3 September 2006

Mead #3: Orange Blossom

Posted in we are drinking beer at noon on tuesday at 4:57 pm by indecisive79

So I’m a month late for this. The official national day to make mead is the first Saturday of August. Well, I started last night with the starter, so I’m exactly a month (well, a non-leap year February) late. I’ve meant to make mead for quite awhile. I tried a very half-hearted attempt to make some a few years ago (using Sourwood honey from the Smoky Mountains which I bought while waiting for my mom’s car’s breaks to stop smoking (I’m pretty sure it wasn’t something like this that gave the mountains their name)), but that failed miserably; I also tried to dry out some mead that someone gave me several months before that (fermentation had stalled while it was still way too sweet, and he was moving away and didn’t want it so he gave it to me to see if I could save it), which also didn’t quite work out either; those of you who go way back may remember that this was the glass bottle that was sitting in the corner when I was hosting small group. So I consider this my first real honest attempt at making a mead (even though I’m numbering it “3”). I’ll probably split the mead into multiple kinds after a couple weeks worth of fermentation to experiment with different ways of spicing (or not) the mead. If you want a brief but photographically illustrated lesson on how to make mead (it’s terribly simple), check out a friend’s recent brew.
Also, this is my first time using a starter while brewing, following hot on the trail of the first time I’d used a starter to make bread (kalamata and sun-/oven-dried tomato ciabatta) last week.

It’s also occurred to me that I’ve had a number of alcohol-related posts recently; I swear that’s not all I think about, and I’ll get to other stuff later.

————

Orange Blossom Mead

Starter:

Red Star Premiere Cuvee yeast

1/4 tsp yeast nutrient

1/4 tsp yeast energizer

1/4 cup Campbell Apiaries orange blossom honey

about a cup of water

Mead:

Starter

2 tsp yeast nutrient

2 tsp yeast energizer

~10.5 lb Campbell Apiaries orange blossom honey

about 4 gallons of water or so (enough to reach the desired gravity)

Info for brewing geeks like me:

Made starter @ 4:00 p.m. on 2 Sept, made mead @ 3:30 p.m. on 3 Sept.

original specific gravity (SG) = 1.080

expected final SG = 0.992 (if this yeast behaves like it has in my wines)

expected alcohol content (by volume) = 11.6%

29 August 2006

!!!!!!!

Posted in children hug his neck unaware of their inheritance, people you've been before... at 1:43 am by indecisive79

So I thought this was really bad.  But then I saw this.  Judging from the site, the latter might be a bit self-critical, but still!

27 August 2006

I suppose I can make it a Blue Christmas

Posted in we are drinking beer at noon on tuesday at 6:18 pm by indecisive79

Take two for last evening, based on a recipe found here. My favorite fruit and my favorite spice, with cloves thrown in for good measure.

Blueberry Cordial

1 cup water

1.5 cups sugar

~14 oz. blueberries

~3/4 tsp whole cloves

~3/4 tsp whole coriander seed

2 cups unfiltered McCormick vodka

Heat sugar and water to boiling, then cool. Put blueberries through food processor. Combine all ingredients in a bottle and then shake (the bottle). Put bottle in a cool dark corner for several months.

26 August 2006

I just made Christmas

Posted in we are drinking beer at noon on tuesday at 9:45 pm by indecisive79

I’ve been meaning to do it for awhile, since the season is fast approaching, so I decided to make Christmas today. The recipe is below. Christmas is best if it is aged for about four months, so apparently a mature Christmas will actually arrive one day late this year (unless I’m impatient, which I likely will be). After I had begun, I realized I needed an orange and that I had only half the necessary vodka. I went to the local drug store for vodka, and while I was there, I realized I was part of the Saturday night liquor rush. However, I’m fairly certain that I’m the only person buying liquor there tonight who wasn’t actually planning to drink it for four months. You’ll notice that the new vodka in the recipe is unfiltered. My Brita is on the fritz, so I wasn’t able to filter the new vodka; I’m hoping that it doesn’t hurt the final product too much.

In other news, I talked to a guy from an apiary today, so I may be able to start a mead soon.

———

Christmas #5

1 cup water

1.5 cups sugar

12 oz bag of cranberries

4 cinnamon sticks

allspice berries

cloves

7 cardamom pods

grated ginger and nutmeg

peel of organic valencia orange, 2/3 microplaned, 1/3 peeled

~1.2 cups filtered Bunett’s vodka

~1 cup non-filtered McCormick Vodka

Make syrup with sugar and water, bringing to a boil and then cooling. Run cranberries through a food processor. Put all ingredients in a bottle, shake, and let sit in a dark corner for several months.

16 August 2006

hit and run communication #1

Posted in words of wisdom I've picked up along the way at 6:27 pm by indecisive79

Written on a desk in the local engineering library: “I hate this Game, but I can’t push the reset button”

Sounds like this person is in grad school…

10 August 2006

Fun with Calvinism and other oxymorons

Posted in God's music should be divine at 5:57 pm by indecisive79

I found a post on badchristian.com that got me to thinking about how we can educate the young of our church in vital aspects of theology that have heretofore been quite ignored: let’s name our concerts after key ideas from the history of theology.  Here’s the main idea that I started in the comments at Brandon’s page, in response to a youtube clip of very excited Christian Rock concert-goers:

Not knowing the band in the video, I first thought they were named Limited (from the lights in the back of the stage). But there are two bands, so I assume that it’s the name of the concert. Regardless, I was hoping that this was a reference to the middle (and most unfortunate (largely b/c it was heavily indebted to nascent capitalism instead of, you know, the Bible)) consonant of TULIP. Wouldn’t it be great to do a separate festival/concert based on all of TULIP. Perseverance would, of course, last forever (or at least feel like it). Irresistable would feature only hot young artists which nevertheless the young lads and lasses will avoid lusting over. Unconditional lets any band who wants to take the stage, talent completely optional. Limited, I presume, refers to the very limited audiences who might find such a festival enjoyable (only certifiably saved and very committed youth group officers need apply). Oh wait! These all refer to the same concet/festival! I guess if people want an alternative, they can go to Total Depravity, also known as MTV Spring Break, or maybe even Cornerstone.  Who knew that you could actually have so much fun with Calvinism!

But imagine the possibilities for even non-Reformed based concerts.  You could have the Free Will concert (everyone dressing up like Shakespeare or a large whale or a 70s San Diegan news caster gets in for no charge).  Or how about the rival shows, Mid- or Post-Trib? You Make the Call vs. the Lahaye and Jenkins formally sanctioned Left Behind (TM): the Concert.  The former would be a new band showcase in which the audience gets to choose, based on opinion of the music and theological views, whether a band gets to play three and a half or seven songs; the latter features the artists’ backup tracks blaring at 100 dB to a mostly empty auditorium, with the only people in the room being a pair of friends of an outgoing youth group member and a couple CCM executives standing just offstage.  Or how about the Extreme Literalism tour, where they throw out Iraqi children to get their brains smashed out on rocks and thrown back onto stage before the concert can begin (Psalm 137), or when they go to certain not-friendly-to-open-theology institutions of higher education in the upper Midwest, complete debachery (you know, like card playing, watching PG-13 movies, and girls wearing skirts that rise above mid-shin) breaks out for the entire concert (Amos 4.4) (needless to say, nearly all the male attendees of these concerts have only one hand and no eyes…).  Finally, the CBWM show features the nicest performers and audiences in the world; there’s not a whole lot of music going on because all of the color-coordinated and fashion-conscious individuals in the building spend all their time saying really nice things about each other, just as the Bible requires.

What’s that you say?  Such a naming scheme is completely vacuous and devoid of any actual theological content despite the claim of the label?  Umm, how’s that different from what “C””C””M” now offers?  (Talk among yourselves.  Here’s a topic: “Contemporary” “Christian” “Music” is neither…)

19 July 2006

The bride and groom were hot!

Posted in where you going with that suitcase? at 5:26 am by indecisive79

I was asked over e-mail what a recent wedding (and it’s accomanying trip) was like: here is my answer:

Short. About fifteen minutes from start to finish. It was in the middle of the New Mexican desert in July, after all. No dancing or alcohol at the reception, so that was short as well. But I did get to climb three volcanoes, almost get struck by lightning, observe a crashed plane, have the greatest spiritual experience of my (or anyone’s) life, get a scar on my forehead, get off the interstate at four consecutive exits (a personal record!), go on quite a few dates with several different people, impersonate Indiana Jones (briefly), travel nearly three miles through the air without touching either the ground or an airplane, drive/ride nearly 2600 miles in five days, and successfully avoid seeing Ramona naked, all for less than $200, so I’d say it was quite a good trip.

Oh, and I also got a chance to eat New Mexican food three times. After all the build up that I’d been given (from the bride and groom and others) about how good it would be (compared to how utterly worthless and “Americanized” the food that we call “Mexican” in the Midwest is), I’d have to say I was quite underwhelmed. All three times.

Call me Jonah…

Posted in bein' caught in between at 1:17 am by indecisive79

So I finally started a blog. It’s about time. As my title suggests, I like solitude, space, and anonymity (and according to the Chinese placemat, I’m also elegant and creative, if timid; but then again, so are many of my friends). I suppose this blog is an attempt to claim some fleeting space for setting out some of my thoughts so that they aren’t lost. And yes, extra credit is awarded for those who identify the random quotes that appear throughout.

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