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Oddball Mutterings 0

So... it's already November, and it's halfway over. Today we look back a bit, and we look forward some too.

Autumn is certainly upon us and we've enjoyed ourselves so far. First, at September's end, we sponsored the beer tent at the French Broad River Festival. As you may recall from reading our blog on "our primitivo" it was this fantastic little beer and music fest that was responsible for my incredible headache on the day we crushed our California grapes... Looking forward to the spring iteration of this festival!

At the beginning of this month, we attended the NC CiderFest and got to sample some great ciders. We also did a live demo apple crush and gave a talk on making hard cider. In short, we had a blast and are really looking forward to next year! 

In other cider news, we are running a special on our CiderHouse cider kits- 20% off any kit now through the end of the month (if ordering online, use code cider20 to receive discount). These kits come with the yeast and the juice concentrate. You simply need to add 2 pounds of corn sugar and the water to reconstitute the juice. Easy. Delicious. 

Enough of the sales pitch now. What else... Veteran's Day. Yes, it has passed, but our gratitude has not. A huge thank you to all that have served and still serve; only you know the depth of your sacrifices. And a very big thank you to your family, friends, and other loved ones who also often sacrifice peace, comfort, and much else. Thank you.

Thanksgiving is coming. This is followed by Black Friday, the day that we all go ballistic to get new stuff after having just given thanks for what we have. Sorry, but no special Black Friday specials from us, just the usual deals, discounts, and fair pricing. On Thanksgiving, please do take a moment to reflect and be thankful. This can be hard when you're busy entertaining and cooking, but it's important. While I'm on the topic, thank you. All of you, our wonderful patrons and friends, are what keep us here having fun and slinging our wares. You're the best.

New wares.... We finally have 1 gallon wide mouth glass jars with screw on lids! Kombucha anyone? Also, soon to hit our shelves is the new Genesis fermenter! We're excited about this new piece of equipment, so stay tuned.

New Brewery... Mike Karnowski is opening Zebulon Brewing in Weaverville, NC, just north of us a bit. Read all about it here! This is going to be a really unique and exciting brewery to have here in our little nook of the Appalachian Mountains.

Also worth mentioning was the epic nature of our last Brewers Social. If you are missing these, you should try to make it to one. We have so much fun hanging out with all of you and drinking your mighty creations!

Cheers! Prost! Love each other!

  • Theodore Clevenger

California Grapes- Our Primitivo! 0

So.... this has been a really fun project so far, involving Asheville Brewers Supply, Asheville Bacchus, and Eagles Nest Winery & Vineyard. Our friend, Tom Mincarelli, is an award-winning winemaker (both locally and internationally) as well as the man behind Eagles Nest. Through Mincarelli's networks, we were able to line up delivery of several lugs of various varietals for a few lucky folks. Varietals included Barbera, Primitivo, Cab Sauv, and Merlot. We are hoping to expand upon this next year and bring in a larger supply for more of our customers.

Anyway, on a somewhat dreary drizzly Sunday---Sept. 27, 2015---we all convened at Eagles Nest in Black Mountain, NC for a good old fashioned grape crush. Actually, Eagles Nest has a high-end Italian crusher-destemmer, so the work was quick.
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I (Tedd) purchased 3 lugs of Primitivo, a grape related to Zinfandel. Each lug was 36 pounds. The stats on the grapes were as such:  Brix/26.5   Sp. Gravity/1.114  pH/3.58  TA/.60%

After the crush, we all socialized a bit with some tasty hors d'oeuvres and vino. It was marvelous, even though this author was spectacularly hungover after the French Broad River Festival the evening before. Post-crush and social, I took the buckets of primitivo down to our friends at Whistle Hop Brewing in Fairview, where they let me store them for a 5-day cold maceration period (this was to extract full flavor and color). Each day, we punched down the skins.

After the maceration period, I took the buckets home and placed them in my basement, where they sit at a steady 65F. For the yeast, I opted for the Lalvin RC-212, a great choice for full bodied reds. Zinfandel is sometimes a bit thin on its own and needs to be blended with something for additional depth. Because the lug of petit syrah I had ordered burned up on the vine, I'm doing this as straight Primitivo; therefore, I think I can use the yeast to achieve the characteristics I'm looking for. The yeast accentuates fruit and berry, also providing some spice and pepper notes- perfect for Primitivo. It also gets great color and flavor extraction and helps stabilize the tannins. 

After 9 days of relatively cool fermentation, my Brix was at 7.5 (1.030 SG), giving an approximate abv of 10.5%. I decided to press so that subsequent fermentation would use up and scrub out the oxygen that would be introduced. It was an immaculate day with nice temperate weather and no rain! I apologize in advance that this website automatically rotates these pics. Very annoying.

It took two pressings to do all of the grapes. When finished, I combined the two pomace cakes in the press and did a final pressing.

 

All in all, I ended up with 9 gallons of delicious (yes, I drank some!) Primitivo that is again happily fermenting away. Tonight, I will check the gravity and tomorrow I will likely be adding malolactic bacteria to the fermenters. We'll keep you posted as this progresses. Frankly, we're fired up for next grape season. Also, we do rent out the press you see pictured.

End of Sept. News 0

We are moving our Brewers Socials to Tuesdays. As such, our next social is tomorrow night, the 29th. Bring some labelled brew to share and enjoy some Asheville Pizza on us. We'll have some Dark English Old Ale soured on Wicked Weed Oblivion barrel staves. We'll be sipping suds from 6-8:30ish, so bring a friend and join us!

The next free all-grain class is going to be October 3rd from 1:30-4:30ish. We'll be drinking a German Altbier and brewing something up with some Swaen malt, a new maltster we just picked up! But before that, we are going to do a free kegging workshop on Friday from 6-7pm. This is also free of charge, though we won't have any beer to serve. We will, however, discuss all kinds of fun things, such as PSI, CO2 volumes, equilibriums, and carb charts! It's more fun than it sounds.

Any cidermakers interested in attending NC Ciderfest in November should email us. We would love to have you join us and share some of your cider with attendees and enjoy the festival.