Sunday, December 30, 2007

A chiller is a coming

One of the things that I asked for this Christmas was a wort chiller. It is a handy piece of equipment to have when brewing your own beer at home. It is one of those things that everybody says "you should definitely have!", but I didn't. I've been brewing for the better part of a decade now and after each batch, I waited patiently for the wort to cool down on its own before I pitched the yeast. Fortunately, I never had a batch become contaminated as I waited, but I figured perhaps it was time to add this little gem to my arsenal and further reduce that risk. The chiller will bring the wort temperature down from boiling to the low to mid 70's in about 10 or 15 minutes. This way I can pitch my yeast on brew day and be done with the whole process a little earlier.

So, back to my first statement. I asked for one for Christmas, however the one link that I provided on my list was out of stock at the one vendor. Dummy me, didn't provide alternatives and my loving relatives that attempted to make the purchase didn't know where else to look. So on Christmas day, after I learned from those who tried to by one for me that they were unavailable, I logged on from my in-laws house and found what I needed. I made the order post haste and according to the UPS shipping info, my new wort chiller should arrive on Jan. 2. I'm stoked, but am slightly bummed that I haven't made my ESB yet. Sure I could make it using the same tried and true methods that have served me well in the past, but I'm anxious to use my wort chiller so I'll hold off another week until it arrives and then use it right away to make my next batch. I can't wait!

A quick update on my Belgian Ale. It did turn out well. It isn't as fizzy as I like, but that is OK. It does have some carbonation, it has a really nice taste and the color is great. It packs a bit of a wallop too, however I didn't take the proper measurements to calculate ABV, so I don't know how strong it is. All I know is that it is pretty good after all. With this next batch, I will be sure to measure my O.G and F.G (original gravity and final gravity) to determine my alcohol content.

The family grows: my father-in-law received an American Pale Ale ingredients kit and my wife's uncle is getting into the brewing hobby as he received the starter home brew equipment kit for the holidays. He said he'd like to have a brew-off, family style some time in the next year after he learns a bit more about the hobby. I look forward to that.

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Done for the year...

Today marks my first day of vacation. I don't have to return to the office until Jan 2. The kids are at a great age to actually start enjoying the time off. They are already abuzz with the excitement of the holidays. I'm looking forward to the chaos.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention the progress of my Belgian Ale. I haven't said much about it since I bottled because I thought I had lost the whole batch. I was embarrassed. :) Anyways, it has taken much longer to carbonate for some reason. I can only think that I didn't add enough priming sugar when I went to bottle it. Whatever the reason, I have left them at a constant room temp in my basement. Slowly they have started coming around. I refrigerated one on Wednesday morning and tried it last night. When I popped the cap, I got that familiar sound you get when opening a beer. I poured it into a glass and while there wasn't any head to speak of, I could see some bubbles rising to the surface. The taste is great I think and it has a nice ruby-brown color. It is lightly carbonated at this point, but no longer flat like the first one I tested two weeks ago. I'm encouraged that with some more time to age in the bottles at room temperature, they will continue to improve.

I'm looking forward to brewing my ESB this vacation as well. Have a great Friday! Cheers!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fantasy Football is over...

Well, I didn't make the playoffs in my fantasy football league this year. However, since I whined about how horrible my team was earlier in the season, I reeled off 7 straight wins to finish the regular season at a respectable 8-6. I fell short of our league playoffs by one win. Oh well, finishing 5 out of 12 in the regular season isn't so bad after starting 1-6. Now we have a consolation bracket, but I could care less honestly. It was fun.

I never said another word about it after I won the first of 7 because I'm superstitious like that. What about you? Have any ridiculous superstitions?


I guess there is always next year!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

My next brew...ESB!

I have decided that the next beer I brew will be an ESB. I was so inspired by the Clipper City Winter Storm, that I decided an Extra Special Bitter would be right up my alley. I'm hoping that my hops arrive today and the rest of the stuff gets here next week. Once I have finalized my recipe, I will post it here to share with the world. Ha ha ha, who cares right? Somebody out there might.

Head Shaving

So you want to shave your head huh? I know, most people don't, but there is a growing segment of the population who have embraced the hair(less) style. You may have noticed the link here on my blog on the left for SlyBaldGuys.com. It is an online forum where all matters of hair loss and head shaving are discussed. It is a great group of people who have plenty of interesting perspectives on head shaving as well as other things in life. The guy Tyler who runs the board is awesome and does a great job providing a voice for us baldies out there. If you are thinking of shaving your head or struggling with hair loss, or just plain curious, give us a look-see over at SBG.