A Beer and a Dog

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

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Last of my beer is bottled… now I can die peacefully

Or not.  Depends upon things.  The ESB turned out to be around 5.7% ABV and I’ll test it next week.  Finally, one that is within style guidelines as far as ABV are concerned.  I’ve been boiling off too much liquid here lately and the last few batches have been over the top.  Good, tho’.

Next project will be another Mead… haven’t done a mead since 2005 and it is about time to do another one.  This time, I’ll stick it away in some dark forbidding corner once it is bottled so’s I don’t drink most of it before it is ready, like I did last time.  We learn these things by experience.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Beer Bottling Setup


I use several handy items to assist me in my beer bottling task that have proven to be extremely handy.  You know what they say: Frank Zappa is the Mothers of Invention.

110809_Bottling Rig A ‘milk crate’ for supporting the bottling bucket.

110809_Bottling Wand Fixture01 One of my bench vices with a short piece of 1x1 lumber clamped in it with a large paper clip type of deal clamped upon the end to hold the Bottling Wand;

110809_Capper04 And of course the capper.  Notice that the capper is mounted upon a piece of 1x4 lumber that is C-Clamped to the bench.  I love C-Clamps. They make life so much easier.  Hats off to Mr. C for the wondrous invention!

Not shown are the re-tasked Typewriter table that weighs too much and has plastical wheels that aren’t nearly sturdy enough, but was too good an item to toss.  I place plastic shopping bags with two six-packs of bottles on that little darlin’ for transporting to the finishing area, whether it is the freezer for Lagers or the other side of the basement where the temperature seems to be more consistent on the floor than anywhere else in the basement.  I do a half case at a time, placing a new bottle under the tube as I place the filled bottle on the bench, placing the cap lightly upon it for capping.  It is the way of my people, you see.

The plastic shopping bags are handy in case something spills and, as happened one time in my old freezer, a preventative to having to clean up moldy crap where the oft-used cardboard sixpacks take on a life of their own.  Boy, was that a mess to clean up….




OK. Back to beer.

Oktöberfest is in bottles at 60°F in the freezer unit and the ESB is finally in the Secondary.  I did the two tasks the same day, one after the other.  I DID however, neglect to pour the sanitizer into the carboy before racking to the Secondary but I suspect that the hot water will have undone any nasties that might have been in it and since beer was in it just before, there won’t be a problem anyway.  Hopefully.

Next beer won’t be a beer at all, next brewing session will be MEAD!  About time that I made more mead.  Huzzahs all ‘round!

Bwa-haha! Back on line with this blog…

As it seems, my problem was security.  I set up security thingys that caused Live Writer to tilt.  Having undone that, I can now post to my brewing thingy again.


Friday, September 9, 2011

OktöberFest is bottled. Now we wait...

Despite forgetting the recipe when I brewed this at Microbe Festus, this looks like it is going to be pretty good and it is within style guidelines, which is what I wanted to do this time rather than another over the top version. It should be ready to drink in.. Oktöber. I got 52 12-oz. bottles with a little left over to sample. Wasn't bad at all. If I have an op to go to Bramwell this year, I'll enter it into the contest. My brethren will probably judge again this year so they will probably know that it's mine. None of them are the types to dis a beer so that their beer will get better scores, nor give mine better scores than it deserves. They are honest. Don't know about the other judges from elsewhere... ya never know.

I'll wait to share this with my fellow brewers til after that contest. They will have to make do with yet another batch of my ESB and some of my over the top Oktöberfest from earlier in the year as those are the only styles that I've made in 2011. Fine tuning.


Thursday, September 8, 2011


Somehow or another I broke the link betwixt this and Live Writer. Looking at the Help thigy I am supposed to make an entry from my blog before adding the account to Live Writer. Let's give it a shot....

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Oktöberfest has been in primary for a week

There is still krauzen on the top of the beer, I’ve been dropping the temp 1° per day to 52°F for the primary.  Smells like Lager fermenting when I open the freezer door. This batch might just be ready for Oktöberfest this year.  If I go to Bramwell this year, I’ll enter it into the homebrew contest and see how it does.

The second batch of this style has been met with rave reviews from my peeps with whom I’ve shared it.  One guy at work asked if he could buy a sixpack for his camping outing this weekend, but I told him that was illegal.  I could give it to him, however.  And so I did.  He had previously given me his old steel toed work shoes when he got a new pair and I gave him a tasteful selection of Oktöberfest and ESB and he & his wife loved them both.  I probably give away about half of the beer that I brew; it is a labour of love.

After this batch gets thru, I may start another ESB, and also will put together a batch of Mead.  Might make it with an addition of strawberries of something tasty like that.  Maybe get some Damson Plumbs from my barber who doesn’t do anything with them and make a plumb mead.  That would be interesting.  Use a sweet champagne yeast rather than the dry that I used last time.  And hope that I live another 5 years to enjoy it.  For the sake of the mead….. We’ll see…

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

More on Microbe Festus….

