Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring time car time

I used to be pretty anal about keeping my cars clean. Used to wash every weekend and wax once a month. Well I've been lazy the past few years, and my poor Maxima has been suffering. No wax since last spring, and last wash was before our Flagstaff trip (my car's first time in snow!). The snow grit and grime and build up of dust was disgusting. I've been wanting to detail it but never had the time. Until today.

4 hours later, I have a shiny car again! It was not enjoyable like it used to be, but I'm happy its done. Pretty boring I know.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Homebrewing 101

Finally got around to making some beer. I've done this a couple times with friends but never on my own. Well, not entirely my lovely pregnant wife was quite helpful :) These pictures are from 2 weeks ago.

Here's the grains steeping in the water. At this point it's simply that, grains in water.

Now that the sugars have been extracted from the grains, it's called "Wort". Once this mixture begins to boil, then we add hops for bittering and aroma. This batch has 1oz of Simcoe hops for a full hour of boiling, then 1/2oz of Chinook hops for 40 minutes, then 1/2oz of Centennial hops for 20 minutes, and finally another 1oz of Cascade hops with 5 minutes left of boiling. Each variety brings something different to the flavor, and this is a LOT of hops for a 3 gallon batch :)

Once we're done boiling, we have to get it cold as fast as possible. A simple ice bath in the sink takes the brew from 212 degrees to 75 in 15 minutes. From now on, anything that touches the wort must be sanitized. The cooled wort is strained and funneled into a 3 gallon glass carboy.

Using a hydrometer, I check the original gravity (OG), which is 1.060. Distilled water has a gravity of 1.00.

Now that I've added yeast, it is officially beer. The carboy is loaded into my wine fridge so I can control the fermentation temperature. In this case, 68 degrees. The yeast will eat the sugars and convert them into alcohol and CO2 (aka fermentation). The CO2 is bled off via a blow off hose, which allows air to escape without letting air in. It was bubbling like crazy for 4 days, then slowed to 10 bubbles a minute. Now it's a bubble every other minute.

It's pretty much done fermenting now, with a final gravity (FG) of 1.019. I was hoping that it would finish about 1.016, but it's good enough. It'll just be a little sweeter than planned. Now taking the OG minus the FG, we get 0.041. We multipy this number by 131 and get 5.37. So my beers alcohol content is 5.4%, not bad at all! Right where a beer of this style should be. Now after 2 weeks in the fermenter, I'll add another 1/2oz of Centennial Hops, which is a process called "dry hopping". These hops will only effect the aroma. It'll sit another week and I'll bottle it! That experience will be completely new to me, and worthy of its own blog post :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Commuting Video

I finally used iMovie on my macbook for the first time and made this little video out of pictures I took on the way to/from work today. Enjoy!