This week, we're joined by Tow Yard's Will Moorman, who has previously graced our pages for our beer issue. He's got fruit suggestions, dog training tips and a definitive answer on tortillas.
Question: What are my limitations as far as putting fresh fruit in my homebrew? I've heard it's kind of a crap-shoot.
Will Moorman: While fruit can be tricky, it does not have to be a crap-shoot.
Choose a fruit that will compliment your beer. Pour your beer into sample glasses and stir in some smashed fruit. Let sit for a few minutes then consume. This is the simplest way to give you an idea of what the finished product will taste. For fruits with strong flavor, I find that using half a pound of fruit per gallon works well. For more delicate fruits, use up to two pounds per gallon.
Your fruit needs to be clean. The sugar in fruit makes it an attractive target for wild yeast, bacteria and insects, all of which can spoil your delicious beer. The easiest way to kill of all of the above is to freeze your fruit in a Ziploc bag for 24 hours. The next day, let it thaw then smash it up in the bag. By smashing it, you will increase the surface area of your fruit and reduce the contact time needed with your beer. You can also sanitize your fruit by adding enough water to your fruit to create a thick liquid, then adding potassium metabisulfite. This product can be found at Great Fermentations and Anita Johnson would love to help you with your fruit beer.
Put your fruit in a sanitized muslin bag then add it to secondary fermentation. The yeast will start to munch on your fruit and you may notice a change in the color of your beer after a few weeks. I like to let my fruit sit on my beer for at least two weeks before sampling. If you aren't happy with the strength of the flavor, wait another week. Once you find the flavor profile to be satisfactory, transfer your beer into another sanitized fermenter leaving behind the fruit. Your beer is finished and your used fruit can go into the compost pile. Keg or bottle as you normally would.
Question: My dog, who is (was?) potty trained has started shitting on my floor again. I didn't change his food or anything. I take him out on regular walks. What the hell?
Moorman: There are a few things that I find helpful in this situation assuming you have a fully grown dog. If you have a puppy, you'll be dealing with this for at least 6 months while they learn how their bodies work.
Keep an eye on your dog. When you are home, keep your pooch in the same room as you all the time. This will allow you to watch for behaviors that may clue you in to what the problem is.
Take your pooch outside often. This is self explanatory. If they don't go then, try again in half an hour. Also, never punish your dog for deucing in the house. This will only make them want to hide it from you.
How often are you taking your pooch outside? My experience says dogs need to go out five or six times daily.
If the problem persists after following all of my advice, consult a vet, not a brewer.
Question: Settle this debate once and for all: Corn or flour tortillas?
Moorman: Are you kidding me? Is this even a question? Lets go over the stats. Corn tortillas are lower in fat and sugar, higher in fiber, gluten-free for all of you Celiacs, AND they taste so much better! Debate settled.