31 December 2008

A Happy New Year to All!

Even to socialists. May you change your ways in the coming year.

18 December 2008


Well, I thought I had it whipped! ...

...but the bottles of WSSAle3.0 now have a film/scum on them. I figure that as long as they don't live past 2008 they'll be alright. They are developing a crust (pellicle?) though, so you have to ignore that because it breaks up when pouring and flows out with the beer, but they don't taste bad yet.

WSSAle v3.1 is still in the primary. In case I didnt't post about it (and I don't think I did), It was 9lbs. of Munton's mild ale malt+ 1lb. Weyermann's CaraAroma [mashed~150 for 90 minutes] + 1/2oz. EKG 60min. +1/2oz. EKG 7minutes, +1.25lbs. panela sugar (from Columbia- the ingredients' list is: "pressed cane juice") for a starting gravity of 1.060, cooled in kettle on the lanai (that's like a patio to y'all up north) and pitched the next day with SafAle's 33 (IIRC). It is not showing any signs of infections after a week and a half in the fermenter and I will not rack or bottle it until I replace my tubing. That's the number one suspect right now.

14 December 2008

Salvador "Sal" Jimenez
Jimenez, SalvadorOct. 16, 1963 - Dec. 9, 2008Salvador "Sal" Jimenez, 45, Palmetto, formerly of Danbury, Conn., died Dec. 9, 2008.Visitation will be 2 to 7 p.m. Sunday at Toale Brothers Funeral Homes, Bradenton Chapel.Survivors include three daughters, one son, two sisters and his parents, Enrique and Hilda Lopez.In lieu of flowers, you may make donations to the Nancy Jimenez Trust Fund, c/o Grimes Goebel Law Firm, 1023 Manatee Ave. W., Bradenton, FL 34205.

10 December 2008


Rest in Peace, friend.

September, at the Ortiz' wedding.

An 80 year old man in a Hummer pulled out in front of his motorcyle at lunch break yesterday. He died about 5 1/2 hours later in the hospital.

27 November 2008

'Twas the night before Thanksgiving...

It was a bit chilly. Somewhere around 68 degrees. I wore a long-sleeved shirt. I am thankful for Florida weather among other things.

24 November 2008

Then and Now or: 14 Years and Still Taking the Same Pictures

In 1994 I was taking a photography class at Meramec Community College (St. Louis Community College's Kirkwood campus). The assignment was "Patterns of Light". This was one of my attempts, though not one of my favorites due to the massive amount of grey and lack of contrast:

The glass itself is interesting though you can't tell in the photograph. It's a Winnie the Pooh wineglass just like this set on Ebay.

I only thought to find, scan, and post the above picture when I realized the similarity it held to the below photograph which I took on Sunday.

19 November 2008

WSSAle v3.1 2008 (III)

Turns out I'm lazier than I thought.

I couldn't get the Hennepin yeast going and I haven't brewed yet.

I did rack my Cabbage Palm/Mangrove Mead. What? You haven't heard about that one yet? ....

Back just after Mead Day, Sue at In The Spirits had a walk-in beekeeper who offered her 5 gallon pails of honey. It was a combination of Cabbage Palm and Mangrove honey and was pretty wet stuff. The price was right, though, so I was one of four H.A.M.S. club members who bought a bucket each. I divided mine into 3 batches. The first one was 5 gallons at 35brix, the second about 5.5 gallons at 30brix, and the third about 5.5 or 6 gallons at 25brix. I started fermenting them right around the Autumn Equinox and racked them all into 5 gallon carboys over this past weekend. What was left of the 2nd two (since they were over 5 gallons) went into the continuous fermenter which is currently a bucket. The 25 tasted pretty close to dry and a little hot, the 30 was definately sweeter and not so hot, and I didn't taste the 35. That honey is certainly different from the Orange Blossom I had earlier in the year! Not really floral, somewhat spicy, and a bit earthy. I suppose it will make for an interesting and rather unique mead.

If I remember, I'll have to tell you about my Guava Mead sometime.

10 November 2008

A Taste of Manatee, 2 November 2008

We went to "A Taste of Manatee" last Sunday mostly because Kevin was playing in his jazz combo and partly because of the allure of FOOD. Firkin and Fox (new restaurant, only been around a couple weeks) had some tasty New England clam chowder and unfortunately I can't remember who had some delicious fish tacos, but they had coleslaw and tomatillos on them and they were GREAT! And in case you didn't know, the jazz was cool.

There was also a custom motorcycle builder...

A tie-dye vendor...

A wine distributor with this tasty wine (a bottle of which I did purchase)...

a guy who's not who I thought he was...

quite a nice waterfront view...

ice sculpturing...

palm trees (don't you just love Florida in November?)...

the aforementioned jazz drummer...

and his girlfriend...

