Yeah, it’s been a while. So what’s new?
- Turns out the bike/car wreck was my fault, according to the eyewitnesses. Whoops. Needless to say, it has been handed over to my insurance company for them to deal with. I’m 99% physically healed but my ego is still bruised… as big of a stickler as I am for Same Road Same Rules Same Rights, I caused a wreck. Damn. I am making everything right on the car repair side and turning my mangled Raleigh Grand Prix into a parts bike for a road frame Charlie gave me years ago.
- My Senator got elected to be the next POTUS which delights me greatly.
- It’s cold here. And snowy. Just in time, too – I like seasonal weather.
- We had Fakesgiving III/Bullshit Thanksgiving 2008 at the home of Pete & Miz Royal. Fried a turkey in the chilly 15°F weather, had a couple Manhattans courtesy of Mr. Scott Action (Anton LaVey Jr.) and a great time was had by all.
- I’m keeping track of what I eat again. And losing weight again. I need to do this, badly. I’ve got two data points from this year. One where I signed up for fitday last year and one where I got weighed for a weight-loss contest at work in August. I’m back down near my August weight but have about 20 pounds to go until I’ve erased 2008′s ravages from my body.
- Out of homebrew. For now. Apple juice should start getting really, really cheap soon which means it’s about time to make another keg of hard cider.
- Work’s keeping me busy. One of my projects entails modifying some of our equipment, including getting the die set out of one of our presses, and nobody there has had it out before – fun, challenging and downright scary at times. You go elbows-deep in an 80 ton press and tell me it ain’t scary.
- My buddy Markh is comin’ up this weekend with his special lady in tow, which excites me. I haven’t seen Mark much since I moved 700+ miles away. Funny, that.
In short, first I:
And soon I shall again be:
While in IRC this morning, Ed started pining away for a breakfast beer, one that would approximate his love for granola. Ed is a kindred spirit, a fully-functioning drunkard or self-medicating misanthrope, depending on your viewpoint. Of course, I started thinking about what makes it taste that way… oats, nutty flavors, a touch of sweetness. I immediately made the jump to thinking about beer ingredients. My buddy Chris (“hand me that 7/16ths spanner, will ya, Pal?”) is all over brewing, and has made some mighty fine beers, so I started to pick his brain to figure out what ingredients would make such a brew. Half an hour later, I think we’ve come up with a workable recipe. I gotta wait for the current Porter to get done before I can make another batch, but this one should be easy to do.
Roninspoon’s Granola Stout (Mk1)
- 5 lbs amber malt extract (I prefer dry)
- 12 oz Crushed Crystal Malt (60L)
- 12 oz Crushed Chocolate Malt
- 16 oz Roasted Barley
- 16 oz Oats
- 8 oz (1 cup) Honey (pref. orange blossom)
- 1 oz Cluster Hops (bittering, 6.9 α acid)
- 1 oz Willamette Hops (bittering, halfway thru boil, 4.2 α acid)
- 1 oz Willamette Hops (flavoring, 4.2 α acid)
- White Labs’ WLP004 Irish Ale Yeast, perhaps their WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast
Recipe changes as I damn well see fit, instructions to follow when I get around to it, beer will get brewed up Real Soon Now.
Big props to Chris for his expertise in working up this recipe. In fact, he crunched some numbers and came up with this:
Yeah, this is pretty much exactly the Brewer’s Best Robust Porter beer kit, but the devil is in the details. I obtained mine from my Local Brew Store and you should as well. Support local businesses, roll your own beer. Let’s start out with the list of ingredients:
- 6.6 lbs Munton’s Plain Amber Malt Extract
- 8 oz Crushed Crystal Malt (60L)
- 4 oz Crushed Chocolate Malt
- 4 oz Crushed Black Patent Malt
- 1 oz Cluster Bittering Hops (6.9 α acid)
- 0.5 oz Willamette Finishing Hops (4.2 α acid)
- 1 pack of generic yeast
Now that you’ve got all that shit, here’s what you do:
- Realize you dread trying to do another batch of beer on the stove, so drive out to Bridgeview for a propane cooker. Wander around Menards for a solid half hour before you find the one model they carry. Buy it.
- Assemble propane cooker. Curse the lazy Chinese bastard that played a joke on you by getting powdercoating all in the threads. Spend 10 minutes working the assembly screw in and out to clean up the threads. Consider buying a tap kit.
- Test fire cooker. Delight in the big burny flame. Wonder aloud why they powdercoated the pot support legs, since that shit smells nasty when burning.
