Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Oh, the weather outside is frightful

This is shaping up to be a Christmas to remember for us Midwesterners. After getting almost 8 inches of snow last night, the second wave has just started. We can expect to get 10-12 more inches by Saturday. I'm running out of places to put all of this snow. My driveway is bordered by a 3-4 foot wall of snow. The kids love it.

Thankfully, we have no travel plans, we have a pantry full of food, and I have plenty of beer. Unless our roof collapses from the weight of the snow, we will just hunker down and wait it out... while drinking beer. At least I will.


Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Something for free

Recently, I was doing a bit of research on the proteins responsible for beer foam. I plan on writing a post about that sometime soon.[1]


This journal is a treasure trove of articles dealing with everything from PCR analysis of bacterial infections, to GC-MS analysis of yeast metabolites, to SDS-PAGE analysis of beer proteins.

And best of all, the Journal can be accessed free of charge. At least temporarily. I have no idea how long access had been free nor do I know how long it will last, but I've been taking advantage of it. There's some good stuff there.

They provide access back to 1990, but they also have thrown in a volume from 1896. I like the articles that reference Louis Pasteur's latest discoveries.

[1] yeah right. I've heard that before.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

And I call myself a chemist

I hate it when I do things that #1 result in the destruction of my toys and #2 are a direct result of me not applying sound chemical principles to the task at hand.

A few days ago I was going to rack 4 different beers. To do so, I needed to clean and sanitize an empty carboy. The empty carboy was sitting on my basement floor. The outside temperatures are currently around 0°F here in Minnesota and anything on my basement floor is around 50°F, including the aforementioned carboy. I placed the carboy in my utility sink and turned the water on. I only turned the hot water on. My intent was to turn the hot water on, get the sanitizer, turn the cold water on and start sanitizin'. Before I got a chance to turn the cold water on, I heard the most terrible and unmistakable sound. I can't really describe what it sounded like. It was more of a pop that a shatter sound, but I knew exactly what had happened. My carboy was dead.

The hot water on the cold carboy shattered the bottom of my 6.5 gallon glass carboy. It was irreparable. Thankfully, the whole thing remained intact enough for me to lift the whole thing into the garbage can and get it outside without getting glass everywhere.

I should have known better.

******************
Science section:
******************
Glass primer. So, what is glass? Why did the carboy shatter?

Glass is an amorphous solid composed of silica (SiO2). That's right. I said "solid," Contrary to popular belief, glass is not a "highly viscous" liquid. It is an amorphous solid meaning it is a solid that does not have an organized crystal structure.

The primary glass making material is SiO2, but this silica is not that great for making glass. It has a high melting point (1723°C) and is highly viscous when molten. That makes it difficult to work with. To make the silica more useable, chemicals known as fluxing oxides are added. These fluxes can affect the properties significantly and are responsible for the different types of glass.

Soda-lime glass is the most common type of glass and the type that was used in my carboy. This glass is also found in windows. It is made by mixing sodium oxide (soda, Na2O) and calcium oxide (lime, CaO) with the silica. This does two things. First it lowers the melting point of the glass to around 1300°C. That makes it much more workable. The soda and lime also make the glass more robust and resistant to corrosion. However, soda-lime glass has a high coefficient of thermal expansion. That means it expands significantly when it gets hot. Inconsistent expansion can create stress points and result in cracks. This can be demonstrated very well using the cold carboy in hot water trick!!!

Borosilicate glass is much more thermally robust. It is made by adding boron oxide (B2O3), among other things, to the silica. The boron oxide also reduces the melting point, but more importantly,it also reduces the thermal expansion significantly and makes the glass highly resistant to cracking as a result of temperature changes. Any glass you use for cooking is borosilicate glass. Pyrex and Kimax are two brand names. Science glassware is almost always borosilicate glass. My carboy was NOT made of this type of glass.

There are other types of glass, but these are the most common.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

He should but won't


Ndamukong Suh should win the Heisman trophy, but he probably won't. Even after manhandling a fellow Heisman finalist in the Big 12 Championship game (see above), that may not be enough to push him over the top. The Heisman Trophy is essentially an offensive player award.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

WT-WTF?

There are not enough 'WTFs' for this one.

A chemistry student in the Ukraine was found dead with his jaw blown off by what is believed to be exploding chewing gum, according to reports.

It gets a bit more interesting:

The student apparently had a bizarre habit of chewing gum after dipping it into citric acid, Russian news agency Ria Novosti said.

Officers found both citric acid packets and a similar-looking unidentified substance, believed to be some kind of explosive material, on a table near the body, the agency continued.

Investigators suspect that the student simply confused the packets and put gum covered with explosive material into his mouth.

WHAT THE HARTREE-FOCK!!!!!! What did have sitting next to his citric acid that was capable of blowing his jaw off?

This blows

We are having a bit of a blizzard blow through our neck of the woods. The blizzard of aught-nine has descended upon us. Every school around here is closed.

I cleared the snow out my driveway using my grandpa's old snowblower. The thing is from the late 60's, it is big and it still works like a charm. There are zero safety features, but boy does it blow. The way my neighbor's house is aligned with mine causes the wind to blow all of his snow into a huge drift on my driveway. His whole front yard is nearly void of snow. It's all on my driveway. So, even though we only had about 8 inches of snow, I have a 3 foot drift across my driveway. Until this year, I was a one man shoveling crew. It would take me a few hours and several asthma attacks to clear it away. But, with this snowblower, I got rid of that thing in about 30 minutes with a lot less effort.

I made it to my office around noon. Since classes were cancelled, I'm getting a lot of things done since I don't have all of those pesky students bothering me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Here's a problem for you

When I took over this teaching gig, my predecessor left a fold behind labeled "Diabolical Organic Problems." I love the word "Diabolical" but some may argue that that title is redundant with "Organic."

I have on occasion given my students diabolical problems to hone their skills. Today in preparation for the cumulative final exam, I gave my General Chemistry class the following question:

A 21.0 cm3 piece of dry ice is placed into a sealed 5.0 L container at STP. The dry ice is allowed to sublime while the temperature is held constant at 0°C. The container also contains 12.7 grams of sodium hydroxide. Sodium hydroxide reacts with carbon dioxide to form solid sodium carbonate and liquid water. What will the volume of the dry ice be when the pressure in the container is 2.5 atm? The density of dry ice is 1.5 g/cm3. Assume the volume of the container is 5.0L.

I'm kind of proud of this question as it incorporates several concepts we covered in the first half of the semester. I'll give anyone who answers this 50 extra credit points.

Monday, November 30, 2009

My pipeline bursteth

I currently have 9 beers in my pipeline:
  1. Imperial Stout 100
  2. Metathesis Pale Ale
  3. Generic pale ale #1
  4. Generic pale ale #2
  5. Oatmeal Stout #1
  6. Oatmeal Stout #2
  7. Guinness clone
  8. Doppelbock
  9. Grain Belt Premium lager clone
Four of these batches are for friends. I'm contract brewing now, sort of.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A few reasons why I might be awesome

I brewed two batches of beer tonight. A pale ale and a pale ale.
I racked two beers to secondaries. An oatmeal stout and a doppel bock.
I cleaned and sanitized three carboys during the process.
I changed a poopy diaper.
I fed my kids*.
I put my kids to bed*.
I wrote a math quiz today.
I taught 4 classes and an organic lab.
I wrote a gen chem exam.
I got my kids to school...on time.
I graded homework.
I bought new jeans for the first time in 6 years (true story).
I bought salt for our water softener.

and

I got a flu shot. Seasonal, not H1N1. They won't give that to me, yet.

And I did this all before 10 PM. Now, I'm watching Scrubs on WGN and then I'm going to bed.



* with my wife's help.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lager picture

Here is a picture of a glass full of lager I made a few months ago. It never actually lagered as long as it should have. I was too impatient.


Since the winter months are upon us here in Minnesota and my lagering fridge is in my unheated garage, I was looking at the possibility of shutting the lagering portion of my brewery down for a while. No way!!! I went to Walmart and spent $10 on a really crappy heater. I connected it to my temp controller, switched it to the heating setting and I continue to lager by using a heater in my fridge to get the 52°F temp needed.

Right now I am fermenting a clone of Grain Belt Premium and a doppelbock.


Saturday, November 14, 2009

Worst website on the nets


Biggest mall in the USA.

Worst website in the world.

Functionality has been replace with gimmics to the point of excessive suckiness.

Friday, November 13, 2009

beer 100

As you may recall, I've brewed a few batches of beer. Over 100 now to be inexact. For batch 100, I decided to do an imperial stout that weighs in at 10.0% ABV.

It's currently in the secondary chillin' over some oak. The gravity is now down to 1.028 from an OG of 1.098

Here are some pictures:

The big starter. I got this baby going. So big that when I gave it a good swirl, the entire thing erupted into a 6 foot geyser out of the airlock all over my kitchen. It reminded me of something. I had quite a mess to clean up.


Here the brew kettle:

Here's the fermentation



Here's the blow off tube. This thing was really bubbling. I was impressed.



I tasted some recently and it is strong and good.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Horseradish: Kick ass chemistry

I like horseradish. It is used in cocktail sauce, spicy mustards, wasabi sauces and Arby's horsey sauce.

Several years ago I planted horseradish in my backyard. Horseradish is essentially a weed and grows with little attention. During October, the roots can be harvested and ground up into a most delightful condiment. I recently did that.

Here's the dirty roots:
Here they are after cleaning. One of them (top left) has been peeled:

I do everything outside so I don't die from the strong fumes. Using a food processor, I grind up the roots and add enough water to make a grindable paste. This is when the odor gets strong. To stop the enzymatic action (see below) I add a few tablespoon of a 5% aqueous acetic acid solution (vinegar) and bottle it. Here is the prepared horseradish:

Yes, I made a quart and a half. That's a lot.

So, what about the chemistry? Glad you asked.

Horseradish is not pungent until you start destroying cell walls. When that happens, enzymes are released and they go into action and start breaking down glucosinolates. The result is a number of compounds in the isothiocyanate class such as allylisothiocyanate and 2-phenyl ethyl isothiocyanate as shown:



These compounds are noxious and irritating.

But, they also have a special place in my heart. I used isothiocyanates regularly in my graduate work. I spent some time functionalizing amino terminated dendrimers with isothiocyanates. What is great about the isothiocyanate group is that it reacts exclusively with amino groups in the presence of alcohols. The isothiocyanate is tuned just right to react with the more nucleophilic N instead of the less nucleophilic O. Cool (see above and ignore the misspelled isothiocyanate).


Monday, November 2, 2009

UHP He for the kids

So, what do you do when your tank of ultra-high purity helium drops down to 100 psi? The pressure is too low for the GC (gas chromatograph). I could just send it back as is to the gas store when I get a new tank, but I see opportunity here.

I brought it home to the kids.

I filled some balloons I had on hand and then filled some garbage bags I stole from the janitor's closet.




The garbage bags are surprisingly good at holding He.

My kids think I'm the greatest dad ever.

I think I'm in the running for:


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Personal revelation

While teaching my math class, I just realized I have been doing FOIL wrong all these years.

I've actually been doing FIOL instead. My God, how embarrassing.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Victory for the little guy

The little guy has won. Rock Art Brewery in Vermont has won the right to use the name "Vermonster" for one of their beers. This came several weeks after receiving a "cease and desist" letter from the makers of "Monster" energy drink telling them to stop using the "Vermonster" name as people may get confused by the similar names. That's pretty stupid if you ask me.

You can read all about it here.

Rock Art Brewery realistically had no chance of surviving the potential lawsuits. Even though they had every right to use the name "Vermonster" the mega-corp had the money to sue Rock Art into submission.

Well, that was until the people spoke up. They spoke loudly and persistently enough to convince the Monster people that it wasn't worth it.

A victory for a small business, but more importantly, a victory for a craft brewery.

Until this, I had never heard of Rock Art Brewery, but I would love to try the Vermonster some day. I hope the attention increases their brand awareness and improves sales.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The plague has hit



My two oldest children have come down with what their doctor calls 'H1N1', whatever that is. If you haven't heard of H1N1, you've been in a cave for the last year. Let me just say, H1N1 sucks.

H1N1 has hit home hard.

This swine flu has relegated my kids to sleeping lots, laying on the couch and all around feeling terrible. It has resulted in a lot of coughing, sore throats, runny noses and high fever. The only bonus is there is not much vomiting associated with this flu. Not much of a consolation for a little girl who has never felt this bad in her life.

