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Weekend social 24/02/2012

Written By: - Date published: 2:00 pm, February 24th, 2012 - 33 comments
Categories: weekend social - Tags:

Christmas truce 1914Weekend social is for non political chat. What’s on for the weekend, gigs, film or book reviews, sports, or whatever.

No politics, no aggro, why can’t we all just get along?

33 comments on “Weekend social 24/02/2012 ”

  1. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 1

    Felix, if you are out there, can you tell me about your vodka? How do you make it?

    • felix 1.1

      I have a pretty basic still which produces alcohol at about 75%. My process for vodka (which is really just a mostly tasteless odourless ethanol and water solution) is as follows:

      Add 1 packet of turbo brewer’s yeast to a 25 litre solution of water and sugar (6-8 kgs) @ ~30 degrees C.

      Ferment for about a week between 20 – 30 degrees C or as per instructions on the yeast. Just like the first stage of brewing beer. Depending on conditions and the quality of the yeast this should yield 25 litres of 12-18% alcohol.

      Leave to settle for a couple of days to remove all the sediment. There are products called “finings” to help with this – 1/2 a dozen egg whites whisked in also works.

      Distill at ~80 degrees C for several hours to extract the ethanol. From about 60 – 75 degrees you’re extracting methanol and other nasties so collect this in a separate container as you get up to temp and discard it (or find some other use for it – I add some citronella to it and burn it in a jar with a wick to keep the mozzies off the porch).

      Once you have the temperature stable at about 80 degrees you’re collecting pretty good ethanol, which is the particular alcohol we’re after. Depending on the design of the still this can be anywhere from 60% to 95% alcohol. I usually keep anything over about 70% and the rest goes back in the still next time. I’m pretty happy if I get ~4 litres @ 70-75%

      The resulting product contains various unwanted impurities – esters, fusel oils and other cogeners that are produced in the fermentation process – which give the spirit a fairly noxious odour and flavour. Careful and repeated filtering though some sort of activated carbon system gets rid of these. You can buy elaborate filter systems for this purpose, or modify a domestic carbon water filter, or as I’ve done rig up a bunch of coke bottles that drip into each other.

      The carbon doesn’t work well on strong spirit though, so you need to water it down to less than 60% before filtering. Once you’ve got it clean enough you can water it down to 40% for drinking and you’re done!

      There’s a heap of info online but I reckon the best way to get started is to go to your local brewing shop and ask. The staff are usually happy to talk about this stuff for hours and often have a still running out the back so you can see for yourself how it all works.

      It can be a very rewarding (if a little time-consuming) pastime.

    • In NZ, unlike the US, we can make our own spirits legally without a licence. We just can’t sell it or supply it (the best thing that came out of the deregulations of the 80s).
      I don’t know about Felix but I have 2×10 litre emergency water containers from Mitre10.
      For 10 litres of the initial wash/mash/wine…
      1/2 Pkt Triple Distilled Yeast & Nutrients
      1/2 Pkt Turbo carbon
      3 kg  regular sugar
      + about 7 days
      Add Turbo clear to get rid of the dead yeast and impurities.
      + about 1-2 days to allow to settle
      Siphon off brew leaving the sediment behind.
      You can drink it at this point. The Finish call is Kilju (pron. kill-you 😉 ). Not the best of tastes but with flavours and mixers it’s ok with little further work. It’s about 15-20% alcohol content depending upon conditions.
      But I take about 3 litres and run it through a benchtop water distilling appliance (it was cheap on Trade Me) – you have to read up on this method because it has problems. It is hotter than similar models intended for alcohol but it produces a product good enough for me. The product is VERY high in alcohol % so it has to be watered down. You can do what you want with it. Soak chips from old Jack Daniels barrels in it to get Ten Whiskey flavour or use a range of flavourings from your home brew store or supermarket.
      You can buy all sorts of stills in NZ and I made another one myself from stuff at warehouse, mitre10 and the local recycling place.
      Do your research first at a NZ run site, and one of the best internationally, HomeDistillers.Org

      • felix 1.2.1

        I’m very curious about this benchtop water distilling appliance. What’s it called?

