Going tropical – passion fruit mango lime drink

Did my ginger lime mandarin honey drink make you linger for summer? Well then I have an even more tropical drink for you to close your eyes and get the feeling you are lying on a beach with the sun giving that warming light we miss in wintertime.

Ingredients:

⁃ 2 mango’s

⁃ 4 passion fruits

⁃ at least 2 limes

Needed:

⁃ slow juicer (this recipe is unfortunately only usable if you have a fruit juicer of any kind – a centrifuge juicer also works)

How to make it?

Slice the peeled mango’s and limes.

Press the mango and lime pieces through your slow juicer. Do this slowly as mango takes some time to be juiced.

Put the juice in a cooking pot.

Halve the passion fruits and spoon the seeds into the mango-lime juice.

Heat the juice with passion fruit seeds to boiling temperature.

Let cool down to 75 degrees Celsius. Sieve the juice-seed mixture through a cooking sieve to get rid of the passion fruit seeds.

Pour the juice in a glass bottle.

Put the bottle in the fridge so the juice can further cook down. When completely cooled down, fill the juice in two glasses. Add some sparkling water and your juice is ready to drink! The juice will foam and look like a cocktail, but then without the alcohol :-).

The taste of mango combined with passion fruit and a hint of lime is heavenly!

Just give it a try 🙂

Ginger lime mandarine honey drink – a bit of summer to enlighten the winter months

What is better then a freshly squeezed ginger smell? Making a drink of it :-)! This is my first alcohol free alternative beverage of the year.

I combined the juice of ginger root, lime and mandarin with some honey for this delicious summer feel drink.

Ingredients:

⁃ 1 ginger root

⁃ 3 limes

⁃ 3 mandarins

⁃ 2 spoons of liquid honey

Needed:

⁃ slow juicer or orange press

How to make it?

Peel the ginger, lime and mandarins and cut them in pieces. Press the pieces of ginger, lime and mandarins with your slow juicer. Put the juice in a pot to heat it together with the honey.

The reason for heating to boiling temperature is that you can keep the juice longer. Alternatively you can dissolve the honey in some water by heating it and then add to the juice when cooled down.

If you don’t have a slow juicer, press the lime and orange with an orange press. Slice the ginger and add the slices to the juice while heating it in a pot. The juice will extract the ginger taste by heating it up.

After reaching the boiling temperature, cool the juice down to around 75 degrees Celsius and put in a glass bottle. Let further cool down by putting the bottle in the fridge.

When completely cooled, pour some of the juice in two glasses.

Add ice cubes and sparkling water.

Taste to see if you need to add more juice or more sparkling water. The ginger taste is quite overpowering, and combines very nice with the lime. The mandarin and honey give the drink enough sweetness so the sourness of the lime is balanced out.

Now enjoy this summer drink with the thought that the sugar content is much lower than what you find in a normal soda or juice!

Fiebeer blog New Years Resolutions

It is that that time of year again where a lot of people make their New Years resolutions … and yes, you guessed it right, I am one of them. I simply love New Years resolutions. Why? Because it gives me energy to think that I can start something from new. Kind of like being born again.

It might have something to do with the fact that my birthday is in the start of January. So I have double chance of reflecting over the year that has gone and what to start putting my energy in for the next year.

This year I will dedicate more time for my blog. It gives me such an energy to see that people read my blog and hopefully also getting some energy or creative ideas from reading my crazy home brew experiments or my nights out in Copenhagen.

A very good friend of mine posted some ideas on her blog last year to write an even better blog. One of them was a weekly theme. That is exactly what I will try this year.

It will not surprise you that the first weekly theme will be ‘Beer of the week’. My husband and me love to try new beers. Therefore it won’t be difficult to tell you something about a new beer every week. As we are subscribed to Belgisk Bryg, we get Belgian beers every month at our doorstep. Those will be perfect to start. Of course it won’t be only Belgian beers I’m talking about. Every interesting beer that we taste, is an optional winner for the ‘Beer of the week’ award.

Another one of my New Years resolutions is to try to create healthy and tasty alcohol free alternatives. As I love juice and we try not to drink alcohol during the week days, this will for sure be an excellent way to get my creativity going with alcohol free beverages. Every drink is possible here, as long as it is not alcoholic. I will start with some homemade juices, but also hope to be able to show some alcohol free fermented beverages. Very exciting!

Apart from my blog resolutions, I also want to create more home brewed beers, along with moving on my cider project. As my home-brewery is almost fully working now, I can’t wait to tell you more about new beer recipes and tricks to make even better home brewed beers.

Are you ready? Let’s start the new year with even more beverage creativity :-).

