Wednesday, July 18, 2012


So I've been thinking a lot lately about how unfulfilled I feel on a particular level.  You see, I am a software engineer in my day job.  I absolutely love what I do, aside from the fact that being tied to my desk everyday is slowly killing me.  I do try to get up and walk around the office more, and take a quick walk at lunch.  We are on the fifth floor of our building and I take the stairs every morning.  I even sometimes go down to the first floor bathroom so that I can make the long climb back up and get the blood flowing.  That's a different issue though.

The reason for my feeling this way is that each task I'm assigned at work is based on someone else's idea.  That is fine, and it keeps me busy, but the freedom for creativity is somewhat constrained by what our product needs to do and has a certain look and feel to it.  On one hand this is good and provides me with steady work, so I am by no means bored.  I just get jealous when I read story after story online about this or that person having some great idea and developing the next "must have" app.  It is a dreamer's mentality that I simply do not possess.  I guess we all secretly want what we don't have.  I just wish sometimes I could get that one idea that I could sort of mold and create something real out of it.  I'm not naive to realize that creating an application is not time consuming and that is nearly impossible with three kids that need tending. Anytime I do try to think of some problem that needs to be solved, I quickly punch holes in it and dismiss it as a possibility.

I guess I should be happy that I have a solid job that I love and am able to contribute to an organization's bottom line in a very tangible way.  It is just that sometimes, I wish I was my own man with nobody to answer to and coding away on some application that I truly believed in and was my baby.  KWIM?  Maybe I'll just stick to brewing beer for now as a creative outlet.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012


All-grain brewing, why did it take me this long to make the switch? Back in the fall, I ordered two partial mash kits from Norther Brewer (Surly Bitter and Surly Bender) and took the next step in home-brewing between extract and all-grain. It turned out to be a relatively smooth transition as it offered me a little bit of something new (steeping some grain in a cooler) and something familiar (adding liquid extract to the wort pre-boil). Both beers turned out well and gave me confidence to take that next step. Of the two, I prefer the Bender. The Bitter was a little unbalanced for my liking. While I love hops, there wasn't enough malt sweetness to even it out and this came out as too hoppy for what I was expecting.

So for Christmas this past year, I asked for a few other pieces of equipment (a false bottom just to name one) and asked for an all-grain porter kit. Well, I must say that this porter turned out beyond my wildest expectations. It tastes soooooooo good. As my lovely wife said, "Oh that's smooth!!!!" I concur. It is so smooth, it is difficult to have just one pour. I am trying to conserve it as much as I can until I can get the next one in the pot. So, next up is an American Amber Ale. Another easy drinking, simple style to attempt an all-grain brew. One thing I noticed right away with this porter is that it didn't have any of that "twang" that I've been so accustomed to with extract brews. That is enough for me to never look back! Now, I need to make some time to brew up my next batch.
Once I've mastered this type of home-brewing, I'll turn my sights on brewing lager. But that can wait.