Moldy Cheese and Brewing Without Failures

It's been a while since I've updated you all on my DIY food and beverage pursuits. Mostly because I haven't really done much. It's hard to make cheese out of the back of your car in the Everglades. Nonetheless, there is still news!

First, I would like to all inform you of the untimely demise of my colby cheese wheel. Since I wasn't able to coddle it while we were gone for a month to the tropics (i.e., turn the wheel over every couple days to keep airflow over all parts of it), it decided that it wasn't getting enough attention from me and turned to it's second love: mold. However, the best part about hard cheese, is that since it is non-porous (unlike bread), the mold can't actually penetrate the cheese very far. So you can just cut the mold off and eat the rest. I actually managed to salvage about half of the block after some diligent whittling. I then gave it a little brine bath in case any of that mold had an idea to start regrowing. I can report that the cheese actually tastes rather delicious. It has the best texture of any of my cheeses to date as well. 

How long has this been goin' on? 
Ah. Much better. 

In other news, I discovered that I did not, in fact, overcarbonate all of the homebrews I brought out here. Many of you who have come out to visit have no doubt noticed the ridiculous carbonation of my homebrews. Now I just assumed that I had failed to properly calculate my priming sugar, or I hadn't allowed the yeast enough time to fully attenuate, or I had committed some other mistake and that my lack of brewing skills were no doubt at work. Regardless of this, I took a case of my brews with us on our road trip so we could save some money on liquor store purchases. As I discovered, the difference between 9000 feet elevation and 0 feet elevation at the seashore on the carbonation of a beer is pretty monumental. The beers that sometimes nearly exploded and spewed out foam upon opening at 9000'--they poured perfectly at sea level.

Also in brewing news, my Mom (thanks Mom!) sent me some old brewing books in the mail, which she, her sister, and mom had given my Grandpa for Father's Day in 1972. Never fear, this book was written in Britain. (As we all know, homebrewing was still illegal in the US until 1978 (thanks Jimmy!).) I'm hoping that it will live up to it's name, and allow me to brew beer "Without Failures." What I've read of it so far seems pretty advanced for it's day, considering it actually contains recipes with malt and hops--ingredients which were hard to impossible for a non-commercial brewery to get a hold of in 1972. I believe most home "beer" brewers of that day were making the equivalent of prison-brew: lots of sugar, some baker's yeast, and maybe some hops if you could convince some local brewery or farmer to give you some.

However, I don't know that I will necessarily be reproducing any of the recipes. Unless some of the ingredients specified have drastically changed in nature (which is actually pretty likely), then I have a feeling many of these brews might taste downright terrible. But hey, for 1972, they were probably about the best thing going. It just makes me more thankful than ever for Charlie Papazian.

I wonder if WITHOUT FAILURES is a guaranteed or money back kind of a statement. 
Holy Black Patent, Batman! The most black patent malt I have ever put in a recipe was probably about 6 oz. for a 5 gallon batch. Pretty sure 2 lb. would just destroy your mouth with it's bitterness. Super Stout, it is. 

1 comment:

  1. That's interesting about carbonation levels. I wonder if kegging is the answer, so that you could bleed CO2 once you're up in the mountains? The Super Stout sounds awesome! Bring on the bitter assault on my palate!