Simple, Good Eats

I like simple, one-pot recipes. Cube a couple of steaks and brown ’em. Add chopped peppers and onion (and some freshly ground black pepper). Toss in a cuppa rice, some tumeric (& whatever *heh*), and a couple of cupsa beer. Lil later, add some frozen peas. Let it all kinda simmer a while, then chow.

Oh, some beer batter bread is a nice accompaniment.

And another beer. πŸ˜‰

Health Benefits of Beer

[N.B. For sanity’s sake, do avoid the mass-produced stuff better poured back into the horse it came out of.]

“Beer, if drank in moderation, softens the temper, cheers the spirit, and promotes health.”–Thomas Jefferson

The Health Benefits (just google the phrases I have bolded for more than just one link to the info):

1.) Light-to-moderate beer drinking may lower stroke risk by as much as 20%.

2.) The polyphenols in red wine that have so much good press about their antioxidant effect reducing free radicals and reducing the risk of heart attacks? Beer has simmilar amounts of polyphenols and 2-3 servings a day can lower risk of coronary artery disease by 30-40%.

3.) Homocysteine has been shown to have strong links to heart disease, and Vitamin B6–great for controlling homocysteine levels–is abundant in beer. Beer drinkers show healthier homocysteine blood levels than wine or liquor drinkers.

4.) Moderate beer drinking has a stress-reducing effect (whereas almost everyone can envision the stress-inducing effects of heavy beer drinking–*heh*).

5. A glass of beer is a great soporific. πŸ™‚ Beer is not the perfect sleep aid, but is beneficial to some. In moderation.

6.) Beer helps promote blood vessel dilation (many side benefits–especially for us old guys) and urination.

7.) A main ingredient in beer is a prostate cancer antagonist (!). (So, between hops’ xanthohumol and beer’s famous ability to promote urination, a wonderful benefit to guys as we age ;-)).

8.) A Finnish study indicates that beer seems to reduce the risk of developing kidney stones.

9.) Those clever Japanese have discovered that beta-pseudouridine found in beer actually helps reduce chromosonal damage from radiation exposure! (Maybe I can dispense with my lead cup and tinfoil hat, ya think? :-))

10.) Beer contains anti-inflammatory agents (from the hops). Nice for my joints–and maybe yours, too, eh?

The alcohol in beer–generally less than in many other alcoholic beverages–is also beneficial in several ways, including

11.) Lowering HDL levels

12.) In mice at least, alcohol spurs the growth of new brain cells. (I’m not a mouse, but the research indicates that moderate beer drinking may actually help me as much as coffee does! :-))

13.) Moderates insulin levels.

There are more, of course, but it seems the folk wisdom of yore reflected in the Jefferson quote above has much more basis in fact than 99% of Mass Media Podpeople or politicians’ *spit* statements.

The Way to a Man’s…

…appreciation, at least. Today, Son&Heir presented me with one of these:

It looks better with beer in it, so he filled it with 2 bottles of Shiner Bock (a Pretty Good beer).

Good goin’ fella!


Strange Brew

Finally, about 3 weeks ago, I pulled a batch of beer from a fermenting tub that was… strange. No, really strange. The sample I decanted from near the bottom (but above the trub) seemed OK, but for the first time there was some very ugly black scum floating on top and crawling up the sides, trying to escape into the wild. Did not like the looks of it, so…

Decanted all I could w/o involving the scum directly, filtered it well and then boiled what I got (only about 2 gallons that I was willing to play with)… for a while. I then used THAT liquid as a base for a whole new batch that I just now bottled for conditioning. It took a longer time to come together than previous primary fermenting stages on other brews, but I tasted some (mostly flat, of course, before the bottle conditioning), and… it’s surprisingly good, even uncarbonated! I bottled one bottle as is with no sugar charge for use cooking and the rest in 16-oz Grolsch swingtops. I’m really looking forward to this one.

Now, on to an(other *heh*) experimental batch. Since I’m low on hops, I think I’ll make the next batch some molasses “beer” using the trub off this for whatever “hopsiness” is available. The yeast in the trub will boil to nothing but some dead, mostly protein, additional flavoring, and I’ll likely be at least better-pleased than if I had to use only the hops on hand.

Should be fun.

Even Though This Is Very Early, It’s Still Too Late for This Year…


I hate doing “Christmas” posts this early, but I used to have to start preparing for Christmas about March (long story), and since I have to start preparing for doing something like this NEXT year NOW (IF I actually end up doing it next year–may take longer*), I suppose this is OK…

See what I mean? and the “*” above? Well, I threw a bunch of bottles out recently *sigh* and I also brew about as much as I buy, so getting enough bottles–especially green ones–may take me a while. Especially since I only manage 1-2 beers/day.

But since I must start really early preparing for this, I may as well post the intention now as well, eh?

I guess it popped into my head to look for something like this since today starts another brew season for me. First up? Three brews: a “Vienna lager” style, a wheat beer and some “Georgy-Porgy Molasses Beer” (with fewer cloves and more orange zest this year). If I get them all started today, then in a couple of weeks I may be able to start bottle conditioning enough to last me past New Year’s Day, though, of course, I’ll probably start another few batches as soon as these come out of the primary fermentation “bottles”. (I have several different primary fermentation tubs of different food grade plastics for primary fermentation. Why food grade plastics? Cheaper and easier to store, just as easy to keep clean and lighter when I have to move them. Oh, and a couple of them are from unusual *cough* sources, so cheaper still. Yeh, I’m cheap. Wanna make something of it? ;-))


Here ya go: I could fit the last 4 levels of something like this in our bay window this Xmas…

About That Time of Year, Again

Well, I’m just about to break out my fermentation containers again. I have enough materials on hand to make almost 30 gallons of beer, and need only to get some additional stuff to make some sparkling apple cider for the Thanksgiving/Christmas seasons.

Speaking of which… a simple not-quite-recipe (you’ll have to read between the lines, that is, have some brewing knowledge to get this one) for a simple, inexpensive sparkling apple cider:

Enough frozen apple juice (can have vitamin C but no other preservatives!) to make about 4 gallons of juice.
About 4 cups of sugar
Some wine yeast–preferably “champagne” yeast, but almost any WINE yeast will do

You get the picture. After fermentation for at least a week, you can rack the resultant cider and continue to ferment for another month or so. If you have a hydrometer to measure alcoholic content, you can use that to determine your preferred level. Bottle in bottles designed to hold high-pressure carbonation, like those used for any sparkling wine or juice (will need bottle caps and a bottle capper or sparkling wine corks and wires OR just use some handy-dandy Grolsch swingtop bottles like I do) with anywhere from 1/2 teaspoon to a teaspoon of sugar per bottle to “charge” the bottles, depending on the size of the bottle. 1/2 teaspoon for a typical 12oz beer bottle, 3/4 for a 16oz and a teaspoon for a typical sparkling wine bottle.

Each 4 gallons will allow you to bottle almost 40 12oz bottles of the sparkling goodness. Anchor Steam bottles are particularly attractive for this use, if sparkling wine bottles or Grolsch swingtops aren’t available. I’ve also used some nice green Stella Artois bottles for sparkling hard cider, as well.

Let ’em carbonate in the bottle for a week or two, then store ’em in a cool place (I’m thinking our garage will be cool enough by then)

Most excellent imbibery!

Welcome News

In an eletter I get came this:

Hops have been shown to provide a more equally balanced inhibition of COX-1 and COX-2, acting primarily on the COX-2 pathway but having some COX-1 effects as well.

Even better news: Other information indicates the COX-1 effects of hops are minimal indeed.

Just one more reason to listen to Benjamin Franklin,

“Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”


Nice Brew!

While I have another couple of gallons of beer bottle conditioning, I decided to branch out a bit and try a Sam Adams pilsner, Noble Pils. Very nice. Hopsy bitterness balanced with a nice, rich maltiness. The flowery aromas aren’t as accessible, since it has such a small head (which disappears quickly, leaving no lacing whatsoever), but it’s still a nice accompaniment to a meal. Very nice stuff, and a reminder of the validity of Ben Franklin’s observation that, “Beer is evidence that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”


It’s one of Sam Adams'[ seasonals, so expect it to disappear from store shelves soon.

For My 2010 “To-Do” List

Spruce beer: I’d like to locate the spruce elements needed for the following recipe, then make the thing.

Take four ounces of hops, let them boil half an hour in one gallon of water, strain the hop water then add sixteen gallons of warm water, two gallons of molasses, eight ounces of essence of spruce, dissolved in one quart of water, put it in a clean cask, then shake it well together, add half a pint of emptins*, then let it stand and work one week, if very warm weather less time will do, when it is drawn off to bottle, add one spoonful of molasses to every bottle.

*emptins: “a mixture of hops and the dregs of beer or cider casks”–that I can come up with…