- Re-clean & sanitize the cookpot, carboy, airlock stopper et al. that you cleaned and sanitized before you last used them 6 months ago. Consider airtight storage for everything.
- Break your hydrometer. Whoops.
- Boil up 2 gallons of water. Delight in the fact that it only takes 15 minutes instead of an hour on the stove.
- Toss in the grain bag when it reaches 160°F.
- Adjust the flame down to hold the temp between 160 & 170°F. Curse the design when the flame blows out twice, then remember that you’re making this outdoors.
- Freak out when you can’t keep it at 170°F, turn off burner and let steep for 20 minutes. Try to ignore the fact that it got up near 200°F before you turned it off.
- Remove grain bag, bring up to a boil. Add malt extract, boiling hops. Lick the malt spatula clean.
- Add finishing hops after only 40 minutes. Fuck it, I like hops.
- After 15 minutes, bring wort inside. Set cookpot in sink, run full of cold water. Change out water until it’s no higher than 85°F. Add small amounts of wort to the yeast that’s rehydrating in a mason jar.
- Pour wort into carboy that already contains 3 gallons of lukewarm water, pitch in yeast just before wort. Consider a different filter for the funnel since yours keeps clogging with hops trub. Fuck it, I like hops. Remove strainer, go nuts.
- Slap airlock on carboy, lug downstairs to basement closet where you can keep it at a happy 65°F with a thermostat-controlled space heater (oil-filled radiator kind).
- Clean up the huge mess you made outside and in the kitchen, you sloppy bastard.
The spec sheet says this recipe yields 5 gallons, SG 1.050 – 1.055, FG 1.012 – 1.015, 4.5 – 5% ABV, 25 – 40 hop IBU. Fortunately, I broke my hydrometer earlier, so I had to reserve a sample of the wort (before pitching the yeast) to have a SG reference.
Next installment in Sloppy Adventures in Zymurgy: Checking the Fermentation Progress.
…unless you’ve got the finest $40 propane cooker underneath it. Then it will go from 2 gallons of cold tap water to boiling water ready for making wort in 15 minutes flat.
My freshly assembled cooker has a batch of black, evil-looking outdoor Illinois porter happly bubbling away right now. Recipe to follow.
Finally got around to brewing another batch of beer, this time a Dortmunder.
Add ingredients tomorrow
Only a few minor hiccups, mostly an early slight boilover, so i tossed in the the 2 oz of flavoring hops 5 minutes early. Cooled the wort in a sink of cold water, and despite my sketchy math (including synthesizing a new Gallon-degree-Fahrenheit unit) it wound up a perfect 70 degrees. OG checked out at a nice 1.052, pitched the east and left the kitchen in shambles to deal with tomorrow.
Always a bittersweet moment when that keg finally runs dry… i remember riding my motorcycle to a party in Home Park in the rain (back when we lived at the Fort) just in time to get three beers out of the last keg before it was floated. Sad, but a fine sense of accomplishment at the same time.
The cider turned out dry, delicious, alcohol-packed and just enough effervescence. I drank it all over the course of three weeks, altho the lion’s share was walking bird day and the day after. And now it is all gone, sadly, but now i have an empty keg to put mead in.
Other than that, still unsure about xmas plans. Dunno if i’ll be able to schedule the time off to go down georgia way. It’s a first come, first served calendar at work, but we’ll see.
New Year’s, however, is 99% done – The Girl and i are joining Scott Action & Leighanthrax, Andy & Fawn and Pete & Jane at Chef Shangri-La for a pig roast buffet and gettin twisted on polynesian cocktails. While it is a bit bothersome that neither of us are in Mexican Cheerleader, we’re totally lookin forward to it. Most of my NYE shitz have consisted of either staying at home and drinking heavily or going to shows and drinking heavily. This should be a nice change. Plus, y’know, pig roast
Yes, i know it is damn near the end of Octember and it has been 1.5 months. Shut up. In lieu of any real content, a list:
- Big shoutout to my nigga Mike Storey, who has recently gotten back in touch with me after some years.
- Nother big shoutout to my nigga Raymond for putting up with my dumb ass
- Moved into the world of kegging homebrew instead of bottling it. This so far has 5 gallons of ale currently kegged and another 5 gallons of cider happily bubbling away in the plastic carboy. Prolly gonna get a glass carboy as well and hit up a second fermentation for the cider in there.
- Ditched the splat due to far too much $ for minutes used. Currently rocking tmo’s prepaid, which has waaaay better coverage where i need it. Note to wireless companies: i could not care if you have coverage in bumblefuck, montana, unless i am in that location. Also note that giving incentives to new customers instead of existing customers is a good way to constantly lose customers