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Entries in DIY (2)


Homemade Whiskey (Raising My Spirits Part 2)

On New Years day I filled a 1 liter oak barrel with cheap vodka .  Now that is has had a chance to age for about four months I figured it was time to check in on the results.  Because the surface to volume ratio is so much higher in this small of a barrel, I figure the four months of aging approximates two years for a full barrel.  The results are amazing, but I wish I had started with a better quality of vodka.  It still needs to mellow a bit (it still has a hot alcohol taste and nose).  I could also charcoal filter it to smooth it out.  The color is spectacular and it smells like a typical bottle of whiskey that would have cost much more than the vodka I started with.  This would be great for mixers as-is, but I am going to try and mellow it out a bit further for sippin.

This batch filled up a 750ml bottle nicely.  The remainder of the initial liter evaporated off.  This is what distillers refer to as "the angel's share".  The bottle is a Glenlivet water bottle that I brought back from my UK trip.  I just sanitized it and poured the whiskey straight from the barrel.  The best part is that I now have a bourbon barrel I can use to experiment with aging beer in!




Hoppy Spring!

Spring has sprung, my hops have re-surfaced this week!  This will be their second year so the harvest should be much better.  So far, two of my three rhizomes have surfaced and are looking to climb.   I planted the hops at the base of my deck and string twine up to the deck railing giving them about 14 feet of room for climbing.  This makes it easy to harvest by cutting the vines at the base and pulling them up from the deck.

I have three different varieties planted (Hallertau, Willamette, and Chinook).  What I did not realize until recently is that the plants are male or female so they must have cross pollinated like crazy.   I planted a second Willamette rhizome today but will give up on tracking the varieties due to the cross pollination.  I guess that means I will have my own unique hops variety from now on!

Below are some pictures from last summer's harvest.  I netted about 1/2 pound in cones last season.  My friend Mike enjoyed draping himself in the vines.  The smell of fresh hop cones are amazing!