Cold Shocking Cloudy Home Brew

There are a variety of ways to clarify mead or home-made wine, including bentonite clay and egg whites (not used together).  However, these methods also strip out some of the flavor.  Since I was experimenting with a boutique yeast designed to keep the fruity flavors in, I didn’t want to use them.  Time will usually get it done, but the mead had been sitting for a month, and the hard cider for two months, with no fermentation and no clarification at all via natural sedimentation.  I’m not a patient person at the best of times and felt enough time had gone by with no results when I read about “cold shocking.”

Cold shocking is simply chilling the brew.  Some articles said it killed the lingering yeast, others that it caused clumping.  None of them described freezing the brew…


1st day outside

The mead had been sitting for a month, and the hard cider for two months, with no fermentation and no clarification at all via natural sedimentation.

I had plenty of cold outside, mostly in the forties.  I put both carboys outside and there no clarification over several days.  Then the temperature dropped for 48 hours with the nights down to 10 degrees F; both the cider and mead turned slushy.  When I brought them inside and they thawed, the cider was totally clear.

Both carboys were racked (liquid transferred into a clean carboy, leaving most of the sediment behind) since it’s impossible to fill clear bottles with a heavy sediment layer in the carboy.  In a few days, the mead was also crystal clear.


Bacon-Onion Dip

If you go to festivals in the Pittsburgh area, often there will be a booth selling little packets of herbs for dip making.  They’ll have numerous dips set out in front of the booth, with little pretzels so you can taste them.  Recently, I bought three packets, one of which was Bacon-Onion dip:  Joe’s the favorite at the taste testing.  It was just as good at home, but there was some consternation when I pointed out there was no bacon in it.  The brown bits were flavored soy protein.  In any case, I was inspired to try my hand at a home recipe, and first time out of the gate the recipe below was judged to be superior to the festival packet.

You’ll note there is Bragg’s Amino Acids in it, because of the rich umami flavors.  This can be found at Kroger, and probably most other grocery stores.  But, of course, you can always rely on Amazon:

Bragg’s Amino Acids


1 cup light sour cream

1 cup mayonnaise

3 rounded Tablespoons Hormel “Real Crumbled Bacon” (I always have a Sam’s sack of these in the refrigerator)

3 Tablespoons dried diced onion

1 Tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos

Mix and refrigerate for an hour.


True Memoirs of an International Assassin

This is more of a blurb than a review.  True Memoirs of an International Assassin is a grade B made for T.V. movie that’s free if you get streaming Netflix.  Kevin James stars; he’s the only person I recognized.  I always find Kevin James amusing but never outrageously funny, so I was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing out loud during the first half hour.  However, this was the bright spot in the movie, and if you’ve never struggled with creating characters and their dialog, it may not be as funny for you.  Kids might like it and I don’t recall anything provocative.  46% of Rotten Tomatoes viewers liked it and the professionals gave it  3.8/10.