A Beer and a Dog

"Why should I blog about brewing?", I asked. "Nothing like a beer and a dog...", So Sayeth Virtual Wayne.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Tasted the Munich Cream ale after one week...

...slightly carbonated but not there yet. Tastes pretty good, Trishie will probably like it. You see, it is for her that I have been fooling with the Cream Ale style so much this year.

I had planned to brew another batch of Amber Ale yesterday but I felt like shite, as I did on Sunday. VW suggested that it was DFIRS (Delayed Flue Inoculation Reaction Syndrom) but I don't think so. I just had two days off in a row and it was time to get ill. Get it out of the way for the holidays, I raccoon. Jeff F. gave me enough grain to get the Amber Ale brewed and I have made up the recipe with the ingredients that I now have on hand. Should be ready to test next year... January? Febrewary? We will see.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Munich Cream Ale bottled

Got 53 12-oz. bottles out of this batch after adding corn sugar in 1 liter of water. Should be ready to taste by Christmas.

Friday, November 20, 2009

06A v4.0 has stopped bubbling....

I believe that I will rack to the secondary before I go to work this Ayem. Trish was not real happy with the dryness of the last couple batches of Cream Ale ("6A" as she calls it, a reference to the alpha-numeric style ID on the cap label). I'll rack to secondary sooner than usual and bottle after two weeks. Perhaps that will assuage her disappointment. And if this is the last batch of beer that I am ever able to brew, at least she will be happy.

Bonus Nachos!

And remember what the Virtual Philosopher, (Wayne Patrick Hammond) 'Virtual Wayne' once said to me:

"Dave, it's too late to undo the past, but you can still undo the future!"

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Cream Ale brew: v 4.0 Münich Cream Ale

It's been a while since I brewed... I decided that this Monday was the day to do it yet again. I planned to make it from mostly Münich malt, but I only had 5.44 lbs. left. And so I used up the rest of my Pale Ale malt and 2.75 lbs. of my Pilsner malt to make up the diff. And this time, I am using Fermentis American Ale 05 dry yeast to ferment with. This also has 2lbs. of corn meal in the grain bill so I had to cook this adjunct prior to mashing the rest of the grains.

If you have never had the safety plug blow on your pressure cooker,let me tell you: It is a glorious sight and sound! I had 2 lbs of corn cooking on med. with the 10 lb setting on the pressure relief valve in place... but the thing didn't do it's 10-lb dance. When suddenly...
Trish had retreated to the back of the house to escape my 'right wing' tv program (C-Span) only minutes before the cataclysm and when it went off, she came sailing out of the bedroom yelling for the dogs to evacuate the area, amid admonishments aimed at yours truly. She didn't see the sweet geyser of corn ejecting from the safety hole, but when she came back from securing the WonderDog Continuum, she saw it's aftermath. Picture this: She wasn't a happy camper for she had spent the best part of the day before cleaning the kitchen. "No more pressure cookers for you!", she said, adding that to the list of forbidden objects she began for me years ago. Double boilers? Verböten! Pressure cookers? Verböten! Well, at least I can still play with knives and guns.... and brew beer!

I've left the scene of the crime to start the next rest and set the timer on my phone to alert me to go heat the next measure of water. Still have more cleaning to do as well. Whether I clean the site to the molecular level or just get the great gobs, it won't be enough. Trish will clean it again. It looks like it is going to be a long day....

After all was done, the carboy held 5 gallons of sweet wort and this morning it was merrily bubbling away. I removed the blow off tube and installed an airlock filled with Bowman's Vodka. I also have about 3 liters of wort the last of the runnings from the lauter tun, to can for starters. I'll just have to use a canning pot rather than a pressure cooker.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tasting notes on Cream Ale 2.1.1

Trish said that the cream ale is too bitter... maybe next time I will either modify the hop schedule or reduce the secondary fermenter time (Probably that) to improve the balance. And I have 4 cases of the stuff to drink. On a different note, it does have a spicy taste, as I would like to see my Biere de Garde taste when I make that style. I like it! Trish will have to suffer thru this, I raccoon.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Cream Ale 06.B v3.0 Batch 2 is bottled

I left this batch in the secondary fermenter for 21 days as well, and I believe that next time I make cream ale I'll secondary for 14 days instead. Trish tasted the first bottle that was chilled and said that it was too bitter (she said hoppy...) and since I make this style for her I had better make sure that it pleases her palate.'

I did get (53) 12 oz. bottles, and the ABV calculates out to be 6.72%, which pleases me, but is outside style guidelines. I doubt that I'll enter this into a contest anywhere so I'll not worry about staying within style guidelines... the point of making your own beer is to make it to please your own palate, or to some parameter that is the goal du jour.

Have to brew more Americam Amber Ale... and soon: I only have 10 bottles left... I think that I gave away more than I usually do. I was really pleased with it and wanted to share.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

First batch of 6A. v3.0 ready to test

Got home from a friend's house tonite (after stopping there on the way home from work) and poured a bourbon, and came down to the 'Cave to do computer stuff. The first batch of 06A v.3.0 is ready to taste this weekend. Altho' I DID put a bottle of it into the packets of smoked brisket as braising liquid over the past weekend, I am ready to actually chill & drink a bottle this weekend. Huzzah. The next batch is going to be bottled in about 3 weeks. I'm going to run out of AAA (10B) before then; I'll send a couple sixers of 06A to TAFTHB day when that arrives. I really need to brew more beer, and soon.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Bramwell Oktöberfest 2009

And as it turns out, I will be attending this year after all! My home brew Homeboy Bryan's wife canceled at the last possible moment and Bryan put the call out into the ether: does anyone wish to go with him? Sure, I said! And I'll take my 10B. v2.1.1 with me for entering into the homebrew contest. The OG is about 15 points higher than style indicates, but what the heck, I like it. And I'm sure that the judges will too! Bwa-haha! Maybe Bryan and I will clean up for the club this year, as we are the only two going. The rest of the brew crew will be attending Blacksburg's Brew Doo on the same day.(Did I just step in some Brew doo?) Maybe they will clean up at that festival.

