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  1. Stygian's Avatar
    For the most part, the operation was successful. Work and other obligations kept draining my motivation, so I still haven't driven down to a salvation army to donate my stuff.

    On the bright side, my two beers turned out amazing, and my wines are ready for racking into smaller containers. It's the last stage prior to adding potassium sorbate (stops yeast activity) and bottling. I'll mix 5 gal of pinot noir and malbec and rack them into 1 gal containers with dark cherries and blackberries. I'll add cloves to 1 gal, just to see what spiced wine tastes like (spiced mead is awesome), and I'll do a 50/50 blend. The rest of the wine I will just rack back into a glass carboy to finalize the aging before bottling. I also just started my cider a couple days ago, I added extra sugar and real apple juice to the kit concentrate. Should yield a potent brew with a beer style finish carbonation.

    Good call on the scanner. I bought one a year ago, and it's been very handy with documents that needed to be sent back and forth. I could cloud save a lot of documents that aren't critical. Not sure I want to scan my house ownership papers lol
  2. thefloridapoet's Avatar
    Well, I'm jumping in here about 6 weeks later, but am amused at your story. Interested in hearing how it all turned out. One tid-bit of advice for keeping your paperwork tidy, if you have papers that you need to keep, consider scanning them and keeping the scanned copy on a memory stick, or "cloud" and then ditch the paper copy if all you need is a copy of it. This keeps your filing cabinet and boxes empty. That's what I do. I live where it is nice and warm, but my family is in the colder states and I grew up there so I totally relate to your blogs about the Spring this year. It was quite perplexing as to just when was Spring coming. Thanks for the story and I hope you are now enjoying your brew room.
  3. Stygian's Avatar
    I've never thought about adding those in. I've heard of putting oak chips into beer and wine to give that cask aged taste without the barrel. I'll have to look into it. Sounds like it would give an interesting taste
  4. Winston's Avatar
    I've been too busy to drink-up my existing supply, but I'm finally at the point where I should start a new batch. There's a critical mass of empty bottles.
    Going to try some Blue Spruce Tip ale again. This time, I picked some fresh tips a couple of months ago (instead of using that inferior pine extract).
    Good luck with yours. And enjoy.
  5. Neetu's Avatar
    Cheers, Stygian! Enjoy the Ale-ment.
  6. Stygian's Avatar
    It's too bad dogs have such short lives. It was my dog's 6th birthday last Friday. I spoiled her rotten. We went for a long trip to Banff and Lake Louise. I got her a new Nylabone S-shaped chew toy and one of those beef bones with meat on it (Pet store kind). She was a happy pooch!

    I'm not really that great at playing music, I just keep at it and improve every day a little bit. Teaching myself to play piano (read notes mostly) helped a lot. I managed to memorize and play the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata and, more recently, Carousel of Memories by Jean-Philippe Rio-Py. I mostly just play around with random notes and chord shapes now, lots of fun.
  7. Winston's Avatar
    I'm jealous. I appreciate music like crazy, but have no ability to make it.
    Good on you.
  8. tinacrabapple's Avatar
    That makes me laugh. I have a beagle as well, but he's old and deaf. In his prime he'd probably howl too. Love it! Man and his dog...and a Harm Monica.
  9. Neetu's Avatar
    I have a beagle and when he howls, oh well, he has the soul of a lost singer...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stygian
    She's got the soul of a blues singer. I think it stems from the heartbreak of me starting to give her half a cookie instead of a full one.
  10. Stygian's Avatar
    She's got the soul of a blues singer. I think it stems from the heartbreak of me starting to give her half a cookie instead of a full one.
  11. Neetu's Avatar
    A duet isn't so bad, is it? Glad you're enjoying your Harm Monica.
  12. Stygian's Avatar
    Thanks! I'm hoping to have everything wrapped up soon. First day back to work was a stern reminder why I need to find a new job (not career). It's like my motivation is hemorrhaging with each passing moment.

