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.


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.


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


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


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.

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.


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.