Saturday, February 9th

Brewblogue: Bad Fortnight

Listening to: La Roux
Current mood: cheerful

Style: American Stout w/subtle smoke addition
Water: Filtered San Diego tap
  • 12.5lbs Domestic 2-row
  • 1lb Rauchmalt
  • 1lb Roast Barley
  • 0.75lb Crystal 40
  • 0.75lb Chocolate malt

Yeast: WLP001 - California Ale
  • 1.5oz Summit 15% @ 60min
  • 2oz Cascade flowers @ 5min

Mashed at 154 for 60 minutes. Boiled 70 minutes.

OG: around 1.068

(Actually brewed yesterday, 2013/02/08)

So I'm having a hard wrapping my head around the fact that I apparently hadn't brewed for almost two years. I mean, I know that time runs away from me really easily these days, but I was firmly, firmly of the belief that I had last brewed last March. Not the March before last. I guess I at least made a cider at some point last year (which was quite good!) but wow, I really thought the barleywine (Old Snakey) was about a year old. As an aside, the Old Snakey never carbonated but in the last few month has become a quite enjoyable beverage. And I still have at least half of it left!

Anyway, on to this beer. The main reason for brewing it, other than the fact that I apparently hadn't brewed in two years, and that it's the time of year when I can brew without having to worry about my lack of temperature control, was that my friend Pat was interested in learning a bit about the brewing method. And of course, it's much easier for someone to see how to brew than read or be told about it, so we decided to just make a batch.

The choice of an American Stout was somewhat of compromise, I had been intending to make something ultra-drinkable (as I said I still have at least a couple gallons of barleywine sitting around) and Pat wanted something "dark and chewy", so I figured this would fit the bill pretty well. As for the addition of the rauchmalt, Pat and I both dig smoky stuff and a pound should add just a nice hint to the finished beer, and I think complement the roastiness rather well.

Everything actually went pretty darn smoothly for this brew session - I guess even after two years off I've still got the touch (cue "You never had the touch!"). We hit all our numbers pretty much perfectly, though we ended up with quite a bit more wort in the kettle than I had initially expected (a little too much strike water I think). Because of the increased boil volume, I added about .2oz more bittering hops than the recipe initially called for and I'm hoping it will still end up nicely balanced. Of course, if it lands on the overly hoppy side, well, THIS IS SAN DIEGO. Which is to say, no one will notice.The gravity also ended up a couple points below what was predicted, but since I was aiming for something drinkable, that don't make me no nevermind.

Lastly, regarding the name, Lynnea and I have pretty much just come out of a bad couple weeks. There were fender benders, subsequent insurance problems, work-related stress, and a general pervading sense of ennui (seasonal affective disorder?). But actually, today I'm feeling pretty good, so maybe the beer exorcised the bad fortnight?

Regarding updates to the website and such, they're still pending. I've actually got a decent start made on it, and I've been working on the design aspects, but it's tough to come home and make myself work on html/css/javascript/graphic design when I already spend all day at work doing it. Still, with luck I'll get off my ass and have the new site design up within a month or two. Yeah yeah, famous last words.

Matt on 02.09.13 @ 01:14 PM PST [link]  [1 Comment]

Saturday, March 31st


Listening to: nothing
Current mood: sheepish?

Ah, hmm, so, that's right... I have a blog don't I? Ahem, well, that year and a couple weeks off ought to have thinned out the all non-True Believers, eh?

While you could certainly be forgiven for thinking that this site is absolutely dead, it does actually inhabit my thoughts from time to time and I do in fact have plans to give it a thorough redesign one of these days and then actually get back to posting again. A whole relaunch, if you will.

The first thing will be to get off this ancient blogging platform and on to something a little more modern and standard. Wordpress or something similar, most like. Then we'll see where we are and if I actually in fact have anything worth yammering about...

Matt on 03.31.12 @ 11:48 AM PST [link]  [2 Comments]

Thursday, March 17th

Brewblogue - Old Snakey

Listening to: nothing
Current mood: forgetful

Ah... or you know, I might remember to post this a month later or some such thing...

