High-er Alcoholic Sima (5-6% abv)

§ 2 quarts water – ½ gallon – scale as needed.
§ 1 cup brown sugar- 1.25
§ 1/2 cup honey
§ 1 lemon
§ 1/8 tsp yeast
§ 1/8 sugar for carbonating
In a large stock pot, boil the water, then stir in sugar and honey. Boil until fully dissolved. Add lemon and turn off heat. Cool (use an ice water bath to cool more quickly).
Once the liquid is room temperature, transfer it to a Ball or Mason jar and add the yeast. Cover with Saran Wrap, but make sure to poke a few holes in it so that the CO2 can escape. Unlike the low alcohol version, this will ferment for 10 days on your counter. After the first day, take the lemons out or they’ll start to get pretty funky. The longer the brew ferments, the more alcohol it will get and the dryer it will be in taste. You can experiment to see what you prefer in terms of sweetness vs. alcohol ratio. A rule of thumb is that it produces about .5% alcohol each day.

I like this recipe best after 10 days of fermenting. Any more than that and it gets a bit too dry for my taste, and the yeast flavor comes out a bit too much since it’s no longer masked by the sweetness. Also remember that you probably won’t get more than about 6 or 6.5% ABV no matter how long you ferment for, because there’s only so much sugar that can be converted into alcohol.
After 10 days, sanitize another container (or containers) into which you will transfer the Sima to carbonate.

Transfer the mixture into the sanitized container with 1/8 cup sugar (I usually boil about 1/8 cup of water to dissolve this before adding it to the mixture). Add raisins. Close the container tightly. In 8-48 hours you should see bubbles collecting and the raisins rising to the top of the container. Once the raisins have risen, it’s done! Pour into a glass and enjoy.

Zoiglbeir – Fresh Bavarian Lager

2.5 Gallon recipe

3 lbs Pilsner DME, 1lb Munich DME, .5oz Hellertau 60 min boil ( 30 min whirlpool) Bavarian lager yeast

As I have written about technique previously, I won’t go too deep into it with this beer either, but will stay more high level.
A Zoiglbeir is a traditional Bavarian Lager brewed fresh and locally. It is brewed almost farmhouse style in open top fermentor and served at cellar temperatures from the tap house/Pub basement.

This malty lager is fresh and clean tasing with hop and malt complexities. Great spring time or early fall beer.

Bring your 1.5 gallons of water to a boil and add your dry malt extract (DME). Once a slow boil has returned to your wort, add in your hops and cut the heat, stirring almost continuously for 30 minutes with a low IBU hop. We used German Noble Hellertau at .5 oz for this 2.5 gallon batch.

Let wort cool to 70F before throwing in your lager yeast. S-189 works great, but I used Mangrove Jack’s Bavarian Lager yeast this time. Gives a lightly fruity finish to the beer that works well with the spicy hops.

Ferment cool for 1-2 weeks until ferment is complete and then lager (or store in a cool dark place) for 1-3 weeks. Let the beer drop clear before you either bottle condition or force carbonate.

Lastly enjoy a regional specialty not normally seen outside of Bavaria. Prost!


Brew Day – Christmas “lager” – Sparkling Vienna Amber Lager with seasonal spices.

3 lbs Sparking Amber DME
1lb Caramunich III malt grain
1 oz German Tettnang hops
1 packet M12 Kveik yeast (dry)
Dash Pumpkin Pie spice ( or just nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, clove)
2 Dash Ground Clove

Bring 1.5 gallons of water and steeping grains up to 185 and remove grain bag.
Whirlpool hops for 10-15 minutes depending on strength you desire.
Remove hop bag and throw in your DME and stir till mixed well.
Add 1 gallon COLD water and stir.
Sprinkle in your spices and stir again.

Let the mix cool to about 90 degrees and move to fermenting vessel.
Pitch yeast and close up fermenter in a warm place. The yeast (kveik) responds well to warmer temperatures and will burn through fermentation. Expect this to be done in 1-1.5 weeks before you can bottle condition or keg. Just in time for Christmas.

I will update when I get this on the gas and show follow up pictures and flavors.

Update #1

3 days in a 72 degree house was all it took for complete fermentation. The taste is malty with light-ish body and a mellow flavor of spices. I am cold crashing now before force carbonation. I am shocked at house aggressive and clean the Kveik yeast is. May be a new standard go to. The hops are a bit strong with peppery and good bitterness for a malt forward beer. Close to Pale Ale IBUs. Once I get it on the gas I will post another update and pictures with final gravity and taste test.

Musings and possibly a book.

First and foremost – happy 600 days of “14 days to flatten the curve.”

