Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Burton Baton and the Legend of the Ancient Ales

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

This is long over due, so I figured I’d toss this up here now and add more later.

1st place winner in the 2010 Dogfish Head Off-Centered Film Festival (w/extended credits made especially for YouTube). Watch it in HD!

The second installment in the box-office blockbuster series of Burton Baton action adventures, “The Legend of the Ancient Ales” is a gripping journey of Post World War II intrigue and an alcohol-infused joyride through the well-aged pages of history. It’s also the second movie we ever made. The first movie we ever made, Burton Baton’s debut film “World Wide Clout,” placed 3rd in the 2009 Film Fest! Check it out on YouTube here:

Note: When we weren’t drinking DFH we were drinking Fool Circle ( And if you dig the song during the credits, check out Erik Mitchell’s music (

Fat Washing

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Yeah, I said it, what you got a problem with that? I’m into fat washing!

So the other day I played with the concept of fat washing. What the hell is fat washing!? That’s what I said at first, and it wasn’t some weird nakedness-with-a-hose-and-sandwich type of internet thing either. It has to do with infusing a liquor with the essence of a fat. OK, it’s still weird. So why the heck was I playing with the concept of fat washing? Well, to experiment with the idea of a Bacon Beer, why else!

So for my fat washing experiment Robert and I decided on making Bacon Bourbon, think it sounds good, yeah me too. So we needed bacon and bourbon. Robert supplied the bourbon with some 100 proof Old Grand-dad (yowsa!) and Booth’s Corner Farmers Marker supplied the bacon. We decided on two different bacons just to see if there was a difference, so we got approx a 1/3 of a pound of Pepper Hickory Bacon (HICK) and Double Smoked Bacon (DBL). We really had no idea what the ratio of fat to liquor should be, so we decided on amounts we could handle eating and drinking so there was no waste. So first of all the HICK bacon was cooked off and the liquid fat was poured into three ounces of bourbon. We didn’t want to pour in all the lovely bacon bits so we poured the fat through a coffee filter in a funnel, it worked perfectly. We then mixed this up and let it begin to settle, which is about the time-frame of when the picture above was taken. At first it looked like salad dressing, and I think it would make a good base for a salad dressing with a salad with spinach, hard boiled eggs, blue cheese crumbles, craisins, and steak – sign me up. Then we cleaned things up and proceeded with the DBL bacon in the same manor. After both bourbons were bacon infused we moved them to the freezer to help speed the solidifying process.

While the fat was setting up we ate almost all of the bacon, of course, until we got towards the end and decided we should chocolate-dip some of the bacon! So I grabbed some dark chocolate I was recently given and set up a quick double boiler, melted about eight pieces of chocolate and then dipped about eight pieces of bacon, while of course burning the piss out of my fingers with the chocolate. I then laid the chocolate dipped bacon on a Corian cutting board and placed it in the fridge to set up. We figured in a couple hours (two episodes of Lost to be precise) we’d have fat washed bacon bourbon and dark chocolate dipped bacon, sounds like bacon heaven.

After the bourbons came out of the freezer they had a very solid fat layer on top a little greater than half an inch thick, and it was fully separated from the bourbon. Next we had to figure out how to get the bourbon from under the fat. We tried two different methods. Robert went with the knife around the edge of the glass and try to pop the “fat puck” from the top of the bourbon. I went with the take a straw and pop a hole through the fat and then pour the bourbon through the whole. They both worked in their own way, but the pop-and-pour method worked better. After either method of trying to pop the fat puck or the pop and pour method we wound up partially breaking the fat so that there were fat floaties in the bourbon. So it was back to the coffee filter and funnel technique, and again it worked perfectly. After both bourbons were poured off the fat and poured through the coffee filter there was perfectly clean and clear bourbon for the sampling.

