Sunday, December 19, 2004

Busy weekend

Well, it was my anniversary (and Pooteewheet's as well) - eleven (11) years. Our Erynsitter called in sick, so we took her with us for our anniversary dinner, which meant a change in plans away from the Italian restaurant we were looking at to Christo's, which allows you to draw on the table covers, has crayons for kids, and doesn't mind a very small amount of grumpy toddler screaming. We've been there enough that the waiter recognized us and made sure to hide the ketchup from Eryn (if she gets her hands on it, all other food suddenly becomes tasteless and undesireable).

I saw Blade: Trinity on Friday. Pooteewheet told me that a review had said "if you liked the last Blade movies, you'll like this one". Lies! Crap! Unadulterated crap! Bad production, bad script, bad, bad, bad, bad everything - the other two weren't cinematic masterpieces, but they tried, they didn't just give up. The only interesting thing in the whole movie was to see the guy from Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Factory absolutely ripped. He has so many new muscles that even his face has muscles - really, it's squared up a bit. I was very crabby after the movie and instructed my wife to try something different - she chose Kinsey, which she said was extremely interesting and depressing in some respects.

Otherwise, work and bottling. I bottled two cases of beer (Java stout) and put 5 gallons of Oatmeal stout into a pop keg and pumped CO2 into it. They smelled and tasted like uncarbonated beer (water with stuff in it), so I'm pretty sure I don't have a repeat of that time it didn't actually ferment and I got sugar in a keg (still in the basement, waiting for me to "referment" it into other beer). It was a good opportunity to clean the room downstairs and my equipment - which I'd like to show some pictures of so you know how patient my wife is with my hobbies.

This is bottling - very slow compared to just dumping all the beer into a pop keg, but bottles last a long time if you keep them out of the sun. I've had a few batches I've kept in excess of 2 years that were wonderful when opened (I even had a very bad steam ale that became good after it sat for over two years - sort of tasted horrible before then). Which reminds me, I have two cases of beer downstairs made with Emeril's essence mixture - one where it went in pre-boil, one after it went into the carboy. The later tastes like liquid essence - I feel dumb for not giving Pooteewheet some for her chili cookoff chili for TallBrad's. Next year I'll remember, or I'll enter my own chili using a few bottles. I told Pooteewheet that I should just leave out a dozen on the counter and claim they were "chili in a bottle".

This is also bottling - bottles full of Java Stout, waiting to be capped. That red thing you can sort of see the edge of is my capper - it's not only useful for putting caps on new bottles of homebrew, but for putting a cap on someone's beer in their fridge after you've dropped a meat stick or some other nasty surprise in it. The bottlecaps have been carefully sterilized. Everything is sterilized. I even sterilize myself, washing my hands in leftover cleaner and my mouth with alcohol (a heck of an excuse to drink a beer at 9:00 a.m.).

This is the bucket beer lives in until it's bottled - note the spigot. That big glass bottle behind the bucket is the carboy, it held the beer from September until it went in the bucket today. The bucket is also full of one cup of boiled sugar mixture - that's what kicks off some extra fermentation so it gets some CO2 into the individual bottles. No need to do that if you're using a pop keg, you just hook it up to the CO2 cannister and force it into the beer over a week or two.

These are the bottles. Many brewers have nice, new bottles that they put their own labels on and that haven't been through the rollers at the brewery. I prefer bottles where I actually drank the beer, hence, they've seen some work at the brewery. They're drying in this picture, after having soaked in a light cleaning solution overnight. Cooties in the bottles are to be avoided.

This is the carboy getting ready to be cleaned. The bathtub is the easiest spot. I should have taken a picture after bottling the second batch, as there are actually two carboys soaking now. The bathroom smells like the back area at the Summit brewery. My wife hates this - if I could work on my computer in there I might.

No comments: