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.

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 – 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

Things to Do and Learn During Isolation This Easter/Passover (Keep Sane and Make Your Own Booze!)

Happy Friday All,

I know the coming weekend is a popular holiday with many of the world’s big 3 religions, Easter, Passover, Ramadan. It will be very different this year with the social lock down and stay at home orders. Just because you can’t go out doesn’t mean you still can’t celebrate with friends and family.

Thanks to the advent of different technologies you can Zoom/ Facebook Message or FaceTime your friends/families/parents/dog or cat/ goldfish(?). Regardless you can use this weekend and downtime to advance your skills that you can share with those people (and almost all of them over video chat). I am going to list some options below and then link out to other posts and sites I have either made or have found extremely helpful. Lists of ingredients/tools/materials needed are listed as well. So without further adieu:

Learn an instrument: I personally love playing the ukulele and have a few. You can find affordable starter soprano and tenor (bigger, lower tones, better for bigger hands) on Amazon, MusiciansFriend, and other sites. I personally love my Makala ukuleles with Nygut strings. Sites to help you learn basic chords with TONS of songs are out there but I love this site. This is also awesome as its a great starting point for your kids to get into other musical instruments such as guitar!,

Learn another Language: My wife and I love to travel. I lived abroad for many years and was exposed to many languages in Europe. Since my wife and I have started seeing each other we make it a point to go adventure! Now I know right now that’s not an option but that gives you more time to learn a language in as little as 5 minute a day playing games and listening to stories. https://www.duolingo.com/learn is a free resource that allows you to create a profile and go out an learn TONS of languages _FREE_. I have used this to teach myself German, which I used to navigate Munich,Germany, Austria and Switzerland! “Eins Mas, Bitte” ( a Mas (1L stein) of beer please!) I used it to help me remember my high school and college French and I have even started learning DANISH on there – Jeg Drikker Ol! (“I drink Beer”, remember start with the essentials). There is an app that you can download as well from Duolingo and can be installed on you iPad/phone/android devices. This is a great way to expose your children to another language and help educate them when online school meetings have lost their appeal.

Learn to make your own Alcohol: Beer, Wine, Mead – All use the same basic principals for fermenting sugar into alcohol. How they taste, the volumes, and the creativity in formulating recipes are all up to you!
I will add more posts in regards to wine and beer, but go online to find resources locally, such as local brew shops, who can provide you a vast knowledge of where and how to start brewing, but also to help you with any questions you may have. This also helps your local communities and the economy so do your civic duty and drink up. Personally I have been brewing only Mead (Honey Wine) recently. I do it many ways mixing in fruit or spices or Hops. I primarily make Mead in 2 styles, wine style ( 12-15% alcohol), or Session style (4-7% alcohol and carbonated like beer). You can get a decent Session mead from raw ingredients to something you can drink in as little as a week!

Dry Hopped Session Mead

The folks over at Groennfell Meadery in VT have great resources online to teach you how to make and trouble shoot your own meads at home, and the head Meadmaker Ricky, is a delight with his knowledge and awesome “Ask the Meadmaker” YouTube videos. https://www.groennfell.com/blog

Self care – Meditation: There are many apps out there that will give you guided meditations and many more videos on YouTube etc. to help. The simplest tool I have found to help anyone start is Box breathing. Here is how is goes:
1. Find a quiet area and sit comfortably or lay down and close your eyes.

2. Clear your mind and just focus on your breath, coming in, going out and how it feels in your head/chest/back then arms and legs.

3. Now just focus on the breath, inhale for a count of 4. Hold it in for a count of 4. slowly breath out for a count of 4. Hold you breath without air in your lungs for a count of 4. Then repeat inhalation instructions. Do this once or twice a day for 5-10 minutes. You will feel clear headed and calmer with lower levels of anxiety after.

This is a technique taught to first responder’s, Navy SEALs, Military and other professions of high stress situations. You do not even need to sit down and close your eyes but this activity helps calm the nervous system and is an essential *Life Hack* when things are just getting too intense.

Alright everyone – I hope you enjoyed these tips and advice. Much much more to come in the future around these topics and many more. The meditation/Breath technique will definitely help during this pandemic and being stuck at home. Thanks all for reading! Happy Easter/Oester/Passover!



Pregnant wife and new baby coming during a pandemic…

I am going to be a new father. Its my first child. I am currently under isolation because the world is fighting against a virus that is ravaging populations. What a time to try to plan to bring new life into this world.

I have fears: Will my wife remain healthy till our child’s birth? If she does get sick, and it is COVID-19, can it pass to the baby? Will I be able to be in the hospital and see my child when they are born? Will I have to wait in isolation before I can see and hold my child?

I have hope: We see the curve flattening, we see communities coming together and communicating, we see medical staff, first responder’s ( where my LEO and fire brothers at?) going above and beyond to treat those who are sick. I am hopeful that the economy will recover and my retirement isn’t lost and those facing hardships will be back to work soon. I have hope that I will be a good father and be able to provide for my family.

What does this mean for the rest of you? Keep going strong, take it a day at a time, keep your powder dry, work out, meditate, care for your kin, and keep moving forward!

For meditation without the woowoo – Calm app

For Workout that gives you biggest bang for buck with minimal barbell/kettlebell – Tactical Barbell or Simple and Sinister books

For advice on Dad life: theversatiledad.com



Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