Thursday, 28 June 2012

Le Brassage

With the advent of warmer weather, comes the start of brewing season. 

Unfortunately, it is far too cold to brew beer in winter without heating equipment and a lot of palaver.  So, it is solely a warm weather occupation chez nous.

So far I have 2 different beers brewed.  The first (pictured) is a bitter, and the second is a Scottish heavy ( a dark beer).

I enjoy the chemistry of beer brewing.  Knowing how much sugar and yeast to add and how long to leave before bottling, and then again before drinking to obtain the optimum flavour and alcohol content.

Wayne has enjoyed drinking all the commercial beers to obtain sufficient bottles for my home brew..... 'nuff said about that.

Our french neighbours have been fascinated that I brew, and I have had to allow them to assist in the brassage.  Fun and nice to have someone to chat with while I work, but not easy as it is really a one persong operation.  Mind you - no one seems to be around when it is time to scrub out all the bottles and sterilise them..... hmmm.  No matter. 

The fact that it is so easy to do and with such pleasure at the end, means that they all want to start brewing their own beers.  Our only problem is that the equipment is almost impossible to buy in France.  Slight hitch in the plans.  I have found a brew shop in the UK who will post orders across - for a large fee, so that is what we are going to do.  If we all club together and place one order, then we can split the delivery price and it is affordable.

My first batch was the bitter, and it has turned out to be a lovely summer beer.  Light and fresh, perfect for l'heure d'apero with all the neighbours.  The second batch will be ready in a week and I am keen to try it and see how it turned out.  Not my taste normally, but the boys all asked for a dark beer, and who am I to say no.

Speaking of brewing...... I put up 8litres of elderflower champagne this season also.  Well, I made 8 litres, but we only have 3 litres left to drink.

One of the problems with making fizzy drinks is that they tend to explode... and when they go, they go with a bang!

First 4 litres wound up all over the kitchen floor.  A sticky, intoxicating mess that took hours to clean up and resulted in an improptue scrubbing of the kitchen floor mats.  Mind you the heady floral scent of the booze was very pleasant and the kitchen smells delicious.

Another litre  decided to abandon itself to the heavens after we moved the bottles to the cave.  So now our cave and garage smell like elderflowers and alcohol also.  Oh well.  Have since degassed the remaining bottles and we plan on drinking it as soon as possible!!!

Gratuitous cat photo, just because it has been a while...  Eric is now becoming a lap cat!  Finally our baby is maturing into a lovely sooky boy