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A person walking by on the street asked me  [ Fri Mar 27 2009 10:49 AM ]

"Would you like to fill out a postcard to get more renewal energy in New Mexico?"

My first thought was that it sounded great. If I send this postcard, they're going to send me 10 KiloWatt Hours. No wait, it's renewable energy, so they'll send me 10 KiloWatt Hours per month!

And that's when I realized: it is good; maybe too good to be true. What do you bet, after 3 months my energy packet would come with an invoice that says, "Send this back with 'Cancel' written on it, or we'll start billing you." She shouldn't have said "renewable;" that's how I knew it was a scam.

Last edited [3/27/09 10:57 AM]

updates  [ Mon Aug 11 2008 11:48 AM ]

Batch 21 was quite a success. Just the sort of thing I wanted to have around for Summer. As usual, the problem is that I don't have enough of it.

I slipped another batch in before the hefeweizens. Batch 22 is a stout that I have just sitting in secondary. I'm happy to leave it sitting there for months. Tasted great when I racked, though.

23a and 23b are the hefeweizens, where I made two 3-gallon batches using the same ingredients. The only difference was that 23a had a "maltase rest" in the mash, to try to increase esters.

I still haven't gotten around to the T-58 batch yet. That's gonna be a funny beer (weird yeast (T-58), weird grains (60% rye), weird hops (argentinian cascade), and it was going to be my last of the "season" but now that September is approaching, the seasons are blurring. Geez, pretty soon it'll be time for ciders again.

In other homebrew-related news: My Chinook plant is doing pretty much as I expected. But the Cascade one has gone crazy with growth, and I have flowers in the first year! Only about 4 months old and I have maybe about a dozen flowers. Incredible. That wasn't supposed to happen.

long over-due brewing updates  [ Wed May 28 2008 2:58 PM ]

Batch 13 was undrinkable. Behold the overwhelming power of rosemary. :-/

Batch 14 turned out delicious, though I don't really taste anything from the agave. Next time I do this one, I'll still use some adjunct to keep it light, but maybe it'll be orange blossom honey or something like that. A few bottles left, but it's such a great drink for a hot day, and we've been having some hot days.

Batch 15, the doppelbock, seemed to go well and was only recently bottled. Haven't opened one yet.

Batch 16 was actually brewed by Sierra Blanca, and I finished it with a little Cascade and fermented with Wyeast 1332.

Batch 17 was just going to be a Belgian-style wit, but I screwed up and put in too much stuff, and it came out 9% ABV. So I call it an "Imperial Wit" as though I had meant to make it that high alcohol all along.

Batch 18 was fruity experiment in using Galena (normally a bittering hop) for taste and aroma as well. Also a little malted oats. Pretty nice, disappeared FAST (I guess I was understocked on pale ale) so I probably won't share this. Lots of ideas for how to improve this for next time.

Batch 19 was originally inspired by Rogue's Hazelnut Brown, but once I tasted how great of a brown ale I had made, I decided to back off on the hazelnut. Very nice, servable soon.

Batch 20 is an American Amber. I call it "German Immigrant" because the mash and brew start out looking almost like a bock, until near the end of the boil I started throwing in a bunch of American hops (Columbus featured in particular) and finished off my Wyeast 1332 colony. Also bottled, a week or two from being servable, I think.

Batch 21 is the "Ahtanum Thirstquencher." Low mash temp and Wyeast 1098 for serious dryness, and playing around with Ahtanum hops mainly just to learn what they taste/smell like. Recenty went into secondary.

Upcoming: TWO hefeweizens, identical except that one will be "normal" and one will use an experimental mash technique (maltase rest). Also an experimental one, featuring the return of rye (but just malt, no flakes), Argentinian Cascade, and a mysterious exotic yeast known only as T-58.

hops a hoppin'  [ Wed Apr 16 2008 6:18 PM ]

On Saturday, I dropped by Victor's to get a new airlock. They have (had?) hop rhizomes, so I bought a couple (one Cascade and one Chinook). Kat and I planted 'em in pots in her backyard on Sunday. It's only Wednesday, and I just got this text: The Cascade has broken the surface of the soil!

Thanks, Gordy!  [ Wed Apr 2 2008 2:52 PM ]

I'm honored.

brewing updates  [ Wed Jan 16 2008 12:31 PM ]

Ok, really I want to test a change to user blog replies, but I also noticed I haven't said much about my brewing lately, so let's make this a "real" entry.

Batch 10, known as "The Rye Disaster" had problems, as you might guess from the name. Sparging rye is a bitch, and I used a lot of rye. I was worried that the sparge went so long that I had extracted lots of tannins, but apparently that didn't happen. Also, it had a very gentle, subtle fermentation. I thought it was stuck and dead, but when I took a hydrometer reading a week after brewing, I said, "Oh, it fermented." The upshot of all this, is that the beer actually worked out fairly well. I bottled it about a week and a half ago, so it'll be ready soon.

