S1E76 - Sean on Brewing
This week on Live Like the World is Dying, Sean teaches Margaret about brewing alcohol. They talk about fermentation in general and then walk though how to make beer and cider.
Sean (he/him) can be found at https://seanvansickel.com/
This show is published by Strangers in A Tangled Wilderness. We can be found at www.tangledwilderness.org, or on Twitter @TangledWild and Instagram @Tangled_Wilderness. You can support the show on Patreon at www.patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness.
Live Like the World is Dying: Sean on Brewing
Margaret: Hello, and welcome to Live Like the World is Dying, your podcast for what feels like the end times. This week we're talking about fermentation. We're talking about little things that eat things and then poop out alcohol. I actually don't really know because I'm the one who's going to be asking these questions and I record these introductions before I actually do the interview. So, I'm going to be learning more about fermentation and we're gonna be talking about alcohol, but we're also gonna be talking about all kinds of other stuff too. And I think you'll get a lot out of it. And first, we're a proud member of the Channel Zero Network of anarchists podcasts and here's a jingle from another show on the network. La la la, la la la la [Margaret making musical melody sounds]
Margaret: Okay, we're back. And so if you could introduce yourself with your name, your pronouns, and then I guess like a little bit about how you got into fermentation?
Sean: So my name is Sean. Pronouns are he/him. Well, I actually started with, with cider and mead because I had a harder time finding commercially available cider and mead that wasn't just kind of like a novelty product or obscenely expensive, you know, imported from like Basque country or whatever. So that's, that was kind of where I got my, my kickoff on fermentation. I worked in commercial fermentation doing sour beer production as well as like conventional clean, you know, canned beer, and then actually worked in sales and distribution with beer for a while.
Margaret:Okay, so this is really exciting because I've always kind of wanted to get into this. Well, I've kind of wanted to get into everything, which is the whole reason I started this podcast, so I could ask people about how to do things. But fermentation...so you can format things and it makes them different? What is fermentation?
Sean: So fermentation basically is either yeast or bacteria breaking down almost always some form of sugar or carbohydrate. The main thing that is being produced by that is co2. But a nice little side effect that is often produced is alcohol, right, or lactic acid is often produced especially in the presence of bacteria, specifically in the presence of lactic acid producing bacteria. We call them you know, LAB is the abbreviation that's used. So, fermentation is happening generally-when people are referring to it--they're referring to yeast fermentation. So the most common yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, right, beer yeast. It's the same. It's called beer yeast. But that's the same yeast that's used to ferment wine. It's used to ferment like a sour mash, if you're, you know, making whiskey in a legal distillation situation as opposed to you know, the other distillation situation. It is illegal to distill alcohol for home use in the US. So, yeah, you have to be very careful you don't do that. On Accident.
Margaret:Yeah, we won't cover that for a while.
Sean: Yeah, right.
Margaret: Okay, wait, is this the same yeast as like sourdough and all of that?
Sean: It's very, very close. So sourdough is--especially if you make like a if you'd like a sourdough starter capture right from the air... I have not done this. It's something I've wanted to do. I've captured wild yeast for brewing from the air but never for baking. But they are a similar blend of airborne yeast, so you'll have wild yeast. You'll have wild Saccharomyces cerevisiae as well as wild other yeasts, Brettanomyces. Yeast strains are very common in air. And then you'll also have lactic acid bacteria in the air. So these are those rod shaped bacteria that are active in the absence of oxygen. They're anaerobic bacteria. So, they will continue to acidify things, even when there is no oxygen present to like kind of fuel or catalyze that reaction in a way that regular beer yeast, or even bread yeast, baking yeast, right, won't necessarily be able to do.
Margaret: I'm really not used to the idea of thinking about bacteria as a positive thing.
Sean: Right. No. So they are extremely a positive thing, Lactic acid bacteria, because they drop the pH as well. And lower pH means you don't have to worry about like botulism, for example. You know, so that's definitely a benefit. Most spoilage...So one number I'm going to be saying probably a few times is 4.2. 4.2 is like the pH level, below which you have a greater degree of protection because of the acidity, right.
Margaret: Okay. Cause botulism doesn't like hanging out in there?
Sean: Botulism is...I'm not 100% sure if it's the pH, the alcohol, or both. But botulism does not like low pH, nor does it like high ABV. So these are, these are both good ways of protecting yourself from that.
Margaret: So it's that kind of...so fermentation probably comes originally, basically...Well, probably by accident. But originally probably comes from people just basically desperately trying to figure out how to make sure food doesn't go bad. And this is and fermentation is like, one of the many ways that humans have developed to keep food from going bad? Is that a?
Sean: My theory is that's why fermentation stuck around. I think it showed up eventually because human... ancient, you know, human beings, proto humans even, you know, proto hominids realized they could get fucked up with it.
Margaret:Yeah. That's fair.
Sean: I think that's the key point. Like human nature hasn't changed that much. That will always be the driving influence on novelty, I think.
Margaret: So, what are some of the things--I'm going to ask you about some of the specifics about how to do this a little bit--but what are some of the things that you can ferment? I know, you can make sauerkraut and you can make pickles? Nope, that's not fermentation.
Sean: No, lacto fermented pickles, absolutely. That's frementation.
Margaret: Oh, yeah. No, I totally knew that. That's definitely why I said it.
Sean: Not like quick pickling with vinegar in the fridge. That's not an active fermentation process. And I do that too, like quick pickled red onions are like...those go well on everything. But no, like actual, like long term pickling. Hot sauces are a big one. You know, I did a batch of...I grew a bunch of jalapeno peppers. And then I went to like a restaurant supply type grocery store and they had like three or four pound bags of jalapenos for like, you know, they were starting to go off, right, I got them for like, under $1. So I fermented about 40 pounds of jalapenos in a five gallon bucket. And you just make a make of salt brine. Right. Like you can you can look up the levels. I think I did a 3.5% or 4%. saline brine in there.
Margaret: I'll ask you the more specifics about how to do it in a bit.
Sean: But yeah, so peppers you can do. You can do any kind of...anything that has an naturally occurring sugar usually can be fermented and emits....And when you have high levels of naturally occurring sugar, like the classic example is grapes, you usually are, you know, suspending that sugar and solution, water. Right. And you're making a beverage. Like that's the most classic example. That's, you know, wine, that's beer, that's, you know, fruit wines. You know, there's a lot of rural cultures throughout the world. There's, you know, non-grape wines, right, it's very common mead is another one, right, and probably the oldest. You know, we talked about the, you know, anthropological aspects of fermentation earlier. And, yeah, that's almost certainly we've, you know, a lot of evidence suggests mead,
Margaret: Okay. So, when you ferment stuff, how long? What kind of shelf life are you able to get on something like hot sauce or sauerkraut or pickles and things like that? The like food stuff.