We had no idea what we were getting into so there was a lot of excitment/anticipation. Would it smell of bacon, taste of bacon, would it be greasy, would it be any good? These were all questions in our mind. And the answers, well, I was impressed. You could catch smoke in the nose, and bacon in the flavor, it was mild and slightly hammy, there was no grease or slickness at all, and yeah, it was good! I actually thought the fat washing took the bite away from the 100 proof bourbon, but that could have been from numbed taste buds from an afternoon of bacon and plain bourbon too. But overall I would call it a success and would highly consider doing it again. This time we weren’t thinking and threw out the fat, next time I’m going to reserve that stuff and cook something with it, like beans, and see if the fat absorbed any bourbon notes. Also, while enjoying our fat washed bacon bourbon it was time for the dark chocolate dipped bacon. And it was incredible too! Seriously, if you like bacon and chocolate you gotta try it. I think it would be amazing crumbled and put either in ice cream or cookies instead of chocolate chips. Robert even liked it and he’s not a big chocolate fan, but it did inspire us to next time try peanut butter dipped bacon, whoa.

Overall it was a silly afternoon with a high success rate. If anyone else tries to experiment please let me know. Now remember it has to be done with a fat that will solidify, like bacon fat or butter, not olive oil. Anyone up for a real Buttered Spiced Rum? Sounds like another afternoon to me! Oh and about the Bacon Beer … not sure if this was enough to convince me, but maybe a Bacon Washed Bourbon Beer, maybe.

Things to Remember this Holiday Season

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

Iron Hill Mug Club Renewal

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

So yesterday was the Iron Hill Wilmington location’s Mug Club Renewal Party. I’ve got to say, Iron Hill’s Mug Club is a great deal!


Per usual, I brought my camera with me and forgot to take any pictures. Instead, here’s a picture of my past mugs, pretty cool. I think my favorite ones are the 2006 and 2008 mugs, but they’re all good.

I also finally talked Robert into joining. Every year he says he wants to but misses the sign-up date or doesn’t have the cash or something, but this year he’s in. It was actually perfect timing when he walked in; he got in line to sign up, a waitress went by with beer samples, then another with appetizer samples, and he was like ‘oh, yeah, I can get used to this’ and all I could say was ‘welcome to the V.I.P. club’ because that’s exactly what it felt like.

I tried Iron Hill’s newest beer their Imperial Pilsner last night, plus I had their Hopfection IPA, and sips on the Bourbon Imperial Stout and Bourbon Porter – all were delicious! Plus they had the included buffet lined up which included all sorts of goodies, soft pretzels, fries, pizza, hot wings, hummus, crab dip, and bruschetta – blazin’!

In case you didn’t know, well, now you know – here’s what is included in the Iron Hill Mug Club – oh, and it’s good at like all 53 of their locations 😉

Mug Club Loyalty Card Perks

  • Drink from an exclusive 24 ounce signature handmade beer mug
  • Any-time filling of the mug for the same price as the 16 ounce pint
  • Use of your mug during any Iron Hill pint promotion
  • Invitations to exclusive mug club events throughout the year
  • Direct contact via email with the head brewer regarding upcoming releases and events
  • Earn a $25 reward certificate for every 300 points accrued
  • 200 free points credited at time of sign-up
  • Take home collectible mug at the beginning of the year

Mug Club Loyalty Card Rules

  • Cost of membership is $35 per year
  • Mug club and loyalty cards must be renewed each year
  • Mug design changes each year
  • Membership expires January 31, 2010
  • Unused points roll over at time of renewal
  • If you choose not to renew, unused points will be forfeited
  • Membership and card are non-transferable
  • Points are accrued for each dollar spent, excluding tax and tip and the purchase of gift cards

Come to think of it I suppose I only have one minor beef, I’ve noticed on the check that the Mug price appears to be higher than the 16 oz price sometimes – I must question / investigate into that one. I stand corrected, I was correct in noticing the “normal” price and the Mug price are some times different, and here’s why from someone who knows: Wanted to follow up on your “beef”. Mug Club members get the 24 ounce mug filled at the pint price. Several of our seasonals, however, are not served in pints, but 12 ounce portions. In these cases, the price associated with the Mug Club mug are in the computer as prices we would charge if we were serving the beer in a pint. This is why on some beers, mostly the strong ones, a difference in the price from the featured beer list and the charged price. However, the list will always show the price and the quantity it is served in. Hope this clears it up.” Thanks! Otherwise go for it, some of their locations are still having there renewals.

