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The Wonderful new Era of Super Foods
Super Foods and Super Profits and Super Gullibility and Super-Just-Eat-Properlies…and now vitamins help Scizophrenia.
Which is your favourite Super-food? Some exotic berry from Watapaloosa, some rare grass from Groyndjingfjort? Maybe that new sweet-potato from just west of GMO Gully? At GREENPETS, we grow just regular stuff. Super foods must be for super people, and we are just ordinary home-grown organic plebs. No GMO in these veins, or beds, orchards and fields. We eat food, normal food, and we try to avoid preservatives and over-processed gunk. Super Foods? Super profits on hyped-up marketing claims. Super foods fall into the same category as cancer cures; it fails miserably to solve the manufactured problem as advertised. The nutritional crisis of the world is not going to be solved by ever-more exotic supplements at ever-increasing prices.
There is one Super-food; a Balanced Diet. A balanced diet of fresh food. The latest wonder-supplement will treat your psychosis: taurine! Just the other day we decided it is not such a bright idea to use taurine as supplement, for those who thought it a good idea to start with. Taurine is an amino acid. Amino acids build genes, genes build RNA and DNA, which builds proteins, which builds organisms…there is a lot of taurine in the average living organism. Just saying…
The same argument holds for vitamins and minerals, I guess. The nutritional hurdle is death. Once the organism dies, taurine is just an amino acid. When the amino acid partakes in the ordered existence of a conscious being, such as any living cell, it is not a static ‘thing’ hanging somewhere in space and time. It is a very complex chemical-spatial arrangement with some motility. This image must be repeated a billion times to get an idea of one small section of a cell. The moment you take that enzyme from its living environment, it ceases to be an enzyme, it becomes a static arrangements of molecules, an arrangement of a type labelled ‘amino acids’ for recording purposes.
Some foods are indeed ‘richer’ in this vitamin or that, this trace mineral or that, but if you line up all your so-called superfoods, one for every mineral you think you need, you may find there is much more than you can eat. If you had to run after every ‘super’ food, you would never stop eating. In the end, a regular, balanced selection of fruits, vegetables and greens, in season, should do you well. A little meat is nice, but the fat is actually what you need. Meat is ‘rich’ in protein, but so are many legumes, nuts and grains. Amino acids, as discussed above, are best obtained from live organisms, putting you at the mercy of greens. A leaf can stay alive for days after being picked; the average reaction to taking a bite out of a live cow involves the Law. Just saying…
So, instead of telling me about super-foods, hyper-additives and wonder supplements, rather tell me where the nearest farm co-op or fresh vegetable market is. Oh, on the other side of my province? Actually the adjacent two provinces’ markets are closer to me. I could go to my local veggie shop, for some mass-produced, nutritionally worthless dead matter that could either be the stuff the supermarkets did not want, or the leftovers flown in from that big farm in the desert. It certainly is limp and tasteless, which is why we started growing our own. Farming is not really in our blood, it is hard work and steep learning curves, most literature is aimed at producing tons of the watery stuff described above. It is about disastrous crop infestations and crippling flock infections, organic farming is, especially if you know nothing to start with.
We are fully aware that farming in the kitchen is a nonsense idea. There are still a few people around who can actually farm, and we better get them to teach us, for they are getting old, very old. Factory farming in faraway places is not going to feed us. They will stuff us with dead proteins and rendered fats and refined sugars until we are bloated and cancer-ridden and they will not stop until we have spent our last red cent on medical help that is designed to serve a product to clients. If we are what we eat, then these days, we are genetically modified, vitamin-enriched, roundup-ready chemistry sets living off dead organic matter imported all the way from the Big Farm at great cost. Expensive, zombies, that’s what we are…or rather, zombies with ever-more expensive tastes in dead food.
Honey is Perfect Food
There is no warm-blooded animal on the Greenpets farm that dislikes honey. There is no substance, no matter how distasteful, that cannot be fed to an animal, provided it has enough honey in it, on it or around it. A dollop of honey at the bottom of a drinking bowl is motivation enough for a dog to slurp trough the bitterest medicinal tea, for is the treasure under there not worth the bit of goo I have to lick out of the way? Of course it is, it is pure, raw, unadulterated non-irradiated food of the gods, and I’m gonna get me some.
Easy Skin Cream
An easy recipe for a passable skin cream
Collect Aloe Vera gel as described in the HERBAL. The amount of gel you collect determines the quantities that follow:
Half as much aqueous cream. Choose any brand you are comfortable with, we recommend you research some of the additives on the labels. Avoiding them is an exercise worthy of any holist, but everything comes at a price.
