Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bourbon Barrel Porter

Fall is upon us once again and you know what that means. Its time to put whiskey in your beer so you can stay warm on those brisk fall nights.

This is probably my most interesting batch to date...starts with a robust porter base that you add oak cubes and whiskey to during secondary fermentation. You let those cubes and whiskey hang out in the fermenter for a full 6-7 weeks to let all those smoky, grainy, whiskey flavors mix in and ka-blamo, whiskey beer.

This beer is probably going to be brutal. The wort was the thickest I have made to date. I steeped a full 2 lbs of grains...a mix of chocolate, dark crystal and black malts and added both dried malt extract and dark malt syrup. After the 60 min boil I would put this wort in at about 10W30 at least. Everything about the boil smelled great...the hops were interesting, a few strains I have never brewed with before, Chinook and Argentinian Cascade. I can't wait to see how this matures and what the eventual mouthfeel is going to be like, I can only imagine, as DT would say, pure intensity.

This batch will be hanging out until Dec 6th when it will then quench the thirst of the attendants of the 6th annual Thanxmas celebration. Too bad I can think of maybe only 5-6 people who will actually want to drink more than one of these, but we'll cross that bridge when we get to it.

*UPDATE*: I may have done something special with this batch. I don't want to talk it up too much but I think the 6th Thanxmas is going to be a good one. I may even be able to get more than 5 people to drink this contrary to what I thought originally. Taste was smoooooth, even before conditioning. As long as nothing funky happens in the next few weeks I think The Blue Zoo Fam is going to like this batch A LOT.

I recently got to witness Jomo bottle his first batch of 'Sherpa Ale' so I thought I would post some pics on the right way to bottle beer haha.

Jomo went with the manual siphon technique...I prefer automatic.

Although I will be honest, it took him about an 8th of the time to rack to the bottling bucket as it takes me. But I guess the trade off is my siphon also filters some crap out. Crap is bad.

When you reach a certain level Joe, the beer bottles itself. I was taking a nap when this picture was taken.

How long until Dec 6th?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

1 or 9...Pick Your Poison

So today I started what will probably be a slightly drawn out process of taking my current race rig and stripping it down to trade parts and build up my old race rig as a SS so that I can build my current frame back up as a 9 speed endurance racing machine...did you follow that? In other words: current parts to old frame to create my daily rider / beater / tank and current frame with new parts (to be purchased over the next few months) for a speed demon / endurance racing / human powered crotch rocket. Very simple.

After a year in hibernation its back and ready for GNAR.

I have alluded on a few posts that next race season I will be trying some 12 and 24 hour endurance races. Now while I like to consider myself pretty hardcore when it comes to riding, I don't think I am quite ready for 24 hours on a single speed. But I am also not willing to go back to a fully geared bike because I still believe that gears, for the most part, are unnecessary. Enter the 9 speed.

9 cogs in back and a single chain ring up front. Not a very common set up (yet) but I think it has a lot of merit. As long as I can avoid the chain dropping issues that can plague the front end of the drivetrain. Without a front dérailleur sometimes the chain can drop off the chainring if there isnt enough tension holding it in place. I am hoping to overcome this with a bash guard on the outside and a N-Gear Jump Stop on the inside. I have read great reviews about the Jump Stop and I am hoping they are warranted. Not sure if I will have this bike ridable before the snow starts to fly so I may not know 100% until next year.

Kinda hard to see, but I'm hoping this set up will be wicked.

So far I have purchased my new cranks (Truvativ Stylo 1.1), my shifters and dérailleur (SRAM X7), some grips (ODI Rogue lock on) and a bottle cage. This will be my first ride using the lock on grips, not sure if I will like them I have always liked more cushy grips, but you cant beat the ease of installation. I still have to get some wheels, a cassette, some disc brakes, a saddle and pedals. My conversion to disc brakes is also going to be a first for me on this ride. I have stayed true to V-brakes for a long time but the industry is starting to make it hard to stay that way so I suppose its time to give it a go. I am also toying with the idea of going with a Cane Creek Thudbuster seatpost...the short travel version. 24 hours is gonna be tough on my bum and I could probably use the added cushion.

I didn't think it was possible but I think this will look even faster than the first time I built it up.

*UPDATE*: The 9 speed is complete! I finished buying up the needed parts as a present to myself for my birthday, and completed the build last night so that I can take it for a ride down in MA this weekend. I threw on the Avid BB5's, put my SRAM cassette on my new WTB SpeedDisc Wheels, cabled everything up, dialed in the cockpit positioning and shifting, pumped up the tires and she is ready to RIP. Learning how to shift again is going to be interesting...its been a few years. I will post a ride report after this weekend and let ya'll know how it rides.

Booyah Achieved.