So far, only my two kids have been afflicted, but it seems only a matter of time before this ruthless virus marches through our house. Until then, wash your hands after reading this post.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Free parenting advice


If you take your daughter's temperature, don't look at the thermometer and say in your best radio voice, "101.7. All the hits all the time from Abba to ZZ Top, we got your rock..."

No one in the room, especially the little girl with the 101.7° F fever, will think it's funny.... Well, no one but you.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Brew #100 is in the works

I finally found some time to sit down and plan my brew 100. It will be an imperial stout aged over oak. I'm shooting for 10% ABV. I am going to model my beer after the John Courage Imperial Stout recipe found in Clone Brews.

Here is my planned recipe:
Partial Mash
2.5 lbs Marris Otter malt.
12 oz British crystal malt
10 oz British chocolate malt
3 oz roasted barley
3 oz black malt

Boil
3.3 lb dark liquid malt extract
1 lb cane sugar
5 lbs dry malt extract
1/3 lb molasses

Hops (61 IBU):
1 oz Target (12%) 60 mins
1 oz Northern Brewer (10%) 60 min
1 oz Willamette 15 mins
1 oz Fuggles 1 min

Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale from a big starter with yeast nutrients.

During secondary fermentation, some steamed oak chips will be added. I'm not sure how much I will add.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A short post to follow the long post

OK, so my last post was too freakin' long. But, it could have been longer. I could have gone into how even though they took my water heater back, the folks at Lowe's didn't offer much in the way of help picking one out.

Regardless or irregardless, what's done is done.

Midterm break is here... or Fall break or MEA... whatever it is actually called, I have a 4 day weekend.

I bemoan the fact that I have no sports to watch tonight. None. Yeah, I know the MLB playoffs are on, but I don't care since my beloved Twins are done. The Viking don't play until Sunday. The Huskers are taking on Texas Tech but not until Saturday.

*sigh*

I guess I will have to grade mid-term exams. YUCK

Water Heaters 101

So, if you read a recent post of mine, you might have gotten the impression that I had some water heater issues in my house. I did. Let me tell you all about it. I've included some chemistry to entertain those so inclined.

Several months ago as I was giving my children a bath, I noticed the water was kind of rust colored. I did some investigating and determined the colored water was coming from my water heater. "Crap!" I said. My water heater was probably rusting.

All water heaters will eventually fail. They are made of metal and since they are filled with water, the metal will eventually oxidize (i.e. rust). That is what happened to my water heater.

SCIENCEY PORTION

So let me ask you this: does water conduct electricity?

The answer is no. Water does not conduct electricity. Ions (positively and negatively charge ions such as sodium and chloride) dissolved in the water conduct electricity.

The oxidation of metal (such as the rusting of metal) involves the removal of electrons from the metal to something like oxygen. In the case of the rusting of iron the following reaction represents what is happening:

4Fe(s) + 3O2 ----> 2Fe2O3

This reaction converts a nice structural metal such as iron into a really lousy solid such as iron (III) oxide (Fe2O3).

To avoid this undesired reaction, water heaters contain what is called a sacrificial anode that gets oxidized more easily than the iron. The metal of choice is usually aluminum. Why aluminum you ask? Well, it gets oxidized more easily than iron. This ability is measured by what is called reduction potential.

Oxidation is the lose of electrons. If something loses electrons, something must gain those electrons. That process is called reduction. Reduction is the gain of electrons. To simplify and generalize things we chemists write these processes as what are called "half-reactions" and by convention (for easy comparison) we write them all as reduction reactions. For example the reduction of iron (III) cation and aluminum cation are shown:

Fe+3 + 3e– ----> Fe(s) E°= –0.036 V
Al+3 + 3e– ----> Al(s) E°= –1.66 V

This is the conventional way of writing ALL half-reactions, but this is NOT what is happening in the water heater. The reverse of these reactions (i.e. oxidation) is occurring and should be written like this:

Fe(s) ----> Fe+3 + 3e– E°= +0.036 V
Al(s) ----> Al+3 + 3e– E°= +1.66 V

The E° is the potential, in a sense it is a way of writing how easily the reaction occurs. Without getting into ∆G° and Faraday's constant suffice it to say that since aluminum metal has an oxidation potential of 1.66V, it will react in preference to the iron which has a lower oxidation potential.

BACK TO THE WATER HEATER SAGA

I hoped that the rust was just because the anode was bad and that the tank had not begun to corrode to terribly (I know, I was delusional). So, I went down to Home Depot and got a new Al anode and proceeded to replace the old anode. I got me a 1 1/16 inch socket and with great difficultly remove the old anode. Except, there was nothing left. Just the big bolt that screws into the top of the tank. The Al was totally gone. Not a good sign. I put the new on in and hoped that was the end of that knowing full well it would not be.

A few weeks went by until on Saturday evening, my wife asked why the floor in the laundry room was wet. Crap. The structural integrity of the water heater had been compromised. Thankfully, it was a slow leak, but one that could not be ignored. On Sunday, I went to Lowe's to buy a new water heater. Here's where I made a big mistake.

In Minnesota there are a lot of rules to make sure no body is ever in danger of getting any type of injury. And, there are apparently a lot of rules when it comes to water heaters. By law in MN, a gas water heater must be power-vented (i.e. with a noisy fan on top of the water heater) out of the home. As far as I know, this law is only about 7-8 years old. Most water heaters that need to be replaced are the conventional kind. These water heaters vent up through a vent in the roof thanks to the updraft of the hot air.

The cost of a power-vented water heater is about $800. The cost of a conventional one is about $450. hmmmmm. I thought I would save some money and go conventional. It thought I could vent it out of the vent that goes out of the side of my house that was currently being used by the power vent of the broken heater.

Long story short: it doesn't work. I bought the conventional water heater, hauled it into my basement, cut it out of the box, installed it, filled it with 50 gallons of water and fired it up. It took 2 minutes for me to realize, I had just made a $450 mistake. This water heater was not going to work. This was Sunday night. I shut off the gas and hoped I could find a fix.

The next day I called a plumber to see if anything could be done. In summary, he said,"no you freakin moron!" though he was much more polite than that. I spent all day feeling sick to my stomach because I had just made a $450 mistake. I was mad at myself, and I felt sorry for my family.