As I was saying in our last exciting episode, I got my cargo cleaned up around 5:30, and the beer stopped being served at 6:00 PM… and so I had a whirlwind tour of the vendors that had beer left.  I went to a vendor’s tent and got a glass of IPA…

110813MF1_TheresThePitch1 110813MF2_BallInTheAir2 110813MF3_HeScores3

and a good time was had by me, CyberDave!  Also ran into my sister Boon who was pouring beer:

110813MF0_Bboon0 … and her preacher & his wifemate.  Names? I dunno.  I was drinking that day… She knows ‘em, and that’s the important part. 

Ah, it was a wondrous day.  Beers, Female earthlings sporting their best Summer Breasteses…

110813MF_YetNutherHotChick Who could ask for more?  Bwa-hahaha….

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Microbe Festus….

It was a hoot.  I put on a brewing demo, brewing an Oktöberfest using the triple decoction method to the delight of all.  Well, me, if nobody else.  I finished and got things pretty much cleaned up and ready to pack for the long journey home by 5:30… the soiree shut down at 6.  I had to hustle to get some of the beers that were left, many of the beers that I’d wanted to sample had blown their kegs long before I was ready.  I did try Star Hill’s Monticello ale, made from a Thomas Jefferson recipe; it was really nice. I’ll try that one, one day. 

Supper is about ready so I’ll post some pix later.  Didas!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Replacing Temperature Controller

Once I got a couple lagers through my new freezer the temperature controller went out as was foretold by The Prophecies.  So… I got a new one.  Dave W. built this one for me one night after I captured all of the components;  RANCO ETC-111000 DIGITAL TEMPERATURE CONTROL 120 – 240V; Electrical box, plug in thingy, and faceplate; 8’ heavy doody electrical cord; Piece of electrical conduit and fittings to attach the controller and box.  Oh, and a piece of 2x4:Picture 110724_New TempController_01Dave cut a three pieces of wire to do the wiring within the controller thusly:

  110724_Wires_03_Resized 110724_RedAndGreenGoThere…and cut a chunk of the 8’ cord out to connect them within the controller as shown above.

In the plug box, that piece and the plug end piece were attached to the plug in thingy thusly:

110724_Plugbox_02_Resized110724_Inside the plug box_Resized

One side…

T’ other side…

As you can see in the first picture, Dave put a staple across the plug end wire to act as a strain relief and did likewise on the temperature probe on the other end.  Both boxes were fastened to the 2x4 with screws making replacement of the controller simple.

Picture 110724_New TempController_InPlace_Resized In place, I put the little nite lite thingy in the other plug in to show when the freezer is running.



Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I put an arf case into the fridge the other morning and as we speak am sampling another one.  This one tastes flawed, similar to the first batch of Märzen that I dubbed “Private Stock” so I wouldn’t have to shame myself before my fellows… There must be a critter lurking in some of my brewing equipment.  Maybe one (or more) of the carboys… perhaps in the bottles their own selfs.  I suppose that we all have this happen, some people more regularly than others… but this is not the way that it is supposed to be.  I must pay more attention to sanitization.  I have already gotten some new hoses… better put some denture cleaner into the carboys.  And I really should get a newer brewing pot.  My canning pots are about beat all to hell.  Must get stainless steel…

And should probably invest in some powerful sanitizer and let the Clorox go for a while.  This should be easy to find and fix.  Should.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My calm has been harshed

My calm has been harshed…

   What is wrong with this country when it takes half of your income just to get insurance coverage?  It wasn't like that in the past.  I just don't know how people are supposed to survive.  You know, in the 19th century the official policy of the Government regarding the Indians was to make them totally dependent upon the US Government by killing off their way of life, the buffalo.  This Government policy nearly extinctified the buffalo, and the Indians were brought to a state from which they haven't really recovered.  They are indeed dependent upon the Government...and the same thing is happening to the rest of us.  Love it or hate it: We NEED O'bammaCare!  We can't survive without it, now. With the usury fees of the insurance companies that the Government has been oh, SO willing to turn a blind eye to have made that a necessity.  We are all Indians, now. Soon, we all will be living in Government trailers on Government property…

   I think back on both of my grannies: they lived for years off of what they had been able to sock away during their lifetimes and had some to leave their kiddies when they passed on.  My own dear ole mammy was able to pass on what was left from her inheritance... and it has taken all of our cut to stay alive just these past few years; surviving longer doesn't seem like it is going to be a reality.  I really don't know what to do.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Couldn’t wait. Had to try one of the new ESBs…

I put one of the latest ESBs into the fridge before I left for work yesterday and when I got  home I popped the top to see ‘whatup, humaan?’  Needs another week carbonating but the taste is good.  Bitter.  Mmmm…

Only three weeks until time to bottle my latest Oktöberfest; then, it’s wait again.  That’s the hardest part of brewing your own beer, the waiting.  The only thing that you can do to lessen the pain is to brew more often.  And I should.  But I don’t.  I spend my time working on my new project, grudgingly doing housework or lawn work, taking well deserved naps, etc.  But I should brew.   It isn’t like I drink a lot; Usually one maybe two beers a night if any at all, and I give a lot of the stuff away.  (I dropped a sixpack by The ‘C on Willie-D for El Jefè and the other minions of the State to enjoy, some of my previous Oktöberfest – flawed as it is, they may not really notice.)

I think that this year I’m only going to brew Oktöberfest and ESB.  The Year of Oktöberfest and ESB they will call it in the annals of CyberDave… not my PERSONAL anal, mind you… Wayne…

Meanwhile, I sit here, wondering.  What does the new day hold? Should I finish the wash that I started last night?  What’s that sound?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Bottled my third batch of 08.C: ESB, tonite.

I kept forgetting to do things.  Couldn’t find tools either; bottle cleaner, hydrometer…  Finally found them all.

Then as I was racking to the bottling bucket, I remembered that I didn’t make a priming slurry as is my custom when I bottle.  So I just added the sugar to the bucket as it was filling and gently stirred.  Got 49-12 oz. bottles with a 6.62 ABV. A little higher than style because I boiled off too much liquid.  Should have added another arf gallon… But what the heck. I like it around that volume.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Mash Tun Upgrade…

Went to Lowes & asked if they were the guys that match prices or if it was Home boy Depot.  They said that it was them, So I put the 52 dollar 10-gallon cooler on the counter & said that the store price for the same item at HD is $39.65.  She looked it up and it wasn’t.  It was $36.95 at home boy’s so that’s what I got it for.  Then I went home to disect the thing, see what I needed:110529_MashTun03

The 3 thingys at the bottom of the pic are the valve and seal assembly from the cooler.  I purchased the ball valve, nipple, thick 5/8 washer, a 1/4-NPT bayonet fitting (not shown) and a union.  I also added a length of electrical conduit as a spacer and a 16mm thrust washer.  I could have gotten a shorter nipple, but you know how guys are about nipples…..  Moving right along…..

Assembling the new system, I used the seal and nut that came with the cooler and the other items mentioned.  It looks like this when it is all together:


I boiled the off the shelf items to cleanse off the coolant and etc. from the parts that are no doubt still on ‘em when you buy them and cooled them in cold water to allow me to assemble them.  After applying nylon thread dope and putting them together the whole thing looks like this on the inside (with my false bottom installed)  and when sitting next to a 5 gallon carboy full of beer:

110529_MashTun07                110529_MashTun08

I thought that I lost the bayonet fitting that screws into the 1/4-NPT union, but it was in my pocket.  It isn’t shown in the first pic for that very reason.  Now that I have a cooler to use for mashing I can retire my old sleeping bag that I have always wrapped around a bucket.  Of course, now I have an extra bottling bucket.  Maybe I can swap it for something….

Saturday, May 28, 2011

I’ve been drinking on my first batch or Märzen…

Brewed in February, I took a couple bottles to a brewing event the other week to have The Original Doug to give me a diagnosis of the issue confronting this, my first triple decoction.  The verdict: Phenolic taste.  Was it the process? Was it the yeast?  I dunno.  Maybe the next batch, now in the cooler, will tell the tale.  If not the same, I’ll assume that some of my components were not… ah… satisfactorily sanitized.  At any rate, I’m reluctant to share this first batch with the Pilgrims.  No prob, I’ll call it My Private Stock.  BHH!  (Tha’s shorthand, according to Virtual Wayne, for: Bwa-Hahahah!)

(must get another one..)Picture

Other than the phenolic taste, the carbonation is excellent, the head is to style, and with a little more cooling (along with the next batch in the freezer) the clarity should improve.  Has a nice malted phenolic taste.  Incidentally, I ate a few malted milk balls before tasting, and the phenolic taste isn’t as noticeable… Coincidence?  Cleaner bottles?  Not give a shitlessness?  Who is to say; I’ll enjoy this beer til the bitter end.  Mmmm… bitters.

…which is the next beer being fermented at the moment.  I brewed another ESB (using the same Fermentis English Ale Yeast #4 that I’ve used for the last two batches) last Saturday at Blue Ridge Hydroponics & Home Brew Supply for the Spring brewing demo which I renamed ‘Learn a Frien’ to Home Brew’ to reflect our regional heritage.  It’s all the rage… Heritaging, that is.

More, as it happens….

