Jul 282009
 Tuesday, 28 July 2009  Posted by at 15:36 brewing, SCA Tagged with: , , , ,  No Responses »

So, last week Girard came over so we could bottle beer. OK, so he could bottle and I could keg because I gave up bottling long ago. To paraphrase Robert Fripp,

There are those that say bottling beer sucks. This is because bottling beer sucks.

Anyway, I am in the process of cleaning the kegs, which involves running soapy water through them, followed by a sterilizing agent (I use Beer Bright), then rinsing out. All of this requires CO2 to force the soapy water, sterilizing agent, and rinsing water through the kegs internals.

Guess how far into the process we got before I ran out of CO2? Did you guess not far at all? Congratulations, you are right.

Normally I get my brewing supplies from American Brewmaster in Raleigh. However that’s in Raleigh, they have limited hours, and well, its Pennsic prep time… A little Googling and wallah! Metro Fire & Safety in Durham refills CO2 tanks (and Scuba tanks) and they are cheaper then American Brewmaster. Win.

So, I intrepidly head there first thing so I can be there when they open. Monday to Friday 9 to 5, so it means I am going to have to go during work hours. And I dont want to leave a full CO2 tank in the hot car all day, so it means getting it filled, driving it home and then heading to the office. *sigh* Nothing is ever easy.

But I get there just as they open last Friday. They very cute helpful guy behind the counter looks at my tank and gives me the bad news. Its due for hydrostatic testing. That takes a few days and costs $20 more.

I begin contemplating how late I can get the tank and still have beer to bring to Pennsic. He says they may have a loaner, but I would need to pay for two charges plus the testing. He goes into the back to cheack and comes back with his manager.

Good news! They have a tank they can swap for mine. I just have to pay the refill and testing charge. WOOT! In under fifteen minutes I was out of there with a freshly tested and filled tank. So, there will be beer at Pennsic. Both the infamous Cock Ale and a blackberry wheat.

Still have not decided if I am going to bring it to A&S display on Monday. However I still need to write up my documentation, just in case.

May 282009
 Thursday, 28 May 2009  Posted by at 09:55 brewing, SCA Tagged with: ,  No Responses »

[EDIT] OK, that was full of fail…  please head here and complete the poll. [/EDIT]

Fore those that missed it in an earlier post…

That evening we engaged in the next step of the Cock Ale.

A few notes on the cock ale …First, for those who don’t do period brewing, or even any brewing, the cock ale recipe is kind of legendary. Everyone talks about it in a chiding sort of way, but I dont know anyone who has actually done it – few internet accounts show that people dont read as they have used raw chicken. Fools.

Secondly, if you take out the chicken the recipe sounds really good – ale with raisins, dates, nutmeg, mace, and sherry. Yum. This leads to my plan. I have done a very very basic ale for the base – I didn’t even add hops, but have used oak chips for my bittering agent, which is a first for me. I have siphoned off maybe a half gallon of that for comparative purposes. Then I have about a gallon with cock in it – well its a gallon jug with the adjunct ingredients and topped with the ale. The remainder is the recipe without the cock as that actually sounds quite drinkable.

Now the dimea… I really wanted to have it for Rapier Academy but couldn’t get my act together to get it done. Now my choice is to either bring it to Golden Rose and offer it up as a side highlight, or save it for Pennsic and bring it to the A&S display in the barn (do they let you display alcohol? I dont even know…). I would really like to make it more of an A&S thing then a curiosity thing, but it means either I only brew one beer for the baronial parties as I only have two kegs – and I despise bottling. Plus I have to store and transport it and space going to Pennsic is always at a premium.

Whats everyone think?