Fresh Batch made with a different yeast

Well another late night bottling up a batch of elderflower brew. This one made with ale yeast.

Not bad on first taste perhaps a bit dry and I am not sure if I left it a day or two to long brewing or if it is the yeast type. Might make up another smaller batch and keep the brewing down to about 4 days.

Having said that still very drinkable 🙂 and off course had to clean up a glass… wouldn’t want a part bottle now would we 🙂

This will be my last full batch for a while I have 30 liters of the stuff. Will freeze and dry some elderflowers instead and leave the rest of the flowers to become elderberries for elderberry port and tincture. After the bugs of this year going to stock up on anything to help the old immune systems over next winter.

Have a great week all and remember wishing for the weekend is wishing away a week of your life go out and live the week. 🙂


Kids and Milk

So I still have to put up the bottling and pasteurization process of the first batch of the elderflower champagne. Work and life have been a bit busy so I am a bit behind on the posts. Sorry about that but I did warn you previously that I would live the life first and blog it second 🙂

So I thought I would at least drop a line having just missed my train on how things are going.

I am already into my second batch and the ale yeast is going great guns. Should be ready to bottle on Friday if not before. The morning and evening ritual of storing and smelling it, like my ritual of checking my seeds each evening helps to keep it all in perspective.



I also had to post this sign from my daughters crèche. Growing up with a milking cow at the house this is no biggie to me but for her this is great adventure. And I would have to say a positive thing for the kids to see. The dislocation of people from where their food comes from is a cause for many of the ills we see in our world so getting kids involved at such a young age is a great thing.


Have a great day all and smell the roses (or brew) when you can

The Olla Bed

About a year ago I built an Olla bed. For those of you not familiar olla are a low tech unglazed earthen ware containers used to provide water directly to the roots of a plant.

A much better article than I could ever write is found at

With summer just around the corner (despite the sudden cold snap) I thought I had better give a report on how it is doing.

My Olla are not so pretty being made of some old clay pipe I had access to and some pot bases. I Sanded them to remove any glaze and used silicon to bind it all together. Over the last summer they lasted really well requiring a single fill up of the three olla to last the week.

I also incorporated a mini worm farm into the bed that helps to keep up the worms in the beds and compost it.

As you can see the beds are thriving. Last summer almost all of our salad vegetables came from this one bath tub. I was sick and tired of plastic packets of salad vegetables costing me a fortune and going bad after about two days.

The bed requires very little work to keep the plants maintained and as you are feeding directly to the roots of the plant the amount of weeds has been very minimal. I have used seedlings for the most part planting them around the Olla and this seems to work best for me, the developed roots seem to find the water without much trouble. Direct seeds seem to go the way of the weeds and not do as well.

This year I will be adding some herbs and more leafy greens to the mix and seeing how much I can push the system and how long the reservoirs will last with the bed fully loaded.

In the next week or two I will drop a post on the build process I went through.

Elderflower Tea and Put your feet up.

So been a busy day and just sitting back and relaxing with nice cup of elderflower and honey tea and reading a few blogs. 

Planning can take a back step for a few minutes and I am fairly content for a change. That will change tomorrow when I need to get through a list of things again but for now I will just enjoy it.

 Enjoy the day tomorrow all.

 Elderflower Teas.

Take one large elderflower head cover in a cup of boiled water. Stir in two teaspoons of honey. Leave for around 3 minutes then strain off the elderflowers and enjoy.

 Supposed to be good for you. I just like it because it tastes good and I enjoy it for the short elderflower season while I have access to it.

A bit of work for the urban hippie

Well it has been a busy weekend to say the least, lots done, lots still to do and there will be posts on that next week.

As I emptied the latest load of wood for the hugel bed I am building at the moment it is 11:00pm and I was wondering to myself why am I doing this again? I had just bottled 18 liters of elderflower champagne having finished sorting out an area for Andrea’s new bee hive all afternoon and finishing things in the garden.

All I wanted to do was collapse into bed.

I am reminded of the upbringing I had and how local farmers up country would work through the night as required. I remember my father getting up in lambing season and working as required dependent on the season.

Make hay while the sun shines is a fine old saying for this but it hides the fact that ‘work you guts out as it needs to be done’ is what it really says.

I enjoy the urban hippie lifestyle and I am/have been considering a life change to increase this. If this happens then this sort of thing will be the norm for me no doubt and it is something that I need to think about. I am sure I will go for it at the end of the day I but it is perhaps something to remember in the romantic dreams many have of simpler times and lives that there will be a lot of work to do.

At the end of the day I did get a very, very nice drop of elderflower champagne to while away my typing.

(yes I will post the bottling process tomorrow as part 3)

Have a great week all no matter what you are doing.

Elderflower Champagne (Part 2)

So after two days of brewing I should have seen the bubbling effect of the naturally occurring yeast if it was going to happen.

As you can see nothing to see here, move along says the natural yeast.

This is not uncommon and I would say that around 90% of my batches particularly from this particular tree require the addition of some yeast to get it brewing.

I thought I would start the season with some champagne yeast and then make the next batch with some ale yeast I have (each gives a slightly different flavour)

To make the yeast all happy and active you can use yeast nutrient which I did not have any or grate and apple and squeeze out the juice and add some warm water then the yeast and leaver in a warm spot for an hour or so.

The yeast will go active after that time (this dried yeast has been stored in my fridge for 3 years so far and all good despite the expiry date)

Once all happy and growing and frothing up dump it into the mix and stir through (remember to sterilise that spoon)

And the next morning you can see that the yeast is nice and active.

I will now leave it for another 4 days stirring morning and night now.