I have my labels made & 'banded onto my bottles and I'll be ready to roll at the appointed hour. More on this after the fact.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bottled Cream Ale v3.0 Batch 1 this AM...

This came out around 7.5% ABV, which is higher than I expected, even after adding water at secondary to lower the 'starting gravity'. Oh, well. I'll drink it.

Brewed the Batch 2 of Cream Ale, same recipe version on Sunday. Great day to brew. Added an additional gallon & change at mid boil and wound up with 5.5 g. in the primary. Adjusted my calcs accordingly.

And now, I have an issue: Looks like I'm running out of bottles! I have some with labels still on them, and I'll have to clean the labels off of them before I bottle the next batch of beer.

I'm also out of: Corn sugar; cap labels; and I broke the thingy that I use to clean the inside of the bottles before sanitizing. Got to get a new one of them. I'm also out of Pale Ale malt. 50 lbs sure doesn't seem to go that far.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Waiting for Godot...

Drinking a Biere de Garde after a couple American Amber Ales. Contemplating when to bottle the Cream Ale v3.0.... This weekend, or next? We'll see...

I was thinking the other day about my next batch of Cream Ale: Should I use a champagne yeast, and call it 'Sparkling Cream Ale', or use the final batch of yeast that I have in the fridge for fermenting as a standard Cream Ale? I was thinking of Champale, from my childhood. Is it a real style anymore? Who nose? Maybe I should make it and submit it to Sam Adams in their next Homebrewer's Competition. Would be a hoot if it made an impression. We'll see...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Drinking Beer...

Got home from work a while ago and was puttering around the computer and drinking beer, as is the way of my people. I am about out of the v2.1.1 of American Amber Ale, but I have v3.0 in bottle and under refrigeration, as well as almost half a case of Biere de Garde in a drinkable state as well. Will bottle the Cream Ale in a week or two, depending on the gravity reading that I get when I test it in a week and two. I am considering buying hops to brew another batch of Cream Ale on Sunday, even tho' I have to go to work from 9:00 AM til 1:00 PM to do inventory. (Inventory sucks the bigun!) I know that I won't have to do the truck on Monday, so I can brew beer into the late evening on Sunday without screwing up my sleepless pattern any more than is necessary. I have the last generation of the yeast that I used for the two American Amber Ale batches and the one Cream Ale batches left in the fridge and I guess I'll use it for another Cream Ale, as Trish likes that style. More as it happens...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Beer meeting good.

Went to the September meeting on Saturday. Took a crock full of BBQ, brought home half of it. (Yippee! Lunch for CyberDave!)

Took some BBQ and several beers to Cap'n Eddie after work today, he was pleased with it all. If you remember, it was Cap'n Eddie that gave me a lift back to the States on his tramp steamer after the ill-fated Katonga safari in Africa....

Sipping on an American Amber Ale v3.0 as I write this tome. Should cellar a month or two more, but is palatable, now.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Racked 06A to Secondary with additional water

Learned a few things about this adjustment soiree: 1) Don't try to estimate the water to boil after you know how much you need. Boil more than you need and cut it off when you reach the goal as are adding it to the carboy. 2) It might be a good idea to rack it from the kettle to the carboy rather than pouring it ever so slowly into the bottling bucket. The water might be getting more O in it when you pour.

I've completed the dilution and it is at 5.25 gallons rather than the desired 6. That made the 'OG' 1.066 rather than the desired 1.057.

Looking forward to sampling this experiment!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cream Ale is a little lower in volume than planned...

..So... After getting input from fellow brewers and from brewing linx on the net I have decided to make an addition of 1/2 gallon of water before I rack to the secondary, placing the boiled and cooled water into the carboy first. To minimize aeration I'll put the water into the bottling bucket and attach a hose to the cock, lower the hose to the bottom of the carboy, and open the cock. THEN: I will rack to the secondary. What about the OG? That was 1.077 at 4.5 gallons. Recalculating it thusly:
SG=Starting Gravity = 1.077 = 77 Gravity Points
V1(ferm) = Volume in Fermenter = 4.5
OG = 1.055 (intended OG)= 55 Gravity Points

To determine the volume to add to achieve the intended gravity of your wort in the secondary fermenter, divide the SG points by the OG points and mulitply by the V1 volume.
SG/OG x V1 = 77/55 x 4.5 gallons = 6.3 gallons 6.3-4.5= 1.8 gallons of water to get 1.055 gravity.

I want 5 gallons rather than 6.3 gallons which is more volume than I have carboy space for.

To determine a gravity for a specific volume:
V2=5 gallons.
OG = (((V2 / V1) x SG)*1000) + 1 = 69.3 = 1.069 OG.

I think that I'll use a 6 gallon carboy to secondary in and will have a 1.057 OG.

Monday, September 7, 2009

090905 - 6A v.3.0 Cream Ale brewed...

This is my first Cream Ale since I completed the American Amber Ale series.

This beer has a corn adjunct (Corn meal). Prep work began AROUND 8:15 AM. Prep work: Cook 2lbs corn meal in a pressure cooker for 15 min. at 10 lbs. in 5-1/2 quarts water which was drawn from 8 quarts in a bucket. After finished cooking added cornmeal to remaining of 8 quarts water in the bucket and stirred til it was mostly homogenized. Added the final 1.2 quart of water to achieve 101°F, within 1° of goal. Placed barley and wheat into Mash bucked and added the corn/water mix, stirring to include all but the bottom inch of grist. This worked to prevent a stuck mash, as I had hoped! NOTE: Next time, heat corn and water over MED heat in cooker and stir to keep in flux, and when it is starting to steam, put the lid on the pressure cooker! This batch burned on the bottom but I didn't use the burned parts.

Started brewing at 9:30 when mash was started in tun.

