Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Hops Storage

After a great weekend of wine tasting in Santa Barbara county and back from a summer of adventure, its time to get all the hops off the vines and in storage.
This year, we could always pick more than we could handle. Since the dehydrator can only hold about 4 square feet of hops, I spread the rest on a table on top of a paper towel.Spacing between the cones is key. Too close and the moisture gets trapped and turns your hops brown. Another thing I've found useful is to have a fan lightly blowing on the hops. An overhead fan would probably work the best but I just use a stand up fan. Above is about 7 ounces (dry weight) of centennial hops.
Here's some of the bigger centennial cones. Large but not as big as the chinook cones. Magnum cones get this big as well and the vojvodina hops are significantly smaller.
I dehydrate all of my hops until they are papery dry. After, I cut a foodsaver bag at three notch lengths (marked on the side of the bag roll). This size allows me to seal hops in 1-1.5 ounce incraments, perfect for sizing hop additions.
I fill the hops to the top of the bag then gently squish them down so there's enough head space to close the vacuum sealer mechanism and to ensure a clean seal.
Before sucking and sealing, I like to distribute the hops evenly in the bag. This will allow the bag to seal flat for easier storage.
While the foodsaver is vacuuming out the air, I press lightly to make sure the bag will seal as flat as possible. This is important since freezer room is really limited. Several flat bags take up very little space compared to clumpy bags.
Mission accomplished, hops are now vacuum sealed for seasonal storage in the freezer.
I adjust my scale to the weight of a three-notch length foodsaver bag and easily weigh the contents after sealing.
Label, date, and weight. Hopefully, you can see how flat the hops have been pressed after vacuum sealing.
In my hand is over 1/2 pound of great hops!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Foxen Winery Wine Tasting

Spent the day wine tasting in Santa Barbara. We mostly visited wineries that we've never been to before. We visited Curtis, Zaca Mesa, Foxen, Rancho Sisquoc, and Kenneth Volk. This is the tasting room for Foxen, we learned that it was once used as a blacksmith's shop. Not exactly sure where their winery is at. Ken Volk was a found gem, great wines all around. Sent from my mobile phone.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Cheese Off The Press

The colby is now out of the press and will air dry for 2 days. Weird that it just sits out in the open. Last night, the cheese went through a series of increasing pressure, removing, and flipping. Overnight, the colby was under 50 pounds of pressure in the press. After 2 days of drying, Andrew will wax the cheese and age it at 50'F for about 2 months. Sent from my mobile phone.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Making Colby Cheese

Making CHEESE! Its a slow process but as a brewer, I wouldn't know anything about that! Here are the curds after being cooled and separated from the whey. This will be ready in about 2 months. Sent from my mobile phone.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Allagash fluxus

On the 9th tasting and this is a clear winner thus far. The fluxus, by Allagash Brewing in Portland Maine, is an "Ale Brewed with Spices". Sent from my mobile phone.

Hi-Times Beer Tasting

Another picture of Hi-Times tasting area! Sent from my mobile phone.

End The Summer Light

We're at Hi-Times Wine Cellar for a beer tasting. The theme is "End The Summer Light". The focus seems to be off-beat wheat. Wits, hefes, saisons, and more are on the 13 beer tasting session menu. Sent from my mobile phone.

Pizza Port Carlsbad

We stopped at Pizza Port on our way north. The food is great and the beer is always outstanding. Its nice to be here during the day for a change. The weekend mission is camping and wine tasting in central coast, California. We're stopping in Orange County tonight for a tasting event at Hi-Times Wine Cellar. Tomorrow, we're planning on making cheese with http://imakecheese.blogspot.com
Sent from my mobile phone.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Vojvodina and Centennial Harvest

Here's me picking the vojvodina hops. The ladder is 6 feet to give you an idea where the top of the trellis is. Vojvodina has a very low yield, small cones, and are delicate to pick. The bitterness is on the lower end and quite smooth. The aromatics remind me of hallertauer but its more subtle. We filled a half brown grocery bag with all of the vojvodina cones that were ready, some new cone growth was apparent. We also filled an entire bag with centennial. We barely put a dent in the hop picking today. The vines that made it this year are just loaded! Sent from my mobile phone.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Centennial and Magnum Harvest

My wife, Michelle, and brother-in-law, Jim, picking as many centennial hops as we can manage dehydrating at the time. I also picked all of the ready hops from the magnum vines. Though we picked quite a bit, we didn't even make a dent in the quantity of ready-to-pick hops.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Kona Cocktail

Our great friends, Sarah and Dave! Of course, Dave had to order the fruitiest cocktail! Sent from my mobile phone.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Kona Brewing Co.

Arrived on the Big Island of Hawaii last night. Had to stop at Kona Brewing Co. for lunch and beers. of course! Aloha! Sent from my mobile phone.