Water: Filtered San Diego tap
  • 20lbs Domestic 2-row
  • 4.5lb Belgian Munich
  • 1.75lb Caramunich 80
  • 0.75lb Crystal 60

Yeast: WLP001 - California Ale (Yeast cake from Hornbier I)
  • 56g? Summit 16.5% First Wort Hopping
  • ??g Super Alpha 12.7% @ 60min
  • 28g? Centennial? 8.7% @ 10min

Mashed at 154 for 60 minutes. Boiled 80 minutes.

OG: around 1.096

Hmm... I have more or less completely forgotten my hop schedule. I guess that's why you're supposed to put this stuff down the day you do it.

So, I totally thought this beer was going to be a complete and utter failure. I based it on Denny Conn's "Old Stoner" recipe (with substitutions based on things I already had and things homebrewmart was out of) and had never done the whole first wort hopping thing. So when it came time to add the bittering hops it suddenly occurred to me that "wait... the first wort hops are going to be boiling the entire time too... that's going to be a crazy amount of bitterness (something like 250 IBU, I thought)... I must have misunderstood something!" But not knowing what else to do I just decided to cut back my bittering hops slightly and hope for the best.

Now, I also totally missed my gravity with this one... I'm constantly ending up with less wort than I want at the end of the boil so I played it pretty fast and loose with the sparge/strike water. A little too fast and loose... I ended up with almost 7 gallons after boiling. So I put as much as would fit into the carboy and dumped the extra.

And man oh Manuel did this thing ferment. Within 3 hours of dropping it onto the yeast cake it started going crazy and stayed crazy for at least 3 days. I mean, we had to close the door to bedroom for a couple nights because the bubbling (used a blowoff instead of an airlock) was keeping us awake. In fact it still woke me up once or twice even with the door shut.

BUT... when I was racking it into my 5 gallon secondary a couple weeks ago, I ended up with an extra half gallon that wouldn't fit. Being the economical type that I am, I put it in a growler in the fridge for a couple days and have been drinking a glass every now and then since. And it's good. Even uncarbonated and full of sediment, it's really not bad at all. Unless something terrible happens between now and when it's bottled, it's gonna be some tasty stuff. And through some process I deeply deeply do not understand, the bitterness is pretty restrained. In fact, I shouldn't have cut back the bittering hops at all. Weird. I guess there's a reason that Denny guy wins awards.

Oh, as for the name? Beats me, I just liked the sound of it.

Matt on 03.17.11 @ 09:54 PM PST [link]  [1 Comment]

Sunday, February 20th

Brewblogue - Hornbier I

Listening to: Boom Boom Sattellites
Current mood: kinda tired

(brewed on 02/13/2011)

Water: Filtered San Diego tap
  • 9.25lbs British Pale
  • 0.75lb Crystal 60
  • 0.5lb Crystal 120
  • 0.5lb Victory

Yeast: WLP001 - California Ale
  • 18g Super Alpha 12.7% @ 60min
  • 14g Hornbrook-grown Cascades @ 10min
  • 8g Centennial 8.7% @ 10min
  • 14g Hornbrook-grown Cascades @ 0min
  • 8g Centennial 8.7% @ 0min

Mashed at 154 for 60 minutes. Boiled 60 minutes.

OG: almost 1.060

Ok, well, I actually brewed this a week ago and only finally got around to documenting it just now. The reason I'm calling it Hornbier I is that it's the first beer to use some of our home-grown Cascade hops from my parents' house up in Hornbrook (they smelled really good). Which I think is kinda cool. So back off man.

I'm also using some weird hops I've never heard of called "Super Alphas". I guess they're from New Zeland and apparently have kind of a piney taste to them. Since I was thinking that this was going to be a back-home kind of beer, I thought the pine flavor might be nice (also, LHBS was out of every other hop I was even vaguely considering). We'll see, I guess.