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Placed the new batch of Märzen into the cooler today…

Looks like I will wind up with under 5 gallons.  I put a bottle from the last batch into the fridge to see what it tastes like…. Actually, to cool so I can taste it and… you get the picture.110514_triple decoction matrix    And here’s a picture: a matrix I did in Excel to use as a guide to doing a triple decoction, it wasn’t very clear while I was brewing the current batch and I missed my first temperature… also I broke the rule that shouldn’t be broken: I consumed mass quantities of beer while I was brewing… That didn’t help with the confusion issues.  But it turned out well, and a good time was had by all.  I’ll do this process again, but not real soon. Next is another ESB at Learn A Frien’ to Home Brew, a brewing event that is held locally at our fav brew supply shoppe.  More on that when it happens…

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Big Brew: Today I brew

Today is the day that Homebrewers all over the country (with the exception of Alabama and one more state, for some reason) celebrate the day that Jimi Cartier made Home Brewing legal once again in the US.  Today at High Noon, we lift a glass to Jimi and brother Bili too: for he was probably the one that lit the fire under the flame, so to speak, to get things going.  At least I’ll toast Bili.

Today I’m going to attempt another batch of Märzen using the Triple Decoction method, a real pain in the ass but it makes such a NICE Oktöberfest, for the edification (or edu-ma-cation) of my fellow brewers.  (Mental note: DON’T FORGET THE SCHEDULE!)  Looks like it might rain today but hopefully I’ll get there to secure a spot under the club tent.  I d’wanna get sunburned like I did last year.  I’ll use the same recipe as last time, altho’ I couldn’t find my torrified wheat… (Hmmm.  I’d bought a pound last time…) and substituted more Crystal.  I’ll make an adjustment in the bill and the revision level tomorrow or sumptin’.

Now’s time to cleanse the scaly bod and shave, and begin loading cargo.  More on this later….

Friday, April 22, 2011

I got to work today, and you know what?

These people take off Good Friday.  Imagine that!  Oh well, at least the trip wasn’t wasted…

Because: On the way home I stopped at Thelma’s Chicken & Waffles down on the market, across from the #1 Fire Station, if you’re wonderin’.  I ordered a Country Ham Biscuit and this is what it looks like":

         110422_ThelmasCountryHamBiscuit01       110422_ThelmasCountryHamBiscuit02  

How exactly do you spell Awe-some-o-licious?  Whoa!    I had to capture the moment with my cell camera (I should look into cleaning the lens one day…) and it didn’t do this sandwich justice.  One of these and a steamin’ cup of coffee makes for a good start to any growing boy or girl’s day!

And now, I have a day to concentrate on my web site.  See you in the ether~!

- CyberDave

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Ah, but I bottled my Märzen instead~!

And it tastes Freakin’ AWESOME!  And that isn’t just because I brewed it; no, it tastes awesome because I did a long-assed time consuming Triple Decoction and it was worth every second of it.  Oh, it there was ever a time that I looked forward to September/Oktöber it’s this year!  It’s SO good…. It’s so good that I’d be ashamed to enter it into home brewing contests because it would be cheating.  The maltiness it maddening!  FG was 1.008 and at 5.5% ABV, it is still sweet malty tasting, no, not cloyingly sweet, no I didn't’ use an elephant full of priming sugar, it is… just so.  I’m liable to start cracking those bad boys open before they are carbonated. Sorry for tootin’ me own horn, but it is a high point in my brewing career.  Hobby.  I GOTTA make more of this.

And I’m going to decoct more often as well.  Ahhh.  Pure molybdenum!  (A little joke between me and my ole pal Charlie Dell...)


Monday, April 18, 2011

Web site is coming along… still a lot to do…

At least it looks like I’m doing something….


I made some custom buttons and changed the background on the banner to reflect what the finish of the products are going to look like… there is a problem with the .gif file, but it will be ok for now.  Maybe I can include a paint kit for your computer for scratches like they USED to do with automobiles back in the mythical time only referred to now as: ‘The Day’.

I got up at 4:00 and put a pot of coffee on the stove (yep… coffee maker finally gave up the ghost) and fed the WonderDog personnel, then after the coffee was to a point that I wanted to drink it I came down to the Future Site of the Man Cave, which I should start calling Corporate Headquarters, I suppose.  The coffee was boiling hot, but you know how it is with coffee: you just gotta pour some onto the soft inner tissues of the mouth.  It’s about drinking temperature now, as cometh from the coffee maker.  I made some .gifs for my banner and buttons (not as nice looking as the ones that Virtual Wayne made for his site, however…  I have a ways to go to even come close to the expertise of the WaynarWare team.  But as I said, they’ll do for now.

