgian styles this summer, starting with an Orval clone using recultured yeast from an Orval bottle.
The partial mash and boil on 7/15 began with a grain bill of

- 2.5lb Belgian pale malt
- 1/2lb 40L crystal malt
- 8oz Cara-pils malt

The Cara-pils was an ad hoc substitute for the Belgian Cara-vienne called for in the recipe. (More accurately, it was a mistake brought on by my not knowing one Cara- from the next.) This may reduce the gravity a bit, hopefully not much.

This time I shot for a single infusion at 150F for 90 minutes. At dough in, the temperature was spot on. But about an hour in, after opening the mash tun to stir a few times, it dropped to around 145F. To raise the temp a little, and as a lead in to the mash-out, I tried a little decoction. This involves the removal of some grist and hot water, which are then brought to a boil and re-introduced to the mash. Did this twice, then sparged with 1.5gal water at 180F and began boil. At 60 minutes, added

- 3.3lb Bierkeller light malt extract syrup
- 1lb extra-light DME
- 1lb Belgian clear candi sugar
- 1/2lb amber candi sugar
- 1oz Styrian Goldings 5% AA bittering hops
- 1oz Hallertau Hersbrucker 3.5% AA bittering hops

Added water to 2.5gal in the brew kettle. After 45 minutes, added

- 1oz Styrian Goldings flavor hops
- 1/2oz bitter orange peel
- 1tsp ground coriander
- 1tsp Irish moss

After another 12 minutes, added

- 1/2oz UK First Gold aroma hops
- 1/2oz bitter orange peel
- 1/2tsp ground coriander

Boiled for 3 more minutes, and strained wort into primary fermenter. Original gravity: 1.057. Again, a little lower than the target range (1.059-1.062), possibly due to poor mash efficiency or my grain substitution.

This time I was able to pitch soon after adding cold water to the primary. I was a little nervous about the Orval yeast, since this was my first stab at reconditioning commercial yeast, but when we awoke the next morning the beer was happily bubbling away. Yeast activity was vigorous for a full two days, then slowed down considerably.

Racked to the secondary on 7/19, dry-hopping the prescribed 1/2oz Styrian Goldings. Gravity at transfer was 1.012, nestled soundly within the target final gravity range (1.010-1.013). Good sign. And it still seems to be very slowly fermenting, with some nice lacy foam in the neck of the carboy.

This beer is supposed to sit in the secondary for 3-4 weeks, so I will probably start another batch in the meantime. After all, I've got three packets of yeast in the fridge and - what timing! - a surprise copy of Farmhouse Ales just arrived in the mail.

My brewing advisor and former supplier in Omaha informs me that the substitution of carapils for caravienne will:
1) lighten the color
2) lighten some malt aromatics/flavor profile
3) slightly 'dry' out the mouth feel
Thanks, Frank!

Jul 22, 2006

Kotowaza of the day: Scratching the surface


Tatakeba hokori ga deru

Meaning of Japanese:
If [a rug/anyone is] beaten, dust will come out

English equivalent:
Every man has his weak side
Every man has his faults
Many without punishment, but none without fault

Jul 14, 2006

Kotowaza of the day: Idling away at work edition


Akusen mi ni tsukazu

Meaning of Japanese:
Ill-gained (crooked) money does not remain long

English equivalent:
Ill got, ill spent
Treasures of wickedness profit nothing
Easy come, easy go
What is got over the devil's back is spent under his belly

Jul 10, 2006

What's brewing? 7/10/06

Well, nothing's brewing per se. But on Saturday I started the process of reculturing the Orval yeast I mentioned back here, and today it was finally showing strong signs of life when I came home from work. Reculturing yeast from bottle-conditioned beers can take a few days, but I suspect that this one sprung into action today because New York warmed up again - Belgian yeasts love those over-80 temps!

So how does one reculture yeast from a bottle of beer, anyway? First and foremost, the bottle must contain yeast. Your standard Coors Light won't cut it. Secondly, if you plan on brewing with the yeast, you probably want to make sure the yeast resting at the bottom of the bottle is the same strain used for brewing - some brewers will filter their beer and bottle-condition with another strain to protect their proprietary yeasts from thieving homebrewers and other criminal types.

Confident you've got the correct yeast? Then - aside from drinking 80% of the beer, leaving the yeast and some beer in the bottle - it's just a scaled-down version of the brew process. Boil 8oz of water, add half a cup of wheat DME and two hop pellets, and cool this mixture to below 80F. Sanitize a stopper, airlock, and the mouth of the yeast-containing bottle, and pour in the cooled mixture. Then keep it at room temperature until the yeast awakens from dormancy. Voila! Ready to pitch, or return to fridge for later use.

Kotowaza of the day: Vengeance at a distance


Edo no kataki wo nagasaki de utsu

Meaning of Japanese:
To get revenge in Nagasaki for a wrong received in edo

English equivalent:
To take revenge in a roundabout fashion (or in an unlikely place)
To have the wrong sow by the ear

Jul 6, 2006

Kotowaza of the day: Learning by doing


Ryo wa tori ga oshiuru

Meaning of Japanese:
Birds teach hunters how to shoot/catch them

English equivalent:
By writing you learn to write

Jul 3, 2006

Kotowaza of the day: Tell this to the workers to keep them happy


Taru wo shiru mono wa tomu

Meaning of Japanese:
He is wealthy who knows when he has enough
He who recognizes when his needs are met is rich

English equivalent:
He is rich that has few wants
The greatest wealth is contentment with a little
Content lodges oftener in cottages than palaces