Water, distilled battery water is okay, also half as much as you have aloe gel.
Put all this into a liquefier that has been sterilised with a bleach solution. Let it run at top speed until everything turns into a stiff cream. Bottle in sterile container, use like any other cream.
This cream contains no preservatives, and will last one week. Microwaving the cream, then re-emulsifying it once cooled down, extends life but is still not as effective as the commercial cocktails we are trying to avoid. The cream, however, covers extremely well, and draws into the skin with minimal or no oiliness, adjustable by putting more or less cold cream into the mix.
The odour is that of green plant and whatever your commercial cream smells like, but both odours seems to dissipate quickly.
While we make no claims or promises for this cream, it sure works well to sooth irritable skin and it is gentle on rashes and soft skin, especially thóse areas. Research on turning this into a beauty product continues, for now it is just a healthy clean skin cream, provided you choose the aqueous cream well.
First Aid for Skin Lesions and Wounds
Treating skin wounds start by diagnosing the problem. For this reason, we may divide this article into subsections according to diagnoses, or causes, or skin symptoms of a vast variety. Instead we will divide our treatments into two types: Dry wounds and wet wounds. Dry wounds may be distinguished by the fact that they are not festering or oozing some goo. Bleeding from a fresh wound is considered as ‘dry’. Dry wounds are best kept clean and dry and well aired. Fresh dry wounds have a fairly well proven protocol:
Clean the wound immediately. No matter how bad it is bleeding, sometimes blood is the only liquid available for getting debris out the wound. All other attempts to repair damage will be negated by the festering of dirt inside a bandaged wound. The most bestest substance to wash a wound with was and is always water. Clean water, but the stuff they feed you through your house’s taps will do in an emergency. If the wound is still bleeding by this time, you need serious help. Start by applying pressure, not a tourniquet.
Finding the right point to press may take some time, but if the wound is bleeding badly, there must be a large vein open, which can be closed down by pressing it shut before it exits the wound. This should allow time for further treatment. At GREENPETS, this implies you are reaching for the Sphagnum Moss. Some of our friends and colleagues who have seen us demonstrate the efficacy of this stuff, refer to it as Magic Moss. Cover the wound liberally in the moss. This will soak up blood and keep the wound uninfected.
Here be some warning about using sphagnum moss: you are obviously in distress (wounded) and depending upon the severity of you wound, on your way to find medical assistance. When you approach a trained professional with a wound stuffed with something that looks like mud, you will be treated as an idiot. Also, the quick healing of a wound bandaged with moss necessitates very quick secondary treatment to prevent scars. In other words, as soon as the wound stops bleeding, you have to remove every last bit of moss, and get stitched up. If not, the gaping wound will heal quickly and cleanly, but with a wider scar than if it got stitched.
Sphagnum Moss is easily removed from a wound by gentle splashing with water. That’s it, it comes off very easily, and it simultaneously scrubs the wound of other small debris. Keeping the wound bandaged with moss instead of other salves, ointments and concoctions, will keep your wound breathing clean healing air, while soaking up any fluids that may ooze, which would otherwise irritate surrounding skin. Also, changing bandages becomes less yucky with those funny pussy fluids of normal treatments, except that the dried moss may fall like potting soil all over, the slightest breeze scatters it. What’s left on the wound just rinses off, remember. Good luck sweeping the carpet, though…
Then, there are the wet wounds. An example would be the patch of skin torn off your knee in the parking lot football game. Fresh wet wounds are treated like dry wounds, and if you gone done it proper, it should not become a wet wound. After cleaning the wound, which should be easier and less bloody work than a deep cut, the wound can be covered in the juice of Sourfig. This will disinfect and also dry into a thin protective payer. Keep the wound clean and breathing, with regular applications of Sourfig. Instructions for the correct application of sourfig can be found at the Sourfig Herbal Page.
Once the wound has dried nicely, and can be kept open and free, a generous layer of Aloe Vera can be applied. This will quickly dry into a thin, soft, pliable protective layer over the skin. This will keep the wound clean, protect the new scar tissue against light and stress, reducing or even preventing scarring after the wound heals. There is no reason to stop applying Aloe after the wound has healed; keep it up until you are sure there is no more improvement in the appearance of the scar. This is not cosmetic surgery, scar tissue means healing, but scar tissue is new-born baby skin, it should be treated no more harshly than you would a new-born baby’s skin. Sunburn turns a fresh, treatable scar into permanent disfigurement.
For old, green, festering wounds, things become tricky; people with such wounds very often have given up trying to find ‘anything that works’. Sometimes the cause is financial, or just a question of access. In all cases, the wound is old, which means the patient has sorta gotten used to living with the wound. This may or may not mean that they will co-operate. By this time, any offer of help will surely be met with scepticism, as ‘everyone has already tried’. You first task is to get past the hopelessness. Both the refusal of help and the demand for immediate results to prove your competency must be taken in the context of a desperate person who has obviously ‘tried everything’. Do not get pulled into the despair, because the next step will surely need your energy more:
Getting past the green smell of an old wound is no walk in the park. All living organisms retreat from its own kind if it stinks of death. Breathe not too deeply of the death-smell, it has effects more than just wrinkling your nose. Kind begets kind, remember. Next, you must convince the patient that the thing needs cleaning. Any skins and scabs and things on the surface has to be removed, with repeated washing with water, clean water, sterile water if you can. A good soak in salt water may be helpful, otherwise repeated sponging or brushing. If available, make a tea of one or more, preferably all the following: Lavender, thyme, sage and rosemary. These are available in most urban neighbourhoods as garden plants, and in shops as cooking herbs. GREENPETS prefer their tea herbals fresh, purely by reason of knowing exactly what we have in hand. Scrub the wound clean with this tea, convince the patient to keep washing the wound thusly, and also have the patient drink the tea twice a day as systemic support to aid healing. Cold sores and open ulcers respond well to this treatment.
After cleaning an old green wound of all putrefied matter, disinfect with sourfig. Dust with moss and bandage if needed. At all cost avoid getting a wound all sweaty and fermenting. The trick is to keep the wound open to air while keeping infection out, and bacterial infectors are microscopic.
For wounds where scarring would be cosmetically disastrous, keep your treatment to first aid, get the patient to professional help, and try rinse off the moss before you send them in. The good doctors will do the expensive things needed to prevent any prettiness escaping through the laceration. Trust me, you do not want to be saddled with the accusations that you ruined a pretty thing. They will only remember the scar, not the gratitude for saving their life or limb. If the good doctor kills them, that’s life, if you scar them, you are an evil incompetent, beware their lawyers.
Constipation, the No-Medicine Approach
You cannot deny the urge, the urge that brings even Superman to his knees. Then, you sit down, and nothing happens. Some people have real difficulty getting going, and worst of it all is, the harder it gets, the harder it becomes, until you feel like stuffed death. If it gets real bad, your breath can start smelling real shitty, but mostly constipation leads to discomfort, then nausea, then progressive disaster and flatulence, until you approach total toxic overdose Pooping is not just for any a-hole, and modern life is making it harder.
Some people spend more time on potty training their dog than they spend on their own digestive system. As other articles on this site point out, the digestive tract is a conscious entity, containing not only its own neuro-receptors, but also communicating with the brain on a dedicated communication channel, so to speak. Your health, your wellness, your mood, your very character is directly influenced by the goings-on inside that long, squiggly hole between our lips and our toilet bowl. Not pooping right can give you a shitty disposition…
Also, falling behind in the business of your behind, is sure to tax your liver, giving rise to lethargy and nausea, in other words, feeling shitty. If you keep this going for a long time, your health will definitely take a knock, and there is also a solid-looking theory that constipation, if allowed to ferment, sends a farty bubbly up your spine, to your brain, where it gives rise to shitty ideas. This may or may not be true, but why risk it, right? So take a dump every day, early as possible, before breakfast, and everything should be all right. Of cause, you are reading this because you are having issues and hoping we got some usable advice, so let’s get to it:
Are you drinking enough water? Dehydration can cause your waste to compact and harden slightly. Even more important is greens. Are you eating greens? You really should, and fruit also helps a lot to loosen the tummy. A waking-up coffee helps to get the day going, if you take my meaning. Make it a strong one, it really helps. Beyond coffee there is a variety of commercial help, none of which is beneficial in the long run. After fixing your diet, water intake and getting addicted to coffee, there is one more bit of advice to depart, the real reason for this article: Are you pooping in the right posture?
