Sunday, November 28, 2010

Brew Day Shenanigans ( Originally a post on

Oh my head. It feels like it's gonna burst.

Let me tell you a little story...

So I have made enough beer now that when asked " Man, I'd like to see that done - can I come over next time you brew" I told an acquittance "Why not - be there at noon Saturday. I'mma brew an IPA recipe I think will work - we'll have a blast."

If I had only known.....

If I had only know than when I went to the LHBS I would get struck with the crazy notions that
1) I want to do a brown ale from grains
2) You know that BIAB method has been pretty smooth - I can do both in a day.

Some of you more seasoned folks are probably all ready shaking your heads - new brewer, 2 AG BIAB batches , and you KNOW we're not just gonna sit around and sip tea.....

Brew Time was set for 12:00 noon. As I have with all my past brews, I settled in an hour ahead of time to drink one of my recent brews, sanitize, check equipment, you know.

Well, that turned into another beer because since the more I brew the better I brew, this last batch is pretty darn tasty...

12:00 - no new brewer. Get a text. Be there in a few. Sorry.

No big deal - fill the first pot with water and start to heat it -figure when he walks in I dough in and really, he is not missing anything at this point.

And so that is how it went - He ( along with some other folks I knew ) showed up and we doughed in. I had 4 adults present who had never had a homebrew, and so we had a round of my most recent Irish Red. Then we started heating some strike water and had a round of my Hazy Days.

Again, the more seasoned brewers are again are shaking their heads I am sure. You know where this bad movie ends, don't you?

I am pretty sure the first batch ( Brown Ale ) is fine - I mashed 3 gals, and lost 1 to grain absorption. I heated 4 gals to strike , had 3.5 when I pulled the grain bag, topped up to 6 and boiled. I would love to tell you the gravities but I dropped my hydrometer last brew session and forgot to get a new one whilst at the LHBS.

Pitched onto a yeast cake ( first time for me with that - she's going like nuts this morning... )

OK - here is where I should have ended the day, but no, I had forced on.

I drank some homebrew and got a great idea- I could go ahead and mash the second batch, since I do it in another pot - while the first was brewing.
OK SO far. I did just that - on another pro[ane burner got 3 gals up to temp, doughed in, walked away. An hour later lifted the bag, and drained grains.

3 gals in , 2 gals out. Just like the first batch. I'm cool with that.

BUT THEN - I had to let the grains set in the filter and wait. And wait. And wait.

See, I strike in my other pot - you know - the one that now is boiling with the first batch , and then has to be cooled, etc etc etc.

As soon as I free the pot up , wash it - I put 4 gallons on water in it and try to get it up to strike temp.

Gas bottle gives out here. Cue the laughter.

Put other tank on, get it up to temp and drop in the grains. Decide to pick up some of our mess while I have the time - and realize I have 5 , not 4 , empty gallon water jugs.

I have no idea how a 5th got in there. But it did.

Pulled the grains out and sure enough had 4 1/2 gallons. Ad when I added the first run It came to 6 3/4 - I guess it sat in the filter so long I gained another quart.

Now here I sit, radio blaring, looking at a long boil.

Best thing i could do would be mess up my hop addition - so I did.

And if my new homemade Hop Spider happened to have the sock come off because I forgot to tighten the clamp - that would be funny, right? Then laugh away - it did.

I ended up , on the second brew a beer like this :

Boil vol 6.75 Final vol 5.25
Citra hops 1 oz at 90 mins, 60 mins and 30 mins

Grainbill - 10 lbs 6 row , 1/2 dextrine , 1/2 carapils

Safale 04 22 g ( 2 packs )

Got it chilled, got it in the buckets, got the two buckets into the swamp cooler - and went to bed.

Now I am awake, with a cup of coffee, my back is killing me, my beer fridge is almost empty - which tickles me - 4 never had homebrew before folks ripping them up makes me feel like i must be doing something right.

And my head hurts.

If you read all of this, I hop you enjoyed it - I surely enjoyed the shenanigans that are described within it.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010 - Some Good, Some Bad

It's that day again. My favorite of all Holidays, even over Christmas. I do not know why, maybe it is not that I LIKE Thanksgiving so much, as I dislike the other ones each on a different level.

I guess I am obligated to list the things I am thankful for, but to be honest, I think I do that plenty enough. I mean, everyone I know knows I love my wife and kids, my parents and my sister, and all my extended family. Who is not thankful in these times if they have a job? Of course I am thankful for living in a c ountry where I can bitch and moan and not worry about some secret police taking me out in the middle of the night ( for now atleast ..)

Here are some you may or may not know - I am thankful for two dogs this year - Biscuit, who we lost in June after having only for a short while, was an amazing dog that every person who met seemed to love. Biscuit was quite the hit at the spring cookout we held, and I miss that dog. Wish he could have grown into an old age - I think he would have mellowed out alot. And Daisy - my beagle. She's new to us, but about a year and a half old. Vry stocky for a female, and seems to have adopted us as much as we have adopted her. She likes to hang out with me in the shop, and when I come home she will jump in the truck and get in my lap like a cat if I let her. I'm thankful for that -and for the two of them for making me feel like a kid. Nothing like a little boy and his dog - and they both make me feel like that.

I'm thankful for something else this year - the website that Gabrielle has going, A Picture Worth 1000 words. It's fun, it's quick, and it helps me with my writing. I'll not go too deep into that, just say if you have not been there, then check out this essay for a feel of what it does for me, and this page for an idea of the goal. ( Actually most all of the pieces are fiction - the essays are rare, but again, if you want to know my feelings on things, thats a good place to start. )

I am thankful for the help of others this year in getting my bike cleaned and fixed. Nick and Brent have done a lot so far as parts, advices and wrenching. Thanks guys.

I am thankful for Evan R Myers, a special boy who has brought indescribable joy to two special people. Dave and Emily - you are rocking it as parents - keep it up. You probably could not comprehend how happy I am for you , little as we have known each other, but my heart bursts with joy at Dave's almost simple fascination at the everyday evolution of fatherhood.

I'm thankful for Chris and his shenanigans, even if he found kryptonite. Chris may hate freedom, but he loves to torment me, all in fun.

And yes, there are many many more I could name, but I do not. I have something else I want to get to.

My 2010 list of things I am NOT thankful for. This year, instead of 15, I have narrowed it down to 5 things.

I am not thankful for:

1) Class Mentality - and folks are guilty of this in all classes
2) Unfair treatment of workers
3) Discrimination based on sexual orientation
4) Whipcrack reactionary voting
5) Yogurt.

( Yes, yogurt was on last years list, but it will be on every list. That shit is just plain foul! )

Happy Thanksgiving folks - take the time today to hug the ones you love, call or message those you appreciate, and maybe even try to mend a fence or build a bridge with someone you have parted with.

It's a mean motherfucker of a world out there kids - look out for one another.

The HP

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fellow Workers - Unite! For Coffee!

The morning finds me about 3 1/2 hours due west from my bed - I'm in the beginning of the mountains of NC to attend a class in order to maintain some certifications I hold.

It is beautiful here - I would love to move here I think. I think that every time I am here. But I also know I spaz out after 24 hours of snow , so in truth it should never ever happen.

But, being I am far from home, I am awake early. I have already walked about 2 miles, down into the little fast food / gas station oasis down the road from my hotel, just to kill some time and not awaken the coworker who I shared the room with.

And as I came back, I watched the hotel as it came to life - lights popping on in rooms left and right, top and bottom floor. And I looked at the parking lot, and despite the fact we are in a most beautiful scenic location, in the peak of leaf season, I realized the parking lot has probably no more than 1 or 2 cars I would attribute to tourists or vacationers.

By and large it is work vans and contractors trucks, some salesmen's cars. A few with NC permanent yellow plates that tattle on a state employee on business travel.

My hotel is not a home away from home - it is an anthill of worker ants, removed from their regular ant hill. They come out and grab a quick smoke in the chilly air, they defrost their windshields. By 6:00 am several have already left and headed to labor.

I need to go wake my roommate - we got a class to attend. But while he's in the shower, I think I am going to go to the big communal coffee pot and rub shoulders with the salt of the earth - my fellow workers - as we unite to go out and keep the world running.

Good morning fellow workers - I love you all.