So anyway, this batch was the first time trying out the new (well, new to me) 10-gallon megapot brew kettle and a new replacement hose braid for the mash tun.

The new kettle is pretty nice, it's big enough to cover two of the burners on our stove and is made of stainless steel jacketed aluminum (like them fancy AllClad pans) which means it can get the liquid up to a boil in probably half the time of the pot I used to use. The real revelation was the replacement hose braid though. It turns out my old hose braid was not actual stainless steel but rather a incredible simulation... one that didn't really work for sparging. I replaced it with a length of actual stainless gas line hose braid and holy crap. Sparging used to take me between an hour and an hour and half. This time it was probably 20 minutes. Which is awesome.

There were a couple mishaps however. The more minor of the two was that I overshot my gravity by almost 8 points. Which kinda sucks since I didn't do any kind of starter. Hopefully it wasn't too hard on the yeast. The major mishap was that I didn't take out the bag of spent grain immediately and while I was doing other things the bag fell over and dumped tons of sticky proto-wort all over the floor. Luckily it was just on the tile, but it took poor Lynnea almost an hour to clean up.

I'm actually following this beer up with a barleywine today. So that'll be the next post. Later today. I think.
Matt on 02.20.11 @ 01:06 PM PST [link]  [3 Comments]

Friday, November 19th

Travelblogue - Tokyo Day 11 (Edogawa - Kasai Rinkai Koen, Ryogoku)

Listening to: nothing
Current mood: sleepy/wistful

Ah, I can't believe today was our last day in Tokyo. It's a weird feeling, we've been here quite a while but it's been so nice the time has just flown by. I think I pretty seriously love this town, we haven't even left yet and we're already talking about the next time we come. This is going to have to be a short post though, as it's 1am here and we have to get up and fly home tomorrow.

Anyway, so today was our trip to the Tokyo Sea Life Park. Which isn't quite the massive and grandiose spectacle that the Monterey Bay Aquarium is, but was still a pretty impressive aquarium and only cost 700 yen to get in. They had a pretty good selection of fish from around world (the squid tank was a favorite of ours) and I got to pet a shark, which felt quite different that I expected (they look really soft, but they're actually quite rough and scratchy). They also have a pretty big penguin exhibit, and they are always fun to watch. Lynnea and I both love aquariums, so it was a good time all around.

Now, the Tokyo Sea Life Park is part of Kasai Rinkai park, which is this big park on Tokyo Bay. So after the aquarium, we decided to ride the big ferris wheel that's also in the park. It was kind of pricey, but we got a discount for having gone to the Sea Life Park, and really the views from it were stunning. I may have mentioned that my Japanese is poor, but I believe the lady on the speaker in the ferris wheel car said it was 117m tall. Which is pretty darn high up.

Once we got back from the park, we did a little bit of last minute shopping around Shinjuku, then hopped on the Chuo/Sobu line (specifically the Sobu line, if I'm not mistaken) over to Ryogoku to have dinner at Popeye Beer Club. Ok, so, yeah, it's pretty expensive, but Popeye Beer Club was awesome. They had an incredible selection of Japanese microbrews (I had a Yo-ho Tokyo Black Porter on cask, followed by Popeye original imperial brown ale called Divine Vamp III) and the food was ridiculously good. The highlight was the mini mutton steaks wrapped in bacon and smothered in roasted garlic paste. Dude.

After that it was a ride back to Shinjuku (with a crazy guy in our car - bonus!) and some packing. And now I really need to go to bed.

Matt on 11.19.10 @ 08:19 AM PST [link]  [1 Comment]

Thursday, November 18th

Travelblogue - Tokyo Day 10 (Kamakura)

Listening to: nothing
Current mood: tired

So, as last night's 2am post might have indicated, we got a slightly later start than intended today, although only by about an hour. We hopped the train to Kamakura and got there at probably about 11:30am. We sort of went the wrong way from the station to start because we wanted to see the beach. And man, Kamakura be ach is amazingly pretty (and we got attacked by hawks, which was interesting), although walking over and then back to main area added an extra mile or two of walking to the day.

