Month: January 2013

Building the Home Brewery, Part 2

We picked up the stainless steel table and sink yesterday from the restaurant supply store. We got a smaller table from Costco a couple weeks ago that was too good to pass up. Next week the electrician is coming to add a GFI at the fusebox, add a couple electrical outlets and replace the fluorescent light with a nicer fixture. I also moved my old Klipsch speakers down to the brewery so I can be like Surly and blast death metal while I brew. The plumber should be here next week to remove the old sinks, install the new sink and some other minor plumbing work.

Brewery table & sink

It’s been 11 weeks since I ordered the control panel for the brewery, so if they meet their 10-12 week promise, it should be on its way by the end of this week. I still have to modify the kettles to install input and output valves and the electrical heating elements. I have all the tools and equipment for that now, so I can do that anytime. The ventilation hood should be built in a week or two so I have some time to figure out how I’m going to mount it and connect the vent to the outside. So I could be brewing my first beer on it by mid-February.

My perspective on Lance Armstrong

Lance Armstrong finally admitted to what the world was sure of 6 months ago: he took performance-enhancing drugs while racing. I am a cycling fan and watched every Tour de France since 1994, including the ones he won 1999-2005. I (and Gay) even went to France to be there when he won his final Tour. If you listen to the media, I’m supposed to feel bad, angry, betrayed, etc. I don’t. Those were fantastic Tours to watch, doping or not, and watching sports is entertainment. I’ve never been more entertained watching sports than those Tours. Even watching James Harrison run an interception back 100 yards in the Super Bowl every play of every Super Bowl wouldn’t match it. I don’t care any more that they were all doping than I do that movies I watch are fiction.

It’s a great story with at least three great morales: 1) the truth always comes out, 2) the cover-up is worse than the sin, and 3) hubris ultimately causes your downfall.

Continue reading “My perspective on Lance Armstrong”

Barleywine & Doppelbock

I haven’t brewed any beer for 6 weeks as I’ve been busy with the holidays and planning the new brewery in the basement. On Wednesday I made a starter to brew a lager for the first time, a Doppelbock. The pump I bought over a week ago finally arrived so I got to use it for the first time.

I got a late start, didn’t start until after 1pm. I was also baby-sitting Havana and Eva while Gay took Hudson to a birthday party, which slowed me down. Havana helped me stir the mash a little, but her little arms weren’t strong enough once all the grain was in. I finished after 7pm, in the dark, and missed dinner with the kids. I hit an OG of 1.086 exactly as planned and I kept the mash tun in the house this time to keep the temperature more constant, which should help with getting proper attenuation as my beers tend to attenuate too highly.I pitched the yeast and aerated the wort after 8pm and made it upstairs in time to read a bedtime book to Hudson. It was a long day but the pump made my life a little easier, not having to do as much heavy-lifting. And I’m sick of carrying all the equipment outside and back inside. The permanent brewery setup in the basement will be appreciated.


On Thursday I kegged the Barleywine I brewed July 26, 2012 and has been aging since August 15, 2012, over 5 months. I’ve never aged a beer this long and wasn’t sure that I could be that patient. Waiting was easier than I thought, I had forgotten about it with all the other beers I was brewing. I’m confident I could oak-age an imperial stout for a year or a sour beer for 2 years. It should be carbonated in a week and then I’ll bottle it. It was my 7th all-grain batch I’ve ever brewed and was still getting my process down and did something wrong with the mash and ended up with a low efficiency. The OG was only 1.077 so it’s only about 8% ABV. It tastes good, but the lower alcohol level is noticeable (although not a bad thing – I have way too many big beers around here!).

Havana’s tooth

Havana lost her first tooth. It’s been loose for weeks and she’s been waiting and waiting for it to come out. Until last night, when it was just barely staying in. She became so worried that she’d do what a friend did and swallow it that she was in tears. But it held on until lunch today when she bit into an apple and out it came. She was very proud of herself.


Footballer Hudson

Seahawks fan

This jersey has turned Hudson into a football nut. The next day after getting it he woke up and got dressed in it before coming down for breakfast, which never happens. He wears it every day and begs people to play football with him all day long.

The games are predetermined: he tells you who you are and whether you are supposed to win or lose the game. The game is the same play over and over: he explains where the blue line is and where the yellow line is, then he hikes the ball to you, you throw it to him and he runs away from you, while you, who instantly switched teams, are supposed to tackle him. Sometimes he gets a first down (“crossed the yellow line”) and sometimes he gets a touchdown, depending on what he decides during the play.

He even sleeps with the football under his pillow. Adorable.

The End of History Illusion

Author of one of my favorite pop-psych books, Stumbling on Happiness, Daniel Gilbert:

“Middle-aged people — like me — often look back on our teenage selves with some mixture of amusement and chagrin,” said one of the authors, Daniel T. Gilbert, a psychologist at Harvard. “What we never seem to realize is that our future selves will look back and think the very same thing about us. At every age we think we’re having the last laugh, and at every age we’re wrong.”