Boil began at 1:20 PM: Volume Into Boiler: 7 g. Next time, add 1/2G. water to at 60 min. OG Into Boiler: 1.032 @ 144°F = 1.048 OG

4 g. sparge;
Had to do a decoction, 6 qt. thin mash, to bring up to mash out temp.

I use a large muslin bag that is normally used to remove seeds and husks from grape pressings to separate most of the hops and crap from the wort. After cooling, I line the bottling bucket with the bag and pour the contents of the kettle into the bucket, then remove the bag with all of the toss-ables in it.

Tapped, to using my false bottom in the bottling bucket, (This works well) into Primary. Pitched the 2nd generation of the yeast that I saved from my V3.0 of American Amber Ale. Will save this last generation of yeast after primary, before buying new vial.

I have 4.5 gallons of beer in the primary bubbling merrily away. A nice brew session with very little clean up necessary to floors & driveway...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Tasting AAA v2.1.1

Tastes pretty good. Well balanced between bitterness and malt sweetness. Nice aroma of Cascades hops. I give it a 49 out of 50 points. Because I SAID so, that's why!

Time to re-stoke the fridge with a couple cases of this tasty nectar!

I bottled the v3.0 this morning before going to work and discovered (file that under 'Duh')that I can download templates into Word for the stickers that I put onto the caps to ID the beer. I can also put the date and the version level at 10 point text. Sweet!No more marking with cheesy markers of dubious freshness. Bwa-haha. maybe I should use a smaller font and add the ABV. A story for the next batch.

I was going to brew a new batch of Cream Ale on my day off but the High Command vetoed that on Dog reasons. Dog Zeppo. I humbly acquiesced.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cream Ale 06.B v3.0

I'll try to brew another batch of Cream Ale on my day off, Tuesday. Trish likes it and so do I, and I have the reserved yeast that I took from the Primary fermenter of my American Amber Ale in the fridge that can be used for Cream Ale. I want to get this recipe nailed down as I have for the AAA. More as it happens....

Sunday, August 16, 2009

August meeting was a hoot

While we arrived 2 hours late, we did manage to see the Tech Talk portion of the show on gravity readings. Two members discussed and demonstrated the proper use of hydrometers and optical measuring tools. Was interesting and sparked lively debate from the floor. I picked up a few pointers that will be useful.

The food table looked like it was hit by a swarm of locusts in a plague by the time we got there but there was enough to graze upon including my chili, which was all gone in an hour or so. We all had opportunity to sample a beer or two that Doug brought back from the far reaches of the Empire while on business trips, and there was of course, much beer to be snarffed down. A good meeting all in all!

The AAA in the secondary that is still dry hopping is pretty well saturated with hops. Today I believe that I will introduce the gelatin wash to help clear it for bottling. Bottling should be around the last of August, or first part of September. By that time 10B.v2.1.1 should be ready to sample, and hopefully be ready for the September meeting.

I replaced a case of the Biere de Garde on the cellaring shelves to sit for another two months. It is still a little sweeter than I would hope it would be for dissemination. I'd better plan another brew session for the end of August or first part of September... What will it be? Hmmmm.....

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Bwa-hahaha! What a find!

I bottled the American Amber Ale the other day and as I was putting the cases on the rack that I use for bottle storage and for cellaring, what should I see but 1-3/4 cases of Biere de Garde that I bottled a couple months ago! I'd forgotten about them! I do recall that I wanted to cellar that beer a little longer... and it looks like I did. It tastes a little heavy on the hop bitterness but the malty sweetness isn't cloying, and it is very nice. Will pair well with BBQ or sumptin' spicy, I'm sure. I'm going to make BBQ or Chili for the Brew Club meeting on Saturday so I'll take plenty of this! Bwa-haha!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

10B v3.0 in Secondary

I racked the next version of 10B to the secondary the other day. The hops are a-floating in the neck of the carboy and no secondary fermenting is visible as was the case with 2.1.1 when I placed it in the secondary. I'll leave this batch in for about three weeks or so, depending upon how fast the hops descend to the bottom. The last batch was in secondary for about 30 some days.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Day Three 10B 3.0

The fermentation is still bubbling away merrily, and though I used a blow off tube rather than an airlock, I will keep the tube just in case it takes off with a life of its' own. A little joke there: it has a life of its' own, millions of them, the yeastie beasties. I only have about a half-dozen bomber bottles left of the first batch left in the fridge and I am meting them out as if they are precious. I gave one to Luke at the VEC, because he is a friend and I've been promising him some beer all year - but haven't made the time to follow thru on my word. Now, I've kept my word. I'll have to go to the VEC today to follow up on re-applying for assistance in locating a job and I'll see what he thought about it. I like the feedback, good or bad. It's a brewer's thang... you understand.

I added the gelatin to the batch in the Secondary fermenter yesterday. Gelatin will capture particulates that make your beer hazy and deposit them in they yeast bed in the bottom of the fermenter. Occasionally a gob will get sucked into the racking cane when you are bottling and that last swallow of yeasty beer in the bottom of the bottle contains what seems like is a booger. A strange feeling to be sure! Mmmmm.... Booger beer!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Another batch in the Primary Fermenter

Started brewing another batch of American Amber Ale (10B v3.0)at 9:00 AM. All went well, no boil-overs, I didn't put the wrong hops in this time, and after the wort cooled in the fermenter for a couple hours (just to be on the safe side) I pitched the yeast that I got from the primary of the last batch, and attached a blow-off tube in case it starts to ferment voraciously.

My home boy, The Homes, stopped by and shot the shite with me for a few hours and left a little while before I was ready to transfer the wort into a bucket for transport down to the basement. He and I work together and we both had the day off today. Homes hooked up with a couple of his pals to drink and carry on up into the night. I can't do that anymore... now that I am a Young Geezer. D'wanna, anyhow. I learned my lesson back in the mysterious times now referred to only as 'The Day'.

This batch of AAA should be within style guidelines, and I have the procedure documented well enough by now to be able to replicate it at some point in future.

Next time, another style. But that will be a story for another day.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day off tomorrow. Brewing another batch of AAA

...unless The High Command has other ideas for my time.

