Saturday, January 2, 2010

Welcome Home (Yeastitarium)

Just back from our all too brief, and nearly fruitless expedition to the coast to dig clams, the hubby and I find ourselves scrambling to catch up on all of those little projects and chores which have fallen by the wayside during the holidays. Always first on Billy's list, his beer.

Here we have a montage of Bill's brewing efforts to date, minus the ill-fated brown ale.

L to R - 5 gallons "Amber Honey Lager", 1 gallon "Imperial Stout", 1 gallon "Blueberry Honey Ale"

Bill is bottling all 5 gallons of the Amber Honey Lager tonight. Good thing we've been saving our beer bottles and mooching would-be recycled glass vessels from our friends too, because this batch will yield approximately 4 cases of beer, aka 48 bottles of bubbly happiness.

Besides the beerfest, we've also got a few wines still going. The 5 gallons of grape wine (we're not sure of the variety, but are assuming it's something in the vein of "Concord") made from our own homegrown grapes, is about 3 months old now. Taste-wise, it is still in the "hooch" phase, as in, technically alcoholic, but not exactly pleasant to drink. From what I've read about concord grape wine, it takes at least a year to be decent, and is actually quite respectable by two years old. We'll see...

We've also got one gallon of blackberry wine working and whoa nelly is that stuff strong! Like strip the paint off your walls strong. I'm not sure if that one is going to ever be potable or if it's headed toward vinegar or maybe cooking wine.

We bottled the rhubarb and cherry wines a few months back and have been drinking them and sharing them with friends. They are pretty darn good, in my biased and inexpert opinion, especially the rhubarb, which is essentially a dessert wine. We'll be sure to make more of that next year, since we have a HUGE rhubarb plant that provides us with more fruit than we've ever known what to do with.

Besides all of the alcohol, we have the ever-present Amish bread starter on the counter, fermenting away. I popped the lid off this afternoon to give it a stir and accidentally inhaled a bit of the escaping gasses. My head swam! And I feed this stuff to my kids?

The end result of this ferment-a-thon (besides the smell of hops, malt & yeast snaking their way through the main floor of our house) is tasty organic wines & beers that cost just pennies per serving and come in wild and crazy flavors that you probably couldn't find anywhere else. We have really enjoyed this home brewing experiment and look forward to spring and summer, and turning all of the fruits & flowers that we can lay our hands on into still more tasty beverages. We're thinking of attempting to add mead or melomel to our repertoire next. YUM.

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