Let’s get 2019 started!

Hi there! Yes, I am back. Long time no see, but with 2019 just having started, I have made up my mind with my blog. I gave it a whole make-over, so I can write a bit more broad about my crazy fermentation experiments and foodie or other thoughts.

I made – of course – some New Year resolutions and here is a shortlist of them:
1. brew a series of Belgian beers according to the style rules: Blond, Dubbel and Tripel
2. brew some really crazy beers with funny spice/fruit/herb additions
3. plant some vines in the garden to test if some classic varieties can survive the cold Danish climate
4. try to eat less food/drinks with added sugar and go more the natural sugar way (I will need some recipes here)
5. go running twice a week (gives me a lot of energy)

You will hear more about my resolutions – see how many I can manage to do this year. Not everybody likes New Year resolutions, but I love them. It is a good way of thinking about what you want to do this year that gives you pleasure and energy. And that is exactly what I want to do in 2019 – do things that I love and give me energy…..stay tuned.

Did you note down some New Year resolutions?

2019 01 Tap system

 

 

 

Blackcurrant juice – a taste of summer

It has been an amazing spring in Denmark this year with 6 weeks of sun, sun and sun. Now, after one week of cooling down, the sun is back to welcome the summer :-). That also means that all the fruit is mature earlier this year and just deliciously sweet tasting.

I went on a fruit hunt in the park in front of our house and found out that there is a lot of fruit to pick. We have cherry trees all around us and also some berry bushes. That gave a good first harvest of sweet and sour cherries as well as blackcurrant berries.

As I decided to go further with my juice productions, I decided to make blackcurrant juice. After asking some advice to my foodie friend and googling some recipes, I made up my own.

Ingredients:

⁃ 300 gram of blackcurrant

⁃ 200 gram of cane sugar

⁃ 1 liter of water

Heat up the water with the blackcurrant berries and the sugar until boiling temperature is reached. When boiling, decrease the heat and boil at low temperature until the blackcurrant berries are bursting open. You can also squeeze the blackcurrant berries if you are impatient (like me). All in all this took me 20 min to get an amazing tasting juice.

When cooled down to around 75 degrees Celsius, I sieved the juice to get rid of the berry leftovers.

Then I bottled the juice in clean and sterilized beer bottles.

The juice is around 20% sugar and should be diluted to 5% with sparkling or still water. So 1 part of juice with 3 parts of water. The color is my favorite: pink and the taste is slightly sweet blackcurrant with a little astringent aftertaste. Delicious for hot summer days!

If you like it more sweet, you can always add more sugar.

Summer Dream – my first American Pale Ale

For everything is a first 🙂 and yes, finally I am tackling the American style beers (with the exception of the American Barley Wine I brewed earlier this year – Barley Trouble). Many of you will laugh now, as these styles (Indian Pale Ale and American Pale Ale), are normally the styles you start with as a home brewer. Stubborn as I am though, I started with the Belgian styles, as I can’t deny my Belgian roots. That resulted in a lot of trying, as I still feel I have not been able to brew the perfect Belgian Blond as I like it.

That said, after 5 years of home brewing, I feel it is time to broaden my horizon. So that is why I decided to make an American Pale Ale (APA), also because I adore this beer style when done right. These beers are very aromatic – beautiful flavors coming from the hops – but are not as bitter as an Indian Pale Ale (IPA).

I invited a friend to brew with me and he was even more courageous than me, as he brewed a pilsner style that day for the first time. So it was pretty exciting to get started. My brewer’s friend brought his Grainfather, while I brewed on my Braumeister.

As I am not a fan of pale malt, I decided to use a mix of pilsner malt, Munich malt and a very low amount of biscuit malt to get the caramel character. For the hops, I used mosaic as bitter hops and late aroma hops. I was lucky to get 5 kg mosaic hop pellets from another brewery, so I could use a lot of it as aroma hops. I love the aroma of mosaic, very fruity and citrusy.

