A past due post

Has it really been that long since my last post? Oops!
Have no fear! The brewing has continued!  The latest round was my swing at a winter/spiced stout. Yes, it was a bit inspired by Stone's Xocoveza, but it is by no means meant as an attempt at a clone. It is more of an agreement that some of those flavors are appealing in a stout to me - and no, I did not include all of the flavors listed on the Xoco bottle.  Enough about that though...

Brew day itself went off without a hitch.

Oh, the wonderful aroma!
Grains mashed. Wort boiled.
Boil you lazy bugger!

The house smelled GREAT!  ...especially at the end when I added my spices.  Cool. Strain. Pitched the recovered yeast from a previous stout into the cooled wart and, while it took a bit longer to get going than I expected, (the yeast did spend a bit more time in the refrigerator than I would have liked) it did get going after about 24 hours.

After about a week, it was time to rack...and hellllooooo chocolately looking goopy mess.  Big trub, but given the pitched yeast cake, I'm not surprised.

The pretty side of brewing
I definitely nailed my volume though!  One VERY full gallon jug for secondary.

Getting closer to taste test time!
Fast forward to today, and it's time to bottle.  I'm still debating on what the label will look like, but that can wait a bit.

In other news, since I did make a mess of my 2 carboys, they had to get cleaned....outside...with help.  Fun was had.

Yes, he is telling me what needs to be done. He is pro at this now....at 3 years old.
The holidays (aka, my parents) have also been kind enough to help me increase production capacity with a shiny new 8 gallon kettle!  This will be very nice when I step up that Kiwi Hef recipe for summer, as well as anything else that I really want to go to town with.  ...and, of course, auto-siphons are just soooo much nicer.  Though, now I want a small one since I'm in one gallon mode for a few more months.

It would be a shame not to fill it, right??
Next up on the brew list?  My rauchbier is disappearring quickly, so that's a front runner along with an Irish Red since St. Patty's Day is getting close as far as the brew calendar goes.