Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Old Blog, New Direction

Well, a lot has gone on in the years since I last typed to this blog, but as I started this to be a dumping ground of sorts, and after losing almost all of my beer recipes due to a computer melt down, I decided it was time to start capturing them in the cloud. So being that as it may I decided that every time I brew or have a new cigar, I will come on here and give the recipe or rate the cigar so that I have a quick place to reference things as I go. So with that here is my first New Era Post.

I will start out with my weekend brew fest. I finally was able to get around to brewing a couple of beers this weekend. The first was a take of a Scottish wee heavy recipe that I had read. I can not truly call this a Scottish wee heavy as well I didn't use really any of the grains that would be in one, or the yeast, but the brewing technique was the same:

Scotsmn30's Wee Heavy

14 # American 2 row
1 # Choclate Malt (U.S.)

1 oz. Fuggles 45 min.
1 0z. Kent Golding 5 min.

Nottingham Yeast.

Mash @ 154 for 90 min.

Pull 1st gallon of runnings off and boil down to 1 quart to caramelize. Add back to boil with last hops addition.

Pull 8.5 gallons into boil kettle and boil for 120 min.

Now the long boil time and the caramelization are suppose to add a real earthiness to the beer. It came out a lot darker than I had thought, but it did not have the dark smell or flavor so will be interesting to see how it turns out.

The Second beer of the day was a wheat beer:

Scotsmn30's Hefe

3.5 # American 2 row
2.5 # Marris Otter
5 # Wheat Malt
1 # instant Grits

.75 oz. Hallertau 45 min
.25 oz. Hallertau 15 min

Nottingham yeast.

90 min mash @ 154

Pull 7.5 gallons to boil kettle and boil 60 min.

Now I had a buddy of mine do a version of this with out the Marris Otter and it was awesome, but as I like to make my own way in the beer world, I decided to add just a little extra. Will report back on the differences.

And Finally, The Cigar of the weekend - Eagle by Rocky Patel

This is a special blend cigar done up for the local cigar shop. It is a very good mellow smoke for such a dark rapper and a very pleasant surprise. I would say it is a top in my cigar list.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Old Friends Found, Isn't life to short for loss??

This last week I was found. No not in the religious way, that is impossible for this old Scotsman. No by found I mean I heard from and old friend. We had parted ways over 12 years ago in a time in our lives that all young people must live through to grow up. In the brief conversations of forgiveness on each side and a lot of catching up, I got to thinking. Life really is to short to just let things, especially friendships, to go unresolved and to just deteriorate away to nothingness. What would our lives have been if we had not had to live out the drama's of life to get to where we are now. Would we be the same. Could our kids have become the friends we use to be. To grow up do we have to go through the hell to find the real peace. I would hope to save my children from this but yet I also now that I am a better person for going though the darkness and I want my kids to be the best they can. See the irony here.

Back to the lost and found. I do really hope to get the friendship back and to see what can happen. Can we be closer now that we know how dark life can get and know what to avoid? Or having gone so long with out the sharing of the experiences of our lives will it just be mearly getting together and thinking what could have been? I personally think that it could be better for the knowing that we have been to the bottom and know how to strive for the top and survive. Time will tell.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas is a Joke!!!!!!

First let me start out that this is not a post against religion in anyway. My beliefs, though probably not the same as you the reader, have nothing to do with this segment.
Christmas, like most holidays any more, has gotten away from its origins. Now it can be stated that Jesus was possibly born on this day, or that this is just a holiday that was made so that the religious right could make it easier for the pagans that celebrated the winter solstice to be converted. Either way it originated as a true celebration or life and the sharing of that enjoyment with others that we love.
On to current times and the commercialism that is taking over every aspect of life. Now a good christmas is determined by the world by the number of dollars spent shopping, was the latest and greatest toy given to your children. I have come to hate the holidays. What is there to look forward to. I see my wife spend and spend and spend to get presents for everyone under the sun. This is money that we do not have and will be trying to still pay off even next year when it all starts again just like we currently are. And it is not like I have not tried to get out of it. Hell I can not even leave town this year the week of christmas but yet every family must find a way to make the day to get together and get gifts exchanged even earlier. People, get a clue, I do not want to be a part of Christmas. All it does is piss me off and yet it is a major crime for me to say I do not want to be there. I am ok with doing christmas on christmas day for my kids, though that in itself is the cause for most of this problem. I have young kids and try to let them enjoy it as much and as long as they can, but it is getting more difficult. Oh well, guess that is the burden of living in the modern day where the almighty dollar is the only thing that counts.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Fly fishing for....Catfish????

