Days Flying By…

Today was a busy day during which I didn’t get much done, which is odd since I have a lot to do this week.

On Saturday, Miss Jiwaku and I joined Chris, a member of the crit group to which I now belong, at the 2010iSF film festival, where we saw 2001: A Space Odyssey and Aelita: The Revolt of the Robots in the morning. We were starving, so we left after that, but missed a screening of Metropolis with a live pianist playing the accompanying music, and The Forbidden Planet in the evening.

On Sunday, we had crit group, which included a surprise Lake Monster attack and many birds that couldn’t fly, among many other things. I cannot say how invigorating it is to be sharing work with fellow writers again. And next week, I’m on the chopping block, so I’ll need to get writing or, more likely, revising. I have a story I really want to work on… and I’ll do a bit on it tonight.

After critique, some friends and lovers and such joined the group and we went to that Belgian Beer place I mentioned recently (and about which several people have emailed me so far). It is expensive, but worth it, and we got a bunch of the beers, as well as some of the liqueurs and Dutch whiskeys. Good times.

School stuff: I did a bunch of it, but other than a grading sheet for public speaking contests, I don’t know that it is worth talking about here. Didn’t get any grading done, but I will need to do a lot of that this week.

I didn’t do anything related to brewing until the evening, when I sterilized some big jars I’d gotten and some bottles and tubing and so on. It was time to bottle half of my Abbey Wheat beer (which was very clear and also had fermented down to 1.010, like everything I’ve brewed lately), and to get the rest racked onto some fruit. I split the fruited beer, with about a gallon going onto a kilogram of defrosted bokbunja (ie. wild black raspberries) and a gallon and a half or maybe two gallons going onto a couple of kilos of persimmon puree. I didn’t pasteurize the frozen bokbunja, but I did pasteurize the persimmons before grinding them into a mash.

(I’m a little worried about the persimmon beer — there’s a fair amount of the puree that floated up to the surface, a problem that I encountered with a batch of watermelon beer I made at the start of summer. I think if it hasn’t sunk by tomorrow morning, I may us a sanitized spoon to fish out a fair bit of that surface pulp, as it seems to prevent the yeast from doing its work.)

I also ended up with just a bit of wheat beer left, and nothing to do with it, so I decided to try use the yeast in it — which is a nice strong Belgian Abbey yeast (Belgian Abbey I, to be specific) and has a high alcohol tolerance — to ferment some bokbunja juice I had sitting around. The “juice” is more like a syrup, and I don’t know if it has any preservatives. If not, it should ferment and I’ll add some sterilized water to thin it out a bit more, and make it less sweet and more, well, dry. We’ll see what happens.

So now I have three batches of beer and a few bottles of mead all conditioning. Oh, and I also added some DME to the Gentle Haejeok Oatmeal Stout because, on tasting it, I figured out that the spices in Mosher’s original recipe are set to balance a higher alcohol level, and a more malty character. Still, I think it’s going to turn out great, a fine Christmassy beer. So on Wednesday, I’ll turn my attention back to the All Brett Night at the Amarillo, about which I am growing curious. It’s fermenting in my one ferm bucket that has no spout for samples, so I don’t know where it is in terms of gravity, though there was a krausen and it fell some time ago. (But it fell so quickly I figured it couldn’t have fermented down already.) Either way, I’m thinking I should probably move it to a carboy, especially now that I have a number of them free. I think also on Wednesday I’ll make a mead. I was going to do it today, but I got busy.

This manic stage of brewing up a storm needs to slow down, though: I have work to do, and anyway, I soon will run out of swing-top bottles and need to either recall the bottles I’d given out, borrow a capper, or

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