We were very industrious yesterday at BCB.
First, we had not one, but two beers that needed to be bottled. Then, we planted our first crop of beets, dug holes for our raspberry bushes, and started some cucumber transplants! Needless to say, all this industry was thirsty work and there were definitely a few homebrews consumed.
So the first beer that we bottled was Tarbaby’s Vanilla Coffee Stout. This is one of the best beers we brew, which is why we actually brewed it twice this year. It gets a kick from Ethiopian coffee (from Larry’s Beans) and some sweetness from Madagascar Vanilla Beans (from Savor Spice Shop). It is also the darkest beer we brew, with an SRM around 46.
The second beer we bottled was Patersbier, the lightest beer we brew at an SRM of 3.3. This is the closest we get to brewing something that the general populace (aka fans of Budweiser) would consider tasty (although it is much tastier than mass-produced commercial beer). It is also the lowest alcohol beer we brew, with an OG of 1.040 rather than our usual 1.065 to 1.100.
Here’s comparison photos of the two beers’ colors:
Usually DB fills the bottles and I cap them, but we decided to switch things up and I filled the bottles while he capped. I’ve never been the bottle filler before and I can honestly say that I’ll be fine if I never am again. It’s an awkward position that hurts my back, but at least I can check off that box on my list of necessary homebrewer skills.
After we finished our brewing related tasks, we moved into the garden. Its been really warm here lately, with temps in the 80s some days and DB and I were itching to get out in the garden. (While the high temps have been great for the garden, they have wreaked havoc on the average temperature in our brew room. Hopefully none of the beers we have conditioning are too adversely affected…)
First, DB tilled up another one of our beds and I raked in some compost and fertilizer. Then, while we soaked our beet seeds to promote optimal germination, we started digging the holes for our new raspberry bushes. (Because 450 square feet of garden and the various pots and grow bags and a hop bed isn’t enough… Obviously, we’re missing a berry patch.)
I got 6 absolutely gorgeous Heritage Raspberry plants at Whole Foods Market yesterday morning. We had planned on ordering them from one of our many gardening catalogs, but these plants looked so healthy and lush that we couldn’t pass them up.
DB set tile for years, so anything he does, he does with precision. This meant, of course, that there was a long and involved process of measuring to ensure that each hole was (on center) the same distance from the fence and the same distance from its neighbor. DB then, using string, stakes, and spray paint, made sure that each hole was the exact same circumference as well. And now you know why everything we do takes us twice as long as everyone else…
We got the sod off the holes and tilled down 10 inches or so, but at this point, LB decided we had spent enough time not paying attention to her and made her displeasure known. So the planting of the raspberries had to be postponed until a later date. I did manage to get the beet seeds in the ground (our first of three planned succession plantings) before we called it a day.
LB and I hung out and had a bottle on the deck while DB started our first cucumber transplants. (Marketmore, in case you’re wondering which cultivar made the cut. We also plan on sowing some Picolino as well, but not until it’s a little bit warmer. Those were almost $0.70 a seed (!!!), so God knows we’re not risking losing them to a late frost!)
And finally all the chores were done and the tools put away and we got to just sit and enjoy the sunshine as a family. DB and I even treated ourselves to pizza and beer after the monkey was asleep. It was a really, really awesome day. 🙂