Lavender and Rose petal fizz


I’ve been thinking about making some “champagne” style wines and drinks over the past few weeks… I missed the obligatory elderflower.

Cropped upon a couple of article based around various fizzy wines (links below).

Lavender & Rose petal Fizzy

30 Lavender heads
6 Rose heads
1.5 kilos sugar
1 packet posh champagne yeast
Optional: white trap concentrate / handful of raisins.

As ever, my process is to put it all in a jar and leave it!

I preboiled water and let it cool to touch heat, then added all the plant parts; I de-petaled the rose heads and took all the sex organs… In figure that there must be something worth keeping in them… I’ll leave this to brew for three days, and transfer into some lush swing-top bottle I blagged from Mark…. More on him in the future! I reckon a good month or two and we’ll have some floral fizzy wine.

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Long time no write…

I make no apologies for not writing in the past few…. Months, apparently!!!

Life afk has been taking the driving seat recently… I have exciting children, hard work and a busy schedule! The good news is that I shall be starting university shortly, so will have lots more opportunity to wire and create more drink.

I have three new drinks that have been made in the past few days, all of which I’ll post independently… I also have a second blog, which I’ll link to; it’s a store for the “other” stuff I write.

Good to be back… Hopefully I can maintain it.

Collected writings of myself

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GB no.3… The results are in!!!

So it’s been 2 weeks since I started this on the go… Today is the day if bottling.

Regrettably it tastes wildly different from my expectations… Much more fiery than it’s wonderful predecessor. Colour wide I have a much darker brew, I’m feuding that’s down to the use of brown sugars and molasses, rather than the honey and brewer’s sugar I used last time.

I’ve managed to harvest 7 full bottles from a demi-john, so not to much pain to be had. I’ve also yet to take an FG… so results of the volume are yet to be taken. I’ve primed the bottles with a spin off sugar each, depending on my greed I may even try to let these bottles condition properly… They may develop more with age.

Overall, not displeased, but not elated. Try again for that magical concoction. I haven’t any pretty pictures to show you, but pictures of bottles aren’t interesting!!!

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Ideals and ideas

I used to have a contstant barrage of inconsequential nonsense floating around my head… building bridges to other thoughts, and making tenuous links to processes withing the synapses…

i now find myself thinking in combinations. What do I know is edible(ish)… or at the very least not deadly poisonous? What will it taste good with? How can i maximise the enjoyment of the processes, as well as the results of my labours?

there are obvious easy answers to some of these questions… others are starting to cloud my mind… i took this photo of my desk in work (see below). this is the tiniest snapshot of some of the data I’ve been thinking about, made into a form legible enough to decrypt at a later date…

I’m lost in homebrew!!!


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Bad times in the household.

So depressingly I only have 4 bottles of the Rosemary and Bay leaf Ale left, only two of which I can really consume in my greed, the others are already allocated to peers and family. I’ve some GB No.3 settling down at the moment, hopefully that’ll be ready within the fortnight…

Winter is rubbish. I can’t wait for springtime, all those baby shoots and spring flowers ripe for the brewing… It’ll be so much easier to keep a couple of Demi’s on the go with an abundance of raw materials floating about.

Mrs. Charles has grown attached to the cheap nasty Wilko homebrew rosé I knocked up for her, but alcohol is running thin… However will I maintain this haze of denial and perpetual happiness / sadness without the liquor to see me through?

Any of you gatherer / hunter types that know of prolific and yummy vegetables I can go forage? Ping me a message.

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Rosemary & Bay Leaf Ale… Results

It’s a little too dark in my house to take a picture just yet, but I’ll be sure to post a photo of the 8 7 6 bottles that I harvested from the demi-john.

I’m left with a crystal clear blonde ale. An FG (final gravity) of 1.004, meaning a total percentile of 6.1%… Huzzah!!

I was really expecting a heavy rosemary flavour to the ale, and was a bit concerned that it’d be undrinkable… Amazingly there is not even a hint of either the Rosemary nor the Bay leaf, instead I’m left with a lovely sweet ale, with an almost fruity flavour!!!

As preperation for bottling, I ensured that the recycled bottles (read as: stolen from neighbours recycling bins) are fully de-labelled, cleaned (obviously) and sterilised. I also added a spoon of winemakers sugar to the bottles as a primer, rather than the advised honey / syrup, as we have no honey, and I’m too poor at the moment to go and buy any. I’ve got the bottles stacked in the cold passage we have, I very much doubt they’ll reach a point where the bottle naturally conditions though!!

Lastly, as of this point forward, I’ll be knocking up labels for the bottles, and printing courtesy of my global conglomerate employer… here we have label no.1:

Rosemary and Bay Leaf Ale

Rosemary and Bay Leaf Ale

Overall… a nice Ale, easy to forage, easy to make and best of all easy to drink.

Take a look HERE to see the recipe I used, or go and take a look at the website for the author of “Booze for Free”, Andy Hamilton.

Have fun!!

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Better late than never… Rosemary & Bay Leaf Ale.

I’ve had a massive wave of laziness over the past week or so…. Studying at every opportunity coupled with a full time job has dictated that I couldn’t afford to dedicate any additional time to blogging my homebrew activities. In real speak “I couldn’t be arsed”.

Needless to say there has been some activity, despite the lack of chronicling.

Rosemary and Sweet Bay Leaf ale.
The book “Booze for free” by Andy Hamilton gives an interesting description and yum-ptuous sounding recipe:

“It is said that bay can have a slightly narcotic effect, therefore this ale generally helps the party go with a bit of a swing”

Well say no more then!!

Ingredients (scaled down to appropriate measures for 5 litres):
200g malt extract
2 large rosemary sprigs
4 bay leaves
100g (winemaking) sugar
Some honey
Ale yeast
1 gallon (boiled then cooled) water.

Around half the water was put to boil with the leaves of the rosemary and bay. After a full rolling boil for around 45 minutes I turned the heat off and added all of the sugar and malt extract. I was left with a rather interesting brown sludge after ensuring there was no strange lumps left lingering at the bottom of the pan.

After leaving to cool for an hour or so, I poured the mix through a muslin sheet into a clean and (as a first) sterilised demi. Topped up to about 60mm below the bottle neck with the rest of the cooled water, pitched my yeast and then air-locked up.

Regrettably I didn’t actually take any pictures of the raw ingredients. Nor did take any pictures of the boil process. Nor did take any pictures of the demi before it started fermenting… Nor any pictures at all in fact (HAH)… well may maybe next time.

I do however have a wonderful picture of something that looks remarkably like a kind of reddish lager…as below:

Looks like Lager(??)

Looks like Lager(??)

Tomorrow is bottling day… So after 12 days of fermenting I’m pretty excited to give it a whirl… At least one reader may be happy to know that a collaborative effort is being undertaken to create some spiffing labels for all my future bottles also… More to follow!!

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New year.

Firstly… I am horribly grumpy at the moment… very tired, quite hungry and rather alcoholicised…

The bad news is that the ginnerbeer is all gone; the good news however, is that we have more on the go and no real reason to rush the brewing.

The other good news is that I found a sweet bay tree on the walk home from work yesterday (yes on new years eve!), so I got to picking a few of the leaves. I know of a front garden that’s overflowing with rosemary, so I went and grabbed a couple of stalks.

I’ll be posting the recipe proper in a short while.

I’m looking forward to the new year, firstly as last year was a little bit shit personally but most importantly because I have a lot going on this year: Open University work, general fatherly and husbandly duties and an awesome new homebrew project!!

Hope you guys enjoy the reading as much as I enjoy the doing!


Posted in Ginger Beer (November 2012), Ginger Beer no.3 (December 2012), New Year, Results | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The last of GBno.2… A farewell.

So the time has come to rack off the last of G.Bno.2…

The little lady and myself had a little bit of a cry as the last bottle cap was pressed into place. I’m going to hide the swingtop bottles somewhere cool, try and age it for a few months, all depending on my Leanne’s sense of smell!!!

Goodbye old friend, you served us well.


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“Tragedy befalls GBno.3”

Well calling it a tragedy might be a tad dramatic…
I awoke this morn to see that there was zero activity with the ginnerbeer… luckily, in my laziness, I still hadn’t cleaned up from last nights boiling sesh… so still had a little bit of the must left over (yes I know I’m a lazy minger)!

I’ve taken quick action in adding a little of the must (the ginger and chilli), some of the sediment from the previous brew (GBno.2) and I’ve pitched a little more fresh yeast!!

After 2 hours I have some activity…. here’s me hoping that GBno.3 is still viable!!

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