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Archive for June, 2010

California Dreamin’

Friday, June 18th, 2010

On Friday 06.11.10 I brewed a California Red beer, plus it was my first night brew in a while too.

The CA Red brew night went well. I got started about 6:00PM and finished up about 1:00AM, seven hours isn’t too bad. I have had a tough time committing to weekend brew days recently so I decided to see if I could pump out a brew night in a reasonable amount of time, really to see how feasible a week day brew night would be. I think as long as there were no mistakes and kept about that same pacing, I’d say it’s quite feasible, especially considering I am usually just getting to bed around that time anyway.

This is the second time I have brewed this style of beer and I decided to duplicate the same recipe, only changing the bittering hops on account of what was available in house, from Horizon to Chinook. This is actually a really tasty beer, it comes off like candied hops. I also re-pitched the yeast from the American Wheat. I feel as if this is both a smart move and a risky move. Smart in the sense of I save $8.00 from the batch by not buying any new yeast, but risky because if there happen to be any problems with the first beer it will be carried over to the second beer. So far I have not run into any noticeable problems using this procedure, though the most I have ever flipped yeast is twice, and I’ll probably flip this yeast one more time too.

I think I am going to leave all 10 gallons of this batch the same, but I am also slightly leaning toward lightly oaking five gallons of it too. I think the next brew is going to be an American Brown beer. This is a recipe that Garrett and I have brewed together before and that I have brewed on my own too. It’s actually quite tasty. For that batch I think I will split it as a traditional batch and maybe add chocolate to half. We’ll see what happens when we get there I suppose.

“All the leaves are green, and the sky is blue, I’ve been for a brew, on a summers day … California dreamin’ …” Haha, whateva!

Grilled Pineapple Wheat Beer

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

So the other day I split the 10 gallon batch of Perle Wheat into two secondary carboys, one to remain a traditional American Wheat and the other to have fruit added to it.

So for this years variation I decided to go with a Grilled Pineapple Wheat Beer. Sounds weird right? Well, I also thought it sounded kind of summery, so I went for it. I really had no idea how much pineapple was going to be necessary, so I guessed at one pound per gallon, or five pounds of pineapple total. Originally I was going to use fresh pineapple, but the ones I was looking at were about $5.00 per pineapple at about 4-ish pounds a piece. I figured I’d probably need two pineapples after they were skinned and cored. So instead I looked at my options for canned pineapple, which happen to be on sale, four 20oz cans for $5.00, nice! So I opted on five cans to go on the safe side, assuming I would loose some weight after the juice was removed. Speaking of which, I meant to pick up all the same style pineapple, preferably whole slices in juice. Some how I grabbed whole slices in juice, in syrup, chunks in juice, and chunks in syrup … I guess I REALLY wasn’t paying attention.

Anyway, I essentially drained the juice/syrup and retained it, not sure at the time if I was going to use it, though I didn’t. I then got the grill nice and hot and scraped down all the chunkies, last think I needed was for a bit of hamburger or something gross to get in my beer. The whole slices were pretty easy to grill and looked (and tasted) pretty good. The chunks were a little bit more of a challenge, trying not to loose them between the grill and to still try and get a nice caramel to them. After they were grilled I chilled them out in the fridge as to not change the beer’s temperature too much. Before adding them to the carboy I also slightly pureed the bits together to help them fit into the fermenter and to increase the surface area.

As I began to add the fruit to the beer I realized how much room there wasn’t going to be in the fermenter. I was using a 5 gallon jug where I really should have been using a 6 gallon or larger, knowing I was adding fruit, plus room for a secondary fermentation of the fruits sugars. After I reapplied the air-lock I hoped that it would still be attached in the morning and not blown across the room with beer and pineapple everywhere. When I came down in the morning to check I was lucky to find the air-lock still in place, but there was sanitizer/beer coming out of the holes on top. I quickly tried to clean things up by removing the airlock and relieving some of the pressure, which turned out to kind of be a bad idea as it released too much pressure and beer and pineapple started splooging all down the sides of the fermenter. I quickly grabbed the fermenter, threw it in a big-ass Rubbermaid-type container, tented the opening with some foil, and gave the beer a little anti-contamination blessing and left for work.

The beer was rolling pretty strong for about 48 hours, then I was able to clean things up proper and apply the air-lock again. Since then the beers been bubbling away. It’s pretty cloudy, I assume from the pectin in the pineapple, hopefully it’ll clear some, if not it’s a wheat beer so it won’t be completely unexpected. I may do a tetrary phase just to help with clarification, we’ll see. With any luck, this will be a lovely summer time sipper, with any bad luck I’ve got the potential for one hell of a drain pour, haha.

Blues, Brews, and BBQ

Monday, June 14th, 2010

OK, scratch that last post, 2 out of 1,000 events for PBW ;).