Well spring is finally here and fastly going to summer, time to get the fly gear out, dusted off, relined and head for the pond for some fun pan fish practice. I have the first Trout trip already booked and figured that I needed to get the cast practiced before going and trying to get a fly over top one of those very finicky Browns. So with gear in hand and ready to go I head for the family farm pond. I have written about fly fishing for pan fish in the pond before in my blog and figured this trip to be no different than any other. It started out as normal, bad cast after bad cast with me yelling at myself about keeping my wrist tight and waiting on the back cast before bringing the rod forward, all the usual first time garbage. I soon had myself all retooled and the cast were looking pretty if just a bit short (what do you expect, it was the first time of this year after all, can't have a perfect cast right out of the shoot). So casting correctly for the first time in an hour of fishing, I finally see a little bit of surface feeding action and cast in the area, boom, first fish of the year, a little, beautifully colored sunfish. Well the fun was on and for the next hour I must have caught 30 of the little monsters. This is the usual fair with a bass or two thrown in for a little bit of a fight to be had but this night I was fishing in the grassy area that was covered by the pond being up a bit due to spring rains so was not expecting the hard hitting bass, after all this is just practice for the Trout that was coming the next weekend. It was getting to be just about quiting time when I got my first fish on the line that was not a sunfish, a little bitty largemouth bass. I could of used this guy for bait he was that pitifully. Well I figured what the hell I will cast one more time and see if big brother bass was in the shallows as well. I put the little #12 black foam popper on 6x tippet out about 8' of the shore line and started playing it along when KABOOM, the water explodes, the line takes of at mach speed, hits the reel which also goes into a twirl and the fight is on. Welcome to the party big bro, glad you could attend the festivities. So finally I get the reel to slow and start working the big guy in, back and forth, I reel him in, he swims back out. To all of you fly fisherman, you know the wonderful dance of playing a fish that you know at any moment the little bastard is going to look up and spit the fly right back at you as to say "I have had enough fun with you today". What kept surprising me the whole time was that this guy never went above water. Largemouth bass are fun to catch just to watch the aerial displays they put on while being brought to bear. This guy was giving non-of that. So the fight continues till I finally get him in and plunge in the water with the net. Ta-da look at the beautiful 3# bas...CATFISH?? Catfish?? Was I seeing things, this fish had hit a topwater popper correct. Well the proof was in the net. My first ever Catfish catch on a fly rod. After that I figured I should call it a night, so I snapped a few pics for even more proof, gave the fish back to the pond for a future try and packed out. All in all, a very fun evening at the pond.

Friday, January 25, 2008

First Partial grain homebrew, WOW, Tasty

Well as you have been reading I have started brewing my own beer and have tasted it on occation as it has slowly been coming around. Tonight I popped open a bottle that has been sitting for 2 weeks and Wow, it is tasty. A great stout flavor and with just a hint of coffee. I am completely impressed with this brew. Now I just can't wait till the Scottish brown is done.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Making of a Kegerator - Part 1 - Clean up

Well after getting the beer bottle cooler home and it being a beutiful weekend I decided to get start on the clean up. I started digging in to the inside and found that it was not as bad as I had first thought and just a bit (ok lot) of surface rust. I got the shop vac out and started getting all the old bottle caps, dust bunnies from the inside and the motor compartment. Then it was time for the wire brush. Soon I had rust dust flying so thick that I had to wait for it to settle so that I could see where I was at. After a lot of wheel time I ran to the store and bought a couple cans of rustoleum paint. I figured that this would help protect the metal at the bottom in case of any spills, future bottle breakage or any number of things. Ok time to get high. I get the paint shook up and started painting. I am rather shocked at the results. It looks great. I have a 20lbs. CO2 tank that is roughly the same size as a 5lbs. keg. the bottom will fit 5 kegs and the CO2 container. It will also allow for 2 cases of bottles on the top step. Next step will be for the outside. I have not quite figured out what I want to do with that yet but I am sure that an idea will present itself. Below is the after shots.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

New Era of Beer

Well as you would have read in my last post, I have started brewing my own beer. The first batch was brewed on 12/29, racked to the second fermentor 1/5 and then today I bottled it. What a bitch to say the least. First I racked it to a bottling bucket, added brown sugar ( this is not normal but I wanted to add the flavor just at the end for a touch of molasses) and started to bottle. 40 bottles later, bucket empty, bottles capped and set to carbonate and empty buckets.

Well here is where I need to back up a couple of days. Thursday there was a auction that was selling off all the equipment at the first bar that I ever bartended at. I decided that I wanted to go just to see what was still there 10 years later. Well as I watched the proceedings I noticed that one of the bottle cooler behind the bar, a 54" Superior, was not being bid on so I started bidding. Well what do you know but I win it for the great price of $50. Now this is great as I had been reading about getting a kegerator started and had been looking at all the people that turn fridges and freezers in to homebrew kegerators. I wanted to do this but didn't have the spare fridge or freezer. I got this cooler home and started planning. My original thought was to put a tap tower or two on the top, but with the doors sliding up under the top that was not going to work. I looked at the back and sure enough, it is just a big black sheet of metal. Perfect. I can put a whole row of taps in. I started looking at the interior and figured that I could easily put in 5 of the 5 gallon Cornelius type kegs and still have a couple cases of bottled beer in there chilling as well. I will keep a log on this site of all the work as I proceed but first step is to clean it up.
This brings me back to the empty buckets. Well I now have a cooler to put beer in and only 40 beers to put in it. That just begs for another brew. The last was a Stout so now I wanted to take it down a step and go with a Scottish style ale. I had found several recipes for this style on line but all seem a bit heavy on the hops for my taste. I took two of the recipes that I had narrowed down to the LHBS and talked to the owner. After discussing a couple of options with the recipes that I had we came up with a grain bill and hops schedule that I was happy with. So I got the bottles capped, buckets empty, cleaned and sterilized and pot of water on to boil the water that I will use to fill the 5 gallons. I get that cooled, and start the grains to steep. Instantly I notice the difference in the brew. When at this stage on the stout, the water was almost black right away. This time it has a nice brown color and more grain in the smell. This batch is now sitting in the basement fermenting. Can't wait.
I have added the two recipes below:
Shepherd's coffee stout
6 lbs Amber LME
1/2 lb. of Crystal 60L Malt
1/2 lb. of Black Roast Barley
1/4 lb. of Dextrose Malt
5 cups Dark roast coffee - Add when 5 min left in boil
Hops Schedule
1 oz. Willamette hops 7% acid 60 min
1 oz. Sterling Hops 5% acid 5 min
American Dry Ale Yeast
Shepherd's Scottish Ale
6# Amber LME
2# Marris Otter
1# Brown Sugar
.5# 80L Crystal
.25# Chocolate
Hops Schedule
.5 oz Sterling 60 min.
.5 oz Sterling 5 min.

American Dry Ale Yeast