    The trick with beer is to have enough bottles for two full batches. I will stagger my beers so I will have two batches drinkable. One batch will be aging in a carboy, ready to prime and bottle as soon as I have enough empties. This will give me 3 different beers to choose from. I've got 48 1-liter EZ top bottles (glass). Makes life way simpler than the smaller sized beer bottles. I like to treat cider like a beer and give it the same finish. I have to double check, but I think it's the same amount of priming sugar as a Corona style beer. The carbonation makes them go down way too easy

    As for wine/mead, it's where I get to let loose my inner mad scientist. I love experimenting with fruits and spices to bring out unique flavors. Good or bad, it's still drinkable so long as everything is sanitized and air tight. The wine kits I bought were literally 23L bags of sterile grape juice, so I plan to tweak it. Coffee beans? Dark Chocolate/coco nibbs? Cloves? Who knows? Lol
  13. Winston's Avatar
    I just bottled a batch of stout. God, I hate waiting a week or two for bottle-conditioning.
    It' cool that you have the discipline and tenacity to brew wine, cider and beer. Variety, right?
    And keep up the good work on de-cluttering.
  14. MzSnowleopard's Avatar
    A middle grade one should be fine. How much you have to shred is a factor. If shred continuously, as in one sitting, feeding pages after pages you risk burning out the engine.
  15. Stygian's Avatar
    I've honestly never looked into what makes one good or bad. I always assumed it has such a simple function that even low quality ones will suffice without breaking down. I'll have to look into it further.

    For sure, anything that is reusable I plan to donate. My first hoarder cove has mostly documents, my next room has mostly misc junk. All the boxes from the documents will go to holding the things I plan to drop off at a Salvation Army. I hear it's the best place to drop things off since the money doesn't go to CEO bonuses like other thrift store chains.
  16. Winston's Avatar
    Like MzSnowleopard said, buy a good shredder. I used to work in an office supply store, trust me, there's a quality difference between cheap and mid-grade.
    And I hope you have a good supply of boxes for your unwanted items. Please donate everything that can be used by someone else. I have a sister-in-law that just throws items away. Drives me nuts.
  17. MzSnowleopard's Avatar
    I had that problem too. Bought a cheap shredder from Walmart. I should have bought a better one because I had killed the shredder before I was done shredding. I'm on my 3rd one now.
  18. Stygian's Avatar
    That's a good idea. I keep forgetting to buy one. So far, I managed to fill blue bin with papers and junk recyclables. Much to my surprise, I was reacquainted with my long lost 3-hole hole punch, three packs of cards, several binders with blank pages, and a whole bunch of random computer/electronic cords. Pretty much most of my findings are just junk. I found countless pay stubs, some over a decade old, from all my working years until now. I may need to join a document hoarder support group lol
  19. MzSnowleopard's Avatar
    Best of luck with this plan. One thing that will help is a good paper shredder. Get one that cross cuts, it's better security than just tossing stuff.
  20. Stygian's Avatar
    If your wine/mead is too dry, it means the yeast did not have enough food. It's all about chemical equilibrium. The yeast will eat X amount of sugar/honey/etc and will keep doing so until the ethanol concentrations increase. When it increases they will work slower, but will keep converting the sugars to alcohol. It works like a feedback loop. After a time, the brew will hit an equilibrium where the yeast will find it too hard to keep eating sugar based off how much alcohol is in the solution.

    There is two solutions I know of:

    1) Over saturate your must/sugar solution to have the reaction stop due to too much ethanol, aka yeast maxed out its yield
    2) Use an after sweetener to make it better prior to bottling.

    I prefer to play with option 1 as it's easy to add more water to upset the equilibrium if too sweet and make the yeast get back to work. Your final product will be sweet and will need Potassium Sorbate. Option 2 is only for those that have the confidence in their chemical supplier to ensure the sweetening agent is inert. If it isn't and you bottle, they will blow up and sadness will rain down on your floor.

    I'm about 4 scotches in, so I'm hoping this is somewhat coherent. I'll PM you tomorrow or Monday. I think you should try making a batch of hobo wine to learn the dark arts of Alcohol-chemestry. I always learn something new with each batch.

    If I had the space for the additional gear, I would love to make my own wort for beer. Unfortunately i'm stuck with the kits, but I do hack them by using quality yeast, and I hop everything once it's in the secondary fermenter (Carboy). My favorite beer to date is a Munich Dark Lager that I hopped with Cascade hops. Bold flavours with a light citrus scent.
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