29 March, 2011

Home Brew: Brown Porter

I brewed up this Brown Porter back in late Feb, bottled it a couple weeks after, and just sampled it after two weeks in the bottle. Me likey! Great fluffy off-white head, nice malt aroma with light chocolate notes. Very smooth body with just enough hops to balance well with the maltyness. Although, I didn't use English hops, I used both Centennial and Crystal, which are usually a bit more floral/fruity. But frankly you can't tell.

We'll see how this develops over the next couple weeks. I may enter this one in the brew fest.

Style: Brown Porter
Brewer: Chris Hartman
Batch: 2.20 gal

Recipe Characteristics
Recipe Bitterness 32 IBU
Alcohol by Volume 5.6%
Recipe Color 22° SRM
Alcohol by Weight 4.4%

0.50 lb Brown Sugar, Dark Sugar Other
0.50 lb Crystal 90L Grain Mashed
0.50 lb Crystal 120L Grain Mashed
0.75 lb MrB. Booster Sugar Other
1.21 lb MrB. Englishman's Nut-Brown Ale Extract Extract

0.50 oz Centennial Whole 30 minutes
1.00 oz Crystal Whole 10 minutes

1.00 unit Irish Moss Fining 1/2 tsp
0.50 unit Safale US-05 Dry Ale Yeast Yeast Temperature Range: 59°-75° F 11.5 GRAMS


22 March, 2011

Keeping It Real at Work

I'm thinking this should be the October photo for our company calendar next year.

How you doin' ladies?

21 March, 2011

Home Brew: American Amber

Just a nice generic Amber I brewed 4 weeks ago. Been in the bottle for 2 weeks, so I thought I would give it a try. And I'm happy I did, because this is very yummy. Somewhat light on fizz and head, but it has a nice light hoppy aroma, with a full-bodied hop flavor. Nice nuttyness too. And just enough bitterness on the back end to let you know it is an Amber. Great color too.

Recipe Characteristics
Recipe Gravity 1.053 OG
Estimated FG 1.013 FG
Recipe Bitterness 37 IBU
Alcohol by Volume 5.2%
Recipe Color 15° SRM

1.00 lb Crystal 60L Grain Mashed
1.21 lb MrB. Bewitched Red Ale Extract Extract
0.75 lb MrB. Booster Sugar Other
0.50 lb Two-row (US) Grain Mashed

1.00 oz Centennial Whole 20 minutes
0.50 oz Crystal Whole 7 minutes

1.00 unit Generic Other 1/2 tsp of salt
1.00 unit Irish Moss Fining 1/2 tsp
1.00 unit Safale S-05 Dry Ale Yeast Yeast American: Temperature Range: 59°-75° F 11.5 GRAMS


20 March, 2011

New Meats on the Accent

Susan's little daily driver, the 2007 Hyundai Accent we call Tango (Tango Red in color) got its slightly over due 30,000 mile service last weekend, at 38,000 miles. Actually, it was instigated by a Check Engine Light, the first this little car has ever thrown. Since it was due for an oil change, I checked the service manual and discovered it should have had plugs at 30,000 miles. So I changed the oil, filter and plugs, and washed the air filter. The CEL went out after about 15 seconds of running. The old plugs were in fact shot.

In addition to the mini-service, I had been plotting to put some new tires on a second set of wheels I had picked up from steobro Mark several months ago. And with the recent rain, and Susan's heavy right foot, she reported some loss of traction accelerating out of the scrap booking supply store parking lot. So I decided it was time to take action. A set of generic Cooper tires in 195/60-14 size went on the TSW 14x7" race wheels. This should give Susan a bit more grip than the original equipment 175/70-14 Kumhos wrapped around the Miata 14x5.5" wheels we've been running. And despite the increase in wheel/tire width, we only picked up 1# per corner.

New chunky wheels/tires:

Center caps aren't installed yet.


Sierra Nevada Ovila Dubbel

Sierra Nevada Ovila Dubbel
7.5% abv

Sierra Nevada's first offering (of three) from a collaboration with the New Clairvaux Abbey, located just north of Chico in Vina, CA. More info about the project can be found here.

This is very nice! A fantastic combination of sweetness, sourness, and rich malt flavors. It poured with a thick creamy head, and has a syrupy body that clings to the glass. I should have a lot more to say about it, but I can't really add much more than this is awesome. I must drink more.

Thanks to my sweetie for picking it up for me. A nice Sunday sipping beer!


10 March, 2011

Home Brew: California Common

I brewed a generic "California Common" a couple months ago. I don't think it went well, as outside temps dropped rather significantly the day it went in the fermenter. And I didn't really pay attention to the temp of the keg. Krausen formation wasn't very strong, and seemed to have a lot more "particulate" floating about during my samples from the fermenter.

I bottled it last month, and it just sorta tasted weird. But i wanted to wait a month to if it changes in the bottle. So here goes:

It looks great. Lovely thick head, nice color, nice carbonation, and pretty damn clear. Aroma is a little funky. Not like inside a sweaty boot funky, just a little grainy and thick smelling. Surprisingly, it taste ok. Not great, but maybe a solid 3 out of 5. WAY better than it did during sampling and bottling. Good mouthfeel too, with a nice malty aftertaste.

Edit: It is better when warmer. Smooth and malty. Maybe a 3.5/5 on the score.

