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Reflections upon bottling the English Bitters that has been… - A little less than a happy high
komos
komos
Reflections upon bottling the English Bitters that has been conditioning lo these past few weeks:

- A team of three works far more quickly and efficiently to bottle five gallons of homebrew than I do on my own. In fact, brewing on the whole seems a much more enjoyable prospect in the company of friends.

- Regardless, I am thoroughly fascinated in the process, and while it doesn't have the immediacy and focus that throwing does, there is a kind of "chop wood, carry water" zen to it.

- Making beer really is quite easy. It mostly just takes time and a little bit of involvement.

- The First Snow Old Ale is very good, in spite of having been brewed in the middle of my bout with pneumonia, a stalled fermentation, and a last minute scramble for bottles. It goes really well with Old Amsterdam cheese.


My carboys are again empty and I want to brew again. I also want to learn how to make cheese and to start baking bread again. Consider it my nod to our "lost arts." If any of these endeavors interest you, do please let me know. I want company, and failing that, ideas.
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Comments
pipibluestockin From: pipibluestockin Date: February 8th, 2004 08:29 pm (UTC) (Link)
Dad gave up on his homebrew experiments when I was a kid.

Something to do with the bottles exploding in the summer heat...
komos From: komos Date: February 9th, 2004 06:40 am (UTC) (Link)
I inadvertently stumbled into a discontinued family tradition when I started brewing... which is something I'm bound to write about before too long.

I've been pretty fortunate in avoiding the exploding bottle phenomenon. I think it's partly because I let the beer sit in the fermenters for so long. If I'm ever in doubt about a brew, I've got a big plastic bin to store bottles in to contain a potential explosion.

Oh, and welcome, btw. How did you find your way here?
pipibluestockin From: pipibluestockin Date: February 9th, 2004 01:52 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well it was either because I was mining jenarael's friends and connections last Friday...

OR

I prodded the Random journal link until someone interesting turned up :)

Between the first Master of Puppets post and the pottery posts (I used too - I hope to get back to it some day), well, I sort of settled my self down.
bushidokelt From: bushidokelt Date: February 9th, 2004 06:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Hello!

Eye and I (no rhyme intended) tried to get a hold of you yesterday for pbr v.2. We couldn't seem to reach you.
komos From: komos Date: February 9th, 2004 06:35 am (UTC) (Link)
I was out of the house until the later part of the afternoon running errands and otherwise wandering around in my car. I started washing bottles sometime around 3:30 or so.

Did the brew go well? Did you get a taste of the pre-fermented wort?
_meej_ From: _meej_ Date: February 9th, 2004 09:30 am (UTC) (Link)

Cheese


Definitely up for attempting the making of Cheese. I've got a "starter kit" I was given that contains some of the necessaries; and I've got recipe sort of stuff for non-hard cheeses that take a lot less time. I'd be inclined to pick a weekend day for cheesing, and make both a hard (that can be kept aging for a month-plus) and a soft (a la boursin) that can be enjoyed in the here-and-now.

The major items stopping me are: lack of kitchen equipment that just feels necessary, and lack of adequate space for some of it all. Methinks you have both of those. This could be workable =D

One other point worth raising; conventional wisdom says (and for good reason) that one should not mix activities involving cheesies and yeasties on the same day, due to cross-contamination issues.

Also up for the brewin', though. Let me know when, and I'll try to be there.

- D.J.

komos From: komos Date: February 9th, 2004 09:49 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Cheese

I'm not sure about equipment... I'm lacking the double boiler, a curd knife, and an appropriate ladel at the very least. Space, on the other hand, is easy and readily shared. Just let me know what you have in mind and when. Are you planning on just using store-bought, or are you hoping to get hold of milk from a more exotic provider - like one of the local "grass-fed" dairies?

I'd have to agree. Both beer and cheese are delicious, and often beer and cheese together are wonderful. Speaking from experience, however, I can say that under no circumstances should beer taste like cheese.
_meej_ From: _meej_ Date: February 11th, 2004 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Cheese

Well, I believe I'm able to handle the ladle (at least, one that would be usable), and for a curd knife, I'm sure I've got just a big-honkin'-sharp-knife, which is all that's really needed.

And between all our pots, we can probably fake a double-boiler pretty well. Let's brainstorm on it the next time I see you (potentially the next brewing, tho we'll see). I'll bring the cheese-book I was given and such, and we can... uh... compare equipment. (winkwink)

- Meej
hfx_ben From: hfx_ben Date: February 12th, 2004 02:08 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Cheese

I had some good luck making a simple cottage cheese (which I like, a lot) and then pressing that. Basics, yuh know?

(I loved making beer for home consumption; a light ale for during the day and something heavier [like 6 or even 7%] for evening ... almost a stout.)
komos From: komos Date: February 12th, 2004 10:43 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Cheese

Yeah, I'm anticipating that we'll be looking at something like a fromage blanc or the like for early runs. I think I want to get a handle on the process before attempting something more solid.

I'm still trying to figure out what I want to keep around as a 'house' beer. I keep experimenting with styles, but haven't quite hit one that I want to do over and over again.
(Deleted comment)
komos From: komos Date: February 9th, 2004 10:29 am (UTC) (Link)

The curse of the light lager

The funny thing is that Bud and its ilk were designed to be "inoffensive" beers.

I think the trouble with making comparisons is that most commercial beers are of one sort and utterly devoid of character to boot. It is possible to create a perfectly drinkable pilsner at home, and the first PBC variant would have kicked Buds arse to the curb even though we deliberately tried to make it as bad delicious as Pabst.

I was just talking to someone yesterday about the possibility of brewing root beer. I just need to figure out how to carbonate it without resorting to the yeast/alcohol/CO2 connection.

wisdom_seeker From: wisdom_seeker Date: February 9th, 2004 02:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
I'd most certainly be up for trying to make cheese and baking bread. I haven't kneaded dough in years. You know, I ate a small chunk of Parmesan cheese recently, having never eaten it before except in shredded form. I was pleasantly surprised by its flavor, especially since I usually prefer soft cheeses (aside from Cheddar).
komos From: komos Date: February 10th, 2004 02:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
I just picked up a hard cheese with a mysterious name from Basque country. I think it may be my first sheeps' milk cheese, and it's pretty impressive.
_meej_ From: _meej_ Date: February 11th, 2004 07:45 am (UTC) (Link)

Re:

Any recollection on that name? Sheep-milk spanish cheeses I've had have all been quite impressive.
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