I am tired of things not being back to “normal” and the new normal is pretty f*cked up.

That said, it has given us all more time at home with our families if we are lucky. That has been the driving factor behind TVD and our stories, experiences and tidbits of info we provide on the blog and instagram.

I was out blowing leaves and was thinking about the blog and being a start up company/entrepreneurs. We provide a product – this blog and its information that is actionable to not only help you in your life and journey but ours as well.
We are passionate about many things and most are covered here in the blog, but one thing that is a top passion for me, besides my family, is my love of fermentation and home brewing. Now – I would NEVER be good enough to be a professional brewer – there is a lot to learn, and buy to even get close, but I can certainly help others find a love for the art and if they then go on to become pros… so be it.

With that all in mind – I am going to try to WRITE A BOOK! About brewing for people who don’t want to know everything but make solid beverages and develop new skills! Plus it will be for quick and lazy brewing! No day long brew days here!

More to come soon!

1* AFD

Brew Day – Schwarz Bier ( German Black Lager)

1/2 lb Black Malt – milled
1/4 lb Roasted Barley
3 lbs DME Golden Light
2.5 gallons water
1/2 oz Hellertau Mittelfuher hops
S-189 Dry Lager Yeast from Saflager

Steep grain in bag as 1.5 gallons water heats to 180 F
Pull Grain bag and bring to boil
Mix in DME
Bring to boil then cut heat
Whirlpool hops for 20 minutes, then remove
Add 1 gallon COLD water
Let wort chill to 68-70 degrees then pitch yeast
ferment 1-2 weeks or until complete and cold crash beer for clarity.

Keg or bottle as desired.

I am making this today and will let you know how it turns out in a few days/week!

Update: fermented 5 days then cold crashes for 4 at 40 degrees. Force carb over night and the results are stellar. Flavor of dark roast and barely but light body as should be for a lager.

AFD 1*

Brew Day – No-Boil Dry Irish Stout (Greyson’s Blarney Bitter Stout)

Hey all,
In honor of my son, and with St. Patrick’s Day rapidly approaching I have a quick Dry Irish Stout beer recipe that can be brewed and drank within 2 week ( with a force carb system) or a month without.

This recipe will be very close to a Guinness Foreign Stout clone. The dark malts and added mild hop flavor from the Bullion hops give a nice mellow bite to this Bitter Stout. If you have a nitrogen system I suggest you give it a go and see how it turns out, but its great on CO2.

Grain Bill, Hops & Extract:
2.5 lbs golden lite DME
12.5 oz Marris Otter
10oz Roast Barley
2.5oz Caraffa II
1.25oz Black Patent
1 pack W34/70 dry Lager Yeast
1oz Bullion Hops

I steeped all the grain with the DME and enough water to hit 2.5 gallons at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. I then removed the grain and whirlpooled the hops for 30 minutes before removing from heat and letting cool to room temperature (over night).

I transferred the wort to fermentation vessel and pitched the dry yeast. Kept at 70 degrees for 6 days before cold crashing and conditioning in a fridge (or outside -winter here) for 4 days.

I kegged and force carbonated overnight for 12 hours at 40 PSI before bumping the gas down to serving pressure of 12 psi.

The results are amazing. Creamy thick foam, complex flavor with notes of toffee, coffee, roasted break and a slight bitterness from the hops and dark grains.

Slainte folks!

Mmmm Greyson’s Blarney Stout… Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day 🍀🍀🍀☘️

Brew Day – Cyser, Mead & Apple Cider Hybrid

2.5 gallon batch of Cyser – Mead Cider Hybrid

You will need our staple equipment of a fermentor, Airlock, Stir stick, 5lbs of Honey and 1 gallon of Organic Apple Juice and finally, yeast.

Add .5 gallons of water and 1 gallon of apple juice to fermentor.
Mix in your honey into the juice/water mixture.
Top off with warm water to the 2.5 gallon mark.
Pitch your yeast ( D-47, 2 packets)

Within a week, you should have a boozy mead/cider mix, taste each day after this point until you get to a sweetness level you want. About a week after that it should be a dry/tart Cyser.

You can now bottle and enjoy, add some sugar and bottle for 2 more weeks to bottle condition (make fizzy) or put right on keg and Force Carbonate (this is what I do).

Then Enjoy!

You can scale the above to a 5 Gallon recipe as well.

Brew Day 2: Peach Session Mead

Today I am writing about a recent brew I did that I bottled today. It tastes AWESOME. If you like Peach with just a touch of honey flavor on the back end, then you will love this mead.