I have reduced the weight of grain in the grain bill, shooting for an in-tolerance example of AAA rather than the higher gravity examples that the last two have been, my goal being to get the recipe nailed down so that at points in future I can reproduce the same results without playing a guessing game. Then... on to the next style.

I was trying to do that with the Cream Ale recipe but came up with such a wide range of results that I gave up on that one for the time being, and will address it at another point in historie.

Still, while the AAA that I've made in these last few trials have suited my palate, I want to be able to replicate those brews as well. May not win any competitions but they are pleasant to me and to the people with whom I've shared them.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Sipping on a beer after work...

AAA... Mmmm.... I opened a bomber when I got home from work and sat on the deck smoking me a good cigarette and enjoying the day, and the beer.

Ahhhh.. a nice end to the day so far. Trish just got home. Discovered that Dog Crimes have been committed in the kitchen (Dog Angel splashed out the water dish, her way of saying, "I'm pissed,. Humaan Dave!", as I took Dog Zeppo out to hand-empty him before I took Angel, the Alpha Wonderdog) O-ell.

Racked the second batch of AAA to the secondary yesterday... did I post that already? When I looked at it this AM, I found that the stopper had been blown out, and it was laying on the floor. Hopefully, no nasties got into the carboy while it was open to the atmosphere. I dry-hopped it with an ounce of pellet Cluster hops, so if any nasties got in maybe that killed them. I'll not know for a month or so, when I can sample it.

I saved the yeast bed from the primary to use in the next batch. I was hoping to brew tomorrow, my day off this week, but the dryer died on us and i have to get another one, a loaner from Bard & John. Maybe I can anyway, a late brewing session. We will see what is happening, tomorrow...

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Racking AAA2.1 to Secondary

As it turned out, the OG on this batch was almost identical to the previous one. I suppose that I should reduce the weight of grain in the grain bill to bring the ABV to a level within style guidelines, altho' I DO like being able to get a nice buzz on one bottle of beer. Very efficient.

Racking AAA2.1 to Secondary today. I was given a flask by a fellow brewer into which I will pour the goop in the bottom of the Primary, and an open-celled foam stopper to plug it with. I'll place it in the Fridge and next time I brew a beer using WLP-001 I will use this yeast. That should save a few bucks in this hand-to-mouth society that we have come to be living in. My homeboy said that I can take three cultures without problems of mutant yeast. (Wonder what it would produce, this Mutant Yeast? Coca-Cola? Scotch? Might be worth trying....)

Also was given a Crown Royal bag to put the flask into, to keep light out. Say, I believe that I have a 1.7 liter sized bag around here somewhere that I can use on my starter likker bottle... a 1.7L Old Forester bottle. I've been putting it in the closet to make the starters to keep it away from light sources, hoping that Trish doesn't knock it off when she is getting something off of the shelf. Mental note: find it.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nothing like getting back from your beer club meeting...

...and having a dog piss-soaked dogbed thrust beneath your nose,,,

We just got in from my beer club meeting and I am feeling fine, and not only that but I am drinking another beer as well... I had retreated to The Man Cave to avoid an uprising over... anything.... and Trish came downstairs with a piss soaked dog bed which she thrust beneath my nose and accusingly said, "Dog Zeppo pissed his bed.. and it had enough time to soak through the cover and the foam padding....!" Translation: I stayed too long and it was all my fault. "Why don't you put oh the rubber gloves and clean it up???" Under my breath: "Because I am shite faced"

Ah, life is a cabaret, ole chum....

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Grocery List...

My recipe for the American Amber Ale that I have started drinking:

9 Lb. Pale Malt (2 Row) Bel
2.5 Lb. Munich Malt - 20L
.5 Lb. Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L
.75 Oz. Warrior Hops (60 min.)
.5 Oz. Warrior Hops (40 min.)
.5 Oz. Cascade Hops (2 min.)
1 Oz. Cascade Hops (Dry Hop, Secondary fermenter)
.25 tsp. Irish Moss, 10 Min.
.5 tsp. Coriander, 10 min.
1 vial of WLP-001 yeast

I have to take stock of the hops that I have on hand and go to Blue Ridge Hydroponics & Home Brew Supply today or tomorrow and get the ones I need, plus a new hydrometer. (I broke the old one, something that happens often, last time I was cleaning up) I have all of the grains on hand and the rest of the stuff. I hope to brew on Sunday, or my next day off. Oh, and the yeast. Must have yeast. I really need to make this style of beer more often; I like it very much.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

AAA on line

My American Amber Ale has been in the fridge almost a week and has cleared up rather well. I like the taste and the guys that we partied with from the brewery down South gave me good comments on it. Hopefully they were being square with me and not trying to avoid insulting their guest. Here is a pic from just moments ago of a glass and the bomber from whence it came, sitting upon my Grandfather's roll top desk:

American Amber Ale on Grandpa's Roll Top Desk.

Cousin Don's Roll Top Desk, I should say as I gave it to him, me feeling that his clan lost out on a lot of the good cargo when The Old Ones crossed the river and rested beneath the trees. Whenever he comes up from Texas for a visit, he or his next of kin if it takes that long, are welcome to haul it back to their territories. Even if I have joined my Fathers.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Floyd Fandango

Doug and I took the parkway to the fest site and checked in as volunteer pourers, he for the 11am-4pm shift, me for the 4-9pm shift. While Doug was pouring, I was sampling the beers. We filled in for Fran & Chris of Blue Ridge Hydroponics & Home Brew Supply when they got weary, as did the other club members that attended.

The food that was available was great. I had some paella,
or whatever you call the stuff for lunch and a measure of grilled chicken thigh with rice & grilled veggies for supper. (You might have noticed that I had snarfed down about half of the stuff before I thought to take a picture) The beer was mostly superb!

I started my shift pouring as the band that I wanted to see, Buckwheat Zydeco, began playing. At least you could hear the music from wherever you were at the place. There was much good music to be heard. The last Band, MoFro, played some blues that was just excellent.

