Thursday, November 25, 2010

From left to right:
Raspberry Porter, Cromwells IPA, and The Eric Stout
I've been a busy guy since the last time we saw each other. I've brewed several beers and there are three in the above photo. The other is a Marzen that isn't making me very happy. I know the reason why too and it's such a goofball maneuver that I don't want to share it. So I have 4 brews on tap at the "brewery" and 3 of them are awesome! I'm going to have to bottle some this week there are a couple competitions I'd like to throw my hat into. The "kegerator" is below.
I'll get into the creation at a later date. I have to go make some spent grain bread.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Macrotastic Garden Soldier

I found this guy this morning while pruning the dead foliage out of my garden. I love these guys especially since they keep the spiders to a minimum. I actually think he's flexing here.
The camera I use (FinePix s700 from FujiFilm) was having problems focusing on him so I put a piece of paper behind him to help. I looked around for black but couldn't find any.
It's been a while since I posted any macro shots but time is not a luxury for me.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Red White and Boom! - Columbus Ohio

Tonight: If you're going to Red White and Boom tonight (downtown Columbus) be sure and stop by the Gordon Biersch tent to say hello. I'll be pouring some fantastic GB lager tonight from 5 - Fireworks.


I'll also be posting some "live footage" from tonights event so take a peak occasionally if you're not heading down to the festivities. It should be an awesome afternoon and evening.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Here are my scores for The Eric Stout

About time huh? I was off making some more brews. I have a goal to have 4 on tap by the 21st. The latest is a 10% Imperial IPA that gave me a massive amount of trouble to start. It's finishing up fermenting now so we'll see if everything went according to plan. Now on to the scores! 
These scores are given to participants involved in homebrewing by certified beer judges. Although it sounds kind of funny this is a very real certification. The purpose of the Beer Judge Certification Program is to promote beer literacy and the appreciation of real beer, and to recognize beer tasting and evaluation skills. I haven't taken the exam yet but I hear it's very detailed. I had two different judges critiquing my entry. Angelo (the head brewer at Barley's Brewpub in downtown Columbus) and Jeff, a certified judge from the area. Jeff, I hear is a bear when it comes to scores so I was quite happy when I read his sheet.
1st up is aroma. Aroma is important in any food you eat isn't it? To be honest my stomach could be completely full and the moment I start smelling pulled pork my mouth starts to water. Who the hell smells a beer right? Some people (admittedly like myself) smell a beer before they drink it. Others just rely on their nose to add to the experience. If someone wanted you to try a beer that they swore was the best damn beer they ever had yet it smelled like a rhino pissed in it you'd probably give it a wide berth. Part of drinking coffee is that awesome aroma when it's being made isn't it? The same should apply with beer. I know not too many people take the time to catch all the aromas coming from their beer but they might be surprised what they smelled if they did. Take for instance a Bud. The next time you open a beer from Anheuser Busch or Miller be a "snob" and put it in a glass. Give it a quick whiff and ask yourself what you smell. I won't tell you what I smell so you can judge for yourself.

Angelo - Nice roasty toasty with a hint of fruit, butterscotch and alcohol. 9 out of a possible 12
Jeff -  Medium roasted malt, faint alcohol, fruity esters, and very low diacetyl (pleasant). 10/12

Appearance - I've never used to pay attention to appearance but in the last 6 or so months I've been introduced to the possibility. It's a nice addition to beer when I think about it. I want my stouts to be black as motor oil and my IPA's clear with hints of red in them. It's not huge in my opinion. Seeing as it's only worth 3 of the 50 possible points for a perfect score it doesn't matter to them that much either. I scored 3/3 with Angelo and Jeff. Angelo called it beautiful.

FlavorObviously one of the most important factors in any food product but sadly a lot of people miss out on the different flavors real craft beers can have.
Jeff -  Medium roasty grainy malt, moderate bitterness balances (keyword is balance - Fred) without overpowering. Finishes dry from the dark malts or oatmeal (I used 12oz of real quaker oats). 17/20
Angelo -  Alcohol evident - not buggin me though, graininess is present, like the balance (bingo again with the balance!) - good roasty coffee flavor not over done. 17/20

Mouthfeel - The body and carbonation of the beer. Is it light and watery? Heavy and syrup like? Too much or too little carbonation?
Angelo - wonderful, enticing, coats the tongue on all sides 4/5
Jeff -  medium carbonation, medium body, creamy, slight warmth 5/5 (perfect!)

