The Brew Shed

So apparently,  if I was going to do this brewing M’larkey,  I need to get my s**t together and get the brew shed sorted out.

Now I couldn’t see a problem with how it was, I knew exactly where everything was and could always find what I was looking for – eventually..

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So a lot of guff was dumped in the garden and a lot taken to the dump.IMG-20160819-WA0000

This left a nice empty shed.Think I’ve been to the back twice in sixteen years.

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Then the lower wall was treated, had some vapour membrane applied and boxed in and the window wall and floor were painted.


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Then all the guff was put back in.



I’ll never be able to find anything with it looking like that.

The most important bit of kit in the brew shed.



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Turbo Cider

Here’s a quick way to make a gallon of cheap cider.

All you need is 5l of supermarket apple juice, pectolase, wine yeast, yeast nutrient, sugar and tannin, which can come from some strong black tea.

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For the first part of the ferment it’s  best to start it of in a fermentation bucket as it can get lively. So put the apple juice , 5 teaspoons of sugar, yeast nutrient, black tea and pectolase in the fermenter and stir, then add the yeast.

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24 hrs later, this would have been a bit messy in a demi-john.

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Next siphon off into a demi-john. It will still be a bit lively (the air lock was changed three times before I took this photo).

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This should be ready in about six weeks.


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Mickey Moonbeams Ltd

What ho chums

Just formed a company and registered with Companies House, Mickey Moonbeams Ltd. Now have a domain name too,

Whoop whoop.

Better put me serious head on now when it comes to brewing.

‘This time next year Rodney we’ll be millionaires’ 

(Don’t hold your breath on that last bit though.)


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Micky Moonbeams – Nettle Ale

Think stinging nettle and you think weed,well nettles are much more than just a weed. From ancient times, nettles have been used as a source of  fiber – in Denmark, burial shrouds made of nettle fabrics have been discovered that date back to the Bronze Age (3000-2000 BC), in medicinal preparations, it can be used for the relief of arthritis,lumbago,rheumatism, lethargy, coma, paralysis, and even typhus and cholera. They can also be used as a food source.Of course, the best use for nettles is in making ale.

Like mead recipes,there are hundreds to choose from, so like the mead, I mixed and matched and made my own recipe, although what it’s going to taste like remains to be seen (or tasted even).

The first thing that’s needed of obviously, is nettles. There’s several different types in the countryside, there’s what’s called dead nettles and stinging nettles. Stinging nettles are the ones needed for ale.

When the nettles are in flower it’s easier to tell them apart.

White Dead Nettle.


Purple Dead Nettle

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Stinging Nettle

Stinging Nettle- adaptations- ugly flowers

If there’s no flowers, run your fingers over the leaves, you’ll soon know if you’ve got stingers or not. However, having just said this you don’t want to collect stinging nettles that are in flower, you just need the top four or five leaves of the new growth.


Most of the recipes don’t give a weight requirement, they just say a carrier bag full to make 1 gallon.


It didn’t take too long to fill a bag, I filled two in about a half hour, each one weighed about 640 gms.

You’ll also need

Sugar 1kg



Cream of Tartar


I’ve also got a bag of hops in the pic,(more later).

First step, boil the nettles and let simmer for 20 mins.

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While they’re simmering put the sugar and cream of tartar in the fementing vessels.

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Cream of Tartar (is not the stuff you put on fish, that’s tartar sauce) has many applications in baking and cake making. It comes from potassium hydrogen tartrate or potassium bitartrate and is a fine, white, odorless powder. It is a by-product of wine production and is formed from the sediment left over in barrels after the wine making process. I’ve not been able to find out much about what it does in brewing, the best I’ve found is that it helps keep the head on the beer, makes the drink more syrupy and gives it“mouth feel”, whatever that is, (seems to be an American phrase).

When the nettles have simmered for 20 mins, strain the liquid off into the fermenter

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to dissolve the sugar and cream of tartar. Then add the juice of two and a half lemons, the acid in the lemons help regulate the acidity of the brew.

When the liquid had cooled to 23 deg C the yeast was added and the fermenter covered, to be left for a week, then racked off into demi-johns. I want to try something different so after three day I added some hops to one of the brews.

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This is a process called ‘dry-hopping’ and adds aroma to the brew as opposed to taste which is what adding hops at the boiling stage does and to be honest as the nettles were simmering they didn’t smell too good.

Well in three weeks I find out what the smell and taste are like.


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Mickey Moonbeam’s Marvelous Mead

Hægl Freond!

(That’s old English for What Ho Chums).

We always tend to think of mead as being a part of ‘Merry Olde England’  – Anglo-Saxons, Robin Hood, ‘Good Queen Bess’ and other things like that from England’s glorious past but apparently that’s not quite how it was. Mead is in fact the world’s oldest alcoholic drink – going back 40,000 years to early African bushmen, with wine being a mere 6000 years old. About 35,000 years ago  those African Johnnies got a bit fed up being chased up hill and down dale by lions and decided to find somewhere a bit safer to live so they had a wander around the Med. They  spread out across Europe and Mesopotamia, spreading their mead as they went.

Now, I thought I’d make some, after-all, how hard can it be? People running around stark bollock naked 40,00 years ago could do it, so I should be able to breeze it.

Well, I soon found out when I googled some recipes – there’s thousands,form nearly every region of the world. It was all a bit confusing,  there’s dry, semi-dry, sweet, very sweet, fruit, herb, spiced the list is endless; so I thought I’d make my own recipe up based on what’s called a melomel mead, that is a mead made with fruit.

