And Finally, the Sauerkraut

I’m sitting this evening enjoying one of my recent Wits and watching Red Dwarf.  Bingeing actually while Wife is in Texas helping daughter.  It’s a complicated story and not one for this blog.  The Wit is one of my best beers yet, bready, yeasty, just a touch of spice to make it interesting, tart, light bodied and refreshing.  My Brown is coming along nicely, the dry hops are really bringing the flavors out.  This is not to be a boring Texas brown.  And finally the Altbier has started fermentation nicely.

Zymurgy is the science of fermentation.  Furthering my adventures in the science, today I finally harvested the cabbages I’d been growing with an eye to having lactobacillus have their way with it.  Of course my cabbage crop was a little sparse so I had to augment:


Thanks to instructions from the Wisconsin Extension Service, I was able to convert these into this:


Tamp, add salt and cover.  Ten pounds of sauerkraut in process in the basement alongside the brown ale.  It’s a lacto fermentation, just like souring a beer, so it’s important to keep air out.  I’m doing that by filling a large plastic bag with heavily salted water and placing it atop the crushed cabbage.  This should eliminate contact with air and let lacto do its job.

Not much else to report on the kraut, except we have an Oktoberfest party planned for later this month and some fresh kraut for the bratwurst (even though the Germans don’t eat it that way) should be quite nice.  We’ll see how it comes out in few weeks.

Brewing Update

I racked the “Short Cut Brown” tonight.  So far so good.  It’s down to 1.022, should reach 1.015.  It should be anything but a “boring” brown, likely very different from the Texas Brown Ale that originally defined the style.  I’m pushing the limits of style, going as big as possible in both malt and hops, trying for a beer that while drinkable in large amounts is also enjoyable.  In other words, typical American brewing:  Go big or go home.

Sunday I intend to do another big, bold beer with a session ABV, a Duesseldorfer Altbier.  Starter’s spinning away, everything else is on hand.  I’m going for a big malt flavor and lots of hops in typical Zum Uerige style.  Interestingly enough, I’ve never tasted the example I’m following so I’ll wait for a friend to return from Germany and let him tell me how well I matched the style.  I thought about doing a Kentucky Common but I have even less an idea how that should taste once finished – best definition I have is a dark cream ale with a lot of adjuncts in the mix.  There’s not even agreement as to whether the style, a partial inversion of a sour mash whiskey mash, was sour or not.  I tend to believe it wasn’t, although I’ve tried souring it in the past.  By the time Common was being brewed in northern Kentucky, metal vessels were common.  The style mostly died in Prohibition, it’s been revived by a few craft brewers and a few homebrewers.  So we won’t know how it tastes but at least we can make a beer that tastes good.