Here is the thing about sitting down and dropping the load: all modern toilets are made to standard. This may mean your toilet seat is not at the optimal height for your body to have a goodly poopy. First of all, do not hunch. Do not lean forward and squat on your own lap. Sit up straight, your back should not bend. Put something (like a brick) under your feet, so your knees are higher than your bum. I bet the Muslims have it very comfortably, I’ve seen their loos at petrol stations; like squatting over a hole in the bush. You don’t get much better than that, let me tell you! So, sit up straight, lift your knees a little, and BREATHE! This is very important, stop pushing your poop out by force; it just causes more stress to an already unhappy system. All the necessary force needed to evacuate the bowels comes from the diaphragm pushing from above. All other forms of ‘pushing’ compresses the guts in an unhealthy and counterproductive way, actually closing the passage down, rather than just loosening up and letting go.
Another thing is that the bladder also plays a part. When the bladder is very full, it constricts the faeces. When you are overstuffed in your poopchannel, your bladder cannot void. This builds into the classic bathroom emergency. Another thing you can try is to get up. No, really, you are stuck anyway, it’s not like it’s gonna all fall out suddenly, so get up, shake a leg, maybe do a squat or two. This often gets things going rather quickly, so don’t pull your pants up and be ready to sit down suddenly. The chances of pooping before you had a pee, by the way, are little.
The order should be as follows: A slight pee to top off the worst pressure, if needed, then the bowels should be free to move, and then you know you’re done when you have one last, good pee. Any deviation from this is bound to lead to trouble later. Try not to pinch things off in any manner or way, do not push, pull, pucker or whatever, just sit up straight, lift your knees , breathe deeply, and relax all the muscles in your body. If needed, get up and shake the body a bit, in a relaxation-exercise kind of way. Avoid stress, tension and forcefulness. These things, like medication and laxatives, may help in the short run, but in the end it just worsens the problem., and that’s a shitty idea, don’t you stink?
God's medicine is freely available, it is the concoctions of the school of physicians that is expensive and apparently hard to come by
- Parent Category: NATURAL LIVING
I tell you now about a reviled weed, infesting the lawns of the respectable garden-proud gardener who deserves respect for his lawn in his garden. Phooie, I tell you! I am here to extoll the virtues of a flower so wonderful, so magical, so magnificent and glorious, it survives despite the best efforts of the murderous chemical-strewing lawn-slavers of the garden elite. I tell you about Taraxacum Officionale. I tell you about the weed of the Lion's Teeth, I present to your mind's eye, (oh, sorry, there's a picture over there), the mighty, the great, the uncontested medicinal weed...
Cold Sores and Fever Blisters
Cold sores are better prevented than cured. Never kiss anyone showing cold sores, do not con other people to kiss you while your infection is flaring up.
Cold sores are actually lesions caused by herpes viruses. Sometimes, when your immune system is under stress, a virus may overcome your defences and cause an area of soft tissue to become inflamed. Left to grow, it will eventually burst to the surface as a roundish, flat, wet, oozing wound. This sore may be an ugly reddish purple blotch just outside your mouth, or it might open inside your mouth, a swollen sensitive burning bump that keeps getting in the way of your teeth. This is usually how you discover the darn thing; biting your own inner lip to shreds.
Your first duty, as with all injuries, is to clean up the site. The outside is simple enough: you wash your entire face, because the fluids coming off that sore has a habit of infecting more places. Now seal up the wound with Sourfig, as follows:
Break a finger off the sourfig plant, lightly squeeze the torn end to produce some free juice, then lightly dab the sore with the juicy end, ONCE. Carefully nip off the open end of the leaf, because it is infected. Squeeze again for juice, dab once on the sore, covering more of the wound, nip off the leaf. Repeat this until the entire wound, and at least half a centimetre around it, is covered in a thick layer of juice. This will quickly harden into a clear, invisible skin that is not only disinfectant, but will keep all sorts of dirt off the wound, preventing scars.
Blisters inside the mouth are somewhat more difficult. First, do your best not to bite the sore continuously. Secondly, keep your mouth clean of al sugars and starch, that is what fungus eat and thrive on. The good news is that your body replaces the inner lining of your mouth extremely quickly, so scrub that thing clean, then keep your mouth clean, and the saliva should eat that blister away within a day, two at most. Of course, eating right, with proper nutrition, and lots of fresh fruit and greens to scrub the mouth is important.
