Sunday, January 31, 2010

273 Are you afraid of he Dark?

Spent a few hours bottling my Stout today. I have a thing for Grolsh bottles. The cap is nice. It saves you the ugly problem of having the bottle caps fly off your beer if something goes wrong. That and they are just cool. By the way I have never had that happen to me. It usually only happens when the beer is exposed to extreme heat. So I did what any brewer should do and poured a little off the top and tasted my project. It has a nice roasted flavor similar to coffee. It was definitely unfinished and flatter than flat. I could not taste the creamy flavor you are supposed to get from the oatmeal but I am not concerned. It needs some time to age and carbonate. It will mellow in the next couple of weeks and will be Ok to sample in 2 weeks but will not be really good for about a month.
It is definitely dark.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

278. Making Soup.

So today I did something I have not done in probably 8 years or maybe more. I made beer. Making beer is basically just like making soup. If you can follow a recipe and make soup you can make beer. This will be a nice chocolate oatmeal stout in about 4 weeks. The first photo is my Batch Sparge. I am trying to get the sugars out of some oatmeal and other grains. This next shot is of the flavoring grains. 1 lb chocolate malt, 1lb black patent malt, 1lb roasted barley and 1lb of crystal malt. They are in the steeping bag. This is just like making tea. You have to be very careful or you can end up with tannins which are very bitter and do not taste very good at all.
This is just before I added the Flavoring grains and had just added the Malt extract. Basically it is sugar. It adds flavor plus gives the yeast something to feed upon.

And now a shot with the water from the flavoring grains. This is the point where it needs to be boiled for an hour. I added Amarillo hops for flavor. The last 15 minutes you add hops for aroma and Irish moss to clear the beer.

Once you have it all cooked you move it into this nifty 5 gallon bucket and try to cool it down as fast as possible. It always takes me forever to get it to cool down. Even in a sink full of water and ice it is still too hot to add the yeast. Hopefully in the next hour it will be cool enough to add the yeast.

Once the yeast is added it will ferment for about 2 weeks in the basement. It needs a place with no direct light and roughly a 70 degree temperature. At the end of 2 weeks I will have to clean all my old bottles or I could keg the beer. I am leaning toward bottling because it is much easier to transport bottled beer than it is to transport a keg. This is a beer to be shared. Showing up with a keg seems kind of weird to me.
With time to age it should be good to go in about 4 weeks if I bottle or 2.5 weeks if I keg. At this point I am in no hurry and wanted a nice heavy beer for after the 12 hours of Mesa Verde. I have made this beer in the past and it turned out really nice. The only problem was that it is a meal in a bottle. Lots of rich flavor but very filling. Remember the old Miller Lite ad's ? Well with this beer the argument goes something like.. Tastes great. Very filling. Tastes great. Very filling.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

275 Ouch.

Went for a 2 hour spin today. I have not ridden outside since November 9th. It has been too long. I have winter gear and I really should get out there and ride. As I sit here I hate to admit it but I am a bit sore. My legs hurt. I guess eating like a pig and swilling beer for the last couple of months has come around and kicked me right in the ass.

I have been burning vacation days for the past week. I hate to leave any on the table but I had to ditch one day. Bummer. While I was out I did get some house work done. Patched the hole in the room where the pipe broke and painted the room again. I think I have painted that room 4 times now. I am getting a bit sick of that room. Susan moved my trainer out of the basement bedroom and now I am in the official exercise room. It is complete with rollers, magnetic trainer and a treadmill. I am not very coordinated anymore. At one time I could ride for an hour on a set of rollers and barely even move right or left. Now I get on them and proceed to crash. And crash often. I think I need to ride rollers in a doorway and maybe with a set of training wheels. Susan thinks it is hysterical to hear me wad it up on the rollers and thinks that they are stupid. I am starting to agree.

While I was out I went to see Avitar. I really wanted not to like the movie. There is something about spending half a billion dollars to make a movie that bothers me. Well the movie was quite good and I will probably shell out the $12 to see it in 3D once the theatres are a bit less crowded. If you have not seen the movie I would recommend it and I will probably see it again. Now for a movie that I rented. District 9. What a steaming pile of dogie doo doo. I understand there were people who liked the movie but I am guessing they are the same people who enjoy having their toe nails smashed with a ball peen hammer. I made it about 30 minutes in before I bailed out.

Here is to hoping that the new decade is a good one.