Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Archery Practice

When time permits we head to Fin & Feather or the Johnson County Archer's range for some practice. I can't say we've done as much of it as I would like, but we are still improving. Some of us more than others. He will be 16 on the 4th and so I decided to add both the boys to the family membership this year, just in case all my thinking the other day pans out.

He was aiming for the center of each target.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

More Brewing

We  had stalled out a little on the brewing front, because Morcant had some business trips,  but we are up and running again with a new batch of ale and our second batch of cherry mead.

As an aside one should always test the mead before you bottle it.  We rushed sampling the first batch, and it was pretty dry even for us.  We are thinking that for this batch we are going to add some more of our homemade cherry juice  and do a secondary ferment. 

This red ale is by far the prettiest color we've brewed.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Gearing up Again?

A while ago there was some hubbub about members who aren't able to get to events on some Facebook page, and it made me feel a little sad. I don’t feel like part of the group, but I do think that we are keeping up with stuff around here so that we will be able to jump in when it works for us. I focus on being happy with what we are doing instead of worrying about what we aren't doing.

 A lot of this doubles as work for me and I get to drink a lot of good booze, right?

I do feel badly that I have a perfectly good canvas tent sitting around going to waste, so on occasion we loan it out. Morcant’s back has been giving him problems this summer, so the boys helped him load it up, and one went with him to help him set it up for the bride. Watching all of that, I realized I have two pretty capable young men, so maybe we aren’t quite as incapacitated by Morgant’s travel schedule as we once were. With that in mind when I re-up our membership for the year, I think I will add the boys as family members. And maybe have some practice settings putting up the tent without Morcant.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Cherry Melomel

We wanted to start a brew with something we had grown ourselves this time, but it was a little early for our cherries.  We decided to us some cherry juice that we canned in the garden last year. So once again, we have sugar in the mix, but honestly I don't particularly mind.  The yeast we use is attenuative  sugar holds its own against the yeast a bit better than the honey.

So this has been brewing for a couple of months now and we are bottling it up.  I am sure we will cheat and drink some early.  You really can get away with drinking it as early as you like. I suggest hiding a bottle from yourself  or losing one for a year.  That mead will be so much better, it will teach you patience.  On the other hand,  I sort of enjoy ours right away.  It reminds me the really cheap, dry champagne which I love.

If this turns out well, there will be a lot of this beverage in our future, because I have a lot of cherry juice that needs to be used up.

We racked and bottled 10-22 ounce bottles of this today.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Beer, Beer, Beer... With apologies to Charlie Mopps

I haven't been doing a fantastic job of keeping up with this blog, but here are a couple of pictures of our subsequent beer projects. So far, we haven't had any problems, but we haven't gotten too adventuresome with our ingredients, yet. We have kept to buying small amounts of prepared grains and malt syrups from our local brewing shop.

Irish Stout 3/11/2017
Nut Brown Ale 2/28/2017

Saturday, February 4, 2017


Our first glass of amber ale!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Melomel Progress

We added dried currants to this for a few reasons. They add tannins and we want it to be dry. Neither one of us much care for sweet meads. They also absorb some of the carbon dioxide kind of bounce around while fermentation is happening. When it is still they rise to the top, so we know when its time to bottle it up for aging.

The melomel is clearing, nicely. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Morcant's Brewing Ale

He finally had time to get his brewing equipment organized and is starting his first batch of ale. Because I am a little nervous about the whole process, we are opting for a couple practices, like we did with the melomel, that aren't "period" like a modern airlock and we will be doing a secondary ferment, but I think most brewers in the SCA do that. I will try to remember to come back to this with the recipe he used but until then, here are some pictures, but in the meantime these are a couple of the books he's been looking at. 

Hornsey, Ian S. A History of Beer and Brewing. RSC Paperbacks. Cambridge, UK: Royal Society of Chemistry, 2003.
Unger, Richard. Beer in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004.


Sunday, January 8, 2017

Morcant's First Brewing Project

So for his first project, he decided to try his hand at a melomel made with lemonade and champagne yeast.  So this is  really somewhere between a true melomel and a Finnish sima because of the sugar in the lemonade.  I am going to try to prove that its period to mix the two ingredients, but I am guessing it will take some time.

We started this with the Red Star Premier Blanc Yeast. You can use any wine yeast for the process but we are looking for is a dry mead.  We really don't enjoy sweet wines or meads. We are bottling this in 22 ounce beer bottles, when we are done so aren't afraid of a bit of fizz.

We aren't playing at catching wild yeasts for our brews.  I have a lot of different cultures going in my house and don't want my sourdough beasties to infect our melomels, because honey is expensive. I also am going to use modern bottling practices, because we want to share our brews with friends without making them ill.  I will try to find a couple of stoneware growlers for serving, but I am a safety gal.