Dark nettle beer

Brewed another nettle beer

The nettles were boiled a week ago and I let them sit in glass bottles until today.

I heated them with ginger, mugwort, mint, spearmint and a little wormwood and tansy.

Also added a few leaves from a wattle that was sprouting in the backyard,

And then there was a few shots of vodka which had soaked about four handfuls of lavender.

I also added three star anise.

Just under three kilos of brown sugar, one box of Cooper's brewing sugar and half a jar of molasses were stirred into 25 litres in the fermenter, with a starting gravity of 10.70.

I've read that nettles taste better with brown sugar, so I'm hoping the molasses will complement that flavour.

I used a dark brown sugar previously and got a dry ginger ale-like flavour which suited the green taste of the nettles.

Used more ginger this time, which seems to give a deep flavour, as well as bowl of mint that gives a strong punch in the mid-palate.

I've put leaves of mugwort, mint and a few tansy fronds into a bag to soak in the wort for the first few days too.

Hoping for an earthy porter-like flavour.

Edit: a week later and it has around 5% alcohol with still sugar to go.

Cult classic

This is an outfit I wore for Halloween a couple of years ago

It was great to see kids simultaneously scared and curious, both wanting to know who it was and fearing the answer.

Recently I wore it at Burning Seed and it was the first time people stopped and asked to take a photo of my outfit.

One bloke lined up a beaut shot with the Temple lit behind me. He was a professional and the result on his camera was terrifying because I imagined it would appear in a magazine with the headline "DEATH CULT!"

Another guy delighted in pashing me in front of his friends because there was plastic preventing actual physical contact.

Netted more nettles

Collected more stinging nettles after posting a request on a local Facebook page

It was kind of the woman to respond, she couldn't believe someone wanted these weeds.

I'm boiling them with ginger and turmeric and hoping to add lavendar too.

However, my fermenter will be brewing another batch of nettle beer for a week.

So I will strain the liquid into bottles and hope they're okay until next weekend.

Full moon dream

I've observed dreams are weird and this morning I had an interesting experience

The setting was an old family home from my childhood but I was holidaying there with my father and his current wife.

I was in the kitchen, checking on my homebrews and find many of the bottles were leaking gas.

My stepmother came home with a pet cat and I joked it was their child.

The cat began stumbling into the kitchen cupboards and my stepmother said "the child doesn't know it's asleep."

At this point I think I realised I was dreaming and, as usually happens, my conscious mind kicked in and I awoke.

It was early morning and I didn't think I'd get back to sleep, so I got up and started watching a movie.

Around the time of the full moon, I stopped the film to pee and started crying.

This was a sustained sobbing in the backyard under the moonlight.

I went for a walk and cried around the block.

Then I came home and wrote a series of haiku.

There were a variety of things going through my mind but I felt that I've turned a corner in my life.

I feel I've taken a large step away from my childhood as throughout my sobbing I felt surprised to hear my voice was that of an adult.

Later, while on Facebook, I was surprised to get a message from a burner who I see at Modifyre asking how the moon had been for me.

He's a lovely bloke and one who models a very different energy, a caring and calming kind, which seems to contrast with his big Maori presence.

I've been feeling quite emotional all day and thought I'd write this down so I can think on it again in the future.

Nettle beer with mugwort, yarrow and borage

Having bottled a recent brew, I was eager to begin another

A recent highlight had been a beer made with stinging nettles and ginger, so I was keen to experiment further with that weed -- which has had a bumper year in the Riverina.

My friend allowed me to collect nettle from her yard and I found there was also flowering yarrow and borage.

Added to these was the remainder of the nettle in my yard and also the mugwort I tipped, which will hopefully bush up and provide plenty of material for a future mugwort beer.

The experiment was adding a can of wheat malt and also a box of Cooper's brewing sugar, both of which I found on special recently.

I've read that stinging nettle tastes best when brewed with brown sugar, so hopefully it'll taste okay.

Original gravity is 10.38 and I'm expecting to pitch yeast around 26C.

Beer with boiled sweets

Thought I'd keep track of my experiments making beer by posting about them here

Today I've bottled a mint, wormwood and rosemary brew and it's an experiment in a couple of ways.

It's the first beer I've made that uses an existing beer, as I added a few bottles of a rosemary beer that has a flavour I found a bit strong.

(Other drinkers have enjoyed it but tellingly they were mostly women who weren't beer drinkers.)

And, as shown, it's an experiment with using boiled sweets as carbonation drops.

I'm curious whether the flavour of the sweets can be discerned, so I've put the wrappers on the bottle to indicate what went in.

Burning Seed 2018

Once again Burning Seed was a wonderful experience shared with many friends

This year I didn't make many plans aside from supporting my partner, who'd committed to a few projects.

As a result I got to have a small part in the Forest Rising effigy led by Flamewriter Glenn Todd.

My role involved collecting soil and seedlings to make a garden at the base of this sculpture.

My partner Jo, through her role with Red Earth Ecology, worked on the murals that showed Wiradjuri seasons and fire management as well as local flora and fauna.

It looked incredible when the "puppet effect" was launched during the fire, see video below.

Battle of the soft blues

Some months ago a friend passed a cheese platter and indicated the soft blue was a recent favourite

As I bit into the creamy centre I thought it would have to be the Emporium Smooth Blue from Aldi.

Then I considered it might be the Castello Creamy Blue and wondered if I could tell the difference between them.

So I recently bought both and compared them, alongside a King Island Lighthouse Blue.

Served a slice of each onto a plate and, straight out of the fridge, the Smooth Blue was softer.

As I sampled each still cold, the Emporium cheese warmed quickly in my mouth and began to feel buttery.

It melted on my tongue, separating salty liquid and dairy solid.

In contrast the Castello Creamy Blue had much more mould and this would be significant.

By the time I had a second round about ten minutes later, Castello was getting the buttery result but it had a piquant quality that hit a high note both sharp in the palette and slightly fragrant.

When I looked at the nutritional count on the Castello and Emporium boxes, they were identical.

The ingredients looked similar too and both cheese are imported from Denmark.

I wonder if the noticeable increase in mould in the Castello shows it is cellared for longer?

Might this explain the difference in price between the two cheese?

The Emporium is 50g heavier than the Castello, with the latter on special at $5 -- which met the former and made both cheeses equal in price.

In contrast the King Island double-brie blue wasn't beginning to warm up until the final round.

As the blocks of cheese were eaten over the following days, I noticed I would grab the Emporium for a quick snack.

It would closer to being ready to consume, while the Castello would taste better after warming to the ambient temperature.

All three cheeses taste great, I've decided.

Especially on hot potato.