Its been a while since the last post. Finals have a way of doing that. I've been largely working on some new garb and some brewing.
My latest batch is a hefeweizen, and will be my third batch of beer. I'm pretty much out of mead, so after Christmas, I'll be working on some of that and probably some cider for Ymir (to be served hot).
Bottling homebrew is probably the most aggravating part because you have to acquire, wash, and sanitize like 50 beer bottles. If you want it to look good, you also have to remove the labels. Soaking the bottles in warm water and then scraping off the labels with a paring knife works pretty well, but I've come to realize that not all brands are created equal.
I have to say my favorite bottles are the Sierra Nevada bottles. They're short and stubby and I think its a pretty attractive profile, but they also don't even require any scraping. Soak them for a little and give them a twist with your hand and the label will come right off without any glue residue. The short Guinness bottles seem to do the same thing, but they have less of a lip at the mouth of the bottle which makes them more difficult to put caps on.
Sam Adams, Fat Tire, and Shock Top labels are pretty easy to remove, but they do require some scraping to really get the glue off. The lip is fine on these, but they unfortunately have corporate logos in the glass.
Duck Rabbit wasn't too bad and neither were Lancaster Brewing company. They took some targeted scraping, but were otherwise easy enough.
I had a few bottles from various microbrews in PA and NC and most of them were incredibly difficult to get the labels off of. This time around I have a few Great Lakes Brewing Co. bottles and by the end of my scraping, I've decided I really don't like them. Another brand had a foil type label that I've finally gotten reasonably scraped off this time around (after 3 tries).