Sean: Yeah. So you've definitely there are two dates at play here, which is the this is going to, you know, this still tastes really good and this is still a safe source of macronutrients and, you know, and things like that. I've had no decline in flavor with fermented hot sauce. And I usually package the fermented hot sauce in beer bottles with like a beer cap over the top or in a, like, sometimes mason jars as well. But in that packaging, I've not really seen any kind of degradation over like a two year time period, as far as flavor is concerned. It's probably foodsafe not indefinitely but probably at least 10 years. But it is going to depend on your process. It's going to depend on how much oxygen is introduced at packaging It's going to depend on the amount of salt that you have, you know, because salt is usually part of, you know, fermented food preservation and salt is a preservative. So, you know, there's going to be a lot of little factors that are going to affect that aspect of that.
Margaret: Okay, but if you if you do it right, you can probably make bottles of stuff and leave them in your basement for like 10 years if you need to?
Sean: Yeah, absolutely.
Margaret: Fuck yeah.
Sean: And that applies to especially lactic acid bacteria fermented alcohol. You know, whether that's like a French or Basque style cider or a sour beer. Those things we're talking, you know, probably a 20 year lifespan.
Margaret: Oh, interesting. Okay, as compared to so that's the bacterially fermented?
Sean: So the food is bacterially fermented as well.
Margaret: But I mean, as compared to regular beer, right?
Margaret How long does regular beer last?
Sean Very high alcohol beer can last just as long because alcohol is a preservative just like salt, you know, the effects that some of these bacteria create. Bacteria and wild yeast like Brettanomyces is oxygen scavenging, right. So when you when it referments, if you re-...it's called bottle conditioning, right, it's where you add a small amount of fermentable sugar to a bottle and then cap it and then it referments in the bottle, you get a tiny layer a yeast at the bottom and it carbonates in the bottle. It's not done as often professionally because it produces pretty inconsistent results. But it is going to increase the lifespan of your beverage exponentially because as part of that like reproductive cycle, oxygen is scavenged and where there's less oxygen there's less spoilage.
Margaret: So it's like putting the little oxygen absorber in with your like Mylar bag food only it's...
Sean: Except it actually works. Yeah. [Laughing] It's far more effective because it literally is pulling every, almost every last, you know, unit of oxygen out of there and using it to fuel, you know, its own cellular reproduction. So it's not just being like absorbed and held--as much as it can be absorbed and held inert--it's like being used.
Margaret: That's cool. Alright, so let's say I want to ferment because I kind of do. Let's start with...I think probably the average listener is probably thinking about how they're going to make beer or wine or things like that.
Sean: Ciders probably the easiest.
Margaret: Okay, so yeah, I want to make cider. What what do I do? Like what what do I need? How do I get started?
Sean: You are in like actual apple country. If I understand correctly. So you have some options that most people don't. Where I am like getting getting really quality fresh pressed apple juice, apple cider, unfermented, right, is is a little bit of a challenge. But the easiest way to do it is to just go to a grocery store, you know, any place where you can get like the half gallon or gallon sized jugs of apple juice. You know, get them when they're on sale, get them in bulk. Use frozen apple juice concentrate if you want. It doesn't really matter. You are going to put that in a five gallon bucket, HDPE, high density polyethylene, plastic, right. It's a food-safe bucket. But like in food service, you see, you see these buckets used for pickles, you see them use for frosting at you know bakeries and things like that. If you want to do some dumpster diving, you can find yourself some of these real easy or if you just have a you know, a friend or member of your community that's, you know, involved or, you know, is working in food service they can probably hook you up with these as well. Worst case scenario, you....
Margaret: I'm looking it up, it's number two on the bottom of a? Like, plastic usually has a recycling symbol. Is it number two?
Sean: I don't remember if that's denoted with a number two, but it's HDPE plastic.
Margaret: I just looked it up.
Sean:Yeah. And it'll usually be specified as food grade or, you know, if it was used to hold food in the sense of the, you know, recycling and reusing from, you know, food service and like commercial kitchens and things like that, obviously, you know, you're taken care of in that respect.
Margaret: I'm trying to look up to see whether like the Lowe's buckets are HDPE or not.
Sean: There's two different types. Lowe's did have food grade ones. But the like, kind of universal blue bucket one, I believe it is HDPE but it is not certified food grade. So there might be contaminants in there. So, you would be maybe rolling the dice on that one a little bit. In a survival type situation or something like that, I think that would be fine. But, if you have other options, you know, maybe err on the side of caution.
Margaret: Okay, that's good to know. I have a lot of these buckets for a lot of different purposes.
Sean: Me too. Yeah. They get a lot of use in the garden.
Margaret:Yeah, exactly. Now I'm like oh, are they not food safe. Should I not be growing tomatoes in them? And then I'm like, this is probably over thinking it.
Sean: Depending you know, some something that like roots are touching not necessarily that food are touching versus something that you have in acidic and micro biologically active thing churning around that you are then going to drink in large quantities, like you know...
Margaret: Okay. No, okay, fair enough. And this has been an aside Okay, so I've gone and gotten some apple juice, or if I'm really lucky I press some apples. And I've got a five gallon bucket and I fill the bucket with apple juice I assume?
Sean: So, about four gallons of apple juice. Yeah, you gotta leave yourself some head space because you are going to, you know, have some activity in motion with the yeast. Then you're going to be pitching in yeast. For apple juice for cider you can use champagne yeast, right? That's, a very, very common one. It is a like a specialty product that you need to order online or get from like a homebrew store or a brewing supply store, something like that. You can use just regular like baking yeast, like breadmaker's yeast like Fleischmanns or whatever. It will work. You will get a few like...you're more likely to develop some off flavors, maybe some sulfur type, aromas. Things like that. And then you also might have a less healthy fermentation. So the fermentation might take longer and your final gravity right, the amount of residual sugar left by the fermentation will be higher and the amount of alcohol produced will be a little bit lower. Okay, so that's that's using like bread or baking yeast. If you're using a champagne yeast, you know, wine yeast, beer yeast even you are going to get a faster and much more complete fermentation. Less likely that contamination, if there is any present, will will take hold. Right?
Margaret: Okay, what about um, like, let's say the supply chains are all fucked, right and I can't go get yeast. My two questions is one...okay well three questions. Can I use wild yeast? Second question, when you've already made this stuff, can you like reuse pieces of it as the yeast? Like in the same way as you like can with like sourdough or something? And then third question is, can you use a sourdough starter? That one so I'm expecting no.
Sean: The answer to all of those is yes, actually.
Margaret: Oh, interesting.
Sean: And I'll go through one at a time. So your first, if there are supply chain issues, you don't have, or you just in general you don't have access, or you don't want to
Margaret: Or you're in a jail cell and making it in the toilet or whatever.
Sean: Yeah, right. that's gonna that's gonna have its own very special considerations. But yeah, you can absolutely use wild capture yeast. So the...what I would do with with the equipment that I have, I would get a cake pan and I would put...I would fill it maybe between a quarter inch and a half an inch high full of fermentable liquid, in this case apple juice. I put it outside, ideally on a spring or a fall day when there's no danger of a hard frost, right, either before or after, depending on which shoulder season you're in. But fairly close to that date is when you're going to get the best results. You're going to want to have some kind of a mesh over the top, maybe like a window screen or door screen, you know, screen door type mesh.
Margaret: Keep bugs out?
Sean: Yep, exactly. Keep bugs out. You want the microscopic bugs not the ones that we can see flying around in there, you know? So leave that out overnight on a cool night. If you have fruit trees, especially vines, any grape vines, anything like that, right under there is ideal. If you don't, just anywhere where there is some, you know, greenery growing. In the wild and you kind of have--not in the wild but you know, outside--in a non sterile, you know, non-contained environment, you're gonna have less luck trying to do this inside or, you know, in like a warehouse building or something like that. Yeah, this is actually, once you have that, you know, you've had it left overnight, decant it into maybe a mason jar or something like that with an airlock. I use like an Erlenmeyer flask just because I have them for other fermentation stuff. And you can with an Erlenmeyer flask, you can drop a magnetic bar in there, put it on a stir plate, and you know, knock the whole process out, you know, 10 times as fast. Obviously not necessary. But, it's a fun little shortcut if you want to, you know, drop $40 or $50 on a stir plate.
Margaret: Is that just like a basically like, a magnet? Inside the flask that moves because of a magnet on the plate?
Sean: Yep, that's it. Exactly.
Margaret: That's Brilliant.
Sean: Yeah, so you have like a little bar magnet. It's like coated in like a food safe plastic, right, so it's not gonna scratch anything up. And then you just drop that in, you turn on the plate, it usually has a like potentiometer, like little knob that you can control the speed on. Sometimes if you get the speed up too far, it will throw the magnet and then you've got to recenter it and get it all there. But that's great for, you know, doing your own yeast and bacteria captures. It speeds that up.
Margaret: So it's speeding it up because you need to stir it. To go back to the I've just done this without a flask. I've put it in a mason jar.
Sean: Yeah, just give it a swirl a couple times a day, give it a couple swirls. It is going to be, you know, working the same way just on a slower timeline.
Margaret: And this is a sealed jar?
Sean: Sealed, but with an airlock because again, anytime you have fermentation you have CO2 production, it you don't have an air lock, you've just made an improvised explosive device sitting on your kitchen counter. So you don't want that
Margaret: Right. Usually not. Okay. So that's the little thing that you see sticking out of carboys where it's a little glass thing with some water in it. The thing goes through where the air bubbles go.
Sean: Yeah, it's usually plastic. The most common ones are, it's like an S bend, right? The same kind of thing that you've seen, like sink and toilet plumbing to keep the stinky gas away. The function works the same way that gas can pass through in one direction.
Margaret: So basically, you've captured some wild yeast and you've put it in a mason jar with an airlock and then it it...you're feeding it...it feeds off of that for a while and that's how you get your starter? Is that?
Sean: Yeah, so that is your yeast. That is your inoculant, your starter? Yeah, but you do need to do a couple things to confirm that that is--because you know, wild captured isn't going to work every single time perfectly. It's why we've you know...
Margaret: Why you can go buy champange yeast at a store.
Sean: Yeah, everyone uses that. So what you need to do is you need to confirm that the pH is below 4.2. Okay, all right. So...
Margaret: It's that magic number.
Sean: Yeah, that's the big number for...I think that's what Douglas Adams was talking about, actually, he just probably pulled the decimal point. But no, so you need to make sure it's below 4.2 ph. You can do this with pH testing strips. Litmus paper. You can just, you know, put a drop of it on there and you know, see what color it is. I would advise against using the full pH range like the 0 to 14 ones just because since it is such a wide range, it can be kind of like "Is that greenish brown or is that brownish green?" like that's that's a whole point on the pH scale. The pH scale is logarithmic. So the difference between brownish green and greenish brown is a factor of 10. So like, you know, have a more narrow range. Litmus paper is ideal or a pH meter. They've gotten a lot better in the last five or ten years and a lot cheaper, like we're talking under $20. So those are really...if you're going to be doing fermentation, I would recommend using both just in case there's like a, you know, a calibration error or anything like that. It's just a good way to confirm.
Margaret: Okay. Alright, so you've got to now, you know, the pH is under 4.2. What else are we checking?
Sean: Yeah, we're also going to just use our olfactory sense. So get your nose in there. And if it smells like rotten eggs and sewage like toss that shit out. There are other bacteria at play that we that we don't want playing in our in our happy little colony here. So that needs to go and instead just, you know, do another capture. You want like fruity aromas, aromas that maybe have some spice or piquancy to them are fine. Like alcohol aromas are really good too, you know, things like that. These are all indicating fermentation production of, you know, of alcohol production of CO2 as well. You want to see that. That's another really good indicator is that and that's why I like those S-bend airlocks as opposed to they also make like a three piece one that just kind of percolates through. The S-bend one is really nice because you can see the CO2 coming through, right, you can see it coming through in bubbles. So you have a visual and audible indicator, right? Like you can hear that there are, you know, 10 or 15 bubbles coming through a minute, right. So you know that there is cellular reproduction happening and fermentation happening.
Margaret: This whole thing...I recently recorded an episode about yeast, about sourdough, this is why I keep referencing sourdough. Yeah. And the whole thing is like hard for me to believe is real. Once I start doing it, I'll believe it but wild capture...Like sure the invisible alcohol makers in the sky are just going to turn it...like of course they are.
Sean: It feels like some like biohacking, like bio-punk speculative fiction. Yeah. Like it totally does.
Margaret:Yeah. But I love...I mean, when I start doing this, I'm gonna go out and buy yeast, right. But I'm much more interested in hobbies that I know that like, I know how I will do without buying chemicals if I have to, you know? Okay, so wild capture and then you said that you can also use...
Sean: You can inoculate with stuff that you've already made.
Sean: I think your second question, right. So the example I'll use for this is sour beer, right? I can go out and pick up a bottle of sour beer. I can drink the sour beer and leave just the dregs at bottom. I can swirl that up and I can pitch that into a fermenter and I've just inoculated it. That's it.
Margaret: And so it can't be pasteurized, right?
Sean: No, no, you don't want to pasteurize. But again, remember, we were talking about bottle conditioning, right. It's a bottle conditioned to beer. So, because it has sugar added to the bottle and it's naturally re fermented in the bottle, you know, built up co2 and nice, pleasant effervescent bubbles in the bottle that means that it is it is fully bioactive. That's great, too, because that...much higher levels of like vitamin B and things like that, as well as a full culture of yeast and bacteria, which are really good for your gut biome, which is also important. So that's why I'm a big fan. Pasteurization definitely helps for like safe transportation and breweries not getting sued when their bottles explode and leave glass in people's hands and things like that.
Margaret: And so for anyone listening, pasteurization is where you treat it so that everything's dead inside, right?
Sean: With heat.
Margaret: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Sean: Yeah, exactly. They slowly increase the pressure in increments that you don't notice until you find that everything is completely dead.
Margaret:Yeah. Okay. Cool. And safe for capitalism.
Sean: And safe for capitalism. Absolutely. Yep. [laughing]
Margaret: Cool. All right. So once we've domesticize, the bottles of beer...okay, anyway.
Sean: Yeah, so we want to avoid pasteurization unless absolutely necessary because then the product is less healthy for us and it's less useful for us in the future. We can't use it to inoculate other other batches. If I were going to be doing that, I would--I mean, again, going back to that stir plate, I'm talking about an ideal situation--I would add some of that to unfermented beer or cider on the stir plate and let that go because that's going to get my yeast and bacteria cell count up very, very high. That's going to ensure the fermentation and acidification start quick and finish strong.
Margaret: Okay. And so is there any like...Is it just a taste difference if you were to like....if I were to go get sour beer and then dump it, you know, do everything you just said, and then dump it in as my starter for some cider, would it just be like weird? Or would it be fine? Or like. Like mixing flavors and mediums or whatever it would be called?
Sean: Oh, so like fermentables. Like a mix of apples and malt for example.
Margaret: Well, so it's like if I'm using...if the yeast I have access to is I drank a sour beer and I have what's left, right. But what I have access to to ferment is apple juice. Can I use that to ferment the apple juice?
Margaret: And will it taste really wild and different? Or is it just kind of yeast is yeast?
Sean: Not especially. Sour beers is yeast and bacteria. So you have yeast and bacteria at play.
Margaret: Can I make make sour cider?
Sean: Yeah. Because there's already both malic acid and lactic acid naturally present in apple juice, using lactic acid producing bacteria doesn't make it seem as sour as like sour beer, right? Because it's already, there's already these natural acids at play. In beer, like the pH of non-sour beer, it's lower than like water, but it's not low enough that our brains register as sour. So, when you apply those bacteria to a, you know, fermented malt liquid, it's such a huge gulf between non-sour bees and sour beer. Non-sour cider and sour cider are kind of adjacent more. There is one other little factor though, that ties into what you brought up, which is that yeast and bacteria over time are going to adapt to perform ideally in the fermentable that they have reproduced in. So, if you are reusing like a culture, and I'm going to use the word culture rather than yeast or bacteria because it's almost always a combination of bacteria and multiple yeast, right? If your culture has optimized itself to reproduce and to, you know, churn through the fermentables in beer, right, you have a lot of longer chain carbohydrates in beer than you do in fruit juice whether that's apple or grape, right? So they're going to evolve to deal with those and, you know, when you switch from one to the other, your first fermentation might be a little bit sluggish. Still perfectly viable.
Margaret: So, okay, so to go back to where we're at in the stage. I really actually like...I think probably most of this episode will be just literally us walking through the steps of making some cider, but we're gonna learn so much along the way. I'm really excited about it.
Sean: I'm here for it. I'm here for it.
Margaret: Yeah. So okay, so you've gotten your apple juice, you've gotten your starter yeast. Ideally, you went and got champagne yeast, but maybe it's the end of the world and you wild captured or maybe you just don't want to do that. My plan is to start the easy way and then try the hard way later.
Sean: Yep. Good. It's good to....You're more likely to keep going if your first endeavor is successful.
Margaret: If I succeed. Yeah, that's my theory. Okay, now I've got my five gallon bucket. I've added yeast. I'm closing it and putting a little S...
Sean: Airlock. And it doesn't...again going back, like if you don't have access to a homebrew store or the internet or whatever and you can't get an airlock, like you're not completely screwed here. All you need is a piece of hose or tubing in a cork or bung or something like that and stick the other end in liquid, you know. Maybe water with a with a few drops of bleach in it, sanitizing solution, vinegar, alcohol, whatever. Right? Because then it's just you know, the CO2 is blowing out of that tube and just bubbling out of thing. Like an airlock is cleaner, takes up less space, and is more optimized, but yeah, improvisation works fine.
Margaret: Okay. How long am I leaving this? Does it have to be in a cool dark place? Like can I do this on the...
Sean: You don't want direct sunlight. Alright, so you don't want direct sunlight and you don't want light from you know, you don't want
Margaret: Grow lights, or UV, or whatever.
Sean: Yeah, grow light or UV or anything like that. If you just got like, you know, ambient room light hitting hitting it, especially if it's in a bucket, you're probably okay. Beer is more of a concern because beer has hops, and hops are photosensitive, and your beer will taste like Heineken at a summer picnic, you'll get that like kind of skunky thing that you get in green glass bottles.
Margaret: Yeah. Which I weirdly, I have positive associations with just from...
Sean: A lot of people do. A lot of people do. It's like...What you like isn't isn't wrong. Like, it is what it is. It's an unfavorable characteristic to some people, but, you know, there's a lot of traditional German beers that are described as having a sulfur character. And it's like, I don't like that though, but it's correct.
Margaret: I drink a lot of Grolsch. And like, yeah, yeah, I drank a lot of green-bottled Grolsch when I lived in the Netherlands. And it was not...Yep. I'm not trying to relive my cheap beer phase. But like, Grolsch was a good middle of the road, cheap beer, you know.
Sean: I like the bottles because they're almost infinitely reusable. You've got to replace those little plastic... Grolsch bottles are the ones that have that swing top with a little cage that clicks down. So those are...I still have a few of them that I use that I have been reusing for almost a decade now.
