Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Foraging for Alcohol II

So, today has been a bit over a week since we macerated our wonderful local crabapples, inoculated them with yeast, and set them to ferment.
Ladling the must into a cloth lined strainer, all disinfected of course.
Today we strained and squeezed the fluid out of the must.

Having fermented for over a week, the must surrenders it's liquid easily.
WOW is this yeasty, but the resultant golden liquid has a wonderful flavor, and was utterly dry.  I, of course, don't have any way to meter the alcohol content, but by the taste it's over 10%, with no off flavors.

So we squeezed the liquid out of the must, then re-strained it through a clean cloth and added a cup of brown sugar.  Now it's back to the bucket and the fermentation lock for another week, and then to bottle.

Stay tuned :)


Monday, November 23, 2015

Or: Why I built the stairs. . . .

Yep, our top rail is a foot below the dock.

This would be more like a normal low tide in Fall.
If there's any proof that winter is finally here, it's the return of extreme low tides.  This year, we're ready.  Today on the low tide, with a couple of days of strong north wind, we're sitting with the top of our rail well below the dock (on a normal day between tides, it would be three feet above).  Even with this, with our new steps, it's no hassle to get off.

Occasionally I win one :)


Sunday, November 22, 2015

Republic Wireless Followup

Well, we've now completed our second month with the Republic Wireless system, and I'm pleased to report that we're still pretty pleased.
The Republic Wireless Moto E2 is even great for running apps
from our favorite radio station.
My second month's bill rebated me $6.50 on my data usage, which made my monthly bill something like $12 for unlimited service, calls, text, and data.  Not too shabby.  Call quality is just fine, and the Moto phone seems solidly made and is thus far running all the apps we wish to use flawlessly.

We may have a winner here folks.


Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dead Fish, and eventually, possibly us. . .

yep. . . dead
This is a dead fish, one of hundreds of thousands in the Middle River this week.  At low tide, the bottom is virtually paved with them.

According to DNR, they died from a toxic algae bloom in the river.

The toxic algae bloom was likely caused partly by runoff into the river containing an excess of nitrogen and phosphates.

Our new "business friendly" state government has, of course, taken steps to remove the Impervious Surfaces Abatement tax, designed to make those who pollute like this pay for the damage (and rebranded the "rain tax" by wealthy business interests and their shills) and to shift the costs of abatement to the general taxpayer.

Meanwhile the Bay continues its slow decline.

You gotta love our "business friendly" politicians. . . .

Actually, no I don't.  I don't have to love them at all.


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Foraging for Alcohol

Or: Mungo and Morgainne make Cider.  This was prompted by one of our earlier posts on having located a wonderful old crab apple tree on the marina property.  So the other day, we sallied forth and collected as many of the little lovelies as we could.

A Crabapple is basically any apple under 3"

Just pull a branch and you get rained on by fruit when they're ripe.

These are really tasty ones.

We collected a full bucket of them, shaking the tree, getting rained on by ripe fruit, eating as many as we collected.  Crab apples are a wonderful, very tart fruit, full of flavor.

We washed the fruit, picking out the bad ones and leaves, then rinsed them in water with a bit of bleach to kill wild yeasts, then rinsed again.

We cleaned the fruit in water with a bit of bleach as we're not relying on wild yeast.
Then we pulped the fruit with a bit of filtered water and a stick blender.  At this point we also threw in a handful of raisins as additional food for the yeast.

Pulping with a stick blender

Lalvin K1-V116 wine yeast, mixed with a bit of room temperature water.

After pulping the fruit with a little water to render it soupy, we added activated wine yeast and pulped the whole mass to aerate and to mix in the yeast thoroughly.

Here's the pulped apples and yeast mixture, ready for the lid.

Sterilized bucket full of the must and yeast, complete with air lock.
Now we ignore it for a week for the first round of fermentation.  Stay tuned.