Then I had an idea. In all of my construction projects I've done over the years, I've returned a lot of unused stuff. Stuff that no store would have to accept. So, I called Lowe's to see if I could return the water heater that I had installed in my basement. The lady said, "probably." That was good enough for me. That Monday night, I went to a different store and bought the kind I needed. I hauled it into my basement and drained and unhooked the wrong one. I installed the new one only to find out I needed a different water connector. No problem, but I'd have to wait for Tuesday to get it. We'd be without hot water for a few more hours, but it would work. I hauled the wrong one to my garage.

A few days later, my dad and I hauled the wrong one back to Lowe's and those suckers nice people took it back. I was nervous that they wouldn't, but I was upfront with why I was returning it. The guy that helped me actually seemed sympathetic.

So, I learned a lot about gas water heaters. The whole thing ended up putting me $1000 deeper in the hole, but this is what we do for the modern conveniences of life, and it could have been a lot worse.






Sunday, October 11, 2009

enough is enough

Since I'm on a sports, sports, sports, sports, sports, sports, sports, sports, sports theme I'd just like to say the following:

When throwback jerseys were first introduced in the NFL back in 1994, it was a neat idea, at best. But, it is an idea that ran its course long ago. Now, throwback jerseys are incredibly annoying and stupid. Pick a jersey and stick with it.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

ugh!!!

Game blown in the 9th by the best Twins closer in their history. Ugh!!
Horrible call by ump in 10th. Ugh!!
Bases loaded, zero outs. Result: no runs. Ugh!!

How annoying. At least we have this.

and at least ice fishing season is approaching:


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Water Heaters 101

So, if you read a recent post of mine, you might have gotten the impression that I had some water heater issues in my house. I did. Let me tell you all about it. I've included some chemistry to entertain those so inclined.

Several months ago as I was giving my children a bath, I noticed the water was kind of rust colored. I did some investigating and determined the colored water was coming from my water heater. "Crap!" I said. My water heater was probably rusting.

All water heaters will eventually fail. They are made of metal and since they are filled with water, the metal will eventually oxidize (i.e. rust). That is what happened to my water heater.

SCIENCEY PORTION

So let me ask you this: does water conduct electricity?

The answer is no. Water does not conduct electricity. Ions (positively and negatively charge ions such as sodium and chloride) dissolved in the water conduct electricity.

The oxidation of metal (such as the rusting of metal) involves the removal of electrons from the metal to something like oxygen. In the case of the rusting of iron the following reaction represents what is happening:

4Fe(s) + 3O2 ----> 2Fe2O3

This reaction converts a nice structural metal such as iron into a really lousy solid such as iron (III) oxide (Fe2O3).

To avoid this undesired reaction, water heaters contain what is called a sacrificial anode that gets oxidized more easily than the iron. The metal of choice is usually aluminum. Why aluminum you ask? Well, it gets oxidized more easily than iron. This ability is measured by what is called reduction potential.

Oxidation is the lose of electrons. If something loses electrons, something must gain those electrons. That process is called reduction. Reduction is the gain of electrons. To simplify and generalize things we chemists write these processes as what are called "half-reactions" and by convention (for easy comparison) we write them all as reduction reactions. For example the reduction of iron (III) cation and aluminum cation are shown:

Fe+3 + 3e– ----> Fe(s) E°= –0.036 V
Al+3 + 3e– ----> Al(s) E°= –1.66 V

This is the conventional way of writing ALL half-reactions, but this is NOT what is happening in the water heater. The reverse of these reactions (i.e. oxidation) is occurring and should be written like this:

Fe(s) ----> Fe+3 + 3e– E°= +0.036 V
Al(s) ----> Al+3 + 3e– E°= +1.66 V

The E° is the potential, in a sense it is a way of writing how easily the reaction occurs. Without getting into ∆G° and Faraday's constant suffice it to say that since aluminum metal has an oxidation potential of 1.66V, it will react in preference to the iron which has a lower oxidation potential.

BACK TO THE WATER HEATER SAGA

I hoped that the rust was just because the anode was bad and that the tank had not begun to corrode to terribly (I know, I was delusional). So, I went down to Home Depot and got a new Al anode and proceeded to replace the old anode. I got me a 1 1/16 inch socket and with great difficultly remove the old anode. Except, there was nothing left. Just the big bolt that screws into the top of the tank. The Al was totally gone. Not a good sign. I put the new on in and hoped that was the end of that knowing full well it would not be.

A few weeks went by until on Saturday evening, my wife asked why the floor in the laundry room was wet. Crap. The structural integrity of the water heater had been compromised. Thankfully, it was a slow leak, but one that could not be ignored. On Sunday, I went to Lowe's to buy a new water heater. Here's where I made a big mistake.

In Minnesota there are a lot of rules to make sure no body is ever in danger of getting any type of injury. And, there are apparently a lot of rules when it comes to water heaters. By law in MN, a gas water heater must be power-vented (i.e. with a noisy fan on top of the water heater) out of the home. As far as I know, this law is only about 7-8 years old. Most water heaters that need to be replaced are the conventional kind. These water heaters vent up through a vent in the roof thanks to the updraft of the hot air.

The cost of a power-vented water heater is about $800. The cost of a conventional one is about $450. hmmmmm. I thought I would save some money and go conventional. It thought I could vent it out of the vent that goes out of the side of my house that was currently being used by the power vent of the broken heater.

Long story short: it doesn't work. I bought the conventional water heater, hauled it into my basement, cut it out of the box, installed it, filled it with 50 gallons of water and fired it up. It took 2 minutes for me to realize, I had just made a $450 mistake. This water heater was not going to work. This was Sunday night. I shut off the gas and hoped I could find a fix.

The next day I called a plumber to see if anything could be done. In summary, he said,"no you freakin moron!" though he was much more polite than that. I spent all day feeling sick to my stomach because I had just made a $450 mistake. I was mad at myself, and I felt sorry for my family.

Then I had an idea. In all of my construction projects I've done over the years, I've returned a lot of unused stuff. Stuff that no store would have to accept. So, I called Lowe's to see if I could return the water heater that I had installed in my basement. The lady said, "probably." That was good enough for me. That Monday night, I went to a different store and bought the kind I needed. I hauled it into my basement and drained and unhooked the wrong one. I installed the new one only to find out I needed a different water connector. No problem, but I'd have to wait for Tuesday to get it. We'd be without hot water for a few more hours, but it would work. I hauled the wrong one to my garage.

