Archive for October, 2006

Linvilla Hard Apple Cider

Thursday, October 12th, 2006

Apple Cider

I FINALLY bottled the Fool Circle Linvilla Orchards Hard Apple Cider. This beverage was originally made on October 22, 2005. Today it was bottled, and in approximately 2 weeks it will be ready to drink (October 26th). This is my first hard cider and if this goes well at tasting time you know I’ll be back up at Linvilla to buy some more cider.

Why such a long wait from start to finish? Well I was “told” by different sources to not even bother tasting it for 6 months and it would only get better after a year. Plus I was told to bulk age it as that makes a difference. One problem I was having was the cider would not fall clear. I finally found a product called Super Kleer KC Finings that cleared the cider like crystal in less than 24 hours – way faster than 12 months. Unfortunetly this picture does no justice for the clarification. The clarification was suspended because I added more yeast at the time of bottling while adding my priming sugar. I do not know, but assume, that there were no longer any viable yeast left to make carbondioxide to carbonate the beer, so added some nice fresh healthy guys.

But, the reason for the picture is to show my final gravity which is 0.098 – below 1! I have never had a beverage fall below 1.000, so this is big. Basically water has specific gravity of 1.000 and ethanol (alcohol) has a specific gravity like .800 or something close, so alcohol is “thinner” than water. When you brew or make a fermentable beverage like this cider there are sugars in the solution which the yeast feed from. These sugars raise the specific gravity for a solution with sugar is “thicker” than that of water. For my hard cider the orginal gravity was 1.050. So, with an original gravity of such and a final gravity of what we had, we have an expected alcohol level of 6.8% for this hard cider. I know blah, blah, blah – but the (bad) picture shows sort of what I am kind of trying to elude to . . . whatever.

Kennett Square Brewfest

Saturday, October 7th, 2006

Brewfest 2006

The 9th Annual Kennett Brewfest was Saturday October 7th. This year it was held at a new location, which I think I actually preferred better. There seemed to be more room to move around in, but there also seemed to be more people to wait in line with. All-in-all I would say the brewfest was a success. Biggest complaint – lines, beer lines and port-a-potty lines, but I suppose there is only so much you can do about it. Favorite beers: hands down favorite beer for me was Stone’s 10th Anniversary ale. This is a super-dooper hopped IPA, as described by the guy pouring it, “Who likes hops? This is like drinking a bag of weed!” All righty then . . . Other favorites included, Mojo IPA from Boulder Beer, Bourbon Aged Barleywine from Steart’s, and Old Foghorn from Anchor. Lots of beer, not enough time.

After the brewfest we went to the Half Moon Restaurant as we have now for the past 5 years. Every year they are very busy and you expect a certain amount of waiting, this year they took it too far. I don’t believe we’ll ever be going back to this restaurant after the brewfest. It’s a shame for them, for we had a party of 10, and now that’s 10 people that will be spreading bad news about them, oh well – tuff-titties. Anyway, we arrived around 6:15 and ordered. We didn’t receive appatizers for an hour and half with no inclination that our food was coing anytime soon. We asked for our check of what had already arrived and asked to speak with the manager. It took 15 minutes for us to get the check and the managar (owner!) couldn’t have given two shits that we were unhappy. So after being there for 2 hours, we all left, not fed and pissed off – it was a lovely time. We got home and ordered pizza which was at the door in less than 20 minutes. Guess what – that pizza guy got a good tip =).

So, brewfest was good, Half Moon was horrible. I’m choosing to look on the bright side of this one and take it as a lesson learned. Until next year . . .


Sunday, October 1st, 2006


YIKES! What did we brew? Why of course it’s the GNARLEYWINE! When you brew a monster barleywine that takes 9 hours, looks this “pretty” and has an original gravity of 1.111, what else could it be called. This will be one strong mama bittered and aromafied with all glorious American C-hops, with no Cascade (thank you very much!).

Garrett and I pumped out this puppy in his garage on Sunday while anticipating rain that never really came until the very end. It was a great day, we sampled the 3 beers he had on tap: an Oktoberfest, a super-charged Amarillo Pale Ale, and a Robust Stout and also tried 6 American Barleywines to help us have pretty little hop dreams. We tried: Fred from the Wood, Bigfoot, Blithering Idiot, Old Horizontal, Old School Barleywine and … one dipped in wax that I forget it’s name. Regardless, all delicious all different interpretations upon a style. Next year we’ve discussed brewing an English Barleywine.

We also had enough sugar left in the grain to pull off 5 gallons of 1.035 wort to can as starter wort. After the long brew day Garrett volunteered to can it all by himself while watching the kids the next day. I got an email at almost 1AM saying he had finished, doesn’t sound like fun – thanks for going the distance.

All in all I can’t wait to try this one, though it may not be for many months!

Gnarley Bri

(Me. Since I’m never in my own pictures.)