Golden Solera 2023

>> Sunday, April 02, 2023

Today I'm brewing another 10 gallons of my Golden Sour Solera. This will be the "fresh" beer that's replacing the ~10 gallons I'll soon be pulling off the barrel for the next variant. For anyone stumbling across this recipe, you'll want to plan on fruiting and/or dry hopping the finished beer as this recipe is boring without some kind of secondary treatment. Think of it as a canvas that works really well with secondary treatments.

I'm mixing up the yeast a little on this batch. I'm using Wyeast 5112 but I also have some Embrace The Funk Culture from Bootleg Biology that I'm planning on using this round. 

Wyeast describes 5112 as follows:
This strain of wild yeast was isolated from brewery cultures in the Brussels region of Belgium. It produces the classic “sweaty horse blanket” character of indigenous beers such as gueuze, lambics and sour browns and may form a pellicle in bottles or casks. The strain is generally used in conjunction with S. cerevisiae, as well as other wild yeast and lactic bacteria. At least 3-6 months aging is generally required for flavor to fully develop.
Bootleg Biology describes BBXETF as follows:
Source: A unique blend of ale yeast, Brett and restrained LAB curated by Embrace The Funk – Yazoo Brewing in Nashville, TN, USA. This is a specially curated blend of house saison yeast and multiple Brettanomyces strains that creates a floral bouquet of tropical fruit and black pepper.
Hopefully the combination of these two plus the resident barrel cultures will result in some complex funky character in the final beer. Here are the details for today's brew session:

Target OG 1.044
Target FG: 1.005
IBU: 0
ABV: ~6.0%

12.0# Weyermann Barke Pilsner Malt
3.0# Spelt Malt
56g Aged Hops (60 min)
Yeast Nutrient
Wyeast 5112 Brettanomyces bruxellensis
Bootleg Biology BBXETF – Embrace The Funk Culture

Mash at 160F. Collect  ~10.0 gallons, then top up to ~12 gallons. 90 minute boil, ferment at room temp.

Water Profile
50/50 blend of carbon filtered tap water and RO water.

Brewing Notes
No issues. The first mash pH sample was a little higher than I prefer. I rarely document exactly how much phosphoric acid I use to acidify my mash, but based on experience I typically add ~1.5ml for pale beers (per 5 gallons). Since this is 10 gallons, I initially added ~3ml. After the 5.47 reading I added an additional 1ml.

Session Readings
Beginning mash pH  5.47
Ending mash pH  5.35
1st running gravity  21.8  (1.088)
Pre-Boil gravity  10.2 (1.040)
Pre-Boil pH  5.35
Post-Boil gravity  11,4 (1.045)
Post-Boil pH  5.45

Update 4/7/2023
This fermentation took a bit longer to get going than I’m used to. I forgot to mention, I’m fermenting this at room temp in a 15 gallon Kegmenter fitted with my spunding valve. Yeast was pitched late Sunday and it seemed like there was a little bit of positive pressure developing over the next few days, but it was a very small amount. I was starting to worry a little and even started to propagate a Bootleg Biology Black Project pouch, just in case it was needed. Then this morning I noticed a jump in pressure in the kegmenter. I dialed it in to about 6PSI and it seems to be happily fermenting away.


Homemade Refried Beans

>> Monday, February 20, 2023

One more food-related post today. This one is for Homemade Refried Beans. This dish is super easy to make, it just takes a little bit of prep time, and while I don't think there's anything wrong with a can of Rosarita Refried Beans, these are definitely better.

These are great as a side dish (we had them with lobster tacos). They're also really good paired with a can of Stokes Ranchero Sauce for a semi-homemade take on huevos rancheros.

1# Dried pinto beans (or black beans)
2 T Vegetable or olive oil
1 Large sweet onion
6 Garlic cloves, minced
1/3 c Cilantro, chopped
1.5 t Chili powder (e.g. McCormick chili powder)
1.5 t Cumin
0.5 t Cayenne pepper
3 Cubes pork bouillon (substitute chicken or vegetable if you can't find pork)
2 T Lime juice
0,5 t Salt

  1. The day before, place dried beans in bowl and cover with 1" or so of water.  Allow to soak overnight.
  2. The next day, drain off any excess water.
  3. Using a large saucepot, heat oil over medium-low heat then add onion, garlic, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and cayenne pepper. 
  4. Sauté for about 15mins, remembering to stir frequently to avoid burning.
  5. Add beans to pot along with bouillon, 8 cups of water, and salt.
  6. Cover and simmer for 1.5 to 2.5 hours, stirring occasionally to avoid burning the beans on the bottom of the pot.
  7. Remove the lid and continue to simmer at least 15 minutes or the desired amount of liquid remains.
  8. Use a potato masher or hand blender to mash the beans to the desired consistency. 
  9. Stir in lime juice and add additional salt and pepper to taste before serving.


Mexican Style Rice

Here's a Mexican-style Rice recipe I stumbled across recently when I decided to make lobster tacos for my wife's birthday dinner. I really liked how this turned out, so as usual, I'm posting the recipe here so that I don't run the risk of losing it. 

One thing I particularly like about this recipe, even though it incorporates tomato sauce, the finished product isn't saucy. Super saucy Mexican rice kind of grosses me out; if you feel the same way, give this one a try. One note, the first time I made it I didn't use low-sodium broth and I felt like it was too salty right after it came out of the pan. It seemed better the next day, like it had mellowed a bit. Either use low-sodium broth or skip the Kosher salt until you've had a chance to taste it.

2 c Long grain white rice
1/8 c Vegetable oil
8 oz Tomato sauce
6 Cilantro stems, chopped
1 t Kosher salt
1 t Minced garlic
4 c Low-sodium chicken broth
1/8 t Cumin
1/8 t Garlic pepper

  1. Heat oil in large pan over medium heat.
  2. Add rice and cook until golden brown
  3. Add remaining ingredients to pan, and mix well.
  4. Bring to a simmer then cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed.
  5. Fluff with a fork before serving.