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Posts Tagged ‘christmas’

No new brewday reports must signal that it’s time to start planning the next brew. We also need to plan keg and bottle capacity with the Christmas break in mind. It’s been a hectic year away from the Boxshed, and we’re looking forward to a nice chunk of downtime over the Christmas holiday. We’re plotting to get on a bit of a cooking and pickling buzz too, so we need a few beers on tap to offer anyone popping over for some seasonal cheer.

We’ll reserve our keg of Timmy’s Original for December, and perhaps some Dark Garden too, but will be tapping the Brown Corduroys this weekend and drinking it over forthcoming Bonfire nights. Ideally we’ll brew twice more over the next three weeks to create a Boxshed Dry Irish Stout ’09 (yummy with port!), plus an-all new Premium Pale Ale, maybe with a twist.

This means paying bills for old supplies and restocking with Marris Otter and one or two other speciality malts, ordering up some liquid yeast and preparing a starter for the stout, fixing two poppet valves in two faulty kegs, getting hold of some new sanitisers, cleaning a lot of bottles and other vessels, devising a new recipe for a fun pale, and seeing the Timmy’s Original safely into kegs.

All we’ve managed to do this weekend however is move the Timmy’s Original from primary fermenters to clean secondaries. It reached 1.012 with no problems, looks clear, smells great and just needs to be cared for this week prior to racking. Dry-hopping is also an (unlikely) option, but we’ll update if we go take that route.

In the meantime, for no good reason, here are a couple of photos of the Timmy’s transfer, leaving all that once-frenzied trub nicely behind.

PS – There’s an Autumn beer and cider festival going down every day this week at The White Horse, Edwardstone, Suffolk, culminating in a blue grass shindig on Hallloween itself. If you’re in the area, you really ought to pop over there for a pint or six. Here’s the brew list.

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According to Procrastinationadvice.com, a site that surely is the epitome of self fulfilment, “In order to know the reasons, as to why certain people delay or put off performing their certain tasks or assignments, it is essential to recognize the definition and level of procrastination. The fundamental understanding of the procrastination definition is that, it is an act of delaying or putting off performing some tasks to a later period. This kind of avoidance behavior may be an occasional practice of some individuals. Typically delaying the performance of some assignments can lead to a traumatic situation. Thus, an individual needs to thoroughly understand the definition of procrastinate, so as to understand its significant causes. However, for the persistent procrastinator, it may lead to failure in their assignments and tasks to be furnished.”

Utter twaddle. I’ve just been too busy earning a crust and refinancing my little world to post for a while, that’s all. That and the fact my new iPhone camera doesn’t work very well, doesn’t have a flash, and remarkably lacks both Bluetooth and removable media. It’s a great toy (you can even get brewing software on it created by a fellow UK beer forum bloke), but a crap camera. And phone, frankly.

Anyway, enough bush beating, here’s the latest. The Dark Garden was terrific and as such is long gone. The Pion Brew, Best Bitter and Stout are all finally on tap, although because the Boxshed is so damn cold, the two ales are suffering very badly from chill haze. The same can’t (because it’s simply impossible to tell) be said of the Stout, which as intended tastes terrific with a double port in the bottom of a cold pint.

In other news, thanks to borrowing some equipment off of Tom the microbrewer (he’s normal size you understand, but his plant currently churns out five barrels a pop) and some gratefully received elbow-grease as chance would have it, the APA is also now in 40 pint bottles and has just finished warm conditioning. Oh, plus various swingtops of random beers as well as Pickled Onions (which are great by the way, if you like ’em spicy) have been bundled off as Christmas gifts.

As soon as I work out what the hell Apple is playing at, I’ll post some photos of the current draft offerings and the bottles. If that doesn’t happen before Christmas, I wish you A Very Merry One.

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It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man cannot live on beer alone. Nope. He also needs pickled onion flavoured Monster Munch, pickled eggs and of course, pickled onions themselves.

At The Boxshed we have been pickling free range eggs for a while now and they always go down well, both in the shed and the local pub. But last Christmas I received a brilliant book that offered all sorts of new ideas for pickling everything from wild mushrooms (yum!) to pigeons (ug!). It’s called ‘The Perfect Pickle Book’  by David Mabey and David Collison, and there’s a picture of it below. Anyway, although I do intend to jar, um, ‘Pickled Salsify Buds’, ‘Pickled Marsh Samphire’ and err ‘Pickled Quails Eggs with Rosemary Flowers’ at some point in my life, this week the book mostly reminded me that the start of November was THE time to get onions in vinegar in time for Christmas morning.

The farm shop up the road provided a few kilos of shallots, a good old 25L fermenting bucket doubled up as an overnight brine bath, and the last remnants of my raised bed coughed up a bunch of chillies grown from my brother’s plants. Various coloured pepper corns, some mustard seed and a couple of bay leaves finished off the spiced vinegar, and by bedtime on the second day these great looking jars (below) had magicked themselves in our kitchen! Good stuff eh? Now though, I’ve been told they will mostly be given away as credit crunch busting Christmas presents, so another trip to the farm shop beckons…

 

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