Once the wound is clean and dry, you next step is to recharge your immune system. You will know your immunity has increased when the cold sore starts clearing up. The more you do to restore your health and wellness, the quicker the ugly thing will disappear. Wellness is about eating right, drinking plenty clean water, productive exercise, such as fetching on foot what you usually start the car for, or weeding the garden yourself, or just fixing the kid’s bike. Being productive is good for the human soul, and wellness includes happiness. Cold sores are as likely to appear in times of emotional stress as in times of physical weakness. Once again; wellness is about eating, drinking and working clean. What you eat, your state of electrolytic mobility (hydration) and your activities have immediate and provable effects upon your brain, hormones and psyche, while the condition of your psyche has no other manifestation than your physical body and what you accomplish with it. We are what we eat…
Athlete's Foot Treatment
Athlete’s Foot is a terrible disfigurement and disgusting pestilence. There are many creams available, some more expensive than others, many of them actually work. The sad part, as always with industrial medicaments, is that the ‘better’ it works, the more likely something in there is not good for the body as a live ecosystem, a holistic whole. Anti-fungal medications are, by definition, deadly to fungi. The fungus family is well represented in the body, irreplaceably intertwined with the collective consciousness that forms the corpus humanus. The indiscriminate killing of fungi in the human body is never a good idea, and may lead to mental aberrations later on, like recurring feelings that life would be better if some young man kicks a ball at some target during some weekly ritual or another.
Luckily, the body comes with its own cure for athlete’s foot: a sulphurous concoction of uric acid and water. The easiest, safest, some say quickest (except for the very most ‘better’ expensive creams) way to treat athlete’s foot is as follows:
In the morning, before you do anything else, you usually have a pee, right? No? Then you are severely dehydrated, probably sniffle a lot, suffer terrible headaches, and you probably feel tired all the time while never getting to fall asleep properly. Drink some fresh water before you go to bed, keep some at your bedside, and have a good swig as you wake up. That should change many things for the better, and allow you to treat your fungal infection which probably found you an easy target, being all sickly and un-energised through lack of water. Anyway, your first task of the day is to get your fresh urine onto your infected feet. In the shower it is easy to pretend you are not being disgusting by standing inside the waterfall while treating your foot just outside the curtain of falling water. Once your bladder is empty, wait a while for your foot to dry before you pull it under the water to wash.
Another, slightly more or less disgusting method, is to pee in a container, then soak your infection while it is still fresh. Use a flat pan large enough to fit your foot/feets, pour the pee over, let it soak for a minute, go wash your foot. NEVER WASH BODILY FLUIDS WITH HOT WATER! Cold water will rinse just about anything your body can produce. Just use cold water to rinse your feet after treatment, promise, it leaves no stains, smells or sensations, but it will clear even bad infections within a week or two. After washing your foot, cover the sores with Sourfig and let dry before putting on proper clean cotton socks and dry shoes. Avoid all moisture build-up on your feet, and foot-powder is a good investment if you are going to insist sharing wet bathroom floors with strangers…
Walking barefoot is always better than tying your feet up in nylon, plastic and suchlike airtight coffins that allows no breathing for you skin. Also, your friends with bare feet are not likely to infect you with foot-eating fungi under the pretence of sportsmanship.
Good luck, hope you are not too disgusted. Promise it works, though, and here’s a little aside: the younger the person donating the urine, the better it works. The urine of pre-pubescent boys are considered most desirable, while the first morning pee of a baby boy is commonly applied to sties and eye infections. The spittle of virgin girls is another health aid in this class, but that we will keep for some other day.
The Posing Fly
Dani took these just hours after she was given her first real camera. These have been severely underpixelated for quick and cheap loading on your browser, of course. It shows a common house fly in the ever-tightening grip of a sundew plant. Just to have some photos on the photographic page…
Here the fly gets trapped by the sticky juices
PHOTOGRAPHING A SOLAR ECLIPSE
So, roundabout winter solstice, and I'm using the dry weather to lift my entire roof, to replace the rotten purlins. Winter on the Highveld does not make for comfortable picnicking on a tin roof, so phonecalls are not exactly appreciated. It's the wife, she must have urgent news. She has; there will be an eclipse today, can I please grab her camera and take some pics? Yeah, right, that fancy toy of yours? But a man has to try. I know how digital cameras work, technically, but I've never used a professional camera before. Better be safe, then. This is what I came up with:
MINIMILLSM and Natural Engineering
We will get going on this page soon, there are more urgent needs, from an engineering point of view. For now, I need an article to publish, so I will give you an idea what to expect from MINIMILLSM.
The guy that can grind one bag of maize an hour for the cost of one meal, will soon be more important to human survival than the plant producing ten tons an hour using Frankenfood maize. We will supply you that small mill.
The guy that can weld iron in the mountain will always make a living, the engineers with salaries have contracts to fulfil. How do you weld with no electricity or fancy gas equipment? MINIMILLSM knows some tricks of import.
