I put a batch of Stout and one of Nut Brown Ale last Saturday. I am delinquent with brewing this year, so much going on and so many demands! I have a few cases of bottles to sanitize this weekend in great anticipation of the fermentation being adequately accomplished. Late Spring through early Autumn is the only time I can do a brew as I don’t implement much heating or cooling in the cabin…whatever nature gives me for the most part. Hmmm, I’ll have time to put up a ferment of Porter and a Bitter this weekend after the bottling is done…maybe. We’ll see. It’s gotta last all winter and I do need a way to keep warm.
So I got a late start? Well I did put up two batches of mead (yeah, like the Vikings drank, fermented honey) and have them in the basement snugly aging. One was a classic dry mead and the other has plums in it – that’s got a special name I cannot for the life of me remember at the moment. Megathlin or some such. It was a mess to fool with.
The flavored stuff I’m dubious of, but the dry mead I’ve done before and there is no reason at all for it not to be superb in a year or two. Yes, into the next decade. Got to think ahead, you know. And there’s plenty of space in the basement.
I made an astounding batch of mead a few years ago, but have been inhibited more recently by the high cost of authentic honey. Imagine, here at work I happened to see a little jar of honey with a local address! The guy’s son works here! I haven’t had a chance to hook up with them yet, but did talk to a homesteader-type that works in the back and he verified that place, plus gave me a line on local sorghum molasses.
Wow! The fella really near the cabin had a bad sorghum year and had none for sale this fall. Apparently 40 miles to the northwest, they did okay. I’ve been buying quart jars of sorghum from the IGA, and it is from Kentucky. I don’t brew with sorghum, but it is a local sweetener.
I’m a firm believer in buying locally when I can, but it can be tough finding these guys. I don’t know of a proverbial Farmer’s Market where I can find them…there’s a small one in Beaver Dam but it’s closed whenever I go by. I need to seek more diligently, there has to be something like that around.
As I let visions of ribbons of honey going into a fermentation bucket play in my brain, the homesteader fellow mentioned a variety case of stouts he’d recently tried. Stouts! I’m particularly fond of a thick oatmeal stout and made a fine batch of it once. As I told him, the cheater kits I get make six gallons of ales, Porters and Bitters. Stouts? Only about 4 gallons, and the kits cost more. Being frugal, I stick with Porter when I want something inky. Yet, he made a thirst for genuine 20W50 grade stout cry out, “Life is too short NOT TO!” I haven’t actually bought a bottle of beer in years, but if I did I would seek out an Old Peculiar. They aren’t stouts, but are so good and any stout lover ought to appreciate them. If you haven’t tried one of those yet, I encourage you to get directly on it! Theakston’s Old Peculiar.
News Flash: Both the county I live in and the one a half a mile south of me are dry, as are half of Kentucky’s 120 counties. That means no alcohol sales, no beer in a pub, no wine with your meal, no picking up a six-pack at the grocery. The south county just had a referendum. The Baptists rallied their congregations. By 54%, they elected to stay dry. My county is going to vote soon. That’s not why I make my own (I love to make things), but it is very handy that I do!
By now, all of the ales and wine I put up should be drinkable, particularly the ones put up in June and July. So far, I have not tried any of the new wine since I had a case left from last year. I have tapped the ale. Two different batches.
Phooey gooey, Looney Looey! Apparently I slacked on the bottling sugar because both of the first batches have come out under-carbonated. Headless Horsemen. Grrrrrr. The initial batch is close to flat and the second is a little better. Woe if they’re all like that! Bet you cash money they are. I was on a roll and made two and three batches at a time. Grrr. Grrr. Howl. Grrr.
At first I was sorely tempted to empty all (remaining) bottles of that flat batch back into a bucket, add a tad of yeast and a bit of corn sugar. Rebottle. Try in a month. Now after imbibing quite a few, the common refrain comes to mind: “The more I drink, the better it tastes!” I did made a boatload this year, so maybe I’ll give rebottling a shot anyway. If it doesn’t turn out, I still have the wine. What kind of confidence is that? Rebottling will be fine unless I overdo the carbonation and uncap a geyser or the bottles explode. Yike!
This did not happen before. I know the problem. I relied on my more and more fallible memory. I my books I have the lead character befriend an alien AI that offers her and those she nominates a marvelous chip in the brain. All endowed are in the AI intranet. They have access to masses of information and instantaneous help. They have memory augmentation that would prevent not putting enough bottling sugar in not one or two, but all this year’s ale batches.
I will let you know one way or the other. I have several more cases probably affected, so if anyone has constructive advice, speak up! Even if you’re from outer space!