Head Brewer Jamie, and Doug 'splain beers to Madame Butterfly

After the soiree closed down, Doug & I reconnoitered the wooded area below the festival area for a place to set up our tents. The people from one of the breweries that attended invited us to come on down to their campsite to eat and party with them into the night, which we did, and a good time was had by all. Foot Hills Brewery , I believe that it was. Yes: Look at the banner behind them, above.

Doug and I crashed around 1:00 AM and the Pavlovian response that the Wonder Dogs have conditioned into me awoke me aroung 6:30 AM. We broke down the tents and cooked bacon, eggs, and toast for breakfast and hit the long lonesome highway back to Roanoke around 8-8:30.

A great time was had by all. Next adventure: Microbe Festus!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Dog Zeppo has issues

Trish took The Dog Zeppo to see the doc yesterday and found out that he has two fused disks and Arfer-itis. This makes it hard for him to navigate the steps down to the dog yard - so he has to be Hand-Emptied. The disk thing makes it painful for him to squat to take a shite... so he doesn't. Either. The mysterie of the phantom dog-shite-er is solved. The other day after feeding the dogs, someone took a mighty dog-shite in the kitchen. We thought that it was Nixie, since he has a guilty look anyway and was scooting out of the scene, probably so he wouldn't be blamed. Now, it seems that Zeppo just couldn't hold it in after breakfast any longer and just let it fly. The doc said that he is losing weight too, and that we should feed him three times a day instead of two, as we have been doing. Poor Zeppo....

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Ahh.... AAA ready to be drunk upon!

I couldn't wait for tonite: I had to open one of the two bottles that I put into the fridge last nite to see if my American Amber Ale is ready. And so it is. Not a lot of head retention, but it seems to be sufficiently carbonated. Looks like I forgot to add the Irish Moss when I brewed (tho' the Gelatin should have helped the clarity) but the taste is the important thing, not it is? My brewing program's calcs say that the ABV is 8.63%, but having discovered that the scale that I use to weigh my grain seems to be off due to low batteries, I suspect that the grain weight was maybe a pound more than I thought which would make the alcohol level about 6.4% ABV... which is what it tastes more like. (Mental note: go to Radio Shack; Make some standards to weigh against)

Tic Tacs doing their job, tho' each time I pop one, I think about buying some tobacco. Must... be.... strong...! I know that after a few days or a week or so, I'll feel better and be glad that I held out. Maybe I should do what I did one time and put the cost of tobacco into the safe each time that I felt the urge, and when I have enough, buy a toy. A rifle, last time I did that, maybe some brewing equipment this time... as a prize for persevering.

And on another note, this weekend is Floyd Fandango. I am attending, along with some of my hombrew homeboyz and gurls.... we will be, in exchange for a free entrance, pouring beer or wine, and getting free tokens for beer (or whine) for our services. Trish told me that she couldn't attend with me, so I guess I can camp out the nite of the 4th. You see, her idea of 'Roughing it' is a night at Motel 6. Perhaps I'll have lusty tales of adventure when I return...

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Many things happened today. Or not.

Today I had: 3-1/2 cigarettes. (Mental note: see what phase the moon is in on 06/30/2009) Not really craving one. Want one to a mild degree, but not a problem as it was the other week when I decided to stop. Didn't last four hours that day.

I bummed a smoke from someone at work in the late AM and discovered that after smoking, I was hot and sweaty like I have been since the weather turned hot. Hmmm. I went to Kroger tonite to get some goods and didn't think of buying tobacco or cigarettes until I was in checkout, when I saw the Tic Tacs. I added two boxes of 'Tacs to my bounty of truck. If I feel weak, I will pop tic tacs.

I remembered that tomorrow is Barb's birthday. HBD, Barb! Love yez! I also remembered why I remembered. At least I remembered!~

I loaded Windows 7 RC on a Virtual Machine in my computer the other day and downloaded updates today. It is interesting. But, that's a story for another day....

Sunday, June 28, 2009

AAA tastes great!

Probably not less filling, but WTF... I'm a beer guy. It needs to bottle finish about a week more to improve the carbonation level, but the mouthfeel now is pretty good already. Will have to make this again and again!

Tried another bottle of the Biere de Garde.... still needs finishing. I'll let it go another month in the cellar before I try again. Not much carbonation and the mouthfeel is not all that impressive yet. As a worse case scenario, it will make excellent cooking beer: braising liquid, stews, BBQ, etc. if it doesn't turn out well enough to share with my homies.

Fourth and 5th of July is Floyd Fandango. I, and my home brew home boyz & gurls will be attending to pour beer for free admission, and to help Blue Ridge Hydroponics & Homebrew Supplies' owners, Chris & Fran, man their booth. Trish may go... we'll see. If not, I'll camp. This is supposed to be a nice soiree...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Yo-yo-yo...! CyberDave Raps....

I gots me a rap joint to doo-dah on the homies when they starts bustin' a rhyme on me:

(doomp-doomp CHHH, Ch-doomp-doomp CHHH, Ch-doomp-doomp CHHH, Ch-doomp-doomp CHHH-)

My name is CyberDave from the 'C on Willy-D,
Come on in and buy your drink from me;
We got your 'Henny;
We got your 'Patrome' (Patron..),
Come-in-the-house - buy-it-from-me
And You can take it home!

(Ch-doomp-doomp CHHH, Ch-doomp-doomp CHHH, Ch-doomp-doomp CHHH, Ch-doomp-doomp CHHH...)

Now, ev'ry body knows that stealing is wrong;
that's one of the reasons that I wrote this song.
I go a white dog, a a big Samoyed - 
If I see some stealin', she will bites 'em on the head!
..when I say: "Kill, Whitey!"

(Ch-doomp-doomp CHH, Kill, Whitey! - CHHH-Ch-doomp-doomp CHHH...)

