Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cider Making

So this weekend we made it out to the Grandparents to check out the cider press that they purchased for my Aunt several years ago.  It is quite the contraption, and with a single 20is pound box of Gala apples we managed to make a pretty nice tasting single variety apple cider.  In all I cannot complain about the machine, though the apple macerating hopper leaves some rather large chunks in the pomace.  The press is a Happy Valley Ranch homesteader press.  The Jaffrey Cider Press looks very similar. 

All in all the press worked pretty well, though I do think that it would have been more efficient if I had some HDPE press rings in the layers of pomace.  The drainage tray that we had is pretty old and needs to be resealed as it leaked in several places and would have wasted 1/3rd of the yield, but with the use of many small cups to catch the runaway drips we managed to salvage the majority of the juice.  For only about $12 worth of apples we managed about 1 gallon worth of Juice.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Business Porn

Hugh, I feel like I just got busted.  I love reading Techcrunch its like vicariously being creative and successful.

Hugh would say that's business porn, damn it I look at porn almost every day then!

Monday, August 09, 2010

Beer Brewing

A friend of mine and I have been talking about brewing beer for the last few months, each of thinking that it would be a fun thing to try.  I personally was hoping not to have to purchase everything as the process can get fairly expensive quickly.  Each of us have received gift certificates to a local brew store and last weekend I went in and bought the beginning brew kit to kick-start the process.  I also bought it because the family is all heading out to Eastern Oregon this fall for what we are calling Harvest.  My aunt and uncle have several old apple trees on their property and we will be making cider for all the families, but we also want to try making hard cider. 

After considering several options I also decided that the only way that I can control the temperature of my fermentation process is to purchase a Johnson Controls Manual Thermostat Control Unit.  I looked for quite a while and though there may be some cheaper units from other brands online, this is the cheapest I could find this unit anywhere.  Some brew shops that carried it had it listed for $75+.  This allows you to tightly control the temperature of a fridge or freezer by cutting the power to the unit when the probes monitored temperature reaches the set point on the unit.  I have a chest freezer that has not been getting enough action to justify me buying a new fridge to dedicate to this project.  In the fall my basement may be cool enough to just air cool the beer, but until I get some way to measure the temp down there I have no way to know.

All in for the beginners kit and the temp monitor I am only at about $170 to get started brewing beer, which I don't think is too high for trying out a hobby.