My homebrewing is fairly episodic. I go fairly long periods without brewing, then knock out a bunch of batches in row. I average around 20 batches of beer a year, but they are not spread out evenly across the calendar; most are probably produced in a two or three month timespan. Right now, I'm trying to get some beers brewed in time for the Austin ZEALOTS Homebrew Inquisition and also before the time of year when BYO goes monthly and I'm very bust at work.
So, last week -- before I brewed the pale ale mentioned a couple blog entries ago -- I brewed one of my favorite beers . . . the Cranberry Zinger. However, saying I brewed it might be an overstatement. It's an insanely easy beer to put together. (I'll tack the recipe onto the end of this blog entry.) I basically heat a gallon and a half of water to 170 °F, stir in some LME and let it sit for 15 minutes, then I add some honey, rack it to a bucket fermenter, add water and sprinkle on some dried yeast. My "brewday" for the start of this beer is literally like 45 minutes (not including cleaning, etc.).
Once the base beer has fermented, I make cranberry relish, put it in a big bucket and rack the beer onto it. The relish consists of cranberries, Granny Smith apples and whole oranges (fruit, rind, zest and all). This year I also added peaches to the mix, just to see what would happen.
The base beer tasted great. This time around, I used Huajillo honey and you could really taste the honey's varietal characteristic (although it will probably get buried by the cranberries). This time around, I also added peaches because my grandmother used to make a side dish called peaches and oranges (which was just peaches and oranges cut up in a light sugar syrup), so I knew the two went together well. Like the honey notes, the peaches will probably be buried....