It took some training but my Slacker Radio station finally gets me.
This mornings playlist:
Temper Trap - Resurrection
Arcadefie - neon bible
Silversunpickups - The Royal We
Two Door Cinema Club - I can talk
The Bravery - Tragedy bound
Queens of the stone age - no one knows
Blur - song 2
Bush - glycerine
Cold War Kids - I've seen enough
Portugal. The man - Children
Good morning Friday, I'm ready for your ass.
Friday, July 29, 2011
It took some training but my Slacker Radio station finally gets me.
Thursday, July 28, 2011
So if you know who Felica Day is and are a fan of Wil Wheton, than pick your jaws up off the floor because The Guild Season 5 episode 1 is up today! If you have never seen any of this, the episode are really short so you could watch the first 4 in a couple of hours over at Watch the Guild. If you have ever played WOW you will probably chuckle at these socially helpless online gamers as they try to live their lives.
I have a real post scheduled for later, but I had to share this. Gizmodo posted a link to this site Maskulllasserre. The things that the guy is interested in carving are a little morbid, but they are done amazingly well. I have a soft spot in my heart for woodworking, and even knowing that this was done with a Roto-tool I find it to be very impressive work. The sites navigation is really unfortunate so sorry in advance, but seriously give it a look. The guy's recent work is out of this world.
This is not my image, and I am posting only to convince you to go this his site.
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
If you've ever gone to the Olive garden you have no doubt had the Zuppa Toscana because it is awesome. I like the soup, like some bread sticks and love the crack Alfredo dipping sauce. Because I love the soup so much I thought I would give it a whirl I found this recipe online and gave it a go.
You could say that it was awesome, but that would totally be underrating it. My wife wasn't excited about the soup (she prefers other soups at The Olive Garden) and said mine was better than there's. Things I did differently from the recipe, I made it in a dutch oven and didn't use any bacon. Really the world doesn't need more bacon, it's gotten to be shorthand for "rich" or "decadent". Used judiciously it can be good, this recipe doesn't need it. I browned the sausage in the pan and removed it using the grease from the sausage to saute the onions and garlic. I have chicken broth ready to go, so I just added 4 cups of that rather than base and 4 cups of water. I also sliced my potato up to the texture I remember from The Olive Garden and followed the directions as they where written.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Not to gripe, but man it's hard living with a Preggo. Between the feeding schedule and the overall tiredness they are experiencing, is damn hard to see them suffering from the baby growing and not being able to do anything about it. You can rub their feet and keep them fed, you can try to help do chores and rub their feet some more but you cannot make their body stop feeling sore. You cannot make the baby stop waking them up in the middle of the night, and you cannot talk them down from whatever crazy they have worked up in their head. In a lot of ways it is just like living with a woman on a normal day, but with the crazy dial turned up to 11.
This time around several of our friends are also going to be having children in the same time frame as us, one just delivered a baby girl on the 4th of July, and two others are due a few weeks after us. We are excited that our kids will have people that we know with kids the same age that live nearby, and I am generally excited about the parent thing, but mostly I'm about ready for the pregnancy thing to be done.
Monday, July 25, 2011
Friday, July 22, 2011
As a change of pace, I thought I would tell you about the most amazing lunch ever. In just one hour it is going to be in my mouth.
Salumi artisan cured meats is a local legend here in Seattle. It was started by the father of Iron Chef Mario Batali, and has been featured on the Travel Channel shows like No Reservations. It lives up to the hype, seriously. I will try very hard to remember to take a picture of this before I stuff it into my face hole, but not gonna lie my brain sort of switches off in the presence of this food. For reference, I have to walk about 2 miles round trip to eat at this place and normally end up standing in a 30-90 minute line and still rave about this place. I'd walk there in the rain. Any local places that are worth the wait near you?
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Sometimes I am starting to feel like the internet is just completely playing a theme song for me. My wife's coworker is growing hops this season but doesn't want to brew beer this year (he's making wine and all of this resources are tied up in that) but he wanted to establish some hop trellis for when he does get back into brewing beer. He knew that I was brewing and offered me the crop at the end of the season which depending on how big the crop is could be quite a bit of savings for my brewing endeavors.
On average at my LBS 2oz of Hops is about $7, and depending on the brew you use more then one type of hop per beer. So you will use one as a bittering and another as an aroma so hops can add as much as little as $14 and considerably more if you choose to dry hop. Part of why the Mac and Jack's clone was so much was the recipe called for such high alpha acid hops that I had to adjust the volumes up to get the right AAU's and ended up with 3 packages of hops. Any way back to the serendipity of the internet, one of the blogs I follow The Mad Fermentationish just posted a pretty good bit of information on how to dry and store hops at home. So I didn't even have to go looking for this information, it just came to me via rss. Thanks Google.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
I've seen several comments now that lead me to believe that some people don't understand why someone would want to brew beer, or why they don't just buy beer instead of taking the time to make it. I think the answer is pretty simple.
Do you like to cook? If you do, why? I make beer for basically the same reasons as people like to cook, if you don't like to cook then you won't appreciate the process of taking time to hone something into exactly what you want you should just drink Budweiser (or Heineken or Stella, or Sapporo, or King or Fosters or whatever your countries version of that rice water is). There is nothing wrong with any of these beers, they are all designed to have as little body as possible with a high alcohol content. Fine, if that is what you want then go to it.
If however you've spent the time to roll out your own gnocchi, or make your own pasta sauce, if you forgo store bought pie crusts and believe that you can make better pizza crusts than Boboli then making beer is the same passion. It really is about ingredients, time and care for the ingredients. I like the challenge and have been pleased with my results, others that are beer nerds have enjoyed my results. I still buy beer, probably more diverse a selection than most of the people that have challenged why I would make my own. I am looking at scaling up and scaling down, so I can make big batches of the stuff that works and small batches to try stuff out.
The pale ale I brewed was to take out on 3 day boating extravaganza in August, me and another beer nerd are planning on making and kegging beer so we didn't have so many bottle strewn about on the boat.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Alright, here you have a multimedia presentation going on in this here blog, so the first picture I have to share is my 7.5 gallon stainless steel pot. This is a lovely pot that is either too big or too small for all of my ambitions. If you want to brew a 5 gallon batch you could (in theory) do an extract brew with this pot (you only need to do a 60 minute boil on extract) as this pot and my burner like to boil off about 1 gallon every half hour of boil. Right now I am using to boil some water to raise the my beer from protein rest to scarification temps.
Another fucking tragedy at the end of the brew came with I tried to hook the hose up to my copper immersion chiller. I need to take a picture of this thing, if for no other reason that I am really impressed with my handy-work. The dick that was in charge of the cutter that cut the inside threads for my female to female 3/4in coupler needs to be punched in his dick. Try though I might with several hoses none would get started on this set of threads. I managed to back the damn thing off and flip it around with just enough bite to let me get through my brew day, but I ended up wasting about 20 minutes fighting with the chiller. It was much longer than I wanted to wait to start cooling my wort, so I only hope I cooled fast enough. My final thought on this beer is I am very curious to see at bottling time if I managed to cool it off fast enough to get the cold break. I might bottle one in a clear bottle just to see how much chill haze I get.
Monday, July 18, 2011
So yesterday was a long day of brewing, but I do have pictures of some of the process and am working on that post. The beer on deck was the Yellow Diamond Belgian Pale Ale taken from the book Radical Brewing: Recipes, Tales and World-Altering Meditations in a Glass. I enjoy this book just because it is a mix of history and nuts and bolts recipe and procedure book, it reads a little like a novel with recipes and folklore. It is a great second beer book, for those that have already read The Complete Joy of Homebrewing, or How to Brew, and are looking for some interesting stories and information on how styles of beer came to be, or just want some interesting recipes.