Margaret: That's amazing. Okay, now so we've got the bucket, you're keeping it out of the sun because you don't want Heineken and especially with hops.
Margaret: Oh, I would assume gravity is about alcohol.
Sean: It's less of an issue with with cider. But you're going to, depending on how finicky you want to be, you can test the original gravity, right? Original gravity is the original measurement of the liquid's specific gravity, basically how much sugar is in solution?
Sean: No, gravity is sugar in solution.
Margaret: So that's how you find out your relative...Go ahead, please explain it.
Sean: Yeah, you look at how much sugar you started with and how much sugar you ended up with and subtract the difference. Yeah, because yeah, yeah, no, it's...there's a couple ways of measuring original gravity.
Margaret: Yeah, how do you do that?
Sean: The easiest, cheapest, and most like durable over like a long term survival situation is going to be the use of a hydrometer. So that is like a little glass. It almost looks like an old school mercury thermometer with a bunch of weights on one end and like a glass bubble. And that floats in solution. You can float it in like a little like a tall cylinder so you don't waste very much alcohol. You can also float it directly in the bucket. Right? And it's got little lines. It'll tell you like 1.050 Like, that's like the standard standard gravity for most beer and cider. Right? It's around, you know, 1.050 and that when it's fermented fully...
Margaret: Is it measuring the buoyancy of the water?
Sean: Basically, yeah.
Margaret: Yeah. Okay, cool. Yeah, sorry, please continue.
Sean: So that is how a hydrometer works. And then you'll measure it again. If you're doing it in a bucket, you don't need a cylinder, you just need to sanitize that hydrometer and then stick it in, measure the original gravity, the gravity reading before you add yeast, and then after--in the case of cider, I would say, you know, three or four weeks I would start checking it again. The other really nice thing about a hydrometer is you can hold off on packaging until you get consistent readings, right? So if you check your...you know, you've let it ferment for three weeks. You check your gravity on Monday and then you write it down, you know: 1.015. Then you check it on Wednesday: 1.014. Okay, well, maybe check it again on Friday: 1.013. No, it's still going down. Like we need to, we need to let this continue to ferment.
Margaret: Okay, so you're basically letting it eat as much sugar as it can.
Sean: Yeah, yeah, it'll...it's got its own limit. It's got its own limit. And once there are no more digestible, you know, saccharides then you're safe to package. If you package while the yeast is still actively fermenting, you've got two problems. One of them is the....
Margaret: Exploding bottles.
Sean: You know, exploding bottles, as mentioned earlier. The other is that, you know, our cultures are generally pretty considerate in that they clean up after themselves, right? They metabolize the most easily available sugars first and then there are some compounds leftover. A lot of them have unpleasant, you know, tastes or aromas, maybe like a really bitter, pithy, green apple thing. Sulfur is very common, right. But these compounds, the yeast is going to turn to when it runs...and bacteria are going to turn to when they run out of very, you know, junk food, basically. Very easily digestible monosaccharides.
Margaret: Is there something called young beer where it hasn't eaten at all? Am I completely wrong? I just have this in my head somewhere.
Sean: Like it's like a historical thing, right? Like in English brewing maybe?
Margaret: I don't know. Some concept where people intentionally drink beer that still has the sugar or something? [Sounding unsure] I'm probably wrong.
Sean: No, semi-fermented beer is very much a thing. And I know in some brewing traditions, I think there's some in Africa that use like cassava and things like that where you're drinking it like 12 hours into the fermentation and it's like kind of like a communal thing. Like, you know, people, you know, make a big batch and everybody drinks it at once so that you know, you can get it right when it's super fresh. Tepachi as well, like the fermented pineapple drink in South America, it's kind of a similar thing. There's the pineapple and then there's brown sugar added as well and you want to start drinking it when about half of the sugar is fermented so it's still really sweet. It's almost like a semi-alcoholic, like bucha tiki drink sort of thing.
Margaret: Okay. Before we get to packaging, my other question is, is beer just white sugar? Is that the thing that's added? Like, what is the yeast? What is it? What is the...or is it eating the carbohydrates instead of the sugar?
Sean: The carbohydrates. Beer uses beer uses malted barley. So malting is a process by which you take you take your grains of barley, you get it slightly damp and you just keep turning it over. And the kernels will like begin to germinate. But before they like crack open and you get like a little shoot or something like that, the process of germination, basically you get a lot of these very difficult to digest carbohydrates converted into simple carbohydrates so that the emerging plant has a rapid source of fuel. Kind of similar to an egg in the survival strategy, sort of. Yeah, right. Once it once it's malted, right, once that has has taken place, they kiln it, right. So, they hit it with heat. And that kills the sprouting grain. So, it's not like the malt is going to like mold or, you know, go to seed or, you know, start growing or anything like that. That would be inconvenient. You want this stuff to be able to stay shelf stable for a couple years. So, they treat it with heat, right. And there are there are all kinds of ways of doing it. It is a very involved process. I have never malted my own grains. I've thought about doing it, but it's like very labor intensive and really only economical at pretty large scale.
Margaret: Is this why people didn't fuck with beer until after they were fucking with cider and meat and all that shit?
Sean: I think so. But, the first beers were actually made from bread not malt. So.
Margaret: Because it's simple?
Sean: Exactly. Same process, right? It's easier to make bread than it is to commercially, you know, kiln, you know, bags and bags of barley. And also, you know, bread has its own shelf life. So, if you're getting towards the end of it....
Margaret: Oh, yeah, then you turn it into booze.
Sean: Exactly. And that's a thing in Russia too. Kvass, K-V-A-S-S, it's a it's made with, like rye, rye bread. And it's usually around 2% or 3% alcohol, but it's literally like a thing that you know, people...
Margaret: I love low-alcohol beer.
Sean: Yeah, me too. Oh, man. Like a 2.5% alcohol pale ale. Yeah, just a little bit of hops. That is like my sweet spot.
Margaret: Yeah, absolutely. Because it's like, oh, I want to drink a beer, but I don't want to get drunk all the time. Like, you know, it's like I love a beer on the nice afternoon, but I hate the after afternoon nap that you could get stuck taking if you drink an 8% beear. Like what the fuck.
Sean: Yeah, no, it just like the day's plans have all of a sudden have changed.
Margaret: Okay, because the reason I asked about the sugar thing is the first time I ever helped someone ferment. They made dandelion wine. And ever since then I've been like this is all bullshit because dandelion wine--at least as this person made it--I was like, this is just cane sugar wine. It's just cane sugar wine with some dandelion flavor. And I was like really upset by this. Because I--and maybe this is bullshit--but it's like, which of these alcohols are mostly just cane sugar? And which ones can you actually ferment?
