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Happy International Beer Day!

No, really.

My first homebrewing experiment was a huge success. So big a success, in fact, that I drank most of it last week. It wasn’t supposed to be ready until this week. Cloudy, mayhap, but very tasty.

The process feels kind of dopey. You open a couple of cans, add water and yeast and wait. Brewing for morons.

On the other hand — really excellent beer for 40p a pint! How dopey can that be? So I think I’ll do a few more kits before I try malting and hopping and doing it old school.

Currently in production: that fake vodka stuff with the high-yield yeast.

Next up: a cider kit. Cider here is hard. Very, very hard.

If you close your eyes, you can hear the hangover…


Comment from Hiyu
Time: August 5, 2010, 11:09 pm

eep D: Remember to drink lots of water before bed then!

Comment from Spad13
Time: August 5, 2010, 11:11 pm

If I win the dea pool can I have a cider kit instead of a dick? I’ve always wanted to try real hard cider. Everthing I have bought comercially has tasted like apple soda mixed with ajax.

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: August 5, 2010, 11:24 pm

That reminds me, I need to try the Homebrew kit I bought oh so long ago. Over 2 years now and I haven’t even opened the box.

Comment from Hiyu
Time: August 6, 2010, 12:32 am

Spad13, I’m pretty sure that’s what cider tastes like. Seriously.

Comment from Bob
Time: August 6, 2010, 1:47 am

Were doing five gallons of ume-chiu (plum wine) a perry, and a cider this year. We add sugars to get around 12 – 15% ethanol.

Still, it’s hard to be a proper lush when you’re brewing your own. I s’pose I’ve made that observation before. I did have a chum who pulled it off, but we put him right.

Comment from Can’t hark my cry
Time: August 6, 2010, 2:14 am

Spad13–Well, if you live in apple country, find a farm that presses its own cider (preferably one that doesn’t add any preservative), and keep it in a cool but not cold place for awhile. The results can be chancy, as some batches of sweet cider are better than others, but you will get real hard cider. I would note, though, that I like Woodchuck hard cider, and I wouldn’t have described it as apple soda mixed with ajax; so maybe Hiyu has it right. . .

Comment from Bill (still the .00358% of your traffic that’s from Iraq) T
Time: August 6, 2010, 8:48 am

I’m at the mercy of a State Department order that says I can’t drink beer because that might offend the Muslims I’m instructing and the Muslims I’m instructing are offended that I can’t go into town and have a couple of beers with them after the week’s done.

Then you remind me it’s International Beer Day.


Rub it in with a wire brush, why don’tcha…

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: August 6, 2010, 9:54 am

Yeah, beer’s fine, but here’s a real challenge for you: try cheese making.

I got into it last year, and after trying a bunch of soft cheeses, did a proof of concept Cheddar. Which by God tasted like damn Cheddar! So now before I go overseas I make two wheels and leave them to age.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 6, 2010, 11:06 am

Will cheese make you drunk, Steve? Will it?

<crosses her arms and squints at you smugly>

Comment from Mark
Time: August 6, 2010, 2:42 pm

If “Can’t hark my cry” were to put an airlock:
atop the jug of cider, the result will be far less chancy. Unless, of course, the farm pressing its own cider is less than scrupulous about what it presses.

Comment from Pavel
Time: August 6, 2010, 5:03 pm

Bill’s story is another fine example of Your Gov’t in Action. Fortunately, when I was stationed in Turkey many years ago, they were still all cool about drinking. Long evenings spent drinking Raki and smoking with the Turks: Good times; they were good folks. Too bad the country’s being run by Islamoloonies these days. I wonder how much longer the Generals will put up with it.

Comment from Pavel
Time: August 6, 2010, 5:42 pm

Pikes Peak to Chesapeake Bay: Yeah, I’m running pretty low on the cryptid and murky depths inventory. Plumb out, actually.

Chesapeake Bay: Figured as much.

The Peak: How’s your marmot population?

Chessie: Umm. Marmot?

The Peak: Marmots. Small furry rodents that nest above timberline. Sort of cute. Roly-poly. They tickle.

Chessie: No, pretty much marmotless here.

The Peak: Do small children squeal with delight when they see the cryptids in your murky depths? Like they do when they see my marmots?

Chessie: Uh. No. No one actually sees the cryptids. They’re like the yeti or the Loch Ness monster.

The Peak: Oh. So these cryptids are like monsters, eh? Hey, good job bringing joy to young children.

Comment from steve
Time: August 6, 2010, 6:12 pm

Chesapeake Bay has nutria!

Not precisely marmots….but kind of close….

Does Pikes Peak has nutria? Well Does it?

(crosses arms and strives mightly to mimic Stoaties squinty smugliness)

Comment from steve
Time: August 6, 2010, 6:42 pm

And sea nettles!

Pikes Peak has no sea nettles!


And oysters! Chesapeake has oysters.

Real ones.

