Thursday, November 4, 2010

black dog stout

My first attempts at homebrewing were far from failures, but I still have a ways to go before I get this down. My Antler Ale (a west coast pale ale) turned out flavorful enough, but I over-carbonated it in the bottling process, making it almost a seltzer in texture. I'll adjust my sugar next time. Natural carbonation is a fickle bitch.

But my Black Dog Stout came out smooth and slick, black as night and tasting slightly of chocolate and brown sugar. It might well be over-carbonated itself but the beer is so dark and thick you can't tell. Or rather, I can't tell. I adore it. I plan on making four more gallons of the stuff before Christmas.

It's a damp night here in Washington County. The farm's sluggish as most farms are when it's cold and wet outside. The sheep ate their hay fast and then stomped up the hill for shelter in their sheds. The chickens are a sorry looking bunch, all wet and ragged. I watched Upset jump on one of the meat bird's backs and bite right into his comb, causing some blood to cascade off. I yelled at him, and ran inside to grab the Bag Balm. I decided right then and there that any bird that looks like Chuck Klosterman on this farm will probably end up being an asshole. Upset, as it turns out, is quite upsetting. He'll make great soup, though. I should have named him Silver Lining.

The dogs are downstairs, suspiciously quiet. The only dog that usually comes up to the farm office while I'm writing is Jazz. I even have a bed up here by my desk, and he makes it his while I type and yet even he is downstairs. I am guessing there is much plotting going on and I'm going to head down to suss it out. I hope you all stay dry and warm. If your place is anything like here, a stout beer and watching Braveheart for the 34 jillionth time is all this barometer is good for.


Blogger becky3086 said...

LOL, beer and Braveheart sounds pretty good to me!

November 4, 2010 at 7:45 PM  
Blogger HotFlashHomestead said...

That beer looks absolutely fantastic. You give me hope that I could actually make some like it if I got a kit. Wow. Guess you should now add "brewmaster" to your list of handy skills.

November 4, 2010 at 8:11 PM  
Blogger Jenna Woginrich said...

I'm not a master of anything, darling. But I bet if you picked up a simple kit you'd have fine beer in a month! Just takes trying.

November 4, 2010 at 8:46 PM  
Blogger Tracy Bruring said...

I am wanting some of that beer. Yum;

I think I got very lucky with my two rooster. Studmuffin is very dignified and since I have owned him he has never acted agressive toward me. Larry...the fancy yellow roo is also that way. Studmuffin puts up with him most of the time. Now and then I will hear Larry squaking and yelling and he will explode out of the hen house with Studmuffin on his tail chasing him for a good 3-4 minutes around the chicken yard. My thoughts are he probably deserved it. Then all will be quiet for another week or so.

November 4, 2010 at 8:53 PM  
Blogger Andy said...

I understand. I just made my first batch of mead back on Labor Day. Now I have to wait until at least March to see if my mead comes out good or bad. I can't wait.

November 4, 2010 at 8:55 PM  
Blogger Chicky said...

The beer sounds delish! Ah yes, natural carbonation IS a fickle bitch. When you've become more comfortable with brewing, a 5-gallon soda keg & a small CO2 tank will become your dear, dear friends. After secondary fermentation (depending on the beer, you may not need much secondary), beer goes into the sanitized keg, CO2 hooked up, turn on CO2, shake up beer to distribute CO2, wait a bit for carbonation to set it, & BAM...perfectly carbonated beer.

Hm, I think I may know what to get Cold Antler for Christmas :)

November 4, 2010 at 10:19 PM  
Blogger Paula said...

Ach! I can't watch Braveheart again. It was so good the first time, and so much of it I just can't stand. My go to movie for rainy nights is either Desk Set, or Auntie Mame. Can't help it. Old movies do it for me.

Congrats on your brew.

November 5, 2010 at 12:46 AM  
Blogger Mary said...