Overall Impression -
Jeff - very nice beer, hits all the right notes 8/10
Angelo -   WELL DONE - might be too strong or alcoholic for the style but I like it (I like alcohol) 8/10

Jeff - 43/50
Angelo 41/50

I'm very happy with my scores. With all the mishaps that happened with it's production I can't wait to make this again and have it come out perfect.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Runner Up

The Eric Stout placed as a runner up in this years Barley's Homebrew Competition.
According to the head brewer it was "ambrosia on the tongue". Awesome. I can't wait till next year.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Barley's Homebrew Competition Winner 2009

Blood Orange Hefe
I'm still debating if I like it or not. I just had a Rye IPA so my taste buds are still recovering from the rye.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Weazel Boy Black IPA

Good. Very good. Aroma is herbal w/citrus. Tasty. Earthy hop flavor up front. A great coffee w/black patent malt, maybe a hint of chocolate. Somewhat hot/boozy but dry. A great single serving beer. I have to stop here and make it my last brew of the afternoon or I won't be driving home.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Mobile test

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Monday, June 7, 2010

Man Made Wooden Submarine

Genius and so cool. Meet the Jacksons and the Argonaut Jr. (II). Why two? The father of this wooden sub first broke into the briny deep back in 1894 and was invented by Simon Lake.
video platform video management video solutions video player

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Wort Hog and the 46 degree goal.

Remember the fermentation chiller I built about a year ago? I believe it's time for an upgrade. A $10 upgrade to be honest. I'm trying to lager a few beers this year and in order to lager I need the temperature of the fermenting wort to stay around 50 degrees for about a month, maybe more. Try as I may the Wort Hog 5 leaks cold air like a screen-doored submarine. I planned on building a cabinet around it to help seal the seams but w/o the time I needed to make one (did I mention I don't build cabinets? I'm a computer nerd -when I'm working) I bought some duct tape and went to town. I also filled some spare boxes that were lying around with shredded paper and put them inside to kind of fill the void. I built the thing for 2 carboys but since I'm only lagering one 5 gallon batch I wanted to cut down the space the warm air could fill. Oh and I covered it in a few thick blankets for extra protection. I'm not proud of it ok but it works and works well I may add.
On my first run of the upgrade I chilled the ambient air (68 degrees) inside the Hog to 50 degrees in about 3 hours. I was happy but needed to push it to 46. From past experience the wort inside the carboy is about 3 degrees warmer than the ambient air and I need the wort to be as close to 50 as possible. I went to bed hoping it would cool further. It did. I woke up to a 46 degree chiller. Outstanding.
I had to try it with a 68 degree carboy. My thought is it takes a lot more cooling to remove 18 degrees of heat from 5 gallons of wort than the ambient air. I was right. It took almost an entire day to bring the air to 51 degrees. It stopped chilling there. I need faster results and a colder chiller. I'm conducting my next "experiment" today. I'm putting 5 gallons of 68 degree water in a tub full of frozen juice bottles for 12 hours. It should give it a nice jump start. If I can pre-chill the carboy to the desired temperature and then put it in the chiller the unit should hold it there without a problem.
We'll see.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Homebrewing Update

I'm brewing the biggest baddest IPA I've ever brewed (once again ha ha ha) in two weeks. Be ready sucker. 1 pound of hops and 16 pounds of grain. Sweet Sophia this is gonna be a muther of a brew. I'll be brewing it on my burner and in my new stock pot. I'm very excited. Next week I'm making an American Lager. Much smaller but using 4oz of a very popular hops, cascade. I'm trying to get my fermenter chiller (let's call him the Wort Hog from now on) to chill and maintain a temp of 47 degrees for lagering the Pils. To be continued.....

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Dead Weather - Are Friends Electric?

I really like this cover of the 79 Gary Numan release. I think I may get more of The Dead Weather in the coming days. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Cromwell's IPA

Named in honor of John P Cromwell a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. During WW2 Captain Cromwell, serving aboard the USS Sculpin, was under Japanese depth charge attack. Sustaining heavy damage Cromwell brought the ship to the surface to engage the enemy in surface combat. This gave the crew a chance to abandon the heavily damage submarine while he stayed on board. Possessing secret knowledge of US naval submarine tactics and movements he went down with the ship as she sunk to her grave preserving the vital intel the Japanese surely would have tortured out of him.
This is the second beer in a series I am making in honor of the men who served above and beyond the call of duty while under the waves.

