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Blog of activities, projects, and items of interest in the realms of Homebrewing projects that are collectively known as Three Pines Brewing

Monday, January 05, 2004

Holidaze 

Updates on current and past projects:

The stout went over reasonably well at New Years, but remains slightly more flat that I'd like. I think in future batches I'll try to overcarbonate but use a pressure relief bung so that the mini kegs retain proper shape rather than try to turn into alcoholic party grenades as with the cider.

The Cyser and Cherry Melomel continue to both age nicely, as does the 2002 mead batch. As the guru at the brew shop once said:

"A homebrew wine is 'ready' to drink when you open the last bottle."

Wise words, indeed.

The raspberry is likely ready for final rack and then sweeten and bottle. Has been for months. I just hope that the sediment it's sitting on isn't giving an off taste. Shouldn't, but one never knows.

Other than that, things are quiet in the brewhaus. Two kits sit as of yet unused (stout #2 and an Irish red) as well as the materials for a fine strawberry melomel.

It's time for the yearly cyser batch, and I should be putting that down this weekend. I think I'll probably be skipping out on some other activities to hang about the house and get some stuff done with regards to the otherwise idle projects.
Take a Pint! - [ Served.]

Friday, November 14, 2003

DISASTER 

After waiting far too long to clean up the now flat stout, putting it off for such pursuits such as painting small metal minature uruk-hai and playing X-Box, it was finally time to de-tap the first keg. Clean-up was actually fairly quick and took about 10 minutes, with no troubles or problems, save the obvious that almost a full 2 quarts of good stout ended up going down the drain cause it wasn't drunk during its prime.

So, time came to tap the first cider keg.

When retrieval time came, it was discovered that all the kegs over-carbonated. Way over carbonated. The tops of all the mini kegs were bulging with the pressure as were the bottoms. The two individual bottles were near the point of blowing their bottle caps off or exploding. Exactly one of the four cider kegs appears to be useable, the others are so bulging on the top that the tapping unit won't even latch onto the top of the keg. Needless to say, all four kegs will have to be replaced.

Debrief

It appears as though when the batch was sweetened the weekend before kegging that a tertiary fermentation took ahold at some point. A not unexpected turn, but an unfortunate one. The batch was allowed to rest for three days prior to kegging to assure that exactly this scenario wouldn't happen, but it appears as though the fermentation was just exceptionally slow to take hold.

Note to self: either sorbate the stuff so that there is no tertiary fermentation, or wait a week before kegging.

At least with the kegs, the spectre of two cases of exploding bottles was averted. There were no leaks in the kegs (much to their credit) and this can all be solved next time using a pressure relief bung for the mini kegs. $3 is a lot for a bung plug but a hell of a lot less than a new $8 keg.

Oh, and the cider is really sharp and crisp. Maybe too much so. Might take some getting used to. Of course, there is only the one keg worth unless a way can be found to recover the other three.
Take a Pint! - [ Served.]

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Apples, the way they were meant to be: 

With the currently tapped stout outliving it's shelf life, I think I'm going to take the tap out of the keg tonight.

I then plan to tap one of the kegs of cider to get an idea of how that stuff is turning out. Feels like they have a positive pressure inside, which is unexpected, as I didn't plan for them to self-carbonate, but, if they did, all the better. I'll find out tonight if that batch is any good. If the bottle that I had of the stuff the night that I kegged it is any indication, it should be some decent stuff. Very reminiscent of Hard Core cider.

I need to come up with a good name for the cider, though.
Take a Pint! - [ Served.]

Friday, November 07, 2003

Tiiiime is not on my side... no it's not. 

Three pines is suffering from a material shortage of time these days. A full measure of projects are getting the metric shitload of nothing done to them due to scheduling conflicts and just too much other stuff going on. Since the subject of said projects has been broached, let us take a closer look at the projects for the fall season:


1: Raspberry Melomel
Status: In progress. Two x Five-Gallon batches require significant sweetening and then racking for final fining before bottling.
ETB: Thanksgiving.

2: Irish Red Ale
Status: Materials Purchased and ready to go.
ETY: Sunday 11/9

3: Honey Stout
Status: Materials Purchased
ETY: Sunday 11/9

4: Strawberry Melomel
Status: Materials Purchased
ETY: Unknown

5: 2003 Vintage Mead
Status: Materials Purchased
ETY: Unknown

6: Cherry Melomel
Status: Honey aquired, need the Cherry Puree/juice.
ETY: Thanksgiving.
ETB: July '04
Take a Pint! - [ Served.]

Wednesday, November 05, 2003

Chaff, Wheat, & All That 

Recent activities around Three Pines seem to be centering on cleanup and organization between the fall and winter brew seasons. With the new interest in beer brewing expanding the portfolio of Three Pines, there has been much work this fall and much to keep clean and organized. Sometime in the near future there is likely going to be a need for more duty-tailored storage for all the equipment. Right now, things are stowed rather haphazardly about the brewery and none of it really has a good home. A good, site-specific organizational scheme is going to need to be put into practice to keep the equipment from getting out of hand.

Currently the inventory is stored in two completely different rooms and a third is used for storage of the vessels being actively used. In an ideal situation, the inventory could be condensed down to one room for warehousing and one room for active use, or even better, everything in one location. Part of the basic difficulty in organization is lack of space near the water source and the inconvenence of the heating elements being on a different floor (in, yet, a fourth room).

All of this not withstanding, things are going well. Inventory is doing fine for product, equipment, and materials, and nothing has come out truly skunky all year. If things go well, there will be some inventory spreadsheets to start tracking purchases, expenditures, inventory, and all such things in the not too distant future.

Right now, Three Pines is just a homebrew hobby. But given the chance, may be much more. So, as the brew season warms up for winter, the extra long evenings are going to largely be spent re-organzing things in Three Pines to operate more like a small business. As well, there will be far more attention paid to record keeping of the actual brewing projects, for easier replication down the road.
Take a Pint! - [ Served.]

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Welcome to the Three Pines Blogging Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Three Pines Brewing.

Just kidding.

Really, this is more of an organized "what's up with the whole Brewing thing, anyway?" collection. Often, there is overlap in the sorts of web projects, pages, logs, blogs, journals, and whatnot, and all it really does is confuse the hell out of the readers. So, this blog is being created with the emphasis on organizing the whole of the brewing experience into one easy to read package. Think of it as a blog six-pack, if you will, or maybe even a small keg.

The hope is that this blog can help organize the various projects and activities into some sort of semblance of order to present to those that are interested in the activity of homebrewing, or even home drinking (once the homebrewing is done, of course). And, of course, rather contrary to the other web-based content about Three Pines, there may even be some rants from time to time on the insanity of those in the public eye that take either:

a: A wholly over-reactionary and utterly knee-jerk stupid reaction to the art and pleasure of brewing and drinking.
b: A wholly stupid and utterly irresponsible attitude towards over-consumption and/or drinking and driving.

Both of these are major concerns to those that home brew beer, wine, ciders, and other sorts of pleasurable alcohols.

Links will hopefully be provided towards useful sites featuring home brewing resources. Including, but of course not limited to, supplies, materials, recipies, legaleese, and media treatment.

Demand-driven content is always acceptable and if there are any requests for information or a diatribe on a subject, feel free to prod.
Take a Pint! - [ Served.]

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