While the going's good though, we have technology at our fingertips, from analysing electronic circuitry to printing 3-D plastic objects to turning and forging and casting and interesting designs for off-grid machinery.
Most importantly, for someone who also thinks the world can be improved by a bit of cleverness, we help designers and inventors to realise their dreams by building mock-ups and prototypes. Sometimes it turns out the idea stinks to high heaven, but the cost of trying it was negligible compared to the temptation of trying to go into production straight away. Bad results can sometimes be more educational and informative than insipid successes.
We also know some of the big fish, in case you need the services of a manufacturer. You wanna play with sharks, we know some whales too.
Keep an eye on this space, especially if you are a home brewer or you keep small animals. Our first product lines will carry us on to the next level forever.
EASY BREWING IN 8 STEPS
1. Get yourself some sugar concentrate going.
2. Sterilise it. Keep it sterile from here on.
3. Add hops to taste. Other flavours maybe.
4. Cool raw beer down to 20°C as quick as possible
5. Add yeast and close fermenter against infection
6. Wait a few days until all signs of life cease
7. Prepare for drinking by bottling or casking
8. Drink and enjoy a job well done
You want it to be more complex? Don't ask for trouble trying to make it complex, spend your energy and money on HYGIENE. Hygiene is your friend. Infections are your arch enemy. There are horrible things in the air we breathe, you certainly find out about them when you learn brewing! KEEP EVERYTHING CLEAN. This includes your equipment, your workspace, your tools and yourself.
Of course there is some details to fill in above, for which I will provide cheap-to-load detailed articles. For now, here are the same steps in BREWERS' TERMINOLOGY:
Sparging is an art. For all the hype about imported grains, your sparging technique is what will extract the needed maltose solution from your grains. This is probably the second-hardest part of brewing, extracting the maximum sugars from the grain, without ending up with barley soup. Every brewer does it differently, with different equipment. The cheapest sparger you can build yourself, is a cooler box at least three times as big as the volume of grain after grinding. A sieve arrangement of some sort at the bottom, and of course some sort of valve. This can be a stainless-steel dairy-type ball valve with complete dismantling capabilities, or a hosepipe fitting (sterile) and a meter of hosepipe (STERILE) that you can lift above the liquid level inside the sparger…simple tap, costs almost nothing, easy to STERILISE.
Your duty is now to warm water to 64 degrees Celsius. This is very important, and will seriously influence your ability to extract sugars. It will be necessary to measure the temperature of the mash constantly and keep circulating and heating your sparging water to obtain 64degrees in the mash. This is best done in a cooler box as it keeps the mash at temperature. Once you are certain your mash has reached 64°C, close the lid and leave for an hour. Rinse out the sparge liquor into a stainless steel pot. You should now have a large pot of very sweet liquor. Take a long narrow glass or beaker, and cool some wort down to 20 degrees, check it with the hygrometer. It should bob high, much higher than the section marked as BEER START on the hygrometer scale. This first sparge is the best, but a lot more sugar can be rinsed from your mash Heat back up, without burning or boiling over, to 68 degrees, pour back onto mash. From here on it is your choice how hot you will take the sparge, but NEVER BEYOND 74 DEGREES. We do a leisurely three to four hours to complete our sparge. The entire sparging process revolves around ENZYMES. They are activated at 64 degrees, and die at 74 degrees. At every temperature in-between they act and react a bit differently, and by heating the mash in steps, a greater variety of sugars may be extracted.
Once you have extracted enough malt sugars, you need to boil it off. This is important for two reasons: STERILISATION is foremost. The second reason is to achieve PROTIEN BREAK. This is what makes beer different from, say, fermented barley soup. The two most basic tricks to make your boil successful, is NEVER LET IT BOIL OVER, and if you put a lid on it, IT WILL BOIL OVER.
You will know when your liquor has finished boiling, by the fluffy algae-looking stuff floating in your precious beer. There are many ways to rid yourself of this gunk, but the most efficient seems to be the CYCLONE. I did not know about the CYCLONE until my bro’ Dirk showed me. Technology is a marvellous thing, especially when it is free. Once the liquor has stopped bubbling, you stir the pot, hard, like a cup of tea with too much sugar, you get that wort whirling, creating a fast circulating cyclone, and then you slip the spoon out. Put back the lid, and start getting your cooling stuff ready. Once you have yourself organised for cooling the wort, open the lid, and amaze yourself with the sight of all those oogly googlies that floated in your beer, all lying clumped up and easy to avoid, or to remove first, a heap of fluff in the centre of the pot’s bottom.
