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Hastur

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Hello, I'm an Mediocre Middle-aged One, God of benevolence and brewing. Hastur by name, brewer by habit.

 

I didn't want to boggart ShadySand's thread, although if it's okay with him I'm happy to merge this thread into the drinking one. I just didn't want to turn it into a homebrew thread lest I step on toes.

 

I'm going to share my latest recipe for mead. The mead came out better, although it still has to age. I racked about three gallons after about a month and put two gallons of the batch in two one gallon secondary fermenters. I racked one of the gallons a few days ago. One gallon is still in the carboy. I've had some already and I can really taste the lemon, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Stuff has been fermented to the max, so it'll hit you like a jackhammer if you throw it down fast. A little dry for the wife, but that will get better as it ages. Probably let the last gallon sit for another few months and then add bentonite if it's isn't completely clear. The lees (yeast and other cloudy particulates) don't hurt anything, but they can have a specific taste (which isn't always bad) and, even worse to some folks, it's considered a flaw in the batch regardless of taste.

 

13lbs honey

juice from 5 lemons

zest from one lemon

~2.5 tbsp. nutmeg

5 cinnamon sticks

~five gallons of purified water

Red Star champagne yeast

 

Boil water and honey, skimming foam off the top put juice, nutmeg, and cinnamon in the boil. When no longer foaming, remove from heat and let cool.

 

Pitch yeast and set aside until the must cools sufficiently to add.

 

After must cools, siphon into 5 gallon glass carboy. Add yeast. Cork top with bung and airlock. Ferment 2-3 weeks or until the mead is clear. Bottle and cork. Set bottles on their sides in a cool dark place for several weeks or months before drinking. (I decided to let some stay in secondary fermenters as I've said.)

 

I was thinking of adding a picture, but this is a big post already.

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I've had an interest in getting into home distilling, I can't believe that is still illegal.

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men"

- St. Francis of Assisi

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I'd air drop in a case of beer for some of the good stuff from your still. :D It's illegal to distill here in CA also. My brother in law and I have been joking about hiding a still out in the mountains near here. I'm just glad they don't come after us for brewing.

 

Anyhow, I'm going to start a five gallon batch of mead and a one gallon batch of beer tomorrow or Friday. The beer is more of a pain because you have to keep the temperature steady for steeping the grain and then try not to make a mess when you add the malt extract. I'm using liquid extract this next time in the hopes that it's less messy. Going to be a dark ale. I might actually post a pic of the ale and then post one of the recipes. The ale one is pretty simple compared to the mead, but I think you should never have too many competing flavors in beer. Better to have a few you can appreciate than a bunch that struggle to blend.

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Mead in the secondary fermenter.  Must. Resist. Drinking!

 

attachicon.gifMead recipe.jpg

Hastur can you share where you live in the USA? 

 

As I mentioned I enjoy your posts and I'm sure you have had an interesting life. If someone asked you to summarize your life in a few bullet points how would you say  "  This is me and this is what has shaped my views   "  

 

I'm not being nosy I'm just interested because of how diverse the views and perspectives of Americans can be  :geek:

"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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I would summarize myself as:

 

+  Boring

+  Blessed

+  Brewing

 

I live in Southern California and I could also add that I like to BBQ.  Most of my friends are quite liberal and this is probably the most divisive and angriest year politics-wise that we've ever had.  I have a couple friends who love Hillary and my neighbors love Trump.  Otherwise, pretty much everyone hates both candidates.

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I'd like to try brewing mead sometime but honey is ludicrously expensive here at the moment. The honey alone would cost ~5 times brewing straight beer would. And I even used to have a beehive.

 

Once the weather warms up I'll be doing ginger beer, pear and apple cider, feijoa (pineapple guava; it's an NZ thing) wine plus beer.

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I would summarize myself as:

 

+  Boring

+  Blessed

+  Brewing

 

I live in Southern California and I could also add that I like to BBQ.  Most of my friends are quite liberal and this is probably the most divisive and angriest year politics-wise that we've ever had.  I have a couple friends who love Hillary and my neighbors love Trump.  Otherwise, pretty much everyone hates both candidates.