Saturday 06.12.10 was the Blues, Brews, and BBQ event at Iron Hill Wilmington. I knew about the event for a while, and had mostly planned on going as long as I was in town, but I hadn’t realized it counted as a PBW event since it was in Wilmington, go figure. Regardless, Iron Hill Wilmington had an event Saturday afternoon from 1PM-5PM which included blues music from Docta D and the Infirmary, brews from a couple Iron Hill (IH) locations, Stewarts, and DFH, and in-house special BBQ platters for the day. Overall, great time.

I had seen Docta D once before, last year at the Brandywine Craft Brewer’s Fest (I think that’s what it is called, the one Iron Hill does at their Media location …). They’re a pretty decent blues cover band, the band is real tight, and the lead guy plays a nice harp. But my problem is with me, I’ve been tainted by Nate Myers and the Aces. They are a similar blues cover band, but with move of a good-times flair than full on traditional, and I guess for me that’s what I wanted, a little more eccentric energy. I’m not trying to take anything away from Docta D, I’m just giving my two cents.

The brews were picked to pair well with BBQ/smoked flavors, let me see if I can remember the six specials, there was: IH’s Wee Heavy, IH’s Munich Dunkle, IH’s Smokin’ Blonde, DFH’s Palo Santo, and Stewart’s Dark and Smokey Weisse. There actually was one more from IH but I can’t remember it at this point. The beers were good, they were doing 12oz pours for like $5.75 or a sampler of all six for $6.00, guess which direction I went in … of course! Some quick reviews of some, the IH Munich Dunkle was possibly my favorite which is surprising because I’m not always the biggest fan of the style, the IH Smokin’ Blonde was really good too, it was a Belgian Blonde brewed with smoked malts. I thought the Belgian characteristics came through well and the subtle smoke was a nice addition, good style for the kind of weather that day.The Stewart’s beer was definitely the smokiest, being almost overwhelming on first impression, but grew as you continued to sip the brew. After the smokey sampler I needed a palate cleanser, and the seasonal American IPA was just what the docta ordered, with all the lovely hops scrubbing my palate clean.

And the BBQ was what was up. I had the impression the IH was going to be BBQin’ outside on the deck, especially since it was such a beautiful day and the breeze coming off the river was perfect, but instead they were doing things in the kitchen. Additionally I had the idea that there would be more lunch type items, more sandwiches perhaps, or even small bites like hamburgers and hot dogs, like a picnic flair, but instead it appears as if they focused on dinner type platters, which I ordered anyway. They had a “smoked” accented pizza special, a half chicken, brisket, and pork loin special all available that day. I went with the pork loin and Robert went with the brisket. The pork loin was nice served with a homemade coffee bbq sauce, blue cheese potato salad, which could have used a bit more blue cheese, and grilled summer vegetables. The brisket was better and was served with a different homemade bbq sauce, cheddar mashed potatoes, and grilled zucchini. I don’t remember the details as well for the brisket, but I also didn’t order it. Overall I had a great afternoon at Iron Hill once again and hope that these types of events continue into the future.

1 in 1,000, PBW

Friday, June 11th, 2010

So last night, 06.10.10, was the one and only Philly Beer Week (PBW) event I got to attend, Older Bud No Weiser, at World Café Live.

The event was kind of pimped as a class reunion for the class of 1996 local brewers. In attendance was Tom Kehoe of Yards, Gene Muller of Flying Fish, Mark Edelson of Iron Hill, Bill Covaleski of Victory, and Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head and it was hosted by Greg Koch of Stone. That’s some serious brewing power-house-age right there, and they all basically opened within a year of each other, crazy. The event was more or less set up like a panel with the five guys behind a long table and Greg off to the side emceeing. He would basically lob easy questions up that all five would answer, like: tell us how you started, what piece of advice would you give yourself in 96 if you knew what you knew now, and tell us a funny/embarrassing story kind of thing. After Greg was done with his questions and everyone was warmed up he turned the questions over to the people on the floor, us. We then were able to ask direct questions to a single person or ask the panel a question. They were cool and kicked down bottles of beer to the people who asked questions. Not knowing what you would get, the beers varied from 11 year old barleywines, to 750mls of specialty brews, to unlabeled secret stash brews. The event ran for about three hours.

While the event was going on we also got to sample beers from all five breweries. From Yards I believe we had their ESA, Abbey Dubbel from Flying Fish, Pig Iron Porter from Iron Hill, HopDevil from Victory, and Shelter Pale Ale from DFH. All of the beers were 12oz pours, so it was a nice bit of beer in that three hour time frame. It would have been nice if some small bites were available with the beers, but for $25 I already felt as if it were a bargain price. Also, I was smart enough to eat prior to the event, the website only indicated ‘light fare will be served’, but I didn’t trust it.

I think overall for only being able to go to one event I was able to go to a pretty decent one. Don’t get me wrong, I would have rathered have gone to one every night for all 10 days of PBW, but alas it wasn’t in the stars this year. Plus with 1000 different events, it was a little daunting to figure out which event(s) were going to be the best to go to. I think it may benefit PBW to stream line some next year, for example the event last night was maybe only half sold out, and I think that was because people had so many other options of great things to do to choose from.