Homemade Hop Candy

finished hop candyAfter seeing a post in /r/homebrewing subreddit a few days ago about homemade hop candy, I thought it was a great way to use up some ‘lose’ hops and see if there is a difference between the varieties in the candy.
My first batch tonight was with cascade hops, a slight bitterness that follows once the sweetness wears off the candy.

Near Boil Over

Near Boil Over

2.5 cups sugar
1 cup light corn syrup
1 cup hop tea

  • I steeped 1/2 oz of Cascade hop pellets with 1.5 cups near boiling water in a french press for about 15 minutes
  • Poured the remaining 1 cup of hop tea in a pot with the sugar and corn syrup
  • Stirred slightly just to mix everything up
  • Attached my candy thermometer
  • Brought up to 300F without stirring.
  • Removed pot from heat and poured onto parchment paper over cookie sheets
  • After a few minutes started to work the hardening candy with a buttered flat metal utensil.

hop candy piecesSome things to do differently next time:

  1. Take the candy off the heat JUST before 300F, the temp shot through 300F in a few seconds
  2. Use our large slab of marble
  3. Buy white cotton gloves to use to work the candy with
  4. cut into chunks and roll into balls by hand
  5. Commercial hop oil
Posted in Projects | Leave a comment

Wine Fermentation Update March 2013

Today my wine partner and I sampled our Rose Hip Wine and Rhubarb wine that we put together back in November. Both should be ready to bottle, and are with the exception of the Rhubarb being somewhat cloudy still. I will rack that over and let it settle for a few weeks and if there is no improvement I may try something else (bentonite or sparkalloid maybe?) in the fining department.

The Rose Hip Wine was a slight yellow color, clear, and tasted very dry like a very tart dry white wine. It measured out at 10B (down from an estimated 24B) so about 13.1% ABV.
The Rhubarb wine was a cloudy pink, still with a sweet smell and a touch too sweet. The problem here is that it measured out at 14B, started at 29B and is now around 14.7% ABV I believe my 71B yeast crapped out. I added just a touch too much sugar. A good note for my future batches with 71B – get to around 27 – 28B for a good level.

So, we’ve decided to blend these two, instead of back sweetening one, and pitching champagne yeast into the other. We tried a sample blended and it wasn’t very bad at all. I’m not totally happy, but for my first foray into wine making, not too bad.

Stay tuned, I’ll take some pictures before / after my clearing attempts with the Rhubarb wine, and also of the blending and of course my first wine bottling experience. Hope to be at that point in about one month.

Posted in Wine | Leave a comment

Cherry Mead

cherrymead_March_2013After seeing the 100% Cherry Juice being sold at Trader Joe’s I was intrigued about seeing if I could pull off a Cherry Mead without it tasting like cough syrup. So, I bought two 1 qt jars and picked up their 100% tart Cherry Juice (1 qt) as well. Looking back I would have just gone all tart cherry juice to reduce the chance of the cough syrup effect I think. But here I am anyways.
For my 1 gallon recipe I mixed the 3 one quart jars and added honey (from Costco) to get to 1.100 SG (25 Brix).  It was about 1 lbs of honey give or take.

Actually, let me work through the calculation:
The juice was 1.060 (15 B)
Honey is somewhere around 42 points / pound / gallon (ppg)
So to get 1.100 I needed 40 more points for my gallon
This means I used 40 points / 42 ppg to give me .95 pounds of honey used.

The rest of the ingredients:
1/8 tsp DAP
1/8 tsp Yeast Energizer
3 g of 71B-1122 Lavlin Narbonne
4.5g of Go-Ferm to rehydrate the yeast at 95F

I had visible fermentation in about 4 hours
After 1 day SG was 24B
After 2 days 21B
After 3 days 18B

Added 1/16 tsp Yeast Energizer & 1/16 tsp DAP at 3 days. Should have added after day 2 at 21B instead of 18B

Posted in Mead | Leave a comment

Dry Stout

A basic 1 gallon Dry Stout recipe.  Note that I ground up the roasted barley in this to almost dust.  This was a recipe pretty much straight from Jamil Zainasheff in Brewing Classic Styles.


Dry Stout

Posted in My Brews | Leave a comment

Hard Cider 2013

I made up a quick batch of hard apple cider on January 2, 2013.  I didn’t add any extra sugar, just used the natural sugars in the juice.


1 gallon

SG 12 (1.048)

Added Lavlin 71B-1122 yeast

Yeast energizer

As of today, February 2, the SG is 5 (1.007), tastes very dry and super tart.  This puts it at 4.9% abv.  I have a strong desire to experiment a little with this, freeze it and make ‘applejack‘.  I would likely end up with just 12 oz of around ~20% or so, but I am really curious about how this stuff tastes.  Thoughts?


Posted in My Brews | Leave a comment

Fermentation Updates Feb 2013

It’s been a long time since I’ve rock & rolled.

Alright, a quick update on all things fermentation from here.  I’ve been lax in posting and generally brewing, I need to kick it up a notch.

Rhubarb Wine 2.5 months

Rhubarb Wine 2.5 months

The Rhubarb Wine – I’ve just racked over to a 3 gallon better bottle & sampled.  It was originally 29B and now is 15B, down from 16B on 11/27/12, so pretty much done.  This puts it right at 12%abv and 1.026 correct SG.  The taste is still too sweet (added too much sugar to this recipe) so I am thinking of adding some champagne yeast and seeing if that does anything.  Not sure, that is a pretty tough environment to get fermenting started in.

Rose Hip Wine

Rose Hip Wine

Rose Hip Wine – I didn’t sample this yet, I need to get a small auto-syphon to use in these 1 gallon bottles, so I will transfer later this week.  One problem.  One bottle looks darker brown and its airlock was almost dry.  My mistake.  I may have an oxidized / vinegarized bottle of wine there.  The other bottle looks fine.  I’ll know more later this week.

I’ll have more to post later this week after I use some of the Champagne yeast on the rhubarb wine and then transfer over the rose hip wine.

Posted in My Brews | Leave a comment

Fermentations Update

I’ve been pretty quiet on here lately, I just haven’t brewed this past 3-4 weeks.  I have been tending to the wine though and finally transferred both the Rose Hip Wine & Rhubarb wine to secondary fermenters.

My Pseudo Munich Dunkel is ready to bottle, I’ll knock that out later this week once I get another day off from work.

My next brew I now want to make up a Cranberry Wheat.  I listened to a Basic Brewing Radio podcast & Chris (editor of BYO) brought up his annual Cranberry Wheat recipe & it sounds intriguing.

Also, I want to knock out a SwarzenKolsch.  I had a Flat Tail Brewing Wetsuit Swarzenkolsch & tweeted about how it would be a great home brew experiment.  Mixing a nice Kolsch yeast & base with a swarzenbier malt bill.  Flat Tail tweeted back to me that they would let me know the recipe if I wanted it.

Sure enough!  I now have their recipe & will brew it after I do the Cranberry Wheat, likely both this next week.  I will send along a sample of the SwarzenKolsch to Flat Tail for some feedback.

Rhubarb Wine Sample- Still Chunky

Rhubarb Wine Sample- Still Chunky

Full Fermenters

Full Fermenters


Posted in General, Wine | Leave a comment