As I got an extra accessory to my Braumeister, namely a filter to block hop and other herbs from the wort when filling the fermentation bucket, I needed to try that out. You can almost not see it, but it is the stainless steel funny looking pipe in the front of the picture.

After a vigorous long boil, the wort was ready to be put in the fermentation bucket to cool down and ferment.

After 16h of cooling down, I added Safale US-05, the standard yeast almost for a lot of APA’s and IPA’s. After only 5 days of fermentation, I added loads of mosaic and citra hops as dry hops. Another 6 days later, the beer was ready to be put on bottles. I added extra sugar (dextrose) to referment on the bottle.

And today is the day to try the first bottle, after 10 days of refermentation on the bottle.

The foam is really amazing, small bubbles and it stays. The color is also perfect, amber like. The smell is very citrusy and fruity, but I also can still smell the malt. The taste is still a bit sweet, so it needs some longer time to referment all the sugar. However, the bitter-sweet balance is quite good and the bitterness is for sure not too high. A good first attempt I would say, but next time I will need to add less Munich malt, as that gives the more malty taste. I should also not be shy with the hops, as I have plenty and the smell can definitely be more hoppy.

The beer needs some more time and then I’ll taste again :-).

Do you have any recommendations on how to accentuate the hoppy aroma more?

First attempt to make lime mint juice

Waw, I can’t believe it’s almost two months ago I wrote something on my blog. The reason is quite simple though. I have been travelling quite a lot for work and I have taken some really nice holidays. Especially the holidays were very relaxing as I tried not to use the social media for once. I almost succeeded ;-).

That said, it’s time to pick up my weekly attempts to make some fresh juices. One of the juices I have been looking forward to is to make lime mint juice. The first time I tried this was in Qatar when my husband and me were on holiday there. My husband has been living there before and always remembered these juices as being so fresh on a hot day. As we have really summer weather at the moment (almost for three weeks in a row now!), it’s the perfect occasion to get a grip on this delicious juice mix.

I have also been waiting until our mint would start for real in our garden. With the warm sun, the mint has been going crazy in our garden the last two weeks, so I could pick some fresh mint leaves.

Needed for the juice:

– limes

– loads of fresh mint

– sugar (preferably cane sugar)

How to make it?

I squeezed 9 limes in my old fashion juice press. This gave around 350 ml of fresh lime juice.

Then I poured the mint leaves in the lime juice and blended it with my regular soup blender.

After blending, I sieved the mint puree out of the juice.

The mint puree can still be used to make tea or something else.

I poured the lime mint juice in glasses and added some sparkling water.

To finish up, I added some regular white sugar, but cane sugar would be better. Then I put in a straw and a mint leave as decoration and happy days, the juice is ready to drink!

We tried the juice and it was delicious 😋. However, we had to add quite some sugar to have the right sweet-acid balance. Very good first try, but next time I should add less lime. I also wonder if making mint tea first and mixing that with the lime juice would help to accentuate the mint a bit better. That’s for next time :-).

Cheers!

Blondine – my new Belgian Blond

Some weeks ago I could feel the butterflies in my tummy, yes, spring is coming! And that means it’s time to brew some light summer beers. As I still want to perfect my Belgian Blond recipe, I decided to give that one a try again. Last time I brewed a Belgian Blond was together with the people from Brewparts (read more here Brewing at Brewparts). That beer was served on the 40 years birthday party of my husband last November and was very well appreciated by the people.

So I used a similar recipe, existing of pilsner malt, flakes oats instead of oat malt and some Cara blonde to elevate the caramel taste and color. I also added some cane sugar during the boil.

As hops I used Mittelfruh as that one gives a very clean bitterness. This time I also used some spices: bitter orange peel and coriander seeds.

My Braumeister is still doing an excellent job and I really love brewing with it.

It takes me around 5 hours to brew with it, perfect for a Saturday :-).