BBQ ...the great institution that everyone loves. In South Africa we call it a braai and its a very common and established part of our culture 

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"Abashed the devil stood and felt how awful goodness is and saw Virtue in her shape how lovely: and pined his loss”

John Milton 

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” -  George Bernard Shaw

"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead" - Nelson Mandela

 

 

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Once the weather warms up I'll be doing ginger beer, pear and apple cider, feijoa (pineapple guava; it's an NZ thing) wine plus beer.

That's awesome.  The brother in law from my previous comment does hard ginger ale, root beer, and apple cider.  I'm hoping to convince him to make a Cyser with me.  Not really because I'd rather have cider in my mead, but because it's a project we could do together and it's supposed to be one of the best combinations.  I'm going to make a blueberry mead tomorrow for the wife.  She likes a little bit fruitier and I will own that my mead is fermented really dry.  Don't let the fact that it's mead fool you.  It's pretty potent stuff.

 

Anyhow, depending on whether I have everything for the ale tomorrow, I'll probably post pics of the beer brewing.  It's probably a little more interesting to see, I think, although not as pretty in the bottle.  I don't want to go overboard with pics just because I don't want to be a pest about it, but one of the joys of homebrewing is getting to share it with folks and talk about it.  I'm hoping that other folks (looking at you, Zoraptor), will share recipes they've enjoyed.

 

Bruce, feel free to share about great BBQ.  I could do that too, since I smoke a lot of meats, especially in the summer when it's hot, but I'd better keep myself disciplined about the brewing stuff here.  ;)

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I did a homebrew rootbeer once. It wasn't bad. The flavour wasn't as good as I hoped, but the brewing created a tiny bit of alcohol that numbed my tongue slightly when I drank it. Now I'm a fan of Caribou and Boylans root beer because they taste better than mine and give me that same numbness.

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The area between the balls and the butt is a hotbed of terrorist activity.

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post-162749-0-28300900-1469748778_thumb.jpg

 

Mead day arrived. This is the day I had time to engage in the brewing process. I took a picture of the mead right after I put it in the carboy before I put the 5 gallon carboy in its cooler and stuck that somewhere to ferment for the next few weeks. I also figured I'd show most of my ingredients for the one gallon beer recipe. I'm not brave enough to use rye malt extract exclusively for the brew. I'll go to the brew store tomorrow for a few pounds of something, maybe dark maybe wheat. I don't know, but I'll have grain and malt extract. I literally chose the New Zealand Cascade because I'm hoping to encourage Zoraptor to throw us a cider recipe.

 

As far as the mead recipe goes:

 

9 pounds honey

~ 120 ounces of blueberries (fresh, washed, and frozen overnight

2 fine lemons in good condition

champagne yeast

~ 3 teaspoons of yeast nutrient

 

Boil honey and sift out foam. After it's no longer foaming, remove from burner and squeeze a couple lemons into the must. You can toss in the squeezed lemons if you want or simply add zest. If you add lemons, you'll have to take them out before adding the must to the carboy. I guess you could leave them in, but I bet it would be a pain in the ass when racking the mead. Anyhow, you can let the must sit to cool or place it in an ice bath. I had two boiling pans and they cooled in good order. While cooling, pitch the yeast. My yeast had to sit for 20 minutes before adding it to the must, which I did while everything cooled and then I put it all together, shook the carboy to aerate everything, and then I put in the bung and the air lock. I used Glen Moray scotch I got cheap at Costco in the air lock. I don't know that it makes a difference. I usually use purified water in the airlock, but I used cognac once and I figured I'd try scotch this time. Probably a waste of scotch, although I'll just drink it out of the airlock when the fermenting is done. Now it has to ferment for a while before I bottle it. I'll give you a hint: getting the blueberries from the carboy into bottles is going to be a bloody mess.

 

Oh, I forgot to put in the yeast nutrient!