So if you do your shoppin’ at
The 'C on Willy-D,
Keep your hands on your ‘unit’ an’ your eyes on what you see:
'Cause if a joint of 'Goose goes into your 7-Day 'Shitters,
I'll say: “KILL Whitey!” and she'll have you for her dinner!
"Kill, Whitey!"

(CHH, Ch-doomp-doomp,
Kill, Whitey!, CHH-Ch-doomp-doomp CHHH...)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The meeting went well...

I entered my Biere de Garde as a Saison, and got 24 out of 50 points, still a "good" beer. I wasn't surprised that the score wasn't higher as it wasn't the style and I got a lot of good feedback on the beer. One thing for sure, I need to cellar the stuff longer to get sufficient carbonation. As a Biere de Garde, it seems to be very close to style, by looking at the BJCP guidelines for the style.

On Sunday I bottled my American Amber Ale. The FG was 1.004... making me wonder whether it will carbonate very soon. Should have bottled sooner, I think. Time will tell. I bottled two plastic bottles to pressure test for carbonation and got 12 bomber style bottles and 24 12 oz. bottles out of the 5 gallons that I drew from the secondary.

During cleanup, I broke my hydrometer. They are always getting broken... should maybe get a case of them one day.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

June Brew Club Meeting

Today is the June brew club meeting day. I'm entering my Biere de Garde as a Saison - they are probably close enough to pass - and beside I want some feedback. I tasted one the other night and it tasted cloyingly sweet despite finishing at 1.013, with insufficient carbonation. (Hopefully both issues will improve with age) I used a bottle of the stuff to braise the tenderloin that I BBQ'd the other day. If it doesn't get any better, I can use the Biere de Garde for cooking - one of the benefits of a bad batch: you can use it to cook in many cases. After braising, I poured the juices over the pulled meat to add a little more moisture and fat since the 'loin is pretty lean. Or was it shoulder? I should have read the package. Might have been shoulder, but it was still pretty lean. Anyhow, Trish and I will go to the meeting after I get off of work today. Thank goodness that we're not doing inventory this week; I hate doing inventory after a night of revelry.

Tomorrow I may brew a Blonde ale, but I'll have to get the yeast on Monday after work. Wasn't sure what I was going to brew when I was at Blue Ridge Hydro & Homebrew Supply the other day but after tasting one of Bryan's Blond Ales, I thougth that it was just the thing. More later.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Another Dave in Paradise...

I used a bottle of my Biere de Garde to braise the pork loin that I barbecued yesterday, leaving it in the oven for 5 hours at 225° and in another hour with the heat turned off. It came out fork-tender and it tastes delicious! The beer, however, needs another month to condition, I am guessing. Maybe more. No carbonation other than bottle pressure and cloyingly sweet, despite finish gravity reading of 1.013. I'll enter it as a Saison in the club competition anyway, tomorrow. At least I'll get some feedback.

I could have brewed yesterday but it just wasn't in me after I got rolling in the morning. Besides, the yeast that I have on hand (Munton's Ale yeast) was three years past use by date. Couldn't have been any good. Maybe I'll add it to the AAA when I bottle just in case there is a spark of life left in it. Instead of brewing, I went to Bryan's and kept him company while he brewed, then went to the hardware store for some drain cleaner and then home to to things around the house. Blah. Another wasted day, for all practical purposes.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Strange day...

And another strange day at The Gov'nor's Palace...

But that is another story. For another day. I watched 'Rescue Me' on F/X network tonite and drank Scotch (lacking Irish) along with Tommy. Smoked cigarettes during the commercials. Tommy has the life I want to have -interesting encounters with others, drinking Irish Whisky, working. The working part is the important part - I want to have a job where I enjoy the work; I enjoy parts of the likker peddling trade, but others suck. Like the pay, the part time status, no bennies, the ever increasing petty rules that are handed down by the petty overlords.... it sucks in that respect. I DO enjoy the parts where I communicate with the Pilgrims, though. That is what keeps me sane. Even when I feel like shite, when I parlay with the Pilgrims I get to feeling better. And eventually I AM better. However, I expect to be summoned to the castle at any time...

A customer came in today and said that the White House had taken over NBC. Now as we all know, NBC has been in the tank for Obama since Day One.... but this is a bit frightening: when dictators take over countries, the first thing that they do is to take over the media. Wonder what is in store next? Hmmm....

Friday, June 12, 2009

Got a large, hoppy beer from Wine Gourmet...

Hop Stoopid Ale, 102 IBUs, 8% ABV. Lagunitas brewery. Tastes very good. Hoppy taste, but not aroma. Didn't bring my reading glasses so I dunno where that is. Oh yeah, I could Clusty it... but d'wanna.

Geletin is a-floating

...on the top of the AAA. Soon, it will be descending into the deep, taking many particulates with it to rest amongst the yeasties. Then I can bottle and wait for carbonation to finish. Mmmm.... American Amber Ale.....

I checked my lottery ticket on the web this AM and as usual, I didn't win anything. No lucky break for Cyberdave in that sector of life. Maybe I'll get lucky elsewhere.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

AAA still going well

I added the gelatin the other day and slightly swirled the carboy each morning since to help the hop pellets lose their buoyancy and begin their casual journey to the bottom. Just a few pellet pieces left this AM, and I can't tell about the gelatin. It is still slightly cloudy, but another week or so in the secondary and it should clear up nicely.

I was given a 4 gallon bucket with a gasket, all food grade materials, from a guy that works at a McDonald's. It was a pickle bucket in it's original designation on this plane of reality. I cleaned it well and will store some of the 50 lbs. of grain that I got from a local brewery which was already crushed... in hopes that it will last longer. We forgot to tell the guy making the order that we wanted un-crushed grain and they send it pre-crushed - at an extra .10¢ at lb. Still got a pretty good deal on the purchase, though. Maybe I need to make another batch of something soon to use up more of the crushed grain that won't fit into the pickle bucket. Wonder what kind it will be this time? Still haven't gotten a lagering temperature controlled atmosphere at hand since the freezer went out...

