Ancient Brews, Huzzah!

Back in 2005 Discover ran an article about Dogfish Head’s attempt to recreate a 9,000 year old Chinese brew. There’s a reason they’re my favorite brewery. They’re re-releasing it to the unwashed masses in June or July (so I can finally get a taste of it) and have several other interesting brews planned, including sahti. Impressions of the stone age concoction, which Dogfish calls Chateau Jiahu, sound wonderful. Quoth the Beer Babe:

“What’s great about this drink is, in addition to being historically reproduced from molecular evidence (a history geek’s dream brew) it is sweetened with honey, grapes and has a lovely warm taste which resembles wine, or mead. It’s pretty cloudy and smells like sweet grapes, with an amber color and some carbonation that isn’t overwhelming but reminds you that it isn’t wine. I think this would be a good candidate for aging, and I am hankering to have this on a moonlit summer night for some reason.”

It’s a great time to be a drinker.

In which I fail at updating.

But I’ll try to make up for it. To get started not failing, let me just shout to my cousin Nate. If you check the Big Beers Festival winners page, he’s the joker on the far right, taking the silver in Belgian Strong Ales. Congratulations!

Also, I’m pretty sure that the intrepid Flagon Slayers have another theme song. And this one’s not ever by Korpiklaani! Check out Alestorm’s Wenches and Mead:

Scottish Pirate Metal has never sounded better. I have a ton more to post, including hop propagation news, but I’ll split it up into small posts so I actually do it, instead of waiting and never getting around to it.

We Have Hops Sign!

Cascade Hops

My cascade hops are flowering!

The likes of which even God has never seen?  Not quite, but I’m just happy that they’re producing in the first year, as I had heard different stories about the viability of hops in the Louisville area.  We’ll see if they taste anything like the Cascades we know and love shortly.

In other news, thanks to my current obsession with apple-based drinks, I got the idea for an Apple Porto. I’m not sure if such a thing exists, but here’s how I went about making it:

I wanted something with a strong apple taste, high alcohol by volume, and sweet, for sipping through the winters. To figure out what I needed to do to get the concentration high enough, I bought a bunch of frozen apple juice concentrate cans, mixed them with a ratio of water, and began taking specific gravity measurements. As presented below, 1 part water to n parts concentrate gives:

  • 1 to 1: 1.090
  • 1 to 2: 1.120
  • 1 to 3: 1.135
  • 1 to 4: 1.143

That’s about where I want it to be, allowing the yeast to complete to tolerance with residual sweetness and flavor. Double 1 to 4 to get two parts water, eight parts apple juice concentrate gives 120 oz, or a gallon with some space for a starter. I threw the starter into a maybe 24 oz of the must, and have been adding 8 – 12 oz every day, keeping the must in a refrigerated carboy until it’s empty.  This is an attempt to maximize the fermentation and keep “ramping up” the yeast concentration. After one week of doing this, the active must was at 1.040.  I expect a long secondary, oaked tertiary, then fortification with brandy to reach a portish level of 20% or so. I’m excited to see how it turns out.