Showing posts with label mrs velkyal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mrs velkyal. Show all posts

Friday, October 15, 2010

Breaching the Cellar

I mentioned on Wednesday that Mrs Velkyal and I are heading down the road to Williamsburg today for the weekend, but didn't tell you why we are getting away for a couple of days.Quite simply it is because yesterday marked 5 years since we met in Pivovarsky klub back in Prague.

You could say then that good beer (part of me is tiring of the whole "craft beer" appellation - a beer is either good or it isn't) has been part of our relationship from day one. Unfortunately this wouldn't really be true because the very next time we went out we were boozing up on Gambrinus or some such other junk. Eventually though we turned PK into our regular haunt, not just because we met there but because it was convenient to our flat and we liked the atmosphere.

I am not generally the soppy romantic sort, or at least not in the buying flowers way of thinking about it. Tonight though, I will be breaching the hallowed sanctum of my beer cellar for some beers to celebrate both our meeting and some of the momentous events that have followed. With that in mind, I will first polish off my bottle of J.W. Lees 2005 Harvest Ale for the year we met. That will be followed by a bottle of the 2008 for the year we got married, and lastly the 2009 Vintage for the year we moved to the States.

While being utterly sentimental, this is the song that sticks most in both our minds from the night we met and went on from PK to the meat market which is Lucerna, it also came on the radio just as Mrs V's limo pulled up to Prague's New Town Hall for our wedding.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mrs Velkyal's Cider

Sometimes it feels as though our flat is slowly turning into a home-made alcoholic beverage production line. Regular readers will know that I have a 60/- Scottish ale currently in my carboy, which will be bottled on Monday, and then in a quick turn around I plan to brew up my imperial stout on Tuesday. Yesterday though, we added another boozy project to the list, when Mrs Velkyal made her first batch of cider. Last week there was an apple festival near Charlottesville, so while I was at work in the brewery, Mrs V went with a colleague and came back with 3 US gallons of pressed apple juice.

In order to make the cider we needed more fermenting space, so up to Fermentation Trap we went and bought another 3 gallon carboy, the necessary bung, airlock and yeast. Originally we were going to use wine yeast, but after speaking to the guy working in the store we opted for the Safale 04 dry yeast, which apparently most cider makers in these parts use. I also picked up some more steriliser because I didn't like working with the C-Brite stuff.

Mrs Velkyal's recipe was simplicity itself:
  • 2.5 gallons pressed apple juice with no preservatives and junk
  • Safale 04 yeast
The process was also simplicity itself, as you can see from these pictures:

1. Mrs V pouring the juice into the carboy

2. Yeast sprinkled on the must

3. Yeast happily doing its thing.

The OG of the must was 1.044, so we are looking for a 4.5%-5%ABV cider when it is done, and after months in bottles conditioning, something nice and refreshing for next summer. Now, where can we hide a small still?

Beyond January

Dry January is over, but my beer fast continues. Well, it continues until Friday. As a general rule I only drink at the weekend, thus my win...