Labor Day is almost here and I didn't want to show up to the family reunion empty handed. So, I thought about it for about four weeks and last week I finally decided to brew. The first night I was a little side tracked and decided to work on cleaning up the brew garage. You know the one with the nice epoxy floor (before, after) Well some shelves are up now and the stainless steel prep table is together. Still looks like the brew monster threw up on some tires a scooter and lumber.
That was Wednesday night last week. As they say, the best laid plans. So, Thursday night became brew night instead. I had some liquid pilsen malt extract in a partially full 33lb jerry can. Found some roasted barley and aromatic malt in my box of brewing stuff. Picked up some Wyeast 1968 (Fullers strain, WLP002) from Home Sweet Homebrew in Philadelphia at lunch earlier that day (the only planning I did evidently). Picked an English Ale Yeast mostly because it falls out of suspension quickly. Quick is good when Labor Day is fast approaching. Had about 4 ounces of dried homegrown Cascade hops harvested a few weeks ago and two ounces of homegrown Cascade hops from 2009. Thought that would be nice for the flavor and aroma. Now for some bittering hops, First Gold and Galena will do.
Time to haul out the keggle, scale, bowls, hydrometer, burner etc. Fill the keggle to 10 gal, fire up the burner and well you get the picture. I'll cut to the chase. The steeping grains were steeped and the bittering hops were added. What? Oh right, forgot the malt extract. Added 20% of the malt extract since I'm doing late malt additions. Wait, I don't have enough malt extract! That's right I didn't weigh it. There's not enough. I needed 16 lbs or something and I only had about 8.75 lbs. Not good. So either I make a 2.5% beer or find some more fermentables.
Scour the brew garage and the basement, I did. Guess what I found, 12 lbs of basswood honey! It's goin' in. Yep, 3 lbs of honey in one 5 gal fermenter and um 7 lbs in the other (couldn't resist). All the while I'm using Beersmith to calculate the final gravity, bitterness etc. Just dumped it in the fermenter, no boiling or anything. I guess that's OK. Some people say DISASTER others don't seem to say either way. I guess we'll see.
So, I guess this will be my first braggot. Accidental introduction to styles are always the best, don't you think? The higher ABV batch probably won't be ready for this weekend, but, the other one is already starting to drop clear. Either way one of them is going to the party in a keg (not bottles).
By the way as my brewing buddy Brian points out, this isn't necessarily me being rusty. Evidently I brew like this all the time. (shrug) Watch this be the best beer... er braggot I've ever made. Or the worst ;-)