30 March, 2010

Mt. Shasta Brewing Abner Weed Amber Ale


5.5% abv

Another good brew from Weed. This time an Amber, with a nice clingy head and a thick silty body. The aroma is quite intriguing, as it has that slightly hoppy sense about it, with some nice malty notes. The body is very smooth yet robust, and I'm amazed at the amount of floaties in the glass. I'm not sure if it is unfiltered, or that if that was extra yeast. Either way, it added some thickness to each sip.

Overall, I'm enjoying it quite a bit.


29 March, 2010

New Tool! Courtesy the sidewalk...

Looky what we found:

Some sort of random spark plug tool was sitting on the sidewalk during our nightly walk. We picked the tool out of the gutter, and set it on the sidewalk directly in front of a mailbox in a very obvious place. The following day, said tool was still there. It obviously needed a better home.

Susan made me do it.


Velocity Stack

I'm trying build a velocity stack slash air cleaner for Ratty. With minimal thought, I hacked up a piece of foam and started with the fiberglass. I pretty much forgot to snap pics along the way, so here are a couple.

Hunk of foam on the right, carved foamed covered in cloth on the left:

Roughly cut out and set on the carb:

I'll be mounting a screen across the face, then using an aluminum plate to secure it.

Still needs to be cleaned up, sanded, painted etc., but it should look pretty neato, and function as an air filter.


27 March, 2010

Exhaust and Throttle

I started the process of fabbing up an exhaust for Ratty today. I had to make the header pipe plate bolt thingy. You know, the part that bolts to the cylinder head and pressed the header up into the exhaust port against the gasket. I had a few different stock plates, but they didn't have the correct bolt spacing. So I used a big ass washer, drilled some holes, and welded a short piece of pipe to it. Exiting stuff!

Exhaust header pipe plate thingy:

I used a stock C100/105 header pipe to get the main curve, then used some random thin walled pipe I had sitting in the corner for the main exhaust pipe:

I'm not exactly sure what I'm going to do for a muffler (if I do) or where I want to end the pipe yet:

I also made up a throttle cable, using a spare piece I had from a CB160:

I think I'll work on a clutch cable tomorrow.


New Belgium Ranger IPA

6.5% abv

Another great hoppy IPA, with a light body and a smooth aftertaste. Which of course means I love it! It poured out fairly flat, but had a nice strong hoppy aroma. The body was a bit lighter than the past few IPAs I've had, but those strong hoppy notes stayed straight through to the end, giving great mouth feel. Very well balanced and smooth, it managed to have no bitter aftertaste despite the strong hoppy notes.

A rather nice surprise!


24 March, 2010

Sierra Nevada 30th Anniversary Fritz and Ken's Ale



The first of four brews celebrating the 30th anniversary of Sierra Nevada, Fritz and Ken's Ale a nicely robust stout offering, that I gobbled up Tuesday night while Mr A. was over for dinner and general chit chat.

As can be seen in the photo, this poured out very easy with a nice stiff peaky foam. Aroma was fantastic, as the deep malts and steady alcohol tones were very well balanced. This was a very hearty stout, that was equally good sipping or gulping. It smoothed pout a bit as it warmed up, and was one of the few high alc brews I've had recently that didn't overpower on the booze aftertaste.

Overall, a fantastic stout that was a real treat.


Boulder Beer Company Hazed and Infused


no alc. given

I was very impressed with this hoppy bodied ale. It had a fantastic fresh hoppy aroma that carries through the light body. It isn't overpowering like a Hop Stupid, but the fresh hops are crisp and clean, which is quite unique. There is no bitterness on the back end either, yet it somehow keeps the fresh hop flavor minutes after each swallow.

Overall, a great hoppy beer with no bitter aftertaste.


It Fits!

The 140cc lump actually fits into this 1960s C105 frame, with only a very minor amount of trimming, mostly around the upper mounting bolt area of the frame.

I have the carb mounting forward in this picture, but it also fits pointing rearwards. It barely clears the main downtube.

Carb pointing rearward:

I also had a couple extra front sprockets I bought for the C110, so I swapped it out for a 17-tooth 420 sprocket. I'm hoping this will give fairly long gearing, so it won't be buzzing at 40mph.


23 March, 2010

140cc of Love in a Box

A giant box appeared on the front porch sometime today. Inside it was another box. That box contained a box wrapped with US Customs tape. Inside that box was a mixture of styrene and a motor! 140cc Piranha Honda clone motor.

So yes, I pushed the easy button for Ratty. Instead of sorting through the junk motors I have sitting on the shelf, I ordered up a complete engine kit from tboltusa. The kit comes with a 140cc Piranha engine, 22mm Mikuna Carb., intake manifold, CDI ignition, and some levers. HP will be dependent on the exhaust I run, but I figure 10-11hp. In comparison to the 4.5hp of the original pushrod 50cc engine.

Hopefully I'll get it mounted up this weekend.


21 March, 2010

Lagunitas Wilco Tango Foxtrot


7.83% abv.

Oh sweet heavens, more of this please! Like maybe a case or two.

WTF pretty much sums up what I've really grown to like about a beer. Yes I like porters, and wheats, and all sorts of other offerings, but it is a robustly hoppy flavor that I love. Without a horrible bitterness on the end. I don't mind some hoppy bitterness, but a super strong IPA often times is too much aftertaste for me.

Lagunitas managed to throw buckets of hoppy goodness at a nice malty ale, without any hint of bitterness. There is so much hop aroma up front, that I couldn't get my nose out of the glass. It had very tall, stiff foam peaks. My first drink was a crapshoot. Would the crazy hoppyness equate to bitterness? Luckily, no. It just kept all that hoppyness through the body, and through the finish. In fact, I've never had hop flavors stay so long after swallowing. This really was a giant glass of liquid hops.

So yes, it wasn't well balanced, in terms of hop to malt flavors. There was some malts, which were nice, but the fresh hoppy flavors were overpowering. For me, that was a good thing.

Mmmmmm. I drink you right up!


Sweaty Betty Blonde Ale


no alc. given

I can say this, I've never had a bad blonde ale. In fact, I can't really tell the difference between any blonde I've ever had. They have all pretty much tasted exactly the same. Perhaps they are so tightly controlled that there is very minimal differences in recipes. Or maybe nobody puts any real effort into developing a unique blonde. Whatever the reason, Sweaty Betty falls directly into the category of a good blonde, but doesn't wow me. It has the usual aroma and body of a blonde, with a nice light character and taste.

If you like blondes, you'll like this.


Pulque La Lucha! Fresna


5.5% abv

Ah yes, another one of the funky fermented agave nectar offerings from Susan's homeland. This time, in strawberry flavor. And despite not really liking coconut, I think I enjoyed the coconut and pineapple offering better. This was still very interesting, and good enough to make me want about five more. It is very thick and requires that you shake it up before pouring, which I totally forgot to do. So I spent a few minutes pouring it back in the bottle and giving it the old what for. This help tremendously, as the pinkish color came out.

These really are quite interesting. There is plenty of funky sour notes to make you keep going back for more. In this case, the sweet strawberry flavors might have tamed down that funky sourness a bit too much though. But it is still way different than anything I've had before.


Flying Dog Gonzo Imperial Stout


7.8% abv

Yep, it is pretty gonzo. While different, and still feeling very much like a porter, this was a bit rough. It did have some great aromas, and a nice clingy head. But the body was very meaty and chewy, without much of any balance or smoothness to it. So if you like very robust and full flavored porters, this would be a great choice.


20 March, 2010

Taillight and License Plate Holder

I haven't done much on ratty recently, so I went out this afternoon and put together a combination taillight and license plate bracket. I had a basic idea of what I wanted, and was able to use a few parts I had laying around, including a tuna can!

Simple little 3" round taillight I picked up from Tractor Supply, mounted to a sheet metal bracket that then mounts to the back of the seat base.

In case anyone wonders, a tuna can doesn't rust. Unless you realize it has some sort of coating and sand it off. Then is can be made to rust quite easily.

I also had to redo the rear fender aluminum cap thingy, since the taillight bracket interfered with it. I haven't decided if I want to drill the 1/2" holes it. I probably will. Maybe after another beer?

Time to check the pork roast that has been slow cooking in the crock pot all day.


18 March, 2010


What sounds like a combination of a small earthquake, tornado, and not too distant thunder?

The sound of a 14' enclosed aluminum trailer apparently becoming unhitched on a 60mph highway and landing on its side 30' off the edge of the road in an orchard.

The owner has been outside on his cell phone for about 2 hours. The flat bed tow truck showed up an hour agao, and there has been lots of head scratching. A second tow truck showed up 30 minutes ago. And of course every old farmer in a 4x4 pickup has stopped by to lend their expertise.

Update: The highway patrol showed up, so everything will be ok! The second tow truck has strapped onto the trailer. The owner has pulled his F250 around and connected to the opposite side. I see what they are trying to do, but am curious how effective it will be.


