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Archive for the 'booze' Category

Identifying Sloe Berries from Damson Plums

Wednesday, March 14th, 2018

It’s that time of the year again when everybody (because it’s all joy playing with the cool kids, right?) goes out looking on the highway for sloe berries to exploit their extraordinary tartness as a gin or vodka infusion, or as a jam ingredient. Unfortunately a lot of these people have brought home the equally lovely, but not quite on the money, damson plum. If, after reading this post, you found and used damsons, don’t shoot the messenger.

Sloe Berries are Visually Distinctive

A sloe berry is easy to recognise in that the berry, often covered in that lovely blush, looks remarkably similar to a 5 cent piece sized blueberry in the palm of your hand. When you bite the berry your mouth will dry out instantly. Pucker up. There’s no mistaking it’s power in that regard and once you’ve tasted one sloe berry it will be easy to identify the sloes from damsons in future.

The sloes will generally be found as hedges or along farm fences. Walk up to the plant and look closely at the leaves. These leaves have fine serrated edges on branches that are dark; thus the sloes are found on a plant called the Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa). On the reaching limbs you’ll see (and they can be difficult to spot at first) wooden thorns up to a couple of inches long and a fair way apart. Your chances of being spiked by these thorns rapidly approach zero, so don’t worry.

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Ben Gould’s Blindside Lost Andes Malbec 2016

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

As a big fan of Naked Wines Australia I was shattered to open my monthly 15 bottle case to find the first bottle in my order, the one I’d been drooling to consume, Ben Gould’s Blindside Lost Andes Malbec 2016, was missing. It had been swapped out for an equal value bottle, which is fair enough, but I thought “Noooo, not the Malbec”.

Ben Gould was great. I mentioned on his Naked Wines page that I didn’t receive one of his delectable bottles in my recent case and he sorted it with Naked Wines immediately. Within 24 hours he dispatched 3 free bottles of that wine to my doorstep. It arrived this afternoon as a distant thunder storm rolled past the valley with the first desperate sprinkles of promised rain at the end of a hot day. I’d been sweating in the garden up to my elbows in weeds for most of the afternoon. Maybe it’ll rain; but perhaps it’ll just steam until I fall on the bed sometime tonight.

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Super-Hopped Beer Kit Braggot

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

My last post on Fast & Easy Beer Kit Braggot was enough to get you started. On this occasion, I also chose to hop the braggot because it was being made in a beer style. And, yes, I went crazy with the hops. And, yes, hopping at this stage of fermentation is a little unconventional (but that’s my middle name).

At this stage, the braggot had fermented in our basement for approximately 4-5 weeks. I racked one-quarter of that braggot (a murky sink water beige colour) into a freshly sanitised 5 litre fermenter and bottled straight away with a few Citra hop pellets in each bottle; carbonated with demerara sugar. I put these bottles aside in a dark place.

That left me with the remaining 15-or-so litres of braggot in my basement that I intended to super-hop. No, that’s probably not a term, but you get the point. I wanted this braggot to pack a pucker.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark (aka nortypig) and I live in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a photographer making pictures with film. A web developer for money. A business consultant for fun. A journalist on paper. Dreams of owning the World. Idea champion. Paradox. Life partner to Megan.

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