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November 2013

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.