Monday, June 8, 2009

...I shoulda used the beer in the broken bottle!

And after the last dram of the brown goodness went to Davy Jones' Locker... it then struck me: I could have put 16 oz. into a plastic bottle and used it to squeeze test for carbonation! As the philosopher Homer said:


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Got my Biere de Garde bottled with a few glitches

I rounded up a few Champagne and Saison bottles to put some of my Biere de Garde into and broke out the capper that I got somewhere... for capping tall bottles. Mental note: Adjust the capper before filling the bottles with beer. See images.

I did get one bomber bottle and 48 12-oz. bottles of beer. The FG was 1.013 and the ABV is 7.58%. I'll shelf it all for a week to let the carbonation start and then put it all into the fridge and wait for it to finish. Will take at least three weeks.... maybe more.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Work's over and done with for the day.... But...

I went to Blues Barbecue after work tonight and had a beer. I talked to Steve, the bartender, for a while and was enjoying being there. The tables outside we all taken and I was the only one at the bar. Steve said that the night had been horridly slow. Just a few To-Go orders and the people outside sipping on beers and mixed drinks was all the business that they had had to that point. The night before had rocked, but tonight was deadsville. I ordered another of the same (Redhook ESB) and went outside to smoke me a good cigarette. I put my cell phone on the table beside me just in case....

After smoking, I returned to the bar and talked to Steve for a little bit. He gave me a taste of their new white wine, from South America, and when I returned to my beer I got a call from The High Command: My yard pass had been canceled. I told her that I was going to have another beer and would bring her some fried grits afterward. And I did.

When Trish opened the box and looked inside she saw that the sauce (Italian dressing) was missing - which pissed her off to an extent. Screwed again. I asked her, "I guess that I could have just stayed out instead of coming home then?" (Smart ass....) "No!", she said "You would think that they would know that they had forgotten the sauce!" "I will mention it to Steve next time that I'm in, then..." I told her. Maybe he will comp me something. A beer or something. We'll see.

I brought a liter of water to boil and added 3.8 ounces of corn sugar and after the sugar was dissolved, I put the lid on the pot and brought it downstairs to use as a primer for the Biere de Garde when I bottle tomorrow. Then I opened another beer and hit the internet....

And had another dream of working at.....

...at 'THAT place'... muttered under my breath with my eyes rolled back in the sockets and a drooling snarl upon my face.... Kafka would understand, I'm sure....

So there I was: recovering from the flood of '85, I suppose, only I was working in an outbuilding with a dirt floor and the electricity on a timer... I wasn't getting anything done because there was no computer. Then there was a computer - and another dude, my replacement, working with it. I left at 6:00 and as I was leaving I found a wallet of valuables belonging to another coworker, which I returned despite being short of valuables mice elf. You see, even in the world o' dreams it is my way.

Another in a never-ending saga of despairing dreamage action. Hope that the day goes better. Tune in for the next exciting episode. Live long and perspire.

AAA Going well in Primary

The AAA looks good. It still isn't time to add the gelatin yet, there is still some Cascades a-floating on the top that needs to assimilate. The Biere de Garde is ready to bottle. Sunday, as was fortold by the prophecies... Will do the primer before I go to work today just in case I go D&W tonite.

Friday, June 5, 2009

IE 8 Bad

Downloaded IE 8 the other day and found that the illegal software that I got from Bobo, the Williamson Road drug & illegal software lord, wouldn't work. Damn! Those crafty Pangolian Software minions of MS!

I will go to work at one-ish today, and this AM I'm taking Trish to see her health care professionals that gave her such a hard time yesterday that she cried for hours after I got home yesterday, and who knows how long before that. She called me at work yesterday just as I was clocking out and wailed about what had happened... I didn't understand... and I told her that I would be home in 15-20 minutes and she could explain all. I'm thinking, if the professionalism of medical office personnel is at this level now, to what level will it deteriorate once ObamaCare is instituted and the Health Care Per-fessionals will all be surly Public Servants, waiting for quitting time in the short term and the juicy Federal retirement package in the long term. I'm hoping that ObamaCare will have an Euthanasia programme as the Opt-Out choice; Send me to the Soylent factory!

Thursday, June 4, 2009


Yesterday began with me communing with Pops, feeding the dogs, and watching a little news before getting ready for work. I shaved & took a shower, dried my shimmering bod, opened the drawer, picked up the tube and hosed some goo onto my toothbrush and I began cleaning the gunk out of my teeth. It tasted funny... had a funny smell, too. Maybe some rancid meat from a meal this week that the floss missed? No.... Something like.... Brylcream! Bleach! I did it again. No, this wasn't the first time. Did it before a few months ago.

The rest of the day was interesting and boring and same as usual. When I got home I racked the American Amber Ale to the secondary and dry hopped with an ounce of Cascade hops that came from Argentina. Only 3+% Alpha acid, but it still smelled like Cascade, and that is what I desire. This AM, I rolled the carboy on the edge slightly to get the waterlogged hops to start their journey to the bottom of the carboy. When that is completed I'll add the gelatin for clearing it up; I'll bottle in a couple weeks.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I was sitting here in the Future Site of the Man Cave playing Free Cell and trying to wake up, smoking a cigarette that I'd let burn out last nite, before I lighted the last one of the package (Note to self: Go buy another pack of tobacco or just quit) and sipping on the final cup of coffee from the carafe when XXXXX

Boy, that was early. It usually takes a few hours of life to get under her hide. Today's my day off and the day is young. Wonder if Doug will want to get together at Awful Arthur's for a beer and lunch today? I'd better send him an e-mail.... Something tells me that it will be a long day....

American Amber Ale in Primary Fermenter

I'll rack the American Amber Ale to the secondary fermenter on top of an ounce of Cascade hops today. There is about an arf inch of Krausen on the top but the bubbling has slowed to the proper level. ....uh-oh, She is calling on the phone.... Garbonzo! Looks like today is the day that she wants me to go to her Dr. appointment with her... the Marriage Counciling gig. Looks like I'd better close down and get ready. CyberDave, signing off....