Edited by Hastur
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There are specialty shops for brewing that typically have a small selection of honey that's overpriced. They're surprisingly reasonable on most stuff. There's also specialty organic stores, honey stores, famers' markets, etc. Those are also priced on the steep side, so I get the big Costco Kirkland honey in two five pound jugs. We also picked up the blueberries there. I don't know if I want the wife to like the blueberry mead because it was so much work or not like it so I don't have to make it again. I guess I want her to like it because, with five gallons, we're gonna have a lot!

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We get a guy selling bee on the corner right next to where he has all the hives.  We also have a local grocery store that lets you pour it into containers.  No idea if Costco is cheaper, they probably are, but it's also not going to be the same quality.

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We get a guy selling bee on the corner right next to where he has all the hives.  We also have a local grocery store that lets you pour it into containers.  No idea if Costco is cheaper, they probably are, but it's also not going to be the same quality.

That's true, and I've considered getting specialty honey but, to be brutally honest, I haven't been brewing all that long. Yeah, I've done several batches of beer and mead, but I was hoping to get down some of the finer points before I drop the cash on that quantity of honey. I mean, it's not bank breaking, but when you feel like you're figuring out mistakes and correcting them with each batch, you don't want to spend the money on the good stuff. I tell you what, though, if this batch continues to show the steady improvement I've seen since I started, I'll go ahead and drop the bread on the good honey and be assured it's worth the dough. Then I'll share how it came out.
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I have a friend who makes his own mead, and he did at one point shell out for mail-order Tupelo honey.  The resulting mead was indeed weird-- all sorts of distinctive vegetal notes in the flavor.  Personally, I favored the melomel he made by incorporating red currants into the honey, but it was a worthy sip. 

 

There are a few trees near my house that produce a ridiculous amount of crab-apples every autumn-- I've been trying to convince him that a crab-apple cyser would be a worthwhile project.

 

(For my part, as soon as somebody starts to mention sterilization procedures, I remember that there is perfectly good booze for sale at reasonable prices just a few blocks away from my house.)

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First of all, I agree about the cyser. I've got the same thing going on with my brother in law. I'm hoping to get that done at the end of summer.

 

However to the point about beer and wine at the grocery, liquor store, or winery... it isn't that booze can't readily be found where I live. I'm using scotch in an airlock for mead I'm brewing. The point of brewing your own mead and beer is the same point of working on your own car or building your own computer. It's the feeling that you did it yourself. Yeah, I rely on manufactured stuff, so I don't pretend that I'm going to survive the zombie (or Hillump) apocalypse because I like to brew at home. I get satisfaction from it, though.

 

To be sure, the sanitation is a pain, but I actually don't find it any more burdensome than standing in front of a hot stove for one to two hours boiling water, steeping gran, and boiling malt extract. Moving 120 ounces of blueberries from where it's been soaking in the must into the bottle neck of a 5 gallon carboy is a lot messier and a pain than sanitation.

 

Look, Mr. Enoch, I'm not saying you don't have a point. You might have neither the time nor the inclination to homebrew, which is fine because you've got a buddy who likes to homebrew and you can enjoy one of his creations with him. He does what he does and I suspect that you have things you do that are closer to your heart and you enjoy. If I ever got to the point where the brewing was more of a chore than fun, I'd stop doing it, but I have to tell you, I've never opened a store bought bottle of beer or wine and had the satisfaction I felt on the day I tried the first beer I'd brewed and realized that it was actually good. Even now, with all of my super young bottles of beer and mead at home, I have to fight off the urge not to drink them even when I have other stuff in the house.

 

That and, while I might not be the zombie apocalypse survivor I'd like to be, the things I do as hobbies certainly would be useful in the end times. Hell, the Scorpions catch me outside of New Vegas and I'll at least be able to barter for my life what with fixing broken down crap and brewing stuff and whatnot.

