We don't have groundhogs here in the State of Jefferson, but we do have rockchucks, which naturalists consider a cousin, I believe. All are kinds of marmots. Our local fellow, Montague Charlie, is not as well known as his famous relation Punxsatawney Phil. The report from Gobbler's Knob for 2008 is "6 more weeks of winter." Here in our alpine wonderland, it snowed from dawn to dusk. I'm willing to bet there were no shadows to be found today anywhere in the State of Jefferson. That means this raging winter we've been experiencing is set to finish early. A beautiful spring is just around the corner! Even if M.C. is a lousy predictor of the weather, one thing is for sure: a fabulous brew is just a few weeks from peak consumption. Today we bottled and kegged the St. Patrick's Day Stout here at FSB. The yield was about 4-3/4 gallons from the batch with final gravity of 4º Plato (1.016). That works out to just shy of 7% abv. The opaque black beer had a thick, chewy softness and a sweet roasted flavor with a hint of raisins (the Extra Special Malt?). I think this is going to be one hell of a stout. It has at least a week, maybe two, to spend in the 60-64 ºF closet before refrigerating. Besides the 2-1/2 gallon corny keg (primed at 50 g dextrose), we got 7 Etna bottles (22 oz.) and a sixpack of 12-ouncers. These were primed at 1 ounce per gallon. We also put together a special 4-pack of "original" Guinness bottles--we've had these bottles for twenty years, and this is the first time we've used them! They are tall, thick brown glass with small ridges on the neck, and come in at a wee bit less than 12 ounces. Guinness Extra Stout used to come in these back in the 1970s and 1980s. It is fitting--these were all scrounged by Ken, the man who taught me to brew, and came in the batch of stuff I bought from him. This January marks 20 years of homebrewing. We also pounded some more of batch number 157, the New Year Beer (Aught-Eight Ale). It is very light and drinkable despite its deep coppery-brown hue, with a full but not bitter hop flavor on top of a mild malt sweetness. I've got it flowing from the keg at about 8 PSI and it is almost gone! Damn tasty!!
a.d. IV Non. Mar.
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