Monday, June 1, 2009

090601 - Truck Day...

Got up at 4:30 and fed two out of three dogs and had a smoke & a cup of coffee out on the carport. Went to work and we unloaded the truck and restocked. One of the new people hasn't gotten the hand of using a hand truck yet and knocked over a stack of Tequila cases, breaking about 5 bottles. Mondays are slow and today was no exception except - I got off at 1:00.

After work I went to Blues BBQ and had a Redhook ESB and a plate of pulled pork BBQ. Called Trish and asked what she wanted and brought home some fried grits for her. Came home and got to the computer to do my thang.

Yesterday, Trish was all aflutter! There was a creature out on the fence! And so, I looked. And there... was Red Tailed Hawk. With his friend, one of our treerats, climbing onto the top of the fence beside it. I got the camera and slipped out the basement door and got a couple pix before Dog Angel pushed her way out and spooked the bird off. Trish went balistic! Not because the bird escaped but because I had allowed Angel to get out the door. That was my strike three for yesterday. Today when I got in from downtown she said that she'd seen the Hawk a couple times today. I'll try to get another picture if I can. Click on the image for a full screen picture of the raptor.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

The day started out full of hope...

Then, I woke up. I was gonna bottle my Biere de Garde this AM but noticed that the gelatin was still floating on the top of the beer and that the beer was still cloudy. Damn. Maybe next week. Then after returning to bed and enduring anther round of fitful dream action, I got up and went to commune with dear ole Daddy. (Hack hack! Cough, cough!) Yeah, I know.

Looked for a device that I thought that I had that would allow me to cork the Belgian bottles... and found none. I did run across a Champagne bottle full of Mead that I made four years ago, corked, and full. (At least there's that. Save it for some special, spatial day.) I guess that I can cap what champagne bottles that I have left and use beer bottles for the rest of the Biere when I bottle.

The American Amber Ale is coming along well in the Primary and I will transfer it to the Secondary on Tuesday, my day off this week. I have an ounce of Cascade to put in it to dry hop.

Today I was planning to assemble the buckets on the inside corners of the deck for Trish to plant tomatoes in and I can still do that. Maybe mow the yard if it dries out enough. The yard looks like it needs it sorely. And tomorrow I do the truck, so I should have no trouble getting to sleep early after doing all of that. Amazing how little work wears me out these days.

I have a pain in the joint of my jaw; I suspect that it is from grinding my teeth during the night - and during the day when I don't realize it. Stress. Mucho stress. Damn.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Time to bottle my Biere de Garde 2.1

It's time to bottle my Biere de Garde, brewed about 4 weeks ago. I plan to use several Saison bottles that I got from Shysaboy and the rest in 12 oz. bottles. The Saison (and a couple of champagne bottles) will be corked - Something that I've done before several years ago and am rusty on doing. I'll get it figgured out by bottling time. I should look up corking bottles on the web just to make sure I do it correctly. I have about 5 gallons to put up. work around the campfire is that it takes 10 weeks to 18 months to bottle condition a Biere de Garde, and I dunno what the big descrepancy is all about. Maybe it depends on the yeast used? The temperature at which they are to be conditioned in, who knows at this point. Not me. Hopefully it will be properly conditioned before I 'sample' it all away, which happens from time to time when home brewing. Tomorrow's the day!

Friday, May 29, 2009

After work, went to Blues Barbecue....

Had a couple beers and a Honcho Burger & Fries at Blues BBQ after work tonite. The burger is a burger with a big heap of pork BBQ on it, and tonite they loaded the motha up! Had to eat it with a knife & fork. Ah, it was so good. I ate al fresco so I could smoke a good cigarette while waiting. They pipe blues music out to the sidewalk so you don't miss anything but the no smoking and the sports channels on their 4 HDTVs. Screw the sports, I want beer and BBQ, music and the solice of a table where I can talk to people without having to shout should I so desire. (When they have bands with acoustic instruments, you can have a conversation in the bar.... But it wasn't the case tonite. ) Besides, I wanted to enjoy the spring night with my friends: Beer, food, and good music. An oasis in Roanoke, to be sure.

In for a dollar, in for a shitload of dollars...

I was discussing the Gummint Bailout with Virtual Wayne. We came to the consensus that the bailout is having an ill effect on us all and the had the bahstids left the thing alone, the market would have taken care of things. But no. They had to screw with it. "GM (as an example) is too big to fail" And so they shoveled money into the banking system and bloated businesses and all for naught. 'They might as well have said, "In for a dollar, in for a shitload of dollars"', said VW. Bahstids, bahstids all!, said CyberDave. Let's go brew beer and get toasted.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

American Amber Ale

I brewed a batch of AAA on Thursday, my day off this week. Nothing spectacular happened... no boil-overs, no spillage of ingredients, not much damage to any of the equipment (there was an incident where one of the hoses that carries water to the chiller touched the hot frame of my cooker and melted a little hole or two thru the hose, squirting the tiniest of streams of water onto the surroundings, but a little Duct Tape will cure that) and I still have plenty of propane left to make a couple more beers. Wound up with 5+ gallons of beer in the Primary. I'll drop an ounce of Cascade hops into the Secondary Fermenter to give the hoppy flavour that I desire on Wednesday of next week, perhaps.

I have a carboy of Biere de Garde in a Secondary Fermenter that I hope to bottle on Sunday. I've put geletin in to help clear it up. I do this from time to time when I brew and it does an excellent job if you wait til the nasty stuff descends to the yeast bed. I've had a couple cases where globs of geletin wound up in bottles of beer and it looked (and felt) like there was snot in the bottom. Mmmmm.... Snotbeer! Quite embarrassing when it is a gift bottle.

Not one of these.. these... FAUX CyberDaves... but the TRUE CyberDave!

About CyberDave

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Contract engineering, working in the field in which I truly love: Mechanical Design.

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That was it, apparently

"Bonus Nachos!" as we say on my planet. "And CHEERS!"