Thursday, January 22, 2009

Owwww Wii!!!

So I made it to Pro status in Wii Sports Bowling.  It didn't take that many tries to break the barrier, but I'm hovering dangerously close to dropping below the Mendoza line (for me that is 1000, not 200).  Anyway, when I first got the thing for Christmas, I damn near had to go on the disabled list.  I was trying way too hard and thought I tore my triceps in my throwing arm.  After some ice and days away from it, I managed to find a groove and improve myself to the Pro level.  

The other night I bowled my highest score yet and was thinking quite highly of myself until tonight.  After dinner, my 5 year old daughter wanted to bowl so she challenged me to a match.  I was horrible!  I had to pull it out in the 10th to narrowly beat her.  She was talking all kinds of smack to me.  In fact she had more strikes than I did in that game.  I immediately asked for a re-match because that one was such a close call (less than 10 pins mind you), just to make myself feel better.  She continued the smack talk, but I was able to win again.  I am amazed though how much she has improved in a month's time.  As we like to say, she can put some mustard on that ball.  One day I will lose to her, I know this.  I'm just not ready to lose to a 5 year old.  

Hold the Olive Oil!

So the great Olive Oil experiment in homebrew is pushed.  The results are in from my friend's side-by-side comparison batches.  Apparently, the olive oil worked a little too well as the yeast appeared to be even more efficient.  His final gravity was lower than the non-olive oil infused batch and in his words was "DRY!!!!"  That's enough for me.  I'll just oxygenate my wort the old fashioned way and will leave the mad scientist experiments to him.  

Now if I can just get a weekend afternoon where it isn't too cold, I have beer to brew.  A porter and IPA await!  Cheers!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Olive Oil in Beer?

In the May/June 2008 issue of Brew Your Own magazine, there was an article written by John McKissack titled 'Olive Oil Aeration'.  It was an interesting read and something I've thought about trying.  The yeast in beer need plenty of oxygen during the fermentation stage to properly do their job.  There are a number of ways of getting oxygen into the wort, such as shaking the carboy, stirring with a spoon, or hooking up an oxygen bottle or an aquarium pump into a special stone and infusing oxygen that way.  However, an easier way and most intriguing is the use of olive oil.  Without getting into details that the article does a great job of explaining, it seems like such an easy replacement to aeration. The technique doesn't oxygenate the wort per se, but it gives the yeast cells the necessary boost to their cell walls that they naturally produce when they process the oxygen. 

A friend at work tried it recently and said "It works!".  He has the luxury of brewing 12 gallons at a time and he split his batch into two carboys for fermentation.  In one, he employed olive oil, and in the other he used his old method of aeration, the spoon.  He was quite excited to see that the fermentation took off quicker in the carboy with the olive oil and had a bigger krausen on top than the other carboy.  He is holding final judgement on the experiment until he tastes the beer side by side from each carboy.  I'm anxiously awaiting his results.  As he said, "If it tastes the same or better, and has the same or better head retention, then the bottle of olive oil goes in the brewing toolbox."  Extra virgin anyone?