Category Archives: Ingredients

It’s quite amazing the things you can make drinks from.

Not So Secret Project

As you may have noticed things have been very quiet around here recently. This is because we’re currently working on quite a big project (for us). Brewing has still been happening, and once everything is up and running (or at least stable) on the big project all of those recipes will be going up in a deluge of information.

Now, as to the project itself. Obviously hints have been dropped, and if you follow on any of the social media streams you’ll probably know this but I wanted to do a full announcement anyway.

As you may know this is purely a volunteer effort, there’s no commercial aspect to our work on Old Boar’s Brews except for the satisfaction of some people enjoying our recipes, and sharing them with the world. Both of us are quite heavily into the sustainability thing, but have limited time – a lot of which is spent on actually brewing, or clearing up our new allotment plots, or working on the Next Big Thing.

So the Next Big Thing is this: a local business has agreed to give us some land, so that we can set up a small apiary. You can imagine our excitement at this, and it’s been all stations go since this happened as we work out the financials and how best to do it. There’s going to be a lot of work, including fundraising efforts as we’re looking at making this a self-sustaining venture, whereas most of our efforts are purely for enjoyment and not commercial in nature. We’re aiming to have around a dozen hives in place by May next year.

If anyone has any fundraising ideas (currently crowdfunding options are being bounced around, local t-shirt sales with bee-related puns, sponsorship and event a little commercial investment), or would just like to know more about what we’re doing let me know through the comments here, or through e-mail.

We are setting up a separate blog for Old Boar’s Apiary which will have all the latest news, and I’ll share the link here when that’s available.

As for what’s coming up here:

  • Lilac wine
  • Elderflower cordial
  • Elderflower wine
  • Update on the dandelion wine (and we will definitely be making more)
  • Rose wine/mead
  • Plum chutney
  • And more
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Posted by on June 2, 2014 in Ingredients, Preparation


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Heritage Carrot Wine

Basic Spirit Mix

  • Servings: 2 gallons
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print
* 2 kg bright purple heritage carrots, peeled and chopped
* 1 kg castor sugar
* water to two gallons
* wine yeast
* yeast nutrient

While walking through town last weekend we found that our local food stall was selling carrots. Purple carrots. Naturally on seeing these heritage carrots (I’ve heard of them, but never actually had a chance to try them) my immediate thought was ‘I bet those would make great wine’.

Purple carrot wine

Bubbling away very enthusiastically still

It has been suggested that my priorities may be slightly off, and some people would have wondered how these organic heritage carrots would taste as a foodstuff. I dispute this, as the evidence so far is that they will indeed make very interesting wine. It’s certainly colourful, though I was hoping for a more distinct purple out of the mix.

The recipe itself is very simple. Get a big pot. Put in lots of water and throw in the chopped carrots, as if you’re going to cook them. Simmer gently, and keep simmering for a few hours. Throw in the sugar at some point as well, as it’ll dissolve nicely.

Once you’re fed up of the smell of boiling carrots, let the whole mess cool and pour it into a must bucket. Top up to two gallons, throw in your yeast starter and nutrient, cover the bucket and leave for a couple of nights. After that you should have a nice froth on top of the bucket – siphon the liquid into two demijons, top off with an airlock apiece, sit back and listen to it bubble away happily. Wonder curiously about how it’ll taste.

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Posted by on March 18, 2014 in Ingredients, Recipe, Wine


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On Foraging and Farming

One thing we try to do with anything we make, wherever possible, is to make it from beginning to end. Yes, sometimes I’ll cheat and grab juices from the supermarket, or buy other ingredients there, but wherever it’s feasible we do try to either forage for things, or beg/barter from people in my network of friends and family. So before we’ve managed to get around 60kg of grapes from a combination of generous allotment owners and a nearby pub’s generosity, a 5kg marrow from a garden (apparently there’s only a certain amount of marrow that can be eaten before everyone is sick of it), 8kg of chestnuts (okay, actually they were for something else but next year I’ll be trying chestnut beer), a whole load of (poisonous and quickly discarded) mushrooms, several kilos of apples and so on.

I’m moderately proud of this, but determined to do better this year coming. Both with being more proactive in terms of foraging (there are specific things that I want to make, and we will need to do a lot of collecting to get them done) and by negotiating more to get produce. There are two things which might help with this, a lot.

Firstly my parents (who do have a garden available, unlike myself) are thinking about getting a couple of beehives and have already planted an orchard. You can imagine how happy I am about this, though whether I’ll see any of the honey remains to be seen. The orchard I’m fairly assured of getting a fair number of apples from (and we’ve located some wild apple trees as well, which will be harvested before the wind can get to them this time).

Secondly there’s a couple of acres of what seems to be abandoned vineyard nearby, and there’s a proposal being put forward to make this a community project. Whether anyone will find out the owner of the vineyard and be able to carry on with this I don’t know, but it’s worth a shot and I’ve already said that I’ll be happy to do everything I can to help out with the whole thing.

With the organised beg/barter stuff out of the way, my wishlist for foraging over the next couple of months comes into play:
* Nettles (nettle beer being the main aim of this one)
* Spruce needles (spruce needle beer, surprisingly)
* Birch sap (birch wine)
* Young beech leaves (beech leaf noyau – a sort of gin infusion)

So, roll on spring. And a stop to the rain would be nice.

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Posted by on February 17, 2014 in Ingredients, Preparation


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Killer Kiwi

2kg kiwis
1 1/2kg castor sugar
water to 1 gallon
1 cup strong tea (no milk or sugar)
wine yeast

First take and peel the kiwis – I found that a potato peeler worked well for this, after top and tailing them with a knife. Slice thinly and place in the water for 24 hours, along with the sugar and cover with a damp towel.

After 24 hours add the other ingredients and move everything into a fermentation bucket for about a week. After the week is up, strain the liquid into a demijohn and leave to ferment as normal, racking on a semi-regular basis.

I’ve never tasted kiwi wine before, and won’t be for some time to come as it apparently needs a long time to Killer Kiwi labelferment, and needs to be stored for at least a few months before becoming pleasant to the palate. However kiwis were on special offer and curiousity got the better of me.

The peeling is tedious and sticky, but not as difficult as peeling lychees or chestnuts, and only took about 20 minutes. Due to time contraints the fruit was then dumped whole into the water to try and prevent it oxidising while we slept, or while I’m at work today. I’ll be finishing up the preparation when I get home tonight and hopefully have an update to this post later.

Update: Slight delay to the preparation, but the slicing is now done and sugar is currently dissolving. It’ll be soaking overnight, and going into demijohns tomorrow. No oxidation at all on the fruit, so keeping it soaking worked, and hopefully it’ll all be good to go into the brew tomorrow.


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New Batch


The mass of raw ingredients.

So here we go, ramping into production. What you see here are 6 litres of pinapple juice (which is going towards a rather experimental pineapple-rum concoction), 12 litres of red grape juice, 6 litres of apple juice (going towards appleade once the champagne yeast turns up), 2 kilos of parsnips, 2 kilos of beetroot, 2 kilos of mushrooms, 2 kilos of lychee and 2 kilos of kiwi.

Of course there were also the mandatory lemons, and a lot of sugar, but they’re barely worth mentioning.

The parsnip, pineapple and lychee recipes will be up soon and everything should be on to brew by the end of the week. Just sitting in a house full of boiling parsnip and lychee smell, with a bucket full of pineapple just waiting for some dissolved demarara sugar and turbo yeast. Some odd looks were received at the supermarket, but I’ll show them – I’ll show them all!

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Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Ingredients


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