Saturday, August 09, 2008

I guess you call this the learning curve

I'm not too happy with this first all-grain batch. I think that I messed up the sparge. The OG was wa-a-a-ay too low. I just racked off to the secondary and measured the SG. Again, way too low. I took a sip and it's pretty watery. It's going to sit in the secondary for several weeks. (It will be that long until I can do anything with it.) We'll see... Maybe it will make a nice light beer.

(Of course the beauty of home brewing is that it's pretty cheap. I won't be out much at all if this goes down the drain.)

Sunday, August 03, 2008

OK... Time to try an all-grain brew

I'm trying an all grain recipe for the first time. This is an ale called "Raucous Red".

I've been slowly building up the stuff I need for a mash tun. I've got an Igloo water cooler and I've replaced the valve with a 1/2" ball valve. Inside, I've made a screen from the steel braid off of a 1" water line. The resulting loop looks like it covers the correct amount of the cooler's diameter. Not too close to the walls and not too far away. (I'll post pics later.) I also got a wort chiller today. It's an early birthday present from my lovely wife.

Another 45 minutes and it's time to sparge!


I'm doing my part to alleviate the hops shortage...

This is a Chinook hops. I also have some Willamette growing, though it's not nearly as prolific as the Chinook.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


Keep an eye on your mivonks, Barak!

I dunno... There's just something about the look in Jesse's eye in this pic...

Jesse Jackson, Obama, apology, sorry

...that ought to have Barak Obama checking his shorts now and then. I mean there's "change" and then there's "change"!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Webhosting update

It only took a about 5 days, but the host finally got back to me. They still won't 'fess up to a security breach. Their advice was a "stronger" password. Given that the old password was about 12 characters long and made up of several words run together, I don't think that password strength was an issue. I still think they got rooted.

It's been a week and a half...

I just put a sample bottle of the Irish Red Ale in the 'fridge to chill. I'll sample it tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I'm getting ticked at my Webhost

No, not the host for this page. Blogspot does a just plain ducky job of hosting blogs. I'm talking about a service I pay real, cashy money for to host a few sites.

The service, which will remain nameless for the time being, seems to have some "issues" with security patches. Google, the fine folks who run the fine site hosting this blog, flagged two of my sites last week as hosting malware. The "malware" was code injected by the host itself as part of a system upgrade. It didn't do anything more than tell them that the files were in the right place on their system. But, since that upgrade was finished a while ago, I decided that the code wasn't really needed anymore. So, to keep the Googlistas happy, I deleted the script. And sure enough, the Googlistas were indeed happy. The sites got a clean bill of health.

...Until today.

The "clean" sites suddenly sprouted real malware. (A virus/worm AVG identifies as Framer.Z) Now, the first thing one ought to suspect is a weak password; but, that wasn't the case here. We were using a nice, strong password on the site. A little Googling turned up several other customers of the unnamed host complaining about virus injections on their sites. Those same complaints pointed to a spotty job of patching their server software. Guys, if you're reading this and something seems familiar, you've got a week until this 5+ year customer wanders off of the reservation and stops recommending your to his clients.

Yeah, it's a Linux system and yeah, to those in the Windows World, Linux seems like rocket science; but really, it's not rocket science. You can patch a Linux system without having to reboot and without any downtime. There's no excuse for allowing someone to run around on your server adding scripts to everything named "index".

I'm waiting for a decent excuse from them as to how their system got rooted and how it will never happen again. Until then, however, I'm browsing the vast multitude of web hosting review sites out there.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Time to bottle!

The somewhat Irish Reddish Ale is ready to bottle. I yielded 44 bottles, including one pint flip-top bottle.

And heeeeeere they are...

(Cue the music!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Something's fishy...

Hmmm... Something doesn't add up. Pakistan is complaining after a US strike killed 11 Pakistani soldiers:
Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has condemned an air strike by Afghanistan-based US forces that Islamabad says killed 11 of its troops.

The incident took place inside Pakistan, near the border with Afghanistan.