09 November 2008

Happy 9th of November to my Wife!

yeah, I know, I used this picture last year.

WSSAle v3.1 2008 (III)

6,7,8 November 2008:

Waiting for something to happen in my Hennepin bottle. Nothing did.

9 November, 2008 (our 12th anniversary!):

Drank a 12 oz. Hennepin, swirled and poured dregs into the inactive starter and then applied the airlock. We shall see. If I get nothing this week, I guess I'll go with dry yeast and get my brewing done with by next weekend.

05 November 2008

WSSAle v3.1 2008 (II)

4 Nov. 2008:

Poured out several glasses of Hennepin so as not to leave it open for an extended period of time, then poured into the bottle and the dregs at the bottom of it my DME starter. Topped with an airlock.

Update 5 Nov. 2008:

No action yet. I may just go with dried yeast this year :( .


What's there to say that hasn't been said?

I'm exhausted...

03 November 2008

WSSAle v3.1 2008 (I)

v3.0 is the extract version, but I won't get into that right now.

I am going to try my hand at documenting this year's attempt at my Winter Solstice Spiced Ale. v1.0 won me a blue ribbon at the county fair, and in my opinion it's only gotten better. Now that I'm gettting into all-grain, I've decided to add that into the (hopeful) improvements.

Fred (from H.A.M.S.) proposed a club contest for spiced winter beers due for judging in January. As I've been attempting and tweaking one for the last couple years, I thought I'd join in.

3 Nov. 2008:
Buy a 750ml bottle of Hennepin. Put it in the refrigerator.
Into a 1pt. Mason jar: 1/2 cup Munton's amber DME, 1 avg. sized Cascade hop pellet, water to 1 pt. Microwave until good and boiling. Sterilize lid with vodka then seal and leave out to cool.

Yep, that's what I've got done so far.

29 October 2008

from http://www.nra.org/ :

"I'm Chuck Norris, a black belt patriot...

"If some thug breaks into my home I can use my roundhouse kick, but I prefer he look down the barrel of my gun."

Me too, Chuck.

That's 9mm parabellum.


Where's the outrage?

note: I do not endorse the sources, I am only borrowing from them.

from http://www.suprmchaos.com/ :

Anti-summit protesters burn an effigy of President Bush draped in an American flag in front of the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Wednesday, June 26, 2002, as they protest the G-8 summit taking place in Kananaskis, Alberta. Photo by Tom Hanson:

Borrowed from: www.atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/ :

A Pakistani woman gestures next to a burning effigy of Dutch lawmaker Geert Wilders during a protest against a recent Dutch film that portrays Islam as a ticking time bomb (ironic when you consider the reaction, huh?) aimed at the West in Karachi, Pakistan, Sunday, March 30, 2008:

from http://www.daylife.com/ :

16 months ago: Kashmiri Shiite Muslims shout anti American slogans as they burn an effigy of U.S. President George W. Bush during a protest in Srinagar, India, Thursday, June, 14, 2007. Over 500 angry demonstrators carrying black flags and copies of Quran and burning effigies of U.S. President Bush, rallied against destruction of the two minarets of the Askariya shrine in Iraq in a bombing blamed on al-Qaida insurgents, during a protest which, according to a protestor, was 'against the bombing and against the American occupation of Iraq which has led to bombing.' :

from http://www.foxnews.com/ :

"Several locals and tour buses have swung by the house to snap photos of the scene, and some gawkers say it is humorous. Morisette acknowledged to FOX 11 news that had he depicted Barack Obama (instead of Sarah Palin) in the same scene, it would not have gone over as well."

from: http://www.bearpit.net/ :

I guess, in the end, there's outrage about a couple Obama effigies having been hanged at college campuses (This was not political speech. It was simply hate. It was profoundly wrong and deeply offensive," said Beshear[democrat governor of KY] in a statement. "This incident does not reflect who we are as a flagship institution of higher learning or a Commonwealth. I appreciate the university's resolve to investigate this matter and ensure that such actions will not be tolerated.") (U.K. President Lee T. Todd Jr.: "Unfortunately, this morning an effigy of Senator Barack Obama was discovered hanging in a tree on campus. I am personally offended and deeply embarrassed by this disgusting episode. This is not reasonable political expression; it is just malicious. And it is unacceptable. On behalf of the University of Kentucky I apologize to Senator Obama and his family. I will personally assure them that this is not who we are as a University or as a state), but in my search, this is the best picture I could find when googling "obama effigy":

Funny, but when I posted it there was an old Nazi poster of Hitler with his face replaced by Obama. It disappeared within the half-hour of posting and was replaced with this (Hebrew?) symbol.

