Just put together an experiment today. I bought a few bitter melons yesterday at an Asian food store near Los Pozos thinking they were a kind of cucumber and thought they looked mighty cool:
Paired with a sweet sauce in a stir fry, they were great, but when I was first prepping them I bit in and was surprised by the overwhelming bitterness. So…I wondered if there might be application in brewing.
The most specific mention of it and its effects I could find was this amalgamation creatively thrown together by a homebrewer in Dubai, but I’d really like to try and find something that can work as a bittering substitute in the (unlikely) event I run out of hops. So, I diced one of the leftover melons and harvested 56 g of de-pithed and seeded flesh, covered it in vodka and stuck it in the fridge. I’ll test it over the next couple days to see what comes out.
Also, I’ve started my first sour mash starter in preparation for tomorrow’s brewday! Following standard sour mash procedures, I took one liter of leftover wort, heated it up to around 48 C, added a handful of grains and have let it sit outside in the mash tun with warm water to keep it insulated. The first day there was no tangible difference, but the second day yielded a nice tartness. Today I’ll check again and potentially stop the souring, but I’ll probably let it go all the way until it’s time to blend it with the last runnings of tomorrow’s Belgian Golden Strong mash and hopefully get something in the vein of a Berliner Weisse. We shall see.