Gone Fishin'


I'm not actively blogging here anymore. But if you got here because you were searching for something about bikes, you might want to check out my latest project, Vermont Goldsprints. In summer of 2014, I bought a used goldsprints racing setup and have made it a mission to get more bikes in more people's faces by putting on fun races in unexpected places. Come join me!


Brewing Journal: Batch #1, Entry 7

I got impatient and racked to secondary today.  Gravity at 1.015 with an OG of 1.042. 1.042 minus 1.015 X 135 = 3.53 means an ABV of 3.53%, which is about what I was expecting. The best thing was tasting the hydrometer sample, though.  It tasted remarkably like good beer.  Nice hop balance, no detectable weird flavors that I could find. Can't wait to get it into a keg. 


Brewing Journal: Batch #1, Entry #6

Batch #1 fermentation has slowed markedly.  Krausen has fallen entirely.  There's a bubble in the airlock about every 1.5 minutes.  I expect to be taking gravity readings starting next week to see where I'm at.  Then: decisions, decisions.  The consensus at Homebrewtalk.com is to leave things longer, the instructions that came with the kit say two weeks or so, then bottle it up. I'm debating doing a secondary (It's a wheat beer, so if it's a little cloudy, that should be OK.) I may wait for gravity to stabilize and then go right to the keg, and if I do not have a means of refrigeration I may go ahead and add priming sugar when kegging. Consensus on HBT falls somewhere between using 1/2 to using all of the rpiming sugar that would be used when bottling. I'm thinking about spiltting the difference at 2/3 the amount.  Then, there is the determination as to whther cane sugar or corn sugar is best.  I have some nice raw cane sugar I could see using. Time will tell. Lots of freezers showing up on craigslist, amny of them in Vermont but far enough away that the drive to see them would equal 50-100% the cost of purchase.  I'm holding out for a good one to show up in Burlington. If I keg with priming sugar, it could sit in the keg for another three weeks before requiring refrigeration.


To the Blond Woman in the Brown Honda Civic on Barrett Street, South Burlington, Vermont at 5:30 PM on April 20th

Yeah, I get it, you're all about freedom and you think our country has an oppressive drug policy, especially when it comes to marijuana. And hey, it's April 20th and all, so it's time to really let your freak flag fly and show your individuality- whoopee!  What better way to show "the man" that you're "not going to take it anymore" than by partaking of aforementioned controlled substance? Hey, your body, your risk, your personal freedom right?


But drive down my street with no hands on the steering wheel at a high rate of speed, not looking out your windshield, because you're lighting up a bowl again, and I'm going to call the cops on you.  There aren't a lot of brown Hondas in the neighborhood. I don't care if they catch you with the weed, but you deserve to go down for the distracted driving.


Brewing Journal: Batch #1, Entry #5

Batch #1 fermentation is still going. There's a bubble about every 45 seconds in the airlock, the temperatures have been lower in the house and the vessel is at 58-60 degrees according to the "fermometer" on its side. There is still some krausen but it is starting to fall.  About 1/2 inch of trub is visible at the base of the carboy. Temperatures in the house have hovered between 60 and 65 degrees, but the brew closet doesn't seem to warm up during the day. 


Brewing Journal: Batch #1, Entry #4

Batch #1 Fermentation still bubbling, but about one bubble through the airlock every 10 seconds now. Still lots of turbidity, krausen about 1.25 inches thick. I'm already thinking about batch number 2, but no place to store batch #1 when it comes out of secondary- well, I have the keg, but no place at home to keep it cold. My guess is Batch #1 will be racked to secondary on April 25, in secondary for two weeks, racked to the keg on May 9. I could add priming sugar and naturally carbonate in the keg- I found out recently that this is what Switchback does, and in my mind they can do no wrong.  That would be another 2 weeks, so consumable on May 23. No wonder I'm thinking about getting another batch in process- if I wait 'til this one is in the keg or consumed, it's going to be July 4th before Batch #2 is ready!  


Brewing Journal: Batch #1, Entry #3

Batch #1 Slower fermentation. Liquid still moving, one big "glug" of gas through the airlock about every 1.5 to 2 seconds.


Brewing Journal: Batch #1, Entry #2

Batch #1 Very active fermentation.  Bubbles and chugging almost constantly in the airlock. Lots of turbidity, can see the whole liquid mass moving around like a lava lamp. 


Brewing Journal Batch #1, Entry #1

What better time than spring to start a new hobby.  I have taken some of my tip money from ski season and gotten a setup to start brewing beer. I started a brewing journal, excepts of which I will port to this blog from time to time.  I'm starting with extract brewing, as all-grain requires more gear. The first batch will be a fairly light-colored American wheat beer- we'll see how it goes. 


Batch #1 Brew Day. Purchased 5 gallons of Spring Water and 1 gallon distilled water, 2 bags of ice. Total cost: $14.00. Activated yeast package, brought 2.5 gallons to a boil. Added malt/wheat extract. Getting it all out of the container was a challenge. Current boil kettle is exactly 3 gallons, not practical to boil it at the brim like that.  Poured off 1/2 gallon of wort into a separate pot to continue boiling on the back burner. Added 1oz Willamette hops per instructions.  Boiled 45 minutes. Added 1 oz Cascade Hops, boiled remaining 15 minutes. Cooled wort in an ice bath in the sink.  It took about 20 minutes to get it down to about 100 degrees. Added 2.5 gallons spring water to the 6.5 gallon "Better Bottle" plastic carboy.  Added wort from small pot.  Added cooled wort to carboy.  Topped to 5 gallons with distilled water, only needed about a quart.  Aerated the carboy by shaking for approximately 2 minutes. The "fermometer" stuck to the side of the 6.5 gallon carboy read about 80 degrees.  Measured the specific gravity at 1.042.  Waited a few minutes until temperature started to slide to 78, then pitched the yeast.  The yeast pack (Wyeast 1010 "American Wheat") was fully inflated and had been incubating for a full three hours when it was pitched. Was surprised at how little liquid yeast is in the package. Attached fermentation airlock and stopper and moved carboy to dark closet in the front bedroom. Ambient air temperature between 61-65 degrees. No bubbles in the airlock were visible on the evening of the brew day. 

Notes: A big enough kettle for a full boil would make life easier. I'm not using water from home due to chloramines in the local supply.  Would like to go get some good spring water in Lincoln or somewhere in the mountains, but would have to be able to boil the whole thing. Probably would want an immersion chiller if I was going to do a full boil, but if it saves me 15 bucks water and ice per batch, it would probably be worth it.  The only sanitizer I have came with the kit- it is called "One Step" and from what I hear it is not really a sanitizer by definition.  I'm going to get some Star-San for the next batch. 


Wheel Building

Cycling season is upon us, so I had to work fast: