Monday, February 7, 2011

Mr. Wine II

I wanted to start a raspberry melomel today, but then realised I don't have any more small fermenters that have a wide enough opening for a straining bag. Darn it. I have been looking on Craigslist and Freecycle for an unwanted Mr. Beer but no luck yet.

This morning I was sifting through the junk mail, tossing things into the recycling, when I happened upon a coupon for Cost Plus World Market. My favorite! $10 off your $30 purchase. Hmmmmm...I wonder if they have any wine racks? I hurried on over there and, sure enough, they had a 20 bottle stacking wine rack in pine. The price? $34.99. I used my coupon and got it for $24.99 plus tax. Next time I get a coupon I'll pick up another.

After I dropped it off at home it was time to head in the opposite direction, to K-Mart, to pick up a couple of curtain rods and 4 shower curtain liners. I want 2 liners for each bathroom so when they need washing I can just hang up the second set. K-Mart had the rods, for $1.99 a set. But they had absolutely NO shower curtain liners. Are you kidding me? None? Nope. So I went next door to BigLots and got 2 each in cream and white. $2 per plus tax. While in that area I couldn't resist checking out the local thrift store, Thrift City. This is not the nicest or cleanest thrift shop. Kind of dicey. But I did manage to find a few bargains. And everything there was half off the sticker price. I found a cute sweater for Reggie for $1.50, 10 cotton appliance covers for $5, curtains for my bathroom for $2.50, a woven cotton throw rug for $1. Then, as I was wandering the aisles, I spotted it. Is that....A MR. BEER???? Sure was. For $1.50. Woot!!! And then, at the other end of the store, 8 Mr. Beer plastic bottles! At $.40 each. That means I grabbed all the important parts of a Deluxe Mr. Beer Kit for under $5. When I got it home I discovered that the tap on it has a leak, but I will just plug it with a rubber stopper as shown in the picture.

I now possess 16 of those plastic bottles. I don't want to put beer in them, but they are awesome for making sparkling hard cider and other quick, fruity summer beverages. You add sugar when you bottle and let it carbonate until you can no longer squeeze the bottle. That's how you know it's ready. Then you just pop it into the refrigerator to halt the carbonation. And you have a nice, cold, fizzy, alcoholic drink. I plan on putting them to work this summer.

This afternoon it was time to pitch the yeast into the strawberry rhubarb wine. I like to give the liquid a good stirring to get it oxygenated then just sprinkle the yeast on top. I store my bulk wine yeast in the freezer and by sprinkling it I let it take it's time getting used to the temperature. As it soaks up the liquid it adapts slowly.

I made this little fermenter out of a bucket that held some sort of grain. I had the husbeast drill a hole in the lid so I could fit it with a bubbler and I also made 1 and 2 gallon marks on the side with a magic marker.

Today was baking day and the husbeast suggested I grind some of that spent grain I dried, and add it to the bread. Sure, why not? Here is our grain mill. It's attached to a big, heavy old computer desk that we have in the brewing room.

Here is the dried grain in the hopper.

And here is the finished flour. I wanted it rather coarse so my bread can have some texture.

I plan to add 2 cups of this flour along with 12 cups of regular unbleached flour. That will make 4 loaves. Here's hoping they're GOOD loaves this time.

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