Friday, October 24, 2008

Sports, sports, sports

I've been a bit distracted with the new baby around. With that and an impending accreditation review at my institution, I may not be blogging much during the next week or two.

I decided to post a simple post about football. Since that's all that's important in life, right?

As some of you know, I am a Cornhusker fan. I'm also a Minnesotan. I revel in the cold, and I talk funny.

There is a certain receiver from Minnesota who plays for the Huskers. His name is Nathan Swift. He came from Hutchinson, MN a small, rural town in the middle of MN. This young man will soon become the all-time leading receiver in Nebraska Cornhusker history. This is a storied program that has seen its share of success. There have been a lot of great college players that have played for Nebraska. I'm proud that a Minnesotan will soon be the leading receiver in Nebraska history.

But, here's the catch[1], Swift has 136 career reLinkceptions and the record is 143 (held by 1972 Heisman trophy winner Johnny Rodgers). That is not a lot. For comparison, Jerry Rice had 301 receptions in his career. 143 total receptions is nothing!!!! That is not a criticism of Swift, but it illustrates the historic style of play employed by the Huskers since day one: RUN, RUN, RUN!!!

Times, they are a changin'. The pass-happy Huskers are entering a new era.[2] I'm glad a Minnesotan is inv0lved. Well done, Nate!

UPDATE: Nate Swift, a Minnesotan, is now the career reception leader for Nebraska with his 11 receptions today against Baylor. The 2 TDs he scored were pretty nice also.

[1] pun intended
[2] finally.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


My wife and I just had a baby.
It's a boy.
His IQ is 210.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

AB's grand experiment

Out of curiosity, I decided to try Budweiser's new American Ale. The label describes the beer as being brewed from American Barley from the heartland and hopped with Cascade hops from the Pacific Northwest.

Relative to the rest of the Budweiser family, this is a fine beer. Compared to the other beers that American Ale is apparently trying to emulate, it is mediocre at best.

First, the Cascade hops are barely noticeable. This is the distinct flavor of American ales. If you are going to make American Ale to be like American ales, then maybe you should add enough hops to give American Ale that distinct American ale flavor. The hops don't have to punch you in the nose (which seems like a trend for many American beers), but I should be able to notice them.

The nose was weak. I nearly dipped my nose into the beer trying to get some aroma.

The taste provided a little maltiness, but is was all much too light for my tastes.

All in all, this is a good beer for Budweiser. I'm glad they made it. For lovers of craft beer, it may not be a big hit. However, this may be a great gateway beer for people to move from macrobrews to craft brews.

I was expecting more from this beer, but I think I got exactly what I should have expected.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Perfect combination

Recently, my children and I made some soft pretzels. mmmmmm, them are good. I paired mine with a delicious pale ale on tap.[1]

A critical step in pretzel making involves a brief dip in a boiling aqueous solution of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda). The increased pH speeds up the Maillard reaction and give pretzels their unique pretzely taste.

[1] currently my keg is holding beer hostage due to an apparent hop clog. I'm devastated.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Midterm exams

It is midterm time. Time for exams.

I'm writing an Organic exam for tomorrow. It covers cycloalkanes and an overview of organic reactions.

Feel free to suggest a question you think I should include on the exam. I'm not opposed to letting other people do my work for me.

Saturday, October 11, 2008


For several years, I have been involved in fantasy football. I love football and I love fantasies. What's not to like?

If you don't know what fantasy football is, you may want to stop reading. I'm not going to explain it, but I will say this, fantasy football is a way for the athletically untalented and the otherwise incompetent loser to pretend to be the big shot running a professional sports team. It makes me feel like a big man when I make decisions that help me win.

To be successful at fantasy football, one must make several decisions. Often it is a crap shoot, but sometimes it is an easy choice. Like should I start Adrian Peterson or Darren Sproles. Easy.

To make good decisions, you need a lot on information. One piece of info is the injury report. It really sucks when a player is a game-time decision and you don't find out they are out of the lineup after the first play. By then it is too late.

I was surprised to find out this week that my #1 tight end, Kellen Winslow, has a certain affliction. Apparently his testicles have swollen to the size of grapefruits. OK, that sucks (mostly for him of course, but this affects me to).

What shocks me the most is that he is still listed as "questionable" which means there is a 50-50 chance he will play! What!!! He's got a pair the size of grapefruits and he might play?!?!?
If my boys are ever the size of any citrus fruit, I'm taking the day off.

Sure, these reports have not been confirmed and they may be false, but when has the internet ever provided inaccurate information?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

5 gallons at a time

Someone once asked me how many batches of beer I've made. That's a good question, and it requires some creative accounting. My numbers are fuzzy because I have not kept track of everything.

When I first started making beer I didn't keep track at all. It was: make beer, drink beer. At the time, I only did kits and established recipes found on Al Gore's young internet. This was around 1995-1997. I have no idea how many batches I made back then.

I took a bit of a hiatus (9 years or so) and started brewing again in 2006. Since then I have increasingly improved my record keeping. This is mostly a result of the fact that I have been experimenting more, and I sometimes forget when I brewed something and don't know if it is time to bottle or what it was I brewed. With 3-4 batches going at a time (as opposed to 1) I need to keep better track of what I got.

I first recorded my brewing activities on iCal (24 batches recorded). Eventually, I started using a notebook. So far I have recorded 23 batches in the notebook.

So, long story short. I estimate that I have brewed about 75 batches. I think that is conservative, but I am going to use that number as the official tally. I brewed a cream ale last night. I am going to consider that to be #75.

So, I've brewed 75 batches (at least). At 5 gallons a batch, that's 375 gallons and about 3750 bottles of beer.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A chill is in the air

It is getting to be that time of the year. Time for stouts and porters. Time for beers that curl your toes. I plan on brewing a spiced winter ale for! Here's what I did last year. I hope to make something a little more balanced with the spices.

So, brewers and people who know or pretend to know what you are talking about, what should I include in my spiced winter ale 2008? I hope to bottle it by Thanksgiving.

Last year I was amazed at how overpowering (or nearly so) 0.5 tsp of nutmeg can be in 5 gallons of beer. It wasn't bad, but it assaulted the palate a bit too much. Perhaps, too much spice....

Thursday, October 2, 2008

A few things

Egad!!! It's been a week since I last posted. Sorry.

Let me give you a update on what I did in my world during the last week.

I kegged the following beer:

Partial mash
3lb 2-row pale malt
8oz biscuit
6 oz carapils
8 oz medium crystal
2 lb DME
Bittering (60 minutes):
1 oz German Tradition
0.3 oz Tettnang
Aroma (5 minutes):
1.3 oz Tettnang
Wyeast 1056 American Ale.

I'm not sure what this beer is, but it is low alcohol and decent in flavor though lacking in body. It will be much safer than my first keg. The alcohol is about 3.5%.

I put a Guinness clone and a Metathesis Ale in their respective secondaries. Those are waiting to be kegged.


On a separate note, my beloved Twins found a way to piss away a great season by not beating the lowly Royals more than once. The door was wide open and they ran into the door frame. What a pisser. What makes it worse was that Justin Morneau was on track to win the AL MVP. Now, that he is a long shot.

Oh well, I've still got my Vikings.... what?? 1-3? Ahh Crap!!!!!


On another sports note, the Minnesota Timberwolves will be practicing on our campus tomorrow. I could not be less excited. I'd rather watch a VP debate. While I still consider the Wolves 'my team,' I cannot get excited about a team that still has Kevin McHale as its GM. He was a fantastic player, but as a GM he is terrible. He needs the Matt Millen treatment.

That is all....