Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Hump Day Drinkin' Songs- Rainy and cold edition

It's cold and rainy here in the 'Nati today.  And it just feels a George Strait kind of morning.  If it didn't before, it does now.  Enjoy your weekly taste of goodness that is Hump Day Drinkin' Songs.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Not quite less filling/tastes great but a nice debate nonetheless

I've mentioned before how this time of year might be the best of all possible worlds for commercial beer drinkers. You can still catch some of the summer beers here and there. The Oktoberfest and pumpkin beers are everywhere. And the first taste of winter warmers are starting to show up every now and again. There are finally cool enough days to enjoy a heavier, slower drinking concoction around a fire. All is right with the world. That being said, I've found myself in several, so that it sounds more confrontational let's say, debates lately about whether Oktoberfest is better than pumpkin ale. Let's settle this 21st century style- an anonymous online poll. Early voting begins now!

Which is better- Oktoberfest or Pumpkin Ale?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

In fall a young man's fancy turns to thoughts of cider

So it's fall. You know what that means right? Oktoberfest! Right, Oktoberfest. I'm not here to try to convince anybody that the best drink of the fall isn't an good Oktoberfest. That would be ludicrous. But second on that list is a nice glass of apple cider. Hot, cold, soft, hard, however you like it you can't beat a glass of apple cider. I spend a lot of time brewing. (Not near as much as I'd like but more than the average person considering most people spend zero time brewing.) I make wine, I make beer and I've soaked berries in vodka to make berry flavored vodka- that was a long time ago. This year, I think I'm ready to try to make some cider. But cider, like every thing else in brewing it seems, requires some equipment that I don't have. Or, at least I didn't have. I looked at some jerry rigged ways to make cider presses on line and realized that it could be possible to come up with something homemade. That being said, yesterday I spent the day with my wife roaming around a county fair ground in Springfield, Ohio at an antique extravaganza (they had a beer truck that I sampled from- best I could do was Amber Bock, but it's better than crappy iced tea). On the way out at the end of the day, my father-in-law spotted a cider press that was marked down to less than half the price it was marked at earlier in the day. So for $40, I'm now the proud owner of this.

Next steps are something to crush up apples, and to lay into some apples. There are several orchards around here that I can pick up some cheap apples. The beauty of cider is that you don't need perfect fruit. You can get by with seconds or what we call deer apples here. Stay tuned.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Who's brewing this weekend?

The short answer is not me. But I am hoping to do some prep work. My wife has taken a trip to the apple orchard today so I'm hoping for a full report on pricing. One loyal reader and I are toying with the idea of building an apple crusher and a fruit press. This of course means cider- some of which will undoubtedly harden.

One of the aspects of being a homebrewing dad is that you're also a homebrewing husband. That means doing things that make the wife happy. Tomorrow, we're going to a huge outdoor antique show a few hours north of here. It's not necessarily completely my cup of tea, but there's usually some interesting brewing related stuff to be had. I'm definitely searching for a few old school wooden Pepsi bottle crates. These are extremely useful little tools for storing bottled home brew and have saved me several messes and busted paper 6 pack holders on bottling day. There will be Coke ones as well, but for some reason they cost twice as much. I'm perfectly fine spending less and bringing home Pepsi crates. I'll also be keeping an eye out for vintage bottle corkers and tools like that just to have on hand. I'll try for a full report next week. If I score anything cool, you'll be among the first to know about it.

If you are brewing this weekend, drop us a comment or a tweet and share your recipe. Here at NGB, we're all about sharing knowledge and a few cold ones.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Hump Day Drinkin' Songs- A bottle of what? edition

Used to love this song when I was a kid, but just this summer figured out that Ski is a soda. Saw these guys in concert about 20 years ago. Fairly good show. Overall, underrated group. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Catching up on some stuff and moving around some wine

First things first. How 'bout them Cowboys?!?! Glad I didn't put any money down because I was ready to take the Giants minus the points. Great game from Romo and a way better way to spend an evening than listening to Bill Clinton. So, Super Bowl, here come the Cowboys! Now that that's out of the way, you probably remember that I have been making peach wine. Not too long ago it became time to remove the fruit from the primary, add yeast and move to a secondary fermenter. I'm probably not doing this process exactly as it's supposed to be done. Time is at a premium still, even now that baseball is over, so I do what I can. At any rate, I decided to go ahead and add champagne yeast rather than just let the natural yeast take care of things. Natural yeasts can yield a nice product and it's been a process that people have been using for thousands of years, but there's also some variability and risk. If there's one thing I learned in finance class it's to be risk averse. So I chickened out.

What you see here is the mashed up peaches and raisins I strained from the primary fermentation vessel when I moved to secondary (in this case another 6.5 gallon bucket- I'll probably go to the carboy in 4-6 weeks). Pretty tasty, huh? To the now less mushy liquid, I added a crushed campden tablet and a packet of champagne yeast. Add a lid and airlock and we're ready to wait again.

Amusing side story. OK, amusing to me. I put the peach and raisin guts in our mulch pile not really thinking that there had been some fermentation going on. My wife had her backyard chickens free ranging at the time and they really flocked (no pun intended) to the fruit. I wish I'd have thought to watch to see if they ever showed any signs of inebriation. I didn't realize until the fruit was gone and my wife asked me if I was trying to get her chickens drunk. Since I'm so quick on my feet, I replied that I was only trying to marinate them.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Hump Day Drinkin' Songs- Faith Who? Edtion

As a lifelong Cowboys fan, I'll go ahead and tell you that I'm ready. And I'm probably going to be sleepy when work starts at 7 tomorrow. Here's your weekly dose with an eye towards tonight's match up. Yes, I know it's not Monday and it's Cowboys/Giants but you get the point. Better than Faith Hill. Way better than Pink. It pains me to say it, but I'd take my 8 year old's favorite team, the Giants minus the 3 and a half.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Update: Dandelion wine

Remember when I wrote about that dandelion wine and you got all grossed out and what not? Well, it's still here. Still kicking. Today I took the chance to rack it into one of my new 1 Gallon glass Jugs. These little wonders come in quite handy. Anyway, I'm racking the dandelion wine and it smells much sweeter than when we last met. I'd drink this and wouldn't have to hold my nose. Way closer to what I made on my first attempt. That was a real winner. So now we're back to waiting. Eventually this gallon will clear and then I'll rack it again wait some time and then bottle. should be drinking this by the spring of 2013. Can't wait.