        Something like this? http://www.mitre10mega.co.nz/shop/kitchens_appliances/water_coolers_filters/spring_flow_bench_top_water_distiller_white_310283/

        • William Joyce

          Similar design. The brand has escaped my attempts to research (for modification purposes) but it is called ecolife. I still have some mods to do but I hope over time to get to know how to moderate temp. I did investigate a wattage device but it cost more than the $100 I paid for the unit.
          In the future I intend to use the home built still more as it allows more flexibility and bulk processing (at the cost of more monitoring of foreshots, heads, hearts and tails) but I did not want to purchase an Air Still in the mean time for $300+ when the the water distiller does ok (but you have to do two runs depending upon the yeast used [hence the triple distilled and turbo carbon as opposed to the classic or express]).

          • felix

            Interesting. I might look into something like that myself for distilling in winter when the sudden cold gusts play havoc with the still outdoors.

            I’ve been using rum barrel chips and getting really good results. Sort of a gold rum, not too dark or rich. Terrifyingly easy to drink.

            Having a go at rum from scratch next, have brewed up a wash of molasses with a special rum yeast. I’ll run that through the still this weekend (if I’m lucky) in pot mode a couple of times with the reflux chamber bypassed and see what comes out.

  2. Bored 2

    The fekkin wind has blown through my Wellington garden…so its clean up and clear out the broken bits. C’est la vie BUT next year the whole operation changes….no more outdoor tomatoes etc. Which means I am off to the recycle centre looking for things like shower doors and old window frames.

    On the gardening note there’s a goodly number of pumpkin plants growing wild round my area courtesy of what ever got guerrilla planted last year and did not get cropped, good result. Plus spuds where peelings got “dropped”. Hoping to get a chance to sniff them out if the directors reports and annual accounts can get shelved for a few minutes.

    • happynz 2.1

      I’ve always admired those who were adept at identifying edible wild plants. Years ago when I lived in Thailand I used to get together with a running club every Saturday for a bash around the bush. Naturally, the runners’ partners, wives, kids, girlfriends and girlfriend’s friends would tag along for the day out. Whilst us sweating red-faced foreigners huffed and puffed through the rubber plantations, palm oil estates, and secondary growth of impenetrable thicket, our lovely Thai families and friends would wander a few steps into the greenery and, akin to a stroll through the produce aisle at a supermarket, come out with all kinds of weird and wonderful things to eat.

      • Bored 2.1.1

        To right, there’s plenty of wild stuff round the Wellington hills but I doubt it compares to a mango….did manage to score plums beside the road for jam, which is good because its a piss poor blackberry year.

        Ianmac (below) has just inspired me to plant spuds in the wife’s flower beds…..she did comment that the rocket I grew and let go to seed amongst the flowers looked rather spectacular.

        • Jilly Bee

          Interesting what you say about the blackberries – wild or domestic, Bored. Our raspberry plants haven’t produced anything this year, just all stalks [should that be canes] and leaves, damn it!

          • Bored

            Wild, but my mates thornless domestic ones have also been no good this year, must be La Nina.

          • McFlock

            snap – growing like crazy, no berries though.
            Bloody good for breaking down clay, though.

          • NickS

            Our’s didn’t too badly actually, main issue was mum cutting lasts years new canes back so there wasn’t as much wood to fruit from :/

            Shit year for chilli’s though, my plants outside the greenhouse got hammered by the cold weather, while the ones inside have gotten hit by the high humidity, which whipped out quite a few seedlings. And any bell peppers outside are a hit n miss, as they’re prone to stuff getting into the fruit and rotting them out.

        • Gareth

          THere a plenty of peaches to be had up the valley, pick of the bunch the 1/2 dozen ‘black boys’ I know of. I get at least 20kg every year for bottling and I would say at least 100 rot on the ground…

          Also there are sweet chestnuts, walnuts and wild apples if you know where to look.

          As a side note I’ve been progressivly planting fruit species through parks in the valley so should be good pickings in 3-5 years. (one of the perks of my job)

      • uke 2.1.2

        For wild foods try this website: Wild Picnic.
        Probably the most abundant so-called “weeds” around Wellington are wild radish and puha. Both are tasty if you know how to cook them.
        And it’s coming up for mushroom season… and I’m not talking magical ones, just ordinary field mushrooms.