Not those GLBT meat products that are called oysters out there where the air is so thin you folks can’t think straight (nice double entendre, there, that kind of snuck up on me and I didn’t even notice till after I had already typed it, but it fits pretty well, anyway)

Comment from Scubafreak
Time: August 6, 2010, 7:14 pm


Nutria are available by Fedex from Louisiana

Sea Nettles and Oysters are common at the Denver aquarium

[rasberry]So THERE![/rasberry] 😉

Comment from Deborah
Time: August 6, 2010, 8:15 pm

I wonder what a wee stoat looks like when she’s full of home brew?

Comment from steve
Time: August 6, 2010, 8:27 pm

A bit like this, perhaps?


Comment from Nina from GCP
Time: August 6, 2010, 9:31 pm

I have 3 gallons of a cyser–which is a hard cider with honey added as a fermentable sugar–aging back home in California–it’s quite hard, like 13% hard. That could get you pretty drunk pretty fast, and in style. Y’all need to come visit to help this non-drinker drink it

Comment from Rich Rostrom
Time: August 6, 2010, 11:06 pm

“My first homebrewing experiment was a huge success.”

Congratulations! You may now call yourself an alewife.

(Also a species of small fish. Some years ago they were fond of dying in vast numbers on Chicago’s beaches. Salmon were introduced to the lakes to eat them first.)

May I add my commandation for brewing and conditioning in a barrel? And I presume, serving from the barrel? Truly old school – I have only done bottled beer.

There are three levels of homebrewing:

1) Brewing from an all-in-one kit, as you have done.

2) Brewing with malt extracts and other separate ingredients, which is what I do.

3) Brewing from grain one has malted oneself, which I regard as “master level”.

Level 2 offers lots of scope for originality and quality. The brewer has the choice of malt type (dark or light, brand, quantity), hops (varieties, quantities, and how they are used), adjuncts (black patent malt, crystal malt, corn or cane sugar, brown sugar, flaked barley or wheat, honey, coffee, fruit or juice, spices), yeast (type, brand), procedures (how long to boil the wort, when and how adjuncts are added, use of a secondary fermenter), water treatments (different water qualities are suited to different kinds of beer), and whether to use clarifying agents.

There are lots of recipes to try, and to tweak until one gets what one likes. After that, I would say, one could go on to malting.

Scubafreak: “I need to try the Homebrew kit I bought oh so long ago. Over 2 years now…”

Go ahead. It should be fine. I’ve just made three batches from ingredients that were over 5 years old, and seem to be coming out fine.

Which reminds me to celebrate Beer Day by bottling the third batch.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: August 6, 2010, 11:43 pm

Yes, I’m definitely looking to try buying the ingredients eventually, Rich. I’m too much of a tinkerer not to try moving beyond kits.

The barrel was…a mixed success. I had a hellacious amount of head on this stuff, and the barrel leaked badly. I think the kitchen was a bit cool, so it didn’t ferment itself out as much as it should before I put it up. So it did a bit much in the barrels.

It’ll be bottles next time, and I think I’ll reserve the barrel for booze that isn’t quite so fizzy. The cider, mayhap.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: August 7, 2010, 12:36 am

Well, Sweas, I live in The Great Northwest, where you cannot throw a brick without beaning a home brewer (I am not advocating that – for one thing, you might hit some bottles). Since I am surrounded by brewers, but no cheese makers, I figure I can trade curds for fermented malt beverages.

Besides, remember what Jesus said: blessed are the cheese makers. So I got cheese, brew, plus the Kingdom of Heaven.

Nyah nyah nyah.

Comment from Steve Skubinna
Time: August 7, 2010, 12:40 am

Oh, right, cue squinty smug armcrossing.

Comment from Anonymous
Time: August 7, 2010, 12:50 pm

@ Deborah:

On second thought, perhaps when a wee stoat is full of home brew, she looks a bit like this:


Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 7, 2010, 6:01 pm

We had a small apple orchard when I was a kid, and my dad bought a big 20-gallon crock to make hard cider. It made a “mother” (a thick waxy layer (IIRC) that formed at the top), but the mother kept sinking down into the apple juice, and eventually, the whole mess was dumped and the crock gathered dust in the shed. My dad was always hot for new projects, but he cooled quite speedily at any sign of impending failure.

There may have been more to it, but I was maybe 8 years old, and the cartoons I was watching back in that time left a more lasting impression.

Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 9, 2010, 1:59 pm

It’s official: I killed the thread.

Stop me before I kill again!!!!

Comment from jwpaine
Time: August 9, 2010, 2:04 pm

Pavel: You must have been at Incerlik AFB. I lived near Tarsus for a year. The Turks are good people (but then, I’ve not been many places where people, as individuals, weren’t good people). Islamolunacy was always incipient there (as it is in most of the middle East).

Comment from memomachine
Time: August 10, 2010, 5:32 pm


@ Bill T

Drink mead. I believe the Koran allows muslims to drink fermented beverages made from honey. Actually I think that’s referenced in the movie “13 Warriors” or some such.

Comment from surly ermine
Time: August 12, 2010, 12:30 pm

Oh, sorry I missed this one Weas. Grats on your first batch! You’ve inspired me to start a new batch of mead. Course I’ve got to empty that carboy first. 🙂

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