Still haven’t heard from my vendors, so I’ll stop by one of them this AM before work.  And on that note, I should go cleanse the bod and get ready.  Adidas!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Should have brewed today, but worked on my website instead… And then:

… went to the home brew club meeting… A good time was had by all.  The club is growing!  Woo-hoo!  Gonna drink me the last if the beer I brought back in front of the toob.  See you later dudes & dude-ettes!


Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bah-hahaha…. Beer is good

I went on a Mission today… First to the ‘C on Willie-D to get some cardboard thingys that I’d been hoarding when I was there...
I was going to use them for a project for Trish....
I kept forgetting them..
El Jefe said that he was about to throw them out, so its a good thing that I finally got them today.  Then, after visiting for a spell I was off to Che Kroger, at Towers Mall… got some chips to take to my friend’s Open Home Brew Session….

But First: I stopped by the ABC store at Towers to say Hi to Carole, my hot friend, and then, after a steamy exchange, I was off to the Open Brew Session at Home Boyz.

We had beers, several other peeps stopped by to kibbitz, and I was off again.

Stopped by Bryan’s to see him cleaning up after his brew session, had a couple of his beers, and then to another Che Kroger’s to get some rations.  Then, home.  And: Here I am.  Waiting for the End Of Time, at which point I shall go upstairs and drink even MORE beer… and watch some toob.

At some point tonight, I’m going to crack grain for another batch of ESB.  But that’s for later in the eve…

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Märzen is in the Secondary

Finally… AFTER YEARS of not being able to make lagers, I finally have my first lager since then in the new freezer.  I’m keeping an eye on it tho’… I sort of forgot how to operate the Ranco ETC-111000 Temperature Controller.  I think I have it set to 48°F. ± 3°, but it was in the 20’s when I put the carboy in there.  I thought that I’d just turned it on and cranked it down a little… Well, maybe I didn’t.  We will see.Märzen4.0.0.0 - Young Märzen in it’s cradle… Shhh… We don’t want to wake it…

It took about 10 days to stop bubbling fastly.  Next time I’ll use a starter and the yeast that I poured off of the Primary.  I have Märzen yeast and the yeast I used to make my ESB in the fridge, and I’ll use the latter to make another ESB this weekend.  Got a new sack of 2 row pale ale malt today and some hops & a lb. of 40L crystal.  Really need to get a sack of Pilsner.  Next month, perhaps… Til then, I’ll use the Pale Ale to make the ESB and another batch of Märzen for later in the year.  Mental note: USE THE GREASE PENCIL on the carboys to tell which is which!  Don’t be a Dumbass!AGAIN!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Man Cave Update

Bwa-hahaha… The second section is up.  Here are the pix I took during manufacturing….

 110226_2ndSection2 110226_2ndSection3 110226_2ndSection5110226_2ndSection4  110226_2ndSection1

As  you can see, clamps are our friends.  I was able to do the whole thing by mice elf so far.  This section was easier as I had the previous section to use as fixturing (using our friends) and my grandfather’s roll top desk as an assembly platform.  Once the section was complete, I supported the end towards the computer and slipped a 2 x 4 under the framing, clamping it to the top to prevent scarring when I pushed the boogair over onto the floor.

The second foto shows that I used decking screws rather than 16 penny nails to fasten everything together.  Somewhere down the road the owner of the house in that time frame may wish to dis-assemble the thing and he can reuse the lumber.  Might be a rare commodity at that point in future historie…

The final shot shows the wall in place and the plate which will sport the door fastened to the concrete floor. I’ll center the door 3’ from the shitter wall… but that’s a story for another day….

Friday, February 25, 2011


The first batch of Oktöberfest is still bubbling faster than it should be to transfer to the secondary… The rule o thumb is a bubble every 5 seconds indicates that fermentation has slowed to the proper point.  I am so anxious to try out my new lagering chamber….

More as it happens…

Monday, February 21, 2011

Märzen is slowly bubbling…

Yeah, I forgot to make a starter.  File that one under ‘Do’h!’  WTF. 

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Quote du Jour:

“Although it was a higher-paying job, I was really okay with not being in charge of the hole in the telephone dial.” – Virtual Wayne

See: Hole

That’s the difference between working for a large corporation and a small one.

Saturday, February 19, 2011


07:00 AM - Flame on.

08:50 AM - I’m in the midst of the first decoction, and I heated up the mash a little too fast.  I was supposed to have a ten min. dwell starting at 8:10 at 156° F, but too fast. I missed the 156° mark so I’ll take the dwell now til the point where I was supposed to end it.  Then I’ll continue to the boil point.  …  

08:13 - Just a few min til I’m back on time.  I hope that I didn’t damage the beer imps….