I mashed in at 50 degrees Celsius and used a two step mashing: 45 min at 65 degrees C and 25 min at 73 degrees C.

After mashing, I boiled the wort for 60 min with the hops.

After boiling, I whirlpooled the wort and then it cooled down to around 75 degrees C so I could put it on a fermentation bucket.

I left the wort in my fermentation closet to cool down overnight. The next day, I aerated the wort for about 30 min before adding the yeast. I used M47 Belgian Abbey yeast from Mangrove Jacks.

After 7 days of fermentation, I cooled the green beer down to 4-5 degrees Celsius before bottling it. After 3 days of cooling, mist of the yeast dropped to the bottom and I could bottle my beer.

I bottled half of the beer on bottles to referment and half of the beer I put on a keg.

The beer has been nicely fermenting further in the bottles and I tried the beer some days ago. The flavor is really like a Belgian Blond should be: spicy phenolic, fruity (banana) and with a clean soft bitterness. As I used quite some oats, the beer is quite hazy, but it gives a good body to the beer. I’m quite satisfied already with the outcome but will need to age the beer a bit more to see how it evolves.

I have sent this beer in for the DM i håndbryg (Danish National Home-brewing competition). Very exciting to hear their verdict!

Pineapple heaven

Nope, winter is definitely not over yet. But last weekend, my husband and me spent the time in Belgium to visit my family. And guess what, yes, we had 18 degrees Celsius on Sunday. It felt like another world, spring just felt like the best body lotion on your skin. The sun rays together with the good company just felt like heaven :-).

And that’s why my next juice tries to capture this feeling. Sun with an extra good feeling on top. And that is exactly what my pineapple heaven will give you. The smell of pina colada is not far away.

Ingredients:

– 1 pineapple

– 2 apples

– 1 pear

– 3 lemons

Needed:

– a juicer

How to make it:

Peel the pineapple and other fruits. Slice them in small pieces.

Heat the juice in a pan until boiling temperature and cool down to 75 degrees Celsius. Then pour into a glass bottle.

Enjoy the juice with some sparkling water and ice cubes.

As I did not use the whole pineapple, I used the rest to make a dessert.

Just heat some chocolate and mix with some cream. Pour over the left over pineapple pieces and enjoy this easy but wonderful dessert.

Smakelijk!!

Vitamine boost drink

It is almost spring, but when looking outside it seems winter wants to give it a last go here in Denmark.

As many of my friends and colleagues have been dealing with the flu, here a nice recipe to get some vitamine boost … a juice with only fruits and mainly citrus fruits.

And some ginger of course, my most liked ingredient in juices.

Ingredients:

– 3 mandarins

– 2 limes

– 3 apples

– 1 ginger root

Needed:

– slow juicer or centrifugal juicer

How to make it?

Peel all fruits and cut them in small pieces.

Juice all pieces and heat the juice up to boiling temperature.

Cool down to 75 degrees Celsius and put in a glass bottle.

Pour the juice in 2 glasses and enjoy some freshly squeezed vitamins :-)!

Apple citrus kiwi ginger heaven

As I have been travelling a lot, my juicer has been standing still for a while. However, last week I made a very nice fruit drink with ginger. Apple combined with some citrus fruits and kiwi gives a very nice sweet sour balance, combined with ginger to give it that spicy edge I love so much.

Ingredients:

– 3 apples

– 1 orange

– 4 limes

– 1 lemon

– 1 ginger

– 2 kiwis

Needed:

– juicer (I used my slow juicer)

How to make it?

Peel all fruits and the ginger and cut them in small pieces.

Juice everything in your juicer. Heat the juice up in a pot until boiling temperature. Boil for 5 min to sterilize the juice.

Cool down and put in a glass bottle to keep in the fridge.

Pour the juice in a glass and add some sparkling water to finish.

