31 July 2008

but... I read.... to my kids... but nobody gives me beer for it...

Free beer for men who read
7:00AM Friday August 01, 2008
Organisers of New Zealand Book Month are offering free beer to try to entice blokes to read books.
To promote reading as a "manly" activity, organisers have invited fathers and their sons to an evening of male bonding over sports, adventure and literature.
When they arrive at the venue, the Auckland Town Hall, the guests will also get a free beer - but only if they produce identification.
The evening, entitled A Word in his Ear, will be held on Friday September 5.
I can't get the beer (damnit!) for reading, as we're in the wrong country, but most recently we've been reading "the Children of Odin". I ordered it online with gift cards, thanks, Mom!

21 July 2008

1994 doesn't seem so long ago, really...

I was in a photography class when Misty and I met. This print was a composite of two negatives: one photo I took of a bear at the St. Louis Zoo and one she took of me leaning in the car window. It struck me one day that we were in the same pose, the bear and I, so I thought I'd play around a little. I liked it, how 'bout you?

19 July 2008

All Grain II update III

You wouldn't believe how hard it is to get a good picture through the glass with a bunch of condensate and kreusen all over the inside of it. This is what it looks like tonight:

Anyway, it looks like it's turning into beer at this point. At the pub social, it was theorized that perhaps the dry hops' antibacterial properties managed to keep whatever the weird stuff was from taking control. Sounds good to me. So the photo is through a clear spot in the wall of the glass surrounded by kreusen and is still a little out of focus, but in the middle on the left side you can see the nice bready yeasty normal thing happening.

Here's another photo attempt from earlier today:

White Balance

This will teach me to learn what the heck I'm doing before I do it, huh? I had the white balance set for the incandescent lights we were under, but I used the flash (hiding it behind a piece of paper to keep the glare down).

I went with a few fellow H.A.M.S. club members to a pub social at Sarasota Brewing Company. It was a pretty cool place. Not too much going on, a few families eating dinner together and a few patrons sitting at the bar. Then there were the beer geeks in the corner. I mean us.

I swear they didn't have blue beer. Stupid "white balance".

a pint of Maibok:

There seemed to be a distinct lack of head on the beers in general. We couldn't pinpoint why. The Maibok did lace the glass, though.

My tasting notes:
I really liked the Maibok the most even though it was a bit hoppier than I expected. Overall Vince (the brewer and I believe to be a fellow H.A.M.S. member) did a great job making big and well recieved batches of beer. I passed around my sampler of Sunset Red for everyone to try because I thought maybe something was wrong with it. Apparently all that was wrong is that I just didn't have an appreciation of the style (I don't really care for that style) because even though not everyone who tried it liked it nobody thought there was anything wrong with it. Anyway, that one aside, I was really impressed. As you'll see if you click on my notes to enlarge them, I thought they did a great job describing their beers. I tasted each before reading the descriptions and was kind of at a loss when it came to writing notes because much of what I noticed was already typed up for me.

18 July 2008

All Grain II update II

Sorry about the quality of this picture, but it turned out to be the best of the lot from last night. There's a bit of condensation on the inside of the carboy and that proved difficult to work around.
Still odd looking, but not quite as weird.

12 July 2008

All Grain II (update w/pic)

That potentially wild-yeasted beer:
This is what it looked like prior to racking. I tasted it and noticed nothing out of the ordinary. We shall see.

07 July 2008

Sunday started by looking like this: (sorry, I realize looking at the picture now that we need to wash the van)

And ended like this: (on the ride home)

With all this in between:

Some of Misty's relatives from Indiana were in town- Anna Maria Island to be more specific, so we went out to visit.

This poor umbrella just had the hardest time staying upright:


Self-portrait: (I'm not in the sand because I was seeking the shade after my Independence Day sunburn)

Kevin: (16 and cool)

See, the hardest time:

Lindy's pic-a-nic blanket:

Our poor sunburnt Devin, playing 'neath the umbrella:

Zack, Trey, Nick, and Kevin (left to right): (it's been a few years since they all saw each other, but they hung out on the beach and played "ladderball" like a bunch of guys hanging out at the beach)
I was not able to to get any good pictures of Lauren as she stayed out and under-water most of the afternoon.

06 July 2008

All Grain II

There's a film on top of the wort. The dry hops are underneath the film.

possible problem?

I don't know, but I think it may be wild yeast.

does anyone know?

Thanks to Fred from H.A.M.S. for the brew day at his house last weekend. His homebrewery is AWESOME!

Independence Day

We had a good ol' time, thanks to Ernesto and Pam's invitation. We met them out at South Lido Park where they had a great spot back off the nature trail.

I guess our food smelled pretty good. This little lady tried to pry the lid off Pam's baked beans dish while nobody was looking. (Credit to Misty for getting this photo)

Must have smelled really good! Look at all the boats that came in:



Lauren, left and Devin, right:

Kevin, having trouble with his goggles:

Devin's grapes:

Sea grapes:

I must have had my camera set to video by accident. I inteded to do a little macro shot of the sea grapes, but caught what appears to be an ant chasing off a fly.

Thanks, guys!

02 July 2008

1st time All-Grain

Malt. Mild Ale, Crystal, and Chocolate. All you can really see is the crystal and a little bit of the mild ale.

My humble brewpot:

Saxo, for inspirational purposes:

My humble mash-tun, overfilled. I had to put a bit into the brewpot early so I could close the lid.

A Fuggle plug, for those who don't know. Surpisingly, many homebrewers have only ever seen pelletized hops. I prefer these:

As they say in all the books: a "vigorous boil":

Terrible efficiency, I know, but for my 6 gallons of 1.033 wort I used:

12 lbs. mild ale malt (Munton's)

2 lbs. crystal malt, 80 L

1/4 lb. chocolate malt

1/4 oz. Fuggle in the mash

1/4 oz. Fuggle 1st wort hopped

1/4 oz. Fuggle last 15 minutes, flavor

1/4 oz. Fuggle last 7 minutes, aroma

added 1 lb. sugar to come to 1.040 starting gravity

Wyeast Activator pack of the Ringwood strain. Yes, I did a diacetyl rest in case you wondered, though I'm not sure it was required.

Fermented at ambient temps around 74-76F and finished at 1.004! A pretty classy lawnmower beer, if I say so myself. Did the trick when I got done mowing yesterday, anyway.

Poor extract aside, it turned out to be really good! I'll post some new pics after Independance Day so you can see the finished product.

(edit to add a couple pics 7-7-08)

01 July 2008

Roller Derby

We went with Jim and John, a couple of fellow HAMS club members, and met up also with Marck and Heather of Bacon Towne Records, to a recent Bradentucky Bombers roller derby thing (match, game, ???). It was the last of the season, the Bombers split into two teams: the Garter Belt Gangsters (who we rooted for) vs. the Jawbreakers (they wore pink) in the Trailer Trash Rumble. We (the Garter Belt Gangsters) won! It was the first time I'd witnessed a roller derby event and I was really quite impressed at the thing. It was much better than I thought it would be, and really was very athletic and sportslike. You'd have to see it to understand, I think. Perhaps next time, I'll learn to do video and add it to the blog.