Archive for the ‘Alcohol’Category

Let’s Drink and Learn About: Sangiovese

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Italian Chianti – Chianti wine always either mostly or entirely made of Sangiovese

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Italian Sangiovese from outside Chianti – Over 10% of Italy’s total wine production is Sangiovese

For the fourth installment of our monthly adult beverage appreciation event, “Let’s Drink and Learn About…”, we did a tasting of several different Sangiovese wines.  If you missed it, feel free to peruse our class notes!

Our next session will cover red Bordeaux, and its 5 constituent grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec).  This will be a joint event with South Side Hackerspace: Chicago, and will be hosted in their space (2233 S Throop St #214).  As per usual, it will be on the 3rd Friday (March 20th), and will begin at 7 PM.  There is no cost to attend the event, but please bring a bottle of wine (Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, please) to contribute to the tasting.  You can find more info, or RSVP for the event, on our Meetup!

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Vino Nobile di Montepulciano – A more subtle and complex expression of Sangiovese from a region just to the south of Chianti

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Super Tuscan – A Tuscan wine made without at least 70% Sangiovese. This was actually predominately Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, similar to what we’ll be drinking in March!

 

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25

02 2015

Really Late Wine Tasting Follow-Up

So last last Friday, the 16th, member Kyle Bieneman held a wine tasting class on Pinot Noir. I’ve been meaning to get this post up earlier, but enjoy the pictures and information from the handout:

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“It’s…thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s, you know, it’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and…ancient on the planet.” –Miles Raymond, Sideways

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Note: From Burgundy

The grape: Pinot Noir grows in tightly packed bunches (the “Pinot” in the name refers to the pinecone shape of the bunches). These tight bunches tend to be somewhat more susceptible to disease. Being thin-skinned, the grape is also at great risk from extremes in temperature. Fortunately, as it ripens early, it can be grown in cooler regions than heartier grapes (like Cabernet Sauvignon).

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Color: For red wines, color comes from the skins (it is not naturally present in the juice) in a process called “extraction.” Grapes go through a machine called a “crusher-destemmer,” and rather than being juiced as with white wine, the pulpy mass is then fermented in giant vats. Note that the skins will naturally float to the top, forming a “cap,” requiring some kind of system to circulate the fermenting juice (whether a “punch-down,” a “pump-over,” or some sort of a mixer).

Sometime after fermentation has completed, the “free run” is drained off. The remaining “pomace” is then pressed to extract all the remaining liquid. The free liquid is generally light in flavor and color than the pressed liquid, and so will often be aged separately, being blended only at the end to fine-tune before bottling.

Pinot Noir is thin-skinned with less color (anthocyanin) in the skins, it tends to extract less color, and thus is paler than most red wines. Being lighter in flavor, some winemakers will even leave the stems in for fermentation to impart more “tannins.”

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Tannins: Tannins are much more present in red wine than white wine, partly because they come from the skins during extraction (as well as seeds and stems, if present), and the oak barrels during aging. Tannins are traditionally used to turn hides into leather (“tanning”), hence the name. This is why bitter red wines often make your tongue feel dry and leathery. The “resolving” of tannins is a prime reason why many red wines get better with age.

Pinor Noir is notably low in tannins, and so some winemakers will leave the stems in for fermentation.

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Note: Australian

Flavors in Pinot Noir: As a lighter, more delicate wine, flavors tend toward the redder fruits such as cherry, strawberry, and raspberry. Less prominent notes might include vegetal (beets, green tomatoes, olives) or earthy (truffles, barnyard) flavors. Pinot does not typically display the darker fruit (plum) or spicier notes (cigar box) of other red wines. As a result of its lighter flavors, it tends to pair well with pork and fowl, rather than beef.

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Burgundy: Pinot Noir originates from Burgundy, a region in the east of France, between Champagne to the north, and Beaujolais to the south. Burgundy is divided into four major sub-regions (from north to south, and highest to lowest quality): Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beaune, Cote Chalonnaise, and Maconnais.

However, Burgundies will generally be labeled by their village, of which there are too many to list. There are about 600 “Premier Cru” vineyards across Burgundy, and only 32 “Grand Crus,” which will be more expensive, and generally superior to, the villages. The Premier and Grand Crus are designated by the French government based on the reputation of past production.

The Grand Cru red Burgundies are some of the most expensive and sought-after wines in the world, costing nearly $1000 a bottle in good years.

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Thanks again to Kyle for these notes.

24

01 2015

Beer Church Follow Up

Final updates:

On Tuesday 1/20/15, Justin helped me keg the beer. The specific gravity was 1.034 at this point, making for an ABV of 8.4%. We tasted the beer and decided not to add any black cherry extract, since the cherry flavor/smell seemed strong enough. It still has a strong chocolate porter taste. The keg was moved into the fridge. On Saturday 1/24/15, Agocs and Justin went to get more CO2 since we were out, and the beer was finally put on tap. Enjoy!