08:40 – Was supposed to start the 20 min boil but I ceased at 08:35.  I see that there is a problem with getting the flame low enough for the task at hand.  Also I stirred loose a chunk of malt that had burned early on.  Hope that it doesn’t impart a burnt flavour to the whole batch… like I would drink it anyway, you know? But…

08:55 – Started 2nd rest at 122°; only had to put 4 quarts of the decoction into the cooler to bring it up to that temp… I guess that is OK…

09:30 – Waiting to start heating the second decoction.  Have been using the time to correct data and add it to Beer Smith

10:25 – Just put three quarts of heated mash into the mash tun and it heated the wort to a higher temp than I had anticipated.  I’ll do better next time I do this…

10:30 – Time to hear water for the next step after mashing…

10:55 – …and when I poured the first 3 gallons into the HLT, I discovered that when Trish cleaned it for me, she left the drain cap off of it…. No biggie… Time to take the last decoction off….

-Added 3 qts. to the mash tun without having heated the decoction again to bring it up to 168°F.   Calcs say I need 8 qts and change to raise it from there to 175°F so I did some ciphering and deduced that I need 2 qts and change taken back out.  So, I did.  Now there is a 15 min. dwell til I begin heating the final decoction.  Looks like it will indeed take 4 hours and change. I may finish up in time to take a shower before the meeting.  Looks like I have two copies of this post.  Of course, if I blow one out, they all will probably go.  The whole world wide web too…

11:30 – 15 min. of mashout to go and then I’ll do what I usually do at the end of mashing.  And so I’ll end this exciting edition of my blog.  More, another day.  Cheers!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Prepped for beer things tomorrow.

Tomorrow I’m going to try a triple decoction Märzen… my first lager since the old freezer went off line.  The new freezer is just a-waitin’ to do some laagering.  I’ve prepped Virtual Wayne’s Fizz with a script that will cue me when milestones have been reached.  Heck, lemme paste the script into this here blog:

Start Fizz Timer: T minus 1 min. (2/19/2011, 11:59 AM)
Acid Rest Begin 96° F (2/19/2011, 12:00 PM)
Remove First Decoction (2/19/2011, 12:10 PM)
First Decoction Dwell Time 10 Min. (2/19/2011, 12:50 PM)
First Decoction Boil Time 10 Min. Begin (2/19/2011, 1:20 PM)
First Decoction Boil Time End (2/19/2011, 1:40 PM)
Acid Rest ends 122°F (2/19/2011, 1:40 PM)
2nd Decoction Begin (2/19/2011, 1:50 PM)
Protein Rest begins 122°F (2/19/2011, 1:50 PM)
Remove 2nd Decoction (2/19/2011, 2:00 PM)
2nd Decoction Dwell Time 15 Min. (2/19/2011, 2:15 PM)
2nd Decoction Boil Time 20 Min. Begin (2/19/2011, 2:45 PM)
2nd Decoction Boil Time End (2/19/2011, 3:00 PM)
Protein Rest ends 148°F (2/19/2011, 3:00 PM)
Scarification Rest ends 175°F (2/19/2011, 3:00 PM)
Scarification Rest Begin 148° F (2/19/2011, 3:05 PM)
Remove 3rd Decoction (2/19/2011, 3:45 PM)
3rd Decoction Boil Time 10 Min. Begin (2/19/2011, 4:00 PM)
3rd Decoction Boil Time End (2/19/2011, 4:10 PM)
Mash Out Begins at 168°F (2/19/2011, 4:15 PM)
Mash Out ends 175°F (2/19/2011, 4:15 PM)

I’ve right justified the lines so that the times are easier to see.  Once I mash the start button, all the times will update from the current time.  That’s nice, you don’t have to cipher the proper times… just get the order correct and Fizz will do the rest.  Fizz can be got from Virtual Wayne’s Software Library for the princely sum of… FREE~! 

I just realized that the only thing that I’ve done so far is the mash… I haven’t included the boil and the hop additions yet.  BETTER DO THAT TONITE!

(I modified and saved as Marzen_Boil a similar hop addition and boil schedule:)

Start in 1 min (2/19/2011, 11:59 AM)
Start Boiling, add Perle Hops (2/19/2011, 12:00 PM)
Saaz Hops (2/19/2011, 12:45 PM)
Add Irish Moss and Chiller (2/19/2011, 12:50 PM)
Stop Brewing (2/19/2011, 1:00 PM)

I’m going to have to do something about the script I have… there are rise times that have to be in there… I’ll knock them out as I brew tomorrow.

Along with brewing is barbecuing a pork tenderloin that I’m taking to the brew club meeting tomorrow afternoon.  Playing that one by ear.  If I arise as I have been doing so recently, TF early in the morning, I should have the beer in the primary fermenter by or before noon.  Maybe have enough time to catch up on sleep before the meeting.  More on everything…. later.

