28 February, 2011

Snack Break

Mmmm, cinnamon cheerios with fresh blueberries:

That is all

25 February, 2011


A big black cloud decided to dump hail on us at work for about 15 minutes. Temps dropped from 50 degrees to 38 degrees in 5 minutes.

24 February, 2011

Yamaha Brakes, and some Homebrew Sippin'

I spent a short time in the garage tonight, managing to mount up a front brake on the YJ1. Front brake handle, front cable, and a brake lever thingy:

Before that, our neighbor Doug brought over a sample of his Cream Ale, brewed for the upcoming Chico Homebrewers Contest. It was very yummy!


19 February, 2011

Bridgestone Troubleshooting

I've had some issue with the Bridgestone lately, after it acted up on Sunday. It was extra strange, since it ran so good on Saturday. The problem was a bit strange, as it would get very rich with throttle, and eventually stop running. I could clean the plug, and it would fire right up again and idle fine. But as soon as I would give it some throttle, it would load up and stop again.

I quickly went through the carb and found nothing wrong, but gave it a good cleaning anyways. No fix to the problem. As it happens, I discovered I was running a NGK B8H spark plug. This is the plug listed in the Bridgestone service manual for racing, indicating it might be hard to start and foul easier. Of course it hasn't been fouling the last dozen times I've ridden it, so I'm not sure the wrong heat range of the plug was leading to the problem.

As luck would have it, NAPA actually had the correct NGK B7HS plug in stock. So after gapping it and installing it, the bike fired right up. And of course runs great now. Takes throttle, doesn't foul up, and shows no other signs of having this problem.

I'm going to grab another plug and put it in the small spares kit I'm going to keep on the bike.

For shits and grins, here is a pick of the old plug:

Doesn't look dead to me, but it sure wouldn't run!


Homebrew: English Nut Brown

I brewed today, after bottling my Dark Wheat last night. Today's brew was a very basic brown, without a lot of frills. Recipe is listed at the bottom, after the shot of the krausen beginning to form in the fermenter after a few hours:

Recipe Characteristics
Recipe Bitterness 24 IBU
Alcohol by Volume 4.8%
Recipe Color 26° SRM
Alcohol by Weight 3.7%

0.25 lb Chocolate Malt (US) Grain Mashed
1.00 lb Crystal 90L Grain Mashed
0.75 lb MrB. Booster Sugar Other
1.21 lb MrB. Englishman's Nut-Brown Ale Extract

0.50 oz Cascade Whole 15 minutes
0.25 oz Centennial Whole 35 minutes

1.00 unit Irish Moss Fining 1/2 tsp
2.00 unit Mr. Beer Dry Ale Yeast Yeast Temperature Range: 68°-76° F 2.0 GRAMS

15 February, 2011

Homebrew: Hopster

Sean will be proud of me, a homebrew without fruit, honey, or wood. Just a good old Pale Ale tilted toward flavor and aroma hops, with a toned down bitterness. Based off a Mr. Beer Canadian Draft extract, with a partial grain mash of two-row and 20L Crystal.

And surprisingly, it worked! Lots of fresh hop aroma comes off the stiff peaky foam. Flavor is also very hoppy, with a real smoothness throughout. It has just enough bite on the backend, but isn't overly bitter.

Recipe Characteristics
Recipe Bitterness 57 IBU
Alcohol by Volume 4.7%
Recipe Color 11° SRM
Alcohol by Weight 3.7%

1.21 lb MrB. High Country Canadian Draft Extract Extract
1.00 lb Crystal 20L Grain Mashed
1.00 lb Two-row (US) Grain Mashed

0.56 oz Centennial Whole 30 minutes
1.00 oz Cascade Whole 15 minutes
1.00 oz Crystal Whole 8 minutes

1.00 unit Irish Moss Fining 1/2 tsp
1.00 unit Mr. Beer Dry Ale Yeast Yeast Temperature Range: 68°-76° F 2.0 GRAMS


13 February, 2011

Feather Falls Brewery - Lunch and Beer!

Local casino opened up a new brewery a few months ago, and finally got the license to serve its own brews:http://www.featherfallscasino.com/brewing-co

We hit it up for lunch today, as detailed on Susan's blog here: http://susan-hartman.blogspot.com/2011/02/eatin-good-in-ville.html

Excellent sampler platter, featuring seven of their brews, in 4oz. glasses.

Here are some quick comments:

Dancing Trees - Hefeweizen
This was quite possibly the best Heff I've had. Lovely fruity notes, with lots of banana and orange and honey.

