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: