19 February 2014

Brewing Beer for the Second Time

Last night, I brewed beer for the second time in my life (first time was a month ago) and am going for a similar-ish, yet different brew.  While last
time, I was going for a double IPA (and ended up with a nicely-hopped, although quite malty, one at that), this time, I was going for a modified double IPA - well, essentially a Belgian-style double IPA.  For the malt, I put in the exact same amount as last time: 14 pounds of extra pale malt extract, then I set about hopping the brew at the following schedule:
- 90 minutes to go: 2oz Simcoe (12.1% AA)
- 80 minutes to go: 1.5oz Chinook (11.4% AA)
- 60 minutes to go: .5oz Chinook (11.4% AA) & 1oz Columbus (15.0% AA)
- 45 minutes to go: 1oz Columbus (15.0% AA)
- 30 minutes to go: 1oz Summit (17.3% AA)
- 15 minutes to go: .5oz
Summit (17.3% AA)
- 0 minutes to go: .5oz Summit (17.3% AA)
Then, as with last time, I struggled to figure out a way to get the brewed concoction to get cold quickly.  Just as with last time, I put it in the sink with ice surrounding the container.  Although, at some point, I gave up and got it in the fermenting bucket.  (We'll see if I can invest in or borrow someone else's cooling coil, etc.)

I then pitched the yeast, this time using Abbey Ale Yeast from White Labs, hoping that it can manage not only a higher ABV, but - more importantly, a nice Belgian flavor, as I had grown to enjoy tripels more than a year ago.  I haven't had many IPA-tripel combinations that I have particularly enjoyed, so I figured, "Let's see if I can make a tripel and a double IPA...."  

Time will tell....

18 February 2014

First Batch of Homebrew Beer Drinkable :)

Having brewed beer for the very first time in my life a month ago (and then bottling [also for the first time in my life] two weeks ago), I ended up with my first homebrewed beer.  Concerned that my first batch would not come out well - mainly because it was my first time (although also because I did some things I shouldn't have done in transferring the beer from the primary fermenter to the bottling bucket) - I had low expectations for it. 

However, having tasted it a few times, and sharing it with a few other people, I am happy to announce that it came out well.  Yes, as a double IPA, it has a noticeable hop presence, but it also has quite a malty backbone.  While I think the hops are nice, I think it's a touch on the malty side for me, but it's still drinkable :)

Looking forward to batch #2!

14 February 2014

Finding a Methodology for Writing That Works For Me, Even If It's Not The Most Efficient Way

As someone who likes to share his ideas, I find that writing them is a great way of doing so. This is one of the reasons I enjoy blogging - I can share my ideas pretty easily (and searchable, too!). Although I have blogging in mind when writing this, it can extend to other formats of my writing, as well. One method I have found that works best for me in getting my ideas from my brain to the Internet/blog post begins, paradoxically enough, by avoiding the computer screen. I first write out my ideas, whether it be with pen and paper or with dry erase markers on a white board, etc. and I am able to get a bird's eye view of what I want to get out. 
 Then, I might type it up on my tablet or on my computer. 

However, rather than taking it directly to the blogging platform webpage, I frequently take it to something simple - e.g. Google Drive - to type it up. I think this might have to do with a fear of screwing up or some sort of perfectionist strain in me that makes me reticent to type up content straight into the blogging platform. From there, I will, however, then copy-and-paste the written/typed content into the blogging platform. Then, of course, I can worry about adding in any pictures into the post. Another method I have found that works for me is to type in notes on my cell phone on Google Drive (or it could be Evernote, etc.) while out and about. 

That way, I can then add in further content while with my tablet (when wi-fi connected) or computer (wi-fi, of course). Then, I can copy-and-paste that content (or outline of content) into the blogging platform. I readily acknowledge the lack of efficiency that goes into these methods; however, when staring at a computer screen with whatever I need to write in front of me (blog post, article, etc.), it appears to me to be quite a daunting task. But, when the stakes are much lower and I can easily add in content to something like Google Drive or even a simple text/note app, I have no fear about what I compose there and I know that it is easy to edit it down at the next step :)