Sunday, August 31, 2014


Brined at 4% by weight.  Added some dill, cloves, and mustard seed.  We'll see what happens.  

I've been getting better at this: instead of letting things go for weeks at room temperature, I'm getting them in the fridge before too long.  I've only had a few things that I had to throw out, but the things I'm making are *much* more delicious.  Or at least much better suited to my tastes. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hops update 8/14

The lighting's a little off (mostly because these pictures were not all taken at the same time) but once again, I have plenty of Cascade hops.  I'm going to harvest them a little earlier this year than I did last year.  I think they got sunburned and overdry on the bines while I was waiting for them to get "papery" or whatever I had read on the internet about hop cone ripeness.

There's also a decent showing from the Mt. Hood and Williamette plants.  The clothesline is drooping, as expected; but it's drooping way *more* than it did last year.  I had considered a taut stainless steel cable and some sort of tensioning system, but I think I'll use some intermediate support posts next time.  They can serve the dual purpose of training the bines up to the line, and supporting it once the plants start getting heavy.  Mo' vertical, mo' hops.

I wonder how things are going in Minnesota?

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Herman & Sherman

I think this may actually have worked.  I mixed some cheap olive oil with a lye solution, heated them up, stirred them up, and it looks like we're in business.  

I made the mistake of pouring it into an aluminum roasting pan to mold it, and that didn't agree with the strong base.  But it cooled off on the basement floor, and it's starting to set up.  Hopefully in a few weeks I can unmold it, cut it into bars  and start getting myself clean.  Based on the little samples I've scraped out of the kettle, this stuff will wash away your sins. 

A Tale Told by Time

It's a little bit wild, but it's very mild.  

And well balanced (didn't want to mess up the little rhyme I had going there.)  you certainly can't say that it didn't drop bright, based on this photo. 

It has inspired me to begin my own series of sour beers, a journey best suited to the patient.  However, once a Bucket of Truth has been started, the truth can be revealed in many ways; which is to say that you can ferment all kinds of things once a lambic blend gets going.  

To that end, I have a Honey Wheat in its long, slow secondary, and an Oud Bruin in a gloriously ugly primary.  Behind that in the pipeline, I'm planning a Rye/Munich mashup, and a Maris Otter "Englishman's-vacation-to-the-low-countries" thing waiting for their day.   


Step 1: acquire beef brisket. 

Step 2: brine it. 

Step 3: smoke it. 

Step 4: steam it (pictured above.)

Step 5: sandwiches. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Cabernet Sauvignon.  Pitched.  Transferred.  Transferred again.  And again.  And maybe a third time (or is that four?)

Finally oaked.  In this case French light toast.  I like vanilla.

also I took this picture at least eight weeks ago, so it's been bottled already.  It still has a tinge of youth, despite all the shaking and racking and incalculable tracts of time.  But it has the makings of greatness.  

For now, we wait.