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I've found the sterilisation process to be fine. When the costs of home brewing are less than a fifth of buying in I don't mind spending 10 minutes cleaning when it can usually be done in some dead time anyway. I'm lucky though, I have a laundry/ unused bathroom attached to the kitchen so there's plenty of space plus a nice big shower basin I can stick pretty much everything in and which makes clean up very easy- plus the temperature there is nearly constant all day and whatever the weather.

 

I don't have a cider recipe at the moment, it will be the first time I've made it and it won't be for a few months since I'm southern hemisphere and it's mid winter here. The freezer is currently half full of seasonal apples and pears for doing some small batches/ test runs in probably October. We don't really get much in the way of proper cider apples or pears here so I'm relying on sourish commercial varieties like Granny Smith and Braeburn. I also have a couple of Bramley trees that will hopefully produce enough for both some apple sauce and some cider but that will be even later, probably February.

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I don't have a cider recipe at the moment, it will be the first time I've made it and it won't be for a few months since I'm southern hemisphere and it's mid winter here.

No pressure, bud. I always like to see/hear about new brews. Not as much as I like to taste/imbibe them, but ya gotta be realistic.

 

Usually mead doesn't go quite so gonzo on the foam, but between the blueberries and the yeast nutrient, the latest batch has gone crazy.

 

For the beer, I need to get more malt extract. I'd thought I was getting traditional dark when I ordered the liquid extract and it's rye. I just don't have the stones to make a beer with 100% rye extract. I mean, I have the grain to steep also, so it might not be too much, but I think it'd be way too extreme. I might order more today or stop by the MoreBeer store this weekend if I get the chance. I need to get the beer fermenting soon so I can rack it and have the carboy ready to use as a secondary fermenter. This is the part I don't like. I enjoy the brewing part and bottling is fun if a lot of work. ...And I love the drinking part. Siphoning into secondary fermenters can be a pain, though.

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Okay, I've been treating the forum a little too much like my personal brewing blog, which is probably not good. So, before I sign off on the brewing thread, I thought I'd share a couple more pics. One for Hurlshot, the rat bastard. You shamed me into buying the good honey. 32 bucks for a 6 pound bag! Never know, might be worth it. Next, I made a batch of beer and took a sip of it. Good God, it about knocked me on my ass. Waaaaaay too heavy. When I was at the brew shop for the honey, I picked up some pale malt extract and did about a two to one mix of pale to rye brew with dark malted grains. Steeped the grains for a half hour at 160 degrees and then added the extract and brought it to a boil for an hour. Used NZ cascade hops. I think the full ounce was probably a mistake, but this was already going to be a gutsy brew. I guess I'll taste how it turns out at the end of next month.

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Thanks for the good times! I'll pour out a little beer for you as libation!*


*Into my glass, but I'll pour it!


 

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  • 3 years later...

Hmmm, apparently there was a benevolent god of shepherds here at one point.  Well, whatever.   It turns out that *I* like brewing also.  I went up the mountain to get a couple of gallons of early season cider, pasteurized but no potassium sorbate or other preservatives.  Next week, I'm going to make a gallon of cyser and a gallon of hard cider.  I think I'll keep it simple.  non boil:

2-3 pounds honey

1 gallon cider

WhiteLabs WLP002 yeast

20 grams of FermaidK (divided)

45 grams of potassium carbonate (divided)

30 grams diammonium phosphate

No boil and no special yeast prep.  Dump everything in (except for the divided portions, of course).  I'll ferment for about a month and then see what I want to do.  Probably more than sweet enough with that much honey because I doubt the yeast can convert all of it.  Dunno.  Anyhow, let it age for about a year and a half or two years.  Then it's apple time.

The cider probably doesn't need yeast nutrient and the extra stuff.  I have enough of the yeasties to split between both gallons, so I imagine I'll turn the small fridge to ~50-54F and let it ferment nice and slow.  Might be tough with that strain of yeast, though, so maybe low 70s?  Anyhow, excited to get some fresh cider.  Used to use fresh, but it's so much more time consuming and the tannins and astringents make more fine tuning, which I don't have time to do right now.

The woodwork beckons.

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