The US military confirmed it had used artillery and air strikes after coming under fire from "anti-Afghan" forces.

The incident comes as relations between the US and Pakistan militaries have been hit by mounting tensions.

The soldiers' deaths occurred overnight at a border post in the mountainous Gora Prai region in Mohmand, one of Pakistan's tribal areas, across the border from Afghanistan's Kunar province.

Eight Taleban militants
(sic) were also killed in the clashes, a Taleban spokesman said.


A spokesman for a pro-Taleban militant group in Pakistan said it had
launched an attack on US and Afghan army troops trying to set up a
border control post.

"We launched an attack on them from several sides and caused serious
harm - and then the US and Nato forces began a series of air strikes,"
said the spokesman, Maulvi Umar.

Now here's what doesn't compute for me: If this is a case of "friendly fire" or plain, old fashioned recklessness, as the Pakistanis would have us believe, then how did eight Taleban terrorists get killed alongside the eleven innocent Pakistanis? In order for the Pakistanis and the Taleban to get killed side by side, they had to have been in close proximity before the shooting started. This, of course, should make us wonder what the Pakistanis were doing while the Taleban terrorists were shooting at the American and Afghan troops. Reloading?

Friday, June 06, 2008


Jonah Goldberg asks: Is Barack Obama the Messiah? A new religion, Obamanity, seems to be rising in our midst.

Friday, May 30, 2008

It looks reddish...

The airlock's quiet so into the carboy it goes. The color looks good, despite my screw-up on the grain. It smells great. It's been ~24 hours since I racked it off and it's settling out nicely already. Maybe I can bottle in a week or two?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Another brew

Yesterday was another brew-day!

I started a batch of what I hope will be a nice Irish red ale. At the moment, I don't know enough to design my own recipes, so I'm using a kit recipe from the local HBS. (They give you a break on the price if you do the leg-work and gather up the fixin's.) The recipe, however, called for two varieties of hops that they don't have in stock. So I had to make some substitutions. I also accidentally substituted a grain variety due to me not paying attention. (Oops!) So, this could be an Irish-ish Red-ish Ale.

At any rate... It sure smells good right now!

I've gone through ¼-to-½ of the first batch. That was an English Pub Ale. It was good after two weeks and it's getting better with each passing day.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


If you get cancer from eating carbon nanotubes, then you're doing something wrong! As far as I can remember, I've never seen anyone write about recipes that require nanotubes.

Carbon Nanotubes Could Be Toxic, More Study Recommended

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Mmmmm... Beer.

Oh yeah... It was worth the wait. Nice and hoppy, but not too bitter. I've had two so far this afternoon.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Bottled and resting...

OK... So I shoulda posted this earlier.

Bottling day was on April 26th. I yielded 38 bottles. It should have been more, but I didn't top off the fermentor to a full 5 gallons. (I don't know why, but it didn't occur to me until later that I should have done that. Oh well...)

It's been two weeks now. I tried a bottle after a week and the carbonation wasn't as much as it could have. We'll see what it's like now after a full two weeks.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Bottling day this weekend??

The brew is starting to clear up in the secondary. Time to bottle?? Maybe this weekend.

Update: Naaahhh... Not this weekend. Too much happening and the beer isn't quite clear enough yet. Another week or so won't hurt anything.

So far, so good

The wort was a wonderful color. (Yeah... I know; ya shoulda taken pictures, Red.) The yeast got happy. They got real happy after about 12 hours. Now it's time to rack off to the secondary fermentor.

Update: OK... Here's a visual aid...

My first batch

Unfortunately, there's no HTML tags for smell cuz it smells wonderful!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Taking the plunge...

(OK... I know that I haven't written anything for a while; not here, at least. I've done plenty of popping off over at FreeRepublic.)

For years now I've been interested in getting into home brewing. I don't know why, but it sounded like fun. There's just something appealing about a cooking process where time is an essential ingredient. Well, I've finally taken the plunge. As I write this, my first batch is boiling away on the stove. And so far, watching (mostly) water boil has been fun.

More later.