Sunday, October 09, 2011

1st Brew at Matuz's

For the 1st brew at my place I did my Tuzkin Ale(Pumpkin Ale), and my Ol'Man Tuz(Oatmeal Stout).

I gotta say, waking up in the morning to some great weather, and beautiful view made doing this brew even more enjoyable.  As I write this, both are draining into their respective boiling pots.  So I have some time to post some images.

1st thing I did was prepare the pumpkin.  I picked up two pie pumpkins from a nearby produce stand.  Both registered a little over 4lbs.  I rubbed in the pumpkin spice like I do with any meats I have been smoking lately. I really wanted to penetrate the pumpkin.

The before pic 1

Before pic 2

After 1

After 2

My setup looks like this:

This was what it looked like as I weighed and milled the malt.

I decided to add MORE POWER(Tim Taylor) to the mill.  It worked beautifully.  I had grain all milled in no time...


More pics and updates to come as I finish the day out.  Almost done draining....just added second set of sparge water to pumpkin...going to go bring the temp up on the oatmeal sparge.  Hopefully I'll be boiling in 30 min or so!

Boils went okay.  There was a boil over in the pumpkin and I lost some wort.  BUT the O.G. was right on.  Bad thing is, getting the wort into the carboy was a pain, and I lost some more wort.  It is hard to get all of that in there(pumpkin, etc.) into a small hole.  I have about 4 gallons of Pumpkin Ale.

The Oatmeal was high on the O.G. with a 1.070.  I added water to bring it down and to raise the amount of wort from 8 gal to 9.5gal.  I had so little wort due to the fact that as I was taking it off the burners, it tripped, and lost some wort.  I brought the O.G. down to 1.057, which is only .003 off from what I wanted.  Can't complain there.  We'll see how it turns out.

The day started out so great, but ended on some bad notes.  I just hope the beer taste good.

I am exhausted, and tired.  Going to shower, and eat some dinner(Smoked meatballs added to some chili in the crockpot).


Sunday, October 02, 2011

Brewing Pictures

Der Brauer and Irish Rover got together to brew 6 beers today. I showed up to document a little and help out however I could. Here are some pictures taken between 8am and noon.

Checking numbers before starting.

Der Brauer getting ready to crush some grain.

Crushing the grain. Der Brauer working on a bad case of Brewer's Lung.

The Department of Weights and Measures.

Smells amazing. Baking the pumpkin quarters at 325 for 2 hours.

Yeast for the Porter on the left. Yeast for a Pumpkin beer and another beer on the right.

Checking the color after the mash.

Down time? Let's sample the Oktoberfest.

I've never had a Butter Beer... let's sample that, too.

Wait, when did you guys make a Chocolate Wheat? Sample time x3.

Cubing the pumpkin quarters.

Drawn, quatered, and on to being cubed.

Cubing the pumpkin quarters.

The pumpkin pieces are cubed for the boil.

Final note: Muscadine wine date has been set for Sunday, November 6 at the brand new Manzi residence.


Thursday, June 30, 2011

Racking Updates

Buona giornata... Here's an update on the wine side of Two Things!

On Sunday, the four of us (plus Kevin Sunway, a.k.a. The Ghost of Mason Rd) got together to make some beer at Jack Dords' home. This kind of reminded me that I needed to re-rack my wine before I had knee surgery this week: The Pineapple-Orange wine and the Watermelon wine haven't been re-racked in a while. I decided to re-rack them and take a quick peak at flavor and smell.

Pineapple-Orange Wine (henceforth referred to as POJ, until a name is picked)

- POJ wine was started April 23, 2010, so as of today it has aged 433 days (or 1 year, 2+ months) total.
[Sidenote: A few months ago, I siphoned out approximately one bottle, which has been fully consumed. The flavor from said bottle was extremely sweet, with a hint of whiskey flavor. Why whiskey, you ask? Probably because I did a crap job of cleaning the bottle I siphoned in to! A lesson learned, from now on, I will clean all former liquor bottles with vinegar water and rinse them several times before using them as wine bottles.]

