Sometimes you need a little help from your friends.

In this case, none of us are brewers. But fortunately we know people who are! Master Drakey (Baron Drake Morgan, OL, breaker of women's hearts, member of the 'I ate hemlock and survived' club...) a brewing and cooking laurel used to taking the uninitiated through the brewing, helped us via many skype sessions work on a Barley Ale (including a brew-along-adventure), advising on the malting process and the wine experiment from the last round. Thank you Drakey!

Here is the link to the ale work he did for us on his website Dining with the Khan. This website should be a fabulous resource when he is finished, and we strongly encourage you to check it out.

One week later it is time to strain the fermenting grapes, and get rid of the  grape skins, before putting the proto-wine in a sealed container to complete fermenting.

Even though it seemed like a small amount, it took all hands on  deck to actually manage the process, so they're aren't many photos. You can see the barrel uncovered,  with the bubbling grape mush - evidence of fermenting!

From 15  kilos of grapes, we now have about 5 litres of liquid hapily bubbling away in  our baby fermenter... I promise that it smelled better than it looked!
Saturday was a busy day for these pentathletes - winemaking and lots of cooking.

As you would imagine, the basics were - wash and de-stalk the grapes. Then press them to squeeze out the juice. Well, in the 14th century they were stomping it (see the Holkham Bible illustration in the picture). So, with our disposable apprentice away, Muirghein volunteered to give it a go. Apparently it is quite pleasant, although rather cold. And there was a bit of messing about to get the technique right - fresh washed grapes are slippery suckers!

After all the fun was over, we added the sulphide (to sterilize) and the yeast (for fermentation). Given we were going for an open fermentation process, we only covered this with a cloth, to make sure no unanticipated ingredients made their way into the mash. Now to ferment for a week...