After figuring out that I may have lost some of my notes I decided that I needed to get serious about keeping track of the whole beer experience and gave the commercial software another look. I still thought beer tools was more tedious than I wanted to use, and I as not impressed with Pro Mash, and the spreadsheet based tools where a non-starter for me. I remembered hearing about a site called Beer Calculus from one of the guys at the LBS, and I have to say that the process was not a pain in the ass, and it is a web based tool so I don't have to install any software (really a bonus for me). I think I am going to give this a try for the next few beers, and so far the only gripe that I have is some of the rather imprecise measurements that are offered. I measure my OG with 4 decimal points and the hopville only allows 3 in their drop down. Not a huge deal, but because I am a little lazy and don't wait for my beer to hit temps before I measure I use the conversion chart that ends up with 4 decimal points.
The brew day was seriously long though so I am beat, I started at 1pm and washed the last pot at about 9:30pm. Despite a veritable cornucopia of tragedy I managed to make a beer and get the yest pitched so I think everything will turn out fine.
Friday, July 15, 2011
So this is my most famous (yeah right) beer that I've made to date. The recipe called for an OG of 1.060 and FG of 1.018 I ended up with OG=1.0497 and FG=1.012 about 5%ABV(sorry Braumaman). I used 2 3.3Lb cans of Malt extract syrup because my LBS didn't carry the 6Lb container, and they said I could forgo the dry extract. In hindsight I wish I would have bought it, but then my $75 dollar beer would have been a $90 beer so I suppose you take it as you can get it.
6lbs Muntons Light Malt extract syrup
.5lbs Munton Light dry malt extract
1lb Munic Malt
.05lb crystal malt (80°L)
.5lb Carapils (dextrin) malt
1 oz of Centennial Hops (9.3% Alpha Acid)
.75oz of Cascade Hops (8.3% Alpha Acid)
.5 oz of Cascade Hops for Dry hop (8.3% Alpha Acid)
1 tsp Irish Moss
White Labs WLP005 (British Ale) or Wyeast 1098 (British Ale) yeast
1)Steep the crushed malts in three gallons of water at 150°F for 30 minutes.
2)Remove the grains from the wort, add malt syrup and malt powder and bring to a boil.
3)Add the Bittering hops and time the boil for 58 minutes.
4)Add the aroma hops for the last two minutes of the boil.
5)Strain out the hops and transfer to fermenter and top off with cool water to 5.5 gallons.
6)Pitch Yeast when the wort reatches 80°F and ferment for 10-14 days at 68-70°F (The directions don't say to, but I rack to secondary fermenter after the most vigorus stage of fermentation has completed.)
7)Add the Cascade hops to dry hop for 5-7 days, then bottle. The recipe recommends using pellet hops for dry hopping which means more of the aroma should end up in your bottle. This was the case for me the first time around, so I think it is a good suggestion. I ended up needing to adjust hops around quite a lot because my LBS didn't have the high Alpha Acid hops this recipe called for. If you look for a Alpha Acid Unit converter you can adjust your additions appropriately.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
The next red that I brewed was Red Rabbit Ale, I thought based on its ingredients that I would have a more potent beer, somehow it was also weak. OG of 1.04956 and FG of 1.0166 for 4.4%ABV
Malt Extract: 6Lbs Pale Bulk Malt Extract
Specialty Grains: 3/4 lb Red Wheat Malt
1/2lb Crystal 120° L Malt
1/2lb Belgian Caravienne
1/4lb Dextrin Malt
Boilig Hops: 1oz Centennial Hops
Finishing Hops: 1oz Mt. Hood Hops
Yeast Munton's Ale Dry Yeast
1)Place the crushed grains into 2 strainer bags, 1lb per bag. If using leaf hops, place the boiling and finishging hops in seperate bags. Pellet hops need no be placed in bags, as they will not be strained out later.
2)Pour 2 1/2 gallons into the kettle. Ad grain bags to your kettle and bring the water almost to a boil. Remove the kettle from heat and let it sit fort 10 minutes.
3)Carefully remove the grain bags and place them into a strainer over the kettle. Rinse the grain bags with one quart of hot water into the kettle and dispose of the spent grains.
4)Add the malt extract to the kettle and stir until it is completely dissolved. Place the kettle back on the burner and bring it to a boil.
5)Once a vigorous boil has been achieved, add the boiling hops. Time the boil for one hour from this point.
6)After 55 minutes of boiling, add the finishing hops.
7)Let the boil continue for 5 minutes then remove the kettle from heat. Cover the kettle and let it cool for 20 minutes before continue.
8)If using leaf hops, carefully remove the hop bags from the kettle and place them in a strainer over the fermentor. Pour 2 1/2 gallons of very cold water into the fermentor (pour this over any leaf hops to rinse them).
9)Add the contents of the kettle to the cold water in the fermentor. Top up the fermentor to 1 inch over the 5 gallon mark with cold water.
10) Prepare yeast to package directions and pitch into fermentor when it reaches 80°F
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Yeah, I found my stash of recipes. Keep in mind I didn't write or come up with any of these recipes so all I can vouch for is that I made them. I will also recommend if you are just getting into brewing or thinking about getting into brewing give How to Brew a read. I have several books, but this website has just about everything I've read elsewhere online for free. The guy does sell it as a book too, but it is a handy no commitment way to look about.
Malt Extract: 5lb Pale Malt Extract
Specialty Grains: 1/2lb Crystal 40L Malt
Boiling Hops: 1 1/2oz Cascade Hops
Finishing Hops: 1/2oz Cascade Hops
Yeast: Munton's Dry Ale Yeast
That's it, the specialty grains give it all of the color, it is supposed to make a 5 gallon batch but following this recipe gives you a beer that is about 4.2%ABV. Brewing directions are really simple. You make a "tea" with the specialty grains, add the malt and boil for an hour adding hops at specific times.
Place crushed specialty grains in a muslin bag, pour 2 1/2 gallons into your kettle add the specialty grains and bring the water almost to a boil (less than 212°F degrees) remove from heat and let sit for 10minutes.
Remove the grain bag and in a strainer over the kettle rinse with one quart of hot water and dispose of the spent grains.
Add the malt extract to the kettle and stir until it is completely dissolved, then place the kettle back on the burner and bring to a boil.
Once a vigorous boil is achieved, add the boiling hops (and watch the hell out, if you are going to have a boil over it will be right at this stage!!!!) Time the boil from this point.
After 55 minutes of boiling, add the finishing hops
Let the boil continue for 5 minutes and then remove from heat. (they say cover, but I think that is to keep the bugs out if you are outdoors) and let cool for 20 minutes before cooling. This is different from most recipes and I ended up following these directions because it was my first time. From what I've read since then you want to let it rest to get down to 180°F naturally and then you want to go from 180°F down to yeast pitching temps (~80°F) as quickly as you can. Adding cold and even ice to achieve it.
If you used leaf hops carefully remove the hop bags from the kettle and place them in a strainer over the fermentor, rinse with 2 1/2 gallons (if you used pellets you are still going to add 2 1/2 gallons) of very cold water into the fermentor and then add the contents of the kettle to the fermentor and top up to just over 5 Gallons.
As a side note here, they somehow think this will add up to 5 gallons of water in the fermentor, for me it was not even close and this has to do with your brewing kettle and boil off. In my 7 1/2 gallon stainless steel pot I boil about 1 gallon every half hour of boil. If I had followed their directions at the start I would have ended my boil with about 1/2 gallon of finished wort. In a different vessel I have brewed in that was smaller in diameter and taller I had a much lower boil off. It wasn't my pot so I didn't bench mark it, but I think I only lost about 1/2 - 3/4 of a gallon in the hour boil. Height to diameter ratio is an important metric for picking a kettle, taller is better as it gives you more room to deal with the crazy roiling boil you might get when you make your first hop addition. How to brew has a section on the "Hot Break" that is very useful knowledge.
Prepare yeast to directions on the pack, pitch once the fermentor reaches 80°F
From here on it's standard fermentation process, and bottling or kegging as desired.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
I looked about last night to try and find my recipes and notes from my beer brewing sessions, just to go through them in my head and try to remember all the things that I had screwed up and come up with some lessons learned on my journey. Keyword here was try and find, because of all the shit I have that is related to beer and cheese making (don't get me started on the next damn project I am looking into Charcuterie) I was not able to find the damn folder with my notes and recipes.
I have some of the gravities written on my whiteboard, but didn't find the papers. Hope is not lost, I really only glanced about and all of the recipes that I was working with came from my LBS recipes folder so I could always just go get new copies, the only thing I will have lost is my session notes. That makes me a little sad, but in all it is a recoverable offense.
In other and related news I had previously downloaded Beer Tools to give it a try (it is a recipe management and brewing assistant piece of software). The software is fine, and it does give you a very nice looking little handout to print up that tells you what your beer will be like based on the ingredients and processes you add to it, but for some reason I found the process a little tedious and for $30 I wanted it to be less cumbersome. I realize that software requires work in to get value out, but man I was not feeling it. Until now. If I had my recipes stored in there I wouldn't be looking for them now would I? I'm torn, $30 is a drop in the bucket at this point but for the planning your brew session it seems like it would be easier and cheaper to use Beer Calculus and do a better job of keeping track of the damn notes, also you could print to PDF and keep a digital copy of your brew session for future reference.
If I don't find my recipes I may invest in the Beer Tools, just so I won't loose my session notes again.
Monday, July 11, 2011
After my cider rounds I brewed the red ale (Red Ale Refill was the name of the recipe) that I got with my starter kit and was pleased with it. It was a red ale meaning it's always drinkable, but not the most exciting thing that ever happened. After that I tried a different red (Red Rabbit ale was the name of the recipe) that had more specialty grains in it and a different set of hops that in all was really unsatisfying. The most exciting thing I made however was a Mac & Jack's African Amber clone. I don't know how widely this beer is distributed, but it is a local favorite in the Pacific Northwest. Brewed in Redmond, it has a few unique things about it. First I have heard they have a very streamlined fermentation process that allows them to go from yeast pitch to keg in 8 days, and that inside of their kegs is a hop bag that allows them to dry hop in the keg. Dry hopping gives you really big nose on a beer, you get all of the floral notes that your hops have to offer and none of the bitter Alpha Acid. My clone was the most expensive beer I have brewed to date because my LBS didn't have the 6lb can of the Liquid Malt Extract I needed, so I had to buy two 3lb cans. The brew ran about $75 and included 1oz of hops in the secondary for dry hopping.
I cannot stress how great this beer was, out of a 5 gallon batch I have exactly 1 12oz bottle left as it was what everyone drank at my homebrew Dirty 30 birthday. I had cider and I had a batch of the Red Ale Refill, both of which I still had a decent amount left over. I have the recipe somewhere, I will be sure to post it. I did no substitutions, I didn't add the dry malt extract which gave me a somewhat low Starting Gravity and a paltry 5%ABV.
Saturday, July 09, 2011
My wife claims to have grown up listening to Frank Zappa, I never had heard anything from him but one of the stranger blogs that I follow posted links to this documentary. I am very curious if she was aware of how subversive this man was.
Friday, July 08, 2011
Last year I got into brewing beer for a hobby. To date I have made about 9 batches of beer, all told I am about $700 in equipment purchased and my batches run at about $20-75 per 5 gallon batch and I have yet to have a batch that is anything but delicious. My prices fluctuate so wildly depending on what I am making and they way I am making it. My most expensive batch was a Mac & Jack's extract clone, and my cheapest was a 5 gallon batch of hard cider.
I actually got started because of the hard cider, as my extended family has several apple trees on their property and I thought it was a waste that we weren't doing something will all of those apples. To start I bought a $100 starter kit from my local homebrew store (LBS) and got some yeast. In my starter kit I got everything to brew your first batch (including all the ingredients) and everything listed below
6 Gallon Primary Fermentor (w/ Spigot aka a food grade bucket)While I bought the kit to make cider since it came with a complete recipe for beer I ended up brewing a batch of red ale after I finished my first batch of cider (more on the beer later). The cider is really easy to start with because there is no boiling required much of the sanitation, boil, and math are not needed. You don't even need to take a hydrometer reading if you don't want to as it is really only to figure out your Alcohol by Volume or ABV of the finished product. I basically took 5 gallons of pasteurized juice at room temperature and put it in the primary fermenter, added yeast and put the lid and airlock on and kept it in a cool dark place while the yeast did its work. Once primary fermentation was completed I racked into the 5 gallon carboy for secondary fermentation (slower less vigorous fermentation) and waited some more. At the end I mixed some priming sugar into the finished product, transferred into sanitized bottles and capped them. Priming sugar is corn sugar that won't add flavor to your final product but will give something for the yeast to produce more co2 to pressurize your beer (in this case cider). Feeding the yeast a little bit at the end have it pressurize the bottles is known as bottle conditioning, and will result in a little bit of defloculated yeast at the bottom of your bottles. Anyone that has had a Sierra-Nevada beer will know what I am talking about. The end product was great and has only gotten better as it has aged. I am coming up on one year and a half since the first batch of cider and I only have 3 or 4 bottles left!
5 Gallon Glass Carboy (w/ Bottle Filler Tube)
Drilled Lid with Adapter & Airlock
Capper and Caps
Malt Extract Syrups
Muslin Hop/Grain Bag
Complete Illustrated Instructions
Anyhow this is an exciting and rewarding hobby so far, but it has also been somewhat expensive. As I strive to refine my process and get better control over what I am doing, it has been a long string of realizing that I need more, bigger or better equipment. Some things I have built, some things I have bought and others I have learned to live without.
Thursday, July 07, 2011
So one of the things that Microsoft started doing a few years ago as part of promoting Bing was start the website Club Bing. It is really just a bunch of word games that you play for tickets. Every game has some allotment of tickets you can earn, but I mostly play Chictionary, Word Slugger or Spelling Bee (note they are all the same game, with different skins) because they have the highest payout of tickets for time spent on a puzzle. No the name of the game is to make words using the letters you get each round. It is like an anagram, it's mostly stupid and would take forever for most people to complete each puzzle. I finish each puzzle in between 1.5 minutes to 3 minutes. How the F do I do that? Well my friends that is what anagramssolved is for.
Now a sane person might ask why use a website to help you win a stupid word game from Microsoft? Well it's the tickets you see, Since I have been playing I have won enough tickets for an Xbox360, and a digital picture frame. If you get the daily maximum you can get the top prizes in about 90 days of playing (500 tickets max/day). If the top prizes are what you are after then you want to keep your time played to a minimum, and get max yield on tickets. Hence the anagram solver. In a little over an hour you can get the daily max tickets and get on with your day. The free xbox was enough to prove it to me, but at the beginning the prize department couldn't keep track of their shit so I actually ended up with 2 xboxes shipped to me. I wouldn't count on that happening to anyone ever again and the 360 will likely never be the top prize again, but some of the stuff could be sold. The Kitchenaide mixer retails for about $200 on amazon, but closer to $300 in stores.
What do you think, waste of time or interesting way to get free stuff?
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
Right now my wife is pregnant, and we are in a small halo of people that I know that all independently decided to start having children, but are all pregnant at the same time. Some are a little ahead or a little behind but ultimately we will all have children in 2011. In our previous attempt we where going to have a girl and for myself I wanted this one to be a girl as well, for no other reason than I had gotten my mind ready for the daughter life. I freaked out a little when I first heard it was going to be a girl, but after several months to hash it out in my own mind I was ready. We found out that we are having a boy this time.
Tuesday, July 05, 2011
So I've been having this thought every time I walk outside on the few stunning summer days we have managed to have here in the Pacific Northwest, if you stripped away all of your knowledge of the social context and where just to purely observe the outdoors I wonder if you would come to the conclusion that the people that enjoy the outdoors the most are smokers.
Every door I go out I have to walk past a dozen people smoking, and the other people that spend any amount of time outside have to also notice that the non-smokers are walking from building to building while the smokers inhabit the outdoors. Maybe you would think that it was some sort of apartheid, a social separation to oppress the smokers.
That is my random thought for the day.