Thursday, September 2, 2021
Brewed on 5.June, this Munich malt and Cellar Science "Nectar" yeast brought a very unique and pleasant flavor to this beer. It came out at 7.0% abv, and is labeled to welcome pollinators back to the garden.
This lady is a Yellowjacket, a species that was prevalent in the garden this season. My Apricot tree served as host to an invasion of Aphids, which our Ladybug and Trichogramma Wasp communities are here to control. This year, the Aphid invasion was particularly strong, and the Yellowjackets, an omnivorous bee, consumed both flower nectar and Aphids, voraciously.
I was never stung by the Yellowjackets in my garden, but one bicycle ride to the post office swept a traveling bee into my shirt collar, and waited until we were in front of our po box, before she decided to reveal her presence by stinging me several times, while I peeled off my shirt and she fell to the floor. The stings weren't too bad, and were gone after a day. It is true, that the Yellowjackets are having a boom year here. Mother Nature put out the Aphid boom, and it was answered immediately by the predators.
This is the second season using "au natural" fermentation, this time with ice apples. I learned this technique from an 1872 article in Atlantic Magazine by Henry David Thoreau, titled "Wild Apples".
Thoreau described methods the western homesteaders were using to make alcohol from apples. I did take it a bit to extreme with the frozen apples, but it has turned out to be my best "fizzy hard cider" yet.
There are a few old trees I have access to, that hold onto most of their apples until after the leaves have fallen, then we wait until the fruit has frozen and thawed a few times, before shaking them off the trees onto tarps below on a cold morning - easy peasy. By the time we have the apples back to the press, they are nearly thawed, and we proceed to press them whole - no need to run them through the crusher. They give up the sweetest cider of the season, and I ferment the cider straight from the press into a carboy - no boiling, no yeast, just like old times. The natural yeast in the skin of the apples does the job, and when finished, I bottle it with some added sugar, so it carbonates in the bottle for a nice bubbly hard cider.
Monday, January 25, 2021
I chose the photo of California hillsides on fire, off the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge, to remind us that our activities are causing climate extremes, including wildfires across the west every summer.
Perhaps I should be making my "climate warning" label with a picture of Chinese or Dutch people riding bicycles?
Shine On Conservation!
This Extra Special Bitter Ale was brewed with a medium dark "Crystal 150L" malt, Helga and Cascade pellet hops, and fermented with Safale K-97 Dry Ale Yeast. The label celebrates our Superheroes, the Medical Professionals who have literally carried us as we battle the COVID pandemic.
A Toast to our SuperHeroes!