Saturday, January 26, 2008

It's a beer!

I checked the carbonation on the beer on Wednesday (the best part of using plastic bottles is that when they get rock hard you know have adequate carbonation) and it seemed like all the bottles were ready. In to the fridge it went. The absolute minimum for cooling is 2 days so last night I cracked open my first bottle of home brewed beer. First impressions - beer, I made beer! It had a nice but light color, lots of little bubbles (kind of like champagne), and a nice flavor. Rather like an American light beer. That said, American light beers are not my favorite. My next batch - planning to brew today - will be the same extract (California Pale Ale) but instead of using the "booster" (about 75% fermentable, meant to boost the alcohol and body of the beer) I'm going to use dry malt extract. I'll have a report on that in about 4 weeks.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Snow, please

So far this winter we haven't had any significant snow. All of our winter storms have been sleet/freezing rain. Tonight we are supposed to get 3 to 5 inches of snow. The Wife is quite annoyed to be in the hospital (where they won't get much snow) for this event. I have to fire up the snow blower this afternoon as it hasn't been started in months. I'm looking forward to some snow. Of course, if it sticks around and is a sloppy mess for a week I'll change my tune but right now I'm looking forward to it. I was supposed to be travelling to Boston tomorrow for a client meeting on Tuesday but I cancelled the trip because of The Wife's hospitalization (mostly because they are planning to place a Hickman catheter in her chest tomorrow). This storm is going to affect New England more than PA so my colleague who is still planning to go to Boston may have a rough trip (she has a business travel curse I think.)

Bottling the beer

I bottled the first batch (Pale Ale) from the Mr Beer kit this morning. It smelled like a frat house on Sunday morning in my kitchen. MMMMMMMM, beer. I tasted it before I bottled it (they recommend a taste test to be sure that it doesn't taste sweet - if so it isn't finished fermenting) and it tasted like flat beer. SUCCESS! It has to carbonate in the bottles for 1-2 weeks (I'm going with 2) and then be "conditioned" for 1-2 weeks in the fridge. It is ready to drink after being carbonated so I'll probably chill it for the minimum 2 days and crack the first bottle. Last night I bought a second kit at CVS (holiday left overs at $20 off) so I have more bottles for the next batch, which will hopefully go in the fermenting keg tonight. I also have a second fermenting keg and the ingredients for another batch of Pale Ale. From what I've read on the Mr Beer Yahoo Group the Pale Ale is pretty much a MGD clone. Not my favorite beer or beer style so once I use these up I'll try something with a little more body and flavor. A lot of the recipe kits on are sold out right now (either the holidays or the hops shortage) so I'll use what I have already. I can't drink 12.5 gallons of beer that fast anyway. Once this batch is carbonated, come on over for a cold one.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy New Year

Happy 2008 to everyone. I can't believe that another year has passed. This New Year's Eve/New Year's Day was far better than last year when The Wife and I spent the 2 days basically too sick to get out of bed (the dreaded "stomach flu.") We had a fine evening last night with Morag and Gobo and the wee ones. They had a family obligation this afternoon so we came home and have been enjoying a quiet afternoon. I do have a few things to do this afternoon in order to get ready for work tomorrow. It is always so hard for me to go back to work after a vacation, especially a vacation that was fairly busy and had us going from one family obligation to another.

I don't think 2008 will be any less busy than 2007 but I hope to have some more time for my hobbies of cheese making, bread baking, and beer brewing (we'll see how this one works out) and more time to work in the garden. Maybe this will be the year we get edible figs. Hopefully the conditions will be good for the apple trees too.