Monday, February 14, 2011


When I went over to Doug’s to sample some beer, he was cooking rice when I arrived.  It looked interesting so I decided then & there that I, CyberDave, would try this rice.  He said that he kinda made it up, basing the recipe upon Rice a Roni, the you know what.  As the legend goes, you put your dry rice in a pan and fry it a little bit before adding water and the San Francisco jism to make R a R.  I made some night before last, and another batch tonite.  Here is what I did:


2 Tbsp Butter
1 ]C. Dry Rice
1 Med. Onion, finely chopped
2, 3, 4… cloves garlic, minced
2 C. Chicken Broth
1 teaspoon salt

Chuck the rice into the pot heated medium, and brown it for a few min.  Then chunk in the butter and let it melt.  There is some stirring action goin’ on here and there… you be the  judge….  Continue browning.  After a bit, (don’t you love these instructions?) dump in the onion and let them sautee a bit.  then turn the heat down a little and mix in the garlic.  I wanted to avoid burning the garlic, thus the reduction.  (The first time, I added the garlic with the salt)  I heated the broth in the microwave to keep the temp. from dropping too much when I started adding it to the mélange.  By and by, I started adding the broth, and then add the salt.  Bring to boil, and reduce the heat to low-ish… Set the timer for 20 minutes.

When the timer alarms, turn the heat off and reset the timer to 25 minutes, leaving the pot on the eye.  Or Aye…  Arrr….

When the timer alarms again, fluff the rice and start eating.  Or, whatever your custom is.  This is some good rice, I shite you not.

New Freezer…

As reported, I have finally been able to get another freezer, my old one dying about the same time that the econ thing started tanking.  My pal Bryan gave me a sticker to put on it when I got a new one… and so, as was foretold by The Prophecies, I have done so…

PBR During the long cold days of very…. VERY limited finances I didn’t have much home brew left and couldn’t afford craft beer so I returned to the ole standby, Pabst Blue Ribbon, the first beer that I had in life.  Given to me by my maternal grandmother (after so much pestering that she just wanted me to shut the hell up) I drank it and when Dad got home, I feinted Drunk.  Which, I recall was not a good idea as I was just a chile… and Dad had never gotten along well with his mother in law.  Sorry, Dad.  Sorry, Granny.  My bad.  It was a scenario that has been repeated often throughout my life: I’m a dumbass….

But, I digress… Now I can make lagers again.  I am going to attempt a triple decoction, you can read about it here on Wikipedia if you are interested.  This process is about 2 hours longer than the process that I usually use, an infusion, which is usually about an hour in length.  Infusions involve heating water to certain temperatures to achieve goal temperatures and holding those temperatures for certain lengths of time.  Decoctions are similar but instead of heating water and adding it to your grain, you take the soaked grain and gradually heat it in a separate pot to the boiling point and hold it for certain lengths of time.  It’s a hobby, remember?  You can put anything into a hobby as you can or desire.  I have less money to put into neat equipment so I concentrate on processes. 

More Later….  Adidas!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Whew!~ Its the weekend again… Take 2…

I have the new freezer and I’m itching to brew a lager.  Don’t know if I have the grain to brew a Oktöberfest or not, but that is the goal…  I stopped by Blue Ridge Hydroponic & Home Brew Supply tonite and picked up the yeast and some nobel hops for the brew.  I’m also reading up on doing a decoction, but that is a labour of love and I may have to do another beer first.  I still have to get it all straight in my head, and write up a script for the FIZZ! programme that I use to alarm when a milestone has been reached.

I sent a message to FIZZ!’s writer that perhaps a facility within FIZZ! to send the script to others using the programme would be helpful amongst home brewers.  More on that when I hear from him.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Beer Meeting…. Road Trip…

Last night was the January beer meeting night at ‘Arry’s.  We had 23 members show up and 17 guests, many of whom are going to join the club. And this doesn’t even include the two people that I’d invited.  The food was plentiful as was the beer, and today I’m paying.  I’m not even going to step onto the scale for a few days in hopes that the gaining trend will reverse it’s elf.  Got to stop eating at every op.

An example was the Road Trip that many of us took the other night to Bull & Bones restaurant and brewpub in Blacksburg VA the other night.  Oh, yeah.. you gotta go there… 

But, the reason for the road trip was to celebrate one of our own ‘s “Izvinite Babushka” Russian Imperial Stout winning of the annual Brew Do in Blacksburg and having his winning beer, brewed by B&B.  He assisted the head brewer in brewing this interesting beer.  They have already sold a barrel of the stuff, it is mighty popular.  As a matter of fact, people from our club won top honors in all four categories of beers that were contested at Brew Do, but this was Justin’s day.  A good time was had by all, and much good food & beer was consumed!  Oh, I was miserable; not from drinking too much, I only had two IPAs and one snifter of the Imperial Stout (not one of my favorite styles), but from eating the Pork Barbecue Platter and a few hot wings that were offered.  And DAMN they were hot… the sneaky kind of hot.. the kind that melts the skin off of your lips a few minutes after eating the little darlin’s. 