Cider – made with special yeast

The fresh apple juice I made this year was not only used for drinking the juice, but also as the main ingredient in my ciders.

It is the second time I make cider, so I wanted to experiment a bit more to get different flavors. I had around 35 liter left after I pasteurized the juice just to drink. That was enough to divide it in two and make two different ciders types.

The first cider I am making is a regular dry cider without any additives. For this one, I only used the freshly squeezed apple juice. I poured the juice in my fermentation bucket and added a Torulaspora delbreuckii yeast (Prelude from Chr Hansen). This yeast can ferment up to 12-13 percent of alcohol, so that is fine as my cider will be maximum 7% alcohol (v/v). The Torulaspora gives a more full-bodied cider with a fresh fruity aroma. The fermentation was done at 17 degrees Celsius, to have a slower fermentation, resulting in more fruity flavors. Tasting after fermentation showed a dry clean cider taste with crisp fruity flavors.

The cider is being chilled at the moment, ready to be put on bottles…

For the second cider, I used honey as extra sugar source. This results in a more sweet cider with higher alcohol percentage. The final alcohol will be around 13 % (v/v). To make this cider, I dissolved 4 kg of honey in 8 liter water.

I dissolved the honey by warming up the water up to boiling temperature. In this way the honey also gets sterilized, making sure no wild yeast or bacteria can take over the fermentation. I also used the Torulaspora delbreuckii to kick-start the fermentation, but I added a normal Saccharomyces wine yeast (Jazz from Chr Hansen) after 5 days of fermentation. After fermentation, the taste was clearly more fruity, flowery and sweet than the cider with apples alone. The honey definitely gives an extra sweet touch to the taste and more fruity/flowery aroma to the cider. That combined with the better mouthfeel from the Torulaspora will definitely result in a winner cider.

Now both ciders are chilled, and after the yeast has settled, I will use my beer gun to put the ciders on bottles…

Turning my apples from the garden into delicious fresh apple juice

Our garden has been giving a lot of apples this year. We have tree 3 apple trees in our backyard, 2 belle boscoop and 1 unidentified species with two kind of apples on it. The belle boscoop trees were generous this year, compared to last year, and I gathered around 100 kg of harvested apples.

Belle boscoop apples are particularly good for preparing food like cakes, crumble, pie and to use in all kinds of stews and salads. They are also very juicy, which makes them ideal to press juice from.

4 years ago I tried to make apple juice for the first time in my life. At that time, I invested in a hand mill and press, but it took my husband and me two weekends and a lot of hand power to get juice out of our apples. In 2015, I teamed up with a friend, who has much better equipment (an electrical mill instead of a hand mill), which made the work much lighter: Cider making in 2015.

This year, I decided to try something different and I rented an electrical fruit mill + a balloon press from Maltbazaren.

The fruit mill was huge with a heavy motor, but this meant that I could just drop in whole appels without cutting them. That was for sure a plus!

I was impressed with how fine the apples came out of the press. It was literally apple puree: extremely finely mashed apples which already gave some juice as well.

The next step was the pressing of this apple puree. The balloon press I rented was very user friendly and could just be hooked on the water tap. You just turn the water hose on and the pressing starts.

The juice was amazingly sweet, probably because I waited until the first weekend of November to press my apples and they were very ripe. I measured the sugar in the apples with my densimeter and it was around 1040. It really tastes delicious 😋.

After the pressing, I divided the juice in three parts: 1. apple juice to be pasteurized so we can drink it just like that, 2. apple juice for making cider and 3. apple juice to be blended with honey to make a strong cider.

The apple juice to be pasteurized was put on bottles and then I used my Braumeister to pasteurize.

I put in 1 bottle with water, to measure the temperature inside the bottle. I waited until the temperature was 72 degrees Celsius and then I pasteurized then for 30 min.

We drink the juice now in the morning and it is still tasting fresh and nicely sweet.

Homebrewing is part of a lifestyle

It really is :-). I realized this recently now that I am brewing regularly at home. It is so much fun and every time there is the excitement of seeing the first bubbles in my ferment. It is a wonder what yeast is doing to the wort.

As my colleague putted it so well last week: ‘it’s like giving birth, the excitement of waiting to see the first bubbles’. I can’t agree less.

Homebrewing is the perfect combination of science, practical work and fun. It takes a day to brew <50 liter, so it is perfect to brew at home in the weekend. And after fermentation and bottling, you can enjoy your own beer. That is very satisfying.

It is very similar to other hobbies which include fermentation: wine making, yoghurt production or making kombucha. Also here, yeast and/or bacteria are doing the job and it is great to follow the conversion of the raw material into the final product.