- 3rd racking: This time, I siphoned the large carboy of POJ into two gallon jugs and one cleaned liquor bottle. I intend to share some of this small bottle with whomever is interested in sampling and let the two full gallon jugs age for as long as I feel like. I labelled and dated the outside of one of the gallon jugs with the original date and this most recent racking date.

- In the large carboy, siphoning left behind about one inch of murky wine in the bottom of the carboy. As it is my intention to get this wine as clear and pure as possible, this was all tossed immediately.

- There have been no major changes in the color or consistency of the POJ wine. There are very few 'floaties' left in this wine. As it came from fresh-squeezed fruit, I have been very willing to leave behind and dump the "floaties" to make it more pure and mellow in taste.

- The taste of the wine is still sweet compared to most commercial wine I've had, although I can say with certainty that I've never had a commercial POJ wine. The 'bite' of the wine is certainly retreating as time goes and mellowing the flavor with time and re-racks has been the biggest priority of this process.

Watermelon Wine (project name "Break Bottles Behind Wawa" or "Watermelon Crawl")

- Watermelon wine was started on August 11, 2010, so as of today it has aged 323 days (or 10+ months) total.
[Sidenote: This wine was a bit of a worry in its early days. Reading back on old emails/blogs with Matus, Dords, and Der Brauer, I saw that we discussed whether or not to toss it completely. Ultimately, the literature I read said to not taste for 15 or so months past fermentation, as Watermelon wine tends to retain a gross odor for a while, even when done right.]

- 2nd racking: Upon examining the carboy of Watermelon wine, the wine color is a pale yellow, and there is almost no odor whatsoever (a total surprise to me). There is an approximately 2-inch thick layer of pink-to-red pigment in the bottom.

- I was careful to not let the siphoning hose get anywhere near this layer as I siphoned it into another 4-gallon carboy. I moved approximately 3 gallons of wine into the new carboy and capped the new carboy with an airlock. Labelled and dated the outside of the carboy with original date and most recent racking date.

- It took several rinses of the old carboy to get the pigments and pieces out of the bottom. The pink and red pieces in the bottom had a strong odor- not like the original foul smell of the fermentation, but like watermelon normally smells, just strong enough to burn your nose.

- Although writers online have suggested that I not taste this wine for about 4.5 more months, the curiosity got the best of me, I took some from the hose and dribbled it into a glass for a quick taste... the first sip had a bite to it, almost like Sake (Japanese brewed rice wine)! It is also thin, like Sake.

- The taste quickly developed into that of a dry wine, with a very light hint of watermelon flavor. I have no doubt that this will end up being the first truly Dry Wine that Two Things: Beer & Wine makes. Patience (and going into this wine with zero expectation) seem to be paying off.


-As Matus recently mentioned, he and I recently obtained blackberry bushes from different sources. One of those sources was my wife's grandfather, whom I look up to as an inspiration for making wine. His health is slowly failing, so prayers for peace for himself and his loved ones are appreciated.

- From the same source, I also recently obtained a large bag of frozen Muscadine grapes. As soon as I have started physical therapy and I am able to drive myself, I will be retrieving those from a family member's deep freeze in South St. Louis County and making a batch of Muscadine wine. I will be following his recipe as close as I possibly can.

Drink your wine from a stein!
Antonio Manzi

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Hop Bines and Blackberries

Just wanted to post a few pictures I took today of my hops and blackberry bushes.  As I have said before, my hops have been kind of lacking in growth.  My Nugget just stopped growing, but the leaves were big and green. The Sterling quit growing, started to wilt, but some days it looked like it was coming back.  Both have begun new growth this past week.  Two new bines came out of the mulch from the Sterling, which I will tie to the rope, and new leaves have sprouted from both the Nugget and Sterling along with vertical growth in the Nugget.  All is well it seems.
New vertical growth on the Nugget

Two new bines coming out of the Sterling.  One in front and one in back.

Upclose of Sterling new growth.

You can see the different colors of green.  The new growth is lighter.  The old wilting growth is dark green.

    The blackberries are doing very well.  I am still looking for the proper wire for the trellis system.  Lowes did not have it, I may need to look at a contractors store.  Berries are growing and green.  See below.

Tripled in size since it was planted.

Flowers and berries about to bloom.

Largest bush so direly needs a trellis.

That is all for now.