Now, I have to plan on the next beer that I’ll brew, maybe another ESB, but one of the next will be an Oktöberfest, now that I can lager again, in my new chest freezer.  More on that as it happens!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Got it!

Finally, I have my new freezer!  There will be lagers in my future brewing once again!  Bwa-hahaha!

My pal Doug has a truck and promised to carry the thing from K-Mart to the house for me. And so he did.  We yanked the old freezer out and deposited it by the road, and the new one is plugged into the temperature controller to see if it works.  So far, so good.

Afterward, Doug & I had beers and the last of the Indian chicken dish that I made on Tuesday, and chatted about dogs & beer & such til about 7:30.  He’s on his way home now, and I’m ready to go watch some toob. Later dudes!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Beer bottled. Now, wait…

I’ve bottled my ESB, Extra Special Bitters, and got (lessee….) 54 12 ounce bottles and almost one more.  ABV is 6.0% and it tasted pretty good.  I even shared the leavings from the secondary fermenter with Dog Angel… she so loves beer.

This, and the last two beers that I’ve brewed were made using Fermentis 04 yeast, an English Ale yeast.  I’ve been retaining the slurry from the Primary in an Erlenmeyer flask in the fridge with a stopper of an open-celled foam (to allow breathing).  My next beer will be an Oktöberfest using a vial of Oktöberfest yeast, and then while that is in the primary, maybe another English Ale.  After that, I dunno: Keep the English Ale yeast, or the Oktöberfest yeast?  Decisions, decisions.  (Maybe see if a fellow brewer wants to nurture the Oktöberfest yeast….)

At present I have four cases of Bitters in process and three sixpacks of Brown Ale in the fridge to last til the Oktöberfest is ready to swill.  That hopefully will be enough to last seeing as I usually give about half of the stuff to friends and co-worker.  We shall see…

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Didn’t bottle yesterday… have to do so today…

I have the bottles in the drainer now, awaiting them to dry out a little and for the primer mixture to cool down to temperature too.  I mixed up the primer, corn sugar and a liter of water, yesterday. To do so requires heating it to a boil with water, I use a liter, and letting it cool with a lid on the pot.  Since my wife was down here in the basement cleaning out her wet/dry vacuum cleaner I decided to reboil the sugar water again today just in case any airborne nasties found their way into the pot.  You cannot be TOO careful when brewing.  I’m also taking pix of the process to add here after completion of the tasks.  For now, this is all…

 Picture 001 Picture 002

Cleaning and disinfecting Bottles; Drying on rack;

Picture 003 Picture 004

Brushing out crud; and then soaking in clorox solution.

 Picture 005 Picture 006

All dry and ready to bottle;  Racking beer to bottling bucket.

 Picture 007 Picture 008

Ambient temperature 70°F; beer at the bottom of the carboy.

Picture 009 Picture 010

Bottling setup. Filling a bottle;

 Picture 011 Picture 012

And another… and placing the caps on the tops;

Picture 013 Picture 014

Into the capping press; Capped;

Picture 015 Picture 016

And another one ready to cellar; The press and half a case.

Picture 017 Picture 018

Disinfecting the caps prior to capping.  A critical step not to be forgotten!

 Picture 019 Picture 020

Finished gravity is 1.005.  Alcohol by volume is 4.42%.  I got 54 12 oz. bottles and 1.5 half-liter flip top bottles of Standard Bitters.

Friday, January 7, 2011

08.A Brown Northern English Ale

Tasting my brown ale.  Well, I’ve been tasting it since the week of New Years when I carried beers to my co-workers, former co-workers, and to Cap’n Eddie.  But I didn’t take any pictures of it ‘til now.  Here:


Mmm…. Tastes great, less filling!  Not a bad beer, even warm.  I opened this one straight from the shelf and put the last case into the fridge for whenever and whatever.  It fits the style well.  I also took a picture or two in process when I was brewing it on Christmas:

BrownAle          Brown_Ale Here I show the end of the brewing process when I strain the hops out of the wort and drain it into the primary fermenter, a 6.5 gallon carboy.  I should have taken pictures of the fermentation process, it’s interesting to see the goop roiling up from the bottom as the yeast voraciously eats the sugars.  What a sight!  In the pic to the right you see the grain bag that I line the bucket with to capture the hops & cold break as I tap the wort into the carboy.  I dump the whole kettle of chilled beer into the bucket and suspend  the bag from my brewing spoon to drain as the level goes down in the bucket.  This is easier than racking the wort out of the kettle and having the loose crap clog the racking cane continuously. 

Tomorrow I’ll take some shots of the bottling process.  That s all for now…

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