Another first with this beer. It's officially my 1st all grain India Pale Ale (IPA) and once again I am very happy with the results. Up front and very hopped with a citrus flavor it mellows after the first drink to a smooth malt finish. Decently strong, this comes close to 7% ABV. I've made stronger but this has the alcohol burn - or hotness - hidden better than most. This is the first time I've used simcoe hops. I've always wanted to try them ever since I had Great Lakes Barley Wine. Simcoe has a clean pine-like aroma with hints of citrus. It's mainly used for bittering but has a less astringent attribute so it can be added later on instead of early in the boil. I only used 4oz of hops in this recipe and I think using the simcoe makes one believe I used more.

- Grain Bill - 
13 lbs 2 row
12 oz Munich
1 oz Crystal 20
4 oz Crystal 40

- Hops - 
1oz Horizon (60min)
1oz Centennial (10min)
1oz Simcoe (5min)
1oz Amarillo (0min)

- Yeast - 
Wyeast American Ale 1056

This was a tricky one. I needed the infusion temperature to be 150 and some bad calculations gave me 143 degrees which is very low for the 2 row I was using. I tried recirculating a gallon at 160, then 177, then finally I through caution out the window and sparged 1.5 gallons of 177 degree fresh water into the mash tun. This broght my temperature to the desired 150. I collected 6.5 gallons of wort from the infusion and began to boil.
During the infusion I usually get some time to relax, read, and maybe enjoy a stogie. Not this time. Running back and forth to the kitchen trying to heat the water/wort kept me busy for about the hour it's supposed to "soak". Just for the helluvit I let the mash go for another 30 minutes thiking I'd get a little more bang for my buck. I did. My attenuation turned out to be 81% - the highest I've ever had. Attenuation (use of the grains sugars for extracting wort).
Afterwards I boiled with no problems, added the hops when scheduled and my numbers turned out exactly the way I wanted them. OG = 1/065 and after 1 week at 68 degrees FG turned out to be 1.012.

It's sitting on tap right now and very very tasty! Sweet pine aroma from the simcoe hops, a citrusy stomping on the palette blends smoothly with a sweet yet dry malty finish.


The Eric Stout

The Eric Stout

My 1st Oatmeal Stout and I couldn't be happier! "Chocolaty" with a roasty slight coffee finish. Smooth and light, easy to drink, too easy, I had 3 last night without noticing. Unfortunately this may be a one time brew and I'll explain why later. See red lettering. What's with the name? A friend of mine had me and another friend out to Oregon last year and after a few rounds he forced me to make a beer in his namesake. Nah I volunteered. It's an ode to the absolute blast the 3 of us had in Oregon. Drinking and hiking, hiking and drinking. Eric is a great friend to have and I'm more than happy I could make this for him. I can't wait to get back out there, I love Portland. I recommend going if you have the opportunity.

I think the brewing and friendship spirits where present when I made this. Even though there were multiple undesirable events it still came out great. I may even enter it into the National Homebrewers Competition in April.  

 - Grain Bill - 
10 lbs 2 Row 
8 oz Roasted Barley
1 lb Crystal 120
12 oz Quaker Oats (not the minute oats, I used the original)
12 oz American Chocolate Malt
4 oz American Black Malt

 - Hops - 
.5 oz Cascade (90min)
.5 oz Willamette (90min)
.5 oz Cascade (30min)
.5 oz Willamette (15min) 
Wyeast 1056 American Ale 