A few days later, my dad and I hauled the wrong one back to Lowe's and those suckers nice people took it back. I was nervous that they wouldn't, but I was upfront with why I was returning it. The guy that helped me actually seemed sympathetic.

So, I learned a lot about gas water heaters. The whole thing ended up putting me $1000 deeper in the hole, but this is what we do for the modern conveniences of life, and it could have been a lot worse.







Sunday, October 4, 2009

Devistating

The finest in all media outlets:

We all make mistakes. At least it was changed moments later. Still, it's a bit embarrassing.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Cream Ale name

I've decided (unless I change my mind) on a name for my cream ale.

Thanks to everyone for the ideas.

I decided I want to utilize some alliteration. So the name will include the letter 'C.'

And, I wanted to use a noun and not a adjective.

So, I'm going to borrow an idea from "SubDriver" who suggested the name "covalent."

I'm going to noun the adjective and turn it into "covalency"

The name of my cream ale shall thusly be:

Covalency Cream Ale


Monday, September 28, 2009

100 on hold...

Thanks to a stupid water heater and the stupid installer* of a new water heater and the stupid installer* of a second new water heater and the stupid state of Minnesota and its stupid plumbing codes and stupid Home Depot and Lowes not being open 24 stupid hours a day I won't be brewing beer anytime soon. My finances have suddenly become anemic.

Maybe someday I'll tell you about it. It's stupid!!!!



* also the stupid author of this stupid blog

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beer naming time again

Greetings. Let me introduce myself. I'm the author and custodian of this here blog. You haven't heard much from me lately because I've been preparing myself to receive a call from a lady or gentleman representing the world-famous Nobel prize organization.

OK, that's not true (duh!!!) but the combination of me being busy and pretty damn lazy has made posting around here a bit rare.

I busted my butt today getting a lot of things done so I could brew beer. And brewing beer is what I am doing.

I am brewing my 99th batch ever. It is my cream ale. I've brewed this several times and it has become quite popular in my immediate family. I think I have refined the recipe enough that it is ready for a name, AND I'm looking for suggestions. I have two beers with names right now: Metathesis Pale Ale and Carbon Black Oatmeal Stout. If you are astute enough (and I know you are) you will notice the strong connection to Organic Chemistry.

So, with that criteria, what should I call my cream ale. Here is the recipe if you need inspiration:

Partial Mash
3 lbs pale malt
1 lb honey malt
0.5 lb malted wheat
0.25 lb biscuit
Mash at 152° in 1.5 gallons for 90 minutes. Drain and sparge with 2 gallons at 168°

3.5 lb Extra light dry malt extract

1 oz Northern Brewer (7% a.a.) 60 minutes
1 oz Willamette (3.5% a.a.) 1 minute

Wyeast 1056 American Ale


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Centennial brew plans

Recently, I mentioned that I was closing in on homebrew batch #100. Tomorrow I expect to do batch 99 (a cream ale). That means batch 100 is almost here.

So, what am I going to brew. Well, I asked for suggestions and I have decided to do a series of three special beers.

Here's the plan:

#100 Imperial Stout aged over oak
#101 101 minute IPA using locally grown hops (a friend of mine has some nugget and cascade hops). I will incorporate those and other hops.
#102 A style I have never brewed before. I'm still not sure what I am going to do, but I'm leaning towards a dark lager or a double bock.

None of these beers will be ready for a few months. I must first formulate the recipes. That could take some time. Then after I brew them, they will all require a certain amount of aging. I'll probably be drinking them in March of 2010.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

360°

So, did anyone else out there go to Soldier Field in Chicago this weekend to see U2's first North American show of their current tour?

I did.

It rocked.

As soon as I catch up with the tons of worked that piled up because of our trip there, I will post pictures and describe the spectacle that is a U2 concert.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Being all three stooges

Have you ever felt like all Three Stooges at the same time. I do sometimes.

Yesterday, I was reconnecting my kegerator after having defrosted and cleaned it. Here's a description of the system (it's pretty standard, really):

One red plastic tube goes from the regulated gas cylinder...

...to a 3-way gas splitter valve.
The earth destroying gas continues its journey through another red tube which is terminated in a threaded Cornelius ball lock gas quick connect device....
...which connects to the "gas in" post on the beer filled Cornelius keg:

The gas enters the keg through a small tube and provides an atmosphere of carbon dioxide which carbonates the beer.
The gas pressure (being greater than atmospheric pressure) pushes the yummy beer out of the keg through a tube that begins from the bottom of the keg.
The beer is accessed from the keg by a threaded Cornelius ball lock beer quick connect device...
The beer will flow through a tube to my three-tap tower...
... where it is dispensed with the greatest deal of satisfaction.

But, here's the deal. See those devices at the terminus end of the beer delivery system? Yeah, the taps. They are what we call in the industry "important." See, they're valves. On/Off. That sort of thing. But, mostly off. Without a valve in place, it's pretty much 'on.'


As I was reconnecting all of the previously describe components, I failed to connect the taps (a.k.a. the ON-OFF valves). The gas was connected and the cylinder was open. The keg was again pressurized. My last connection (or so I thought at the time) was the connection of the line that runs from the keg to the tap. I made the quick connection, locking the connector in place when the fun started.

Without having the taps in place, the beer started shooting out of the tap tower (sans tap) with about 6.89475728e+28 yoctopascals of pressure (thats 10 psi). It was a steady stream of unrestrained beer. My first indication that I was on the receiving end of a beer jet was that my shoulder was getting wet. I turned to look and started getting right in the chest. Here's where it got real Stoogy. I frantically panicked and in typical fashion spent the next several seconds doing nothing useful to correct the problem. Meanwhile, I'm getting hosed down by beer. I know, it sounds like a dream, but when it's in your house it's not.

I finally gathered my wits. Using one hand to deflect the torrent, I pulled the connection off of the keg and the beer deluge ceased. I looked at myself and all of the beer covering my bar and tile floor (about a half gallon in total) and started to clean up. Thankfully, because I was at the receiving end of the beer jet, the beer never reached the carpet. So I got that going for me.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Work is like work

Sorry for my silence around here. I've been distracted by a few things. First, now that school is in full swing, I actually have to work again. I've forgotten what it was like. That has kept me busy.

Secondly, I've been computerless for a couple days. My hard drive went screwy and directories and the matrix were all messed up. I'm back up to speed now, but still shaking from computer withdrawal.

I taught my students about the Mitsunobu reaction today. That's a great reaction.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Double brew and stuff

I recently brewed two batches of beer at the same time. I brewed my Carbon Black Stout and my Metathesis Pale Ale. Things went well. Which is amazing since I was also taking care of my 4 kids and managed to feed them and give all of them baths. I am a world-class father, no doubt about it.

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The Carbon Black recipe calls for flaked oats, but I had none. No problem. I used some instant Quaker Oats which will serve the same purpose.

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I exploded some hydrogen balloons for my General Chem class today. I love doing that. It makes my kidneys move.

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The weather in Minnesota this time of year is just unbelievably perfect.

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I suspect I am almost beerless. The only beer I currently have on tap is a Grand Cru kit beer from my favorite supplier. It is deceptively strong and blatantly delicious. Based on consumption patterns, the keg is close to dry. Due to my poor foresight and time, I am 2 weeks from having something new on tap.

Monday, August 24, 2009

At least I'm not this angry

I'm a sports, sports, sports, sports, sports, sports, sports, sports, sports kind of guy. And, it is a well documented fact that I'm not a huge fan of Brett Favre being a Minnesota Viking. For the past decade (or so) he has meant nothing but annoyance for me and my fellow fans.

However, at least I am not this bad!!! See also: this!!!

Seriously people. It's only a game. No need to sacrifice a goat over it.


Friday, August 21, 2009

and here we go....

The new school year is nearly upon us. As usual, Summer seems to have been too short and too unproductive. But, I'm ready to go.

During June and much of July, I have little desire to teach. However, when August gets here, I am usually rested enough to consider starting a new school year. When I start working in earnest during the last week of Summer (as I have been for the last few days) I become much more energized and much more excited for the new year to start. Mentally, I'm ready to go. I've got a few things to do before I'm actually ready for class, but my mind is feeling good.

Last year, I wrote a post about the start of the school year. Man, last year I was stressed. The Summer had been very busy with things related to an accreditation visit. This year, I am obviously a lot more relaxed. The only thing pressing on me is my teaching load.

In the world of small, liberal arts colleges during economically challenging times, people are asked to do a lot more. Here's my teaching load this semester:
  • General Chemistry (5 credits)
  • Organic Chemistry and labs (4 credits)
  • Advanced Organic Chemistry (3 credits)
  • Intermediate Algebra (3 credits)
  • General Biochemistry independent study (4 credits)
  • Research mentoring (2 students)
That is a ridiculous load, but it prevents the need to hire an adjunct or to cut classes. I can handle it. It's no worse than being in grad school. But, by November I may feel like this:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sorry, I've been away for a while

I spent the last several days in an isolated part of Northern Wisconsin camping with family. It was nice to be unplugged from the rest of the world. No internet, no cell phone, no newspaper, nothing.

So, did anything interesting happen while I was gone????

Friday, August 14, 2009

This thing sucks

I've written about my lack of love for the H.H.H. Metrodome where the Twins play. Part of it is that I prefer baseball outside and being in this overgrown bubble just isn't the best place for baseball. Now I have proof that the Metrodome sucks:

You'll have to click on the image to see what I'm talking about.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Lager update

It's been a bit over 10 days since I started my lagers. I just raised the temperature of my fridge to 66°F for a diacetyl rest. The goal of this is to raise the temp enough to drive off as much of the diacetyl as possible while getting the yeast active enough to consume the rest. If the diacetyl is not driven off, the beer will have a butterscotch flavor. That is not desired.

After two days, I will rack to a 2° fermenter and start the cold temp lagering.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New coach for my NBA team

I admit it. I am a Minnesota Timberwolves fan. There! I admitted it. Step one.

The T-wolves have fallen on hard times...again. With the exception of a few weeks during the Kevin Garnett MVP season, the hard times are the only times we T-Wolf fans know. The Clippers of the Midwest.

Today, the Timberwolves hired former Laker player and current Laker assistant coach Kurt Rambis as their new head coach. Well, I don't know if this will help matters, but it does provide me with some blog fodder. Let's go....

First of all, I am a little concerned about the confusion that this may cause. You see, Kurt Rambis looks an aweful lot like our governor.

Here is Rambis:

Here is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty:
Much too similar. The cases of mistaken identity will sky rocket in MN as Gov. Pawlenty will constantly be asked how he is going to handle the full court press and a young squad made up of 3 point gaurds while Coach Rambis will constantly be asked how he plans to reduce the budget shortfall and about his thoughts on light rail. People can expect an abundance confused looks and blank stares.

Here is my solution. I suggest, nay, I demand that Rambis adopt his look of old like this:
No one will confuse him for anyone else.

My second gripe. Hey LA, if you are going to steal a basketball team from Minnesota, maybe you should change the freakin name!!! Good grief. Show me a lake in L.A. and I will show you an emergency drinking water supply!!!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

It's hard to find good help these days

If you are going to do a job, it's always a good idea to know how to do your job. If you hire someone to do a job you should train them to do the job if necessary.

A few days ago I went out with my wife to celebrate the anniversary of the day my mom went through great torment to rid me of her body. In the process I came across two incompetent bartenders.

#1
Leinenkugel's brewery is a "craft" brewer (now swallowed up by a big corporation) in Wisconsin that has for years provided my area with fine beer. At one location I ordered a Leinie's Amber. What I got was a Leinie's Honey Weiss. I pointed out the error assuming she made a simple mistake, but she hadn't. She went to the correct tap (the one labeled Amber) and out flowed Honey Wiess. She drew some beer off of the Honey Wiess tap and out flowed something like Bud Light. Oops, someone must have connected the kegs wrong. She went and checked the kegs, but returned claiming they were correct. Maybe from what she could tell, they were correct, but from what was in the glasses, I could tell things were not correct. The bartender would not believe me that the beers were wrong. Eventhough the empirical and analytical data suggested a problem, she would not be persuaded. I didn't stick around to do more research, but here is the conclusion I could make: Honey Wiess was coming out of the Amber tap, Bud Light (or any other light macrobrew) was coming out of the Honey Weiss tap, and Sam Adams was coming out of the Sam Adams tap. 1 out of 3 will get you in the Hall of Fame.

