Aug 24, 2014

Back to Brewing: Oatmeal Stout Kit from Northern Brewer!

I love to brew beer, but I got to the point where I was going all-grain, all-time consuming brews.

With two little kids, and other things to occupy my summer time, it made it hard to dedicate the time to do the all-grains.

So, bring in the partial mash kits from Northern Brewer!

I have purchased supplies and kits from them before, so I figured they were a good place to start to reintroduce myself to brewing! I went for a kit that I haven't tried before, but had great reviews, and was a style I am known to like: Oatmeal Stout!

I love the kits, as NB does a great job of packaging them:
The first thing to do: setup the brewkettle9000©!!
Add 5 quarts of water to the brew pot, and bring it to a temperature of 165°F in the brewkettle9000©.
Once it reaches the desired temperature, add the bag of grains in the kit.
NOTE: If you put this in a nylon bag, make sure to keep it off the bottom of the kettle, unless you want the bag to melt!!!!

At this point, the temperature should be within a couple of degrees of 154°F. If it isn't there, add cold/hot water accordingly. While you are working on getting the temp to 154°, get another kettle with 5 quarts going with water heated to 170°F for sparging!

We'll want the kettle to stay at this temperature for an hour. The best way to do this is either wrap it in towels, put it in the oven, or keep it on low heat and monitor the temperature, or some combination of those :)

After one hour, put the mash kettle back on the burner and apply heat to get it up to 170°F. Separate the grains from the liquid by removing the bag, or scooping them out with a slotted spoon. 

Congratulations! You just made wort!

Now, we want to take that hot water, and pour it over the grains to get all the sugary, grainy goodness to add it to our wort (don't waste it!)

Anya helping me sparge, or ride her scooter, you decide :)
Slowly pour the water over the grains to make sure the grains don't spill back into the wort, and get the all the potential yummies out of the grains. Make sure to use all 5 quarts of sparge water!

Bring the water to a boil. Once there, turn off the flame, and add the malt syrup and malt power. Turning off the flame will make sure the malts don't get burned. Burned malts = not delicious beer!

After adding the malts, bring it back to a boil and add the hops! Let it boil for 60 minutes.

After 60 minutes, turn off the flame, and cool the wort with a wort chiller, or by putting it in the frigde/freezer. We are looking to get the wort down to 100°F.

Pour the wort into your carboy, and add cold water to bring it to five gallons. Shake the carboy to aerate the wort. 
Carboy, without Wort (I somehow missed getting a picture of it with wort!)

At this point, the wort should be around 78°F. If not, let it sit until it reaches this temperature, then add the yeast. Shake it again, and add your airlock. Let it sit for 2-3 weeks in a warm, dark place.

After the brew has settled down, about a month, it is time to bottle!

Transfer the wort to your bottling bucket, or get a piece of tubing with a cutoff switch, and clean bottles of course!

Add two cups of water, and 2/3 cup sugar to a pot, and bring it to a boil.
Slowly pour the sugar water into the wort, making sure not to splash!

Once in there, bottle it up!

 Add bottle caps, and place in a warm, dark place for a month.

Then, enjoy!

A follow up entry will be added in a month with taste results!!!

Aug 22, 2014

The One Car, Electric only challenge!

The other day, I had to take the minivan ("Mr. Seahorse") into the dealer since it was emitting a fairly noxious burning smell.

Several hundred dollars later, I have new brakes on my sub 22k miles van.

Robyn and I were less than pleased having to get brakes done on a barely two year old vehicle.

That got us thinking: Do we need two cars? Since I work from home 90-95% of the time, could we get by with only one?

What makes this more interesting, is our second car is...a Nissan Leaf!

Can our family of four make it with only one, electric-only, car?

We decided to set out and test this theory!

We began the test this week on Wednesday, and so far (three days in) it has been good.

IT will require good communication between myself and Robyn, as well as a bit of finagling of the times I do have to go into the office, but I think it will be doable.

The nice thing is we still have the van if this totally falls flat.

I plan to try to update this at least weekly with the latest happenings, but if you think I am late, feel free to drop me a line to update this blog-o thing!

Aug 20, 2014

Goodbye Picture thingy


That didn't last long.

I tried changing the theme, and the picture thing went away.

Maybe it will come back, maybe not.


Look for a post later today about my family's latest experiment: 100% electric driving!

Aug 15, 2014

Aug 12, 2014

Flashy Picture thing!

So, one of the things I wanted to do for awhile was add a slideshow of pictures.

I played around with Picasa slideshows for a bit, but didn't like the limitation.

Finally found one I like!

So, visit the site, and let me know what you think!

I'll keep adding more pictures to it as well.

Aug 11, 2014

Another attempt


How many times am I going to recreate this thing?

Also, Selfie!

Aug 10, 2014

New Home, same me

I have neglected my Wordpress blog for awhile.

Mostly, because every time I think to post, I go to login, and realize there are plug updates, or other things that need to be taken care of first.

So, Goodbye Wordpress!

Hello Blogger!

I was a blogger many moons ago, but left when I thought I needed to have my own server(s), and control my own updates.

I've come to realize that between working, two kids, a wife, a dog, two cats, baking/brewing habits, and wanting to spend time on ALL OF THE THINGS, that sometimes, the simple things are the best.

I've got some more housekeeping to do to clean this up...and I'm not sure if the pictures from the other posts will come back. They are in my photo stream...but that would be a lot of work to go back through.

So I may (but most likely will not) go back and fix them, but it will take some time.

So pardon the dust, and welcome (back!) to my blog!