Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cheap booze ftw

I just finished the last of my hard cider. It turned out really good. It tasted like sour apple juice. There was very little alcohol smell and little to no alcohol flavor. The second batch was slightly better than the first batch. The only thing that I did differently to the second batch was added a cup of dissolved sugar and champagne yeast rather than white wine yeast. I'll be this again. I really like those 1 gallon jugs, too. They're great for making small batches of wild wine. They're also nice to have around just in case the batch of whatever you're making ends up being too big for your fermenter.

I also kegged my beer. This was my first attempt at kegging. I've had a cornelius keg in the garage for the last year or so. I finally decided to clean it out and try using it. When I went to put the fittings on, though, they didn't match up. Apparently there are two types of cornelius kegs. The ball lock keg is much more popular and easier to work with. That's probably why I ended up with ball lock fittings. I just walked into a homebrew store (not Do Your Brew) and told them that I needed to fit a cornelius keg. They sold me the ball lock fittings no questions asked. Naturally, the keg I had turned out to be a pin lock keg. So off to Do Your Brew I went to rectify the situation. I picked up what I needed and then stopped by my brother's to jack the 20 pound CO2 bottle and regulator that he's had sitting in his basement for years. This was the expensive part that kept me from kegging for so long. He finally decided that he wasn't going to use it again so he let me borrow it indefinitely. So now I have a 5 gallon keg of beer cooking in the basement. I'll report on the results in a few days when it's done carbonating.

A few days ago I also managed to score a 6 gallon bucket of wine juice for free. Apparently, it had been lost in a warehouse for 6 months. I offered to take it since it was "probably bad". The wild yeasts did their job on that bucket I must say. It already tasted like wine as soon as I popped the lid. Just for good measure I went ahead and pitched some dry red wine yeast and transferred it to a carboy. There was still another gallon or so which I transferred to one of my one gallon jugs. I have tasted it and it is good. It's just a little cloudy. Once the big batch clarifies it will be really really good. I'll probably wait a few months to bottle it.

In a few weeks I'll finally be able to try brewing my first batch of all grain beer. I've got 100 pounds of malted barley on the way. I've also got most of the equipment needed. I'll probably have to use two kettles, though. I won't have a kettle big enough to do 10 gallons at a time ready to go by then. Oh well. By this time next year I should be setup to do 10 gallon batches all day long, have the grain needed to keep them running and the hops for them growing in the back yard. We'll see how it all works out. At least I'll have good beer to drink if TSHTF. I just need to get a lot more propane....


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update U.S. It sounds like you have a lot of cider. Have you ever tried making Apple Jack? Freezing the cider is supposed to concentrate the alcohol. I have never tried it, so I would be interested in the experiment.

The Urban Survivalist said...

Freezing is a technique you can use for distilling alcohol. All you need is a freezer. I've looked into it but I've never tried it. When I decide to give it a shot I'll make a post about it.