There are so many people homebrewing, that it is really an established community. People are sharing ideas and are coming home to each other for a nice brew day. That’s the beauty of it, you can share with other homebrewing friends that are as excited as you are. I simply love it :-).

There are also many homebrewing shops around, either physically or online. My two favorites in DK are: Brewparts and Maltbazaren. The people in those two places are home brewers themselves and are very service minded. They are always willing to help out if you’re in doubt which malt, hops or yeast to use.

If you don’t have a dedicated hobby yet, I can recommend home brewing. It’s fun, you can do it with friends, it triggers your mind with scientific questions and you can enjoy the final beer as the cherry on the cake.

Cheers!

Exploring beers and delicious food in Aalborg 

Last weekend my husband and me visited some family in Aalborg. As they are also very much in to good food and drinks, we went out for some beers and delicious food. We started at Basement Beer Bar for some excellent craft beer. I felt very much at home after seeing the beer menu:


I decided to try the Bees for my honey from Amager Bryghus. A well-balanced beer with a clear hoppy aroma and bitterness, but balanced by the sweetness from the honey. Definitely one to warm you up in the winter months.

We continued our Aalborg exploration by dining at Restaurant Textur. It was good we made a reservation, as the restaurant was fully booked. We took the 5 dishes menu with accompanying wine. Simply delicious food and well-paired with the wine.


I liked especially the ‘sprød havkat’, which is a croquette from catfish. However every dish was excellent and nicely presented.

After the dinner, we wanted to finish the evening with a beer at The Wharf. This place looks amazing with all the barrels at the wall.


My husband had one of his best Westmalle Dubbel beers as it was on tap here. Not something you see often in Denmark. The bar is very cosy, has great beers on tap and is so far my favorite bar in Aalborg.

Even though my colleagues warned me, we did end up in Jomfru Ane Gade that evening. However, we had such a great time and I can definitely recommend exploring Aalborg, as the city has definitely great bars and restaurants to offer.

Cheers!

Collaboration brew at Brewparts

Christmas is approaching and what is better then having your own Christmas beers? Indeed, having brewed several of your own Christmas beers :-). So the time is now to brew some Christmas beers. As it is more fun to brew together with somebody, my husband and me were invited at Brewparts to do 3 ‘collaboration brews’. Brewparts is situated in Broager, Sønderjylland and is a shop where you can buy beers from various countries. The beer choice is impressive! They also perform beer courses and sell ingredients for home brewing. If you want to check it out: Brewparts  or if you want to do a beer making course: Brewparts Brew Course.

We decided to brew 3 different beers: a Belgian Blond, a Belgian Dubbel and a Christmas beer. Brewparts has several Brewsters they use for their beer courses, so that was what we used for brewing our beers.

For me, it was nice to try out a different system than the one I have at home (Braumeister), as I am on the lookout for buying a new system. The Brewster is really easy to use, and is an all-in-one brewing system just like the Braumeister. However, the circulation of wort is different, as here a pump is attached separately to the outside of the brewing kettle. In the Braumeister, the pump is integrated, but the wort is not pumped over the malt but through the malt. That is why – in my opinion – the Braumeister is less efficient when it comes to sugar yield. Both systems are quite easy to clean though. With the Brewster, there is just more piping to clean.

And so we started our three brews on a Saturday morning. The malt bill was quite complicated, as I like to play around with adding different types of malt to optimize the flavor and body of the beer. For the Dubbel we used some Pilsner, Munich, Cara Belge, Biscuit, Melanoidin and chocolate malt. As hops we used Styrian Golding and Mittelfruh, for a soft bitterness.

The malt bill for the Christmas beer was very similar except that we used Munich malt as the base to get a full bodied beer. Here we also added some spices: sweet orange peel, cardamom, fennel seeds and star anise.

The last beer, the Belgian Blond, was made with pilsner and oat malt.

After brewing, the wort was cooled through the Brewster cooling system, which works with counter flowing cool water. And then we could fill the fermentation buckets. 

The Belgian Blond came home with me to ferment, but the other two beers were filled on a Fermentasaurus to be tapped in Brewparts.

The smarty thing with this system is that you can ferment your beer and tap it immediately afterwards, as you can carbonate the fermenter. Very easy in this way to ferment and immediately try out your beer :-).

The yeast we used was from Mangrove Jack’s. As this is dry yeast we rehydrated the yeast in boiled water that was cooled down.

We used the following yeasties:


M31 for the Christmas beer, M41 for the Belgian Dubbel and M47 for the Belgian Blond. Now it’s waiting for the yeast magic to be completed.

