11 November 2010 (Thursday) - Sterility, Dole..

My mind has been on home brewing rather a lot lately. I can’t help but suspect that in years gone by, my home made wine was rather variable in quality because contaminating bacteria got in to the stuff. Maintaining sterility can be tricky, and errant microbes can be problematical; as anyone who’s ever eaten a dodgy kebab can testify.
Making wine was a very “open” process. The stout I am currently brewing is more “closed” in that you sterilise the inside of your container, chuck in all the ingredients, close the whole thing up, and that’s it. Once fermentation has finished you just tilt the box and start drinking the stuff. With a closed system it is far easier to maintain sterility.
So investing in fermentation vessels and plastic kegs and trying to perform aseptic siphoning isn’t the way forward. Obviously the trick is to make beer is the way I’m doing it at the moment; brewing it in it’s own polypin. The drawback to this is cost – a twenty litre polypin costs about fifteen quid. It can be re-used a few times, but it has a finite life. But re-using the thing runs the risk of contamination. And once you’ve bought the second polypin it’s already cost more than all the fermentation vessels and plastic kegs would have cost.

And then I had a stroke of inspiration. I know someone who uses saline (salt water) which is delivered in polypin-like boxes, and the boxes, once used, are thrown away. With a rinse out, such a box would be ideal for home brew – the only expense would be the beer making ingredients. And since the boxes are made to be disposable, I’d not even have to clean the thing out afterwards. I’d just chuck it away and get a new one.
I could knock out ale for as little as forty pence per pint. I have already obtained such a box. I shall buy a beer kit at the weekend.

‘er indoors TM  went out flogging candles tonight, leaving me to forage for my dinner. From experience I’ve found that foraging in the general direction of the KFC is usually successful. With the house to myself I watched a movie. Bronson wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea: it’s in the same vein as “I.D.”, “Scum” and “Clockwork Orange. But I quite liked it, even if I did doze through the end of the film.

I’ve posted several times over the last few months about the many and various failings of our coalition government. Now, much as it pains me to do so, I’m going to sing their praises.
As a child I can remember my uncle once grumbling that a friend of his had left work. Because of this chap’s various personal circumstances the bloke was five pound per week better off on unemployment benefits, housing benefits, family allowance, etc than he was if he stayed in employment. 
Today the government has announced radical changes to the welfare system so that it pays to work. I’m not pretending the new system will be perfect, but I quite like the idea that long term unemployed people will be asked to do voluntary work, if only to get them back into the “working” frame of mind. There are no end of local charities who could benefit from such people’s efforts. Our local scout hall needs a lick of paint.
There are those who feel the measures are a tad harsh. But I can’t help but think of the leader of our local scout group who can run one of the most successful scout groups in Kent whilst being paralysed down the entire left hand side of her body. Or the leader of the Beaver Scouts who runs the most successful Beaver group for miles around, even though she is blind. Perhaps under these new measures they might actually be rewarded for their efforts?

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