After the beach we had a bite at this hot dog place along with a local Kamakura beer (Kamakura Flower) that was pretty decent. Then we walked over to one of the main big temples, whose name escapes me at the moment, but it was pretty impressive.

But the main attraction of Kamakura (other than the beach) for us was the Daibutsu. Which is this great big Buddha (13.4m) that was made sometime in the 14th century. Which proved to be another decent hike (we walked over 6 miles today, which actually has probably been a fairly normal amount for this trip) as well as 200 yen to get in, but it was pretty cool. And for another 20 yen you could go inside (he's hollow), which wasn't that exciting, but it was kind of fun.

By that time it was getting dark and freezing cold so we got back on the train and came back to Tokyo. After another long restaurant search we finally settled on a pizza place down the road to see if everything we had heard about Japanese pizza was true. And yeah, it is... Japanese pizza is kind of bland. Like it needs salt and garlic badly. But it was tasty enough and kept us from dying of hunger.

Since then we've just been sitting here watching japanese tv again, and since I only slept around six and a half hours last night I think it's time for bed. Tomorrow we're going to try the aquarium again, then finish up some last minute shopping.

Matt on 11.18.10 @ 06:15 AM PST [link]  [No Comments]

Wednesday, November 17th

Tokyo Day 9 - (Musashi-koyama, Jinbou-chou, Akihabara)

Listening to: nothing
Current mood: up too late

Ack, it's it way too late at night. So, the thing about aquariums, other than them being awesome, is that sometimes they are closed on Wednesdays. Which we luckily discovered before we trekked all the way to Edogawa, but not before it was difficult to change our plans for the day.

So we decided to head over to the Palm shopping street in Musashi-koyama that we tried to go to a couple days ago. Which was kind of cool, if only in a "Hey, old people and moms! So this is where they hang out!" kind of way. We also had some pretty good sushi there and I actually managed to find an affordable Boom Boom Satellites cd (albeit from 1998), so that was kind of nifty.

After that we thought we might check out Jinbou-cho, which is the book shop district. And, yep, there are a ton of bookshops there. Although, if you are freezing cold and it's raining and you don't know much Japanese, it's less of a useful place and more like a "Ah, so there are a ton of bookshops here. Cool." kind of situation.

So yeah, that was cool. Maybe next time we come I'll be able to read a bit more and it'll be more interesting. After that we walked through what is apparently the guitar district (I had heard there were a lot of guitar shops in Kanda, and it was not untrue), back over to Akiba, where I finally found the Bakemonogatari Set 1 (see previous posts on how this should not be mentioned) for a sum of money I would not like to discuss, and some other nerdy things. (Danboard figure - huzzah, and some games). Then we came back here and ate a pork rice ball (!!! - delicious!) and some crazily rich and heavy ramen at a shop down the street from our hotel (it had spinach - it sounds like it would be wrong, but it's oh so right).

After that we met up with my cousin Tim and his wife Rumi who are also bumming around Japan just now (her being from here and all) and went to an izakaya where I had a drink called the Men's Purple. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH ORDERING THE MEN'S PURPLE IT IS FOR MEN. Ahem. Even if it comes in a tiny cute little glass. Then we came back to the room and they thankfully helped us finish off the bottle shochu I bought last night and had no idea how to finish. It was really fun. It was our first time meeting Rumi. She's great. Cousin Tim did good.

And now it's nearly 2am and we're supposed to go Kamakura tomorrow so I need to be in bed an hour ago. So there.

Matt on 11.17.10 @ 08:46 AM PST [link]  [No Comments]

Contact Me


The Hurting

Cat and Girl


Scary Go Round

Red Meat

Currently Reading

The Complete John Silence Stories by Algernon Blackwood

Recommended Reading

The Weird Tale by S.T. Joshi

Powered By Greymatter