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On Tuesday 1/13/15, Ryan helped me rack the beer into a 5 gallon carboy for a second fermentation. We also added the sweet cherry puree, about 16 oz of it. The specific gravity reading was 1.036, and the beer tasted very chocolate-y.

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This past Sunday we started a brew for an Imperial Valentine Porter. We just checked on it tonight before the member meeting and it looks like the yeast has started fermenting.

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At the beginning of Beer Church on Sunday, we spent a while tasting the delicious beers that everyone brought. Selections included 2 coffee beers, a Superbier, a What the Pho porter, a stout, and a blueberry beer.

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After taking our time to enjoy the beer selection, we headed to Brew & Grow to obtain the ingredients listed on this page:

Grains:

  • 1 lb uk crystal malt (60L) (UK Paul’s Medium Crystal Malt 60L)
  • 8oz UK brown malt (UK TF & S Brown Malt)
  • 8oz UK chocolate malt (UK Paul’s Chocolate Malt #315)
  • 8lbs any UK brand dark malt extract (not sure if solid or syrup)

Yeast:

  • 1 pack Wyeast 1187 or White Labs WLP001 or Fermentis S-04

Malt Extract:

  • 8 lbs any brand UK dark

Hops:

  • 4 to 6 AAUs medium-alpha acid (such as Northern Brewer)

Later Additions:

  • 1 lb lactose
  • 1 lb Demerara sugar (we used Raw Cane Sugar from Jewel)
  • 8 oz high quality unsweetened cocoa powder (we used Nestle)
  • 1 tsp Irish moss
  • 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  • 16 US fl oz black cherry concentrate (we used sweet cherry puree)
  • 4 fl oz cherry flavoring or extract (to taste at bottling)

(Disclaimer: My memory is imperfect and since this was my first time as brewmaster, I will probably get some of these steps wrong due to unfamiliarity. Consult the wiki page for more information.)
After cleaning some equipment and some mishaps with the propane regulator, the first step after getting water to the correct temperature in between 160 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit, was to steep the grains. The grains steeped for half an hour. They smelled burnt afterwards, since they were dark grains.

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Three gallons of water were added to the mash for the next step, the boil (The goal was to end up with 5 gallons of wort). The wort was brought to a boil and 1 oz of hops was added. All of the malt extract was added as well. There was constant stirring for the duration of the boil, but a boilover still occurred once when we failed to turn down the heat quickly enough. After half an hour, another 1 oz of hops was added. The wort smelled like tea at this point. After another half an hour, we turned off the heat and added the lactose, sugar, cocoa powder, irish moss and yeast nutrient and stirred until they were dissolved. After the cocoa powder was dissolved, the wort turned a chocolate-brown color and smelled deliciously of chocolate.

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In the meantime, the other equipment we needed was sanitized using StarSan. The copper cooling coil was rinsed and placed into the boiling kettle. After another 15 minutes of rolling boil, the heat was turned off and we started pumping cold water through the cooling coil until the wort reached a temperature of about 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

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After some more sanitizing, the wort was pumped into a 6-gallon glass carboy. The yeast, after being activated, was poured into the carboy, and a cork with trap attached were inserted into the top of the carboy. The cork was sealed with wire and the carboy was placed into the fermenting area, for a first fermentation of an estimated 7-12 days. Before corking, we did take a sample for the hydrometer and obtained a specific gravity reading of 1.098, very close to the book’s suggested 1.084. The total brew time was about 6 hours (including trip to Brew & Grow).

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And after cleanup, we all got to taste the brew!

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Thanks to everyone for coming! Thanks to Eric and Justin for helping me out so much. Feel free to join us for the second fermentation and the bottling, to be announced.

24

01 2015

Beer Church Brew Day Sunday 1/4/2015

We’ll be brewing up a beer this Sunday the 4th of January at 12:00 Noon. As per usual, we’ll hold a beer tasting first. If you can, please bring something interesting, unusual, homemade – if not, you’re just as welcome, we have never not had enough beer for the tasting.

Once we’re done tasting we’ll select a brewmaster (the person in charge of the brew – as much as anyone is in charge of the brew), pick a recipe, and head around the corner to Brew & Grow to get the ingredients. By 1:30 or 2:00 we’ll be brewing and we will usually be done brewing by 7.

The event is very hands on – anyone who attends can help out at any stage. You will get to try the beer when it’s finished (this can take a few weeks), and help with the later steps if you like including transferring into secondary fermentation, kegging, and bottling.

Potential recipes for this Sunday:

* Winter lager
* Doppelbock
* … you tell me?

You must be 21 or older to attend Beer Church. We encourage you to RSVP on Meetup, but this isn’t required.

30

12 2014

Locktoberfest 2014!

