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


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


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.