#2

Different place. While I do love beer, I also like me a good cocktail. We went to one of those classy joints that has about 30 special drinks on a menu. These drinks range from martinis to chocolate drinks to whisky drinks. The first drink I ordered was prepared to perfection by bartender #1. I was pleased, but he left and for my second drink I had to deal with bartender #2. I said, "I'd like a Johnny Walker Manhattan, please." She looked at me with a look of complete confusion and said, "You're going to have to help me with that one." I explained a bit further that I wanted a Manhattan made with Johnny Walker (Red of course, I'm not rich enough for the Black and certainly not the Blue). She was still confused so I had to walk her through the whole drink making process from the whisky to the sweet vermouth to the cherries. To make this worse, a Mahattan was listed on their menu!!! I didn't leave a tip, which for me is VERY unusual.

After that my wife and I decided to go to a place where we could get our drinks made correctly. So, we went home.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Night of the living raccoon dead.

E over at *E* Deconstructed posted a post (which is the best thing to do with a post) about, among other things, the guilt she felt for flattening a raccoon. While I'm not one to celebrate and enjoy the destruction of one of God's special creatures, in this case, I don't feel too bad (as long as the death was quick and painless).

Last week, the fam and I took a little camping trip to the southern part of Minnesota. We (the six of us) are tenters. No miniature house for us. Just a thin layer of slightly water repelling nylon (?) between us and nature.

At our first campsite, when dusk hit, I knew we were not alone. My two youngest were sleeping, my wife took the older two to the potty. I sat alone by the campfire when I realized something was walking next to me in the dark. I turned expecting to see a familiar face when instead I turned and found myself face to face with a bandit masked rodent. I jumped a tad and shooed it away thinking, "what a wonderful encounter with nature. I'm glad I got it to leave" Little did I know, he had friends.

Late that night, after all the kids were in bed, a steady stream of raccoons started to enter our campsite. At first, it was one or two at a time, and they were either searching for scraps of food or, as I am inclined to believe, scraps of human flesh. Finally, my wife gave up and went to bed leaving me to defend my family from the rabid horde.

For about 15 minutes all was quiet until the raccoon version of Shaun of the Dead began. I was sitting in my chair by a dying campfire while reading (with head lamp) a book. Three coons came out of the forest to my right. I threw some rocks at them and scared them off, but I didn't notice the other three on my left until they were two feet away. I turned my attention to my left flank and using rocks I sent those back into the woods only to realize the ones on my right were returning. In addition, there was another group at my 12 o'clock position beginning an assault on my position. In a near paniced state, I started throwing rocks to my left, right and forward position to repel the evil when the thought to check my rear entered my mind. Sure enough, there were coons behind me. I was surrounded. Using pieces of firewood as artillery, I made a hasty retreat to the family minivan where I holed up for 10 minutes waiting for the undead to find their scraps of food (which there was very little of as I run a tight and clean camping outfit) and leave. They finally moved on. I was in the clear. I hurried off to pee in the woods and go to bed. I fell asleep to the constant sounds of raccoons fighting and scavenging,

In the morning, after changing two poopy diapers, I headed off to the dumpster to dispose of the befouled polyacrylate. Certain that daylight had rendered the raccoon danger null, I opened the dumpster lid only to be face-to-face with a raccon. This raccoon however, was young and apparently incapable of escaping its dumpster dive. I threw the dirty diapers on its head and left feeling very little pity.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

96 and counting...

By my calculations, I have brewed 96 batches of beer in my homebrewing career. I must admit, I'm starting to get the hang of it.

Obviously 96 is close to 100 and batch 100 must be a momentous brew. For batch #100 I want to brew something worthy of being batch #100.

At this point I have no idea what I'm going to brew. Here are my brew plans leading up to 100.

97: Carbon Black Stout
98: Metathesis Pale Ale
99: American Cream Ale
100: ?????????

I need your help. What type of beer should I brew for #100?

Since I only have two available fermenters (2 are full in my lagering fridge) it will take a while to get through 97, 98 and 99.

Suggestions, please.

Friday, July 31, 2009

my best...bruise...ever!!!

I get injured a lot (a lot). I'd like to think it is because I am an active individual and that increases my odds of injury. The truth is probably that I am uncoordinated and a klutz.

This past week I was helping move my parents to their new house. During the move of something heavy down a short flight of stairs, I slipped and the heavy thing coupled with the acceleration due to gravity propelled me into the pointy part of a wood railing. The result was a lot of pain, a lot of bad words I'm glad my kids didn't hear, and one bitchin' bruise. Check it out:


The good news is that I drink a lot of beer and have an adorable beer belly. The fat in my belly prevented the pointy railing from puncturing my duodenum or something. As a safety precaution, I will continue to drink beer.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Adventures in lager

Since I'm at the start of a lager beer temperature cycle, I decided to get another beer in the lagering fridge and take advantage of the cycle.

Alas, I have nothing that can be used to make a beer in the style of a lager.... or do I? Time for a pantry raid. Here is what I found in my supplies and here is my recipe:

Partial mash: 1.5 gallons H2O at 164°F added to the grains in a beverage cooler and mashed at 152°F for 90 minutes. Sparged with 1.5 gallons of H2O at 168°F (2 x 0.75 gal).

2 lb pilsner malt
10 oz Munich malt
10 oz Caramel 10°L

4 lb extra light dry malt extract

1 oz Northern Brewer leaf hops (8.5% a.a.) 60 minutes
0.75 oz Tettnang (4.5% a.a.) 15 minutes
0.75 Hallertau Select (1.5%) 5 minutes

2 packs of Saflager S-23 Fermentis dry yeast.

Fermentation at 54°F.

I'm pretty pleased with what I came up with considering I've never purchased anything with the intention of brewing a lager. In about 8 weeks, I will know what I have.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lager beer

I am brewing a lager and will ferment at the appropriate temperatures for the first time ever using my newly acquired lagering fridge with a temperature controlling device.

I'm brewing a lager kit from Midwest supply. Here is the ingredient list:

6 lbs pilsner DME
2 oz. Munich
8 oz. Caramel 10°L

Saaz, Saaz, Saaz (3 ounces)
Wyeast 2001 Urquell Lager yeast

I'm boiling it right now.