If you are brewing in the kitchen using many pots, add HOPS only to the main pot. Simmer the hops for a few minutes, usually less than thirty minutes, sometimes as little as five. Your own preferences will prevail over time, but initially be warned; hops is a rather pungent, bitter and calming herb. Do not be too brave, regret is not a desirable additive to real beer. Here is what you do:
After you have achieved protein break, bring the wort down to a fast simmer. The liquid should stay moving, stirring itself slowly. The rough first guide to hopping is about one gram per litre, dried compressed pellets. That said, the previous statement is utter bull. It depends on the flavour you are aiming at, the bitterness, the shelf life. Another spanner in the works is the exact type of hops you use. Once again, you can spend ten bucks a gram on some famously imported variety that is secretly used by the best-selling American brand. Riiight. In the end, you can get started with dead normal hops your supplier breaks into small 25g packets. Worry about speciality ingredients once you manage to brew three normal beers in a row. Simmer the hops for five to twenty minutes. It depends on sugar content, temperature, quality of hops. You will learn. Start with twenty minutes, it will allow maximum hops influence, to learn what hops does to beer. Later you can adjust to taste.
COOLING THE WORT
Now you have to cool that wort down! Quickly. This is what the gurus call hot-side working. Every action you take here has some detrimental effect on your beer. You must get oxygen in there, without allowing germs. You have to cool it to 20 degrees as soon as possible, because anything warmer, and your yeast will not survive. The most dangerous time for your wort is between 48 and 24 degrees, the growth temperature range preferred by our enemy: faulty hygiene.
Once the hops has been infused to tatse, it is time to take off the heat. Here starts the most difficult part of brewing. It is not impossible, but you will want to spend your first non-essential funds here. You need to construct yourself a cooler. There are many, many ways, including sterilised ice cubes. Tried it, it worked, sort of. Swozzling the wort in a steel pot inside a basin filled with icewater does work, takes half a night for ten litres, and will almost assuredly end up in an infected, sour beer. Once you have your sterile, cool wort in your fermenter tank, you are ready to PITCH THE YEAST.
Our logo, the crazy chicken, has forefathers in our history of wort cooling. Happily, that was all before we built THE COOLER. Follow this link to see an instructable. Once we had a cooler, brewing became a pastime of leisure. It was always a pleasure, but once we had a cooler, there was time on brewing day for other pleasures as well, free time for the brewery labourers, you might say. The trick is to get that wort from 70-something degrees to twenty degrees as soon as possible. Remember this one thing: Get the wort cooled down to twenty degrees as soon as possible. WITHOUT INFECTING IT. Then PITCH. You know about pitching? That’s what brewers call the seriously ritualistic act of adding yeast to the wort. Now we are making beer! Read on to see about yeast and other lively little critters.
PITCHING THE YEAST
In olden days, people thought beer happened because of many strange beliefs. It was only recently some clever guy with a microscope realised that those lively little microbes there are eating sugar, farting carbon dioxide gas and peeing alcohol. Not angels, demons or spirits, just plain microscopic little creatures eating and breeding and living their life, and then we enjoy their excrement. Nice, eh? Granted, it is the excrement of a very particular species of microbug. This is very important: The excrement of whatsisname cervensis tastes like beer, whereas just about every other form of yeast, fungus or microbe gives of waste that does not taste like beer. As a matter of fact, the excrement of just about every single organism other than C.Cervensis tastes like…poop?
This is why it is utterly, unforgivingly, important to be sterile in your dealings with your beer. Very many commercial brewers have difficulty getting this right, that’s why their beers give you hangovers and headaches before you even go to sleep. How many beer drinkers won’t swear high and low that Charley’s Palace Lager tastes better in cans than dumpies, whereas Red Sticker Beer is best enjoyed in quart bottles? Usually, the cans and the bottles are from different locations, each with its own set of infections, and therefor even a multibillion-dollar company cannot make the same brand taste the same every time. Imagine how difficult it is going to be for you in your kitchen. TAKE CARE.