Letting Things Slide

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

So I had two kegs kick in two days with the third one easily going to kick this weekend. So I realized a few things: One I was going to have to cut the handle off another keg, bummer, the keg I chose had a solid handle instead of a hollow one, suckage, after replacing all three kegs (inevitable by this weekend) it will leave me with only one full keg and zero full carboys and needing to order ingredients. I think I may have let things slide a little too far.

Also, don’t mess with important keg stuff when you are apsolutly exhausted and should have been in bed an hour ago (I know it is still early, whatever). One of the new kegs lids started to “leak” when I put it on, I messed with it a little and it appears to have stopped, but I normally wouldn’t have compromised were I not so tired. We’ll see if I still have gas by the end of the weekend.

Gas Leak

Saturday, January 17th, 2009

I just got done boasting how gassy I am, and now I have to admit that I leaked . . .


As I have already said I went and got gas on 12.30.08, filled up my 50# and my 5# tanks. Haven’t touched the 50 yet, but the 5 went right on the kegerator and all was good. Well, last weekend 01.11.09 I went to take a pull of beer and got – nothin’. At first I was pissy, then I was concerned and went into detective mode. I realized rather quickly it was the fact that I had no gas, so I figured I must have a leak since it was filled so recently (should last for 4-6 kegs or so).

I had to wait for an opportunity to get gas, which was today, and then the real investigation could begin. I hooked up the full tank and pulled the whole system out of the kegerator. I then filled the sink with water and dropped the three connectors in and turned on the gas to see what happened. The connector for the center faucet started bubbling away, which is where I thought the problem would lie. I was going to drop basically the whole system in the water, but I am not sure what that would do to some of the metals.

Anyway, I took apart the connector and the internal gasket was deformed (supposed to be round), great. Does anyone know where I can buy just the internal gasket to a gas ball lock connector? I haven’t looked yet, but I’m sure they are out there. Fortunately I had an extra connector and just swapped them out. Did the water test again and it seemed all good.

Hooked everything up, and cleaned everything up. Hooked up all three beers and they all seemed to pour fine. So, at this point it is more of a waiting game to see if I solved the problem or only part of the problem. I think it is gong to be fine.


Sunday, October 26th, 2008

So between yesterday and today I got three transfers done thatneeded to get under way.


Back in April I believe I brewed a 20 gallon batch of American Wheat beer withGarrett. We split the batch and I left 5 gallons of my beer ‘plain’ and I added fruit to the other 5 gallons. I have just kegged the 5 gallons of fruited wheat beer, sheesh I’m a slacker. Two down sides to this scenario, (1) I would have rather of had this beer available in the summer, a fruit-wheat beer just screams summer-time, and (2) the beer has taken on a slight sour flavor. I am not alarmed, I do not think the beer is a drain pour or anything, there just appears to be a slight sour fruit flavor present that I don’t remember from when I transfered the beer to it’s third fermenter. I kind of like it, like a tart sour cherry, but there is no cherries in it, it was predominantly pomegranates and blueberries. We’ll have to see what cooling this beer down and adding carbonation to it does, but I think it could be a neat tart treat. I also transfered both ciders to secondaries today. I am trying to stay on top of these ciders and am planning on drinking them ‘young’ and having them ready for Thanksgiving. The cider fermented with the S33 finished at 0.0998 and the cider fermented with the US56 finished at 0.0996 – talk about some dry stuff. I think I am going to keep the S33 cider ‘traditional’ because it should have a little bit more complex flavor profile on its own, and I think I will try to back-sweeten and/or try to pump-up the appleness in the US56. I’m going to have to do a little research on the back-sweetening aspect, but I know others have done it so it shouldn’t really be a big deal. My plan is to keg and force-carbonate a good number of bottles to take around the circuit on Thanksgiving. Typically my beers are well received from the people that like craft beers, but I’m hoping the ciders will hit a larger palate range, but again the problem is that these are not you ‘normal’ ciders so it is still a sell, whatever, it’ll be Thanksgiving people will shove anything in their mouth 😆 .


