Bavarian Wheat Beer

Today I brewed up a summer beer in the hope that the Irish summer will live up to the beer, so far it hasn't been a great summer but here's hoping. I brewed a Bavarian style wheat beer.

11 Litres

Muntons dry wheat malt extract: 1kg
Light dry malt extract: 240g

Tettnang hops 4.8%AA
60 minutes: 5g
30 minutes: 10g
End Aroma: 12g
1 tsp irish moss

Safbrew S-06 yeast

This brew was the first time I used my wort chiller and it went really well. It took only twenty minutes to chill the wort to pitching temperature of 25 degrees celcius. I was very impressed. What a great piece of kit, it's a pity it took so long for me to get one.

I had a bit of debate as to what yeast to use in this beer. I had some Brewferm Blanche yeast which is suitable for wheat beers and wit beers. I also had Safbrew S-06 which is good in wheat beers especially Bavarian styles. I am also thinking of putting raspberries into the secondary and I've been told that a nice clean neutral yeast like Danstar Nottingham would interfere less with the fruit flavours.
In the end I went for the Safbrew S-06 to see if I can make a nice Bavarian style Weiss. If the beer tastes good at the end of primary fermentation I might not put the raspberries into it after all. Or maybe I'll split the brew in secondary and do half with fruit half without to see what the difference is. I'll post back here what the results are.

A Weekend In The Woods

I was searching around for crafty and knitting related courses and stumbled upon CELT who are based down in East Clare near Lough Derg. Last weekend was their big summer event called the weekend in the woods where they run loads of environmental and sustainable living courses. They had a Weaving, Spinning and Natural Dying course so I booked in for that. On friday I packed up my tent and headed for the woods.
On saturday morning we began the course, Suzanne Anker our tutor said we'd weave a little bag over the weekend so we started that.

First we picked some wool from her stash of lovely hand-spun, hand-dyed wool. Then we started weaving on a cardboard loom. I've always liked weaving, as a kid I made a proper little loom from ice lolly sticks and cardboard and made a belt on it.

After a nice lunch in the Rustic Restaurant which had been set up for the weekend we were back to start learning the basics of spinning. First we carded up some fleece.

Then we tried some spinning on a drop spindle. This was pretty hard to get the hang of but you could see how with practice you could make wool this way. Then we also got to use the tutor's spinning wheel. This was a little easier to get the hang of than the drop spindle but to get good at it would take some time. It was very cool to turn fleece into wool.

On sunday morning we started dying with some plant dyes. We used onion skins with two different mordants to dye some head-scarves and a little bag.

The dye came out really well and we got a leaflet explaining what other plants to use in what seasons and what mordants they needed. I must try some more dying!

Then it was back to weaving and finishing off our bags. They turned out really well. I also crocheted an edge onto mine to finish it off. Mine is the bottom left hand one in the picture below.

It was a great fun weekend and I learned a lot. I'd like to do more spinning and learn a bit more about it. The natural dying was great as well and I'd like to dye some plain wool with plants. The weaving was fine, I've done it before so maybe that's why I wasn't as crazy about it. There are also faster ways to weave than a cardboard loom. Saying that I love my little bag. Definitely worth doing!

Mead Update and Perry

My two meads finished primary fermentation about two weeks ago. Today I racked them to secondary to continue aging. I had a sneaky taste of them as well. The mead fermented with the ale yeast is the sweeter of the two. The samples I tasted had a lot of yeast still in them so that might not be the best indication of taste.

I made perry about four months ago using pears from my Dad's garden. I froze them and they were left in the freezer for a long time (a few months) which was probably too long. I eventually got round to juicing them. Juicing was a real pain and they didn't yield much juice so the 1 gallon demi-john had to be topped up using apple juice. I used Lalvin EC1118 yeast which I used in a cider before and it worked well. I got round to bottling the perry this evening. It smells a bit vinegary and tastes only a little bit better than it smells. I think maybe the pears introduced a bit of wild yeast or something. The new husband reckons we stash the bottles in the shed and go back to them in a few months to see if they are any better. I admire his optimism and hope that it gets better.

I used my new mini bottler for the first time this evening. It's a great little gadget. It's a tap and a wand with a valve at the end. You just put the wand in the bottle and the little valve moves up and fills your bottle. I think this will save lots of time and hassle while bottling beer.