It was truly a pleasure to brew at Brewparts. They have excellent systems, all the malt and hop possibilities you wish for and great service. The beer choice is really amazing, with beers from all over the world. Nice note, they have a nice English beer collection as well.

We closed off our brewing day with the local Oktoberfest. Cheers!

Augustus Forum – delicious wine in the Penedes area

Two weeks ago, my husband and me were on holiday in Catalonia. This is a beautiful region in Spain and despite the trouble they are going through now, I can definitely recommend it for holiday. Especially if you are a foodie, as the regional food and wine are amazing. 

I wanted to visit a winery and having some wine colleagues all over the world, I asked my Spanish colleague where to go to. He recommended me to go to Augustus Forum, a winery in the Penedes that mainly makes red and white wine, no cava. So off we went :-).

The winery is beautifully situated on a hill with a view on the vineyards. When you drive to it, you have to go through an old driveway full of trees.

The winery is very modern inside. The name however comes from the long history of the vineyard. It is named after the remains of what once was the Via Augusta, the Roman road that connected Rome with the most important cities of the Mediterranean.

The vineyards are close to the winery and some of them are named after the famous Roman emperors, like Julius Caesar.

The wines itself are really good. We got the pleasure of tasting quite a lot of them when we visited the winery. They have their ‘classic’ series like the Cabernet Franc, which in my opinion is the best red wine they have. We also tasted the Chardonnay, which was amazing. Bourgogne style, but way more elegant.

And then the winery does a series of what they call ‘microvinifications’. These wines are from single vineyards and there are only few bottles of every microvinification and all of them are unique. We tasted the Xarel-lo 2013, with a nice fruit palet reminding of apricot. The nice thing is that the winery gives the ful technical profile of the wine on their website:

http://avgvstvsforvm.com/images/pdf/_fitxa_micro_xarello_2013.pdf

As a science nerd, I quite like that :-).

We bought a couple of bottles to taste and were very pleased with both the white and red wines. Definitely a winery to visit if you are in the neighborhood. 


The red wines are also perfectly combined with Iberico ham and cheese, mmmm.

Winter Glory – my first Belgian Dubbel home brew

I can smell it when I open the door every morning to walk to my car through the garden – autumn has arrived. The smells that come with it are the best smells in nature – a wet humus smell that greets me every morning to remind me that the long summer days are over and that winter is coming. And that means that it is time for ‘hygge’ and brewing some dark beer to get us through the winter days. Therefore I decided this year to try a Belgian Dubbel recipe. After having tried a Belgian Blond for summer, this is the logical next step in my Belgian home brewing adventure.
As I never tried a dark beer before, I searched some inspiration on http://www.beercalc.org for getting some ideas on which malt types to put in. I agreed with myself that the malt bill should be a bit complex to get a good sweet, caramel with chocolate impression in the final beer. So this is what I have put in: two types of pilsner malt as the backbone of course, Munich malt, biscuit malt, Cara belge and a little bit of chocolate malt. After maishing in, the color was clearly dark and the smell already amazingly christmassy.


This time I was home alone while brewing, so a good test for me to see if I could manage with me, myself and my crane to drain the final malt. 


My crane worked perfectly 😊. So ergonomic as it is a piece of cake now to lift the malt pipe. 

I measured pH at the start of maishing in and because the darker malts automatically drop the pH, I did not have to adjust pH. The pH was around 5.4, so perfect for maishing in.


For the hops, I was pretty excited as it was the first time I used hops from my garden. The variety that I harvested a week earlier was Styrian Golding. I air dried the hops in my brewery until they were ready to use.


Styrian Golding hops are grown in Styria, Austria and Slovenia. The variety is close to Fuggle hops and carries similar attributes. Styrian Golding is a aroma variety with low alpha acid content (typically between 4.5-6%). The aroma character is spicy and flowery with excellent bitterness.

My garden gave me 30 gram of the Styrian Golding hops:


As this was not enough to create a good bitterness level, I also added some Tradition hop.

After brewing, I cooled down the wort and the next day it was ready for fermentation. I had 40 liter of brew, as this time I also sparged 4 liter of water over the spent grains to get all sugar out. I also added 1 kg of sugar to the boil to get the beer a dry finish.

For the yeast, I used two different ones again: WLP570, my favorite by now for Belgian style brews and WLP500 to test it out. The last one is called Monastery Ale Yeast, and should be good for a Belgian Dubbel as well. I again aerated both buckets to be sure the yeast would get a good start. I made yeast starters and after 1 day, the added WLP570 kickstarted. The WLP500 needed 12h more before it also started fermenting.

Now it is waiting until the fermentationis is finished before I can bottle these two – hopefully delicious – brews.

To be continued…