My strike water was 165 and once the grain was added it brought it down to 149. Panic ensued - not really but I was concerned about the temp. I needed 153 (yes it makes a difference, I found out with last years Christmas Ale) so I drained off about a gallon and brought it to 177 degrees then sparged back into the grain bed. Miraculously it did the trick and the grain bed was brought up to 153. This is one of the problems I encounter with not having a recirculated mashing system but I'm slowly getting there. If the mash isn't exposed to a heating source then the possibility of low temperature exists. 
After an hour of sitting at 153 degrees I "mashed out" with 170 degree water and extracted 6.5 gallons of wort.
Added the hops and brought the wort to a hard boil which boiled over once but was under control after that. In doing that I know I must've lost a bunch of the Cascade and Willamette in the beginning stages. Life goes on.
After a 90 minute boil and 2 hop additions I got ready for the cooling. I inserted my chiller and the damn thing ruptured inside the wort releasing a little hose water into the wort. After pulling the chiller out of the wort I threw the pot into a vat of ice water and salt. Salt? It was a whim. I read an article where it's possible to chill a can of soda in about 3 minutes submerging it in. ice water and salt. So I thought the same principle should apply here. It did. The wort cooled from 180 degrees to 70 degrees in about 15 minutes. Outstanding. 
I took an initial gravity reading (1.056) and pitched the yeast starter at 64 degrees. Then placed it into the fermenter chiller where it sat at around 68 degrees for a couple hours until the unit chilled it to 62 degrees. Fermentation started in about 12 hours (ALWAYS MAKE A STARTER! It really helps.).
After fermentation was complete (FG 1.016) I took it out of the chiller unit and placed it in a vat of water and ice bottles for about two weeks. It sat at around 46 degrees (yeah I know it's lagering temperature folks) for the duration. This is called crashing the yeast I think but I'm not sure. 
I kegged it and set the the psi to 30 for about 48 hours then dropped it to 5 psi. I'm not quite sure on the numbers but it feels great to me. The resulting brew is pictured above.


Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy Saint Patrick's Day - Rogue Kells Irish Style Lager

Been a while since I reviewed a beer. Since it's St. Patties I thought I might give it whirl.
I picked this up at Kroger tonight. It cost $4.99 which isn't a bad price considering the brewery. I went all out as (note: sarcasm) I was able to with my favorite keep sake from Las Vegas. I look back on the days of swilling at least one green beer, several pints of Guiness, and shots of Irish Mist with a quiet solitude knowing those days are behind me - what I remember anyway.
It's easy to see the hazy orange color and great foamy head but it's the taste that really stands out. This is a great bottle of beer, even for non-craft drinkers(!). The haziness is due to small amounts of wheat which probably adds to the smoothness of this lager. There's a slight biscuit aroma and mild fruity "notes". Taste isn't overwhelming but there's some apple flavor - green apples - and an orange lemony zest at the end which makes this an all aound good session brew. I think I may try to reproduce this some time. It may make for a popular addition to the kegerator.
Was it worth the $5? Yes, indeed, pick one of these up and enjoy it on a nice spring evening.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Buffalo Sabres fan in India?

I don't know what's more intriguing; a hip hop band from Bangalore or the fact one of them is wearing a Buffalo Sabres jersey. Is India participating in this years Winter Olympics? Yes but no hockey team. Is hockey even popular in India or are the Sabres "gangsta"?
BTW the name of the band is Low Rhyderz. It's interesting to hear American influences in other nations music. They don't sound that bad either. In fact they rap about the pride they have in their country in their 1st video. Which in my opinion is a lot better than most rap in the US. Another interesting observation is the lyrics are mostly English. 

*The original photo can be found here.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The Road

Depressing yet a good read. I guess I should have known better. I knew the subject going in but I wanted to read it anyway. I could hardly ever put it down. If you have a weak stomach be careful there are a few very disturbing situations.  I'd like to give it 3 stars but the fact it kept my attention gives it 4.

I really have to wonder about Cormac. Some of the cannibalism goes a bit beyond obscure. Ha yeah I know...."some of the cannibalism". Does that say something about me? I'm glad the boy made it. I'd like to know a bit more about the state of the earth and how it became torched. I can assume a nuclear holocaust but could it also have been a meteor strike? Was this man made or nature?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

One Skillet Spaghetti (world famous)

This is a one skillet spaghetti recipe that was passed on to me from my step-mother Rita (rest in peace Rita). It's been my favorite spaghetti recipe since I was 16. Since that time I've engineered/mutated it several dozen times until it is what it is today.

