Kid just loves him some cows (komos) wrote,
Kid just loves him some cows

The God of Small Things

When it comes down to it, the various 'lost arts' to which I'm drawn are pretty simple things. Give yeast sugar and provide a comfortable environment and it will make alcohol and carbon dioxide. Choose the nature of the sugars and how you treat them and suddenly you're making beer, wine, or mead, possibly even specific varieties of them. I won't say that there isn't a certain magic to it, but it's of a kind that is more wondrous than spooky or mysterious.

I recently watched "Dr. Strangeloaf", a Good Eats episode that explored the baking of bread. In it, Alton Brown talked about bread as a simple thing, but went on to say that since it is a simple thing, every element is very important. This had some resonnance, if only because as I was tending to things yesterday, I found myself coming across little things that could potentially have far-reaching effects on some of my simple projects. This cast a rather dull shadow on a largely productive (if isolated) weekend.

For instance, I discovered only after I had covered the entirety of my mascarpone tart with pear slivers that the cutting board on which I had been working hadn't been cleaned well enough to rid it of the flavor of the onion that had been cut on it the day before. Given that the flavors at work in the tart are fairly subtle, I'm guessing that even though the tart pretty, the added flavor may be a little off-putting.

Earlier in the evening, I cracked the old ale for a Q/C check. At over a week, there should be some carbonation, but I got nothing from it. There's not even a tell-tale yeast buildup at the bottom of the bottle. I thought about it for a while, and realized that I hadn't stirred the beer in the bottling bucket after it was added to the priming sugars. I had thought that the action of the siphon was going to be enough to sufficiently mix the lot together, but it appears that I was mistaken. Although it's not a total loss - beers of this style are occasionally without any carbonation - it's still an unexpected result, and the change is enough that it radically alters the character of the beer.

I'm actually more concerned that all of the priming ended up in one bottle, which means that there's a possible glass grenade sitting in my pantry.

The fun doesn't end there, though. I also took a moment to rack Johanna's wine, and noticed a slight tartness that wasn't there before. Either it's going through a stage in its development that I know nothing about, or there's possibility that we'll soon have three gallons of very fresh red wine vinegar. Assuming the worst, I then have to think about the other brews that have had contact with the racking equipment since I last racked the wine, and the list is sad-making: the old ale, Dot's veritable wit, Alan's root beer, Pete's experimental spruce, and of course, the clandestine hooch wine.

Please note that two of these problems are directly related to cleaning issues, and that all three are detail oriented.


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