Having an affection for things crafted by the hand of a master, I have always enjoyed handmade bikes and components along with wines, food and schnapps. The latter mind you, is not your typical American flavoured-syrup with a good dose of alcohol, rather it is made from pure fruit, no additives or anything else. Being on the receiving end of some of the best homemade schnapps out of the fatherland the past ten years in the US, when the opportunity arose to produce my own batch, I jumped at the opportunity.
Bobbing for apples?
My friend Sascha Wenzel invited me to help harvest some apples and take part in the process of making schnapps. A couple of weekends ago we began the journey from fruit to brandy. With three sorts of apples on his piece of land, we picked some of the biggest, juiciest apples I have ever seen, and all organic. We gathered enough to fill three big barrels (and then some!), which we spent the better part of an afternoon dicing up into smaller cubes, then we mashed them and filled our barrels.
From there, it is a game of patience, stirring daily, they have slowly begun to ferment. At first we were met with lots of resistance when stirring each barrel, we are about half the way along, stirring the half liquefied mash is done with ease. One can already smell the alcohol as they are very ripe.
A few more weeks and they will stop fermenting on their own, then they are ready for distilling. We will make an appointment at a local distillery around mid-January, where we will spend the day, and probably need a ride home from…as we have our mash turned into a clear liquid that would remove paint from a car. Depending on the duration of distillation will determine the alcohol content, which will be around 40%. Our three barrels will probably yield around 40 liters.
What the hell do you do with 40 liters of schnapps??? My half will go in a large glass jug with a tap on it to fill bottles. The longer schnapps ages, the smoother it gets. No doubt it will have to be tried immediately, but I plan on letting it age a little, and then next fall, start to gift others with hopefully will be a good bottle of apple brandy.
Sunday morning spin
On the bike front, Sandi & I are going to Madburg in a couple of weekends for our first cyclocross of the season, and have been enjoying some spectacular fall riding. It has been crisp and cool with lots of sun drenched days. Riding through thick beds of leaves, it makes it hard sometimes to define where the trails go. My new training loop in Hochspeyer is a blast on the cross bike, maybe a training series this winter???
from a different angle
I have our crosscountry course already planned, sehr anspruchtsvol! Very techy, and if it is wet, muddy and even more techy!!!
My new Dugast’s Rhinos (both cross and mountain) are oh so sweet, nothing rides better than tubulars. You can feel the attention to detail and quality in each rotation of the wheel across the trail. Once again, it is my affection for the handmade things in life.