One such mutation was brought about by Rita's mother (Loretta). One Saturday afternoon she accidentally added picante sauce instead of tomato. Maybe she wasn't wearing her glasses or had suffered a slight bump to the noggin but it added such a wild flavor I've used it ever since. You wouldn't believe the looks I get from my Italian friends but if you know me, you know I'm a one way ticket to crazy town. I'm the type of guy that throws caution to the wind. An adventurer that only knows danger as a mild annoyance and fear as something read about on the back of Lucky Charm boxes. OK here's the recipe:


8oz ground beef
8oz Italian Sausage
1 medium onion, chopped
1 package (7oz) ready-cut spaghetti
1 can (14oz) diced tomatoes, don't drain
14oz Salsa (whatever temperature you want)
3/4 cup chopped green pepper

1/2 cup water (I eventually add more but it's guessing)
1 can (8 ounces) sliced mushrooms, drained
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese


I use a 12 inch 5qt skillet. It's the best size for stirring/moving all the ingredients around because it gets pretty messy in one pan. I've used smaller but it gets messier.

Brown the sausage, ground beef, and onions.

Drain the grease.

Add everything else minus the spaghetti and cheese.

Bring to a boil.

Turn the heat down to a simmer and add the noodles. I use about a hand full breaking the pasta in half when I add it.

Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes then start stirring about every 5 minutes.

Pay attention to the state of the noodles and the sauce they're "bathing" in, if it gets too dry in there it'll burn. Add water as necessary but don't over do it since you want a lasagna type consistency.

Once the noodles are finished (I prefer al dente) bring on the cheese.

Turn the heat off and cover. Let it sit long enough to let the cheese melt.


Have fun and add different heats of sausage, picante sauces, cheeses, and even pasta. One of my favorites was a tomato basil linguine. It took longer and I really had to watch the water but it tasted great.
The picture I included has mild and sharp cheddar plus an Italian 5 cheese blend I picked earlier from a local grocery store (Kroger).

Guys if you can perfect this dish for a date (or wife) she will love you. I cooked this for my wife the first time she came over and it's still her favorite dish.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Dear Christie

Please please please give this a listen. I just had 2 of the 4 band members over this evening with their promo and although the "brewery" was closed it rocked out loud.

Let me know what you think. I, for one, think this is great stuff!

Powered by

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Too Late to Apologize

I want to know where Ben's glass harmonica is during the musical break.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Ambitious Brew - Maureen Ogle

An interesting book. A little dry at times but there are very interesting facts about the US's brewing history. There's even some great looks into the politics of the past and how beer held an important roll in the shaping of our country.
It also has some insight into why the US is stuck on Budweiser. Adolphus Busch and company created it for the US not to be the cheap flavorless lager it is today but a light low alcohol beverage for the "capitalist on the go". It actually cost a lot more to make it at the time. I'm happy we Americans are slowing down a bit and enjoying our food and beer.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Health Care and Obama's Tom Foolery

I haven't had much of an opportunity to write anything lately. I'm working out, studying, trying to locate a job, and working on my latest beer. I have a peice in mind I'd like to write about left and right, democrat and republican but just can't seem to find the time. Anyhow one of the biggest issues I have with the current president is below. It's not just this guy but it's all of them. They've lied again. Once again they're spitting in our faces and expecting us to take it sitting down. Grab a brew and try to stomach the BS below. I'd like to say it's unbelievabe but I can't. Who knows maybe the inexperianced senator from Illinois actually believed what he said. Just goes to show how inexperianced he actually is.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sauerkraut Balls

From Blogger Pictures

This is a staple for games and especially for the annual Zegerhaus Zegerfest.

8 oz. mild sausage (use hot if you'd like)

1/4 c. finely chopped onions

14 oz sauerkraut (squeeze dry and chop fine)

2 tbsp. plain bread crumbs

*5 oz cream cheese it helps to soften to room temperature

2 tsp. parsley

1 tsp. ground mustard

1/2 tsp. garlic salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1/4 c. flour

2 beaten eggs

1 c. plain breadcrumbs

Cook sausage and onion until meat is brown; drain. Add sauerkraut and 2 tbsp. bread crumbs to the mixture. Combine cream cheese, parsley, mustard, garlic salt, and pepper. Add to sauerkraut mixture. Chill one hour. Form into small balls and coat with flour. Dip in egg mixture and roll in bread crumbs. Fry in deep fat until brown. Usually takes about 4 minutes at 375 degrees.

Note: The above picture is a doubled recipe. Depending on the amount of people you're serving you may need to double the ingredients.

Be sure to comment on how yours turned out. I'd love to hear it.

Happy New Year!

*EDIT: It's 4oz of cream cheese not 5. Sorry, Fred.