Feather Falls Thunder - Apricot Wheat Ale
Another great wheat, with wonderful apricot aroma and taste.

Maidu Pale Ale - American Pale Ale
Very good, light hop aroma, with practically no bitterness on the aftertaste.

Naughty Native - American IPA
Probably my least favorite, and not because it wasn't good. It just didn't have any strong IPA kick like it should. Very mellow hop flavor, with light bitterness. Overall very tasty, but it needs more pop.

Coyote Spirit - Amber Ale
Also pretty mellow for an amber, but tasty. A bit more bite in the body, with a nice dry finish.

Broken Arrow - Dark Ale
This was my favorite, because it was a perfect combination of a porter/amber/brown. If that makes sense. Great nutty body with hints of chocolate and coffee.

Blackjack Brew - Sweet Stout
This was Susan's favorite, as it was actually a milk stout. Not overly sweet, but just enough to blend with chocolate and coffee flavors to produce a good tasty mouthful.

So yes, it was a grand success. Great beer and excellent food. A wonderful afternoon with my honey.


06 February, 2011

Homebrew: Vienna Dark Cedar

I posted a few weeks ago about a brew I did that used cedar in it. I actually did two cedar brews back to back, trying a different base recipe for fun. This time I based it off a Mr. Beer Octoberfest Vienna Lager extract. I added some chocolate malt to give it a much darker color, as seen below:

The cedar flavor is much more pronounced in this brew. It isn't overwhelming, but it is easier to tell it is there. The rest of the beer stands up well too, with a nice balance of maltyness and hop bitterness. Overall, I've been enjoying this one.

Recipe Characteristics
Recipe Bitterness 23 IBU
Alcohol by Volume 4.4%
Recipe Color 30° SRM
Alcohol by Weight 3.4%

0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (US) Grain Mashed
0.50 lb Crystal 60L Grain Mashed
1.00 lb Honey Sugar Other
1.21 lb MrB. Octoberfest Vienna Lager Extract Extract

0.50 oz Centennial Whole 5 minutes
0.40 oz Magnum Whole 15 minutes

1.00 unit Irish Moss Fining 1/2 tsp
1.00 unit Mr. Beer Dry Ale Yeast Yeast Temperature Range: 68°-76° F 2.0 GRAMS
2.00 unit Orange Peel, Sweet Spice two mandarins, full peel in small pieces, full fruit cut in half segments

YJ1 Footpegs

One of the projects I needed to tackle on the YJ1 was a set of new footpegs. I had originally just made a straight set of pegs that bolted to the chassis. This straight bar ran under the xhaust and rear brake lever, and would touch the ground during moderate cornering.

As luck would have it, a set of stock pegs from a Honda Cub had the perfect "U" shape to tuck under the engine, but over the exhaust. All I had to do was weld on a couple tabs to bolt to the frame.

Not a ver exciting picture, but you can see how nicely the stock Honda piece fit. Now I just need to dig up a set of rubber pegs.


05 February, 2011

Welcome Back Little Yamaha

My first restoration project was a 1964 Yamaha YJ1 Riverside 55. I picked it up at a local car dealership, shortly after moving to Chico. It came as a basic bike with a cardboard box full of parts. It was fairly complete, but very rough:

After an hour of teardown, I had this:

I have to admit, I outdid myself on the frame. I spent weeks getting it down to bare metal and getting the frame as smooth as possible:

After a bit of assembly:

At this point, I needed a motor, as the original was a rusty hulk. Thanks to craiglist, I came across a running Yamaha GT80. I originally pulled the motor out for the YJ1 and had it running for a few months on that engine. After swapping the GT80 engine for the YSR50 engine, I ended up doing a hot rod weekend project out of the GT80, as shown below:

At this point, the YJ1 was running with the GT80 engine:

Another shot of the running YJ1 with GT80 engine:

A few months later, I came across an ugly but running YSR50 race bike. The engine had a high compression piston and carbon reed valves, so it ran very strong:

I ran the YJ1 with the YSR50 motor for a while, but frankly never really finished it. I never fit a front brake, or made proper foot pegs (the existing ones are way too low) or even wired in a on/off switch. Thanks to other projects it got relegated to storage duty. Until today. The little YJ1 is now front and center in the garage:

I actually plumbed in a new fuel line and filter, put in some fresh fuel, and it fired right up. So of course I can ran it around the block.

I'll be making up a list of things to complete over the next few weeks.