Brewing

hop-leaf

In addition to brewing a Belgian dubbel last night, we also strung up our hop plants, approximately 1 month late in the season. “Sorry, Messrs. Hops. We’ll try to do better next year. Now grow up your vines like weeds!” Do you know what’s a scary sight? Jeff with a saw.

stringing-up-hop-vinesHe took it open himself to saw stakes to nail the twine down into the ground, or “assert his manhood,” as he told us. Fortunately no fingers were lost in the process.

threading-hop-vinesJeff was actually really good at threading the twine. Probably because it’s so similar to sewing. ZING! We had a great crowd last night, despite having very little beer. For which we apologize again. Sorry, we sincerely thought those kegs were full. We were also graced with the presence of Ale Sharpton ? Atlanta’s premier gangsta craft beer guru. Check him out.

And one of these days, we’ll get a real tap for our Blind Pirate Double IPA. The masking tape on the tap looks decidedly… not gangsta.

monday-night-blind-pirateThanks to everyone who came last night! We’re excited that the weather is finally cooperating.

bewing-before-the-storm

“Brew like the wind, Jeffrey! Brew like the wind!” This is what we were yelling at Jeff last night as we tried to sneak in a full brewing session before the storms arrived around 11pm last night. And all in all, we were successful. A huge shout-out to Kraig and Hop City for coming through in the clutch on some last-second beer ingredients we needed.

After 5 hours of brewing and nary a drop of rain, we hope that we brewed a successful ginger wit. Unfortunately we probably won’t know until we taste it, because our last remaining hydrometer got hit with a huge gust of wind and broke on the driveway. Thanks, Mr. Stormypants. In related news, Jeff’s Barefoot Driveway Soccer League has been called off for this week due to potentially dangerous conditions on the field.

No matter the original gravity of our beer, we had a great time, and it was good to get back into the swing of brewing. Thanks to all the first timers who came!

spilled-grain

We decided to give our double IPA ? codenamed Blind Pirate ? another go last night. The Brew Gods were apparently not pleased with our choice. I think they are Drafty Kilt fans. We started the night by spilling approximately 200 tons of unmilled base malt on the garage floor. So that was fun to clean up. Also, by “we” I mean “I.”

Things started getting better, until we experienced a mysterious boil-over, despite adding Fermcap-S, our trusty anti-boil-over agent. Or should I make that EX-trusty anti-boil-over agent. This boil-over clogged up our burner, which we had to turn off, dismantle, clean, and reassemble. I’m not sure if the boil-over was due to user error, but given the events of the night, I wouldn’t put it past us.

Last, this happened:

melted-flashlight

Yes friends, it IS possible to melt a flashlight. Salvador DalĂ­, eat your heart out. Learning for the evening: If you leave a crappy flashlight next to a hot burner, it will melt. At least we weren’t trying to impress anyone. Like my fiance’s entire family, who came out to brew with us for the first time last night.

Despite the countless user errors, we ended up with what we think will be a great beer. Time will tell, if it doesn’t melt first. Thanks to all who came out ? it was cold. And we appreciate you.

Oh, I also burned my hand pretty badly. Stupid Brew Gods.

brewing-january-cold

Last night we got back into the swing of things by brewing up some Eye Patch Ale. Hello 2011! Fortunately, we were sans Joel. This enabled us to nimbly navigate the perils of weekday brewing, coming within .001 of our target gravity. Badonkadonk.

One thing Jeff and I had forgotten about January is how cold it is. This was a benefit when it came to chilling our beer, but was not ideal for any other part of the night. My hands are still semi-frozen and typing hurts. And yes, I realize how whiny that sounds. So I’m going to stop talking about it.

We had a bunch of new folks last night, which is always fun. Although I have a feeling that had they realized they would be standing outside the entire night, huddled around a pot of boiling wort, they might have reconsidered making the trek. Next week we’ll try to have a fire going. Thanks again, for helping to make 2011 awesome!

baby

The babies were out in full force last night, and they brought their fathers with them. Beer just has a way of bringing together the whole family. If the above picture isn’t enough to convince you, perhaps Exhibit B will do the trick:

baby-two

Actually it may be tough to make out the baby in all of that camo. He kind of blends in. We asked all of the babies in attendance to help us brew our Drafty Kilt, which would have allowed us to kick Joel to the curb. Each baby politely declined in his own way ? either by feigning sleep or staring off into the night sky. Not to be deterred, we carried on with our plans. Our mash efficiency was pretty incredible, so we ended up with more volume than we anticipated. And we are in no way complaining about that. We also kegged some stout.

On the business front, John decided to fund our entire operation with 100 trillion dollars.

one-hundred-trillion-dollars

We were all elated, until we realized he planned to use currency from Zimbabwe. Call me old fashioned, but I’m a bit more comfortable with American currency. Jeff is actually still rooting for the gold standard. What an idiot.

“You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold.”

oscar-dinosaurROAAARRRRR. It’s not every Monday night that we have a dog show up in a dinosaur costume. Halloween must be near. While we were all terrified that Oscar the mutt might get it in his head that he was an actual dinosaur and start eating the other dogs, we were able to keep it together and brew as scheduled. We brewed up some Eye Patch Ale. Brewed it up real nice.

Speaking of “other dogs,” we had a couple others (not including Joel) in attendance. Don’t worry, we don’t let them drink the beer. But we do let them eat the grains from time to time.

dog-fermenterWe’re excited to see how our first stout of the year turns out ? give it another 2 weeks or so. We’re also excited that the temperatures seem to have been perfect for brewing these last two Mondays. Not too cold that it locks up your arm when you stick it in a bucket of sanitizer, but not too hot that it takes a fortnight to cool the wort. Let’s keep that up, Mr. Weatherman.