The Christmas carols are blasting out around the cottage. Massive icicles are hanging from the eaves.  The snow is lying one foot thick and it is snowing some more now.  Tomorrow a 4×4 is being driven far by a colleague to pick me up for work.  If you are imagining a Landover then don’t, it has leather heated seats and he keeps randomly switching them on so I think I am wetting myself.

Tonight I cracked open the last bottle of the fat black cat real ale.  I promised myself that a new batch would be started only when the old batch had finished.  A couple of months ago I tentatively sipped a quarter bottle.  Two nights later I tried a half bottle.  Two nights later I braved a full bottle.  I seemed to have got the microbiology correct and it actually tasted good.   When I first bottled it all I was surprised at how much I had made, but most of it ended up being given away to friends.  So, a week ago I looked at the last two bottles and was surprised at how little I had made.

With the carols and the holly and the twinkling lights I got carried away and began to brew.  Pots of water boiled and measuring scales were out.  Culchie living meant I could stand in the patio, at minus 8, with a big plastic barrel and swing it about manically without anyone seeing and wondering (sterilising it with solution means it can pop open mid shake or swing, not advisable indoors).  I was all finished and sealed the fermenting mixture up when the lovely Sharon popped in and reminded me that fermentation usually takes six days.  In six days time I will have to set aside a couple of hours to bottle it all.  I mentally counted six days from now and sighed. Whoops.

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