This comment is more about the last post, asking for frugality advice, than about this one, but it is truly awesome what you have created here--a family of interested and supportive colleagues all over the world who tune in to see what you are up to, offer advice, share in the sheer adventure of what you are about. This is an amazing blog!

November 5, 2010 at 6:36 AM  
Blogger Carl said...

I never heard of Chuck Klosterman but I googled him, and dang if he doesn't look kind of like a chicken!

November 5, 2010 at 8:49 AM  
Blogger treehuggers kitchen said...

Anytime hubby and I have a date night with nothing to do, Braveheart is our go-to. I think we can both recite almost the entire movie by heart. While watching it a few weeks ago, I noticed how the characters tie their hair back with scraps of fabric. I think I just may try it. :)

November 5, 2010 at 8:54 AM  
Blogger Toni aka irishlas said...

Congrats on the home brew!
We found that even the type of sugar used can effect the final outcome. We tried using sugar in the raw vs. refined white sugar and the batch was too gassy. But, learning is part of the fun as long as it's drinkable! haha

November 5, 2010 at 9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If those beers are over carbonated you'll want to store them someplace cool, and don't take too long drinking them. The pressure of over carbonation can actually cause the bottles to explode. Usually the bottoms pop off, apparently that's the weak spot of most bottles. It's a real mess and a sad waste of beer! We've learned this the hard way, so I figured I should pass the knowledge along! Someone else might warn you of this - but I figured I would too!

November 5, 2010 at 9:45 AM  
Blogger Leiflet said...

Mel Gibson + your own beer sounds like a winning combo.

But Mel Gibson + HIS own beer? Racial slurs and divorce waiting to happen. Brave heart, indeed.

Stay warm, Jenna! Sorry i won't be able to make it up next Sunday. So close, and yet...

November 5, 2010 at 9:53 AM  
Blogger Maggie in Tally said...

Braveheart was one of those movies which was so good I never need to see it again. It WAS awesome. I just got too involved with Mel, and then that ending scene...nah. Can't do it. My go-to is Grumpy Old Men. God Rest all their souls.
And I understand about the house being too quiet. When my cats all cluster up & get silent, I come running---Mama's Merry Little Band of Murderers prolly has some small creature hemmed up.

November 5, 2010 at 10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a handy carbonation calculator:

When you move up to 5 gallon batches, just use the priming sugar packets you can order with kits -- it's a never-fail. They're 5 oz. and available at Northern Brewer.

For this batch, the best cure for overcarbonation is to stick it in the fridge -- cold liquids can take more dissolved CO2 than warm ones. If you are worried about bottle bombs, refrigeration is the best way to arrest additional carbonation.

I am so happy to see you enjoying your new-found hobby. Feel free to e-mail me if you have homebrew questions.

November 5, 2010 at 12:03 PM  
Blogger VTGrown said...

Jenna, the more I read your blog the more I feel a kinship with you, someone I've never met! If I wasn't temporarily (I hope) transplanted to the west coast I even might turn into weird stalker chick. I bought your book after reading your article on "barnheart", describing me of course. My first pic movie on cold or rainy days is usually Braveheart. My kids will come into the living room and say, Braveheart again, Mom...Really?

November 5, 2010 at 12:35 PM  
Blogger DebH said...

have to say...I laughed when I read your title. Then reread it..really thought it read "Black Dog Snout!" I kinda like that label though ..:)

November 5, 2010 at 12:44 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

That beer looks good enough to eat!

November 5, 2010 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Joe St. John said...


My first two batches of beer were super over carbonated. They looked like those youtube videos where they drop the mentos into a diet pepsi. Huge fountains. I mean, to the roof! I would open them three at a time and pour into a punch bowl, then scoop out the under the foam beer layer with a measuring cup. It tasted like beer brut! My third batch...right combinations...awesome! Keep it up, it only gets better!



November 5, 2010 at 8:08 PM  
Blogger Sarah Rachelle said...

I read this article and thought of you with your problems with Chuck Klosterman. It seemed really helpful. Good ol' Mother Earth News.

November 6, 2010 at 1:40 PM  

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