Most recipes called for between 8 – 18 lbs of honey. I thought I would make it using local Kent honey and looked up some local apiaries and found one that was quite close. unfortunately it was £8 a jar for the honey, which made that idea a non-starter, although I did buy a jar. So it was off to the Swan for a pint and to ponder what to do. Now on the way home I had to pop into the Co-Op and on the shelves was honey for £1.75, a bit of a no-brainer then.

Here’s a list of the ingredients.

8lbs of honey.


Yeast nutient

1 lemon

25gm raisins



First the honey was poured into the fermentor with some warm water added and stirred, then topped up to the 23 l mark with cold water.Lemon juice was added to help regulate the acidity and also the raisins were added, to help give a bit more sugar for the yeast.



Then a gravity reading was taken.



While this was being done, the yeast was started in a cup of hot water at 40f which is a lot hotter than normal.

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The yeast nutrient was also started.


Me wee yeasties go made for this stuff.

It was all added to the fermentor.


This was covered and allowed to ferment for two weeks. Then it was transferred to a glass car-boy.


Now all that’s needed is to leave to continue fermenting for eight months then bottle it.



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Chateau Moonbeam’s Van Plonk

Salut. Bonjour et Ca Va.

That’s Frenchie speak for What Ho Chums.

Well the alcoholic grape juice has brewed and been bottled. Just had a bottle and haven’t got heartburn so it must be ok.

So here’s the label for the bottles.


Well chin chin for now chaps or should that be Au revoir

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‘Hello Daddy’

Life it’s a wonderful thing, or as Jimmy Stewart would say it’s a wonderful life

Now I’ve got some more of that accursed cider stuff on the go. Bunged all the stuff together in the plastic bucket thingy  on Sunday and since then nothing has happened. Well now, unknown to me all me little wee yeasties have been busy doing their thing, bless em.  I’m just to impatient to appreciate all the the hard work they do in getting their chemical reactions in gear. So ,since Sunday I’ve been sat by me fermentation vessel (plastic bucket thingy) willing them on to make me proud and finally after three days they did.

From out of nowhere; there came a noise, which to you non-brewing types reading this might have sounded like a burp or fart but to us brewer Johnnies it said,

‘Hello Daddy’.

Chin Chin Chaps.

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Another Cider Disaster

Quel Désastre! Or as they say in French ‘quel désastre’. Well another fizzy cider experiment ends in abject failure and for the last time too I might add. As long as cider gets you pis**d who gives a flying **** if it’s got bubbles, it ain’t champagne. So I’ll have one more go at a cider, cyder or even zyder, this time without the fizz. Although of course it is for the beloved so its got to be girly and this one is going to be a strawberry cider – not natural I know, it should only jus de pomme but hey ho.  Talking of things Frenchie and Johnnie Foreigner got some alcoholic grape juice on the go. Now I would post a pic but I can’t be arsed to walk down the garden to to the shed so here’s a pic of glass of wine I lifted from some else’s website.


Well chin, chin chaps

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Mickey Moonbeams Fizzy Cider

What Ho Chums!

decided to have another go at some cider, cyder,zyder or whatever you want to call it (but of course never, ever cidre, good god no).

Now after  the Euro Fizz, I’ve discovered the ancient mysteries of making bubbles, which of course we all know as  C6H12O6 + 2 ADP + 2 Pi + 2 NAD+ → 2 CH3COCOO + 2 ATP + 2 NADH + 2 H2O + 2 H+

and of course H2CO3 → H2O + CO2

here’s a link to some scientific stuff  all about if you can be arsed, The Maths and Science of Carbonation.

So it looks like the beloveds luck could be in, she’ll get her fizzy cider.

First things first, here’s a cider kit.


This contains the apple concentrate, to which 2.5l of water of boiling water needs to be added  in a fermentation vessel, aka a plastic bucket.


If only I could write in smell-o-vision or something, it smells very appley. Next 1kg of sugar needs to be added, I dissolved some in hot water to speed things up.

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It doesn’t look very appetizing but hey-ho I’m drinking it not eating it (or rather the beloved is). Next cold water was added to bring the amount up to 23l.


A quick gravity reading was taken.


1.36 og, so this will be about 4.5% when finally barreled/bottled.

Next the yeast has to be added: when the temperature is between 18-24 degrees C.


20.3 degrees C, hmmm just right, as Goldilocks said when she thieved baby bears porridge.

Now this is the yeast that came with the kit.


As you can see lots of Johnny Foreigner writing on it and we’re not having any of that cidre m’larkey. Luckily I bought this yeast when I got the kit.


Looks a bit more British. Here’s a pic of me wee yeasties having a swim.


Then it’s on with the lid and wait for 5 to 8 days until fermentation stops.






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Mickey Moonbeams Fantastical Teynham Brewery’s Carbon Footprint

What-Ho Chums!

being the caring,sharing,tree-hugging,eco-friendly, nature loving brewery that we are, I thought you all might like to know our commitment to the environment.

So here’s our environmental statement.

1. We like trees.

2. We also like flowers,birds, bee’s and other types of nature stuff too .

3. Yeahhhha for the above.

Our carbon-footprint is minimal, 4 miles (ish) from suppliers to brewery.

Look here’s a map to prove it.

Carbon map



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