It is a very weird beer. Rye has lots of beta glucans. These are polysaccharides that make the beer very viscous, pouring and feeling sort of oily. But it doesn't actually stick in your mouth or leave an aftertaste. It's actually not bad, just .. weird.

Batch 11 is a not-so-special English bitter. Nothing fancy here. Main purpose (other than having some generic beer around to drink) was to build the yeast cake for..

Batch 12 is a mocha stout. Holy crap this is good. Not yet bottled.

Batch 13 is sort of a scottish wee heavy, sort of a froach (heather ale), sort of a gruit. It is hopless, and very heavy on the heather. But it also has some yarrow and rosemary.

Batch 14 gets brewed tonight (or maybe tomorrow). This will be my first lager, and will use agave nectar and lime (lime zests and kaffir lime leaves).

After that grows my lager yeast cake, it'll be time for a dopplebock.

Batch 10-12 delays  [ Mon Nov 26 2007 4:17 PM ]

My order for various ingredients FINALLY shipped today. Last Wednesday, I knocked a few things (hops and heather) off of it that were holding it up, but somehow it didn't get out before the holiday hit. At least now, it's finally moving. 34 pounds by UPS ground. I doubt I'll be brewing this coming weekend, but *maybe* it'll get here on time.

Batch 10 will be a rye ale. Victor doesn't sell malted rye, which is why I had to order online, though I will also get some flaked rye from the co-op. I'm going to try to hit a reddish color, though I might come out a little darker than that. It's similar, in some ways, to what I was trying to do with batch 5, but lighter bodied and I'm not using any lactose or vanilla on it.

Batch 11 will be the mocha stout. Have to do a stout every few batches, ya know. And that will be the end of the WLP051 colony's enslavement.

Batch 12 will use a fresh colony of yeast, from Edinburgh. Yep, it's the return of Scottish ale, though differing from number 6 in a number of ways. The big one is that it will be totally hopless, with even more heather than last time. It will also be my biggest mash yet, over 8 pounds (mostly Golden Promise, but some specialty grains too) and a long, long boil (probably two hours). But it's still not all-grain: I'll be using some Munich extract. This is gonna be one malty beast!

After that, it's hard to see the future. The hop shortage is making some things hard.

Ooh, and somewhere in there, maybe even disrupting the aforementioned batch numbers, I just might try to sneak in my first lager. We'll see. I have this one room that gets really cold... Hm...

damn twinkle light parade  [ Mon Nov 26 2007 2:41 PM ]

That really stressed me out. I couldn't cross Central without going as far east as 2nd or as far west as Rio Grande (and even then, I had to sneak through someone's parking lot). And this was at 2 in the afternoon!

It didn't make any sense: you could drive on Central; you just couldn't turn off of it.

If this shit is supposed to make people feel good (e.g. "aww look at the pretty lights") it sure as hell backfired. When it takes me half an hour to drive to Lowes in the early afternoon, I don't feel good about anything.

Beer batch 9  [ Tue Nov 6 2007 5:22 PM ]

Heh, forgot to write it up here. Last Thursday night, I brewed a honey wheat ale.

You might be sippin' it with me, in about a month and a half.

I'll resume brewing on, oh, maybe, hmm, the weekend-after-next. Right now, all my carboys are full. Though "America Fuck Yeah" is looking pretty clear in its secondary. Maybe I'll bottle it this weekend?

Beer Batch 8  [ Mon Oct 22 2007 12:03 PM ]

Summer was too hot to ferment, so I took a few months off. October has brought relief.

About a week and a half ago, I started fermenting a cider: 5 gallons of apple cider from Dixon's farm, with 5 pounds of honey, and White Labs sweet mead yeast. (This isn't really a mead, though: I'd need at least twice as much honey for it to count as one. Still, I think this is probably a good yeast strain for the job.)

But the cider was just to get into the spirit of things. The season truly began last night, when I finally brewed my first BEER since the spring.

It's called "America, Fuck Yeah!" (because of the all-American ingredients; no brit stuff was used in this brew) and I've been mulling the recipe over in my head for probably 6 months.

It's an American Pale Ale (though with a touch of wheat, for no good reason). It's heavily hopped, probably *over* hopped. It was a partial mash (I mashed 4 lbs of barley and 2 lbs of wheat, and also used 5 lbs of DME). Bittered with 1 oz Chinook, flavored with lots of Simcoe (3.5 oz), and aroma-ed with Amarillo (1.5 oz). That's a lot of hops, and another .5 oz of Simcoe and .5 oz of Amarillo will dry-hop in secondary. (I think I probably should have cut the Chinook down to 3/4 oz, but we'll see.)

O.G. 1.056. I'm fermenting with White Labs California V ale yeast (WLP051, which I think is the same strain as Wyeast 1272).

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Rocky Votolato
Rocky Votolato6.7.2014
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