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Something Brewing: First Ten Years
Yes, it has been almost ten years since I brewed my first beer. I first got interested in it in 2002, studied it after an interview for a job at Cold Spring Brewing. That summer, I also went on a military tour of duty to Germany. It was a long time before I could drink "mass produced Pissner" again. In October 2003, I bought something from Wal-Mart that was really just a 1-gallon plastic bladder for fermenting. The beer was cidery and sour, and I eventually threw it away. Around Thanksgiving 2003, I made Oktoberfest with a kit from Baker's Hobby and Craft. Strong, but I liked it, and shared it with mom and dad. Through 2004, I learned about lagers and ales, they're fermented with different species of yeast and at different temperatures, about hops, various malts. I also made my first all-grain batch in 2004, and never went back to extract brewing. I was concerned about the cost and space requirements for things like a mash tun, so I learned to brew in a bag. The "bag" is a mesh bag for straining the wort from the spent grain. Christmas 2004, I made some beer for mom and dad for Christmas, one of which was a jalapeno cerveza.

2005, I had developed confidence and technique. I could mash with the typical 75% efficiency, or get the expected ppg (points per pound per gallon), and mash high gravity worts.

2006, I found a place called Northern Brewer, and became a regular customer there. December that year, I tried to make a lager, used frozen stairwell as temperature control, but it froze.

2007, after trying to brew a rye beer, and having the wort spoil from sitting too long, hiatus!

December 2011, I got back into it again, a thick brown ale called Mayan Apocalypse, because it was 2012, or almost that year. In February 2012, I made Dawn of a New Bak'tun. 2012 saw me taking off with it, like never before. I bought a keg, complete with carbon dioxide tank and regulator. I also bought a counter pressure bottle filler, so that I wouldn't have to use priming sugar. In December 2012, I re-brewed a beer for the first time, Mayan Apocalypse. It was kegged on December 20, 2012, the night before its namesake.

For many years, I wondered where civilization came from. Humans have been around for 2 million years, but only civilized for 10,000 of it. Kind of an epiphany! I explored things like Ancient Astronaut Theory, you can thank Georgio Tsoukalos for that. Then in January 2012, it occurred to me that civilization came to be at about the same time that beer was discovered. I also came to believe that it was not a coincidence. In school, I was taught, "Wheel, Fire, and Bread." Yes, it was agriculture, and cereal grain that took humans from caves to cities, but were they using the grain for bread or beer? I theorized all this, then found out that leading academic researchers beat me to it. "How Beer Saved The World" Beer -- 3000 years before anyone was baking bread, Beer built the first city and civilization, Sumerian language had 160 words pertaining to beer, more than the Eskimos had for "snow." Egypt's pyramids were built with beer. Beer led to things like writing, mathematics, the wheel, animal husbandry. Beer got us through the dark ages, and led to germ theory and refrigeration. Germ theory, Louis Pasteur was studying beer and wine, not milk. The pilgrims, on their way to Jamestown, Virginia, landed at Plymouth Rock because the ship ran out of beer. At about the same time that Chinese civilization came to be, they discovered a way to make something that was a wine, sake, and a beer all rolled up in one. The Inca, in what is now Peru and northern Chile, had a maize, or corn, beer. The Maya, in what is now Central America and southern Mexico, had a maize beer with chocolate in it. I often wonder if Ponce de Leon's Fountain of Youth was just a place where natives found out how to make drinkable water (ie, beer), that it was just a first brewery. Sumeria's offshoots, Assyria and Babylon, were also known for beer. Egypt, well, Egypt WAS beer. Then came the Greeks and Romans. Beer somewhat got put on the bottom shelf. Julius Caesar called it a fine drink but also said it was goaty and sweaty. Rome was about wine, but became familiar with beer through their interactions with the German people. Their myths about Thor, that thunder was Thor beating his kettle while brewing. Rome falls, then the Franks, Angles, and Germans get their day and their way. It took a public health crisis to bring beer back to the fore. People were getting sick all the time. If you drank water, it would come back up and take your last meal with it. But beer was healthy to drink. If you were sick, beer would make you better. It was the Germans, around the year 1000 CE, that first added hops to beer. Hops adds a bitter and herbal flavor to beer, but hops also has antibacterial properties, so they used it to preserve beer.

The axis of beer, starts in Plzen, Czech Republic, then Munich, then Cologne and Düsseldorf, then Brussels, London, then finally Dublin and Edinburgh.

achievements on bike
most miles in one year: 3355, it was November before I put more miles on my car than on my bike. It was late October when I finally hibernated my bike.
miles in one trip: 48
miles in one day: 69
miles in two consecutive days: 111
miles in one week: 224

Also, some misadventures. I got stuck seven miles from home, in Rockville, with a flat tire.

One time, after only 16 miles, I passed out in the ditch and a good samaritan had to take me home. That day, it was 93 degrees with dripping humidity. I was trying to get to a SuperAmerica or Holiday to get some water, but couldn't make it back. I did not collapse, but anticipated trouble, and lay in ditch, with head below heart and legs.

I had to buy a new tire more than once this year.

In 2011, I lost weight. In 2012, I kept it off. Early in 2011, I weighed in at 192 pounds. Late this year, I once registered 147. Difference of 45 pounds, but I tell people I lost 35 pounds to allow for weight fluctuations.