Sean: Dandelion wine for sure is because there's virtually no fermentable sugars in dandelion, but there are a lot of very strong botanical flavors. Like dandelion wine...like the dandelions are more equivalent to like hops in beer than they are to malt in beer.
Margaret: Because the hops are flavor?
Sean: Yeah, they're adding they're adding flavor. They're adding aroma. They're adding like all of these botanical, you know, aspects to it, but they are not the source of the alcohol. They are not the source of the sugar or anything like that.
Margaret: Okay, can you make dandelion wine with like, with actual...I mean, I know cane sugar does come from a plant, but it's still...I feel betrayed.
Sean: Yeah. You could make dandelion...you could add dandelions to cider. I haven't done it but I've noticed people doing it. You can use, you know, any kind of like a reconstituted fruit juice and do like a fruit type wine. I think the reason...and I think the one of the more interesting ways of doing the dandelion wine thing is doing a dandelion mead. I've had a few of those that are really good.
Margaret: Oh, that sounds nice. That sounds very like cycle of life, you know, like, honey and the flowers.
Sean: It's a lot of closed loops, right? No, I think the reason that cane sugar became a convention for that is, you know, economic. Like cane sugar was fairly cheap. It was the cheapest, you know, fermentable available to rural people in the Dust Bowl era.
Margaret: That makes sense. Yeah.
Sean: I mean, artificially so, right. Yeah. I think that's where that came from.
Margaret: Okay, so you mentioned doing all this in a bucket. I still want to get to the putting it in the bottles and stuff. But, is there an advantage...Like, do...Should I get a carboy if I have the money to spend. I'm under the impression that a carboy are a big glass bottle that looks like one of those five gallon jugs you put in your office cooler, only it's for making alcohol. Is that better?
Sean: That's pretty much it. I don't...I don't like carboys. I've used them. I use them for bulk aging of sour beer. I use them for primary fermentation of clean beer and cider. I got rid of all of mine.
Margaret: So you use buckets and stuff?
Sean: I use buckets or I use converted kegs or converted stainless steel kettles if I'm doing a larger batch. It's just I have a like...for like all the sour beer I have like a 15 and a half gallon stainless steel kettle with a like a bulkhead. Like a like a valve on the bottom. And that allows me to like do pass throughs. So I keep that as like my acidifying chamber. It's called a Solera. I actually wrote a Kindle digital single about like building and maintaining these. It's almost exclusively useful for sour beer, you know, bacterially fermented cider or vinegar making. But, if you're doing any of that kind of thing, especially, you know, small scale, but you know, wanting to provide for a bunch of people like a club or community or anything like that, it's really the most efficient way to do it.
Margaret: Why don't you like carboys?
Sean: I don't like glass. I don't like glass because there's just a real risk of injury. When...if you've got a seven gallon carboy full of liquid, we're talking 70 or 80 pounds in a glass bottle.
Margaret: Yeah, okay. I see where you're going.
Sean: Things can go Bad real quick. When I use them, I had some that fit in milk crates so I could just pick up the milk crates. That helped out a lot. They also make, they call them I think just carboys straps, it's like a like a four piece harness with handles that you can use. But when I when I've seen them break, it's almost always when someone's setting them down, right? Anytime you're setting down something heavy, you know, unless you're very strong and have a great deal of control, right, that last little bit you can sometimes kind of crack it down. And again, we're talking 70 or 80 pounds in a glass bottle. And you don't have to crack it down very hard for the whole bottom to go out and that's a mess.
Margaret: Yeah. Because then you got blood in your beer. And that's just...
Sean: Yeah, right. It gets very Klingon on very quickly. And it's Yeah. But the other aspect I don't like is they're completely light permeable too, right cause they're just clear glass.
Margaret: Yeah. That always seemed weird. You have to keep them in a closet with a towel on them or whatever.
Sean: Yeah, yeah. It's just I think, again, it was...so homebrewing only became legal in the United States under Jimmy Carter. Right. It had been illegal from prohibition to Jimmy Carter. Yeah.
Margaret: Holy shit. Yeah. Does that mean we'll eventually get home moonshining? I can't wait.
Sean: I feel like if we were going to get it, it would have happened already. And I don't think the trends politically are towards individual deregulation anytime soon for that kind of thing. But you know, it is legal to make you know, like fuel alcohol. Some people make fuel alcohol and then lose it in barrels and things like that.
Margaret: Yeah, it's not worth it for me. I always figure I shouldn't do anything that brings the Eye of Sauron anywhere near me. So I'm just not gonna make it.
Sean: Oh totally. And, there have always been people who are going to do it, you know, illegally, but it's not worth the hassle. It can be like...I know we've been talking about fermentation on the side of, you know, consumption and food and beverage and all that, but I do know, people who have stills that use them to produce like fuel alcohol, you know, for backpacking and things like that. And that is valid. And you can, you can, you can produce, you know, fuel alcohol very cheaply, if that's the thing that you use for, you know, kind of off grid type stuff that can really be a useful a useful toolkit, but kind of outside of what we're talking about today.
Margaret: Yeah, I'll have you on...have you or someone else on at some point for that. Yeah. Okay. So you've made your alcohol, this was all simpler than I thought. So now you have a bucket full of alcohol, and you don't want to just pass out straws. What do you do?
Sean: Yeah, passing out straws is an option, but you need to, you know, make sure there are enough people in your in your group to get through five gallons all at once, I guess. No, so you're the two main options available are bottling and kegging. Right? So bottling is usually, you know, when we're talking about it as an alternative to kegging, rather than, you know, bottling from a keg, which is a totally different thing. If we're going to bottle it, we're probably going to bottle conditioned it. So, we're going to add a small amount of sugar back. What's that?
Margaret: But why?
Sean: Bottle condition?
Sean Bottle condition for the oxygen scavenging effects of Brettanomyces yeast.
Margaret To make it as safe as possible. because we don't have commercial...
Sean And shelf stable as possible.
Margaret Right? Okay. If we had like a big commercial thing then there would be a way of bottling it where no air gets in, but because we're doing a DIY some air will get in so that's why we want to bottle condition to clean up our mess?
Sean Well, even in commercial systems you are going to have oxygen ingress, but it's going to be significantly less than than what you have at home. Okay. So yeah, that's going to help with that. So we got longer shelf life both for like a quality flavor product and a, you know, safe to consume product. Both of those are extended. That also adds carbonation, which a lot of people really enjoy, you know, having the nice fizzy bubbles.