I also pulled off 6 bottles of the Plain Porter on tap right now. I am going to try and do this with every batch. I want to do this more to have a stock of beers for the annual Fool Circle beer tasting more than anything else, but I suppose if there is some competitions in between that could be useful too, like this one in two weeks, the Inaugural Stoney Creek Homebrewers Amateur Brewing Championship.

Cicerone Certified Beer Server

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

So a week ago today I took the Cicerone test to become a Certified Beer Server.

And I passed the test with flying colors, 100%! What? You say you have never heard of a Cicerone, well listen up. What is a Cicerone? In basics terms, a Cicerone is to beer as a Sommelier is to wine. Cicerone is a new term for beer, I believe the program was started this year (2008) by the Brewer’s Association, and definitely is run by Ray Daniels. Basically it is a way to independently test beer knowledge and acknowledge that knowledge through three tested phases. Fist being the Certified Beer Server. Second is a Certified Cicerone (which there are five as of now). And third is a Master Cicerone (which there are none as of yet).

So since I essentially want to move my life and my career toward the beer industry I figured this would be a logical move to help prep myself for what is to come. I personally thought the Certified Beer Server test was pretty easy, but I’m sure everyone wouldn’t agree. It was 60 multiple-choice and true-false questions taken online with a 30 minute time limit. I finished the test in 14 minutes and received 100%. I’m sure that homebrewing for the past nine years and being a Certified BJCP Beer Judge helped, but I also believe that just my passion of beer and my ever wanting to know more about it was even more helpful.

The test covered many areas, more broad than I anticipated, thinking it would have been focusing on beer serving and public drunkenness, maybe like the next level of receiving your ABC server training. It covered many different beer styles, beer characteristics including freshness and flavor, serving beer, and the three tier system. A couple of the questions were similar to this style with multiple choice answers: Which of the following is not detected by taste or Which of the following would you not use to describe an Amber Ale? I would actually love to see every employee at a beer bar or a brew pub take this exam, though the $50 price tag may deter some businesses. Maybe they could institute a “business plan” where a business buys into the Cicerone program for say $1000 (20 tests worth) and can test as many employees a year that they want through the program to test to be Certified Beer Servers? Just a thought.

The next step is to test to become a Certified Cicerone, which I really want to do. There is a local test in Philly on Saturday October 25th, and as of now it is written in on my calendar. The prerequisites for a Certified Cicerone are: At least 30 days as a Certified Beer Server plus one year’s experience in the beer industry or one recommendation from a brewer or beer retailer. So since I do not have the beer industry experience, looks like I will have to get a recommendation, could be tricky. And this time the exam format is a written exam with short answers and essay questions plus tasting and a demonstration component, a grade of 80% overall and at least 70% on the tasting portion will be required to pass.The cost this time is $295 dollars, a big step from the $50 from last time. And basically the responsibilities for the test cover a large range, such as that you must have detailed knowledge of retail beer storage and service issues, excellent knowledge of modern beers and styles with some familiarity for historical styles, competence in identifying flawed beers and recognizing appropriate and in-appropriate flavors in modern beer styles, good understanding of the beer ingredients and familiarity with the brewing process and its common variations plus the ability to recommend reasonable beer pairings for common foods.

Some of this information was borrowed directly from the Cicerone website, please follow the link there to find out more information, and wish me luck!

SOLD! 1998 VW Golf

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Our 1998 VW Golf K2 sold today (09.01.08)! We have owned this car since it was new and we have taken very good care of it. If there is anyone you know in the market for a new used car available in Delaware feel free to forward a link to this post to them. Thanks for your help.



This car is a real deal; perfect for a new driver, college student, commuter, or anyone in between.

