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jhc's wacky first ferment thread


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#1 jhc

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 02:08 AM

So for your first ferment you should probable keep it as simple as possible right? That's the smart move. I apparently am not a smart man but I wanted to do it this way so damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. To brutally mix the metaphors, this might be a great sauce or it might go down like the Hindenburg. 

 

To start, I took 2oz each chipotle (I think mecos) and arbols, rehydrated them in alkaline spring water, drained most of the water, and processed. (Why alkaline water? See below)

 

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Then I took a few ounces of carrots, a head's worth of peeled garlic, and two ghost peppers and processed them and added them.

 

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Sprinkled a capsule worth of Culturelle Lactobacilus probiotics (3B cfu) and a Tbsp of brown sugar, mixed, and transferred to the fermentation vessel.

 

Now for the rest I wanted cayenne and red serrano but I cannot find them fresh this time of year. So I bought a commercial pint of mash each.

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No idea why Tinypic rotated this pic btw. The potential issue here is that they come in 10% vinegar and too much acid can stunt the Lacto growth. Especially since I wanted to use a wine brine and wine itself is also acidic. So I added about a half pint each to a bowl and stirred in a tsp of baking soda. Hey look kids, a volcano!

 

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Add all this to the fermentation vessel and there was still way too much headspace. So I added the remainder of the cayenne and serrano mash. Final proportions were about 1 part each cayenne and serrano and 1 part arbol/chipotle/everything else. 

 

Finally added the Moscato wine "brine" but since the mash was pretty dense I probably only added a cup. 

 

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Again no idea why Tinypic rotated the image and I can seem to fix it. Anyway headspace looks ok to me. The overall pH in there is 5 (the pH of the wine itself was 4) so I think I did a decent job getting the pH in a range where it's not too hospitable for nasties but still ok for the Lacto. The few bits stuck to the wall above the brine are a little concerning but I'm crossing my fingers that a quick start to the ferment making the headspace anaerobic coupled with the fact that the mash is somewhat acidic will keep mold at bay.



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#2 MikeUSMC

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 09:22 AM

Anyway headspace looks ok to me.

Yup, looks good, man

The overall pH in there is 5 (the pH of the wine itself was 4) so I think I did a decent job getting the pH in a range where it's not too hospitable for nasties but still ok for the Lacto

I think you'll be fine, dude. I've done ferments with (roughly) an equal amount of blueberries and peppers before. Going from memory, I wanna say that blueberries have a pH of around 3.2ish, and peppers somewhere around 6. Used a white wine brine and a powdered lacto starter. Everything fermented just fine. Final sauce tasted like crap though so I dumped it, lol
(I was going for a blueberry chipotle sauce. Next time I'd just make it a "fresh" (cooked) sauce, not fermented)

The few bits stuck to the wall above the brine are a little concerning but I'm crossing my fingers that a quick start to the ferment making the headspace anaerobic coupled with the fact that the mash is somewhat acidic will keep mold at bay.

I've had bits of peppers or other veggies stuck to the walls of (probably) every ferment I've ever done, and never had a mold issue (knock on wood!). As long as fermentation kicks off relatively soon, I think you'll be fine.

Sounds like it's gonna be a tasty sauce, man! Welcome to the madness ;)
"I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f*ck with me, I'll kill you all."
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#3 jhc

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 12:13 PM

Thanks Mike. There were some trapped air pockets/bubbles at the beginning but I'm pretty sure I'm seeing new small bubbles this morning so... so far so good.

Funny I'm making a chipotle blueberry (well plus ancho and black cherry) cooked sauce right now. It's in the fridge now while I'm waiting for new woozies.

#4 Genetikx

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 02:33 PM

Welcome to the madness...hunan hand clap to you, jhc

#5 jhc

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 05:28 AM

Update:

 

So after two days I was seeing a bunch of tiny bubbles but they were so small and the mash so thick I was worried that they would have a hard time making it to the surface to drive the oxygen out. My other concern is that the mixture with the probiotics, sugar, and carrots wasn't really mixed that well with the rest of the mash. So I figured... right now the air above the headspace probably still has oxygen in it so little harm in opening the lid. I added another Tbsp brown sugar and another capsule of probiotics (just in case), gave it a really quick mix with a spoon, sprinkled some salt on the top of the mash, and added about 1/2 cup pinot grigio so the mash was below the liquid (barely) and re-capped the jar. 

 

Don't know if that was needed or just more time but 2 days after that fermentation really kicked off in a vigorous way. Tons of large bubbles that are going to the surface with a little jiggle and the mash has risen in the brine. Should have used the weights I have but too late now.

 

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The only other hiccup I've had so far is the growth of some tiny little fuzzball in the water in the airlock. Could not suck it out so I really quickly dumped the airlock water into the sink and replaced with vodka. Took two tries but now the fuzzball is gone and hopefully have a less hospitable liquid in there now. Luckily I've seen no hint of mold or kahm yeast in the mash itself.

 

Oh, the other thing I noticed is that when I removed the lid, even though it seemed like the fermentation had barely started, there was a definite fermented smell. Was bad like putrid or anything but also... not real pleasant. I have no problem with the aroma or taste of something like Huy Fong sambal (which I assume is fermented) so I'm hoping the final product will be a little more appealing than that one odor.

 

 

 



#6 MikeUSMC

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 02:12 PM

Nice! Sounds like you're rockin' and rollin', jhc! Looking good :party:
"I come in peace. I didn't bring artillery. But I'm pleading with you, with tears in my eyes: If you f*ck with me, I'll kill you all."
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#7 jhc

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Posted 12 January 2018 - 08:24 PM

Thanks for the kind words everyone. Not much left to do now but wait. 



#8 jhc

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 05:42 PM

So about 10 weeks later the fermentation seemed to be winding down so I opened it up and tried it. First impression: sour! Not sure why, pH was 3.5 but it seemed much more sour than other sauces I've made at that pH. Heat was good though. Tried adding more salt and some brown sugar which improved the balance somewhat but still seemed too sour. Decided I wasn't going to definitively fix it right now. I wanted to try oak aging so I hot filled the mash into a couple quart jars with about half an ounce of French oak cubes in each jar. Since these will age probably 8 months more, didn't want to go heavy on the oak.

Started a new ferment with Chipotles, guajillos, and fresnos. Along with some carrots and garlic and a little brown sugar in the brine. This will have lower heat I'm assuming but some nice smoky flavors. Thinking of oak aging this too after fermentation and combining with the first mash before finishing it into a sauce,

#9 Chilero

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 07:01 PM

After my first oak aged ferment I was hooked.  

 

My local distiller hooked me up with some fresh used staves and the rest was science. 

 

I make some vinegars (and wines) too and I have found that Pinot Grigio comes out really tart everytime.  I like that kind of thing so its fine but depending on what youre looking to accomplish you might try a Riesling or something sweeter. 

 

.02 



#10 jhc

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Posted 18 March 2018 - 09:35 PM

After my first oak aged ferment I was hooked.  
 
My local distiller hooked me up with some fresh used staves and the rest was science. 
 
I make some vinegars (and wines) too and I have found that Pinot Grigio comes out really tart everytime.  I like that kind of thing so its fine but depending on what youre looking to accomplish you might try a Riesling or something sweeter. 
 
.02 


Thanks, this time around I did a more standard salt water brine.

As for the oak, I'm hopeful. Tried BLiS Blast and found the oak to be a little too much (and the chocolate notes from the Founders stout didn't work for me at all).




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