Margaret Oh, it's flat until this point?
Sean Yeah, yeah. Totally flat. Because it's only going to pressurize in a sealed environment. It's only going to carbonate in a sealed environment.
Margaret No, that makes sense.
Sean You got to blow off tube. So all your co2 is, is going away.
Margaret Does that mean people don't bottle condition their wine because otherwise you make champagne?
Sean You wouldn't want to add sugar to wine that you are bottling unless you are trying to make sparkling wine. But of course it wouldn't be champagne unless it came from Champagne, France.
Margaret I'm glad we have the same bullshit cultural reference. 90s...whatever.
Sean Oh, man. That one is, like...
Margaret I love Wayne's World.
Sean ...hilarious too just in their own right.
Margaret Okay, so, okay, so, back to our cider. We're bottling it. Oh, but that actually...cider is not normally carbonated. Is DIY Are you kind of stuck? Does bottle conditioning always carbonate it?
Sean You can, if you want if you want still cider, just don't add sugar.
Margaret How are you bottle conditioning then?
Sean It's just not bottle conditioning, it's just bottled. It still has yeast in there, it still has all of that in there because you haven't pasteurized it, right? So, it still has those those health effects. Shelf life might be a little bit lower. I haven't seen any significant studies on comparing, you know, home produced still versus, you know, carbonated, you know, via bottle conditioning insider. But I would like to. Like that would be really...that'd be some really useful data if somebody wants to get on that. But you still are probably going to have a good few years of preservation. And again, the higher the alcohol you get the longer it's going to be shelf stable, right? You have fortified your cider with say brown sugar, right? That's a very common one that people will do. You add brown sugar and maybe some cinnamon or vanilla, right, especially for kind of like a winter drink. You can very easily make a cider that's 11% or 12% alcohol and ferment almost as quickly and that is going to stick around just fine. And it tastes really good.
Margaret You know I want this. I don't even drink very much. But yeah, this is making me...I'm on...like, I barely drink anymore, but I'm like, I just want to make this stuff.
Sean It is a lot of fun. And I've always really gravitated towards like the kind of like sensory aspects of beverage. Yeah, like, just the, I don't know, I love a head change. Don't get me wrong. Yeah. You know, there's a reason that humans, that we've been covergently evolving with alcohol for as many millennia as we have. But there are flavors that only really come out through, like for fermentation, specifically through lactic acid fermentation, and I'm talking flavors in beverages and food. You can get you get these, you know, different compounds from all different aspects of the process that you just can't get anywhere else.
Margaret Okay, but we're, we're coming up towards an hour and I want to get to the point where my cider is in bottles.
Sean Where we have drinkable alcohol?
Margaret How do I get it? How do I get it into the bottles? So am I like siphoning it like you're stealing alcohol? Like when you're stealing gas?
Sean Yeah, you can people do that. But they also make what's called an auto siphon, which is just like a little racking cane kind of arm that you just put the tubing on. And that like, let's it starts the siphon for you. It automatically starts to siphon for you. So you don't get your bacterial mouth on tubing.
Margaret Yeah, that makes sense.
Sean Yeah, you know, in a survival situation, you know, switch with some vodka and do it and call it good, but in an ideal situation, a sanitized, racking cane is ideal. Even more ideal, I think a lot of people do especially with cider because it doesn't produce nearly as much yeast sediment, just ferment in a bucket that has a little valve or bulkhead on it.
Margaret Oh, down at the bottom?
Sean Yep. All you got to do is take your bucket, sit it up on your counter, you add in you know a little bit of sugar. It's usually around like four ounces of sugar, you dissolve it in boiling water and then add the sugar solution. Stir it gently. And then you just use that valve to fill the bottles. And then you use a bottle cap or you can either use like a bench capper that like sits on a bench and has like a little lever arm like this. That's a lot more ergonomic. They also have these they call them wing cappers. There's two handles and you just kind of set it on top of the cap and then you know, push down. I have definitely broken bottlenecks with the wing cappers before. Yeah, not broken any with a bench capper. So I would definitely recommend a bench capper.
Margaret Or, drink Grolsch.
Sean Yeah, drink Grolsch. Yeah. And any kind of you can, you can save those. It's not just Grolsch bottles, but those are probably the most common ones. They have like a little swing cap cage, a little ceramic cap with a rubber grommet. You have some kind of siliconized grommet. Yeah. And that just sits there and then clicks it in place. And yeah, those sometimes you have to replace the little rubber part after every six or eight uses of the bottle. But yeah, that's a hell of a lot better than replacing the whole thing. Okay, once you have bottled, though, you are going to need to leave them alone for two or three weeks because the bottle conditioning needs to occur. So, it's refermentation in the bottle. So in order to get that CO2 built up and those those nice lovely bubbles, you're gonna have to leave that alone.
Margaret But if it's cider, we can drink it right away because cider isn't conditioned.
Sean Yeah, cider or wine. I like bottle conditioning cider. I like to carbonated cider. But if you're, if you're leaving it still, you know, that's kind of like the English tradition. I think you generally see more like carbonated cider, though.
Margaret I'm...yeah, now that I realize I do....Cider does have carbonation. Great. I totally know what I'm saying.
Sean Some don't and like a lot of...like, I was relating to like Basque cider. And you know, from like the France and Spain kind of border area you have like this huge range of carbonation. There you have some that are like champagne levels, like over carbonated like, you know, almost burns your nose when you drink it. And you have some that are completely still and then you have some that are, "Oh, yeah, I guess there are bubbles in here. I guess this is technically carbonated." Yeah, pétillant is the industry term. But so there is like a huge range on that.
Margaret Okay, so the stuff I need is I need a fermentable, I need yeast. I need a not carboy but a bucket or whatever. I need a water lock...airlock.
Sean Airlock or a blow off tube. Yeah.
Margaret Yeah, and I need a way...either a spigot or a auto siphon. And I need bottles, bottle caps and a capper.
Sean Yep. The other thing that I would say you need is, you need some kind of a sanitizer. If we're going with convenience, the easiest one is like a brewery specific sanitizer Star San or Quat, things like that. They're no-rinse sanitizers. So you don't...They sanitize and they leave a little bit of foam in place. And you don't need to rinse them. They will be broken down by the process of fermentation and they are soluble in alcohol and they are completely food safe. Yeah. So you generally buy these in like a concentrated form, like a 32oz or 64oz bottle with a little like dispenser, you know, thing at the top, and half an ounce of this concentrate will make...one ounce of the concentrate will make five gallons of sanitizing solution. So if you have one of these around...
