homemade whisk(e)y

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 © Bell’s Whisky

[UPDATE] According to a new law as of 1/1/18, it’s not legal in Germany :(

A friend planted the idea in my head (right before we watched Inception together, coincidentally) that the ingredients for whisky are similar to beer – same minus hops. An evening of googling later and I’m convinced I can manage to make homemade whisky. I found out that it is…

  • Legal: It’s legal in Germany up to 500 mL
  • Safe: Home distilled liquor (commonly known as moonshine) is correctly infamous for making you go blind. This is due to methanol, which is poisonous. Methanol is produced from yeast fermentation of pectin, which is found in fruits. However, whisky is made from grains and, like beer, produces little to no methanol.
  • Easy: Freeze distillation is the same process used to make Eisbock, where the temperature of the wash (the whisky word for wort) is lowered until the water turns into a solid and can be scooped out. No need to mess around with vapours.
  • Cheap: No need to buy a still (the pipe thing you’d need to channel alcohol vapours up and get them to condense) because of freeze distillation. No need to buy an oak cask (pointless anyway at this tiny volume); can replicate effect with oak chips.

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beer oscars 2017

Braumanufaktur-Stange_BraumWhat were your favourite beers of yesteryear? Here’s a totally arbitrary list I spent the better half of December agonising over of fermented malt beverages I enjoyed (and didn’t) – drumroll please…

Best overall: Potsdamer Stange
Like a creamy breakfast cereal smoothie, this part-wheat organic Zwickel/Kellerbier was unlike any beer I’d hadRead More »

em-beer-rassing blind taste test

UFO: Unidentifiable Fillable Objects

I think I failed my first blind beer taste test. The homemade set-up was as follows:

10 in total – 6 pilsners (Rostocker; M&O; Beck’s; Jever; Clausthalle alcohol-free; Oettinger Export), 2 dark lagers (Störtebeker; Köstritzer), 2 red/brown ales (Duckstein; Kilkenny) – from refrigerated bottles poured into numbered clear plastic cups.Each team was given a page with the beer labels and had to identify the contents of each cup.Read More »

the rise and fall of dough: some questions

Delicious, but I would like a more open crumb
  • My problem with freestyling bread-baking is not knowing exactly when to start baking. Has the dough risen to its full extent yet? Will it still rise? Or will it start falling in the next minute? Is there a better approach than just eyeballing it and hoping for the best? Is this why people follow recipes??
  • Why on earth is autolyse – mixing flour and water together and letting it sit a while before adding yeast and salt – called autolyse when it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with autolysis, the biological process of self-digestion? I came across the term autolysis during beer brewing – it’s when living yeast in the wort/beer feeds on dead yeast, which sounds as disgusting as it’s supposed to smell.

 

bread bared

I’m flattered when friends ask about my bread-baking process. What I lack in skill I make up for in fearlessness as I bumble along according to a rudimentary understanding of food biochemistry and a principle of effort minimalisation. There are, of course, countless different ways to bake; here are some notes from my experience:

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all my breads – by king arthur, miller

soft, gentle, shy
the grey pastel
of the hour before daybreak –
rye.
colour creeps in
a quiet blue tint
so faint, it apologised.
its strength holds up half my starter
equals with wheat
but it soon drowns
in a tide of teig
of louder flours.
having bloomed, now fades
as the backdrop, unseen
as the foundation of
all my breads
since last july.