Saturday, October 27, 2007


It's almost halloween which means lots of things:

1. I need a costume
2. I'm another year older
3. We just had Squamtoberfest
4. It's time to get ready for Thanxmas

And my new thing is to prepare for events by brewing beer. Originally I had wanted to brew a 'winter warmer' type beer for thanxmas but I only have about 6 weeks and most winter warmer recipes call for 2 stage fermentations of at least 2 months. sooooooo I went with a Nut Brown (think Newcastle).

Action Shot

Brewing went well. I'm really starting to get into a routine now...cutting down on brew time, getting more efficient and organized. So organized that I can even multi-task while I brew.

Season 3 = Ridiculous

*UPDATE*: This batch was drank at Thanxmas to rave reviews. I think the general consensus was it was my finest batch to date. I would tend to agree...although I think my stout has quite a bit of potential, but we won't know for a while still with that batch.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

See you in '08

First Stout = DUN.

Basement is getting close to being too cold for fermentation for most types of yeast / brew (except lagers, which is what I will be doing in a month or two) so I wanted to get this stout started so it could ferment now and then condition for a LONG time in a nice cold, dark basement (aka dungeon).

I have been told that stouts need a solid 3 months of conditioning to really take on the flavors they are supposed to so we wont be drinking this until the end of January. Hopefully it will be worth the wait.

This is the first time I have used a dry yeast...I'm fairly sure I did everything I was supposed to. I'm hoping I don't have to repitch to get this going, but if I do I can always just run down to Fermentation Station and get some liquid yeast or something.

pre-wrapped in blanket

Fermentation started within just 6 hours. Fastest I have seen to date. I checked it this morning at about 40 hours and fermentation was already slowing down and will probably be just about done by tonight or tomorrow morning. We may even be ready to bottle this during the end of Squamtoberfest.

Brew day +30hours

**Update**: I finally got a chance to bottle this brew during the snow day yesterday. It had been sitting in secondary for quite a long time (3 weeks maybe). I had been trying to read around to see if that was too long...but again like all things home brew there are two schools. Some say 1 week tops otherwise funky chemistry can happen but the other school says 'relax, drink a beer'. I tried a bit when bottling and I think I am leaning towards the later. More news on this batch in January when we drink it.

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Pinnacle Challenge

This past weekend I participated in my first 'Double Duathlon'. It consisted of a 5 mile Road Run, a 6 mile Mountain Bike course, a 13.5 mile Road Bike course, and a 3.5 mile Trail Run.

My friends Adam, Christina, Natalie and myself competed in the Co-ed team division. This was just an end of season fun race for me and Adam and a introduction to racing for Christina and Natalie.

Team Blue Zoo ended up 2nd in our division (out of 10) and we put up the 18th best time of the day out of a total of 71 competitors.

Christina put us right where we needed to be after the road run...she put up a solid time out of a very strong field of runners and kept us in the hunt. Adam put up the fastest time of any MTB'er there and gave us a great lead going into my leg of the race.

I put up a fairly good time on the day coming in 20th out of the 71 overall. I wish I could have gone a bit faster than I did, there was a really strong headwind for the first 6 miles and I didn't warm up at all before heading out. (something I will remedy next year.) All in all my HRM said I rode about as fast as my body can take so I feel good about my effort.

Natalie finished real strong on what many described as a very tough trail run...straight up a mountain...scrambling up rocks at times!

Unfortunately there was another co-ed team present that had an extremely strong road biker (second best time on the day) and trail runner (seventh best time on the day) and Natalie and I weren't quite able to hold the lead Adam made for us and they beat us by just 30 secs at the end of the trail run.

Awards for the top 3 in each class were jugs of Grade A 100% pure NH Maple Syrup. Not bad for a mornings work.

Spoils of War