Margaret Jesus, so that's enough for a long time.
Sean Yeah, I know, I've replaced my at some point, but I can't remember when the last time it was. Like, you don't go through it very quickly. It's definitely worth investing. You can, again in a pinch, you can use, you know, water diluted with bleach and then just rinse it with like water that's been boiled. Yeah, you can use you can use alcohol, right? You can you can use...
Margaret If you have that still that we of course won't have...Once the apocalypse comes and we all make stills.
Sean Yeah. Right, then in that situation, and obviously, you can use that to spray it down. You can even put, you know, in our in our current, you know, situation, you can you can put pop off vodka in a fucking Dollar Tree spray bottle and yeah, do it that way. You know, like there are options for that purpose. You know, like, you know, industry specific beverage and brewing no-rinse sanitizers are the easiest. And again, like we were talking about.
Margaret Yeah, if you're planning it out.
Sean If your first endeavor, if it goes well, right, and everything works easily, you're more likely to keep doing that. So, I definitely recommend using those, if possible, but again, certainly not necessary. Once you you've got that, the only other bit of material that we talked about, and it is optional, is the hydrometer.
Margaret Oh, yeah, that's right. Because then you know when it's done.
Sean You can also use a refractometer, which is a different piece of technology I mentioned. I meant to mention this earlier, but I didn't. A refractometer is...it almost looks like a little Kaleidoscope that you put up to your eye, but it's got like a like screen and then a piece of plastic that clips on top that lays flat on top of the screen. You put a couple of drops of your liquid on the screen and then put your plastic on there and you look through it. And it shows you on a line what your specific gravity is based on its refractometary index.
Margaret Is the reason people homebrew is because they want to feel like mad scientists? And they want alcohol.
Sean A lot of people I'm sure. Yeah.
Margaret I mean, this is some mad Scientist shit. Now you use the kaleidoscope to find out how much alcohol there is.
Sean I feel like yeah, you should have some Jacob's Ladders and Tesla coils behind you as you're doing it.
Margaret That's how you sanitize is you make the ozone with it. Anyway.
Sean Oh, you just lightening flash the ozone. Yeah, I can't believe I haven't heard about this. Yeah, no. The nice thing about the refractometer is we're talking like half a cc of liquid being used. So it is a really, really efficient way to measure it. It will not measure accurately in the presence of alcohol. There are like equations that can like compensate for this a little bit.
Margaret Wait, then what good does it do?
Sean It tells you how much is there originally. So if, like for me, I know to what degree like my house culture of yeast and bacteria ferments. It ferments down to like .002 or even just 1.0. The same lack of sugar in solution as water, basically. Right? So if I know that, I don't need to measure it at the end if it always winds up at the same place. Right? If I was selling it, I would need to, but if it's just for personal consumption, and I always know where it's finishing, I just need to know where it's starting and I know what the alcohol is.
Margaret Okay. But then you can't tell if it's done except for the fact that you've done this enough that you're like the bubbles have stopped. It's been a week. I'm used to this. It's done. Or whatever.
Sean Yeah, yeah. So, for Starting off, I definitely recommend the hydrometer. It's just more effective. And if you're doing all of your fermentation in a bucket anyway, it's real nice because you can, you can just put it in, you don't have to pull some out, put it in a sample, pour it, you know, put it in a tall cylinder and then toss that, you know, eight ounces of beverage down the drain or whatever.
Margaret Yeah. Well, I think that's it. I think that we're out of time and we didn't even get to the food stuff. So, I'm gonna have to have you back on if that's alright some time.
Sean Yeah, that's absolutely fine by me. I've enjoyed myself thoroughly.
Margaret Fuck yeah. Is there anything that you want to plug? Like, for example, you have a book that people can buy about how to do some of this stuff? Maybe if more than one? I don't know. Like, you wanna? Yeah.
Sean So "The Self-sufficient Solera" is the name of the book. I just did it is a Kindle single on Amazon. So you can you can get it there. If you don't, if you don't want to go through there, my website Seanvansickel.com. And yeah, there's contact info there too. You know, if anybody has any questions about any of this stuff, I love to share that and all of my writing is collected there. So, I've published an article on like, composting spent grains and like, you know, reducing waste from home brewing. I published that with Zymurgy Magazine recently. And, you know, that's all on there and original fiction and all that good stuff, too.
Margaret Awesome. All right. Well, thank you so much. And I look forward to talking to you more about this soon.
Sean Sounds good. Have a good one.
Margaret Thank you so much for listening. If you enjoyed that episode then go get drunk. I don't know, maybe don't go get drunk. If you don't drink, we will be talking about fermentation that doesn't have to do with alcohol at some point in the future. And tell people about the show. We're weekly now. And you can be like, "Holy shit, this shows weekly," and people be like, "I've never heard what you're talking about." And you can be like, "I can't believe you've never heard of Live Like the World is Dying, what the fuck is wrong with you?" Or, instead of gatekeeping, you could just tell them that they can find it wherever they listen to podcasts. And if they're like, "I don't listen to podcasts," you can be like, "That's fair. Everyone gets information in different ways." I mean, you can be like, "No, you should absolutely listen podcasts. It's the only reasonable thing to do." You can also support us by supporting us on Patreon. Our Patreon is patreon.com/strangersinatangledwilderness. Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness is an anarchist media collective that puts out, you'll be shocked to know this, it puts out podcasts like this one, and Anarcho Geek Power Hour and Strangers in a Tangled Wilderness. And we also put out zines and we put out books, including my most recent book "Escape from Incel Island." So you should support us if you want. It allows us to pay for transcriptions and audio editing and makes all of this possible. And in particular, I would like to thank top of all--I can't say Hoss the Dog is the best dog because Rintrah's the best dog. I'm sorry Hoss the Dog. I know every dog is the best dog to their individual people that they hang out with. But Rintrah is the best dog. But close runner up, just like close runner up on also Anderson, but close runner up is Hoss the Dog. And I'd also like to thank the following people who are presumably humans. Michiahah, Chris, Sam, Kirk, Eleanor, Jenipher, Staro, Cat J., Chelsea, Dana, David, Nicole, Mikki, Paige, SJ, Shawn, Hunter, theo, Boise Mutual Aid, Milica, paparouna, Aly, Paige, Janice, Oxalis, and Jans. Y'all make it possible. As for everyone else, y'all are also great because we're all going to try and get through this really, really nasty shit together. And we're doing it. We're so here. We will continue to be here. That's the plan. All right. Oh, goodbye.
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