FERMENTING THE BEER
The yeast does all the work, and boy, do they work! One of the fun things about your first brew is the gurgling and snorting from your air trap. If your beer does not gurgle, you probably have a problem. DO NOT OPEN TO LOOK. If you open the fermenter, it will surely attract germs. The only way to check on the progress of your beer, is to tap some and measure the SPECIFIC GRAVITY. Be sure to watch your air trap, you don’t want to suck that water into your beer! Once you can reliably pitch successfully, tapping a sample becomes optional. Just wait two days after the bubbling stops. Bubbling means fermentation, no bubbling is a fair indication that fermentation has slowed down enough not to matter anymore. This does not mena your beer has fermented completely. The yeast could have been stopped by many factors. Temperature shock, infection, too high an alcohol content for the yeast to operate…
Yes, you read right, if the alcohol level rises too high, the yeast die. Remember, alcohol is nothing but yeast pee. Imagine living in your own pee! This only really happens when your SPECIFIC GRAVITY was too high at the start. Or rather, too high for the strain of yeast you use. There are Belgian strains, for example, world famous for their ability to produce beer of 10 percent and stronger. Most yeast will stop breeding around 5 to 7 percent. If you dream of brewing forty percent beer, maybe this is the time to come back to earth. But maybe, just maybe, you will stick with brewing long enough to apply yourself to ten or twelve percent beer, which tastes almost like whiskey, so strong it is. Go buy a Duvel for example.
GASSING AND BOTTLING YOUR BEER
You have gone through the entire process now, and finally, after just about an entire week, you have beer. Actual beer, it will make you drunk just like Charley’s Palace brew, and if you worked cleanly and hygienically, it will actually taste cleaner, cause less hangover, and should not cause any health problems associated with infected beer such as Charley’s. It is, however, not exactly classy. If you were lucky and diligent, it should be more or less clear with minimal sediment. It will, however, be almost totally flat. Fear not, we fix that chop-chop.
First, we line up enough empty, clean and sterilised bottles for our beer. How many bottles? That depends on how much beer you have, divided by the LITRE capacity of your bottles. Eighteen litres and 330ml bottles means 18/0,33 = 55 dumpies. Because of sedimentation, we’d rather use 36 bottles of 500ml, or our favourite, 660ml bottles, and we usually fill around two crates and four spares. Two for the museum, and two for sampling when we lose patience waiting. That leaves one case for each of us two brewing buddies. As a final precaution, we use a small steam cleaner with a longer nozzle that fits right to the bottom of our bottles. This is how it goes:
Line up six empty bottles. Get the steamer (and everything else) lined up.
Put enough new crowns, plus a few spares for fumbling loss, into a bowl of boiling water.
Sterilise some honey. We gladly endorse Goldcrest, they are clean, pure, not irradiated. Mix 10ml per liter of beer, with equal amount boiling water in a sterilised cup. Prepare a clean, sterile syringe, the bigger the better. Mark it in 6ml steps for 660ml bottles, more or less, and just to confuse the issue, 10ml honey + 10ml water is not 20ml syrup. It’s a lot less! Stick to six mil, it is safe. Exploded beer tastes like failure and dust. Keep the marked syringe by the honey.
Put your fermenter where it is easy to work cleanly, like the kitchen table top. On the one side of the fermenter, must be space to work with the honey and six bottles. On the other side, place to work with one bottle, the bowl of crown caps, and the bottle capper. You want a sturdy table, that you can work on with some force in your arms. Capping the bottles can be difficult if you are too short, tall or uneven in your arrangements for this. Expect to waste some caps and bottles (with their contents) before you master this particular job. Save some money, and cap some water first. NOT ALL BOTTLES ARE REUSABLE. Not all bottles can be sealed using the normally available crimpers.
Right, now the dance starts:
Grab bottle, turn upside down, blast out with steam. Hand over.
Pump syringe 6ml honey syrup into bottle. Hand over
Open fermenter tap when drain pipe is at bottom of bottle to prevent splashing. Fill, hand over.
Take cap from hot tub, set on bottle, crimp. Put into crate.
Repeat above until the fermenter starts running yeast instead of beer.If it was a good brew, this yeast may be IMMEDIATELY REUSED. Look out for infections!
Honey dissolves water, so no stirring is needed for the beer once bottled. Age appropriately.
This is how to do the secondary fermentation and ageing and presentation al in one step. You end up with a clean, frothy, bubbly beer in a bottle, best enjoyed from a glass. Different beers actually taste different in differently shaped glasses. See this link for info on PROPER BEER GLASSES. The traditional German mug with the flare at the bottom is a very good compromise, especially if your beer is still a bit murky.
The Greenpets Apothecary Article Count: 7
A licensed health practitioner would supply advice on a page like this. We can't, but here are the things we use.
Photography Article Count: 2
Dani and her Nikon looking at the world.
Engineering Article Count: 1
Purpose-built and innovative helpful structures
Brewing Article Count: 8
The art of brewing, distilling and hydration of the body with the products thereof.