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The Open Organization of Lockpickers’ Chicago chapter is hosting it’s annual event at Pumping Station One!  The Bavarian tradition of Oktoberfest is celebrated every Autumn in Munich, with amusements, traditional German/Bavarian fare, and of course, Bier!

TOOOL’s Locktoberfest celebrates our love of locks and locksport through locksport themed amusements, presentations, games, contests, and of course, bratwurst and beer!

Join us, 3pm-10pm, Saturday, October 18th at Pumping Station: One

Locktoberfest 2014 is a BYOB event.

Check out our pictures from previous years here: http://toool.us/gallery

16

10 2014

Brew day 10/12 @ noon!

If you’d like to get into beer brewing or are already a brewer, or just like & appreciate beer, then come down to the space at noon on Sunday.  We’ll be having a beer tasting and brew day. We’ll likely taste a brew we made recently and make something new. Justin will be the brewmaster. Of course, you must be at least 21. See you Sunday!

You can RSVP on meetup if you like but it’s not required.

09

10 2014

Beer Church Brew Day: Saturday 9/20

We’ll be having a beer tasting and brew day on 9/20 (Saturday) at 12:00PM noon. We normally brew on Sundays, but we’re mixing it up this time. We’re looking to make an Octoberfest Lager or a Märzen, but it’s really up to whatever the people who are going to participate in the brew want to do.  Our temperature control system Chillmon is working, so any fermentation temperature is possible.

The brew is a very hands on workshop, even first timers can try their hand at various parts of the brewing process including recipe development, prep, mashing, grain grinding, mashing, sparging, boiling, pitching, kegging, and setting up our in-house bar.  We go from malt, hops and yeast infusions all the way to serving out of our chilled tower tap system. If you just want to watch and listen, that’s fine too. Any idea or person is welcome.

We’ll be tapping our Rosemary Stout for the first time this Saturday. If you’d like to share anything please bring it (craft brew, homebrew, whichever)! We love to talk about your homebrew or the interesting beer you made or found that you want to experience with other beer aficionados.  You must be 21 years old to attend Beer Church.

You can RSVP on our Meetup group.

18

09 2014

Beer Church Brew Day, 8/24

At 12:30pm on 8/24 we’ll start with a beer tasting (bring your favorite homebrew or craft brew), decide a beer recipe, go shopping for the ingredients, and then do a hands-on brew session with the following steps:

1) malt grinding
2) mashing
3) sparging
4) boiling
5) hopping
6) chilling
7) pitching yeast
8) setting the fermenter temperature and starting the fermentation.

We’ll probably also keg or bottle one of our previous brews.

This event is open to anyone ages 21 and over. No need to RSVP, see you on Sunday!

17

08 2014

Special Circuit Bending eSymposium this Sunday

Sunday, April 6

12 PM – 4 PM, FREE

Hacking upstairs in Electronics, open jam session downstairs in the Lounge.

Hosted by Patrick McCarthy of the circuit-bending act Roth Mobot.

Bring something to hack, something to drink, and whatever tools you think you’ll need. PS:One has an excellent assortment of tools but they are finite. Components are available, but please donate some cash to help cover whatever you use.

Radio WFMT will be on location recording a documentary about the eSymposium.

31

03 2014

New Year, New Beer, Beer Church is Here

Don’t let the polar vortex’s return prevent you from standing around a boiling cauldron of delicious smelling beer wort as we prepare to create what’s bound to be a unique beer. We usually base our recipes on existing ones, but tweak them in interesting ways.

To start off, we’ll have a beer tasting featuring any homebrew you bring, a Gingerbread Brown Ale that we brewed in December, and the aged return of 14 month old “I Didn’t Mead It That Way”, a session mead made with hops and fermented with wine yeast for a very unique and floral flavor. Tiny beer steins will be provided – please bring a bottle of something if you can. We might even pull some mystery bottles from our homebrew cellar and see if we can remember what it is!

Once we’ve had a taste, met each other, and talked over the basics of brewing in the process, we’ll move on to shopping for ingredients (Brew & Grow is right around the corner, and you’ll get to learn how to weigh and grind ingredients) & of course brewing the beer. This is just the first day of a weeks long journey that a beer takes from the boil kettle to your mouth, but it’s the most labor intensive and the most interesting to see, so we like to show people this step. Watching a bucket ferment isn’t as fun. Since we’re going for something relatively straightforward (recipe to be a surprise), we’ll probably be done brewing in around 3.5 hours. We’ll get into the brew by around 3PM. The steps include mashing, sparging, boiling, chilling, and pitching. You can lend a hand with most of them if you like, and learn a lot in the process.

mmmm, beer

Nitty Gritty

When: Sunday January 19th 2014, 1PM
Where: Pumping Station: One, 3519 N Elston, Chicago
What: Beer tasting and brewing hands-on
Who: Anyone 21 or over, Pumping Station: One members or not!
Why: Because beer is a fun way to spend for your Sunday afternoon

18

01 2014