For the fermentation, I'm going to start the temperature at 62°F for a day and then drop it down to 52°F for the bulk of the fermentation. After about 10 days, I will raise the temperature to 66°F for 2 days to drive off any diacetyl. After which, I will transfer to a secondary and lager it at 40°F for 6 weeks.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Whew!!!

Thank God!!!! Now leave us alone. Heliocentrism is back in. Favrecentrism is out. Or at least, it damn well better be.

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On another note, I've been busy with vacation and family obligations. I will be brewing my lager tomorrow. I will keep you posted.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Lager is imminent

Crap! It's been a week since I posted last. I've been busy and just too lazy to write anything.

But, I have some news. A little less than a year ago, I got an old spare fridge for with which to lager beers. It didn't survive the move. The coldest I could get it was ambient temperature.

Well, I am pleased to report that I moved another fridge into my garage and IT WORKS!!!! (I was going to show pictures, but I'm not sure where my camera is. If anyone knows, please tell me).

I have not used it for beer brewing yet, but I did use it to chill some beer.

I still needed a temperature control device. Normal fridge temperatures are too cold for lagering. That has to be done anywhere from 40-55°F. So, I went on the eBay and found me this:

I need to add the power cable to it. I have an extension cord I will cut in half and wire it to and from the temperature controller. The fridge is set to its lowest setting, the temperature probe is put inside the fridge and the ETC cycles the power on or off as necessary to maintain the temperature. I plan on starting my first legit lager on Sunday.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Strength whence we don't expect it

I apologize, but I'm going to wax sentimental and personal in this post.

Many of us bloggers have looked to our children as a source of material for our posts. See here and here for just two examples. We can't help it. Our kids tend to be a source of inspiration for creativity or at least discussion topics.

I'd like to relay a story about one of my kids that has taught me something important.

This past week, my family and I spent some time visiting my brother and his family in the Chicago area. From the moment we arrived, the cousins were engrossed in their playing. It was fun to see. During the course of play, someone decided to play a good ol' fashioned game of "jump off the top bunk onto stuff." Seriously, who hasn't played this game? We all have. Well, during the playing of said game, all of a sudden I hear my 4 year-old daughter crying.

She hurt her foot. After a few minutes of consoling, she stopped crying, but she did not want to put any weight on the foot. We put a little ice on it and gave her some Tylenol. Before we knew it, she was crawling around the house playing with her cousins. She was still unable to put any weight on it, but that did not stop her. She was not going to let her injury slow her down.

We thought since she was in no obvious pain that she slightly sprained it and that in a few hours she would be back on it.

She continued to play as if there was nothing wrong. She crawled around as best she could to keep up with all the kids. She never complained. When we tried to get her to put weight on it, she refused.

She went to bed that night, and we thought that by the next day it would be better. After all, there was no way it could be broken. She was in no obvious discomfort and wasn't complaining a bit. Not even a little.

In the morning, things had not changed. She still would not put any weight on it. She still crawled all over: up stairs, down stairs, across wood floors, across concrete floors. By noon, it became clear we should have the foot looked at. I was still convinced it was not broken, but it was time to have a professional doctor look at it.

Off to urgent care we went. Sure enough, metatarsals 1, 2 and 3: broken. They put a temporary cast on until we can see an orthopedic specialist. Until then, she can't walk on it. She has to crawl or be carried everywhere.
We drove for about 10 hours to get home. She never complained once. OK, maybe once, but she had gone 8 hours without any pain medicine. I kind of forgot.

So, what's the point of this post? I am once again deeply impressed by my child's toughness, strength and lack of self-pity. Primarily the latter. There are times when I have a little cold and expect the world to stop and give me comfort. I get a sliver and my world comes crashing down.

The only time she really cried was when we were at the doctors and I told her her toes were broken. She's only 4 but knows what that means. She cried. I cried. We both composed ourselves and from then on, I drew strength from her.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Independence Day


Happy Independence Day!!!! 233 years!!!! Take that, Britland!!!!

Actually, thanks for the solid start, Great Britain. You really did set things up nicely. Sorry about that whole tax and representation thing. Things kind of got ugly. I'm glad we're friends. I raise a pint to you.

The USA is a great country and I am proud to be one of its citizens. Is the USA perfect? Nope. No country is. But I am proud to be in a country that let's girls go to school, that let's me decide who to vote for, that let's me criticize the government, that builds roads, schools and jails, that let's me brew up to 200 gallons of beer a year.

God Bless America.

Now, if you will excuse me, I have some transition metals I need to torture....
BTW, if you are ever in Madison, WI be sure to stop at the Great Dane Pub and Brewery. Awesome.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This is why I hate Microsoft

Try typing the following CAS# into Excel: 7440-05-3

Now, try to keep Excel in it's infinite wisdom from changing it into something else like a date or a random number.

If anyone knows how to force Excel to keep the number the way I type it, let me know before I punch my computer.

I've tried everything.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Beer and Celiacs

I'm brewing tonight, and as I do, I thought I'd tell a little story.

A few weeks ago, my family and I participated in the 8th International Walk for Celiac Disease.[1] I talked about this two years ago. Remember? If not, here's the link.

The main issue with Celiacs disease is those afflicted cannot tolerate gluten in their diet. Gluten is found in many grains including barley. That means no beer for those with Celiacs. That's not as bad as being allergic to hops because there is a solution: beer made using sorghum.

In 2007 I discovered Redbridge. The Anheuser-Busch gluten-free beer. OK, but not really that good. Very low hop flavor.

In 2009, I discovered Bards. Now this beer is a lot more interesting and flavorful. The most notable difference between this and the Redbridge is that the Bard's brewers don't mind using hops. The Hersbruker and Tettenang come shining through in the most delightful way. The result is a beer I would drink not because I had to, but because I want to.

Sadly, at the walk I only got a few small tastes. I will hopefully be able to find it around here. I'd like to try an entire 6

[1] the name is a bit misleading. We were not walking 'for' Celiacs disease. We are actually quite against it. We were walking to raise funds to research a cure.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

more bar progress...

I continue to tinker with my bar. I recently added this feature:
I installed this liquor shelf using only materials I had on hand. It turned out pretty nice.

I would like you to note the bottle of gin right in the middle. My parents are moving out of their house right now and found this bottle of gin. They bought it before I was born, drank a little and put in a cupboard for almost 40 years. I tasted it. It's not very ginny anymore.