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


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... 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.