So, my recent obsession has been brewing beer. I have a love of dark beers and my first 3 batches were just that... very dark, somewhat bitter, and very tasty beers. The most recent batch, however was inspired by Jerry Payton's Margarita Gose. Or, more accurately, Connie Payton's Margarita Gose because he made it for her. I'm switching it up a bit and doing a Lemon Drop Gose.
I was a bit low (3 or 4 degrees) on the mash-in temperature, but not too bad. The temperature stayed right in that range for the duration, so I think I'm ok. In addition to the grains, I added 3 halved lemons which I had zested just prior to starting. I added the zest and coriander to the last ten minutes of the boil.
Since it was so cold outside, I did the mash in the kitchen, making sure to keep the lid closed tight throughout. Of course, I opened and stirred it a couple times just so that I could take in the amazing aromas.
I didn't take any pictures beyond the mash step because, while it boiled, I was busy building the temperature controller part of my fermentation box. I took the old kitchen pantry which had been in the garage for years and I laid it on its back in the basement. Then, I lined the inside with John's Manville foil covered insulation board. A light-bulb inside a paint can serves as the heat source. I haven't decided on a cooling method, yet. I'm not sure I'll ever really need one since I keep the A/C on in the summer. Here's the final product...
In the large section, I can fit four 5-gallon buckets/carboys of wort. In the smaller section, I can fit 2 buckets. That means I have room for 30 gallons of wort for the temperature controlled yeast to bubble away at. Right now, as you can see, I have three containers with 16 gallons which will be bottled next weekend (1st batch - 10 gallons of Caramel Stout) and Thanksgiving weekend (2nd batch - 5 gallons of Lemon Drop Gose). I'll be able to taste the stout on Christmas day. The other one will be ready New Year's Eve. 120 bottles of beer ready before 2015! The way 2014 is going, I'll need every last one of them.