Oh, well (edit, 9:35 PM), it looked a lot like this picture, but with the younger-Hitler-flip-hairdoo:

Yes, people should be upset that his effigy is being hanged, but why not get upset about it when it's a Republican hanging or on fire?

19 October 2008

Good Ol' Princess

Circa August 1995 (almost 1 year old):

12 October 2008

Princess; 1994-2008

Goodbye to a great dog.

20 September 2008

Oddity re: Mac n' Cheese post from last October

Using SiteMeter, I see that 23 out of the last 100 visitors to my blog arrived straight into this previous post.

Why??? Anyone?


14 September 2008

The Fairy King?

Continuously fermenting mead.

I mentioned in my last post that I have a "continuously fermenting mead". I thought I'd explain since I had never mentioned it here before. It looks like any other mead, as you see here:

As I listened to an archived episode of Basic Brewing Network's podcast of an interview done with a South African meadmaker he mentioned his "continuously fermenting" system. I began to look into this idea, not really knowing what it was, and came across the sherry "solera" idea that I had read about long ago when I was learning about wine. What I decided was that it was all just terribly impractical and I was not going to try it.

What I did was start a batch of mead with a combination of a lot of samples of different fermentations, mostly citrus wines from the back yard, that I had going at the time as a starter since I had no yeast and could not afford any more ingredients (Misty came across the honey purchased a couple years before in the back of a closet, so the mead wasn't costing me any current money to produce). Money was a huge factor in deciding to try this, you see: I figured I could afford 3lbs. of honey at $6 (yes, grocery store honey) every month or two. What I did was siphon a gallon out and replace it with new honey and water. I applied this to a blueberry and to a pineapple mead (for the wedding in my earlier post). I put the fruit in the gallon jugs and racked some semi-sweet still fermenting mead on top of it to finish. These did not require a whole 2 gallons of mead because of the fruit's displacement, so I pulled out a few bottles worth and cold-crashed it in the fridge for drinking at a ripe young age. Not bad stuff.

It's been going since February, I think. I hope to keep it going for a nice long time. I like the solera philosophy that once you start tapping the last barrel, it is a nice blend of old and new and have figured out how I can use this to achieve a similar end. I do have to rack to a new carboy every couple of months to reduce the risk of autolosys (sic?), but do not have to worry about oxidation from the racking since it is perpetually fermenting and the added oxygen is actually beneficial to the yeast (I think). My hope is that after a couple years use, I will be able to pull a gallon and finish its fermentation and it will already taste fairly well-aged. It will never match the solera for aging because this is my fermentation method, not my aging method. Maybe I'll add something for that. Remind me and I'll let you know in a couple of years.

12 September 2008

Special Beer Tasting Night

Orval Trappist Ale 6.9%abv 11.2oz (aka 330ml):

distinct "skittle" bottle shape!

nice CO2 hiss and cloud on escape.

beautiful creamy/meringue like head that lasts too long when thirsty.

great aroma: just a hint of wildness, woodiness, sweettartiness, carbonation is high and forces aroma into the nose upon swallowing.

light golden/orange color.

tastes of: wood, copper, hoppy but not distinct it blends into the beer, slightly sweet, tart, very slight bitter/hoppy aftertaste, brett flavor grows as beer warms .

I tossed the bottle dregs into my continuously fermenting mead. I just couldn't help myself.

Dogfish Head 90 minute Imperial India Pale Ale 9%abv 12oz:

unassuming standard brown 12 ounce bottle with distinctly non-laminated label suggesting recyclability and/or cheapness.

bread-dough head. not as long-lasting as the Orval, but still a lingerer.

malty-sweet and floral-citrusy hop aroma. amazing. I couldn't help getting foam on my nose because I couldn't get enough. I'm realizing as I type this that even though the glass is a good 18" away from my nose, I can still pull it in.

beatutiful deep golden amber color.

Oh, my gods... the taste...

sweet, brown sugar, molasses, MALT, and the hops- how can I describe them- they are there the whole way, citrusy,- but for an IPA they are not overwhelming or dominating. I have to stop typing now so I can drink...

... why must it be so expensive?!?!...

... it tastes like gold should taste if you could drink it. With hops, especially at the finish...

...It lingers on the palate like pecan pie...

...I'm having this at Thanksgiving with my signature pecan pie!!!

...sure doesnt't tasste like 9%...

... my face is warm...

...sorry to see it go.

I'm afraid to open the next one, that's going to be a devestatingly tough act to follow.

Altenmunster Doppelbock Winterbier 7.2%abv 1pt, 0.9oz (aka500ml):


Great pop, with a little spray on the forearm.

Quite foamy, dissipates faster than the other 2. Bread-dough also, but with slightly bigger bubbles.

Very dark reddish-braun.

Surprisingly "fresh" malty aroma. Something I just can't put my nose on...