Enjoy! Some sunshine heaven in a glass 🙂

Barley Trouble – a crazy Barley Wine recipe

A month ago I was invited by a friend to do a home brew together. He has a Grainfather and I have a Braumeister and it would be fun to make two home-brews together, meanwhile comparing our systems. So I decided to try an earlier Barley Wine recipe again. This recipe failed the first time, as I tried a double mash in my old system, which completely clogged up the pump. However, I was sure the Braumeister would be able to handle it.

My first recipe turned out well by the way, as I loaded whatever brew came out with loads of hops. I also refermented with a Brettanomyces yeast, which yielded 43 out of 50 points at the DM i Håndbryg competition in 2016. Not too bad at all after all.

So I decided to use the same grain bill with 6 different malts: pale malt, crystal malt, rye malt, Cara aroma, oat malt, melanoidin and biscuit malt. Quite complicated, but loaded with flavor.

As I wanted to perform a double mash, I started on Saturday afternoon with the first mash. Therefore, I used half of the malt.

The color was already quite dark but I sparged with 8 liter of water, to have enough to use this first wort as mashing water for the next brew.

The next day, on Sunday, the time was there to do some real home-brewing and some comparison between Grainfather and Braumeister.

My friend decided to brew an out meal stout. As I never tried that, I was quite curious to see how that would turn out.

After boiling, the color was definitely much darker than my barley wine. The glass to the left is my barley wine, the one to the right is the out meal stout.

It is quite more fun to brew with a friend than just on my own. Especially when some good beers are served. We tried a Petrus Aged Red, a sour ale with cherries aged on barrel. The beer was very smooth, slightly sour but well balanced. The cherry flavor was prominent, but not too much.

After mashing, it was time to get the malt out and start boiling. This time I didn’t sparge, to make sure a high alcohol level could be achieved.

The boil went really well and as I wanted to make an American Barley Wine, I added Nelson Sauvin hops as bitter and aroma hops.

After a wonderful dinner, it was time to head home to get the Barley Wine some yeast to ferment. I used WLP001, California Ale to ferment, as this yeast has a neutral flavor profile and ferments to quite high alcohol content.

As I wanted to experiment with dry hopping and adding some whiskey drained French oak chips, I divided the brew in two and fermented them separately.

In the top one I added medium roasted French oak chips that were soaked in whiskey for two weeks when the fermentation was almost completed (after 2,5 weeks).

In the lower one I added Mosaic hops as dry hopping at the end of fermentation. Both buckets fermented for at least 1-2 weeks further and now the one with dry hopping is down to a density of 1026. The taste is already amazing!

Yesterday I have put the 8 liter of Barley Wine that I dry hopped on a keg to be carbonated.

Now the CO2 needs to do the job and then I can hopefully bottle this first version of Barley Trouble next weekend! It takes time to make a Barley Wine, but if the result is great, I don’t mind to put the time in it as it is fun to experiment!

My honey cider – ready to be enjoyed

Last month I described how I made two types of cider (Cider made with special yeast). One with only apples and the other one with added honey.

After the yeast had been settled, I chilled both ciders. The honey cider was put on a keg, with the idea of force carbonating it. With this technique you force carbon dioxide into the cider without having to referment it. In this way you get a very fine sparkling cider without sediments in the bottle.

After one week of carbonation at fridge temperature, it was time to bottle my cider. I used my beer gun to bottle the sparkling cider.

I tried my beer gun now several times and am very happy with it. It works well and it is very easy to use once you know how to put it together. I also learned to over carbonate my beers or cider as you do loose some CO2 while bottling.

I used my beer gun to bottle the 18 liter of honey cider.

It was not so easy to find the right bottles, as I like white glass bottles for cider. However, they also have to withstand pressure. I found some bottles with a patent prop, and they work fine for cider.

After filling all bottles, I was happy that my first honey cider tasted very balanced. The flavor is a mix between apples and flowers and the taste is dry, but with full body and a hint of sweetness. Definitely the best cider recipe I have made so far :-).