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", too, will be able to amaze your family and friends with a bubbling airlock! (You laugh now...)"

This is from the first chapter of Palmer's How To Brew, an excellent book that manages to act both as a basic guide to brewing your first beer and a really useful reference when carrying on from there, and the thing is, it's true. I was in a fucking foul mood on the tram this evening, pardon my Dutch, but getting home and finding both my beers bubbling made me feel a lot better. It's a proper cockles-of-the-heart job, seeing and hearing the evidence of your little yeasty friends turning a bunch of mushed-up grain into beer.

The beer brewing itself sort of went a bit wrong. That was the first time we've tried to brew on a weekday evening and I didn't properly think through what things could have been done beforehand, so even if everything had finished on time it wouldn't have been done til midnight. But by the time I'd mashed and boiled and cooled, and topped up using the top-up water carefully prepared after realising last time that we were probably going to need some every time, the gravity of the wort, which should have been around 1.075 or so, was off the scale. (It's a strange sight, is a hydrometer bobbing so high there's no more measurements to read.) I needed More Water. So I had to boil, and cool, More Water. That takes time. 2am is a perfectly reasonable time to finish brewing, isn't it? And then there was no more room in the fermenter for the extra water because we're trying to do small brews, but I couldn't bring myself to throw any wort away, so one fermenter's got ten litres of about the right gravity in it and another's got two litres of the strong stuff, and, they're both bobbling, and this is ace. The yeast probably won't be able to cope with turning all that into alcohol, so the higher gravity one will probably end up very sweet, but hey, it's meant to be oatmeal cookie flavoured anyway, so we can just call it a dessert beer or something. And next time I'll boil more water.

I was in a foul mood on the tram, and indeed on the tram at all, because my folding bike's broken. I've been commuting on it daily, bar holidays, since I bought it last November in a second-hand but clearly little-used state, and today the seat tube has sheared clean through. I have no idea if it can be repaired but I suspect the answer is no. And I don't know what my other options are apart from shitty heavy Dutch folding bikes that don't even have gears or brakes (backpedal brakes do NOT count) or the Brompton I neither want nor want to try and afford. A knackered second-hand Brompton goes for around €700 round here, and new ones a bit more than twice that. Also, I went to the Dutch conversation group and got stuck in a conversation with the most boring geek ever, and seriously, given that this is a post about beer brewing and folding bikes, with upcoming Norwegian experimental jazz, also take into consideration everyone I've ever gone out with, when I say a boring geek you know I mean it. He had a plainly insupportable theory that he wouldn't let go of and I think he thought I was being amused rather than pained at his determination to get me to agree with it. I'm sure I've done this to someone else, somewhere else, so maybe it's karma, but. I didn't need that today.

Two other contributions to the cockle-warming were waiting in the post when I got home, one being a birthday present for Chris that's late but nicer than I'd hoped, and the other being the second Splashgirl album. This is a band I didn't see in Norway, if that makes sense; there was a jazz festival on while we were in Bergen, and we didn't go to any of it, but I had a flick through the programme and looked up some of the bands. On the basis of youtubing I bought Splashgirl's third album, Pressure, which is so full of the lingering illumination of a far northern summer night that I've been in danger of crying from listening to it, and then I bought the other two as well. The first, Doors, Keys, turns out to be all flashy music-school check-out-our-arhythmic-artifice bollocks, which is a shame, but the second one seems to have been where they realised that was all bollocks, went and listened to some drone metal, and set about trying to make a photographic negative of it built out of space and light instead. I don't think they do it as well as they've managed on Pressure, but at least it's another album by the band I like rather than the one I don't. In recognition of that, and also to lull me to rest because tomorrow I have to get up at half past blithering five to go to a small town in Friesland to talk to a man about a cow-milking machine, here is some Splashgirl. Yes, I know that's a link to a website called itsatrap, but it's all right. Yes, I know no-one will listen to it anyway. I'm giving you the chance, is all.

Date: 2012-07-19 12:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
here is some Splashgirl

That's surprisingly sunny and exotic for something from Norway...

Date: 2012-07-19 07:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
My guess is that all music produced in Norway has to go through the Bureau Of National Music where they heavily filter the positive properties in order to prevent people becoming over-stimulated, and that Splashgirl somehow got to their bins.


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