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Weekend Update: More Hops, Kegging, and Another Test Batch

Picked some more of the Centennial hops on Saturday, and I did a bit more cleaning and sanitizing of equipment and fermenters in preparation for brewing on Sunday. Can't overclean or oversanitize, but sure can ruin a batch if something isn't completely clean.

On Sunday, while mashing another test batch of the 6ixth Sense Ale, kegged up the last test batch. More about that kegged-up batch in a day or three...

Weekend Update: First Pickings of Hops

The temperature in the fermentation room was gradually raised each day this past week for the yeast working on the test batch of the 6ixth Sense Ale. The room started at 64ºF last Sunday, and reached 80ºF this Sunday.

Spent much of Saturday cleaning and sanitizing.

Sunday, was able to pick just under a pound of the Centennial hops. More hops to follow as the season progresses.
Image of Hops growing up against skyImage of harvested hops in a basket

Centennial is one of the "citrusy C" varieties, and is sometimes called a super Cascade.

Back in the Test Batch Saddle...

9:42 PM

Finally worked out the burner issues which canceled last weekend's brew session. Ultimately didn't need to call in the services of a licensed plumber, my beautiful-and-handy farmer wife provided the needed fix.
Picture of smiling Regina

With a late-in-the-day start, today/tonight brewed a test batch of the 6ixth Sense Ale (Belgian-Style Golden Ale).

Came in on target with an Original Gravity of 1.072. The yeast are happily working away, I'm about to hit the hay, tomorrow's another working day.

Test Batch Update ["Best-Laid Plans" Edition]

Was all set today to brew a test batch of the 6ixth Sense Ale (Belgian-style golden ale, formerly known as "Suckerpunch Belgian-Style Strong Golden Ale"), when I discovered that a crucial burner is malfunctioning. While the burners under the brew and mash kettles are operating fine, the burner under the kettle that is used to prepare the water for mashing and sparging is acting oddly. Oddly enough to cause safety concerns, and not just reduce efficiency or effectiveness.

My amateurish plumbing attempts were to no avail, so I'll be calling in the services of a licensed plumber who knows what he (or she) is doing. However, no test batch today. :(

No brewing didn't mean I didn't get to have some fun, I did the next best thing -- another round of cleaning and sanitation, just to keep things flowing along in the ol' SABCO.

Meanwhile...The yeast in the test batch of the Old Walt Smoked Wit brewed two weeks ago are still happily working away. Am looking forward to keg and bottling it up soon.

TTB TKO's SuckerPunch

If you happen to have any curiosity about what can, can't, and should be on a beer label (especially if you might be considering starting a brewery), read on...

I've chalked this one up to the learning process. Much of what I learned on my submission for label approval to the TTB (United States Department of the Treasury Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) was applicable to my subsequent submissions for other labels.

The following, an adaptation of one of my homebrew labels, was nixed by the TTB:

SuckerPunch Golden Strong Ale Label Image

As ruled by the TTB:

Code 150
Malt beverage labels may not contain the words "strong", "full strength" or similar words likely to be considered/confused with statements of alcohol content.

Code 108
The net content stated on your labels are in metric units of measure. US measure is required for malt beverages and must be stated as follows; If less than a pint = In fluid ounces, If 1 pint, 1 quart or 1 gallon = it shall be stated; If more than 1 pint, 1 quart, or 1 gallon = it shall be stated in fractions or in quarts, pints and ounces. Example: 1 pint 9 fluid ounces.


Code 63
On containers of this size, the Government Warning statement must appear in printing not smaller than 2mm. When upper and lower case lettering is used, the lower case lettering must appear in 2 MM print. 27 CFR § 16.22(b)(2)

Code 15
Your statement of alcohol content must be changed to read Alc. ______% by Vol. 27 CFR § 4.36(b)(1)

Code 14
Your alcohol statement may not appear in printing smaller than 1 MM or larger than 3 MM. 27 CFR § 4.38(b)(3)

Code 5
The company name and address (city and state) is required to appear on your front label. 27 CFR § 4.35(a)

Code 116
The text "SUCKER PUNCH" and the image of the fist touts the alcohol content of the product and the effect that the product will have on the consumer. Delete or change this text.

I thought that I was warning folks about the alcohol content, rather than touting it.
There was even a now-obscure reference to an Abbott & Costello routine on the label.

Abbott is Costello's manager/corner man for a boxing match. Costello is overmatched in the upcoming bout, but Abbott is giving him a pep talk:

Give him the old one-three, one-three.

What happened to "two"?

"Two" you get.

(Maybe you had to "be there.")

After going back to the proverbial drawing board, I submitted the following, which was approved by the TTB yesterday. Henceforth, the (Belgian style) Golden Strong Ale offered by The Blind Bat Brewery will be

6ixth Sense Ale Belgian-Style Golden Ale

Now all I have to do is get the label registered with the Wholesale Division of the NY State Liquor Authority, start making some sales calls, and get it out on shelves.

Oh yeah, and brew this sucker.
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