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Another year…

As 2016 starts, I’m reminded of my resolution for 2015; blog more. As anyone can see from just a quick glance at this blog, I failed at that resolution. I’m hoping that this year’s resolution will actually stick.

Along with the resolution to blog more, I’ve got the age-old resolution to lose weight. I need to lose 50 pounds to become “healthy”. Which brings me to the point of the old phrase “Happy and Healthy”. What a crock that is, right? I’ve been on and off dieting for years now trying to lose the weight that makes me un-healthy, and never once when I’ve come close to that goal can I say that I’ve been “happy”. Is “Happy and Healthy” even achievable? Sitting around the dinner table recently, I asked my family (all of the girls except one; different story) which version of me they preferred; thin and miserable, or fat and happy? Every single one of them answered “fat”.

Is it even possible to be “Happy and Healthy”?

I’m going to find out.

I’m also going to:

  1. blog more
  2. write more music
  3. finish more music
  4. do more with my family
  5. find a way to pay off every bill and still have what I want (this one’s a tough one)

So far, so good.

Holiday decorating, beer, and football

So it’s that time of year again; holiday decorating. The time of year when I carry all the Christmas stuff up from the garage storage room, including 2 six foot trees, so that all of the girls can decorate for the holidays. Then, I will end up outside in the freezing cold setting up the house lights.


I’m drinking a beer. A belgian strong that I brewed for thanksgiving. I’m just thankful there’s some left!!!
8.1% ABV!!
We’re also trying to catch our high school football team at the championship game. It’s not on local TV. It’s not on local radio (that we can receive anyway), so I hooked my computer up to the home entertainment center and connected to a website that is broadcasting (in AM radio quality). We’re winning before the half.

Manly moving.
Manly football (crappy quality, but still football)
Manly beer.

I’m good. 🙂

10 Gallons?!!!

So yesterday, I brewed my first 10 gallon batch of beer.

This past spring, I bought a 20 gallon kettle (which ended up being only about 18, but that’s another story) for the purposes of making more beer than 5 gallons at one time. My old kettle was only 5 gallons, and I could barely do a regular 5 gallon batch. I used to have to do a smaller, more concentrated boil, then top it off with water when I was done. This new kettle solves that problem, and I can do full strength 5 gallon boils, as well as full strength 10 gallon, and (potentially) 15 gallons, but with the discrepancy between my “20 gallon” and the actual 18, it would be tricky, and I would probably have to concentrate it and then top off with water.

New Boil Kettle

I’ve been anxious, but reluctant to brew my first 10 gallon batch. 5 gallon batches are easy with my new pot and setup, and I’ve gotten very comfortable doing them.

So this was my first attempt at 10 gallons, and my brew day did not start off well. I was a half pound short of the single malt in my grain bill. OK, no problem, just substitute with something I have on hand (like flaked barley). Then, while heating my strike water, I ran out of propane. Pain in the ass. At least it didn’t happen during the boil. So I ran out and got more.

Then, while waiting for the mash, I was re-organizing my brew area, and I had a half full keg with picnic tap attached and hanging by the trigger from the hose. I stepped on the hose accidentally twice, pulling the trigger, and spraying beer all down my leg. Sheesh!
So I devised a new way to hook up my picnic taps to my kegs; Zip ties are my savior. It’s only a bit of a pain when changing out the keg, but worth it.

The Old Way
The new way! Awesome!

But all in all, my first 10 gallon brew day completed successfully. I can’t wait to taste it.

Halloween… again…

Yep, it’s halloween again.

And I’ve got a gripe.

I was shopping for costumes recently in one of those Spirit halloween stores with OnlyWife. Now I’m not one to shy away from horror flicks, or scary things, but… there definitely is a limit on what should be shown to certain people, age groups and the general public. For horror movies, they have ratings. Some are PG-13, some are R, and some are even NC-17. These rating allow you to choose which content you see, and choose which content your children see.

While in the Spirit halloween store, I saw halloween decorations that I would not want my 13, 10, or 4 year old to see. Dismembered bodies with entrails hanging out, zombie babies, etc etc. These decorations would definitely warrant an age rating in movies, but it’s OK for someone to put it out on their lawn as a halloween decoration for all to see? That takes away my choice and decision af what is appropriate for me and my family.

I just think we’ve gone a bit too far.

Mother nature is a…

OK… I’ll be nice.

But seriously; the weather? Sheesh!

First, we had a warmer than usual spring. Then it got cold again.

Because of the warmer than usual spring, our pool (which has been covered) got a lot warmer too, and when we finally opened it was FULL of algae. Of course, being the only boy, it’s my job to clean it up and get it ready for swimming. It took me just about a week to clean it out, clear up, and balance the water so it would be ready to swim in.


The temperature goes back down to near freezing for the typical pool opening weekend; Memorial Day. WTF?

Thanks Mother Nature!

St. Patrick’s Day…

We had a great time. Saw my Uncle’s irish band, and had a few drinks.

We woke up St. Patrick’s Day morning, and I said “It’s Shawn Patrick’s Day!” (that’s my name). My wife turned to me and said, “Yes, St. Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, and you drove the snakes out of our house. How true, how true.

Brew #2 Results: Brown Ale

I was updating a bunch of other posts, and realized I hadn’t taken pictures of or posted my results from batch #2!

So here it is, the “Caribou Slobber Brown Ale”:

I’m pretty sure this is supposed to be a clone of Big Sky’s Moose Drool, which is kind of like Newcastle?

A very tasty brew, that’s for sure. So tasty, in fact, that I only have one left. (I’m saving that one to share with my oldest younger brother).

I’m really digging the stuff from Northern Brewer. So far, everything I’ve had from there has been great. This kit, if you’re interested, is one of their staples and is available in an extract kit, and in an all grain kit. (if you browse to the “Additional Information” tab of each of those pages, you can get the recipe and instructions as well.)


Brew #5: more Dry Irish Stout

Here’s the second batch of Dry Irish Stout that I’m brewing. This batch threw me for a loop, because I ordered it myself, and to save a little money, ordered the “mini-mash” version, instead of the all extract. Now luckily, I was (semi) prepared for a mini-mash, and I think it went well. So well that I’ll be ordering kits like that again.

It was a beautiful day for brewing! I was drinking my Cream Ale while I was brewing.

Looking forward to the next batch

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