If at first you don't succeed, rye, rye, again
6 gallons

6 lb Rahr 6-row pale barley malt
4 lb rye malt
1 lb 20°L Crystal
1 lb Biscuit malt
1 lb rice hulls

1 oz Fuggle (60 min)
1 oz Chinook (12 min)

color ~ 10°L, 25 IBU, OG 1.055, FG 1.011

SafAle 04 yeast, 6 days at 70°F

Barley was ground to 1mm as usual. Rye was ground to a flour.

1. Water was added to raise temp to 115, 20 min
2. Water was added to raise temp to 126, 20 min
3. Ice cubes to lower temp back to 113, 20 min
4. temp raised to near 130, 20 min
5. temp raised through 130's, 140's, and then starch conversion

Frequent stirring, occasionally reversing direction of stirring to agitate the mash. Early in this elongated rest, the mash did become dough-like and extremely viscous. When it loosened, I knew I did something right.

When the ratio is 2 pounds to a gallon, in this case 12 pounds to 6 gallons, the expected OG is 1.054, or 54 (gravity) points. If I got 42 points again, I would have cried. If I got 48, I would have called it good enough. Getting 55 points was reason to celebrate. This was a win over beta-glucan.

Ted Nugent: Pants Shitting Coward
Election year again, Ted Nugent comes out acting like a far right wing tough guy. He once said we should have nuked Iraq. "If Obama gets re-elected, I will be dead or in jail." He once had the opportunity to kill some commies. When duty called, he literally shit his pants.


I’ve got a serious question for conservative readers of the Good Men Project: Am I the only person who is confused when the GOP doesn’t distance itself from this guy? In a 1990 interview with the Free Press Ted Nugent explained how he intentionally avoided the draft:
“He claims that 30 days before his Draft Board Physical, he stopped all forms of personal hygiene. The last 10 days he ingested nothing but junk food and Pepsi, and a week before his physical, he stopped using the bathroom altogether, virtually living inside his pants caked with excrement and urine. That spectacle won Nugent a deferment.”


I first heard about Nugent's stunt from Dee Snyder while listening to House of Hair. I didn't believe it then. Not that I distrust Snyder, but this is outrageous.

Rick Santorum and his slip of the tongue
"candidate Barack Obama,the anti-war government nig...(interrupts himself)"

Stay classy, Rick!


Beers that get better with age
We all know that wines get better with age. Some beers can too. I have a 4-grain beer (wheat, barley, oats, rye). It is very, very cloudy, but my mom, dad, and myself like it. When I first bottled it, DIACETYL! Diacetyl, plus the oils from oats, made it taste like I had put two sticks of butter in the mash. As it aged in the bottle, some diacetyl (2,3-butanedione) is still present, but now has a clove like taste. I'm a chemist, so I should say eugenol. I used SafAle 04 yeast, 3 lb wheat malt, 3lb oat malt, 3 lb rye malt, 3 lb 6-row barley, and St. Cloud tapwater, for 6 gallons of beer.

Homebrewing: back in the saddle
I made a winter ale, and in honor of the year 2012, have decided to call it Mayan Apocalypse.

4 lb wheat malt
2 lb Maris Otter malt
4 lb Munich malt
2 lb Gambrinus honey malt
1 lb Cara-Pils
1/2 lb chocolate malt

Willamette hops (4.9%), 60 min
Northern Brewer hops (7.5%), 10 min

SafAle 04 yeast, 65 - 70°F, 10 days

OG 1.074

Bitterness near 28 IBU

This should make a dark, sweet beer, with bitterness from hops and roasted grain.

Guess that Republican Candidate
Each one is a different candidate.

1) sang "Happy Birthday" to Elvis, on the anniversary of Elvis' death

2) quote: "Corporations are people too"

3) 9-9-9 taxation plan resembles that of SimCity

4) trying to name three departments of executive government, well, this person can't count to 3

5) Obamneycare!

6) claims to be "good Christian", served divorce papers to former wife on her hospital bed

7) libertarian, not racist, yet will not reject endorsement from Stormfront

Bachmann bows out
Before you sing, "Ding dong, the bitch is dead," she will probably run for congress again, which is why I am so incredibly glad that the self-proclaimed tea party queen ran for president.

Whenever someone runs for president, every dirty detail of their past is revealed. Look at the stuff that came out about Michelle Bachmann! Her congressional attendance record sucks. She missed so many crucial votes because she was out doing her corporate-whoring, rallying the rabid dogs of the TEA Parties, appearing on FOX News, or singing Happy Birthday to Elvis, on the anniversary of his death.

She proclaimed to oppose any and all government subsidization, while taking farm subsidies for their family "farm". Let's not forget about the hundreds of thousands they took from Medicaid to help people pray the gay away, their faith-based clinic for gay conversion. Her husband Marcus runs the clinic, and there is speculation that he is secretly gay.

Where's that pic of a Gaydar gun?

What will you remember 2011 for?
For me, I paid off my student loan to become debt free.

Also, I lost weight. At one point, I was 192. This was right after starting a workout. I went from 188 to 192, probably gain in muscle mass. Then over the summer I rode my bike all the time. I am now down to 162.