Now I know its cinco de mayo and I will be enjoying a taco salad and cerveza later, but right now I need to express how great this mead is and would go well with some flan or Churros! Now to get on with how I brewed it –

I used a flavorful Peach Tea blend (2 bags) and 3 pounds of clover honey to create this spring/summer sipper in just 5 days. That’s right, just 5 days. Some people will say that is sacrilege, but anyone who has tried this mead will protest! I steeped the tea in 4 cups of water and let it sit till it was room temperature. I then added 3 pounds of honey and .5 oz of Wyeast nutrient into my (clean and sterilized) fermentor and mixed the hell out of the solution. I then added more water to get my final volume to 2.5 gallons. a final stir to make sure everything is all mixed together and a good amount of oxygen taken in, I pitch my D47 yeast (2 packs).

I let the wort ( un-fermented beer or mead/wine) ferment for 3 days at 68 degrees. On the 3rd day I sampled the mead and it was semi-dry, flavorful of peach and some vanilla and petulant ( slightly fizzy). It had a good aroma on it and hazy very hazy ( think Wheat Beer). I did a gravity reading and the mead was sitting at 6% AVB on the nose.

I decided I liked the ABV and flavor so much that I cold crashed the mead by placing in my fridge for 48 hours. Now some will argue that technically the mead was still fermenting and I could have gotten the ABV higher and had the mead clear more if I just has waited. Well screw that. I liked how it tastes, its at the alcohol level I want and it frees up a fermentor for another brew!

I bottled the mead this morning and have enjoyed it chilled with a splash of seltzer as well as straight in a highball glass over some ice. Its very reminiscent of peach tea and can be served similarly.

Brew Day 1 for April: MEAD

As part of my promise to help Dad’s everywhere develop hobbies, stay sane, and learn new skills, I present to you – BREW DAY – The posts that follow what I am brewing, the recipes I use/create, the process I took and other odds and ends as to why I do what I do.

For the first entry in our series I present a simple but tasty Mead that will hit about 5-6% alcohol by volume, so very session-able indeed. The ingredients are dead simple and the process even more so. This mead will technically be a Methglyn – herbs (or dried fruit) and honey mixed. The fruit in this case will be Wild Berry Blend tea which will impart flavor, and the honey will be a mild clover honey.

Items you will need:
• Fermentor- a bucket or gallon jug – total volume today will be 1 gallon.
• Yeast – dry white wine variant (D47 is solid)
• Yeast nutrient
• 1.5-2 lbs of honey – raw is better, local is best but $$$
• 1-2 tea packets – I used wild berry blend
• Stir device
• Airlock
First clean and sanitize anything that will touch your mead. Use hot water and a dash of bleach after you thoroughly clean everything.

  1. Take your tea and steep for 30 minutes or until it’s just warm to the touch in 4 cups of water.
  2. In your fermentor add .25 gallon of water that is warm
  3. Add 1 tsp yeast nutrient
  4. Add your honey, if it’s slow going, put the container in a warm water bath to make it easier to get out
  5. Mix the hell out of that stuff in your fermentor.
  6. Now that the tea is cooled down and steeped, add that to the fermentor and mix like hell again.
    a. Mixing like this incorporates oxygen which is needed to start a fermentation. Where sugar gets converted to alcohol. Once you close you container do not open or allow air to touch again till you bottle to drink.
  7. Level out to one gallon by adding room temperature water.
  8. Carefully open and pitch ( toss in without touching) your dry yeast over the top of the fermentor.
  9. Close lid on fermentor and add airlock – could be the plastic kind in a bung with water or even a ballon with a pin hole in it wrapped over the top of the jug. Google it for pictures)
  10. Let sit at room temperature (62-78 degrees, check temps for your yeast you pick) for a week to 10 days. This really should be finished fermenting in 3-5 days but if your house is on the colder side it will take longer to finish ferment.
  11. After 3-5 days if you see no more air bubbles in the airlock ( or your ballon droops) and the mixture is looking clear and the yeast is on the bottom of the container, you are ready to syphon your MEAD to drinking vessels or a secondary container to carbonate. Chill mead and DRINK. Should be between 5-6% abv and may have slight fizz tingle.
Step 5
Sealed and ready to go ferment

Seal the mead in a gallon jug or keg, add priming sugar or more honey and let the container sit for another 10-14 days. After that time the residual yeast will have eaten the new sugar/ honey you added and convert it into CO2 which will be absorbed into the beverage due to not having and airlock. Then, chill and consume within 2 days unless you individually bottled the mead.


5 gallons of strong honey wine, 2.5 gallons of Melomel (Grape Mead), Today’s 1 gallon test batch of Wild berry Mead

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