Happy October!! I love this month. I love the smells, temperature, food, football, bonfires, you name it. So, in celebration of our favorite month, Scott has decided to brew up some cider beer.
Scott saves all his recipe sheets from each batch of beer and he decided to count them up. This batch is number 14 for us. That’s 70 gallons of beer in just over two years! Granted, we haven’t consumed all of this ourselves … we share … sometimes. 🙂
This is the first batch where Scott decided to go rogue. Usually we buy beer kits from Midwest Supplies. Scott has experimented putting his own spin on some of these, but we usually stick pretty close to the recipe. However, this time he decided to find a recipe online and run with it.
Cider beer is pretty simple to make. Technically you can just mix some apple cider and champagne yeast together and call it a day. Scott wanted to add a little flavor and opted for some brown sugar and cinnamon. The technical term for these added ingredients would be “aroma spices”. We’ve made a few batches of pumpkin beer and love the flavor that these spices add. Usually we double the spices for the pumpkin beer!
In the recipe above, it says you can add up to two pounds of brown sugar. You can’t just dump this in since it needs to be dissolved. So, Scott heated up two gallons of apple cider to mix the sugar in.
However, he forgot to sanitize the brew kettle. Typically he doesn’t have to sanitize the kettle since all the ingredients are brought to a boil. So, instead of simply heating up the cider enough to dissolve the sugars, he ended up having to bring this to a boil as well. No biggie. Just takes a little more time to heat up and cool off.
Once all the brown sugar was dissolved, he started the chilling process. We do this by slightly plugging the sink drain (so water can escape), then running cold water and filling the sink with ice. The faster you can cool the kettle, the better.
Once this was cooled, he poured it into the primary fermenter, added the other three gallons of apple cider, then added the liquid yeast.
Now it’s ready to ferment for a couple weeks. Since we don’t have a basement, we use a cooler, some ice packs and a couple towels to keep the beer cool. Sometimes you have to go with what you’re given!
Plus, look how cozy it looks all tucked in. Haha!
Bottling begins next weekend, so we’ll let you know how it turns out!
This weekend also marked the 20th Annual BBQ on the River Festival in Paducah, KY. This year there were over 35 BBQ teams cooking over 80,000 pounds of pork and chicken! It’s a great event because all the proceeds go to local charities (last year about $500,000 was raised) … and there is some AMAZING BBQ – ribs, brisket, pulled pork, you name it!
We also participated in the United Way 5K with my aunt, uncle and cousin. The morning of the race turned out to be perfect. I hadn’t been training for the speediness of the 5K since we’re in full-blown half-marathon training. I didn’t even bring my running watch to the race!
My cousin had been the only one really training for this event. I decided early on that I would run with my aunt and Scott was going to run with my uncle. Once at the start line I asked my aunt how fast she wanted to run. She said that she wanted to run “in the 8’s”. I laughed at this because I was used to running about a 9:15 minute per mile pace. Scott and my uncle were going to run a 10 minute pace.
When the race started, we were running pretty fast in order to get out of the pack of people. After the crowd started to thin, I looked back and noticed I had dropped my aunt. I yelled back at her, but she motioned me to keep going. I felt pretty good. Once at the 1 mile marker, a volunteer was shouting out the times. When I passed him he said “7:40!”. I was like what?!?! I still felt good, so I kept going and didn’t slow down.
Once I hit the 2 mile mark they shouted out “15:00!”. I was like, “You’ve got to be kidding me! I’ve never run this fast before!” I kept passing people and each time I did I listened to how heavy they were breathing. I kept telling myself, “I’m not breathing that heavy, I can beat them.”
I ended up finishing the race in 23:53 (about a 7:47 pace!) and was first in my age group. I still don’t know how I did it. Ha! My cousin actually finished 11th overall and first in his age group with a time of 19:52. My aunt finished first in her age group with a time of 24:47 and Scott and my uncle finished up in 28:50. We all had awesome times!
Overall it was a great weekend. We laughed, played dominoes, drank a ton of coffee and enjoyed and ate waaay too much BBQ.
This weekend we are running our half-marathon that we’ve been training for the last couple of months. Hopefully my fast running legs decide to make another appearance. 🙂