Sunday, October 29, 2006 AD

hip. hip-HOPS. hip-HOPS-anonymous

Hi. I'm Sean and I'm a hop-head.
[Welcome, Sean]
Let me share one of my new best friends:

Dogfish Head 90-Minute IPA

I knew I liked IPAs, so I took a chance and got a pint of it at my favorite local bar.

Good choice. It was awesome! The other day I asked for it again, and I was dejected when they brought me a bottle. I asked the bartender, and she told me that they didn't have it on draught anymore, but it is nearly the same out of the bottle. She was absolutely right. Tap or bottle, this beer always is great!

I'm only starting to understand the taste (and associated vocabulary) of beers and how to describe them, but this was a fantastic one. I think it's the balance of this one that made it so nice: great hops, great sweet malt... a good one. The high alcohol content was something I could notice, but it wasn't the focal point of the beer... just an added bonus! :)

Presently I'm drinking Stone Ruination IPA. This beer will knock you flat on every possible level. You can read the bottle cover and the press release at the link. I recommend it too, but I think the dogfish is much more drinkable, even for such a high alcohol content. It's becoming clear to me as I type that the Stone was a poor choice on an empty stomach! :) It only comes in 22's, so watch out!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006 AD

Kantor's Stout Ale (my first homebrew)

I have put this off for a long time, but now that I'm putting labels on my first batch and bottling my second, it's time to give the PDD fans a little insight into the new world I've discovered: Homebrewing Beer!

First you gather your ingredients: grain to steep, malt extract, water, hops, and yeast. Sanitize everything like it's your day job.

Boil your water to clean it, then bring it back down and steep your grains (in the bag) for 30 minutes at 150°F. Toss it away and bring to a boil.

Add the extract and your first hop addition and bring her back to a boil, which will bring out some "hot break" material that will float around in there. Don't worry, you'll filter that out eventually!

BOIL! keep it up for 60 minutes, adding your various hops and perhaps other ingredients at the appropriate times. Aroma hops for the last 5 minutes of the boil, if you add any.

Ok, the boil is over. Rapidly cool your wort (that's what you call the sweet stuff that will eventually ferment into beer) down to 80 degrees or so. (otherwise, when you pitch your yeast, you'll kill the lil' guys with hot wort!)

Cool it down and rack it off into the primary fermenter. The air lock on top will bubble, letting co2 out and keeping other contaminated gasses and fruit flies from coming in! Here it will sit for about a week.

After fermentation has slowed, it's time to rack it off the trub into the secondary fermenter. This is the trub left over, the dead yeast and break materials and hops and other gunk that we don't want in contact with the beer anymore, because it will give it off-flavors.

Here's the beer in my secondary fermenter, a glass carboy.

Light is the enemy now! Cover up that carboy to keep the light from skunking up your beer... unless you like that green bottle heineken skunk taste....

Ok, bottling day!

Rack the beer to your bottling bucket, add some corn sugar to start fermentation again, pour it into the bottles, cap 'em, and let them sit for 2 weeks or more to condition and carbonate. I'll post later about the final product and my labels. (I can't find my camera right now!)

Sunday, October 22, 2006 AD

It's a Carnival

TheoMony hosts the newest Lutheran Carnival, giving it a special Reformation emphasis prior to the 489th anniversary of the posting of the Ninety-five Theses. So please, check out Lutheran Carnival XXXV and remember to thank Kobra and Monergon for their work.

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Thursday, October 05, 2006 AD

It Ends In Germany...

...But the festivities are beginning here.

I didn't know this about Oktoberfest:

The official sign of fall, for us, is the beginning of Oktoberfest! This festive celebration was established in October of 1810 by Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (crowned as King Ludwig I) in celebration of his marriage to Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen. The unusual thing was that the general public was invited to share in his celebration. At the time, such a thing was unheard of – nobles rarely associated themselves with the general public – however, some 40,000 Bavarians attended the celebration in Munich on what is now called Theresienwiese (the Teresa Meadow). Almost 200 years later, year after year, the celebration is held at the same location. "Wies’n" (the local term for the celebration, derived from Theresienwiese) is truly a Bavarian event that has become a celebration of life not only for Barvarians, but for all Germans and now the world, with some form of Oktoberfest happening in many cities and breweries.

Read the rest of it here. Also there's an official link to the real Oktoberfest.

UPDATE: I know, I know: Nice steins...