St. Peter's Old Style Porter

16.9 oz.

no abv given

I treated myself to a second beer last night, while watching a little James Bond. After the light bodied Harp, the thick pour and meaty aroma of this Porter made me wonder if I would get through it. Yes I did btw.

This was a strange porter. Not strange bad, just strange different. The aroma is very strong, with an almost Soy Sauce like hint to it. I thought bad things were about to happen when I took my first swig. The initial mouthfeel and body were equally strong, but it tapered off dramatically to a smooth, almost boring finish. Maybe boring isn't the right term. It was just so smooth and mellow compared to the up front boldness that it felt a little boring. Of course that meant I kept trying it over and over and over until my tall 16oz. glass was empty. Then it was sad panda.


Harp Lager


Nice light lager, typical of European beers. This was a nice primer to get me started on my St. Patricks's Day festivities. Which mostly consisted of hanging out int he garage while Susan had her BS ladies over. I didn't have any projects planned for Ratty, so I mostly sorted through boxes and listened to Alice Cooper's radio show.


17 March, 2010

Blue Moon Brewing Rising Moon Spring Ale


5.3% abv.

Since I was between beer deliveries, I had to pick up a 6-pack over the weekend to get me through the trials and tribulations of my life. In reality, I wanted something lighter than the high ABV beers I've been drinking, especially since I figured the good weather would have me out in the garage and yard more. So picked up this spring ale.

The bottle mentions hint of lime, but I don't get that. In fact, I don't get much of anything. It is basically a decent lighter ale. Not very hoppy, not very malty, not very springy. Just sorta meh. Of course that meant they went down quick and easy while I was tinkering on the bikes, or refreshing after the season's first lawn trim job.


16 March, 2010

Garden Spot

I got busy in the garden today after work. Made a new raised bed, and planted some new cherry tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, and squash.

I also tossed a few annuals in the planters out front. Yes I know, super exciting.

ps: our chives made it through the winter, so I've got them out front getting some sun.


14 March, 2010

Storage "Box" and Speedholes

This afternoon's projects were pretty small, but fun. I had been thinking about a little storage box of some sort on Ratty. I'm not sure what I'm going to store on it, maybe a little tool kit? Who knows. Anyways, I wanted something round, and a specific size. As it happens, Susan keeps all the old coffee cans for me, so I can store random little bits in them out in the garage. Lately, I've collected a bunch of them ad haven't used them. I've been eying one of them, that seemed just the right size.

I peeled off the label, then gave it a quick brush with the muratic acid. I had no idea if this would effect whatever material the "tin can" was made out of. Maybe it really is made of tin afterall, as it was very affected by the acid. It started to change color almost immediately. I then gave it the salt water spritz bath, and I could see this was going to take on the same look as the rest of the frame. Long story short, I made a little bracket mounted and used a large stainless hose clamp to secure it to the bracket.

While the can was drying, I also decided to give the front hub some cooling holes. Especially important on a 4.5hp monster like Ratty.

Sideview, showing location of can. I intend to find some stickers of some sort to put on the end and lid of the can. Not sure what yet.

Better view from the front, showing the final location of the headlight and bars:


13 March, 2010

Headlight and White Wheels

I finished up the headlight and handlebar mount plate this morning, after getting it cut out, patina'd, and cleared last night:

Not a bad fit:

I have been thinking about painting the Miata wheels on Susan's Accent, so this morning I did it. We went with white, since Susan has been feeling the World Rally bug.

I used a semi-gloss white, which I think looks great, and shouldn't look as dirty as a higher gloss paint can look when it gets dirty.

Time for beer. And corn beef and cabbage!!!


11 March, 2010

Honda S65

Here is my little 1965 Honda S65. This was the first Tiddler I bought, and got me started on this crazy hobby. I bought it from a motorcycle dealer in Roseburg. It traveled to Vermont with me, where I would ride it downtown. It then made the trip back west, where I gave it a bit of a freshening up.

My stunt rider

The Motorcycle Classics' article can be found here.


Suzuki AC50

I'm sorting through some folders, and figured I would throw up a few photos of some of my other bikes. Starting with the 1970 Suzuki AC50 Maverick. I picked up this bike off craigslist several years ago in Oregon. Sean picked it up, stored it for over a year, and delivered it to Chico. It is 100% original, with roughly 3,500 miles on the clock.

This was the first bike I put together an article on for Motorcycle Classics Magazines. An online version of said article can be found here.