Surprisingly "fresh" taste. Perhaps it's an out of balance acid of some sort. Not too roasty/toasty and light malt for a doppel. Slight raisiny flavor. I might really like it some other time, but that DFH90.....

...roasted barley, maybe chocolate malt... It certainly doesn't taste like Spaten.

It's taking a very long time to drink, which considering the abv of these beers is not necessarily a bad thing. I'll be back...

Guten nacht!

Delerium Nocturnum Belgian ale 8.5%abv 11.2oz (aka330ml):

flecked-painted bottle to keep the light out so it won't skunk and there's a pink elephant on the label!

head is puffy, but deflates pretty quickly. May have been the glass.

aroma is of caramel, toasty-raisin, light toffee, slightly sweet, no hops.

color is dark brown, with unappealing fuzzy chunks.

taste is tangy, malty-sweet. slight burnt-caramel. is the tanginess and the fuzzy chunks on purpose?

Nice lace.

I think this bottle's off. The tanginess is too much, and the chunks are hanging in the beer in exactly the same way that bricks don't (thank you, Douglas Adams).

09 September 2008

Re: Sleeping well at night. (guns XXX) [that means 30!]

Ironic, considering the last post I made.

2:00 AM
Misty woke me up. She heard the door on the lanai shut. She got her pistol and went out front. I got the shotgun and went out back. I scanned the yard and roof with the barrel mounted flashlight but found nothing, but when I got back to the front door she came running in. "There was a guy out there!" She had seen him by our trash cans.

"What are you doing?!" as she raised her pistol.

"Sorry, ma'am, I just dropped my wallet." And then he took off.

She scared him out of his flip-flops and he also dropped a woman's checkbook in the street. He had been ditching some presumably stolen goods in our trash. There was an empty "Hooters" billfold (what they give you your bill in) and some bottles of prenatal vitamins. She called the police, who came and got the description from her.

About a year ago, our neighbor came home one evening to find a stranger on his lanai. He called the police who came and looked around. They heard noise from the roof. It was the stranger jumping off. He got away.

I always thought the suburbs were more peaceful than this.

08 September 2008

Mak-90 partII (guns xxix)

Last time I posted a pic of this, I said that maybe I'd get one with the 75 round drum under it.

Here it is:

The sleepy-time sheets help, but the rifle is what really makes me sleep well at night.

04 September 2008

Another forgotten photo

For those who don't know, our Lauren declared at the age of 6 that she wanted to be a pastry chef and now that she's 13 she has never once changed her mind. She made this pan of brownies:

Forgotten Range Pics... (guns XXIIX)

... from the past year or so:

Smith & Wesson mdl 65-3 in my hands:
Kel-Tec P3AT:
That same S&W 65-3 3"bbl .357 mag 6-shooter:
The break-top S&W you may recognize from earlier posts:
The .22 Browning rifle my dad gave me:

30 August 2008

Congratulations to Ernesto and Pam!!!

A great couple, and great friends.

Inspired by a BYO magazine recipe for a Mountain Dew Beer, I made this for their wedding. Ernesto is a Mountain Dew drinker, you see.

I was honored to not only brew, but to make ribs and also officiate the ceremony.

3 gallons Mountain Dew poured into fermenter


2.5 gallons water

4lbs. Munton's light DME

1/2 oz. Cascade 45 min.

1/2 oz. Cascade 10 min.


Safale 05

It was a love/hate reception. About a third of those who tried it hated it immediately and the other two-thirds said it was really interesting and then proceeded to empty the keg.

Mead Day 2008

2 August 2008

H.A.M.S. club held our part of National Mead Day at Rasher Tierney's.

The other mead guys, John and Jim, tend to be more traditional than I: they usually heat or even boil their must. They were heading up our Mead Day, so that's what we did.

I did not intentionally overexpose the photos, but it does kind of give the feeling of HOTNESS. It was a very blistery day. I really like mead, it's my favorite, so I'm going to suggest we do two club Mead Days: one on the standard 1st Saturday of August and another in February. We can do a no-heat mead indoors in August and a heat or boil mead outdoors in February. Florida brewing is necessarily different from most of the rest of the country due to our climate.

John brought this commercial bottle of "Orange Blossom Honey Wine". It was pretty well colorless and tasted like a simple syrup. He and Jim and I all brought some of our own and they were better by far!
The owner of Rasher Tierney's is a really good guy. He accomodates our somewhat rowdy group really well.

Misty and John passed out samples of our meads. They were well recieved and allowed us to evangelize about this, the greatest and most ancient of adult beverages.
Here's a blueberry melomel (melomel means a honey-wine with fruit added) I was working on just before mead day. It was not quite ready for mead day, but I cold-crashed the yeast out of a bottle's worth and then topped up with citrus wine. I'm happy to say that just about everyone liked it: