Sunday, October 30, 2011

Hamiltons Tavern

I'm sitting in my favorite local bar in San Diego enjoying a couple of fine beers - Russian River Pliny the Elder and Green Flash Hamilton's 5th Anny I Plead the 5th Black IPA. Both excellent example of beer in their respective styles. I definitely miss living just 3 blocks away from this fantastic establishment, but every time I step into this place I instantly feel at home, like I never left. What's not to like about this place? Black painted walls, loads of craft beer signs, wood bar, distressed wood booths, a couple of pool tables, 30 taps, hundreds of tap handles hanging from the ceiling, awesome staff and great food! Whenever you find yourself with a free moment or in the South Park/Golden Hill/North Park area, be sure to check out the hottest beer bar in San Diego.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Kombucha Update

Baby mushroom grown from the original
mother mushroom.

It's been a while since I provided an update to my Kombucha SCOBY mushroom starter experiment. After a couple of weeks, I had a nice little Kombucha mother mushroom growing (see below). It frankly looked hideous, but I was able use that as a starter to begin growing a number of "baby" mushrooms. I grew the mother mushroom into a large mushroom by pitching it into a 3 gallon batch of tea stored in a 5 gallon food grade bucket. That batch sat too long and turned very vinegary, but it produced an excellent environment to propagate additional kombucha babies, which it pops out a new one every 1-2 weeks.We gave one to Liz's sister Esther who graciously supplied the photos for this post (visit her post about it here.)

My wife brewed up a fresh batch of tea several weeks ago and pitched the baby SCOBY shown at left into the fresh batch. Within a week, the tea had turned into kombucha and was ready for bottling. Liz and her sister had a little bottling party and used several different flavors including plain kombucha, kombucha with juice, and a third with fresh raspberry and ginger root.

All turned out quite well. A slight cider vinegar aroma on the nose, but a fresh kombucha flavor when drunk. The ones with juice were a bit sweet. The bottles with the raspberry and ginger root were fantastic. Carbonation was a bit light, so we just need to try to bump that up next time. All in all, it turned out very well - we've got another batch fermenting now!

Kombucha mother grown from a commercial bottle
of GT kombucha. and pitched into a 3 gallon batch of green tea.
(Esther DID NOT take this photo :=)

Esther's much smaller kombucha batch
with one of the "babies" we gave her.
Raspberry and ginger.

Finished bottle

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Black IPA - Dark Side of the Moon

I brewed up a second batch of Dark Side of the Moon - Black IPA on Sunday, which was as the title suggests, my 20th batch. Liz and I have hit 100 gallons brewed this year! This was the first time brewing in my now cleaned out garage and second time at my house. It was great brewing in full shade instead of constantly rotating an EZ Up in the backyard to follow the course of the Sun, and having easy access to the kitchen was great too. Soon I'll have a tankless water heater installed with a prefilter/diverter so I can have instant or near instant hot water! I hadn't brewed just a single batch in quite a while, having done double batches for quite some time now, and it was quite relaxing having just the one batch to focus on. It's bubbling (blowing off) quite nicely in the new fermenter now.

Grain Bill was pretty simple - 12 lbs 2-row, 1.25 lbs Carafa II Special, .75 lbs Crystal 60, 1 lb Sugar
1 oz Centennial at 60, 30 and 1 minute
1 oz Cascade at 10, 5 minutes (fresh home grown hops from Dominic)
Whirlfloc and Sugar added at 15 minutes.
White Labs Cal Ale 001 re-pitch from Hess.