Friday, October 23, 2009


I do, from time to time, drink vodka. I also occasionally have a martini. I do not make a martini with vodka. That's not a martini. Now we've got that out of the way, back to the vodka.

In our house we usually drink vodka from the freezer in tiny little glasses that Becky brought back from the USSR in the olden days. For these puposes I favour Stolichnaya, a russian grain vodka (you knew that). Not perhaps the smoothest, but works well at sub-zero temperatures (I love the way vodka goes viscous). I know some people prefer others - I can see something like Absolut being nice at higher temperatures. If you're mixing, why not Smirnoff? It's whatever floats your boat.

The point of vodka is that (to a given number of decimal places) it's ethanol and water. That's all. Although, funny thing, when a chum made some vodka out of HPLC grade ethanol and water, I didn't particularly like it. We drank it, sure. I guess that there's something in the vodkas I like (impurities that is) which makes them taste / feel different from a straight ethanol solution.

There are some vodkas out there that pride themselves on their purity. It's not a concept that I've ever been happy with. Frankly, it's not natural. It's got a sort of "tidy desk = tidy mind" vibe to it which makes me feel queasy. But that's probably just me.

It's the purity of vodka which makes it perfect for the marketing droids. There's really nothing there except the marketing, after all.

Speaking of marketing, jesusjohn pointed out (over at impymalting) the kind of thing that's involved in turning neutral grain spirit into a "billion dollar brand". Lots of skyy adverts here.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

That big stout thing...

... is out of the fermenter and sitting in a bunch of 18's, along with some booze soaked toasted oak chips. I'm going to leave it for a few weeks, and see what happens.

It looks like our yeast did pretty well without special measures (apart from over-pitching a bit), in that we seem to have about 8.6% ABV at the moment. I suspect that if I'd roused it a bit, we could have hit 9%
Next time, perhaps...