Thursday, January 13, 2011

Booze News, Winter 2011

As with many things, the passing of time since my last wine/beer post had escaped my notice, until today. I'd like to catch everybody up on what's brewing in the Hollow, so here is the rundown of what we've got working right now -

*2 Gallons of Rhubarb Wine (everyone's favorite) started on 10/31/10 -

Egads! The flash really highlights the lees. Time to rack these puppies!

*1 Gallon of Rose Hip Wine, started 2/13/10 -

I think we'll do one more racking, then bottle this, as it it nearing it's first birthday. ;)

*3 Gallons of Fuji Apple cider, started on 11/21/10 -

We had to juice something like 70 pounds of apples to get 3 gallons of juice. I'm not even kidding. We're calling this batch "my" batch, because I asserted dominion over it when I decided to use organic maple syrup for the sugar instead of regular ol' sugar. We've had small samples now and again, and I feel like this is turning out to be our best batch of cider so far.

*1 Gallon of Spiced Gala Apple cider, started on 11/21/10 -

This too was part of apple-a-thon twenty-ten. 20-25lbs of apples were required to make this gallon of cider. The apples were grown by my husband's friend, and were so beautiful that it was almost a shame to juice them! Bill added a few tablespoons of Trader Joe's mulling spices to this batch, just to try it. We haven't tasted this one yet, but it smells good!

*5 Gallons of Pilsner, dubbed "The Billsner", started on 10/30/10
No pictures for you! Actually, this has already been bottled and is now carbonating, so there's really not much to see.

*5 Gallons of "Bill's Best Bitter" (beer), started on 11/27/10 -
Again, no pictures. You didn't really expect beer to just hang around here, waiting for it's picture to be taken, did you? Actually Bill has bottled this Bitter and very generously gifted much of it to his friends and set the rest of it aside to finish carbonating.

The dandelion wine has been "sampled" here and there, and is probably our best wine yet in terms of body, flavor, the whole nine yards. Our grape wine is getting better with age too. It's not yet anything to write home about, but it's definitely a drinkable rosé for the unfussy palate.

For those of you interested in the recipes used to make these wines and beers - I intend to post them. I only hesitate because it takes a good year (sometimes more) from the time I start one of these batches until I can taste them properly and report on their quality. I don't want to pass on a bum recipe, and I'm always tweaking, so when I finally write the recipe up here, I'll include all of my hacks and suggestions and an honest review of whether or not any given brew is worth the trouble.

In the mean time, we'll continue juicing, brewing and bottling like fiends. Tipsy, cheerful fiends. Sláinte!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Turning this Day Around

After the horrible start to our morning, I caved in and let the girls stay home from school. Scarlet said that she didn't want to cry in class, and Liv is always up for playing hooky, so we were planning to snuggle up together and ride out this rotten day in our pj's.

But then I had a thought. What if we did something kind for someone who needed it, to lend this grim day a spark of hope? The girls and I discussed what we could do, and we settled on buying some warm clothes to take to our local clothing bank at St. Michaels. We also bought some hi-cal snack foods to bring to our county food bank.

Our thinking was that, if we had anything to say about it, no other being would suffer on account of this cold snap. And so, we memorialize our lost babies with fleece jackets and granola bars, and hopefully bring a little much needed peace to our grieving hearts.

Another Blow

Our babies bunnies didn't make it. We had a very hard freeze last night, and I guess the nest that Cinderella had made for the babes just wasn't enough to keep out the cold. Poor sweet things. The girls are reeling.