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Figgy Pudding – A Seasonal Stout

One tradition to which we adhere in our household is having a seasonal fermented beverage ready for the long, dark, cold months of winter here in Vermont. This year’s beverage is a recipe Rick created with traditional English Christmas pudding as the inspiration. This sweet stout starts off with the smell of figs and a hint of French oak, and orange peel. The sweetness of the figs is prominent with the first taste, but not cloyingly so, even with the vanilla that lingers on the tongue before being replaced with a hint of tannin from the wood. A lovely winter warmer, to compliment cookies, cakes, and other holiday treats.

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Fisnihed bread loaf with a beer

Simple Rustic Bread as Base for Exploration

I assume I am not alone in finding bread-making both fascinating and scary. It is a simple process, but for some reason the thought of starting bread would paralyze me. The other thing that would keep me from starting was the idea that I had to make sourdough, and keep feeding a starter. That sounds like work. I am not sure I can keep track of how many times I told Sarah “I am going to learn to make bread” and then never did. That changed a few weeks ago, and since then I have made a few successful loaves using a simple recipe I found online. Of course, once successful, I had to tweak things! Click through to learn how to make this simple, rustic bread as well as a few tips on how to change things up to make even more-interesting breads!Read More »Simple Rustic Bread as Base for Exploration

L’odeur du Printemps: The Smell of Spring in a fruity French Saison style

L’odeur du Printemps is our first saison in a very long time, and we were overdue brewing one.

This recipe uses French yeast and (mostly) German malts and hops, coupled with some honey malt for a little added sweetness to accentuate the fruit notes found in the Mandarina Bavaria and Huell Melon hops. A little German pale wheat malt rounds out the mouth feel and gives the beer some legs in the glass along with some head retention. The French saison yeast is fruity itself without any of the banana esters found in some Belgian strains.

Read on for the recipe.Read More »L’odeur du Printemps: The Smell of Spring in a fruity French Saison style

rick and sarah pose with full glasses of dark beer

The Hairy Porter – A Rich Winter Warmer

The Hairy Porter is a full-bodied, slightly sweet, chocolatey beer without the astringency some dark ales have. We forwent the usual black patent malt and swapped it with a dark wheat malt, leaving the familiar brownish-red color and highlighting the Belgian Special B and chocolate malts. The flaked oats and the wheat malt make for a rich, creamy head with staying power.

By comparison to some other beers — especially hop-forward IPAs —this brew is pretty straight forward, and we recommend it for brewers of all levels. The only challenge we encountered was achieving fermenting temperatures in our cold Vermont home during the winter.

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Metaphors & Rainbows … Whatever: A Juicy Vermont IPA

Metaphors & Rainbows … Whatever is our first attempt at a Vermont IPA. We’ve brewed IPAs in the past, but never one with the distinct haze, orange color, and big, fruity flavors associated with the Green Mountain State — and adopted by the rest of New England. The most well-known of the commercial versions are The Alchemists’ Heady Topper and Lawson’s Finest Liquids’ Sip of Sunshine (each at 8% ABV), with the former credited with the creation of the style. Personally we prefer Sip of Sunshine, and are grateful that our local co-op carries it.Read More »Metaphors & Rainbows … Whatever: A Juicy Vermont IPA

Strawberry Melonball MIPA: A First Attempt Combining Fruit & Lactose

A trip to Portland, Maine in February 2019 reminded us that there is still some fun to be had with even with the most familiar styles of beer.

Strawberry Melonball is our first attempt at the milkshake style as well as working with whole fruits, and after some unexpected delays we were finally ready to give it a taste. Note that we brewed a smaller 3-gallon amount this time around, for experimentation without the bigger price tag of a larger batch.

A milkshake style simply means that lactose is added to create a creamier body tRead More »Strawberry Melonball MIPA: A First Attempt Combining Fruit & Lactose

clicking the image will take you to our youtube video

Photo HOPortunity – American Pale Ale

This week, we’re tasting and sharing the recipe for Rick’s latest brew.

For those who would like to brew this beer it is available below, as well as on Brewer’s Friend.

This was the first beer done on the new 1800W induction burner in our dedicated brewing space in the basement. It should be a slightly bitter pale ale with a significant berry and melon aroma.

It ended up being a little more bitter than anticipated, and less fruit than expected, but it’s a refreshing and delicious American Pale Ale.
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making mead

Making Mead: Honey plus time yields a delicious beverage

We have been intending to make mead for so long that it had become something of a joke. “I’ll get to that right after we make mead.”

Then this past summer whilst cleaning the basement we realized we had nearly 14 pounds of honey … and that it was six years old.

Coincidentally, we had recently picked a large amount of elderberries. Sarah had originally intended to use the elderberries to dye yarn, and her mother, Nancy, intended to make a medicinal syrup, but they had so many elderberries they were looking for other options.

Time to make the mead… and a melomel.Read More »Making Mead: Honey plus time yields a delicious beverage