Fraser Millings

Wassail Your Ale: Brewing a Holiday Beer

Posted by Tim Vandergrift on

We pretty much feel the same way, Ebenezer We know, we know: way too early to be talking about the holiday season. We'd rather face the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come than think about what's barreling towards us, with parties, dinners, ugly sweaters, shopping, relatives, woof! But it's not too soon to think about brewing your holiday beer! We love to have a mildly spicy, nicely malty ale on tap to chase away the chill and to welcome friends and family (or to make them seem more fun).  Heavenly The secret to a satisfying holiday beer is to add...

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Making Mad Mead Part Three: The Meadening Continues

Posted by Tim Vandergrift on

When We Last Left the Barkshack Gingermead it was fermenting strongly, fizzing away for five days. When the vigorous fermentation dropped off, we took a specific gravity reading.   Looks done to us!  The reading went from 1.044 to 0.994, indicating complete dryness and an alcohol by volume of around 6.5%. That was a little more than expected: the Saison yeast is very thorough!   Upsy-downsy  The colour is great, and the aroma is fantastic, but the flavour is dry. It isn’t overly acidic, and the tannins derived from the raspberry seeds aren’t overwhelming (on the contrary, they're  like a backbone...

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Making Mad Mead Part Two: Honey, I’m Home

Posted by Tim Vandergrift on

Honey Costco sells buckets of honey quite cheaply, but you can do better than mass-market stuff. Apiarists told us that the BCB Honey Farm was run by fanatics who took honey extremely seriously, to the point of treating it like a sacrament and a medicine as opposed to a foodstuff. That might sound like an exaggeration, but it turns out to be the truth: Dr. Iman Tabari came to Canada to produce medicinal honey and help reverse the decline of honey bees. Entering his shop you get a lecture on how most honey is not worth the money, how his...

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Makin' Mad Mead (Part One)

Posted by Tim Vandergrift on

What is Mead? Mead is a fermented beverage made from  honey.  In its most basic form it’s just honey diluted with water, with yeast to convert the sugars to alcohol. It’s a very old beverage. Archaeometric evidence suggests that it might be the earliest fermented beverage. Mmm, sanitary!  Mead has a big share of historical imagination about beverages. The saga of Beowulf features mead and when Vikings died honourably in battle they were thought to wake up in a great mead hall (the mead came from the udder of a goat . . .) In addition, ‘honeymoon’ describes a gift of mead that newlyweds...

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Burn Baby Burn

Posted by Tim Vandergrift on

Propane burners are excellent for heating hot liquor (brewing water) or boiling wort. They vary by model, but run between 30,0000 and 140,000 BTU's. To put this into perspective, your stovetop burners at home run about 7,000 BTU's--and take forever to boil 25 litres of water. A propane unit in tiptop shape can boil 25 litres in under 15 minutes, making your brew day far more efficient. Of course when you're burning that much propane, that fast, you need to make sure you've got good ventilation and that the burner is in an area where a very hot, open flame isn't going to...

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