Recipe Characteristics
Batch Size 2.3gal
1.060 OG Estimated
1.015 FG
Bitterness 33 IBU
Alcohol by Volume 5.8%
Recipe Color 21° SRM
Alcohol by Weight 4.6%

0.50 lb Crystal 20L Grain Mashed
0.50 lb Crystal 90L Grain Mashed
0.70 lb Molasses Sugar Other
1.21 lb MrB. Octoberfest Vienna Lager Extract Extract
1.50 lb Two-row (US) Grain Mashed

0.50 oz Centennial Whole 30 minutes
0.50 oz Cascade Whole 15 minutes
0.50 oz Crystal Whole 5 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


Stormy Weather

Today was supposed to be super stormy and rainy Thursday. We've had zip for rain here at work, but we've had a few of these monsters cruise through the area:


06 March, 2011

Home Brew: Dark Wheat

My first sample of a "Dark Wheat" which was really just a quick and dirty brew using some ingredients I had leftover from other recipes. It was essentially a pair of Mr. Beer Wheat extracts with a bit of chocolate malt for a deep color, and roasty malt goodness. The result? Quite good. It has a great mix of a wheat sourness with dark roasty malt flavors.

Recipe Characteristics
Recipe Bitterness 23 IBU
Alcohol by Volume 5.3%
Recipe Color 24° SRM
Alcohol by Weight 4.2%

0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (US) Grain Mashed
0.75 lb MrB. Booster Sugar Other
2.42 lb MrB. Whispering Wheat Weizenbier Extract Extract
0.50 oz Centennial Whole 30 minutes
1.00 unit Corriander Seed Spice 1 tablespoon
1.00 unit Irish Moss Fining 1/2 teaspoon
2.00 unit Orange Peel, Sweet Spice
0.75 unit Safale S-05 Dry Ale Yeast Yeast American: Temperature Range: 59°-75° F 11.5 GRAMS


05 March, 2011

Hodaka ACE 90 Wrenchin'

I spent a bit of time wrenching on the Hodaka over the past two days. I had a bum rear tube, and the original fuel line that came on the bike was a hodge podge of hose, fittings, and clamps, and always leaked a tiny bit. So I spooned on a new tube, and fabbed up a new fuel line with a little filter. Filled it up with fresh fuel, and it fired right up.

Posing in front of the plum tree:

Always a fun bike to ride!


Home Brew Club

I attended my first Chico Home Brew Club meeting on Thursday night. I wasn't sure what to expect, as I'm not very knowledgeable. As it happens it was a great group of people, with about 40 or so members attending. And I didn't feel like a complete noob, as I actually knew what the style guide was. It was essentially two hours of beer tasting, with an emphasis on Bochs this month. A club member brought a few commercially available boch styles to sample, then club members offered up their own home brewed versions of bochs. It was quite a bit of fun to compare. After the bochs, we sampled a few other offerings, including an American Pale Ale, a Pomegranite Cider, and Dogfish Head's Pangea, which is a ginger beer. As usual with DFH offerings, it was over done.

As a member, I got my very own tasting glass:

Susan got one too, as I signed us both up. That gives her the option to attend club functions in the future. Such as a Sacramento Pub Crawl they are doing in a few weeks. They have a bus charted to take us down to a few pubs and breweries, where the club has arranged for samples and tours. Should be a lot of fun.

And I actually got a nice compliment from my neighbor Doug today, who was out changing the front brake pads on his Mercury Cougar. I brought him out a glass of my American Pale Ale I brewed back in January. It seems to be getting better each time I try it. Luckily Doug thought it was very good, and suggested I enter it in the upcoming competition. Not bad, considering he took Best of Show last year! I'm hoping to have three or four offerings to enter.

Oh, and Doug got us signed up to be stewards at the competition. That let's us take part in the pre and post club activities, which includes a lunch at Sierra Nevada and plenty of booze tasting.


03 March, 2011

4 Years Ago today

Somehow, I managed to trick Susan into saying "I do" four years ago today. She managed to get me the perfect 4-yr anniversary gift, which has taken up residence on the corner of my desk here at work. We call him Buster. Buster the Burro:

I love Burros, and Mexicans, and succulents. So this is simply magical!


01 March, 2011

Homebrew - Brown

Many moons ago, I brewed up a strong brown. In fact, this was my second attempt at brewing. I hadn't moved into using grain at this point, but I discovered the big cans of liquid extract. I should also add that I wasn't using Qbrew at the time, so I wasn't really doing a great job of dialing in the ingredients. Because of this, I got a little carried away with the ABV.

At the two month in the bottle point, it was very strong. Lots of alcohol warmth. I tried to make a point of keeping the rest of the bottles tucked away to let it condition. So I cracked one open at the 6 month mark:

Way better. As in very tasty. There is still a bit of alcohol warmth throughout, but it isn't overwhelming. In fact, it has a great roasty aroma, full flavor, and a smooth/sweet aftertaste.

Here is the basic recipe:

Recipe Characteristics
Recipe Bitterness 5 IBU
Alcohol by Volume 8.8%
Recipe Color 19° SRM
Alcohol by Weight 6.9%

3.30 lb Briess LME - Traditional Dark Extract
0.75 lb MrB. Booster Sugar Other
1.21 lb MrB. Englishman's Nut-Brown Ale Extract

0.50 oz Cascade Whole 10 minutes
Quantity Misc Notes
1.00 unit Mr. Beer Dry Ale Yeast Temperature Range: 68°-76° F 2.0 GRAMS