Life by Chocolate

Chocolate, white, milk, dark, in all its forms forms life. Chocolate truffles, caramels, and other confections are at the core of enjoyment. This is life by chocolate because death by chocolate is the wrong attitude.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Bottling two beers this time: A Belgium Stout and another Peat-Smoked Porter

So sad and yet so full of promise. All those empty bottles waiting to be filled.

I've been very busy making chocolates. The Peanut Praliné have been flying off the shelf. People have discovered the wonderful taste of fantastic organic chocolate and an as wonderful organic peanut praliné, which we make here at Life By Chocolate.

I also made some very yummy Butter Crunch Toffee. To name only two confections. We have been extremely busy making rabbits and bunnies. Not to mention all the other chocolates we make on a daily basis.

Luckily, I found time to bottle my two beers, a Mustache Envy Belgium Stout and another round of the very lovely Peat-Smoked Porter. The Apple Cider I made is still aging but has met with delight and approval from my friends and colleagues, m'colls. (For the "A Bit of Fry and Laurie" fans out there.)

Either we had one huge party or it was bottling day yesterday. After an extended secondary fermentation, about 4 days longer than called for, we are ready to bottle.

The first step is to rack the beer. And since I had two beers to bottle, I racked, bottled, washed, racked again and bottled again. Luckily Dmitri was there to help me. He's a neighbor of ours.

Dmitri, not only an ace photographer but now also an expert bottler.

Because Dmitri was there to help, I was able to cap and box the beer while he was bottling.

Of course, I did some bottling, too. Dmitri had some appointments to take care of.

Of course my sweetheart, Kim, was also there to help. She helped recorded gravity readings and helped with sanitizing.

Mr. Music, drum roll please. The alcohol percentage of the Peat-Smoked Porter was 5.1% and careful readers of this blog will note that the last time I made this beer my alcohol percentage was 5.8%. I started out with an OG of 1.065 both times, though expected was 1.062. I did do secondary fermenting rather than a 3 week primary, this time out. I wonder if the temperature made a different in gravity, probably. The beer was much colder this time. Also, during secondary fermentation, the beer may have been stored at a lower temperature than the first batch. All of these things could contribute to a lower alcohol percentage. I'll have to recheck the beer after it's had another two weeks. I'm carbonating it in the kitchen where it is much warmer, than the cellar, that is. Though the final gravity on this batch was 1.025 and on the first batch 1.020 so they aren't that far off. .7% from just a .005 difference. Just goes to show you what compounding can do.

And for the Mustache Envy Belgium Stout we have an alcohol content of 5.8%. Spooky. The same as my first batch of porter. Original Gravity was 1.075 (expected 1.080) and the Terminal Gravity was 1.030. Again, the secondary fermentation happened in the cellar. We'll see if we get more alcohol as it ages and carbonates. These two are in the kitchen for their bottle conditioning. I don't know if the oak aging, which I did for about 2 weeks, longer than called for, but thems the breaks, did much to enhance the flavor. I'll see in a few months if I can taste the oak.

Mind you, I did have a space heater going in the cellar but I don't think it did much. After putting in the priming sugar, the temperature of both beers was around 59F. So, they probably have quite a bit of fermenting to do in the bottle. I just hope those caps hold.

Upshot: I love these beers. The samples I drew both tasted very good. i was glad I could fit in the bottling. Our Life By Chocolate chocolate making schedule has been hectic, to say the least. Easter is always very busy. On top of that, the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops and Fiber Art Workshops have been delightfully busy this year. What great weather we've had and what terrific workshops we've hosted at our two schools.

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