Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Chiller

It's ugly but functional. I call it the Wort Hog 5. Not too bad for my first attempt. I am definitely not a handy-tool type guy. I learned a lot from this adventure so next time it'll be much prettier and have a higher efficiency.
OH. What the hell is it? It's a fermentation chiller. What's it do? It chills the wort (fermenting beer)to a set temperature using blocks of ice and a "hacked" thermostat. Ice (frozen plastic jugs) sit in the bottom chamber and when the temperature gets above a certain range set in the thermostat a small 12v fan (a computer fan I scavenged) starts blowing air across the blocks of ice forcing cold air into the upper chamber until the chamber reaches a set temp. Why do I want to keep fermenting beer at a certain temperature? It tastes better and I get to manage the flavor in each batch. Different temps make the little "Yeastie Boys" (what a cool name for a homebrewing club) produce different flavors. The example to the left is water only. It was a test run to see what the difference between the ambient air and the actual temperature of a 5 gallon container of liquid is. To my joy it's only 1. I found the plans for this online and after I fix some flaws in my work I plan on building another. The duct tapes gotta go. I'd love to make one out of wood.
I plan on utilizing this the first time come Saturday. The hefewiezen I'm making needs to ferment at 62 degrees. I made the same recipe a couple years ago fermenting at around 70. I can't wait to try this under controlled conditions..

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The Pub (at Polaris)

"The Pub instead of Taco Bell?" Was the text I sent to my wife hoping to get back The Pub in response. Well lucky me I did. Minus a babysitter we met at the outdoor mall at the Polaris mall. I beat her there and put our names at the front door. Instead of giving a pager to me the young woman at the front asked for my number so she could text me instead. Technologies great isn't it? Not only for the ease of just sending a text but now I could roam around Polaris' lovely outdoor mall and not have to be confined to the front of the restaurant. Normally I'd hang at the bar and wait but it's not a great idea with two little ones in tow.
After a fairly long wait (45min for a quoted 30) I got the text and we were seated. The inside of this place is very nice. Deep mahogany wood and brass is everywhere. A few bits of "flair" including a Union Jack adorn the walls and ceiling but it doesn't look like a junkyard tossed up in the middle of the place. In the center one of the best looking bars I've ever seen. More brass, more wood, and beautiful taps, not just the Bud/Miller/Coors usually seen at every other place in Columbus. These taps have a more than decent selection of English Ales and Lagers as well as Scottish, Irish and some domestics. Oh did I mention they have a firkin? Another cask conditioned ale in Columbus? Oh how nice is that? Now I don't have to travel to Barley's anymore if I want a cask conditioned* ale. The waitstaff wear kilts. Men and women alike. Funny but the women's kilts seemed to be a few inches higher than the men's ........which of course is preferable to me.
On cask they had a killer DIPA from BrewDog Brewing. I've never heard of these guys and have never had the beer so I gave it a shot. Citrus hops and toffee aromas, grapefruit, pine, and maybe a hint of chocolate (very small) came through in my first sip. The alcohol hottness wasn't too obvious but it was there. Our lovely waitress Andrea told me it was 11%. If you like hoppy beers give this one a go. it was great.
The drinks came fast. The appetizer (fried onions and 'shrooms) was a bit of a wait. And soon after came the food. I had Fish-n-Chips, and my lovely wife had the Welsh Dip. The fish was ok and worth the $12.95 but the sandwich was great. Loved it. Next time I plan on having the Bangers and Mash which is what I would have had if I had seen it. They don't have much of a kids menu but I don't think this place is really ready for them. The next time I go I hope to be with my wife or some friends. I will also join the tour. Which as far as I can remember entails drinking 50 of their beers and getting $4 pints for life. If you ask me it's a much better deal than the Winking Lizard's tour.
All in all it's a great place to go. The prices are about right but not over the top. The food is good but what stands out to me was the atmosphere and beer. I'll keep you guys posted on the other selections once they're eaten. I'll definitely go again.

*Just what the heck is cask conditioned? It's much lower in carbon dioxide than keg conditioned beer. The smooth effect of the lower amount of fizz heightens the mouth feel and draws your attention to the layer of other flavors. It is served at a temperature of 45-50°F, which is about 10-15° above your run of the mill Bud and such. This allows you to taste the many different flavors in the malt and hop profles. It's the way our founders and those that settled the US enjoyed their beer. It's not "warm" like some would have you believe but it's definitely not cold.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Drudge's Ham

A friend of mine sent a link to me from the Drudge Report concerning a 2lb ham purchase for over $1m.
I found the link to be a little outrageous so I wrote the company (Clougherty Packing LLC) and asked about the purchase. Within a day I had an email back from them stating the $1m was for 760,000 pounds of ham packaged in 2lb sections. This ham as well as some dairy products were purchased for the Emergency Food Assistance Program. After a couple more hours of research I found this link on the USDA's website. Drudge corrected the website (at 11:15PM) but I didn't see anything about a correction in the headlines the next morning. Drudge covered his ass but IMHO is guilty of sensationalism. I hate seeing my favorite news source start a decent into the same BS I see on MSNBC, ABC, CBS and even FOX.
I can't believe something I read on the internet wasn't wholly truthful. It's a sad state of affairs my friends when we can't trust the good ol'internet. What's next? Bill Gates isn't going to pay me for all the email I forwarded?

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Russian Sub in Drydock

Looks like the Russians aren't as concerned about their sub screws as the US. This is a photo of Russian President Dimitry Medvedev looking over a new sub being built. You may not notice it at first but look at the lower center of the photo. That is a submarine screw (propeller) of a new hunter killer submarine. Pictures like this have the ability to give away secrets of the boat in question. Are the Russians becoming lax? Do they have the same problem with the press as we do?
Speaking of submarines did you guys here about the Chinese sub trailing the USS John S. McCain? It got too close to the towed array* and damaged it. The McCain (Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer) was deployed near Subic Bay in the Phillipines when the incident occurred. So the Chinese aren't just building cheap lead filled toys for the US? Huh...go figure. See you at WalMart! I wouldn't be too concerned with them yet. What kind of submarine comander collides with a towed array?