    • AAMC 2.2

      Hey Bored, I thought this was a good recycled window glass house in this gallery, if you look past the rest..


    • NickS 2.3


      Just stick chicken wire under the plastic film (which you should get from redpath plastics) and she’ll hold up to everything wellington weather can throw at you. Bar a tornado.

    • ScottGN 2.4

      I live in the south and this will be the last year I try for outdoor tomatoes. So far this summer I have only had a couple of handfuls of yellow and red cherry types to show for my efforts. The bigger ones have plenty of fruit but all still resolutely green and looking more like chutney every day. As an aside the dry spring and early summer looks to have triggered early autumn colour around Otago and Southland again this year.

  3. ianmac 3

    Yes. Those self sown potatoes. I say if you spuds want to grow just there in the middle of the flowers I say good on ya mate. Why not indeed. Christmas potatoes fresh from willful plants were just right.
    And the pumpkins need a hand to wind back and forwards as my space is very limited, and the stem doesn’t mind a tortuous existence.
    And who needs boring directors reports Bored?

    • NickS 3.1

      Just train the pumpkins up a fence or the side of the house:P

      Which is what i’d do with my kumi kumi if they were actually growing :/

      • rosy 3.1.1

        Speaking of gardening … I’ve just got back from a conference opening address where we heard from Grace Lee Boggs and <a href="Scott Kurashige about the de-industrialisation of Detroit

        “Detroit, because we have this position in the history of the country and the world, is creating that alternative — not in words but in action,” she says. “There’s a group on the east side called Feed ‘Em Freedom Growers; if you don’t have food you can’t be free. Detroit has over 1,000 community gardens. Urban agriculture started very simply with some African-American women seeing some vacant lots. That’s how big changes take place, with small changes. Important changes always start from the bottom up…

        Inspirational stuff. Also speaking was Don Mitchell talking about control of public space. I’ve read him for years. Quite something to see him in action.

  4. shorts 4

    sun permitting some live music at silo park (09) on saturday

  5. Kevin Welsh 5

    No Mission Concert for me in the blistering HB sun.

    The East Coast Graded Two Day Tour beckons with a time-trial and hill climb on Saturday, and a road race on Sunday. About 100kms all up.

    Sunday arvo will be relaxing in the garden with the Jack Russell and Vicki. Can’t wait 🙂

  6. Ianupnorth 6

    Biking and gardening, that’s all.

  7. vto 7

    In pursuit of pertinence…

  8. http://whoar.co.nz/2012/can-computer-games-save-us-all-new-research-shows-how-gaming-can-help-cure-our-social-ills/

    “…Tech futurist and game designer Jane McGonigle on how computer games can help the fight against AIDS – heal disabilities – increase optimism –

    – and make us better people…”


  9. prism 9

    I’ve got to clear detritus from under the house so I can get underfloor insulation put in next week. Thanks to Greens for getting the plan going.

  10. r0b 10

    Morrissey – moved your comment (“Open letter”) to Open mike.

  11. http://whoar.co.nz/2012/colbert-if-mormons-posthumously-baptize-holocaust-victims-ill-posthumously-circumsize-mormons/

    “…Elie Wiesel has recently spoken out against the far too common Mormon practice of posthumously baptizing Holocaust victims–including a record nine baptisms of Anne Frank.

    In his new segment on the controversy, Colbert gets in a few digs at the Mormon tiers of heaven (the top of which is only reseved for true Mormons) – his own Catholic faith –

    – and a certain recent comedy film too (to tell you which one would spoil the joke) –

    – before he gets down to his retributive business…”


  12. NickS 12

    Arse, san marenzo tom’s down the back have end blossom rot, probably a lack of calcium in the soil since that spots been the home of ivy and weeds. They’ve otherwise grown like weeds and the only way they’d be bigger is if I fought the maternal unit, won and built a greenhouse. Or stuck a ton of horse poo into the soil (current plan for this winter’s vege plot work) /mad grin

    Should be enough for a feed or two though.

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