This car includes the following features:
– Approximately 25-30 MPG
– ONLY 131,500 Miles
– Priced Below Kelley Blue Book Value
– CarFax Certified and Vehicle History Report Available
– One Owner
– Accident Free History – Clean Title
– Cold Air Conditioning
– THULE Roof Rack System with Ski Rack Flat Top
– Plus 1 Pair Womens K2 Skis
– Yakima MegaJoe 3 Rear Bike Rack (New, in Box)
– 4 Cylinder, 2.0 Liter Engine
– 5-Speed Manuel Transmission
– Power Windows/Doors/Locks
– Alarm System
– Moon Roof
– Alloy Aluminum Wheels
– K2 Edition
– Front Seat Heaters
– 40/60 Fold-down Back Seat

ONLY $2500 – FIRM

Please contact Brian at and leave a detailed message with contact information.
There are more pictures available and I can answer any questions. Thanks.

This ad has now been removed from Craigslist too in case anyone is interested. Also, in case anyone does read this, we sold the car through Craigslist.

Tournament 512

Monday, August 18th, 2008

So this weekend it happened again, and it happened in a big way.

Top 64 of the Greatest 512

Click on the above image for a larger view of the Top 64 from the Tournament 512.

We got together for the big one on Saturday (08.16.08), The 512 Greatest of All Time, Randomly Drawn, Non-Seeded Tournament. Yes I said five hundred twelve, ri-dic-u-lous, seriously. So we have been talking about this for the better part of a year, and honestly I think there is a part of me that has been putting this off on purpose for the better part of a year. I was a little intimidated going into this, more for the time commitment and possible rivalry flair-ups, but it appears to have been unwarranted. No major arguments, sheesh honestly I don’t think there were any arguments, and we seriously busted this thing out in like 9 or 10 hours. I know that sounds like a lot of time, but I really thought it was going to take like twice as long.

So Erik, Robert, and I had to figure out the logistics of this thing, I mean really, you don’t want to get 8 hours into this thing and run into a problem from miss-counting. So forward-thinking uses saved all of the previous names from the first four tournaments, so really all we had to do was verify that there were 128 names four times. All the names were there, so we were ready to move on to the next phase, figuring out the logistics of the brackets. Again, forward-thinking, I had asked someone I knew about the possibility of printing the bracket on a plotter. The advantage of the plotter was that we could do the tournament on a single piece of paper 36 inches by however long we needed. Well that turned out to be 36 inches by 96 inches – 3 feet by 8 feet, crazy! The original layout was almost 6 feet by 16 feet, but we remedied that quickly.

This time the tournament was mostly the same idea, but completely different at the same time. The aspects that were the same were that we were doing a completely pointless, random, non-seeded tournament with characteristics from the previous four tournaments (Front-men, Villains, Heroes, and Hot Chicks). A couple of the things that were different were the No-Nah rule, the Top Eight DQ rule, and the No Criteria rule (I just made all those names up).

More pictures for your viewing pleasure. 

Previously we would have our “nah” system in place where we were given a certain amount of over-turn authority in which no one opinion could easily out weigh the game, versus this time we played the entire game with no “nahs” and it never seemed to get out of line. Next we decided that all of the top eight from the previous four tournaments needed some weight in the first round (256 battles). So we decided that if any two of the top eights went up against each other in the first round they would be thrown back into the pot and redrawn, essentially an automatic “nah”, I think this only happened twice. And finally there was the unspoken (remarkable) no criteria that was involved. Somehow the discussion never happened and it made things that much better, that is, the discussion of by what criteria are we judging these battles? Because, really, how do you determine who is better in a battle like Jessica Simpson vs. The Purple Pie Man? Sometimes the thought pattern was along the lines of: Is “X” a better villain then “Y” is a better Frontman? And other times it was more like a Mortal Combat video game with the two players openly fighting each other. And sometimes ‘boobs’ just win. And yes, all of these were going on in my head the whole day.

To say it was a fun crazy day isn’t to say enough. Though this was our “last” tournament I honestly only see this as the beginning.